From the Creek: Friday Jots mid Dec ’11

â–¶ Call it the cost of doing business–spending unsexy money upgrading software so old it is barely supported by tutorials and such. There was, at least, a 20% discount on the upgrade from Adobe Creative Suite 3.0 (an upgrade from the very inexpensive earlier version I got on academic discount when I was teaching at Radford) to CS 5.5 Standard.

So now, I have yet a few more learning curves to climb my way up. But knowing I can search and find tips that fit my software version, that is worth a lot of peace of mind. I used InDesign this morning to create bookmarks–instead of buying cards for the perfunctory exchange at church. At least when the bookmark is tossed a few days later, the waste is less.

â–¶ We are still scheduled to meet three puppies on the asphalt of the Food Lion parking lot in Hillsville tomorrow. I wish the setting was less artificial and the time less formal and brief. It will be hard to make a decision under these circumstances. The pups are shepherd (the mom) and probably lab (the dad) mix.

â–¶ Anyone have experiences with Australian Shepherds? I see them as a potentially wonderful breed to be a part of one’s family, but I worry that, with so much of my activity indoors and desk-bound these days, I would not be able to keep such an intelligent and eager dog adequately busy and entertained and challenged, especially through the winter months.

â–¶ On the geek front, I have returned (again) to Workflowy as my prime stay-focused too, running it in a Fluid-App window. It’s strong suit is the outline format, the improved keyboard shortcuts, and the speed with which it responds, including “heisting” topic levels to center focus. A plus looking ahead is that it will (someday soon?) work offline as well as on, and that it works (at least for reading and some writing edits) on the iPhone as well. Check it out.

â–¶ I bit the bullet and signed up for Amazon Prime today. We ordered two “baby gates” for controlling access of the would-be new pup, to restrict his muddy paws from reaching the carpet, such as it is. Shipping would have been close to $20, so the FREE shipping with the Prime account has paid for a quarter of the yearly cost. We’ll see how it works out next December. The free streaming video movies access that comes with the Prime account doesn’t thrill me. We’ll be keeping Netflix.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. I adopted an older Aussie Shepherd, and had a Queensland Heeler mix too. They’re water-averse to the point of phobia (or at least, mine were) so mine would never have touched the snow with a delicate little paw. A puppy might like trouncing through it, though, and thereby exhaust himself looking for brightly colored balls or something. They’re brilliant, though (my heeler could open tupperware) – get them a few of those puzzle balls where they have to work the treats out from the inside and that will probably keep them entertained.

  2. My stepson has owned an Aussie, and they live in a Brooklyn apartment, where I have stayed for a few days at a time. They take him down the elevator for a walk 3 times a day, and since the baby came, they don’t give the dog much attention. I haven’t seen any issues with the dog, although I feel sorry for the small amount of attention it gets. When I take it for a walk, it is easy to handle. I don’t think they did any obedience training stuff.

  3. My very-near neighbor has 3 Australian Shepherds. One seems to have sense and is is mild mannered, and I don’t mind him at all even though he does roam a lot. The other two have major behavior issues, get in the road, cause near-accidents or nearly get hit. They run the woods and yards, literally bark for hours, chase bikes, and take runs at walkers and my family in my own yard. I do not let my 3 yr old granddaughter outside when those dogs are loose. I realize a good amount of the behavior issues are the owner’s fault, and maybe simply because they have nothing else to do, but I can’t help but feel it’s more than that. My understanding of the dogs from some substantial reading trying to figure out their behaviors and good ol’ Animal Planet’s Dogs 101 is that they are smart but definitely need a firm hand and lots to do.

  4. One of my neighbors rescues and trains AU shepherds, and she loves them. I think from what I see, they are intelligent dogs, and they are very active.