I’m not sure who it is ..

I’ve been wondering when those that farm the fields around us will be harvesting. The season is well underway in eastern South Dakota, yet our acreage remains surrounded by row after row of golden corn stalks.

“There are some trucks and a van on our road, I’m not sure who it is,” my daughter just said to me, having gone out for a breath of fresh air. She’s been home sick much of the day. I’m not paying any attention to the traffic, instead I’m looking her over, wondering if she may truly be getting back on her feet a bit.

Harvest Semi

A semi, combine, grain cart and some other vehicles literally just pulled up moments ago and it won’t be long the landscape around us will look very different. And, ready for winter.

While the Cowboy and I run together most of the time, he went without me this morning. I’m glad I noticed how beautiful it was. I snuck out onto the front porch as he was heading down the driveway. Barefoot, my feet seemed to burn on what was one of our first frosts of the season. But, I stood there until he turned onto the road and snapped this shot ..

Morning run

Skunk – 2, Dogs – 0

We decided to attempt another run Tuesday morning .. our first since Saturday afternoon.

(In both of our attempts to get back in shape and tone up, pathetic.  I know.  But it is what it is right now.  Plus, we weren’t sure it was safe or that we were ready for another trip down the road.  At least that’s the story we’re going with.)


“Should we take the dogs,” said the Cowboy?

“Might as well,” I said.


I’m pretty sure, thanks to the sage advice (and sorry that so many of you know all too well the answer to this) of many, many friends, the skunk smell is gone.  But I also haven’t put my nose quite close enough to the area of impact to really investigate if we’re totally in the clear.

Within moments of posting the last entry here this past Saturday, the Cowboy and I took off on our usual run down the road.  Not thinking anything about the dogs running ahead, because that is what they usually do, we were talking and laughing and overall trying to focus on our breathing as the South Dakota winter winds sometimes make that a challenge.. when out of the corner of my eye, I saw it.

I had seen it days before ambling down the road and swerved to avoid hitting it.   The last thing I wanted to deliberately do was hit a skunk with my car and have the smell in my car.  Apparently, that was the wrong thing to do.  Because it was now in a standoff with our black lab and the smell going to come home with me anyway.

Lab #1 not sure what to do, stood about a half a foot away, wanting to play as it usually does with small critters.  In the back of her mind, we could tell she knew it might not be a wise thing to do.  I screamed.  Then Cowboy and I started shouting her name at the top of our lungs, ‘Get out of there!’  Slowly but surely, the skunky turned around, and sprayed.  (It would have been a hilarious scene, I’m quite certain, had anyone been around to see it.)

As dog #1 ran toward us for help or, just ran toward us .. dog #2 reappeared out of the ditch.  Foaming, it seemed, at the mouth.  I grabbed her collar thinking we needed to keep her from seeing the skunk too or she’d go after it.  Not realizing, she had already been sprayed – in and around her mouth – hence the foam/massive amounts of spit & drool that were now doing their best to try and help her rinse the stench out.

We ran home and I spent the better part of the weekend giving peroxide/baking soda/Dawn dish soap sponge baths.

Out of about 100 Facebook responses (thank you everyone for being so quick to help!) for how best to get skunk spray off of a dog, most seemed to echo this answer, in case we ever need it again:

1 box baking soda, small bottle of hydrogen proxied, small amount of dish soap (dawn works well). Mix together with water in a gallon bucket of water. Sponge down the hound let it sit for 15 minutes rinse & repeat if oder lingers. This method may tenporaly bleach the coat.  Vinegar and water in a bucket works fairly well too…might take a little longer.

Tomato juice is a temporary fix…the odor will return, posted this particular writer.  His sentiments echoed by many.  We stayed away from tomato juice.  I could just picture the dogs shaking that off and having tomato juice to clean up everywhere as well.


We, and the dogs, have not gone back down the road for a run, since.  Until today.

Ready to run ..

Ready to run ..

While I pray we never have another up close and personal skunk encounter ..

