Thursday, August 31, 2017

It's So Busy Nobody Goes There Anymore

I haven't been to Lake Isabelle in 2 years because the hordes of people, oh the hordes of people.  Last time I went I took Strummy and looking back on the pictures I can't believe how old he looked.  When we lost him it was such a shock because he didn't seem old at all and while he certainly didn't act old it appears that he had aged a lot physically and I was so close to it that I didn't even realize it.  Kind of shocking how that works.

Anyway, school is back in session so the crowds have died down a bit and apparently Wednesday is the new day of the week that you have to hit the trails if you want some peace so Jonny took the day off and we headed for the hills.  We even got a parking space in the lot at the trailhead, something that hasn't happened in maybe 10-15 years.  Usually we have a 12-15 minute hike from a lower parking lot.  Doesn't seem like a lot until you have to do it on the way back after an already long hike and it's thundering.  We ended up giving a ride back down to the parking lot to a fellow Boulderite who had 2 visitors from Boston with him.  They were struggling with the altitude and were thankful not to have to hike that extra bit.

We couldn't have asked for a more perfect day.

It was like the good old days out there, quiet and peaceful, some people but not too many.  I didn't realize this was even possible anymore.

The hike to the lake is fairly short and easy (took us 50 minutes).  We continued on a trail that goes above the lake because there are amazing wildflowers up there and I've seen a moose up there.

Still a lot of wildflowers.  Normally the aspens start to turn yellow by now but I barely saw any.  Fall is taking it's time this year.

There's an alpine bench and some nice tundra at just under 12,000' but we didn't go all the way up to it.  The trail is getting eroded and it's steep and rocky.  The view up there is o.k. and if you really want a workout you can go another 45 minutes or so on the moon rocks and go up to Pawnee Pass.  We got close to the bench and decided we'd had enough of the steep loose rock.  We've both been up there zillions of times.

It's hard to take a bad picture up there.  I accidentally left my camera behind so these were taken with Jonny's cell phone which is older and not super fancy.

It's perhaps my favorite trail on a quiet day.  It's weird to think that that could be my last time on that trail.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Last Boulder Birthday?

Not sure if I'll be in Boulder next year for my birthday so I did ALL the Boulder Things for this birthday.  My Boulder Things anyway.

Started off hauling my ass around the Boulder Reservoir for my Boulder Bare Bones Birthday Bash race.  I only did the mile so I could go fast.  Fast for me anyway.  I had a great race, a wee bit faster time-wise than last month but the exact same pace of 1:48/100 yards.  Distance was 1.05 miles per Garmin, can't get much closer than that. The lovely finish line ladies serenaded me with a birthday song when I exited the water but I was too dizzy and winded and embarrassed to fully appreciate it.  My friend Marcie braved the Pearl St. Whole Foods in Boulder to get me this nummy cupcake and she managed to do it without ending up on the 5:00 news.  It is that sort of a Whole Foods.  Or maybe all Whole Foods are that way.

I was tired enough after all that but Jonny insisted on hauling my ass up a mountain.  Sort of a mountain.  Goshawk Ridge again, third time this summer after never having been there since the trail was created I don't know how many years ago.  Turns out it's a super quiet trail close to town.  Shhhh, don't tell anyone.

It was hot.  Ms. Deer had it made in the shade.

Wait, there's more.  We had dinner at a super snooty Boulder restaurant called Arugula (says it all right there) because I had a gift certificate from my office landlord.  We went at 4:45 to avoid the worst of the Boulder Scene.  And also because we were tired and hungry.  I have to admit that the food was really good, like really good, though I'm hardly an expert in Fine Dining.  They were playing Bob Marley live on the loudspeaker, something I was not expecting at such a snooty place.  Only in Boulder.

