Saturday, October 18, 2008

Today? Just Depends....

Yesterday a friend asked "What are your plans for tomorrow?" I had to reply "that just depends." It depends primarily on whether or not my darned truck will run.

We've been enjoying unseasonably cold weather for mid October, and those who follow my Blog know it has wreaked havoc with the fuel system. More specifically, the relatively high paraffin content of #2 diesel fuel has wreaked havoc. As the temperature cools the paraffin wants to become a solid, so it crystallizes (gels)and clogs up the system, making it impossible for fuel to flow to the engine. That is the problem I've been fighting.

Thursday the temperature at my house was warm enough for the fuel to flow just fine (+7 degrees), but as drove into the lower temperatures in the flats (around -5 degrees) it apparently was cold enough for the fuel to gel. That left me dead at the side of the road. I had the truck towed home, put a torpedo heater under it and some anti-gel compound in the tank, and once the truck started I let it idle for several hours, hoping enough of the compound would circulate through the system to make things right.

Yesterday morning the temperature here was about 0 (F). The truck started fine, but died shortly afterward. When the temperatures warmed I was able to start the truck and let it idle without a problem. With the gauge reading under 1/4 tank, I drove it up to our local store where I was assured the diesel tanks now contain #1. I filled the tank with the winter-grade fuel, added an appropriate amount of anti-gel compound and now it is just a matter of learning whether or not it solved the problem.

So does that affect my plans for today and the near future? Well, if the problem is indeed solved I'll load the dogs in the truck and take them up to Lynn's place to give them a good training run. Our training schedule will be resumed as originally planned, the dogs will get the training miles they need and life will be good again.

If the truck doesn't want to run properly I'll have to hunt up a qualified mechanic, somehow get the truck to his or her shop, and no doubt spend a great deal of money I can ill afford to get the darned thing back into operation. Then I'll have to figure out a way to bring my four-wheeler (ATV) home from Lynn's place to lay in my feeder trail so I can train from my own yard, assuming Potlatch Creek is well enough frozen to support the weight of the machine.

Either way I can ease into the day. As I write I'm enjoying the first cup of coffee of the day. I'll water the dogs in about half an hour or so and then try to start the truck. In the meantime I'll try to not worry too much about it.

Setting aside the truck issue, yesterday was busy in other areas as well. I did some housekeeping, which included disassembling, cleaning out, and reassembling my vacuum cleaner. It's one of those cheap, Walmart specials and has some design flaws that make it a bit incompatible with dog hair. There is a 90 degree bend where the suction hose enters the collection container that tends to get clogged up. Some days I wish the damned thing would just fry so I could justify getting another, better one. Of course if it did I would probably complain about the need to spend the money. In any event, I doubt I would be shopping at Walmart - stuff from Walmart sucks - unless it is supposed to suck. Then it doesn't.

LOL - after spending time tidying things up in the living room I brought in puppies. Now everything that was on or near the floor is sitting up on the table, benches, chairs or any other elevated surface. As puppies found new, interesting things to explore and either play with or chew on I traded treats for things, and set them up out of reach. Let's just say that things look pretty cluttered up here at the moment.

I made a quick trip to town to buy anti-gel for the truck and stock up on dog food. Even with the discount I get for purchasing 10 bags of food at a time I had to pay nearly $48.95 per 40# bag. That was a hit as this brand of dog food has cost $10.00 per bag less in the recent past. I think that's why I'm so concerned about money, or the lack of money, today. I still need to buy straw for bedding, and I'm afraid my kennel budget is very, very close to being busted.

Back at the house I fired up the truck and while it sat idling I vaccinated the three puppies (the second round of three) and gave Daisy and Sheenjek their monthly Adequan injections.

Meanwhile, even though the temperatures aren't totally brutal, I've been keeping the puppies inside the house at night. During the evening I bring them in one at a time for some one-on-one behavior training and play time. Surprisingly, Orion is having trouble negotiating the stairs in the house. He did well with the open, steel grated stairs at my place of employment, but the steep and taller stairs to access my kitchen and living room seems daunting to the little boy. Both of his sisters scamper up and down them without any difficulty at all.

Capella is the quiet one of the three. She happily comes upstairs, performs the behaviors she knows and apparently enjoys working on the new ones. She's a "no fuss" little girl who is up for about anything I wish to do.

Cassiopeia ("Cassie") is the spark plug of the bunch. She is the one who most obviously tries to decide whether or not to give the behavior I cue, weighting the benefit of doing what I ask versus doing something else. Sometimes the 'something else' wins out. Of the three she is the most challenging to train. She's a quick study, and it is a challenge to keep things interesting enough to engage her racing little brain.

Okay, I've almost finished my second up of coffee. I'll drag on some clothing (2 relatively heavy layers this morning), feed the puppies, water all the dogs in the kennel, scoop the pens and yard, and dispense copious quantities of love and affection. What happens from there just depends.

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