Here in southeastern Indiana we’re having a bit of ping-pong weather–it’s going back and forth between deep cold and reasonably close to spring. This has spurred me on to clean up my gear and prep it for the upcoming warm weather.
My bike had a couple of flats that I needed to attend to. I’m not so good at changing tubes on bike tires, but I found a good tutorial.
Cat’s Cradle’s Beaufort
July 8, 2000 – October 2, 2012
I have been, and always shall be, your friend.
In the fall of 2000 I proudly announced the addition to my crew of a little blue-eyed Catahoula puppy. Over the years I’ve shared stories and pictures of our trips through this blog, the Traildog email list, the Catahouligans group and elsewhere.
Yesterday I had one of the worst days of my life.
Beau had been sick for the last two months. It was something that came on relatively quickly. He’d been aging pretty well, but in the span of a few days he was starting to stumble and cough. He also missed meals, which was unlike him.
Working with my vet (Dr. J) over the next few weeks, the mystery illness was eventually revealed as a fungal infection in his lungs (most likely blastomycosis from living in the Ohio River Valley/Whitewater River Valley). We started him on treatment, but knew the prognosis for a fungal lung infection isn’t good for a young, healthy dog, let alone a 12-year-old. In addition to the lung infection the x-rays revealed arthritis along pretty much the entirety of his spine and an enlarged heart that pressed on his trachea. This was in addition to his mild hip dysplasia that was diagnosed at 2.
Beau started missing more and more meals no matter what I did, so he lost weight. He ended up losing about 10 pounds of muscle over the course of 2 months.
Last week we went for a checkup and while there was trouble drawing blood, his vitals looked good during the exam. Later his blood work came back with a continued elevated white blood cell count. We suspect his balance and coordination issues stemmed from damage to his nervous system due to the infection.
Beau seemed happy to go for a road trip when we left on Friday. He wasn’t his young self, of course, but was really good given what he’d been through the last two months. On Saturday morning he was NOT feeling it for Obedience, so I didn’t compete. When we got back to camp he flopped in the grass, had a good back scratch, ate some canned food and drank well. He didn’t seem any worse for wear, even playing with my friends and their puppies Saturday and Sunday.
Sunday night he drank water, but had trouble keeping it down. When he ate it took over a half hour to eat a can of food. Monday morning he drank but wouldn’t eat. He took some treats on the trip home and happily ate those. When we got home he again had trouble keeping down water, but I still hoped it was just due to drinking too much too fast. He refused to eat anything at all–which is beyond out of character.
Yesterday morning he got off my bed around 4 am and peed in the hall. I let him out to finish up while I cleaned the spot. When he came back in he flopped next to the bed and I could hear his breathing was labored.
I woke up a few hours later and couldn’t hear either dog fussing to get me out of bed–something they normally do. I came out to the living room to find more vomited water in the middle of the room and Beau off to the side near the front door with a patch (about 3-4″ square) of dark brown near his shoulder. I hoped it wasn’t blood, but it was (I’m still not sure if it was from his stomach or his lungs, but most likely it was his lungs given the infection) and immediately took him to the vet. While at the vet Beau passed a large volume of dark urine.
Dr. J was out, but my other vet, Dr. R, was in the office and knew what was going on. While listening to Beau’s chest Dr. R found a heart murmur that either had been missed the whole time or was a new development. His gums and lips were pale and cold. His white blood cell count was very high and his red cell count was dropping. I asked what the options were and the first was to keep him overnight with an IV to replace food and fluids since he couldn’t keep anything down. I asked if we did treatment how long he’d have and the answer was about a week. I decided that given the arthritis in his back, the HD, enlarged heart, heart murmur, the pressure on his trachea from his heart, the muscle loss, and the damage to his nervous system all on top of the fungal lung infection itself, that I wouldn’t ask him to go through any more. Dr. R said even for a young dog this is a very hard thing to beat and it was amazing Beau had made it this long. Right up until the end I thought for sure he was going to beat it–he was always so strong.
He was such a trooper through all of this, even licking my nose and settling into my lap while I said goodbye. Like the majority of our milestones, this was one we experienced as just the two of us.
My friends Mel and Jeff came to help me take him to the crematorium. I plan to have a Sigg water bottle made with his picture on it–an urn just doesn’t seem right for him.
The house is so very empty without him, even with Ranger here.