All in all a great day doing all the Boulder things.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Adventures in Crazy Dog Lady House Hunting

At around 5:30 Wednesday night a week ago a perfect sounding house came on the market so I called the realtor and next thing I knew, Jonny and I were packing to leave first thing in the morning for a 7 1/2 hour drive to Mancos.  Coincidentally he already had the day off and I didn't have clients scheduled since we were going to go for a hike.  It seemed like a sign that we were meant to go and that this would finally be the place.  The land looked a bit too sloping from the pictures but the realtor was familiar with the house and thought there was some flat land somewhere.

It was 42 degrees and raining on Wolf Creek Pass.  Summer monsoon season is in full swing.

The house turned out to be near perfect - a remodeled farmhouse, 1800 s.f. which is a bit big but reasonable for us.  4 1/2 acres of land with great water rights and a big ass barn.

That came complete with a big ass barn owl.

And some big ass cliffs.

And a big ass view.

We were all set to make an offer on it when we found out that the land in the photo above would not be ours.  The owner was splitting the lot in half and building their new house on this part of the land which also happened to be the only piece of flat land big enough for an agility field.  Our piece of land would be mostly cliffs, a big ass orchard and a big ass barn with some slope-y bits of land between.  Plus a pond that the owners would retain rights to access even though it was on our piece of land so their dogs could swim across the pond and get on our land.  Plus we'd have to live next to construction noise for a year or two or who knows how long, who knows what they would build?  And they have kids and dogs and we already live next door to kids and dogs and we're so looking forward to getting away from other people's kids and dogs.

So disappointing.

We looked at a couple of other places that didn't seem promising but thought we should look as long as we were down there.  They weren't promising.  We did look at a perfect piece of land - great location and water rights and in great condition - but we'd have to build something on it and find somewhere to live while we were building.  Buy a used RV and travel the country until it's built?  And what to build?  Conventional, straw bale, rammed earth, something else?  There are many alternative building methods and materials out there.  It's all very overwhelming and not an attractive option.  Plus it's too late to buiy something and build before the snow start flying so a potential land purchase will have to wait until spring.  Ah well, the right place will come along.  I wish that drive wasn't 7 1/2 hours long.

We took the dogs and stayed with some friends outside of Durango.

Travel Buddies

Sunset over the La Platas

 Most places give you a mint on your pillow.  We got this.

Since we didn't have that many houses to look at, we had a lot of time on Friday to explore.  We decided to go up to Boggy Draw for a hike and when we drove through Dolores we came upon this.

I knew there was a trial over the weekend but didn't realize it was 3 days.  We stopped to take advantage of a socialization opportunity for Tess.  I saw a few people I knew, including a woman who just sold her place in the country outside of Durango and is moving to Moab in the city.  She helped a lot with Tess, fed her treats and brought her own friendly BC out to say hi.  Sadly Tess wasn't interested but at least she wasn't terrified.  Tess did freeze when a Cattle Dog started barking and lunging at someone else walking by from an x-pen that was pretty far away.  I turned her around and walked the other way, no point subjecting either one of them to each other.  And there was no way she was moving one more step closer anyway.  I was so sure we were past the freezing thing.  But otherwise she did o.k. walking through the hub bub of the shade canopies and people.  I may have shoved some kibble into a complete strangers hand and asked her to feed my dog when she showed the slightest bit of interest in us.  I wish I had had better treats but they were sitting back at the house, I wasn't planning on a socialization opportunity.  Must be better prepared.  And yeah, if you so much as make eye contact with me when I have Tess I'll probably shove kibble or chicken or hot dogs in your hand and ask you to feed my dog.  It's funny, guys want to make her sit or do something and I'm all, 'Just give it to her for being brave enough to go up to you'.  And they won't.  They end up handing me back my treats.  But the women get it, they give all the treats if Tess will go up and take them.  I've not been working a lot with 'Sit' or any other inhibitive behaviors because I want Tess being brave and offering behaviors, not inhibiting them which is her default.  Though at this point I think I need to start working with Sit, Down, and Stay in different locations with both dogs.  But not with strangers asking for them at a busy agility trial.  Sheesh.

We did go up to Boggy Draw for a short hike.  Tess still shouldn't go too far and she'd already been walking around the trial for a bit.  We were out around 45 minutes and the terrain was fairly flat and easy.

