Time to Go!

We dogs thought our departure for the south was scheduled for December 15 so I’ve been pretty relaxed about getting ready. Plenty of time. But the past couple of days there have been signs around the house and the farm that our departure is imminent. Horse sitters and house sitters coming by for their instructions, final visits with friends, boxes and bins appearing in every room.

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Farewell dinner with G and S.

With this terrific weather we’ve been having, the snow has all melted, we’ve been out walking in the fields to the west, and I thought the peeps might want to stick around for awhile.  But, not so much. I think they’re seeing it as a good weather window to get south, before the snow and cold returns. I heard T say that the roads are clear all the way to Arizona!

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Winter is taking a break.

Yesterday afternoon was the biggest sign yet, Sid got hitched to the truck and pulled closer to the house. Yikes!

So, last night, I quickly packed everything crucial.

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Priorities packed.

It’s Friday now and we don’t seem to be going anywhere just yet so I think there’s time to pull out my take-along list from last year. I was so much more organized. I guess that’s what happens when the date gets moved up by a week.

Anyway, best get to it. When T and Nollind are on a roll, things happen quickly, especially when the weather is cooperating. Talk to you from the road!

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Full moon on the prairie.

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Point Me South

Since I’m not a big fan of travelling, until now I didn’t quite understand the masses of people that drive south to places like Florida, Arizona and California in the winter. I mean, winter’s not that bad. I’ve always liked the snow. And it feels a bit like cheating. Not to mention, for us, with Sid in tow and dogs needing semi-regular breaks, it’s about 33 hours of truck time to get to Quartzsite, Arizona. That’s like driving to downtown Calgary and back 22 times! In a row!

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Truck time.

 

It’s also at least two overnights in the cold country which means the trailer slides stay in and I don’t have access to my couch. (Yes, I have my own couch.) We used to put the slides out, until a few years ago in Great Falls when it was -20 and the mechanism broke on the big slide. And, in addition to making do with a temporary bed on the floor, it’s cold! Sid is nice down in the desert, but really not built for the gauntlet of well-below-freezing temperatures we travel through to get there. The cold seeps in through every little gap.

And, it means four days of getting in and out of the truck multiple times, which I can no longer do unassisted, and I hate needing help. It means four days of not enough sleep. It means four days of being in fifteen square feet with Chico. It means four days of not being comfortable.

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Me travelling with Chico is a bit like an insomniac watching somebody sleep. 

 

When the talk first turned to whether or not we’d travel south this year, I was kind of hoping we’d stay home. It takes a lot out of me getting down there. And it’s so comfy at home. When my health was taking a turn back in early October, it sounded like we wouldn’t be going. I felt bad about messing with Teresa & Nollind’s travel plans, but I was kind of relieved.

And then I started to feel better and they started talking about travelling again. “Crap!” I thought. At least, that was, until winter arrived about ten days ago.

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Winter arrives on the farm.

 

Six years and four trips later, I think I get it. I understand why so many retired people, some of them quite elderly, make the journey south, despite having to run the winter gauntlet and endure many miles of travel.

Winter really sucks when you’re old. Your bones ache. You get the shivers easily. Navigating snow and ice is more challenging than it used to be. Winter is just not a friendly place for an old person … or dog.

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It’s been cold for November!

 

My feet always were a little more sensitive to the cold than Chico’s but this year it’s ridiculous. They’re cold as soon as we get outside! And the foot attached to my bad leg? It’s a bit like an ice cube in the house and hurts like the devil outside. Shaking it and biting at it don’t seem to help at all.

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Following a horse trail makes the winter walking a bit easier.

 

Okay, so Teresa puts boots on me. Aaah … so much better. Except, this year, the damn things make me trip. I did a full face plant into a pile of snow along the road the other day when I got tripped up by my Muttluks. Sheesh.

I used to need a jacket on the really cold days, like -20 and colder, to avoid shivering. Now I wear one overnight (in the house!) to stay warm enough.

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Me after a walk in the snow.

 

And I don’t think I even need to talk about what it’s like to walk in deep snow or on ice with my increasingly wobbly legs. Just think about a dog wearing roller skates and you’ll be close.

Since winter arrived on the 1st of November, as I’ve been watching the V’s of Canada Geese and Snow Geese fly overhead, all I can think about is the desert. How 33 hours of truck time equals 100+ days of lying in the sun. How four days of getting in and out of the truck equals three and half months of walks on warm, dry ground. How four days of discomfort up front equals fewer aches, pains, and shivers for the rest of the winter.

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One of many desert walks last winter.

 

It’s still five weeks until our planned departure date and, as I’ve learned in the past few months, a lot can change in that amount of time. But, at this point, I’m in. Point me south and call me a snowbird!

 

 

Writer’s Block

11-chico-halfdogI think that’s what you call this … writer’s block. Merriam-Webster says that writer’s block is “a psychological inhibition preventing a writer from proceeding with a piece.” That sounds about right.

I spent all day yesterday trying to figure out what to write. Logan’s got it easy these days. Every couple of weeks he’s got at least one new ailment or condition to tell you about. Okay, maybe easy isn’t exactly the right word for what he’s got going on, but he’s definitely got things to write about.

I thought of writing about the arrival of winter, but that sounds a lot like what I wrote last time when I talked about having four seasons in one. But, just to update you, the cat house (aka Meowi) has been plugged in which signals the official start of winter on the farm.11-chico-meowi2

And then I considered writing about how I’ve been spending a lot of time hanging out near Logan, supporting him … but then this thing happened yesterday. I got a little rambunctious at the beginning of our walk in the afternoon and knocked him right off his feet when I ran into him. Oops. I went down too if it’s any consolation.11-chico-deckdogs

I also thought it might be time to start talking about our upcoming journey to the desert. Things are a little up in the air because of Logan’s health, but we’re planning to head out with Sid in tow in the middle of December. (I hope. I hope.) But that can wait. It’s still weeks away.

My dog park tales might have made a good blog post, but there just wasn’t enough to tell you about my two trips to the park. I met a few dogs, had some great play sessions, tired myself out to the point I was having trouble keeping my hind end upright but, other than that, not much to tell. Oh, and I just love small dogs.11-chico-dogpark

I could have told you about Logan’s great new bed they made for him right in the middle of the house. It’s near the heater, it has multiple layers, and it is just the comfiest thing on the planet. It’s awesome. He gets to sleep on it all night so I figure I should be able to spend some of the day there. Now that he’s feeling better, T and Nollind are less inclined to boot me off.11-chico-logansbed

It’s not much of a story, but I went along on Logan’s latest trip to the vet, and afterward, we ran some errands in Strathmore. I’m really happy for Logan that he’s travelling better, but his getting comfortable in the car seems to be taking up a lot more space than when he was nervous and wouldn’t lie down.11-chico-car

And then I considered writing a post on my recent role as trail dog when T took Storm out for a field ride. It is a super-important job and I think I did pretty well. It turned out there weren’t any partridges or deer to flush out, but, if there had been, I was on it. Don’t want them spooking the horse when he’s right on top of them. Although I have to confess, I did get distracted once and ended up being just the thing that spooked Storm when I came bolting out of the deep grass. I’ll do better next time.11-chico-horseride

So, here I am, still stuck. Maybe I’ll think of something to tell you about in a couple of weeks.