There are so many memories I have of my friend that I can’t even pick one that stands out above the others–being with me as family members came into or left this world, surviving a tornado under a tarp, scorching hot summer days, huddling together for warmth on winter trips, our first show wins, vehicle mishaps, big show wins, disappointing losses, my first working trial wins, stupid tricks, bad singing, my dad’s accident and its aftermath, comforting each other when sick or injured, changing jobs, clowning around at home, graduating college, good trips, bad trips, relocating for work with just each other for company for months, finishing a big mile multi-day just the two of us…
I’m going to miss him and our adventures and will always wish we’d had time for a few more.
I’ve been out walking the world a bit and haven’t posted in several months.
One of the things I’ve discovered very recently is a cool mobile app called EveryTrail.
This app tracks your trip (hike, bike, paddle, etc.) via your mobile device’s GPS and allows you to do things such as make maps, add photos, write guides and reviews of your trip, and share your trip on your blog (or website, facebook or wherever social media takes you).
I played with it a bit at a training session for work last week and I see a lot of usefulness for sharing my hikes with friends, families, and you guys—my readers.
Keep an eye out for this and more as I hit the trail this summer.
It’s a bit cooler in my neck of the woods, so I turned to a favorite recipe of mine to chase away the dampness. My mom’s recipe for Irish Soda Bread. It’s easy, tasty, and keeps well for a few days (well, if you don’t eat it all first). I like it with stew or on its own for breakfast.
Irish Soda Bread
- 5 c. flour (all-purpose or bread flour)
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 4 T. sugar (can add 1 more T. if you like)
- 4 T. (1/2 stick) butter (or margarine, if you have to)
- 1 3/4 c. buttermilk or sour milk
- 1 egg
- 1 c. currants (can leave these out and you’ll have Scottish Soda Bread. If you don’t have currants you can substitute raisins).
Preheat oven to 375-degrees. Sprinkle a little flour over a large baking sheet, or line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Put all the dry ingredients ito a mixing bowl and work in the margarine with your fingertips until mixture is crumbly.
Make a well in the center and pour in the buttermilk; add the egg and beat well. Add the currants and mix until all the flour is wet, then knead just to complete the mixing.
Cut dough in half and shape each half into a ball. Put dough balls on floured baking sheet, slash a cross into the tops of each dough.
Bake 40 min., or until a golden brown. Cool on rack.
I was recently at a show where a little boy was selling some really cool paracord show leads. I bought one (orange and black, naturally) and really like it. A friend bought a pink and black one, then commented that she’d like one much longer for obedience. I studied the construction a bit and came up with a rough idea of how to make the leash she wanted.
Luckily, there is a website with the instructions on how to make the leash–a beautiful step-by-step that includes how to figure out how much cord you’ll need for your desired length of leash. There are a number of other good projects on that site as well.
Here’s how mine turned out:
I used a brass snap on the tan/black leash and bronze on the pink/black. The nice thing with paracord is that it’s strong, light weight, and resistant to mildew. This is a great choice for leashes for your traildog.
If you’re the kind of learner who really needs to see the motions of tying/weaving like I am, here is a great video that shows exactly what you need to do to make this kind of leash.
Edit: I highly recommend using a clamp to hold down the snap end of the leash while weaving the rest of the leash. You’ll get a tighter, more uniform weave than if you simply hold the cord. I made a couple more leashes this way and I think they look much better. I also greatly prefer the wood burning tool to a lighter for sealing and securing the ends.
A few weeks back I decided to make the trip to the National Working Dog Association National Weight Pull as Ranger had qualified to attend when he pulled in Michigan at the beginning of November.
We loaded up and traveled from Indiana to Pennsylvania to compete, where Ranger earned two 2nd place finishes in his weight class and two first place finishes, including first place in his class (60 pounds) in the National Finals pull. The pulling surface was difficult due to weather conditions, so his final weight pulled was 1107 pounds–just over 19 times his weigh-in body weight of 58 pounds. He did a phenomenal job considering the conditions, and I’m very proud of him.
Here is a shot of Ranger pulling the second-to-last pull of the weekend.
Ranger is off getting some special training this winter, so I hope he’ll get back in the swing of things when he comes home in the spring.
I’m very happy about the turnaround Ranger took this year–he went from standing in the chute wagging his tail without even trying to pull back in May to getting a new personal best weight, getting new titles, and winning on the national level. It goes to show what can happen with some time and dedication.
I’ve been absolutely awful about posting anything this year. I’ve sat down to write posts at least a dozen time, then ended up just walking away.