When we got back to our friends' house that night, Jonny realized we had a flat tire (slow leak so it was low, not all the way flat).  So we had a delayed departure in the morning since our friend had to take Jonny and the tire to Durango for a repair.  It's a new tire and under warranty so at least the repair was free and Discount Tire took care of it quickly.  We didn't get too late of a start and were home for dinner.

Ruby sez, 'Are we there yet?'

Kind of a fun trip but also emotionally draining.  We were so sure this house would be the one.  I'm a bit burnt out on Crazy Dog Lady House Hunting.  Something really perfect will have to come up to drag me down there again, I've had enough driving to last me until spring.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Tess Update

Tess is now 7 months, 1 1/2 weeks old.  Ish.  Her birthdate of December 28 is a guess on the rescue's part.  She was pulled out from under the abandoned building at around 4 weeks old so I have a reasonably good guess at her age.  She hasn't had any accidents in the house since she was 4 1/2 months old so I'm declaring her housebroken.  Actually I declared her housebroken many months ago.  Can't remember what age Lola was housebroken at.  I'm guessing this is fairly typical though it seemed kinda early.  Not complaining.  It helps if you're home a lot.

Photo from today.

And when we first brought her home.

She's looking more and more like a real dog these days.  Still all ears and legs.

She's doing well with walking through the neighborhood and nearby trails, mostly excited and curious rather than fearful and learning not to pull when she does get overexcited.  I do believe there's a fear aspect mixed in with the excitement so it's encouraging that she can often focus on us in the face of that.  There are still times when she can't though.  She was unexpectedly unhinged by a walk on a bike path that went under a loud highway.  It was early Sunday morning so not too busy but I realized that we seldom walk near busy highways.  We also took her on a trail that goes through a prairie dog town and their high pitched 'eeps' made her a little crazy.  She seemed a bit interested in the critters themselves (not nearly as crazy about them as Ruby is) but was unhinged by their cheeping.  She's scared of woodpeckers pecking as well.  I finally worked out that that's why she didn't want to go in the yard in the early mornings.  Oddly enough she's not scared of thunder or fireworks though she will  bark a little if either get really really loud.  Weird to have dogs that are o.k. with thunder and fireworks, Ruby's not bothered either.  Poor Strummer was a wreck with both of them and got worse as he got older.  Both the other dogs were bad with them too but poor Strum, he suffered the worst.

More photos from today.

She's been to two agility classes, the first was a private lesson so the instructor could see where she was at and we could see what she'd be willing to do at the facility.  Apparently I'd painted a picture of doom and gloom because the instructor was expecting something way worst than what I'd described.  Tess was nervous and excited but she did o.k. and was willing to work with me and mostly focus on the tasks at hand.  We did started with some simple little games (throw the treat on the ground and tell her to 'Find It', shape her to put front feet into a dog bed) then progressed onto 2o/2o on a small, slightly elevated plank as well as the Offering a Jump exercise.  There were probably some other things that I don't remember.  The instructor felt she was fine to come to class so she went to her first group class last Wednesday.  Again she did fine.  Her biggest challenge was waiting in the car when I took Ruby out for her turn.  Oh the barking.  Next week I'll bring more Kongs and hopefully she'll get used to the routine.  It's important for her to learn to be calm in the car without Ruby.  Ruby is her rock.

In class Tess worked on a nose target, more 2o/2o on the plank, sending through a straight tunnel to a food bowl and introduction to the low dog walk (Just walking up and down the plank and along the top plank.  She bailed a few times and then got more comfortable.  She seemed funny about her back feet being on the planks, maybe something about the feeling of the granulated rubber since she seems fine on my wood planks at home).  She seemed fine working in the facility, took her a little bit to go through the tunnel which was longer than my little 10' practice tunnel (maybe was 15').  I think this will be good for her, pushing her limits but not pushing too far.  The instructor Nicole has been awesome with her.  I hate that 35-40 minute drive to and from Arvada but this has turned out to be a really good fit for both dogs and I'm learning a ton and enjoying the One Mind methodology. 

