Monday, July 24, 2017

Just some crazy stuff to help pass the time.

I just took Ruff and Bess out to go pee before bedtime last night and as soon as I opened the front door I noticed a frog clinging to the outside of the glass storm door. They love to eat bugs and mosquitoes so that's a good thing to have hanging around (pun intended). So here are some photos. First photo is of me on the inside reflected in the glass with the frog on the outside. Seems I need to get out the Windex and clean the glass. Second photo is the frog on the outside. Every Summer we've had a frog hanging around by the front door. I started calling it Mildew. I don't know how long frogs live so this can't be the same frogs from years past. On a few occasions the Rotts have gotten close enough to sniff them and I had to remind the Rottweilers not to bother the frog.

Taking a break in between the storms. 
This has been a week of extreme weather. Daytime temps in the 90's plus humidity in the 70's have made the heat index soar above 105 degrees. And all the heat and humidity created lots of fuel for some violent thunderstorms every night. So we stayed inside as much as possible. Bess has her own little house and she spends a lot of time napping there when she isn't hanging out with me and Ruff in the den. Her house sits in front of one of the two outside doors to the deck that we don't use. You might remember the story I wrote in September 2015 about the Rottie plush toy on top of Bessie's house.
Current Heat Index for Kentucky. (week of July 16 - 22)
How bad was the weather outside? Across the country America has had a deadly heatwave: Temperatures hit 115 degrees as authorities warn of ‘dangerous’ levels of humidity. Here is a map of Kentucky with the heat index.
One consequence of all the heat and humidity has been some pretty severe thunderstorms and heavy downpours passing by every night. Over the weekend one storm dropped 6-7 inches of rain on Bracken and Mason Counties, two of the eastern counties near us, and it caused flash floods that swept houses off their foundations and piled up dozens of cars. Story and photos here on WXIX Channel 19.
Needless to say, this is not a good time to spend outside with the crew. Their black fur coats get so hot in the sun you could fry eggs on them.

 
 
  

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Surviving the dog days of summer

Well, summer has finally arrived. The weather this week has been so hot and humid that I haven't let Ruff and Bess stay outside for very long. The front of my house faces East and the morning sun up to around 1PM has even gotten the metal handle on the storm door too hot to open. I had to put a towel on it it was so hot. Once I've gotten the two of them outside their black fur coats soak up so much sun you could almost fry eggs on their backs.

I don't know where the expression 'Dog days of summer' came from but it isn't very comfortable being out in it. Now that's just my humble opinion and Ruff and Bess do not seem to share it. I have to drag them back inside 'cause I'm afraid for their health and Bess just stares at me while holding her ball in her mouth. All she wants to do is to play catch with me.
The temperatures have been in the low 90's which by itself isn't too bad but the humidity has been in the mid 70's which pushes the heat index well over 100 degrees.

So what do they do all day? They hang out with me in the den taking naps.
Sorry I woke you up, sleeping beauty.
For the last few days I've been wanting to run up to the supermarket to restock the pantry but I didn't want to be outside carrying the groceries in on such a hot day. A lady on Facebook mention she likes to give her Rottweilers ice cream cones to cool them off so I took the suggestion as a second reason to make the trip to the food store. I couldn't find any ice cream cones so I picked up a couple of boxes of Klondike ice cream sandwiches. I peeled off the chocolate cookie and ate it and gave Ruff and Bess the ice cream center. Bess acted like she had never tasted ice cream before, at least with the first piece.
So this is how we survive the hottest days of the year. I don't think these two have much to complain about. The air conditioning works fine, the house is nice and cool and the ice cream is a bonus.
 


Monday, July 17, 2017

Took Bess and Ruff for a walk in the park.

The weather here has been wet. We've had at least three days of rain every week and it means staying indoors most of the time. Last week the rain tapered off and a few warm days without rain and the soggy ground becomes dry enough to walk on.
I have been wanting to try out my new camera outside and my two best friends were showing signs of cabin fever so I decided to take care of everything at the same time. In the Spring and Summer the backyard does look like a park. I have dozens of large trees, most over 50 years old but I still managed to fill in some spots with a dozen more trees that I planted 10 years ago and they have matured very nicely. By the way, the uncropped full images were exceptionally sharp and the color was vibrant.

The only detraction from the gorgeous scenery is the rather tall grass. I haven't been able to cut it for a few weeks after my lawn tractor suffered an unfortunate accident and had to go to the repair shop. The tractor is being fixed now and should be back by the end of the week, just in time to make the next outdoor photos look better.

 

Friday, July 14, 2017

'Cow Killers' with powerful sting appearing in the Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana Tri-State

According to WXIX Channel 19 in Cincinnati, there is a new bug in town. Its called a 'Cow Killer'. It is a type of wasp with the erroneous name Red Velvet Ant or Eastern Velvet Ant. The species ranges from Connecticut to Missouri in the north and Florida to Texas in the south. While they primarily attack on Cicadas they are aggressive and will attack dogs, too, if threatened.

A few weeks ago I brushed a bug off the back of my neck and it stung me on my finger and the pain was so intense I went to the Emergency Room. I never saw the insect but the level of pain is similar to what they say in this story. Someone also posted a comment to this saying: They have a hard exterior and make a loud noise when you are trying to kill them.

The only loud noise I heard was my cry of pain when I got stung. It was so intense I grabbed a razor knife and cut open my finger to squeeze out the venom to make the pain stop. I may have broken the wasp because part of the rear end plus the stinger was in my finger after I hit it with my hand and I read that wasp stingers don't come out like bee's do after they sting you.

Final night of Star Wars saga brings the moochers back.

