TIPPY MADE ME DO IT

It was cold here today.  I’m sure not by some standards, but to me, it was cold.  Yesterday it got up to 50°F (10°C).  This morning it was 30°F (-1°C) and has gone down all day, with the wind blowing.  Big drops in temperatures in such a short time just makes it feel colder.

I got home from church, and my other Sunday activities, at about 2pm.  I was planning on spending the rest of the day inside, letting Tippy go out and run around on her own. But, she had other ideas.

She went out and stayed for about 10 minutes and wanted back in. After our afternoon nap, she wanted out again.  I let her, but she wanted back in shortly thereafter.  Then, she just sat and looked out the window, whining. I knew she was begging for me to go with her on a walk back in the hills.  (She could go by herself, but she doesn’t.  I guess she enjoys the company.)  I was bound and determined that I was NOT going to go out and walk a mile in those temperatures, so I told her if she went, she’d have to go by herself.  It was just too cold for me.

However, I had to go out later to turn the heat on in an outbuilding – something I had forgotten to do when I got home.  Tippy got so excited.  Jumping and running around like crazy.  She just knew her begging had worked I was going to go on our walk.  Since I’ve been working a lot lately and didn’t get to take her for a walk yesterday due to rain, I let her guilt me into it.  I came in, put on my long johns, wrapped up better, and off we went.  The temperature was 25°F, but the wind chill made it feel like 17°F (-4°C/-8°C).  And, I really do hate the wind when it’s cold.  I think it feels even colder than what the official “wind chill feel like” temperature is. It’s a good thing I love her so much!

After the fact, I’m glad we went. I really enjoyed watching her running and sniffing to her heart’s content.

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Thanks for bringing me back here, mom!
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Nose to the ground.

In a semi-unrelated matter, when I went to my neighbor’s house earlier, I saw these amazing ice formations on their porch.  Thought you might enjoy seeing them.

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Ice formations.

 

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FIRST REAL SNOW OF THE SEASON

This morning we woke up to the first real snow of the season.  Since my driveway was slushy slick and the snow was still falling, I opted to stay at home today.  Tippy and I had a nice, relaxing morning.  She snoozed while I played on the computer and watched TV.

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Snoozing on her bed – sort of.

She isn’t supposed to get in this chair, but I had noticed the last week or so that she had been. I decided to just go ahead and cover it up and “allow” her to use it.  It hasn’t been sat in as much as the couch and love seat, so the cushion is a lot firmer.  I think that is why she likes it.

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This armrest is comfy.
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This chair is a lot more comfortable than the loveseat.

This afternoon, we decided to go for a walk. This was a wet snow that laid on everything, making a beautiful, peaceful, winter wonderland.

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This is my stab at taking an “artistic” picture.  The brown grass sticking up through the snow is pretty cool looking.

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Tippy and I are wishing you a safe, fun, and adventurous week ahead.

GREAT DAY FOR A WALK

Last week was a cold one, with lots of rain. One day it didn’t get above 32°F (0°C).  Today it was sunny with a high of 70°F (21°C).  Tippy and I enjoyed this unusually warm fall afternoon by taking a nice walk back in my neighbor’s fields.

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Gorgeous December Day

I’ve been working a lot lately, leaving before the sun comes up and getting home after dark.  I am fortunate that my mom and dad take Tippy for walks during the day, allowing her to run off some energy.  They don’t go as far as we did today, so I think she enjoyed the extra distance and different smells to explore.

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Having fun exploring.
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I think I smell a squirrel.

After our walk, we sat outside for a few minutes.  I was going to read, but Tippy had other ideas.

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My lapdog.

She did eventually get down so I got a little bit of reading in before we had to come inside.

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Thanks for the walk mom. It was great!

We hope you had a wonderful day, whatever the weather in your neck of the woods.

 

 

 

 

 

SQUATTER FAMILY – IT HAPPENED

Last night, I went out on the porch, planning only to count the skunks and not take any pictures.  But, the squatters came out a little earlier than they had before, so I managed to get a couple of decent photos.  I didn’t get one of all of them because they spotted me and ran for safety.  At least you can see that the mother is almost pure white on the back.