Interesting to see how much she grew in 11 days.

July 11

Today (July 22)

Hmmm, hard to notice much in those photos without something for scale but in real life she seems way bigger and more mature somehow. 

More from July 11.

Coming up next, some hiking adventures.  And of course more puppy.

Thursday, July 20, 2017


I've had a fascinating week down the deep dark rabbit hole of Homesteading.  Still no houses/land that we're interested in but when we do move I'd like to be a bit more self-sustainable.  I'll start with a vegetable garden, which I've done before, and then add some chickens and eventually goats or maybe even a cow for dairy.  Because thanks to the magic of YouTube I've discovered mini Jersey Cows.

Their big brown eyes and sweet faces melt my heart.  Plus they are supposedly a reasonable size to handle, have nice gentle temperaments and their milk has lots of fat.  I'd be foolish not to get one.

There is a lot to learn about raising your own food, animal or vegetable.  The good news is that it appears to be a rule that once you start homesteading you must also start a YouTube channel.  There is a LOT of info. out there.  SO much info.  My personal favorite is Joel Salatin and his Polyface Farm.  Joel is a great public speaker, YouTube is chock full of his lectures, just go over and search his name, so many I wouldn't even know which one to post here.  Joel fascinates me.  He's a genius systems engineer, passionate public speaker, savvy businessman, generally full of creative and innovative ideas.  Has zillions of books out.  A true visionary when it comes to how we can feed the world in a healthy, humane and sustainable way that makes money for farmers.  He makes me optimistic for the future.  But he does larger scale, commercial type farming and while the general concepts scale down to what I'm hoping to do, there aren't a lot of details.  But there are many many folks out there with YouTube channels and little farms for just their family and maybe they sell some eggs or whatnot on the side.  My favorite so far is Guildbrook Farm.

Here's a good example of the volume and level of detail of the information they provide on a given topic plus the good sound and video quality.

I like that they're beginners because they understand what a beginner needs and wants to know.  And they link to many other experienced homesteaders for more information.  They provide really good, well researched and detailed information in an organized way that's easy to understand.  Their farm looks well organized and the animals look happy and healthy.  There are also videos that are more personal, showing aspects of their daily lives on the farm which are great for beginners like me who wonder what it's like.  Some of the other folks putting out videos are not so well organized and don't have such great audio/video quality to put it politely.

Another good channel is Justin Rhodes.  He's doing a Great American Farm Tour and putting out little mini movies about farms he visits.  He even has a visit to Joel Salatin's place.

I'm sure there are many many others, these are the start of what I've stumbled on and enjoyed so far.

I've learned that raising chicks is a lot more complicated than I thought.  I'm also learning about permaculture and how to can and how to make Pemmican.  Because there is a YouTube channel out there that shows you how to cook food from the 18th Century.

It's funny, or maybe not so funny, how in a couple few generations we've lost all this knowledge and are currently suffering a huge, perhaps insurmountable health care crisis brought on largely by our consumption of processed food.  I remember watching my grandmother can and thinking it was crazy.  She was always scalding herself and it looked time consuming and exhausting.  And why?  The grocery stores are full of food year round.  But of course the food isn't seasonal and it was pretty fabulous to pull out a can of her tomatoes and enjoy their awesome deliciousness in February.  Plus how cool to be able to cut down trips to the grocery store?  And if you have a garden and a bunch of your stuff is ready for harvest in the fall, what do you do with it all?  And the convenience of it if you do want to pull something off a shelf and have quick ready made food without eating the processed crap from the grocery store. 

So much cool stuff to learn.  I never realized how much science and math and systems engineering is involved.   I think I have a lot of basic skills that could be helpful, especially the structural engineering and engineering mechanics background.  Was watching a video of a guy building shelves and cringing at the poor design.  Lots of stuff to build on a homestead.  Much different scale than what I'm used to so there will still be lots to learn but again I think I have some good knowledge that will be useful - math, science, chemistry, engineering.  Lots to learn though.  LOTS.

