Sunday, April 1, 2012

My Monthly Diary for March, 2012

Well this has been a strange March as far as the weather goes. We had some days when it was in the low 30s which is about 10 degrees too cold for March and some days when it was in the upper 80s which is about 40 degrees too warm. We had a couple days where the temperature dropped 20 degrees in less than an hour. On the nice warm days Mommy did a lot of spring yard work while I supervised and ran squirrel and feral cat patrol. We also took some nice long hikes and walks, which were very tiring, but fun. We did three or four 8 miles or thereabouts walks/hikes. That is quite far for me these days because of my bad back end, but I love taking them even if I need to sleep for a couple days afterward.

I also learned a new trick and can now turn off the bedroom light. See my previous post for details on this.

On one of those walks with no snow or ice or anything that would make my footing unstable Mommy noticed that I was walking a little stranger than usual. My head was down and I was favoring my right front shoulder a bit so Mommy took me to the chiropractor. She did an adjustment but she told Mommy that, while my shoulder was a bit tight, my real problem was that I had "poofy toes" and that was causing me to shift my weight forward which means I have to put my head down to keep my balance. Mommy and I were both confused, so the chiropractor pointed out that my back feet were rather swollen. She explained that that was a sign that I have developed arthritis in my toes. This is probably due to old age and the fact that with my limited feeling back there I sometimes end up foot scuffing which isn't good for my joints. Even though I don't feel much back there I can feel that my toes are sore so I shift my weight forward to take some weight off my toes. She said that Mommy should take me to see my regular vet to see if she can come up with anything that will help my feet. We haven't done that yet, but Mommy says we will in the near future. We aren't sure there is much that we can do since I can't take any NSAIDs and Mommy kind of thinks the regular vet is going to say, "give him a 1/2 a tramadol when his feet look swollen" which is what Mommy has been doing anyway. Now I understand why our old neighbor, Bill, used to tell Mommy and me not to get old, but frankly, old seems better than the alternative.

But enough of being one of those old men who tell you about everything that is hurting. I have to tell you the fun stuff. First off, the chipmunks are awake! On one of my Saturday morning walks I could smell that the little striped guys were awake so I dug up one of their front doors so I could stick my head in and say hi, but he ran out the back and up a tree. It is nice they are awake even if they are antisocial. On that same walk Mommy and I heard the sound of a flying sandhill cranes and when we looked up there were HUNDREDS of them flying overhead in groups of between 25 and 75 birds. Mommy ended up counting 300 birds. Sandhills are some of our favorite birds. If you remember they are the big birds that some city boys thought were woodpeckers because they sound kind of like Woody Woodpecker when they are on the ground yodeling. This isn't our video, but it is a good example of what a whole bunch of flying sandhills look and sound like:

Last weekend we took a long hike along my favorite river trail. Since it was in the high 60s Mommy let me wear my Merlin Cam, but she brought her camera along too, just in case the Merlin Cam decided to shut down early, since we hadn't really used it since Christmas. It behaved itself for most of the hike and I got some good shots. Mommy took some decent pictures too, and I've agreed to let her post some of them since they illustrate the story of the hike.

At the beginning of the hike I had to do a lot of sniffing because there is a coyote den in the area and there is lots of coyote pee mail around the trail. Mommy decided to record the sound of the spring frogs while I was busy sniffing.

It was a bit windy when we started our hike so you can also hear the wind along with the peepers.

On part of the hike we walk by railroad tracks

The river has lagoons coming off of it and I decided to cool my toes and get a drink in one.
Lucky for me Mommy took my Merlin Cam off before I did because I fell in, um, decided to take an impromptu swim.

There were lots of turtles sunning in one of the lagoons

The river

I found one of those things Auntie Naomi doesn't like that starts with the letter "S"
and kind of look like the letter "S" too.
He came out from under that log and squiggled away from me then went into the water.

Water and cookie break (my hiking bowl is next to Mommy's leg)

The trail leads into a great big (100 acre) park. You know you are in the park when you see this monument. It was erected by the man who originally owned the land, in memory of the wife. She was killed in a car accident in France and he became a recluse after that. When he died his sister donated his estate to the town on the condition that it be made into a park. The top of the monument has been broken off and put back on. We don't know when or how that happened.

Taking a lie-down on one of the park's riverside benches.

Although it didn't used to be, the park is now our turn around point. So, after my 20 minute nap on the park bench Mommy and I headed back. I insisted on stopping for a fifteen minute or so lie-down at each trail-side bench on the way back. Mommy suspects this is how I picked up about a dozen ticks (almost all on and IN my ears) and she got four. So, even though it was about two months early for me to get them, I had to have tick drops put on that night when we got home.
When we got to a trailhead where we sometimes park I wanted to go find our car.
Mommy wouldn't do it because our car wasn't parked there.
It was at the trailhead that was about 3 miles farther down.

Me being tired and stubborn.
Too bad the Merlin Cam had conked out by that point or I might have gotten a good picture of Mommy trying to convince me to keep going by throwing treats down the trail in front of us.

It was worth eventually getting up and continuing on because when we got back to the area right before the coyote/frog spot we saw some big bunnies.

The big bunnies are saying "Why is that crazy lady wearing shorts and a t-shirt doesn't she know she is under dressed?" because, about 15 minutes before we saw them a cold front rolled in and the temperatures began to drastically drop. By the time we got back to our car it was in the low 40s (a 25 degree drop in a 1/2 hour) and Mommy had to turn the heat up in the car so she could warm up before driving.

Oh and one final thing, the Tastee Freeze has reopened so I got to go get Pup Cups a couple times this month! The Dog-n-Suds has opened too, but Mommy keeps forgetting to bring money with her on our weekend walks so I haven't gotten any cheese fries yet. She says she will try to remember for our next walk, but she said that after the walk before last too...


Shawnee the Shepherd said...

Oh, how I miss my Shawnee Cam. You is so lucky the Merlin Cam still werks. I has two deaded ones here. Mom keeps them in case she efur gets a screwdriver wot can open them so she can try to change the battery. Oh, and those ticks - we has had them ALL WINTER LONG! Seriously, it has been crazy. And I has had Lyme disease TWICE now. I put the bitey on those ticks, grrrrrr. I got Lyme the furst time while using Frontline and the second time while using K9 Advantix. On to the next brand...

Merlin Wylt said...

Poor you Shawnee! Mommy's previous dog got Lyme even when he had the Lyme shots! He had to take a lot of meds and have his blood drawn every week to test how things were going. Is it the same for you?

KB said...

I love the Merlin Cam. What a cool idea.

I also like your sentiment that getting old is better than the alternative. It sounds like you and your mom are having lots and lots of fun. That's great!

Thanks for your kind comment over at my blog. I wanted to answer your question. K isn't allowed to be on a cancer diet because she has chronic pancreatitis. She's on a super strict diet to keep her pancreas from acting up... But, the vets tell me that her normal diet is actually pretty decent in terms of fighting cancer.

Have a great April.