This weekend we are honored to join Fur Angel Gibson from the FiveSibes blog and fellow epi-warrior, Olivia at Knotty Toys for Good Dogs for the 2022 edition acknowledging Purple Day for Epilepsy (with apologies for being a day late of the actual date, March 26-I got my dates mixed up).
You may recall, the Ranch’s resident Ninja (aka Elsa) was diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy a couple of weeks following her adoption. You can read part of her story here.
We are so grateful for all the info Gibson and Olivia have shared on their respective blogs about epilepsy and remain appreciative for their leadership in sharing information and resources. Please visit the Purple Day website for additional information about epilepsy. Elsa is living proof dogs who have been diagnosed with this condition can live relatively normal and productive lives.
Happy Groundhog Day, the day where normally intelligent people rely on a rodent who supposedly predicts the arrival of spring. I myself have never put much stock in this silliness but it made me wonder where did this madness originate.
Apparently (and unbeknownst to moi), the tradition of consulting a rodent for a sign of an early spring or a late winter stems from the Christian tradition of Candlemas having its roots in pagan observances. Wait, another pagan influence? Ahem…move over Halloween.
“Candlemas was originally a Celtic festival marking the ‘cross-quarter day,’ or midpoint of the season,” according to the Almanac website. With the halfway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox , a sunny day “predicted” the arrival of spring in about 6 weeks. Which, I might point out, is around the same time as the arrival of the spring equinox. Hmm, what a convenient ‘coincidence,’ you say?
Digging into just how we arrived at this annual rouse tradition where rodents predicte spring’s arrival, did you know there are a slew of season-predicting rodents, all from the Eastern part of the US. Probably the most famous of course is Punxsutawney Phil of Pennsylvania, followed by Dunkirk Dave and Staten Island Chuck both of New York, Millville Mel of New Jersey (who recently passed away and efforts to find a replacement were unsuccessful since groundhogs are hibernating this time of year), and Buckeye Chuck from Marion, Ohio. Interestingly this custom seemed to originate in Europe. Seems a bear brought the news to the French and Brits, while Germans looked to a badger for a sign of spring’s arrival. Why they just didn’t refer to the Gregorian calendar is beyond me, but then again…a lot of folklore seems baffling. When German immigrants arrived in Pennsylvania in the 1800’s, they brought the Candlemas legend with them. Pennsylvania being bereft of badgers but finding lots of groundhogs or woodchucks there, well lo and behold, an adaption of the legend came into being. Because a woodchuck is just a small bear, right? 😳
Anyway, I only had to look outside to realize spring ain’t coming any time soon. The Mile High was ‘gifted’ with between 8-12 inches of white stuff with wind chill factors pushing temperatures below zero.
These sunflower stalks in the front garden are about two feet tall and are pretty much halfway buried. The dogs weren’t very keen on trying to partake of their early morning ritual–going potty. Elsa gave me a look to chill my soul, though she bounced around once she finished while Norman’s eyes seem to ask…”do I really have to?” It’s safe to say today (and probably for the next few days) will be spent more indoors than normal given the brutally cold temps and Norman’s aversion for walking in snow.
If you were hit by this monster storm you already know the rodent’s prognostication wasn’t any kind of newsflash. And to think all we had to do was look at a calendar and not wake up some rodent from the squirrel family who shouldn’t be trusted anyway.
The good news is Friday is just a couple days away though. Stay safe and warm. Happy Hump Day.
[Editor’s note: Sorry for our absence for most of last week. The laptop required a regular tune-up and spent the time comfortably resting at the computer repair store until late Friday (my guy is a good tech and therefore often up to his eyeballs in alligators and malware-we had neither but it took a number of days to get through the queue). We sure missed you guys (I’m not adept at reading posts on a cell phone and had to wait to begin catching up on your posts and response to all the good Gotcha Day wishes for Norman until the laptop was returned. I’ve been working through the backlog as quickly as possible processing over 150 emails over the weekend but am still working through the remaining ones and hope to be finished later today.]
Welcome to the last day of January as well as the last day of the Year of the Ox on the Chinese lunar calendar. Beginning tomorrow, we will enter the Year of the Tiger and not just any tiger…the Water Tiger, which arrives every 60 years. The Water Tiger is action-oriented, representing strength by clearing away evil and a show of bravery.
