*Another snow day.

I just heard one of the local Sioux Falls 10pm anchors say, “she recommends you take a multivitamin and maybe go tanning”.  The statement rounded out a report about a growing number of people experiencing depression due to the seemingly never-ending winter here.  Tanning.  Extreme measures apparently for extreme situations.  That’s not really something you hear people recommend anymore.

……………….

I’m not sure that in 6 years of school in Madison, Wisconsin .. we’ve had as many snow days as we’ve had in 3 months of school in South Dakota.

The house has been bustling it seems, at least a couple days each week this ‘spring’, with our 11 y.o. home from school.  Snowbound.  There have been countless late starts.  Early releases.  Days of no school at all.

Today was another early release.  And while the snow had only been falling a couple of hours .. by the time school had gotten out, the normal trip in to bring her home took 3x as long as usual.

I cancelled some afternoon business meetings I had really wanted to get to as a result.  I just didn’t want to risk it.  Again.

snowy roads

One of the more heavily traveled roads in and out of town ..

Country roads here are a different beast than they are, back in the Badger State and the Prius has been a champ of a car so far.  While I adore the gas mileage and it’s been a great vehicle for us, I desperately need 4 wheel drive.

Why?  Because everyone else has them and I’m the little (wo)man out there fighting the good fight, it seems.  Everyone’s always waiting on me to stop holding up traffic.  Passing.  Splashing.  Waiting for me to hit the ditch so that they can pass.  Well, they’re not that crass.  But you get the idea.  Either that or I need chains for my tires.

When snow falls here, it doesn’t fall.  It blows.  Sideways.  And where there aren’t massive random drifts, the snow sticks on the roads really, only when vehicles drive over it.  Creating an unbelievable icy mess even the plows seem to have a tough time clearing and getting out in front of.  So everything instead, shuts down.  Schools.  Businesses.  Highways.

This past month snowstorms have closed the Interstates here north to south and east to west pretty much across the entire state on multiple occasions.   And kept us home more than I’d ever imagined.   Hard to believe.  The Cowboy worries it’s just hard for me to be home so much.  A big switch from having a job that had me going into work to report the news regardless of the weather – getting into the anchor desk however I had to get there.  Now, being a product of the news and bunkering down at home to ride what has been at least one major storm a week.

Short of getting a little restless, and having my own work from home days disrupted by a house full of family that was supposed to be elsewhere for the entire day .. it’s been strangely entertaining and a bit refreshing to have everyone around and just spend some down time together with nowhere else to go.  In part, because we can’t.

Speaking of refreshing .. this snow shouldn’t stick around long.  And hoping it’s the last we see of it this spring.  Temps are supposed to be in the 70’s by the weekend.

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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.)

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“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.  

Diesel.

I’ve driven a hybrid car .. oh, probably 6 years now.

It takes regular unleaded, like every other car I’ve ever driven.  While it gets great mileage and has been a wonderful car for us, the Prius doesn’t do all that great on ice.  And the warmer temperatures, melting snow, sleet and heavy fog recently have made for some slick rural roads.

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So I’ve been taking the truck.

……………

“Hey,” I said to the Cowboy over the phone .. “Diesel 1 or Diesel 2.  I can’t remember.”

“Make sure you’re not at the pumps for farm fuel!” said the Cowboy, somewhat in a panic I was at the wrong pump and may have already started putting gas in the truck.

“Don’t worry, I’m not,” I replied to him over the phone, not knowing what difference that would make.  (I filed the question in the back of my mind for later)

The Pumps

I had called to ask again, which Diesel for the Dodge.  Usually the Cowboy makes sure there is enough gas in it.  But as I have been the one to use the truck versus my Prius the past couple of days, I wanted to be sure to return the favor and fill it up.  Only the second time doing so on my own, I knew there was a method as to what went into the tank and why, I just couldn’t remember what it was.

What’s the weather supposed to be like, he said to himself out loud.

“I think it’s supposed to be nice,” the Cowboy continued.  “I guess you can go with Diesel 2 for now.  It’s not all that cold out so you shouldn’t need number one.”

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Diesel 2, he explains to me as I sit down to write for the first time in a very long time, apparently gels up if it gets too cold.  He let me know, I would most likely get stranded alongside the road if the wrong diesel is in the tank and the temperatures plummet.

Sincerely good to know.

…………

Also good to know why it mattered if I was at the Farm Diesel pump:

– Farm fuel is good for tractors and other farm related equipment.

– It is the same diesel, it just isn’t taxed.

– The Cowboy says there is about a $ .50 tax on every gallon of gas we buy.  I ask, are you sure it’s $ .50 and he says, pretty close.  (May differ by state.)  I don’t feel like fact checking this morning so I’m going with it.

– There is a dye in farm fuel and if you get picked up, police can check your tank.  If you have farm fuel in your truck, it is at the very least, a $1000 fine.

………….

The things we’re learning .. living on a dirt road.