Now if only that perfect place would come up for sale.

Tess has been to two agility classes, more on that later.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Rockin' the Gnar

I've barely been riding my bike this summer, mostly because of the heat and crowded trails and Tess.  I have to go during the week to avoid the crowds and biking takes a lot of time.  I've not had the motivation to schedule a big block of time to go riding by myself during the week plus the distraction from work and Other Things I should be doing.  And I've enjoyed spending the time with Tess.  They're puppies for such a short period of time, I want to soak up every moment.  She's fine being left in her crate, it's not that I can't leave her, but I'm enjoying watching her grow up and spending time with her.  Except this morning.  She's discovered her lungs and she barks at everything.  Couldn't even play with her in the yard because she dropped the toy right away and started barking at my neighbor next door going about her business in her driveway.  A lot of the time I can't even figure out what she's barking at.  This morning was wearing on my very last nerve so I broke down and decided to start teaching a 'Quiet' cue.  In general I think it's a bad idea because they quickly learn to bark to get your attention to play the 'Quiet' game.  At least Cody did.  But the barking is incessant so what do I have to lose?  First session went well and now she's settled a bit.

Anyway, back to the bike.  Ann Trombley, a local mountain bike coach and former Olympic Mountain Biker and sometimes riding buddy for Jonny (no way I can keep up with those guys) was offering a free mountain bike skills clinic at the Valmont Bike Park and it sounded too good to pass up.  I've had a couple private lessons with Ann and she's a great teacher, very patient, explains everything clearly, big on breaking things down just like in dog training.  So even though I haven't been riding, I greased up the chain and decided to suck it up and go.  Thanks to Facebook I knew there was a good chance Melissa would be there and Melissa is kind of crazy.  Maybe not 'kind of'.  She's a former pro mountain biker and raced Xterra as a pro coming in 4th at Worlds one year.  Plus Fearless.  She's super nice but I was intimidated by this prospect so I told Jonny that if Melissa was there and wanted to do Scary Things that I would slink off and come home.  I wasn't sure of the skill level of the other folks who would show up but I figured I'd work my way in somewhere.  As it turned out only Ann and I showed up.  So we rode for a bit on some stuff at the park and then there was Melissa and I was already out there so no way to slink off.  But as it turned out Melissa was super helpful as was Ann and they taught me how to catch some air on a drop-off rather than just rolling down the drop-off.  The advantage of this is that it's smoother because you're landing with both wheels on the ground at once rather than thumping down with one wheel and then the other.  Plus FUN.  Way more FUN.  Something I've never done before.  I kept to some small drop-offs that you can roll down, no need to jump, but a good place to start.  Very fun and so much smoother and faster because you can keep your speed up.  In fact you have to keep your speed up.

We worked this a bit on the flat, ie a flat grassy area with a short gentle slope next to it.  We practiced lifting the wheel and it turns out this requires a lot of strength in your lats/shoulder muscles.  Ann also showed me how to get up a ledge which requires lifting the bike up from a sitting position, even harder for me, I could barely do it.  Plus you have to pedal down hard while the bike is in the air so the pedaling force opposes the uplift force.  I struggled with this though I think it would be easier on a steeper hill.  Pushing down on the suspension fork then lifting up from a standing position for the drop was way easier, especially when going down the little slope.  We did lots and lots of reps.  A guy watched on the sidelines for a bit then joined us.  Melissa and Ann know their stuff and the guy knew it.

Next we moved over to the Slopestyle downhill track, something I've never been on nor would ever consider going on.  Ann was trying to get up the nerve to jump off of a particular ramp so we watched Melissa do it a few times and Ann did a few reps on a ramp with a smaller drop.  They were both encouraging me to try the smaller ramp but I thought, 'Oh no WAY!'  Crazy talk.  So I took the cheater line down that avoided all the ramps and jumps but was curvy and hilly and fun anyway.  Melissa went on the advanced stuff, crazy crazy stuff, big gap jumps, it was amazing.  She was flying through the air and landing so smoothly, made it look so easy.  Then I saw a 10 year old kid go down the little ramp they were trying to get me to jump off.  The kid didn't even have to jump it, you could roll right down if you wanted.  So I decided to try it.  And it was fun!  No problem at all, not even scary.

