Just Another Day on the Prairie

Back in 2011, when Logan and I started the Chico’s & Logan’s Great Adventures blog, we were just setting out on a five-month trip with our peeps, travelling by truck and fifth wheel trailer. It was all so exciting. Keep in mind I was just two with a fairly narrow life experience to that point. That trip opened my eyes to what a big and wondrous place is the world.

From enormous sand dunes to rolling blue water that went farther than my eye could see. From palm trees to giant cactuses. From the noise and lights of Las Vegas to the quiet, starlit nights in the Arizona desert. It was a journey of contrasts, new experiences, and adventures. We never lacked for stories or fun photographs to share.

Maybe it’s because I’m getting older and sleep more these days, or it could be the pandemic that’s kept us home a lot and other people away, but life is just not feeling very blog-worthy lately. How is an old dog living on a farm in Alberta the stuff of exciting stories?

T tells me not to worry, that all writers go through periods of low inspiration, that I still have stories to tell. I sure hope so, because I’ve so enjoyed my life as a blogger, sharing my adventures with all of you. And I hope that it doesn’t come down to sleeping, eating, barking, walking, and pooping! Although, now that I consider this list, I think I’ve blogged about all of those things. :o)

The planned adventure to celebrate a big anniversary I mentioned in my blog post two weeks ago didn’t happen. So, when last Fur-iday came along and I was still just hanging out at home, I couldn’t muster up the energy to blog about anything. Why no anniversary adventure you might ask? Well, it snowed. In fact, April generally seemed to want to be winter this year, which is usually March’s gig.

I tried to get Storm to write something this week, but he’s spending all his time seeking out blades of green grass. The horses are a little crazy for the stuff at this point in the season after eating dehydrated food all winter. But he did send along this photo, since he promised a coat update when he blogged back in March and he’s committed to an update from the field next Fur-iday.

Storm’s end-of-April look. Tune in next month …

From what I hear, I’m not alone in my current lack of general enthusiasm. Between the pandemic and the weather, many are feeling weighed down. But I am ever optimistic that spring is here to stay, that the next adventure planned for just over a week from now will go ahead, and that very soon things will turn a corner on this pandemic. We all just need to hang in there a little longer.

In the meanwhile, on this Fur-iday morning on the last day of April, I think I’ll take a nap in that sunbeam over there.

Bring on the Sun!

Aloha! I’ve been hanging out here in Meowi since my last post in November. I leave now and then for food and water and to use the facilities but, other than that, you’ll find me here, soaking up the fake sun.

Just hangin’ on the beach.

If you’ve ever been around cats, you know that we love warmth. We lie in sunny spots, curl up next to heaters and fireplaces, stretch out on human laps, and hang out just about anywhere else that provides heat. My heat comes in the form of an infrared bulb inside an old fireplace. It might not sound very fancy, but for a guy who used to live outdoors, it’s my own private tropical beach. And, bonus, it’s healthy! They actually use it as a treatment for cats with kidney disease, something we’re prone to.

Barn life is pretty fine.

It’s generally accepted that domestic cats descended from African wildcats. Africa = warm. Where it’s not warm is Canada in winter, especially out here on the prairies. Cats are not designed for Canadian winter, especially this cat. Overall, it’s been a pretty mild season, but mild in Alberta is still cold, especially at night.

Cold weather perk – the humans feel sorry for us and bring us canned food. So good.

Back in mid-February, it got very cold, to the point where I debated how long I could go without eating and drinking and the obvious consequences of eating and drinking. Sadly, not long. I was forced to climb the stairs to our food bowl in the loft, to the water bowl that plugs in not too far from Meowi, and the bathroom located at the back of the barn. Forty feet might not sound like a long way, but when your paws are travelling on cold concrete, it feels like forty miles!

Still not entirely comfortable with being held, but it does feel good to have my feet off the cold floor.