Last night I watch Episode VI the last film from the original Star Wars saga. I also have the two new films, Rogue I and Episode VII that came out earlier this year. I have watched all of them multiple times and thought it was time to go back to the original series for another look.

Of course, on almost every night I had my two trusty moochers keeping me company. As I mentioned in my last post, it may have been coincidental that I brought along a package of crackers and some peanut butter.

Bess and Ruff were sitting in front of me trying so hard to mooch a cracker that I had a hard time taking pictures because they were so close. I did get one nice shot, though.
Someone pointed out on my Facebook page how pretty Bessie's expression was. So I went back to look over the rest of the photos I took that had other glitches in them that I didn't think were good enough to post. I cropped out a bunch of different head shots of Bess to show her different looks while she was trying to get my attention.
It reminded me of the kind of head shots used in a screen test to show different emotions. And young Bess was already showing quite a talent for them.

 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Another movie night - before and after the end.

I watched Episode III of the Star Wars saga tonight (I watched the first two episodes earlier this past week) and as usual, had my two best friends for company. Also had a package of crackers and a jar of peanut butter but that had nothing to do with it. Here are some pictures taken during and after the movie. I paused the Blu-Ray player to take the photos which is why Yoda hasn't moved in the first two shots.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Finding love in close quarters.

There is so much action going on every day in my den. I must be very popular with my two best friends. They both like to hang out with me and even come in to take naps while I'm on the computer. But this poses a problem in close quarters. Finding a camera angle to take their pictures without parts of me or the furniture being in the photo. And so many times the action was going on beneath the swivel chair I was sitting on. Not only is the right camera angle necessary but holding the camera at arms length and trying to press the shutter button with one hand at the same time while maintaining a firm grip. Here are three more examples. The third photo is my favorite but they were so close to the camera that Bessie's nose was out of focus.

Follow-up to Finding love in close quarters.
Just how close is too close? A few minutes after posting the story on Facebook I decided to go out and have lunch. But I had a problem. I was wedged in by my big guy Ruffin who was sound asleep under my chair. All I could do was turn it around to get this picture holding the camera upside down. I had to slide him away from the wheels in order to get up. Ruff was so close to the wheels I was afraid they would roll over his ears or his nose.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Another Happy Birthday of a different kind.

Wishing everyone in the USA a safe and happy 4th of July.
And carrying over the same theme I changed my Facebook masthead image from this:
To this:





Saturday, July 1, 2017

We had another Happy Birthday party at our house.

My girl Bess was 3 years old today and we had the biggest birthday party ever. I baked Bess a meatloaf birthday cake, covered in mashed potato icing and we all had a sumptuous meal. But the best part was I posted the photos on my Facebook page and Bess received Happy Birthday wishes from all over the world.


Friday, June 30, 2017

Everyone hanging out in my den

I took these pictures 5 minutes ago, with Ruff and Bess hanging out in my den. Ruff came in to take a nap and when I started scratching his ears he woke up and Bess came in to share what he was getting. I love having them keep me company but I think I need a bigger office. I took these pictures while sitting at the computer and they were literally laying under my chair.


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Something old and something new

First off,
Happy Father’s Day to me from all my Rottweilers. The best family I could have ever asked for. In the order of their appearance in my life: 
Mocha Bear (Mo) 1995 photo taken years later
Felony Bear (Felly Girl) 1996
Nikko Bear (Nikki Bear) 1996
Sassy 2003
Ruffin (Ruff) 2006 photo taken years later
Axl 2009
Bessie (Bess) 2014

And now for something new. The old faithful Nikon D40 has been replaced. The used to be best Nikon D3200 has now been relegated to the everyday work camera. The new camera, a Sony full screen, mirrorless, gem was bought for the expressed purpose of going with me to Hopkinsville, Kentucky on August 21st to photograph the total eclipse. 

Long before I was fortunate to find myself living with Rottweilers, I had a passion for photography and astronomy. Way back in 1970 there was an earlier total eclipse that had a path of totality that passed through Virginia and I wanted desperately to see it. I packed up my wife, my three kids and drove 7-hours to Virginia City and set up my tripod and my Honeywell Pentax Spotmatic with its 200mm telephoto lens and took some pictures. The 200mm lens barely captured the majesty and aura of the event and I promised myself I would do better with the next opportunity. 

If you have never seen a total eclipse in person you have no idea what takes place. Many have seen partial eclipses but there is nothing to compare a total eclipse. Back in Virginia City, a few seconds before totality one corner of the sun glares out behind the shadow of the moon to form a Diamond Ring Effect. I was fortunate to capture that moment in spite of one other unexpected occurrence: The temperature suddenly dropped 30 degrees and my fingers felt numb on the camera. Here is one of my photos:

Notice how small the image looks with the 200mm lens. My next attempt will be with a larger telephoto lens that I plan to rent. (too expensive to buy) And these images were enlarged in my computer, as well.

Then the instant the moon passed exactly over the sun several things happened all at once. If you have seen a close up photo of the moon you probably noticed the rugged surface with mountains and valleys. Because those mountains and valleys extend around the edges of the moon at the instant of totality sunlight creeps though the tiny gaps and forms what is called Baily's Beads, a ring of fire around the moon. I almost got it but my image was too small to see it.

Here is a photo taken by someone else with better equipment that shows the Bailey's Beads:
In my opinion a total eclipse of the sun is a once in a lifetime event and even if your not into astronomy it is worth the effort to go an experience it. Hopefully, barring no unforeseen occurrences or bad weather, I will be there. Ruff and Bess will be taken care of at home and I'll be away for just overnight.

Now for something newer. While getting some practice with the new camera I grabbed some pics of Bess laying around the house and one of me working on my Facebook page.