Photo from Valmont  Bike Park's Facebook page, don't know how else to credit it.  It's hard to see the drop but I didn't take any photos myself.  Here's another one from their website.  Also kinda hard to see the drop.

This is the one Ann was wanting to do.

In the end she didn't despite Melissa's persistent encouragement that she could do it, that it looked scarier than it was, etc.  In the end she didn't try it and I don't blame her.  I didn't even try to help talk her into it.

When we got back to the parking lot, there was a guy there with an off-road TAB trailer and Ann went to check it out so I tagged along.  Turns out the guy had sold his house and been living in the TAB and touring the country for the past year or so with his 13 year old son.  While we chatted with him, a cop pulled into the parking lot, lights flashing, and parked so that he was blocking me in.  Next to my car was a super scary looking guy in a car with the windshield and whole driver's side of the car smashed in.  I wanted to leave but didn't want to go over there.  Another cop showed up and the first cop got back in his car for a very long time.  Finally I decided I'd risk getting in my car and I heard the cop saying, 'Your car is unsafe and you were driving crazy like you stole it, tail gating dangerously, swerving, etc.  But I know your girlfriend here and she's a nice lady so I'll let you off with a warning'.  My tax dollars at work.  What's the point of having cops if they're going to let the dangerous people go just because they don't want to deal with them?  And the scary guy was getting belligerent with the cop even though he was getting off with a warning.  I was pretty mad but unwilling to get involved with that scary guy around.  And I was trapped by the cop, the lot was huge, plenty of places he could have parked and not blocked me in.  He could have even parking where he was but just a few feet back and not blocked me in.

Anyway, a fun time at the bike park and I'll have to go back and play on the jumps and rock drops some more.  But wow my lats are sore.  Went swimming yesterday and today which didn't help.  Can barely lift my arms, time for some upper body rest.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Fireflies and Smoked Fish

I took a little trip back into my Midwest roots last week.  Met up with some family in Ann Arbor, Michigan and while I grew up in the Chicago area, Ann Arbor has many nostalgia invoking things.  Like fireflies.  I don't miss much about Chicago but I do miss fireflies.  And smoked fish.  There are no authentic Jewish delis in Boulder.  Maybe there's one down in Denver but I don't care enough about smoked fish to drive that far.  But my aunt lives just under a mile from a real Jewish deli with the real smoked fish of my youth.  It's been 35 years or so since I've had smoked fish and the fish from this deli was pure heaven.  Plus I was hungry after a day of travel and not much food and about 2 miles of walking to get to/from the deli so that made it all the tastier.  Funny how things like that bring you right back to your childhood.

My aunt also lives in a historic district complete with the old timey framed houses and big trees, sort of from my childhood.  I grew up in a relatively 'modern' subdivision with 1950's tract housing that was kind of ugly if I have to be honest.  But I would often ride my bike to the snooty, historic part of town and I loved the old houses.  And I lived in such a neighborhood in Urbana, IL when I was at university.  So every night after dark I took a 'Firefly Walk' through the old Ann Arbor neighborhood and soaked it all in.

One thing I was not sorry to leave behind was the humidity which greeted me with a vengeance on my first two days there.  Wow, horrible.  I don't miss that at all.  Thankfully it cooled off and dried up for the last 2 days.
But the point of the visit was to visit my 2 aunts, one who lives there and another who came in from Chicago for a little reunion of sorts.  Great to see them both, it's been a few years.  My family is small and difficult and scattered far and wide so it was good to get together even though it was only 3 of us.

We walked around downtown Ann Arbor which didn't hold all that much interest for me since I'm not a recreational shopper though there was a cool old theater.

And a cool mural with some Chiwowows.

