Tag Archives: Walking

Walking into the Storm, and Out Again

Turkey Vultures at West Branch State Park.

We couldn’t decide whether to go for a walk or not the other evening. The weather looked iffy, it was cloudy, breezy, and looked like it might rain. It had looked that way all day though with no precipitation. After checking the weather radar, we decided to chance it. It looked like any inclement weather would go to the south. Besides, we hadn’t been for a walk for three days and the dogs acted like they were ready to riot.

We decided to walk the West Branch State Park Dam Trail. It is paved, with a parking lot nearby, although the path out and back is three miles roundtrip. By the time we were about halfway out, the winds had kicked up and there were storm clouds in the distance. You could see bands of rain coming from the clouds far away. We decided to go for it and see if we could finish our walk before the storm hit. We should have known better when we saw some turkey vultures taking refuge under the bridge for the spillway gatehouse.

We made it to the far end of the trail and then the storm broke. Of course, this is the point as far from the parking lot as you can get. The place where you turn around to make your way back. There was thunder and then the rain started. It was quickly followed by small hail. My husband was the one with a brilliant idea for shelter that kept us mostly dry. We descended off the trail, past a guardrail, picked our way through some rocks, and down an incline to a concrete abutment. The dogs were not a fan of this and kept trying to go on the opposite side of the guardrail to stay on the path, causing the leashes to tangle. They also didn’t like stepping amongst the rocks. Come guys, you are dogs. They let us know that they are spoiled house dogs and not some wild miscreants! The concrete wall was tall enough and the wind blew at an angle, so that we were able to stay mostly dry and avoid the hail by standing close to the wall. The rain only lasted for a short while and then it blew over.

Lovely water view on our return trip.

The walk back to the car was sunny and pleasant. In fact, we had a great time. The sun was reflecting off the water. The sound of the waves was soothing. And we saw quite a few birds lofting in the wind. They looked like they were enjoying the breeze, just circling or floating in place, riding the air currents. We saw one dive for a fish. Most of the birds were the turkey vultures we saw earlier. There were also a couple large seagulls. The turkey vultures really are impressive birds. Their wingspan is five to six feet, and they can weigh up to five pounds.

Rainbow after the storm.

We were halfway back to the car when we were blessed to see a rainbow appear. It was beautiful and bright. It grew in intensity as we walked. I could so distinctly see each color that it reminded me of the acronym, ROYGBIV, that I learned in school to remember the order of the colors in a rainbow. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.

By the time my husband and I made it back to the parking lot, we decided this was one of our favorite walks that we have taken recently. We survived the elements and experienced some beautiful sights along the way. From adversity comes growth. May you see a rainbow after your next storm!

How Do Your Dogs Get Exercise?

Five Dogs
Hubby waiting with five of our dogs.

We took our daily hike yesterday at Shaw Woods, one of the newer Portage County Parks. We like to go here because there usually aren’t many other people around. Yesterday there were four other cars in the parking lot which is quite a lot for this location. Here, my husband is waiting with our five dogs we take hiking while I run a poop bag back to the trash can. We didn’t even make it into the woods before one of them went. I do greatly appreciate the parks that supply trash cans!

We encountered two others out hiking with their dogs. And while we dearly love dogs, obviously, I always pull out my pepper spray whenever any approach now, in case one is loose. This is my reaction ever since we had a run in with loose dogs that attacked a while back. Encounter With Loose Dogs, Gone Bad. It is my job to keep my dogs safe and I take it seriously.

Walking around yesterday, I could see the beginnings of signs of spring. The leaf buds are visible on some of the trees, the birds are more active, and my favorite, the peepers were singing. Some other type of frog was singing too. If you stood still, you could hear one group of frogs croaking and off in the distance another group would answer their calls. The spring peepers are my favorite though. If I stand at our back door in the evening, I can hear them singing from our neighbor’s pond. Sometimes I stand outside our back door just to listen to the performance.

Sleeping greyhound
Cassius after a hike.

The benefits of hiking or walking are many. We humans enjoy better health and reduced anxiety. For many reasons. Not the least of which is, if we don’t take the dogs for their daily outing, they make us pay. Without a chance to expend energy they get into trouble. They know when it is around the time we head out. About ten minutes before hand they start pacing. If we haven’t changed our shoes by then, they begin coming up to us and staring in our faces. If we still haven’t responded, a few of them will come up and poke us repeatedly with their pointy noses. Can you say spoiled?

They give us the incentive we need to keep walking even on days when we don’t feel like it. If we want an easy day, we hike up the road to the township park and back. The footing on the roadway is level and the round trip is only two miles. Once the weather warms up we will switch to going in the morning, leaving earlier and earlier, the hotter it gets. We’ll see how long I make it as I don’t do well with heat.

How do you get your dogs exercise? Remember, a tired dog is a good dog!

How Can One Little Dog Cause So Much Trouble?

Shetland Sheepdog after a bath
Claire-damp from her bath.

It’s been one of those days. Things were going great, and then…they weren’t. How many things can you need to wash in one afternoon? Lots!

This afternoon was worse than the day I was babysitting and the baby had diarrhea. What happened that day? The diarrhea came up and out the back of the diaper. It got on the onesie when I was trying to do a diaper change. So, I took the onesie off and in the process, the diarrhea got in her hair. This necessitated a bath. At least that day, that was the end of it.