We can all probably agreed that the Year of the Ox was a ‘tad’ stubborn and obstinate so we’re looking forward to a year that clears away the evil that seemed so prevalent for much of last year.
Did you know that Chinese New Year has been around since the 14th century? Based on the Lunar calendar, it is represented by one of 12 zodiac animals-the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. Along with those animals, five elements of earth, water, fire, wood and metal are also associated with each year.
The Year of the Tiger occurs in the following years: 1902, 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022 with individuals born in those years often possessing qualities of the animal itself, and are frequently courageous, assertive and natural leaders. Tiger sign individuals may be “hungry for thrill or crave attention, may be short tempered but capable of generosity.” Those born this year are said to have great interpersonal relationships, and are very family oriented. The last year of the Water Tiger was 1962.
Celebrations during the New Year include family banquets, parades which include outdoor spectacles featuring firecrackers/fireworks and dancing dragons. The Ranch Hands are definitely not keen on the whole notion of fireworks-instead we’ll stick with eating ourselves stupid and hoping for a few red envelopes with money (another tradition during Chinese New Year. In other words, no boomers for this ‘Boomer’ or her pups.
For a gander at various sites about the Chinese New Year, check out this link: https://g.co/kgs/14Lif7. I especially enjoyed the animation added by those clever Google geeks.
The Cantonese New Year greeting is “Gong Hei Fat Choy” (恭喜發財), which means “wishing you prosperity.” Around the Ranch we’ll just say “Happy New Year.” Anyway you say it, we hope the Year of the Tiger brings you prosperity and good luck.
While visiting my dad again this week, I couldn’t help but take notice what is often referred to as the Wolf Moon last night. What is a Wolf Moon, you ask? It’s the first moon of January but officially arrived on Monday, Jan. 17, at 6:48 p.m. EST (1148 GMT). Like other full moons, it can be seen for about 3 days. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, its origin comes from Native Americans who often heard wolves howling during cold winter nights this time of year. The Wolf Moon is also known as the Ice Moon, the Moon after Yule, the Old Moon and the Thaipusam Festival Moon, among other names.
Although I didn’t bring my DSLR for this trip, I thought I’d see if the new cell phone might be able to reasonably capture it. It’s not a great image, but shooting anything in low light conditions without a tripod can be tricky but for a small, convenient device generally held in one’s pocket, it’s not too terribly bad.
As the first full moon of 2022, it shines brightly in the evening hours. A full moon can impact some dogs who suffer from epilepsy so I always try to be a bit aware of this time every month for Elsa’s sake, in case it triggers a seizure in her. According to Space.com, a full moon occurs when the moon is exactly on the opposite side of the Earth from the sun and occurs roughly once a month. The timing is determined by where the moon is relative to the Earth rather than where it appears in the sky, which is slightly different depending on where you’re located, according to the website.
Since the full moon is on the opposite side from the sun, folks in the Northern Hemisphere will see it relatively high in the sky (since the moon is in roughly the same position the sun would be during the daytime during summer months). In the Southern Hemisphere, the opposite would be true.
The Wolf Moon may not be the only interesting sight seen in the night sky these days. Jupiter as well as Saturn may also be visible, with Saturn appearing to the lower right above Jupiter at two degrees above the horizon and setting shortly thereafter. With the city’s light pollution, I’d likely need a telescope in order to see them, if at all.
If you missed this month’s full moon, the next one will appear on Wednesday, Feb. 16 and will appear full for about three days, from about midnight Tuesday morning to about midnight Thursday night.
Are you ready for a new season? No, not the one that’s due to arrive in 59 days, but who’s counting? I’m talking about another season. Besides more sunlight, ahem…’warm’ days, bugs and barbecues, there’s a season within summer I liken to pure evil hell, otherwise known as the grass-weed season.
You may recall a previous rant post about Foxtails (found here). Mostly found in the western part of the US, these innocent enough looking weeds can be very risky for dogs.
The barbs are uniquely designed to move in one direction–only forward. They burrow deeper and deeper into the fur. Noses, ears, between the toes, under the collar or armpits are the most frequently found spots. Removal from fur as soon as possible is important since they can be quite difficult to remove once they penetrate the skin. Once burrowed into the skin and if not treated, they can travel throughout the body. A dog sniffing the ground can easily inhale them into their noses, under an armpit, or get them caught in their ears and if not treated immediately, can result in serious problems resulting in an expensive visit to a vet.