Boulder and Ann Arbor have roughly the same population but Ann Arbor seemed busier and more like a real city.  Big tall buildings downtown, highways and busy roads, LOTS of traffic downtown on Friday and Saturday nights.  The university dominates the town a lot more than the university here in Boulder.  Even with school out of regular session there seemed to be a lot of students around, way more than in Boulder.

My aunt also lives near some small forest-ey areas and some trails along the Huron River so I took a walk on a nice loop through the woods and along the river with her dog.

Only about 3-4 miles or so I'd guess but nice.  LOTS of runners, not many dogs.  There were other trails and nature areas but I wanted to get back and it was getting hot for the dog.

Had a nice time, was great to see my family and visit a new place.

But I missed the mountains.  Took another hike up Niwot Ridge yesterday, mostly because it's not very busy yet has great views, a rarity these days on the Front Range.  Ironically even though we hardly saw anybody, we ran into a guy Jonny knows right at the start. His wife and I have a mutual ultra runner friend as well.  She was running separately from her husband, probably training for some crazy thing, and her husband told us to say 'hi' and call out her name to freak her out.  She wasn't freaked out, just confused because she didn't recognize us so the prank was a fail.

The trail was melted out so we were able to get a bit higher this time.  There were a few snow fields but nothing too crazy.

Gorgeous up there at 11,460' but after 9 miles, 2000' of climbing and almost 4 hours of hiking I was toast.  Been ages since I've gone out for so long, last year I was focusing on shorter, higher intensity stuff, intervals, etc. and very little hiking.  From a health perspective the shorter, more intense stuff is way better but I loves me some high country/alpine hiking and it was so wonderful up there, wildflowers and snow, gotta love it.  I was struggling with the altitude more than usual, not sure why.  Sometimes it happens, I have a hard day.  It was a bit on the hot side but not terrible, maybe 60's-70's and sunny.  Who knows, hopefully not age related.  I'm tired today but not as sore as I thought I'd be so that's encouraging.  Been slacking lately, I need to get back on the bike.  I've been re-introducing running, the sore tendon is still a bit bothersome here and there so I'm taking it slowly, walk/run sessions with gradually increasing periods of running.  I've been keeping up with the swimming, love summer swimming at the Rez and outdoor pools.  Weight lifting, ugh, haven't been doing it at all, have to bring that back.  So important.

Tess has grown a bunch.  I love my new camera, a big improvement over my last point and shoot and a different world altogether from the cell phone.

On the one hand she seems to have made a lot of progress with being afraid.  She seems a lot less scared of her environment in general on walks, especially dogs barking off in the distance or even dogs behind fences barking and lunging at her (hard to avoid these sometimes).  But the neighbor girl came over today for the first time in a month or two and Tess acted as if she'd never seen her.  Previously she'd gotten to the point where she'd fetch a ball thrown by her.  So we went back to the girl feeding treats to Tess and after a LOT of treats and me eventually letting Ruby outside, Tess finally pulled her tail out from between her legs and started wagging it a bit and relaxing  Ruby made all the difference.  Sheesh.  She was good at my training partner's house, going up to her and meeting her more energetic, younger dog.  I was hoping they'd at least play chase but they ignored each other, which is o.k. too.  Hopefully one day she'll warm up enough to play.

Went to the dog park super early so we'd have it to ourselves for some recall practice.  Both dogs doing great with that, will have to figure out a more challenging place that's still safe.  Hmmm.  It's great to see Tess stretch out and run.  She's feeling her legs these days, can't wait to move to someplace with acreage.

Still no suitable houses/locations.  Considering some vacant land, not my first choice, but it might be kind of fun to rent in a different town like Pagosa Springs or Montrose or somewhere for a year or so while we build the right sized house.  But ugh, what a pain.  I know enough about construction to know I don't want to go there if I can help it.  Must be patient.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Puppy, Hiking, More Puppy, More Hiking

I know, so much puppy.  But how often do I get a puppy?  Sixteen years since my last puppy so I think I get to post ALL the puppy pictures.

