The Dog Beach

I've lived most of my life in a somewhat country/rural setting. I've had dogs for most of those times, too. I never went to a dog park before until the last time I visited home. Stephanie took me and Prince out to the dog park in Fayetteville and I must say it's an interesting experience. I suppose it's a lot like other dog parks across the country. You have a couple of big fenced in areas to separate the big dogs from the little dogs. You have a nice trail to leash walk them around. Usually water, doggy bags, and a trash can are provided. People are friendly and want the dogs to interact. Lots of butt sniffing, stealing of toys, and, of course, when you throw a ball for your dog, about 12 others join in.

There's a dog beach here in Fort Myer's off Lover's Key. It's your usual dog park but since it's on the beach there a few differences.

There are no fences so big dogs and little dogs all have to learn to fend for themselves. I guess the water could be considered a barrier but otherwise if your dog has a tendency to run off you'd better keep a good eye on him. Hence, there's lot of yelling and whistling and clapping by people trying to keep their dogs under voice control.

Since this is the beach you are also subject to tide levels. The bad part is if you go during high tide you will have to wade through a bit of mucky backwaters before you reach the beach itself and then you only have one small strip of sandy beach to share. The good part is that the main areas are always being kept washed off, so even if you get an owner who doesn't clean up, it will eventually get washed away.

You must bring fresh water with you and a lot of it. Because they end up inadvertently swallowing salt water, you have dogs all around that are literally frothing at the mouth.

Dusty is an only child so I worry about how she reacts with other dogs. The neighbors have several very large dogs next door and they spend a lot of time barking at each other trying to defend their territory. (Hey, guys, there's a fence between you!) She was a little snappish at first, especially when one of the bigger dogs would come running at her out of nowhere but she soon settled down and was very interested in everything that was going on around her.

And of course, there is a lot of butt sniffing going on.

I forgot to bring a ball for Dusty so I had to improvise! (How could I forget that!?)

Yes, and everybody wants to join in on the game.

I'd highly suggest that you bring chairs to sit on. I know it's the beach and throwing a towel or a blanket out should be enough but that stuff gets sandy and sopping wet fast. Remember you have 27 million dogs running free who don't always pay attention where they are headed. They will run you over.

The whole swimming factor is a lot of fun. Dusty doesn't swim too much. The water reaches her belly and she's pretty much done but this time she did swim with us a little. The big dogs just love the water, and romp through with joy. They'll swim way out there to get a ball shot from a slingshot. The little ones try really hard, but some just love to swim. It is so funny to see a tiny wiener dog out there in the water. They look like rats but their long skinny tails stick up out of the water and spin like a top. Too cute.

This German Shepherd was a sweetheart and she and Dusty had a good time.

This is a great place to take your dogs and spend some time at the beach but remember you must really like dogs, and I mean everybody's dog, not just yours!

I think Dusty has had a long day.....

Home-made Cement Planters

I decided to try a new project. I have way too many plants and I am always looking for a new spot to stick something. I really wanted something unique, and something that would last. So, we (meaning Mike and I) bought some good old fashioned Quik-Crete and made ourselves a few cement planters.

Mike's done some masonry work in his varied career so he didn't even read the directions on the bag. He just mixed us up a bucket load. 

Here's the form I bought at the Dollar General for $2. You need to coat the inner and outer forms with vegetable oil so they will slide out easier after the cement has set.

So I covered them up with some oil.

We poured in the concrete. We had to fill the bottles with water because they wanted to float to the top.

In fact we ended up winching them down!

We had a bit left over so I quickly improvised with some plastic bowls and cups I had sitting around.

Alright, very nice. Now to let them cure for 24 to 48 hours.

Interlude: a nice refreshing adult beverage.

Mike couldn't wait. Six hours later the concrete was hard enough to come out of the molds. And we had trouble... The indentations on the bottles made the insides almost impossible to slide out but, with the use of brute force and some pliers, we did it. The green bucket was destroyed! The yellow bucket slid right out.

A little paint for what I now call candle holders.

And the final product!


Lessons learned:
Use more oil! (I know: TWSS)
Make sure your inner forms are smooth and flare outward.
Also, there is masonry Quik-Crete, which I understand is easier to work with. Although it costs twice as much I think we will try it next time.

Cleaning is over-rated - UPDATED!

As an example, Mike woke me up early the other morning. He couldn't find his keys. I hauled  myself out of bed and started to search; laundry, couch, refrigerator, all the usual places, nothing to be found. And then I remember! He was busy cleaning the other day, dusting away the cobwebs up high and in all the corners. He had managed to knock off this big pirates head we have on the wall.

Smash! Boom! Bang! It fell, hit the counter, bounced off the trash can, and hit the floor. On the counter is also where we keep a nice ceramic plate that holds all the keys, change, and whatever else stuff comes out of Mike's pockets at the end of the day. Amazingly, not a scratch on any of it.

Now back to the rude awakening and the missing keys. Sure enough, after digging a bit, there were his keys in the trash. I gave them to him, sent him on his way, and went back to bed.

And so about four days later, he casually mentions that he is missing his Harley Davidson ring. Now this is a nice ring that I bought for him years ago in Vegas after I had won a good chunk of moolah. Sentimental value, for sure. Back to the trash, and low and behold, after digging through all kinds of disgusting detritus, I find his ring!

The moral to the story is: Cleaning is HIGHLY over-rated. You never know where things will end up. Now, before trash day, we have to go through the whole trash can to see what else is missing.


Sooooooo, about two weeks later Mike casually mentions to me that he is missing his HD ring again..... yes, the same exact highly sentimental ring that we just dug out of the trash a few weeks before..... (you know where this is headed...)

I'm on my way out to get the mail... and the trash can left out for pick up the night before. I notice that something got into the trash during the night and there is garbage all over. I dutifully start cleaning up the mess, coffee grinds, dead paper towels, stinky left over food and.....

there laying on the ground as pretty as you please is Mike's Harley Davidson ring. Unbelievable!

Mike is one lucky SOB!

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Otters in the Pond

About two months ago was when we first saw the otters in the pond. There were two of them, male and female. I know I posted it to FaceBook but I guess I never posted it here.

There's only one now. There are people in these parts who don't care for the otters because they can clear a pond of fish in no time. We heard rumor that one of our neighbors had shot one of them. I guess he was afraid they would eat his ducks. Whatever. I'm assuming it was the smaller female that he killed and that this is the male.

Dusty had got a hold of him once and the poor guy was just trying to get away. We figured that would be the last we ever saw of him. So, we hadn't seen him for a few weeks and thought he was long gone, until today.

He would pose for a while, and then shoot underwater to find a more private spot. We can follow where he goes underwater because he leaves a trail of bubbles in his wake.

Awwww, he makes a pretty kitty.

Also, here's a regular to our pond. His name is Red Ear.

Click on the pictures to get a better view.

A Day in the Life

I realized I hadn't posted anything lately, so here are a few recent pictures.

May 5th, Full Moon

A beautiful sunrise the next morning.

What a view!

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