This morning, I let Tippy outside around 8:15.  I heard her pounce on the walkway and bark.  I went to the window and saw her retreating around the corner.  About the same time the odor hit me.  I knew it had happened.  She had gotten sprayed!

I went out to make sure she was okay and found foamy slobbers in the garage floor and her licking her lips like you do when you have tasted something awful and are trying to get the taste out of your mouth.  Other than that, she seemed okay.  I got her a doggie cookie, thinking that might help. It didn’t hurt.

She was lucky that there was only a small slit between the boards.  She seemed to only get a glancing blow, and mostly on the right side of her face and ear. I got her shampoo, a rag, and a tub of water and went back out.  She usually balks at all attempts at a bath, but will tolerate it once I start.  Today, she came right to me. She must have understood that I was trying to make the smell go away.  The groomer who formulated this natural cedar shampoo said that it works great on skunk oil, to just be sure and put the shampoo on the affected area before wetting it so that it can contact the oil directly. I followed her directions and used the rag to give her head a good scrubbing and rinsing.  It seemed to work pretty good.

Since she had been foaming at the mouth, I did call her vet and talk to them.  They said to just keep an eye on her and as long as she was eating and didn’t throw up, she would be okay.  As you can see, she was fine.

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I’m okay, mom.

We took the trash off later in the morning, so she could enjoy a ride in the truck.  I did have an ulterior motive, however.  I wanted to get away from the constant odor that permeates the garage to see if I had gotten it all off of Tippy.  When she turned her head toward me, I would get a mild whiff.  So, when we got back from our ride, I gave her a good bath all over.  She was due one anyway.  She wasn’t as fond of that, but survived.  While she was damp, I put some baking soda on her ears and the side of her face.  I’m not sure which thing worked, but I don’t smell anything on her tonight.

I hate to do it, but until the squatter family is evicted, I am going to have to keep Tippy on leash when she is outside.  Hopefully, it won’t be too long before the babies follow mom and we can trap them.

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER

Most of you know that this past Sunday was Mother’s Day here in the United States.  But, it also held another distinction…it was Tippy’s 5th birthday!

In order to celebrate both occasions, we spent the late afternoon at the pond.  Me, mom, and Tippy watched dad fish.  He caught 8, I think – all fairly small bluegill and bass.

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Just hanging out together.

 

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Hey grandpa, I think there’s a fish right over there.

It was a warm day, so Tippy got hot.  You know what that means….a walk in the edge of the pond to get a drink and cool in the mud.  I laughed at one point, because she ventured out a little deeper than she normally does and started to sit down in the water.  She got one hip in and then popped right back up.  Apparently, water on the tush didn’t feel as good as she thought it was going to.  😮  Still, she got plenty of that nice squishy, smelly mud on her paws and stomach.

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It’s my party and I’m smell if I want to, smell if I want to…..

When we got back to the house, Tippy got a couple of surprises.  The first was that she got a nice birthday bath!  She doesn’t like getting washed, but tolerates it okay.  She sure feels and smells a lot better.  She relaxed on the driveway to finish drying off.

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Relaxing after having a bath.

Then, her second surprise was her “birthday” gift.  Obviously, I’ve had this for a while and never got around to giving it to her.  Better late than never, right?

 

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She was tired after running around at the pond, so only played with it a little.  She loves this version of a Frisbee because it is soft in the center and tends to float a little, allowing her to catch it out of the air.  When she was younger, she would destroy these by chewing holes in the center.  I’m hoping she has outgrown that habit and this one will last to give her hours of enjoyment.

It wasn’t anything exceptional or fancy, but we all enjoyed it and I got to spend some precious quality time with those I love.  It really doesn’t get much better than that, does it?

 

GREAT BACKYARD BIRD COUNT

Last weekend (Friday through Monday) was the Audubon Society’s Great Backyard Bird Count.   This is yearly event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of bird populations.   Each checklist submitted during the GBBC helps researchers at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society learn more about how birds are doing, and how to protect them and the environment we share. Being a scientist/biologist at heart, I love contributing to this data collection.

The last few years I have not been able to participate because I have been in Florida for my granddaughter’s birthday.  Yes, I know, there are birds in Florida and I could count them there, but I don’t want to take time away from visiting with the family, since I don’t get to see them nearly as often as I would like.  The birthday party was early this year, so I was home for the count.