The danger of foxtails goes beyond simple irritation. Because these tough seed barbs don’t break down inside the body, an embedded foxtail can lead to a serious infection. It can even lead to death if left untreated and these seeds can be hard to find in dog fur.
Foxtails move relentlessly forward and can migrate from inside your dog’s nose deep into their brain or be inhaled into and perforate a lung. Embedded foxtails can cause discharge, abscesses, swelling, pain, even death. If your dog is displaying any of the following symptoms, check for foxtails or talk to your vet. Make sure you check your good dog’s feet, ears, face, nose, genitals. Limping, excessive licking, head shaking, incessant scratching, redness, discharge, swelling, squinting or pawing are all symptoms your sweet dog may have picked up a foxtail. Foxtail season runs from May to December. Once foxtails dry out, they are like little sharp knives waiting to stick to someone or something.To remove, use a pair of tweezers if you can easily get to it. But if it’s deeply embedded, or if the area around it is red or swollen, call your vet right away. Remember, foxtails won’t come out on their own, and they can burrow deep within your dog.Prevention is your best weapon against this grass. Avoid overgrown grassy areas and remove these plants from your yard. Regular grooming/brushing can help.
Though not nearly as dangerous, are another seasonal weed-what I call Velcro grass. Not sure what the scientific name of this grass weed is, mostly I refer to it as evil bastard.
Notice all those nasty little seed heads? They stick like Gorilla® glue-to fur, socks, pant legs, whatever it can attach its little evil self to, and often spring up along sidewalks near the neighborhood ‘pee-mail bulletin board.’ When we came back from this morning’s constitution, I found one attached to Sam’s bandana. Elsa had a very small piece of one stuck to her check a couple of days ago. It was a real bugger getting rid of, you pretty much have to pull them out seed by seed since they tend to disintegrate when you try to remove them. Dogs aren’t typically keen on having lots of pulling out of their fur. It took several attempts to fully remove it.
Paws crossed this ‘season within the season’ doesn’t affect you or your good dog.
Last week I shared a list of safe essential oils that can be safely used on your dog (found HERE) and I didn’t want to forget our feline friends. Use of essential oils is a controversial topic for use on cats but there are some essential oils that are safe, with caveats.
Never having owned a cat, I had to consult Dr. Google. One thing I learned about cats is they are deficient in glucuronyl transferase, a liver enzyme that changes bilirubin into a form that can be removed through the bile. This compound also changes some hormones, medicines, and toxins into non-harmful by-products. Since uprights have a much higher tolerance for phenols, extra care when using essential oils on cats is critical. Harkening back to high school chemistry for a moment, you may recall that phenols are chemically active compounds which are found throughout nature, especially in plants (i.e. peppers contain capsaicin which is a phenol). Phenols exhibit a wide range of properties; some for their health benefits, while others are deadly poisonous. Only high quality, therapeutic grade oils (without phenols) should be considered for cats.
Cats possess an enhanced sense of smell, so diffusing essential oils has the potential to become overwhelming. That said, essential oils are likely more safe for cats than artificial fragrances and air fresheners. Even still, what your nose perceives as pleasant may not be perceived quite the same by your cat. When diffusing essential oils, a scent-free room for retreat is a good idea.
It should also be noted that a cat’s system is incredibly sensitive and some oils can be quite toxic. Essential oils with phenols should never be used and any safe oil used should be diluted in a quality carrier oil (a high-grade, pure vegetable oil is the catalyst that can make certain essential oils tolerable for cats. Some vets suggest the differential be dramatic: 50 drops of vegetable (the carrier oil) to 1 drop of essential oil though you should verify this ratio with your own vet as some recommend increasing that ratio up to 80- to 90-percent. Once properly mixed, you can place a drop of this mixture into your hands and pet your cat. Dilution and testing are two critical components when introducing your cat to essential oils, but before you start applying, it’s important to introduce these agents to your cat slowly.
The following oils are safe for use on cats and may be used in moderation (make sure your essential oil is phenol-free).
Cedarwood Repels pests and promotes healthy skin and coat. Chamomile Promotes relaxation and sleep and also supports healthy digestion. Lavender Relieves anxiety from separation or during long trips. Myrrh Can help fight allergies and promote healthy skin and coat. ClarySage Calms nervousness and excitability. Geranium Great for repelling pests and as a treatment for ear infections. Ginger Relieves pain from arthritis and hip dysplasia and supports healthy digestion. Marjoram Repels pests and helps treat skin infections and irritations.
