It’s been the fastest “long year” I’ve had, days drug on – the year seemed to fly though. I would not care too much to repeat it. 52 weeks of 55-60 work weeks (all things dogs excluded), with 70+’ers not uncommon, has come to a close and that is a grand thing.
Conditioning has been going on for sometime, all dogs participating in our own version of OTA’s. Timber rattlers are still unfortunately a reality so conditioning is primarily one of two choices, roading off a mountain bike or free running in snake-less and coincidentally bird-less covers. The dogs get blanked enough on wild birds as it is while being run in what have been traditionally ‘birdie’ areas so there’s no need to further frustrate them beyond the norm. I stick to roading from a bike and providing bird work in the yard. We’ll hit the woods mid-September to start knocking the off-season rust off on wild birds. In the meantime the bike tires will continue their familiar hum as the dogs continue to pull with reckless abandon. They’ve all seemed to get the hang of it and it has even become old hat for me. The color has returned to my knuckles and I’m braking less and despite the fact that the average speed has increased. It has been like putting a 50cc engine on a light framed bike with one speed, full throttle.
I’ve got a few road trips in the works for this fall, about 3,000 miles worth with stops in MI, WI and MN. We are gearing up, but honestly we have yet to get that cold snap to really fire us up that puts our fall-clock countdown into motion, the time being kept by the walnut trees around the house. The first few leaves begin to yellow at the beginning and the there’s just a few leaves left clinging to branches as opening day comes in. It’s good to be back.