I've had a four-day gig watching Winston and Chloe while their owners attended a family reunion on the Oregon coast. They sent me cheerful messages about going on dune-buggy rides and kayak river trips and how lovely the sandy beaches were on 70-degree days. Meanwhile, I did this:
Four dachshunds do fit neatly into the back seat of my car. And they didn't get into any altercations on our drive to the park--they are well-mannered pups. Luckily, I didn't have to try walking four dogs at once, since Truman doesn't like to walk away from the car (only towards it), and Chloe is 14 and prefers to stroll.
Pippin and Winston had no trouble getting out and about, though.
On the way back towards the car, I let Truman get his exercise while forcing Pip to ride for a bit.
Truman, however, refused to be photographed. It is hard to take pictures while pushing a stroller and walking two dogs on leashes. They wouldn't all get in the frame at once.
Chloe did get a short walk at the very end of our outing.
And finally I kind of sort of managed to get all four dogs in the same shot.
This little adventure took place at 7:00am. Why? Because by 8:00am it was already too hot. While I had to turn the heat back on in my house during the first week of July, when it barely cracked 60 for the high, this past week it's been 80+ relentlessly. Yesterday it hit 91. Today and tomorrow should top out at 87.
There is no air conditioning at Dog End.
I seem to write a lot about the weather on this blog. Well, it affects me greatly--my hobbies are birdwatching (kind of need to be outside, mostly), dog-walking (ditto), plein air sketching (obviously) and gardening (I don't do houseplants).
Thus my obsession with weather. It's not terribly predictable here, most of the time. Mostly we get vague intimations of what it might be like--I mean, what exactly is the difference between "partly cloudy" and "patches of sunshine"? Why does the forecast have a full-sun icon next to "20% chance of precipitation"? And why do people from elsewhere look at us funny when we talk about "sunbreaks"?
Ah, well, the mysteries of Pacific Northwest weather will never end. I just get up every morning and scan the gray blanket overhead for signs of blue holes.
Meanwhile, back to dachshund adorableness.
You may have noticed the poor quality of these photos. Or maybe you didn't. But I sure did! You know why?
I'll tell you why: they were taken with the poor quality camera on my smartphone. I didn't buy it for the camera, I bought it because it made phone calls and sent texts and accessed email and maps. I don't use if for anything else. It cost $30. I am frugal.
And why did I take these photos with a cheap smartphone?
Because my real camera broke down. This is the THIRD camera in five years that I've managed to destroy, due to my inability to keep them clean. Yes, they always come with cases, which I never wind up using, because when I'm out in the field (dust! dirt! grit!) looking at birds, and I see a great bird, the last thing I want to do is fumble around with a camera case while the great bird is thinking about jaunting off to Mexico.
So it's my own fault. Grit gets inside the lens housing, and the lens stops retracting properly. These are souped-up point-and-shoot cameras, not real DSLR cameras with interchangeable lenses. The lens unit is one solid piece and it costs nearly as much to take apart to repair as it does to buy a new one. Sigh.
The new one, by the way, is slated to arrive tomorrow. It comes with a case. Hm.
Finally, while it's been mostly too hot to go sketching, I did get out one day last week before the heat hit, to a small park called Twin Ponds where there are always good trees and fallen logs and other fun stuff. So here is my one sketch from the past week:
Stay cool out there!