Never apply essential oils at full strength on cats (and only use in a diffuser for short periods of time). not meant to be used near the eyes and ears of humans or cats. It only takes 6/100th of a drop of lavender oil to calm pets down. And just because paws have leathery pads, that doesn’t mean it’s safe to apply essential oils to them.
Avoid these oils:
Sweet birch oil
Tea tree oil
Remember always consult your vet before introducing new food, treatment, or any substances into your pet’s routine care. If using essential oils on your cat, be on the lookout for strange behavior (drooling, muscle tremors, difficulty walking, or lethargy). Contact your vet or the Pet Poison Helpline (800-213-6680) immediately, and especially if you notice redness on your cat’s skin, or if they begin pawing at their face following exposure to essential oils.
You’ve heard me talk about the benefits of using essential oils before and how you can incorporate them into your arsenal of homeopathic options. Did you know essential oils can be utilized in multiple ways?
*NOTE: Melaleuca (Tea Tree oil) and wintergreen oils are toxic to pets and never recommended for use.
Here is a list of 16 safe essential oils to use on dogs.
Carrot seed (Daucus carota) oil works well on dry skin prone to infection. Contains anti-inflammatory properties, with moderate antibacterial effects. Can also rejuvenate and stimulate tissue regeneration; it’s a good oil to use for healing scars.
Cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana) oil is antiseptic, tonifying, and it can stimulate blood circulation. Good for skin and coat conditioning and dermatitis of all types. Cedarwood has safe flea-repelling properties and is a safe to add to any flea-repellent blend for dogs.
German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) essential oil is anti-inflammatory. Safe and gentle to use on dogs and very effective controlling skin irritations caused by allergies, eczema, rashes, etc. Bonus, it’s a good oil for healing burns.
.Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) has different properties from German Chamomile. It is antispasmodic, pain relieving, and nerve-calming. A gentle oil to use for soothing and calming anxious dogs and effective for relief of muscle pains, cramps, puppy teething pain.
Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea) also has calming effects by sedating the central nervous system. Can be used to calm anxious dogs, but should only be used in small amounts properly diluted. NOTE: Do not use with pregnant dogs.
Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus radiata) is antiviral and anti-inflammatory. It is also an expectorant and is an excellent oil for use to relieve upper respiratory congestion (e.g. kennel cough), and when your good dog is having trouble breathing smoothly. There are two common eucalyptus oils: Eucalyptus globulus and Eucalyptus radiata. E. globulus has a stronger, harsher scent and may be overwhelming. E. radiata has a milder scent, is milder chemically-speaking as well and when diluted properly, E. radiata is safe for dogs, both topically and for inhalation. Be sure NOT to let your dog ingest. Note: Do NOT use on small dogs and puppies or on dogs prone to seizures.
Geranium (Pelargonium x asperum) is safe and gentle to use as a strong antifungal for dogs. Good for skin irritations (especially caused by yeast infections), and fungal ear infections in dogs. It is also effective in repelling tick if you make your own tick-repelling oil blend.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) when properly diluted, is non-irritating and safe to use on dogs in small amounts to treat motion sickness, because it has anti-nausea properties. Helpful with digestion and tummy upset, Ginger also has pain relieving properties. When used topically, it can help relieve pain in dogs with arthritis, dysplasia, strains and sprains.
Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum) is an expensive oil with numerous therapeutic properties. It is anti-inflammatory, pain relieving, and has regenerative effects and a good oil to have if your dog has skin issues, such as skin irritations, eczema, pyoderma, etc. Works well to heal wounds, such as bruises, scars, cuts, etc. (this works wonders on uprights too-I couldn’t get by without it for treating rotator cuff pain).
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) Don’t confused true Lavender oil (Lavandula angustifolia) with Spike Lavender essential oil (Lavandula latifolia). While true Lavender oil is very safe and gentle and can be used with most dogs, Spike Lavender oil should NOT be used with pregnant dogs. True Lavender oil has antibacterial, anti-itch, and nerve-calming properties and is good for many common ailments and problems, e.g. skin irritations, anxiety, insect bites, cuts and burns, etc. Lavender has calming properties for dogs who are stressed, nervous, or agitated. A study found that Lavender could calm excited dogs while traveling in cars.
Sweet Marjoram (Origanum majorana) has strong antibacterial properties. It is also calming and a muscle relaxant, can be used for bacterial skin infections and wound care. Sweet Marjoram also has insect-repelling properties.
