Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Another day, another heat advisory
I apologize for the format of today's post. Blogger will NOT let me put in paragraphs. So, dear readers, you get to create them yourself. I know you're smart like that. You know the line from the movie “Field of Dreams” where the guy asks Kevin Costner, “Is this heaven?” and he answers, “No, it’s Iowa.” I think he was confused. Iowa is in one of Dante’s seven rings of hell. The entire state is at some level of drought condition. The Farmer and I have the questionable distinction of living and farming in what is now a severe drought area. We’ve had virtually no measurable rain in the last 8 weeks. The only thing I’ve been emptying out of the rain gauge is dead Japanese beetles. Apparently, my rain gauge is where beetles go to die. Our grass is dry, brown and crunchy. I can’t remember the last time we mowed. The weeds aren’t even growing. The ground is cracked and trees are starting to drop their leaves already. And it’s not just dry, it’s hot. Average daily temps are in the upper 90s. This isn’t “dry” desert heat, either. It’s loaded with humidity. Heat indices soar into triple digits on a regular basis. The Farmer runs a sprinkler for his cattle to stand under. So. I’m not training much. Which is partially why I haven’t been blogging much the last couple of weeks. That and work getting crazy. You wouldn’t think a job at a small town newspaper office would get too crazy. Think again. It’s hard to be energized and inspired to do creative, exciting training and write about it when it’s this bloody hot. For awhile, Phoenix and were going out to train about 8:30 at night. The air temp was still 90 degrees and the day’s heat was radiating back out of the ground and off the buildings. We usually ended up playing ball in the wading pool and calling it a night. So then we switched to training at 6 a.m. It was all the way down to 75 or 80 degrees. Brrr. The 6 a.m. sessions are fun. I’m one of those whacko morning people who is organized and functional enough to train while the sun is coming up. I realize I may be in a minority here. But it’s this or nothing, at least until the weather breaks and I don’t see that happening any time soon. My focus for this summer with Phoenix is building enthusiasm for work and building value for play. Doing this when training conditions are unpleasant is an extra challenge. Our sessions are short because in order for him to be up and bright, I have to be up and bright. When sweat starts pouring into my eyes, brightness dims considerably. The bottom line is, if I am not enjoying it, how can I expect my dog to enjoy it? Approaching obedience training from the standpoint of my dog WANTING to work with me vs. MAKING my dog work with me, doing prolonged training in this heat is counterproductive. There’s no point in it. Sessions are fast and focused and then we dive back into the central air. Weenies. Yep. Phoenix is fine with it. I’m the weenie. Folks who live south of the Mason-Dixon line are probably laughing their heads off. Weather like this is probably normal for you. How do you guys function? Seriously! I don’t mind a warm spell now and then but I have a real problem with being roasted alive on a daily basis. Tonight we’re off to a show-and-go in a wonderfully air conditioned building. I’ll probably have to take a jacket. There’s four months and two weeks until meteorological winter begins on Dec. 1. I can’t wait.