The dogs seem far more determined now, to find it rather than avoid it.  The two looked like they were on a mission.   Paybacks, we are guessing, is going on in their little minds.  Who knows.  But because I’m not giving up running, I’m thinking it will probably be a good idea to stock up on the essentials.

Adding to this week’s grocery list:  More Hydrogen peroxide.  Baking soda.  Dawn dish soap.  

Girls (minus one) On The Run ..

Not going to do it.

That’s the final answer from my ten year old about taking part in this springs Girls on the Run race here in Madison.


We’ve gone through the spring program.  She has done relatively well.  Given running more of a try.  Made some new friends.  I’m just happy she continues to try new things that have her staying active, involved and getting some exercise.  But after telling me the past few weeks she wants to do the run while telling her father no she wants nothing to do with it, we’ve made a decision.  There will be no running the 5k this weekend, the race that is supposed to be the culmination of a spring of training..

While I feel sad about that and feel strongly she should finish out the program, because the feeling of crossing a finish line and the rush of having done a race, no matter the pace or how much pain you may be in, is wonderful and inspiring ..

Or while I worry that instead of digging deep when the going gets tough, she instead on many occasions chooses to, I believe, give up or act like she isn’t interested ..

While it gives me one more reason to be concerned she often defaults to what she feels mom or dad want her to do versus what she feels she wants to do ..

I’m happy that she signed up and went through the last few months of an incredible program.


That she chose to participate twice a week in a program that had her not only exercising, but also in a social setting where adults and kids have a safe environment to discuss some of the challenges that come with being in that age group, 3rd-5th grade.  That she felt at times, stronger for trying something she wasn’t sure she could do.  And still isn’t.  But that she may be more apt to give a shot in the future.  That there is such a program out there to help families and communities build strong young women, who could very well go on to become leaders.  Who run.  Or who don’t.  But who know the value of working hard toward a goal and that feeling of crossing a finish line on any project one sets their mind to.    That she got her feet wet in a/another sport that teaches individual hard work is just as important to a team .. as a team working together to get things done.

She may not be running the race this weekend .. but that’s okay.  I’m hoping, if nothing else, the lessons GOTR also offers each practice will give her more confidence all around, a better feel for path she is on in life, and the pace in which she wants to run it.

‘Try this,’ my 10-year-old says..

I was going to post earlier today .. the answer to ‘Most Asked Question #2‘ when it comes to me and the Cowboy.  The, ‘He lives there and you’re here?  How did you meet?’ post.  But that’ll come later, I guess.  My internet is giving me hell.  I didn’t get a chance to tweak it.  That’ll happen yet tonight, I would imagine.

In the meantime, I’ve had the most wonderful afternoon with my daughter.  And given I want her to have as much of me and ‘us’ documented to remember .. I’m going to take this moment to write about our evening.  Because there is much to be savored.  Literally.


There is a store in Madison where, every Wednesday, when I pick my daughter up from school for either the two days I have her each week or the 5 .. we stop to pick up fresh produce.  Because neither she nor I can get enough of it …

Other stores carry produce.  I shop there too.  But usually, none can compare to what we find at this particular Madison based store.  It is just that good.  Or, at least we know it’s that good.  Because, well, because there are samples.  For EVERYTHING.

“Mom,” she says, chasing me around the store with another sample of something.  Always.  “Try this!  You HAVE TO TRY THIS!  Can we get one of these?” she says.

Great marketing.  It works.  We usually walk out with far more than what we would have gotten otherwise.


I’m estatic we have a chance to get home tonight and do little other than finish up homework.  Hang out together.  Cook.  And give the dogs some exercise after being cooped up much of the past two days while the rest of the Midwest comes to life now that spring has sprung.

I put the pork chops in the oven, get the snap peas ready to go for when I return.. and go for a run with one of the dogs.

I was gone 15 minutes.

I come back, she’s cutting up a pear.  I think little-to-nothing of it.

I go back to getting dinner ready.

“Please keep working on your homework,” I say.

I find a granola bar wrapper.

And, as I go to put the other groceries away, I find the cheese, open.

