Keeping My Cool

I’m a pretty cool dude, if I do say so myself, not normally ruffled by much. There’s a high, shrill beep the tire pressure monitor for the trailers makes that’s kinda freaky, I’m not a fan of big claps of thunder, but, other than that, I’m not easily fussed.

Chillin’ in my yard (aka Logie-land) on the farm.

However, keeping my cool in the temperature sense has become more of an issue. I’ve always loved a dip in cool water on a hot day, but it used to be more of a perk than a necessity.

One happy 3-year-old hiker in an Arizona stream.

At 11 ½, I just don’t seem to have the same tolerance for heat that I once did. On a cool, cloudy day I can walk as far as dogs half my age. On a hot day, I fade quickly, and wish for that wagon T promises to get for my old age.

Cooling off in the canal.

We’ve been having a heatwave here in Alberta for a couple of weeks now and, although my peeps are pretty good about taking me out early in the day before it heats up, things just don’t always work out that way. Whether early or not so early, I am so grateful to walk alongside the water that runs through our country neighbourhood, the irrigation canal. I used to be a one- or two-swim walker, but lately, I’m in the water half a dozen times or more.

Feelin’ groovy.

During the growing season, when the farmers to the east need plenty of water for their crops, the canal is running high and clean. Or it seems pretty clean to me with its blue-green colour the same as the river it originates from. Which doesn’t explain why my peeps think I need a bath before going on a trailer trip, but, anyway…

Not my favourite way to get wet.

I always assumed Logan got overheated easily because of his black coat. Turns out that was only part of the problem. Age. Damn. And I thought I’d always be invincible.

The only shade on our daily walk.

Our heatwave has taken a hiatus for at least today, with rain and clouds arriving overnight. Fine by me. It was cool in the house this morning and I hear we’re off to Strathmore for some dog park time. I like to get in a little socializing with other four-leggeds, but, truth be told, the best part of the dog park outing is the stop at Tim Hortons on the way there. Timbit here I come!

Stay cool out there,
Chico

Life Off the Farm

It’s been almost two months since the authorities in Alberta started telling us to stay home, social distance from our friends and family, and only go out for necessities as infrequently as possible. They also closed a lot of businesses that cater to gatherings of people, like restaurants and concert venues, a couple of T and Nollind’s favourite outings.

Not so many trips off the farm lately.

It’s pretty normal for me to have one or both of my peeps around the majority of the time but the big change these past couple of months has been the lack of ride-alongs and road trips. Ever since Logan died, I’ve accompanied my people a lot more frequently when they leave the farm, but this past winter, when the temperatures were ideal for leaving a dog in the car without overheating or freezing, I went along just about everywhere.

One of many winter ride-alongs.

A lot of the journeys were errand runs, but there were a number of more purpose-built adventures, day trips to nearby towns, overnights to slightly farther away towns, and always trips to parks or walking trails added for me. I’m so good for them. I think they’d be couch potatoes without me.

Taking a walk in Nanton.

I was hopping in the car for one adventure or another multiple times a week: Strathmore shopping followed by a walk in Kinsmen Park, a business trip to Calgary, followed by a walk along the river, a concert at the Empress Theatre in Fort Macleod that meant an overnight and multiple dog-walk locations. In short, it was a great winter. We even went on a camping trip in February that I wrote about in my Wintervention post. For a winter of staying home, we spent a lot of time away from home.

River walk in Calgary.

And then March came along, and the whole world changed, for all of us. We’re lucky out here on the prairie, with lots of space to walk and spend time outdoors without being in contact with other people. I’m pretty content here, especially with T and Nollind around so much, the horses to visit, the cats to sniff, the wide open fields and the irrigation canal to walk, but I do miss what had become my regular excursions off the farm. Especially the ones that involved food, like breakfast at the Husky House in Strathmore.

Sharing Nollind’s poutine.

This past Sunday was Nollind’s birthday, and he decided he’d like to take a drive. I was included, of course, and we drove half an hour east to a place called Severn Dam Park, a popular fishing and birding spot on the prairie. I was surprised by just how good it felt to walk on different earth, enjoy a fresh view, and experience some new smells and sounds. We took a walk to the south end of the reservoir, T snapped some pics, I riled up some dogs that were attached to their fishermen and weren’t allowed to come visit me (always fun), and we had tea from a thermos and cookies from a baggie when we got back to the car.

A fresh view.

It was a simple trip, close to home, didn’t infringe on any physical distancing or travel rules, and was ever so good for the soul. This Sunday is Mother’s Day. Maybe I’ll plan another such excursion for T, my dog-mom. I think she’d like that.

At Long Last … SPRING!

It has been an uphill battle, but spring has finally come to the southern Alberta prairie. With the first snow landing on the ground early last fall, September 29, and a record-breaking snow at that, winter seemed very long indeed, even for a guy like me who kind of likes snow. When it starts in September and is still coming down in April, with temperatures cold enough to keep it in its frozen state, even I tire of the white stuff.

It’s spring!

We’ve had days here and there the past couple of months when it started to feel like winter was over but then the cold would return, the snow would fall, and it was winter once again.

One of the many unhappy returns of winter.

Today will be our seventh straight day of spring-like weather. We are on a roll! And, according to T, who keeps an eye on the forecast, there’s nothing but sunshine and mid to high teen temperatures (that’s 60-65 Fahrenheit for those south of the border) for the next seven days.

So many interesting things can be found when the snow leaves, some of them rather tasty.

I have to admit, after the longest winter of my eleven years of life, I’ve become unaccustomed to the heat and am finding our afternoon walks a little on the warm side. But, if I tally up the pros and cons of spring, I’m pretty sure I know the score. Let’s just see …

Con: Kinda warm for an aging dog out walking.
Pro: Slabs of ice have turned to watering and swimming holes!

One of the many ponds dotting the prairie in the spring.

Con: Muddy feet that need to be bathed in our new Mudbuster (T and Nollind love it but I’m not as big a fan)
Pro: No cold feet or need for boots!

Con: Yeah, sorry, can’t think of anything else.
Pro: List too long for this blog post.

Well, I think I’ll get outside and enjoy more of this great, spring weather. Around here, you never know when winter might decide to make one last appearance.