Friday, February 12, 2016

Winter Games, part 2

What a difference a sunny day makes. There is one big problem taking outdoor photographs on overcast days, there just isn't enough light to use the high-speed shutter to capture all the action.

Yesterday morning we has clear skies and a brilliant Sun and two frisky Rottweilers that had nothing else in mind but play. And I was having so much fun taking the pictures I lost count of how many I had. When I uploaded them into my computer I discovered there were 119 photos taken in just in this brief half-hour romp. So without further word, let the games begin.
 At 1/1000 of a second Bessie's ears make her look like a Doberman Pinscher.
By the look on his face I'm guessing Grumpy Grandpa Axl does not approve of this behavior.

  Hey guys, I think its time for some breakfast.


Thursday, February 11, 2016

Winter Games, part 1.

Being retired gives me some advantages in the Winter. I don't have to battle the snow or the icy roads if I don't want to. For all intents and purposes, a thin layer of ice is just as bad as 2 feet of snow. So Winter time here at our house is an excuse to turn into hermits. As far as the three Rottweilers go, Winter time is also the best time of the year to be outside. The cold air is exhilarating and if you happen to get thirsty outside you can just eat some snow.

Most of all, what I like best is seeing the excitement in the Rottweilers when they are young and experience the snow for the first time. There's nothing funnier than watching them try to catch some falling snowflakes. And this year it was our little girl Bess's first time. A year ago Bess was only 6 months old and too little to be allowed to run free and play. Now she is 18 months old and everything is different. She has grown up to be a real Tomboy thanks to Ruffin, and she runs and plays as hard as the boys and she has no fear exploring dangerous places.
Every Winter here in Northern Kentucky seems to be a little different. Some years we get lots of snow and once in awhile we get almost nothing. This year we got several days of snow in a single week but each snowfall brought us only an inch or less making it a quick job cleaning the sidewalk and the driveway with the shovel. While that big snow storm dumped several feet of snow on the northeast last month, we got only 3 inches. And while the northeast began to suffer thru days of clean up, our snow quickly melted after we had over a week of 60-degree Spring-like weather. 

Winter is not always filled with days of fun and play outdoors. Sometimes it rains and then we all must stay inside. That means the Rotts enjoy a different kind of play.
While we get to enjoy a large back yard for our long walks, the fenced area around the swimming pool is most convenient for letting Ruff and Bess go out without supervision. 
I have already written about how Bess loves to run across the pool cover, bouncing like it was a trampoline. I used to worry that she would rip the pool cover and fall through but then I realized there is hundreds of gallons of water on top of it and that's pretty heavy. And that large puddle of water in the middle of the cover is fun to run through. Yeah, I have seen her come back in the house soaking wet up to her chest so I know how deep she went in. The freezing cold has added a new experience for her when it froze the puddle and she discovered what ice skating was about when she tried to run across it.
But the puddle doesn't stay frozen all the time. And from my view through the kitchen window I can see the evidence of what Bessie has been doing.
The broken ice was proof that someone tried to walk across it. Also, those black trays were once filled with water to weigh down the pool cover but Bessie has managed to knock several of them into the pool. And it is a good thing that I don't let them stay out for long periods of time. It is not good to be soaking wet outside on a cold Winter day.
While I was writing this post Axl woke up and came in to tell me he had to got out to pee. So I took everyone along and brought the camera, too. It was a crystal-clear morning with lots of Sun and I took many pictures. This post is getting a bit long so I'll go though the photos and post them tomorrow.

Monday, February 1, 2016

A funny thing happened last night.

Last night around 11 PM I took the three Rottweilers out front to go pee before bedtime just as I do every night. Last night was a night I'll never forget because I witnessed the funniest thing I've ever seen. Actually, it was an accident but thankfully no one was injured. I have to illustrate the story with a few pictures so you can fully appreciate the comedy of errors.
Bess has several Kong toys that she plays with. One of them is rather large and heavy and I don't let her bring it in the house because she loves to do pick up and drop, pick up and drop, and it just makes a lot of noise. So I make her leave it outside where we often play catch or I throw it and she runs and gets it. I can say this about Bess, she is as fast as lightening and when the Kong ball is thrown it always bounces in unpredictable directions because it has an odd shape yet she can often track it in the dark and catch it on the first bounce. So after we finish playing and they all finish their business I take the toy and lay it on the chair outside the front door before we go back inside.
This is where the ball stays outside. You can see it inside the red circle.
Last night as soon as we all got outside Bessie goes over to the chair and grabs the ball to play with it. This time as soon as she leaned over to pick up the ball the tags on her collar got wedged in one of the slots in the brown chair. Just as quickly as she pulled back on the ball the chair lifted off the ground and she went into a panic mode and leaped back to get away from the flying chair. The chair is plastic and doesn't weigh more than a pound or two and it really went flying over her head. And so did Bess.
Her instinctive reaction to escape from the danger from this large object that was suddenly attacking here sent her flying head over heals, as they say, and she literally landed on her back on top of the bush on the far side of the patio.
As I said, Bess wasn't hurt, physically, but she was terribly frightened. And I was laughing so much I had to compose myself first before I could make sure Bess was okay because I was standing right next to her when it happened.
As far as damage goes, the chair is almost unbreakable but the bush that Bess landed on now has a large hole in it. But I'm sure it will fill out next summer.
This was certainly a moment that should have been captured on video. A million-dollar moment and if you ever heard of the American TV show, America's Funniest Home Videos you'll know why.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Now I gotcha.