In the past few days, the afternoons have been warming up to spring-like, snow-melting temperatures, which makes this warmth-loving feline very happy. As much as I appreciate Meowi, it does get a bit old as winter goes on and I miss spending time outdoors and exploring inside and around the perimeter of the barn. On a nice day, I just love to sit in the open barn door and watch the goings-on in the yard. I’ll wander as far as a third of the distance to the house, but only when there are humans around. I have zero interest in becoming some coyote’s lunch.

Staying to the snow-free bits.

We’ve had another squatter in the barn this winter. T gave him Fran’s old renovated cooler and he spent his nights in there when it got cold. The humans don’t normally visit the barn after dark, but one night T came out to check on the horses because they’d been dewormed earlier that day, and when the barn door slid open, our poor wildie cousin, who was tucked into his cooler cabin for the night, nearly had a heart attack. He hit the cat door so hard it’s a wonder he didn’t cold-cock himself in the process! Silly guy. I’ve told him the humans are frightening-looking but harmless.

The cat cabin.

So, here’s hoping this weather continues and I’ll be out lying on warm, dry earth very soon.

Until next time, this is Hank, signing off from Meowi. Aloha!

Winter Wimp

This isn’t the first time we’ve posted about the weather here at the Fur-iday files, and it won’t be the last. Living in the country, especially in a winter country like Canada, makes the weather a big factor in how we go about day-to-day life.

The photo below was taken in the first few days of February. The temperature was right around freezing, the sun was shining, there was fresh snow in the pasture, and we went for a lovely walk. Within a few days, the daytime “highs” weren’t getting beyond -20⁰C (-4⁰F) and the wind made it feel like the -30s and even the -40s overnight.

A beautiful winter day in Alberta.

Despite my five winters spent in warmer places, I consider myself pretty sturdy, or at least I did until this winter. You might remember the day-camping experiences I wrote about, one in December at Dinosaur Provincial Park and the other in January in Kananaskis. Both were on what we Albertans consider warm winter days and yet both times I ended up with my teeth chattering.

So, in light of those experiences, even though I’m generally okay when I keep moving, my peeps were taking no chances and had my winter jacket on me as soon as the temperature reached -20.

Jacketed up for our daily walk.

If the jacket wasn’t bad enough, one day when we went out to feed horses, I ran off into the field to smell something enticing, and it was like there were piranha in the six inches of snow, nipping at my feet. I pulled up a paw and shook it but each time I set one down to pick up another the biting started again. I hobbled to the barn where T warmed each of my paws in her hands.

Warming up after our daily horse-feeding chores.

It happened again the next day while I was waiting to get in the car. By the time T had the Soggy Dog straightened and a few items removed from the back seat, I was doing the paw-shake dance again. It was official … I’d become a winter wimp.

Next day, the boots were on. I guess I should have seen that coming. At least I can walk in them now, not like the old days when they just felt too weird too move. (Check out this video.) Logan loved his boots, skipping and hopping when they went on. Now I’m beginning to see why.

G’d up from the feet up.

Wednesday, hallelujah, I was coat and boot free when we walked our road to the south, and T and Nollind were able to lose the balaclavas, goggles, and insulated overalls. So freeing!

At least I don’t need all the face gear.

After a mostly mild January, ten days wasn’t really so long, but it sure felt that way. I hate to say it, but this previously snow-loving dog just might be a snowbird. No slipping on icy roads and pathways, no piranha snow, no teeth-chattering picnics, and no need for dog clothing. Although, Logan did wear boots in the desert as his paws aged and got tender on the rocky ground.

Logan in his shiny new hiking boots.

So far I haven’t had to wear boots down south but then I didn’t need them in cold weather until this year. No matter how tough we intend to be when we get older, it just doesn’t seem to work that way. I guess that’s why there are so many human seniors in the desert walking on bare ground and soaking up the sunshine, because it makes life more comfortable … not to mention less hazardous.

Happy, healthy snowbirds out exploring.

For now, I’ll take the 0⁰C (32⁰F) we’re supposed to have today, about 20 degrees above coat and boots, and if it gets cold again, go back to doing a lot of this …