Today’s escapade started while we were on a walk at a local park the next town over from us, near Kent, Ohio. We were having a nice walk through the woods and enjoying the scenery. All five dogs were relatively well behaved and the weather was beautiful. It was a fine day. As we were nearing the end of our walk, Claire suddenly had to poop. It was a little loose which is unusual in itself. Claire is a walking pooper as are many shelties. I think it helps to keep things from getting stuck in their fur. As she’s doing her business, she walks over top of her leash. So, she now has poop on her leash. She also manages to get her legs tangled up in the leash. I pull on the leash to extricate her and she flips over and rolls through some poop on the ground and comes up with it smeared across her shoulder. Now I have a poopy leash AND a poopy dog.

Thank goodness for that towel back in the car. I just have to walk Claire and Shelby back to the car without either of them running into the leash with poop on it as they walk on the trail. It sounds so easy. We did make it to the car with little more trouble. I wrapped the towel, that I keep in the car for wiping dog feet, around Claire and she wore it for the ride home like a cape. It actually seemed to calm her down and keep her still. Maybe it worked similar to a thunder shirt. My husband drove and I held Claire.

We made it across town and were nearing home in an otherwise uneventful trip. Until we got on our road about half a mile from home. Where Claire had explosive vomiting. Did I mention that Claire is our worst poop eater? And that all the dogs had been out in our fenced pasture this morning? The vomit was quite odiferous. My husband made disgusted sounds and immediately put the windows down. When Claire was sick, it bounced back off the window and went everywhere. Down the inside of the car and into the map pocket of the car door, on the seat cover, and on the floor. That wasn’t the worst of it. It also went on my coat sleeve and shirt sleeve, through my pants, and some bounced back and splashed me in the face and glasses. Fun times! I felt like I was in some sick Warner Brothers cartoon and at any moment the roadrunner was going to come zipping by with a “Beep, beep” because some other humorously, awful thing happened.

We got home and the first order of business was to give Claire a bath. My husband tried to help, but I told him, “Just let me handle it, I’m already covered in it”. No reason for both of us to suffer. After giving Claire a bath, the car needed a good scrubbing and wiping down, after which I put the seat cover, towels, leash, and my clothes and coat into the washing machine. Then I showered and washed my hair. Three hours later everything was as good as before we left for our walk. Whew!!!

How can one little girl cause so much work? I always thought that dogs were much easier than kids. I may have to rethink this!

Can You Take the Small Town Out of the Girl?

Portrait/Photo from 1964
Photo of yours truly from 1964.

Every so often an advertisement for a sweatshirt comes up on my Facebook feed that says “You can take this girl out of Beach City, but you can’t take Beach City out of this girl”. I would have to say this is fairly accurate. Our roots are something that stay with us for our entire lives. The experiences that we encounter growing up play a part in helping to form who we become.

Beach City is a small town near the southern border of Stark County, Ohio. I grew up there from the time I was born in 1962, until I moved away to attend college in 1983. It was a village of 1,200 people, give or take a few.  Even now, the population is just over 2,700. I thought we were “city people” because we lived on one of the two main streets that went through town.

I walked across the street to attend the local elementary school, and home again at the end of the school day, from kindergarten through 7th grade. The only exception to this was on my first day of 1st grade. Kindergarten was only for half a day, so 1st grade was my first full school day. I got in the wrong line at lunch time. I was supposed to eat lunch at school, but got in the line with kids who were sent home for lunch. Oh, the horror! So I dutifully marched across the street to my house. My mother was surprised to see me, especially since I was in tears because I got in the wrong line. My mother fed me a can of Chef Boyardee Ravioli and sent me back to school. These things are earth shattering when you are six years old. Enough so, that I still remember it clearly.

In case you have not guessed, my world was very small. I did not realize this. Like most youngsters, I thought everyone’s lives were this way. Three of my five aunts and uncles lived within walking distance in the same town as us. The other two lived the next town over. They and my cousins were a frequent part of my life.

Most of my time outside school was spent playing Barbie’s, riding my bicycle, walking my dog around town, reading, or sitting on the front porch swing watching the cars go by and daydreaming. Evenings were spent watching television with my mother. That was pretty much what happened every day of my life.

Once a week we would “go to town”. This meant driving to the larger towns of Dover and sometimes New Philadelphia in Tuscarawas County, to shop at department stores and grocery stores. Before doing the shopping on those days, we would often “go visiting” first since we were already in town. We often stopped to see my mom’s second cousin Janice where I got to play with her three children while the grown ups talked. Or perhaps we would see some family friends. Driving 12-15 miles for shopping seemed like a big deal in those days, so it was reserved for once a week. 

Other evenings, mom and I would ride bicycles to visit one of my cousins and spend a bit of time playing. This was big excitement once my cousin Eddie got a swimming pool. That was also the summer I finally learned to swim, despite having taken swimming lessons in previous years. You don’t learn to swim by getting in a pool five days a week, once a year.

Self Portrait
Me, about 56 years later.

Despite living in the country now, and being a few years older, my life isn’t all that different. I have a few more dogs but still take them on walks and hikes. I spend lots of time reading and sitting on the porch or patio and watching or listening as the cars go by. Evenings are often spent watching television with my husband.

In the photo from my childhood, although we lived in town, I was dressed like a country girl in my cowboy outfit complete with the boots. I called it my “cowby” clothes. The Sundays of my childhood were often spent going to the family-owned woods, adjoining the family farm and “running the dogs”. The farm was originally owned by my grandfather, later run by an uncle, and then the uncle’s son. I think that although we lived in town, this is where my country roots began.

So, I guess it really is true, you can’t take Beach City out of the girl.