The brash impunity of youth. Every single time I let Bess and Ruff out in the backyard I warn her, Stay Off The Pool Cover. Yeah, sure. But the excitement and the temptation seem to overcome the fear of punishment. Ha! What punishment, all you do is remind me once again. The warrior queen is immune to fear. Ruff taught me that.

What appeared to be some fear in slipping on the snow covered slope of the pool cover yesterday apparently was only short-lived. I saw the hundreds of footprints in the snow this morning so I know Bessie was all over the pool cover last night in the dark. But what amazed me was when I caught her casually trotting down and across the cover this afternoon with not a care in the world.
The weatherman has predicted above freezing temperatures for Sunday thru Wednesday so the ice on the cover will probably melt. I will have to keep an eye on the little queen to make sure she doesn't try to go swimming.
I'm only guessing what Ruff had in mind when he raised this little girl. I jokingly referred to her as his Warrior Queen but in the absence of not being raised by a female, little Bess has turned into a Tomboy.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Seen through the kitchen window

Our first snow last week, all 1/2 inch of it came and went. And Mother Nature gave us a nice, brand new, replacement last night. This time we got a full 2-inches and the Rottweilers were in their glory once again. But the weather has turned very cold, hovering between 0-degrees F. and in the mid-20's and one thing out back has changed. The foot-deep puddle in the middle of the pool cover has frozen solid. Now Bessie loves to explore and do wild and crazy things, because she is young, has been using the pool cover as an exciting trampoline, running across it, bouncing with every step and leap. And occasionally running through the puddle or at least at the shallow edge of it. I know this because I saw her do it twice but also because she frequently comes in the house soaking wet from her belly down to her toes.

The frozen puddle is something new to her and it also had to be checked out.

For several days I have looked out the kitchen window and noticed skid marks in the thin snow cover on top of the frozen puddle. This told me that Bess has been sliding across it. Then a few days ago I actually spotted her attempt to walk across the ice. She didn't do it too well and I was determined to capture her comical, legs flailing efforts with the camera. So I brought the camera out and left it on the counter top near the kitchen window.

In between our two snow days I captured Bessie standing at the rear of the pool with the setting sun behind her. When I uploaded it to the computer this afternoon it looked so pretty. She was glowing in the sunlight.
And earlier today after the snow stopped, I got some nice shots of Bessie and her ever-present protector Ruff also out behind the pool. And the last picture I took was Bessie's attempt to walk on the pool cover. All she managed to do was step on it and when she began to slide in the snow she leaped back on to the sidewalk.

I'll keep the camera in the kitchen until I get to see her try to cross the ice. It will be worth the wait.
Postscript: the next day.
I couldn't see what was going on in the backyard last night but this morning it was quite evident from all the footprints that little Bessie has been having lots of fun running across the pool cover. And I got two photos this morning of her doing it but because of the thickness of the snow she doesn't seem to be sliding when she runs across the ice.


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Cold days, warm nights

Winter has arrived in Northern Kentucky. I knew it had to eventually. You can get used to Spring-like temperatures in December like we had here this season. So yesterday we had our first snow, all of 1-inch, but still enough to get the Rottweilers excited. So it was decided they had to go for a walk down to the backyard. Well, two out three made the trip. The old guy stayed indoors, something about a need to take care of his Mom. Whatever, he looked very comfortable laying on his couch so I left him there.

An inch of snow is just as pretty to look at as a foot of snow. It would have looked prettier if the Sun was out but the sky was still overcast with clouds. The overcast was so bad that I had to boost the exposure on these photos to lighten them up before I posted them - which made them look a bit washed out. Besides that, this was Bessie's first chance to run wild, off leash and attack every snowflake she encountered. And Ruff was not too far behind her.
And back where we started.
Later that night after everyone had dinner, Bess and Ruff decided to entertain us. I am never sure what the objective is with some of their games so I often just let the photo(s) tell the story. I've seen the things they do in the leather chair and sometimes it looks like the game we used to call King of the Hill. But anyway, I talk too much.
And with this out of their system (whatever this was) it was time for some love and kisses. That's my favorite time because I was also in the middle of it and managed to avoid getting the camera slobbered.
What you see in this last picture may look like a three-way but what actually happened was a four-way. And yours truly got kissed by everyone.