“Did you eat more than the pear?” I ask.  “You’re going to ruin your appetite and we have a nice dinner tonight.”

“What,” she says.  “I only had cheese, a granola bar.. and, I had a pear.”

She pauses a few seconds.

“And I’m still hungry.”

We sit down moments later to a wonderful meal of pork chops, steamed sugar snap peas, fresh salad topped with strawberries and cantaloupe to round it out.

She’s right.  She is still hungry.

And these are moments that remind me, despite how often I’ve been told by her father over the years I am far from being the best mother (to put it mildly) .. make me feel like if I’ve done anything right, she will grow in so many ways, into a healthy young woman.

My 10 year old is growing, in more ways than one.  Precious moments like these, I’m so grateful to realize pass us by too quickly .. to not be savored.

Now about that ice cream for dessert …

Runners étiquette ..

We hadn’t gone far Saturday morning..

When we ran across another runner.

“Hi,” I said …

“Hi,” … she replied.  Smiling.

The Cowboy was running alongside me.  He said nothing.  The only sound coming from him, now a step in front of me to make room on the path for the other runner .. was his breathing and the sound of his shoes hitting the bare pavement.

“Hey,” I said.  “I’ve never asked, but do you know runner’s etiquette?”

The Cowboy starts laughing…

“You remember where I live, right?” says the Cowboy.  Now we’re both laughing.  “The only thing I run by when I go running… are some cows.”


I love that I live in a city full of runners.  Long distance, short distance, professionals and novice runners.  And I couldn’t live on a bigger thoroughfare for athletes in this town.  I’m just a hop, skip and a jump from the main loop many train on each day, so hitting the path to do something I’ve done since I was just a little kid, do now to stay in shape and enjoy immensely, is easy.

While it may seem like you just go out and jog.. there are some rules runners live by.  (Despite being a runner, I do not know them all..)

First, say hello when you pass another runner.  Or at the very least, a small wave as you glance over and keep going on your journey.  When others are on the path, or if you’re on a sidewalk, stay in your ‘lane’.  If someone is coming at you, stay to your right.  If you’re on the street because there are no sidewalks, do the exact opposite.  Run into traffic so that they can better see you and you them.  Keep your shoes tied.  Your head up, unless you’re running a big hill and then sometimes its better to look down right in front of where you’ll take your next step so that the hill doesn’t look so intimidating.  Long distance runs?  Strike heel to toe, don’t land on the ball of your foot.  Sprinting is another story.  And breathe.  Probably the most important there.  Some of those last points weren’t etiquette.  Just good advice I’ve gotten over the years.  I think.  Take it or leave it.

One more thing, if you’re running with a dog.. or even walking, pick up after it for the love of Pete.  (Don’t ask who Pete is.  Just needed a name there.  And picking up after them, a discussion yet to come..)

The first time I took the Cowboy running with the dogs, he had one of their leashes full out and almost clotheslined a biker who expected that as they got closer, the dogs leash would get shorter and the dog out of his way.  If I weren’t laughing so hard trying to help the Cowboy reign in the dog.. I might have been mortified.

As we laugh.. there is a seriousness to it all.  And a system.  And we chuckle as we get ready to head out on another run..  they forgot to add, ‘say hello’.

There are over 40 miles of bicycle paths in Madison. These paths are used by a variety of users; including bicycle commuters, recreational bicyclists, families, pedestrians and skaters. By following a few basic rules, these paths can be shared safely by all users.

  • All users should keep to the rightside of the path, except to pass.
  • When traveling side-by-side, stay on the right half of the path.
  • Faster users should yield to slower users.
  • Always travel at a safe speed,with due regard for others. Faster users may want to consider alternate routes to ensure the safety of all users.
  • Pass others on the left by slowing down, giving an audible warning such as calling out, “Excuse me, passing left”, and waiting for a reaction before passing.
  • Move off the pathway when stopping.
  • Be careful when crossing streets and driveways. Watch for traffic and make sure other drivers are aware of the path and your presence.