Looking back I realized I didn’t update with information of what I’ve been up to.
Last fall, about the time I got sick, Ranger stopped pulling when in competition. I gave him time off and restarted his training to see if that would snap him out of it. In May he was still quitting on pulls or barely even trying when I knew he was perfectly capable of pulling.
Back in June I took Ranger to the UKC Premier, where he finished his UKC Weight Pull Champion title. I made several mistakes, but he made up for them and did me proud.
This past weekend I traveled to Michigan to compete in a National Working Dog Association weight pull. I’ve never competed with this group before, but I knew many of the people there and wanted to see how Ranger would do. He completed his Weight Pull 3 (WP3) title by pulling over 23 times his body weight in the Saturday morning pull. He took 2nd place, defeating 3 dogs, in the two pulls on Saturday. On Sunday morning he again pulled over 23 times his body weight and earned his Weight Pull Champion title (WP3CH) and taking 2nd in his class of 6 dogs. In the afternoon I decided to see what he could do since he was pulling very well and he smashed his previous best pull of 1455# on wheels by pulling 2525# in 32.72 seconds. This was over 44 times his body weight and earned him 1st in his class of 6 dogs. I withdrew him from competition because even though he was still wagging his tail and happy, and probably could have made one more pull, I decided he’d done enough. He is now ranked with the NWDA and is eligible to compete in the Nationals at the end of this month. I’m not sure if I’m going to go yet, but I’d really like to.
It’s pleasing to see him turn around from refusing to pull to pulling so hard that I have to withdraw him from competition because he wants to keep working but I feel he’s worked hard enough for one day.
I took my 8 year old Marin mountain bike in for a tune up this week. When I got home I started looking at craigslist for something else entirely and ended up finding this gem:
It’s an early 1960s Huffy Eldorado cruiser. It’s got a sturdy steel frame and coaster brakes. And a tank. I loved it. The price was decent for what I want it for (see below). I went and got it.
I saw some cruiser bikes when I was in college but never got one because I wanted something with a little more flexibility since, at the time, I managed to bike a lot on muddy dirt roads. Since then fuel prices have increased drastically and I wanted something I could convert to a motorized bicycle (either electric or gasoline since even on gas it would be cheaper to drive for most errands than my Jeep is).
My plan is to–over the next year or three–fix up the chrome bits, add some carrying capacity (baskets and/or paniers), upgrade the lights, replace the rims and tires, upgrade the pedals and hopefully put on a motor of some kind (with upgraded brakes, of course). I’m not opposed to running both an electric wheel hub motor as well as a small 4-stroke gasoline engine. If I change the color I’m not sure what it’ll be. I like the red better than I thought I would.
Another thing I’d like to add is a side car for cargo and/or a dog.
This is a nice little side project that I can tinker with year ’round.
When I dropped off my Marin for its tuneup I picked up a little card for People For Bikes. Check them out–see if you can make a difference in your community.
I was cleaning out my gear closet and discovered that I have entirely too much stuff in there. I have a lot of dog packs for reasons I won’t get into here, but I want to get them out of my closet and into the hands of people who will use them.
Note: while I have prices listed, I’m also willing to work out a trade.
(Click pictures to embiggen)
Ruffwear Pallisades II pack, size medium, new with tags. It has a matching Bamboo brand collar/leash combo. Red. $65 US.*SOLD*
Ruffwear Pallisades II pack, size medium, new with tags. It has matching a Bamboo brand collar/leash combo. Blue. $65 US. *SOLD* NOTE: The Collar is still available.
Ruffwear Palisades II pack, size medium, well used, but has a lot of life left in it. It no longer has the water bladders–or at least I can’t find them. It’s also the original style from the “reboot” where there is no binding around the foam of the harness. Blue. $30 US.
Ruffwear Approach II pack, size medium, new with tags. Red. $50 US. **SOLD**
Mountainsmith Dog Pack II. Well used, but a lot of life left in it. Red. $20 US. Update This also has a small collapsible bowl that comes with it. **SOLD**
I also have some people gear:
GoLite Women’s Odyssey pack (2008 version). New with tags. Size: Medium. Color: Lip (brick red). $100 US.
I’ll ship anywhere, but the buyer pays the actual shipping. I prefer Paypal for payment. Please contact me if you are interested.
I’ll likely have more gear available before too long.
Please share with your friends if they are in the market for this kind of thing. I’ll likely list them at an online market or three if I don’t get much interest in a few weeks.