Niaouli (Melaleuca Quinquenervia) If you or your dog don’t mind the scent of this oil, Niaouli is a must-have oil compared to Tea Tree oil (which may cause irritation) and is safe to use as an effective antiseptic oil that can disinfect and help fight bacterial infections.
Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) stimulates blood circulation and antispasmodic so it is a great oil for dogs with acute pain. Can be used to soothe pain caused by swelling, sprains and strains. Has anti-nausea properties, and works well with ginger to help dogs with motion sickness. It is generally safe when properly diluted and used topically, or for diffusion in low dilution. Note: Peppermint oil should not be used on small or pregnant dogs.
Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis) has calming and uplifting effects for uprights and dogs and is good for dogs with anxiety, and/or depression. It can also stimulate a dog’s appetite. If your dog is not eating (maybe due to stress or depression), diffusing this oil before mealtime may help. With deodorizing and flea-repelling properties, it can be added to your homemade dog shampoo.
Thyme ct. Linalool (Thymus vulgaris ct. linalool) There are many different chemotypes of Thyme essential oil but this is the only chemotype that is mild and safe enough for use on dogs. With pain relieving properties, it can be added to a blend to help with arthritis, rheumatism, or other joint pain. It’s also a powerful antibacterial, antifungal, with antiviral properties. It is an excellent choice for infections and other skin issues.
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) has sedative and nerve-calming effects, and is good for helping dogs with anxiety such as separation and noise anxiety.
If you’ve ever experienced that stinking dog smell and it’s not convenient to rush them to a tub but this recipe can help get rid of that odor until you can (or to refresh in between baths).
Essential oil can also be used as a preventative measure when you’re not into chemicals. Just follow the old adage: “dilution is the solution” when preparing a remedy.
A word of caution when using essential oils; they should be “therapeutic” grade (NOTE: “100% pure” is NOT the same as therapeutic which is safe to be ingested). Never allow your pet to ingest essential oils unless you’re using a therapeutic grade.
Have you used essential oils on your dog? Did it work for you? We’re just beginning to experiment with aromatherapy recipes and achieving good success. Last week (following the cluster of the Fourth of July), we used Wild Orange in a diffuser which helped chill Sam out sufficiently to handle a few noisy revelers over the holiday weekend.
While Sam and I are returning to West Pines today to bring smiles to mental health patients, I really wish I were in Hamburg, Germany. One of the most iconic symbols associated with this northern German port city. The Wasserträger Statue, has a colorful historic legend associated with it.
Before the city of Hamburg introduced the local water system in 1848, Wasserträgen (literal translation: “carrying water”) was a popular profession. One of those water bearers became part of local legend.
Johann Heinrich Bentz in was born in 1787 and was called Hans Hummel by local citizens. It’s believed that Bentz acquired the nickname once he moved into the former apartment of soldier Daniel Christian Hummel upon his death. The original Hummel was well-loved by the local children for his kind nature and thrilling war stories. The children teased the ‘new’ Hummel who was described as somewhat ill-tempered and grumpy compared to the ‘real’ Hummel and began taunting him with ‘Hummel, Hummel’ whenever he passed by with his filled buckets. Local folklore suggested some of the children mooned him knowing he couldn’t chase them with his heavy load. Hummel’s response was to yell back in the Low German dialect of Plattdeutsch, ‘Mors, Mors!’ a blue phrase which roughly translates to kiss my ‘you-know-what.’
Hummel lost his job in 1848 and died six years later in a poorhouse. But since that time, the phrase ‘Hummel, Hummel!’ and its response, ‘Mors, Mors!’ have been a popular salute in Hamburg. There is even a sports connection with the phrase. When one of the city’s two popular football teams (HSV) scores a goal, the stadium announcer calls the name of the scorer, then ‘Hummel, Hummel!’ to which the crowd replies, ‘Mors, Mors!’
Hamburg used to be home to many of these colourful statues and were spread throughout the city. An outdoor city-wide exhibition took place until 2006 after which most of the pieces were sold to private collectors. The proceeds were donated to Hamburg’s homeless. There are a few remaining colorful figures still around the city, though they are mostly found near the Rathaus, (city hall).
We’re moving closer to our favorite day, Friday but till then, ‘Hummel, Hummel!’