These are from June 5th, a week and a half ago.  She's so much bigger now.

She's all legs and ears.

Poor Ruby, she's such a good sport.

Loves her.

This is called the 'Mr. Piggles is SO Much More Fun Than My Undies Game'.  This is also one of the first shots with my new camera, a Canon point and shoot.  My old point and shoot is dying and I can't have that with a new puppy.

These photos are from yesterday, also with the new camera.  The light was not fabulous but I had some spare moments and wanted to give the new camera a shot.

Tess loves Ruby very much and gets a lot of confidence from her.

She seems so big, and today she seems even bigger.

She's made some nice progress with her confidence as well.  Took her to Home Depot and she walked right in no problem, even with the sliding automatic door.  We've worked on that at the grocery store.  She was a bit nervous of the carts and people squatting in the aisles but otherwise she walked around, no freezing.  We went super early in the a.m., not long after opening so it was quiet.  Maybe next time we'll go when it's a bit busier though if it's too busy I may have a breakdown.  I've backed off the socializing a bit, mostly for my own sanity,  I hate big noisy crowds and busy places.  It's funny that I'm going to all this effort to get her used to places I never intend on going but it's good to get her as used to everything as possible.

She had her final puppy shots at the vet and did way better than last time but still was pretty nervous.  Shaped her to get on the scale, she was around 27 lbs.  Scale kept changing numbers so could be plus or minus a pound or two.  Now the vet says keep the rear dewclaws.  They're actually formed toes, not just wimpy flappy claws, and kind of freaky looking but I'm all for less surgery.  Normally I would spread out distemper and rabies shots but I didn't want to subject her to another vet visit so we did it all at once and thankfully she had no vax reactions.

Took her to see her poodle friend today and she did great - pulling my arm off to get to the yard, flying around the yard as soon as I let her off leash, going over to my friend to say 'hi'.  Still not playing with the other dog but mostly not scared of him either.  Something had recently killed a rabbit in the yard and Ruby was more than happy to check out the scene of the crime.  Overall a fun morning for the gang.  Now to get her as comfortable with some other yards and dogs.

Jonny and I took a nice hike over the weekend on a quiet trail in the Indian Peaks Wilderness.  Such things do still exist, we saw a total of 2 groups of 2 people, one with a dog.  The trail is an old jeep road for the first couple few miles which is probably why it's so quiet, most people prefer a trail.  But it's not too rocky and we were o.k. with it if it meant no crowds.

The snow melt is in full swing so parts of the trail were running with water right next to some remaining snow banks.

This was above the running water, approaching treeline.

There were some nice views along the way.

Top of the World.  Or treeline at least.

At treeline the trail turned to pure snow and it was super steep, not a great combination for hiking boots so we turned around.  I suspect there are more spectacular views from the top of the ridge but it will have to wait for another day.

Tess is too young for such a steep long hike and despite all the snow it was a hot day so we left Ruby home.  Maybe once things thaw out and we plan for an earlier/cooler start we can take Ruby.  The dogs had a good early early morning romp at the dogpark where we practiced recalls and had the joint to ourselves so I didn't feel too badly about leaving them behind.  It's great to see Tess stretch out and run.  She does these funny flying lead changes, looks like a dressage horse.

Went to Target at 8 this morning to get the dogs a cheapo paddling pool since it's getting hot out and neither dog is thrilled about water.  I did some shaping with the clicker to try to get them in the pool.  Tess was batting the water with one paw after the first session and batting for more reps with both feet after the second session.  Then I took her to my friend's house for her doggie play date and she was batting the water in the water dish in the yard.  Such a funny girl.  By the third session today she was standing in the pool with 2 feet comfortably and had a few reps of all four feet in though she jumped out as soon as all four feet were in.  Ruby was standing with 2 feet in on the first session but I didn't get any further with the second session because Tess kept getting in the way.  Will try again later with only Ruby.

I have a short trip planned for next week, have to deal with the hassle of flying.  We'll see how that goes.  Jonny gets the pups all to himself.  We'll see how that goes.