I was excited about spending time birding, which I haven’t done much of lately. Unfortunately, I had to work all day Friday, and by the time I got my to-do list done on Saturday, it had started to rain.  So, no birds to count.  Sunday afternoon was absolutely gorgeous, so I sat outside with Tippy, expecting to see all sorts of birds.  Nope.  I heard a few and saw some that were too far away to get a positive identification.  I got impatient after 40 minutes, at having only identified one bird, a red-bellied woodpecker.

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It was much easier when I had a bird feeder near the back porch.  I quit putting it up after I got Tippy.  I was afraid she would see the visitors to the feeder as a tempting smorgasbord of furry little morsels.  Now that she is older and spends a lot of time in the house, I may try putting it back out.

Anyway, I thought I might have better luck back in the neighbor’s field.  I got all of my supplies in a backpack and Tippy and I set off for a leisurely walk.

I did hear and see more birds, but could only identify a flock of robins and a turkey vulture.

At least Tippy and I had a wonderful, relaxed walk on a warm, sunny February Sunday.

On Monday, I was able to identify some mourning doves and cardinals.

My contributions are minor this year, but it is something.  I need to spend more time honing my skills away from a feeder.  It does make a difference when they have no reason to stick around.  Finding the identifying characteristics on the fly is a lot harder, to say the least.

Do any of you participate in this event?  If so, Tippy and I would love to hear how your weekend of birding went.

ROAN MOUNTAIN

Nearby Roan Mountain has the largest natural Catawba rhododendron garden in the world.  A couple of weekends ago, I heard on the news that the Rhododendron Festival was ongoing and that the flowers were near their peak.  I’ve been wanting to go see them for years, but always seem to miss when they bloom.  This was my chance. On Wednesday of last week, I loaded Tippy and my mom and dad in the car and we headed off for a day in the mountains.

We stopped at the Roan Mountain visitors center for a break and to get information on exactly where we needed to go to see the flowers.  The lady behind the desk gave us a map and then said words I wasn’t expecting to hear:  “The blooms are almost all gone.”  Really?!  That’s not what they had said on the news.  Later, we overheard some other visitors talking about this.  They said that a heavy storm had come through on Sunday night and knocked a lot of the flowers off.   I guess that explains it.

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My mom and dad with Tippy at the Roan Mountain Welcome Center

Of course, since we were there, we drove on up to the top of the mountain to see what was left of the blooms.

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Sign at the entrance to the gardens.

The sign tells you that you are standing at an elevation of 6,286 feet (1.9km) and, therefore, will see a forest that typically grows in Canada.  I found that to be interesting.

We walked the short, concrete loop, stopping to admire the flowers and views along the way.  Even though they weren’t at their peak, we still found it to be very pretty and can only imagine what it would have looked like if all of the shrubs were completely covered in blooms.

There were other interesting things along the path, including trees, rotting logs, and patches of fern.

 

I was proud of how well Tippy behaved around the crowds of people and other dogs who were there.

We stopped at the bottom of the mountain for a picnic lunch.  When I got the ham out of the cooler for our ham and cheese sandwiches, I realized I had brought the container that was almost empty.  Dad got ham and cheese.  Mom and I got to have a cheese only sandwich.  LOL

 

After lunch, we explored the area around the mountain stream. It was very pretty and relaxing.  I just love the sound of water flowing over rocks.  After lots of trial and error, I got a decent picture of Tippy.  She still wouldn’t look at me though.

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This is as good as it is going to get, mom.

Here are a few of the outtakes.  At first, she would walk away as I was snapping the picture.  Once she decided to do a sit/stay, she refused to look at the camera.

On the way home, we spotted this sign along the road.  We just had to turn around to investigate.

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Humm? Peaked our curiosity.

It wasn’t all all what we were expecting.  Just a two layered parking lot facing this small building with a sign that said to tune your radio to an FM station.  We do wonder if someone sits or stands here and preaches or if they are listening to the sermon that is being given in the traditional church, which sits just to the left of this picture.

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Drive-in church.

We all enjoyed our day in the mountains.  It wore Tippy out, as is evidenced by the fact that she was lagging way behind when we took our normal walk later in the evening.

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Wait on me. I’m a little slow when I’m tired.