Saturday, August 7, 2010

Storm clouds overhead

Fast-moving clouds sped past the caboose where I work. They didn't look the best but nothing came from them.

I really do hate summer storms. I imagine it comes from the years on the farm when I was a little girl and trips to the cellar were not drills but to get away from the real thing - tornadoes!

My dad always watched the clouds and told us when to head for the cellar, which was maybe 150 feet from the house. The only problem was that Dad waited until the storm was there and THEN told us to head for the cave. Many times we made it just as the storm was hitting.

One night Mom and Dad yelled up the stairs for my brother and me to get downstairs immediately. As we ran down the stairs we could hear the roar of a tornado and bricks from a chicken house in the yard were slamming against the side of the house. The house wasn't damaged that much but a brick chicken house that had been described as indestructible was leveled and bricks were found more than a mile away. I don't remember what happened to the chickens, but I suspect they didn't fare very well.

I can tolerate summer storms a lot better if I am at home and in my basement. My house is old but it is built solid and it takes a tremendous storm for me to feel it.

Luckily for me, storms in this area usually happen after 7 or 8 p.m., so I've been home an hour or two before the storms hit. The other day, though, storms moved through about 3 or 4 p.m. The clouds looked threatening but I counted only 5 raindrops on the caboose window.

Much ado about nothing.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Two photos and a rant

Two volunteers outstanding in their field.
OK, dumb joke, but that's what came to mind when I saw these two corn stalks towering over a field of soybeans.

This little fellow lives somewhere around the caboose/tourist information center where I am working this summer. Every afternoon he ventures out to nibble some tender blades of grass. He blends in quite well, doesn't he? He doesn't let me get very close, so thank goodness for a camera that lets me zoom in on him.


THE RANT: About 7:15 p.m. yesterday I was at the grocery store. According to the thermometer on my car it was 88 degrees outside.

When I came out of the store, there was a van two cars down from me and inside were two dogs. The one may have been a bulldog cross and the other was a beautiful German shepherd puppy, maybe 6 or 7 months old.

The owner had left the driver and passenger windows down about 7 inches or so. Both dogs had their noses out the open windows. Can you imagine how hot it was inside that car?

I sat and watched as people came out of the store with their packages.

Surely it was these two teenagers who had so thoughtlessly put their pets in danger. No, they walked right on by.

A disheveled man with a scruffy beard came out of the store. It had to be his dogs. No, he walked on by, too.

The well-dressed woman didn't look like she would be carrying dogs around in her car and certainly not exposing them to the heat. I was right. She walked on by.

One of my purchases had been a bag of ice cubes, so while I waited and watched, I found a pair of pliers in my car and picked up an ice cube (I wasn't sure if they were friendly or not). I tried to give it to the dog through the window. The boxer took a few licks but didn't offer to take it. The puppy would have taken it but I couldn't reach him in the back seat.

After 20 minutes I decided to drive around the store and keep returning until I could see the dogs were OK. I actually considered calling the police, but I didn't.

As I was driving off, a middle-aged woman came out with her cart full of groceries and began putting them in the back of the van. I wanted to confront her, but I also didn't want to create a scene in a public place.

I do, however, have the name of the ball team her daughter (or granddaughter) plays on and her son's name and what soccer team he is on. I'm not psychic - there were stickers on the back window.

According to an article on

Leaving your dog in the car during the summer (even when it doesn't seem all that hot to you) is similar to putting your dog inside of an oven! Seriously. The temperatures heat up so quickly that your dog becomes completely helpless when trapped inside the car on a hot day.

Believe it or not, leaving the windows partially open is NOT enough. Parking in the shade WON'T keep the car cool enough either.

They sweat differently too. Dogs sweat by panting and by sweating from their paws. However, a dog trapped in a hot car cannot effectively rid its body of enough of the heat by panting and sweating -- simply because there's not enough cool, fresh air to replace the heated, stale air.

You can read the complete article here:

If you are going to be getting out of your vehicle for even a few minutes in the heat of summer, please, please leave your dogs at home.