Healthful relationships play a large role in the quality of our everyday existence. From our family bonds, the environments in which we live, the food we eat, how we physically feel, to how we see ourselves. Certain connections are critical for balance to make it all work together. This is particularly true for our body, which has a life-essential regulatory system based on biochemical relationships that helps us maintain equilibrium, despite life’s up and downs. These connections comprise the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). Hemp has a unique and interactive lock and key relationship with ECS.
What exactly is ECS? Discovered in the 1990s, ECS is thought to be one of the most vital yet vast receptor systems for sustaining good health. ECS affects many biological processes in humans, in fact, it affects all vertebrate animals, as well as some invertebrates.
ECS contains cannabinoid receptors or “locks,” while the group of chemical compounds called cannabinoids, should be viewed like “keys.” The body produces various endogenous cannabinoids, most notably anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) and are found in the immune system, the central nervous system, brain, various organs, connective tissue, and glands.
Since hemp contains elevated levels of Cannabidiol (CBD), active phytocannabinoids work in concert with other secondary phytocannabinoids and compounds (i.e. terpenes and flavonoids), and works well with the ECS in order to unlock the receptor locks. Think of hemp as the ‘key’ to the receptors.
The major function of the ECS is to maintain system homeostasis by providing a state of internal stability necessary for survival, despite fluctuations in the external environment. The ECS is also involved in many physiological processes like appetite, sleep, digestion, mood, memory, metabolism, neuro-protection, hormones, and heart function.
The ECS has a series of receptors in cells throughout the body that binds the cannabinoids found in hemp extract oil. Two main kinds of receptors are cannabinoid 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid 2 (CB2) and they receive three types of cannabinoids:
Endocannabinoids – Cannabinoids made in our body Phytocannabinoids – Derived from natural plant cannabinoids
Synthetic Cannabinoids – Synthetically created
CB1 is mostly found in the brain, as well as in the lungs, kidney, liver, bones, heart, male and female reproductive organs. This receptor is more keyed into THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the main cannabinoid in marijuana. CB2 however lives in the immune system, with a significant presence in the spleen as well as the lungs, liver, bone and muscle. Metabolic enzymes, FAAH and MAGL, are used by the ECS to accelerate chemical reactions and efficiently break down cannabinoids once they’ve served their purpose.
Understanding the relationship with the Endocannabinoid System and homeostasis is key. It’s essential as to how we thrive, heal and function for body and mind wellness. Through science additional answers will continue to reveal why our body is responsive to hemp and whole-plant cannabinoids as much still appears to be unknown.
Hope this introduction provides you with a better understanding how CBD works in the body. We offer only locally sourced, Certified Natural Grow CBD products from our supplier in 300 mg, 600 mg potency and are pleased to now offer a 1200 mg strength for those who need a stronger dosage. While the labels have changed, it’s still the same quality product and formulations we’ve carried since the shop went live. Check the K-9 store for product details and prices. Products are always shipped free when you place your order and are sent out ASAP (same day as ordered presuming the post office is open). Feel free to contact us with any specific questions.
If you live in a region where the temperatures get below freezing, your fire hydrants are more important than ever. We recently received this video about the importance of hydrant maintenance in the winter months. “Gaskill” hydrants were originally installed in Denver in the 1890’s and incorporated a dry barrel draining system to prevent water from freezing inside the pipes connecting to the hydrant.
Now days, water companies uses propane burners when storms are forecast as part of their regular maintenance in cold climates. Most of the 21,000 fire hydrants installed throughout the Denver metro area are yellow and installed along the sidewalk easements. Newer versions of the Gaskill hydrants feature an underground valve to shut off the flow of water in case of a collision by some vehicle. The value shuts the water off and keeps water in the supply pipe, preventing water from spraying in the air a la Hollywood style. I personally hate the idea of water waste in this high mountain desert region and hope storm sewers are able to re-cycle and treat this flushed water and get it back into the non-potable system for watering city parks.
Hydrants are flushed out at dead ends, cup-de-sacs and pressure zone boundaries to ensure water moves regularly throughout the system. By flushing Gaskill hydrants, it allows the water company to collect samples and maintain water quality throughout the distribution system.
Upright and fire fighters are grateful the hydrants are maintained, especially at this time of year. Seems like dogs are grateful for hydrants, too. Even the Ninja.
Have you ever wondered how your fire hydrants worked? Now you have a better idea, at least if your water company uses the Gaskill hydrants.