Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 - That's A Wrap

Well, only a few more days, and 2011 will be no more! It was a year of big changes in our lives, packing up (what the heck, we are still packing) and moving to Saskatchewan was (and is) a big endeavour. The other large thing that happened this year was going over to England to compete at the World Trial with Gin - hopefully I can do it again in the future. Now it is time to get used to the fast (as a snail) pace of Mankota/McCord life.

In the short time span I have been here, I have learned that the laws of the land include 1. Never leave home without a full tank of gas,2. Always be ready to wave at the passing motorist because they will be waving at you, whether they know you or not, and 3. Always keep an eye out for the crossing deer - you don't want to make them mad.

I work (at trying to keep busy) at the Mankota Vet Clinic a few days a week, and the other days of the week trying to stand in a vertical position since the wind blows here - a lot. I think I saw one of Louanne Twa's sheep from High River, Alberta blowing by the other day - or maybe it was my own. I do believe my sister thinks I will have a large amount of time on my hands, since for Christmas she had given me a ukulele - watch out I will be playing Tiny Bubbles next year at the dog trials.

A few hounds (the pups are losing their cuteness factor each day they grow) will be loaded up and transported back west to brighten the lives of some people-most notably mine. Louanne is having a New Year's Bash, and some crazy new puppy owners will be there to take these growling, ankle biters off of my hands (Oh, I meant, sweet bundles of fur). Three more will take their passports and go the the USA to raise havoc - I am afraid terrorist attacks will still occur - as long as they have their sharp baby teeth.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Twas About 16 Hours Before Christmas

Now cuddle up, get your hot chocolate (don't forget the marshmallows), and enjoy the endless classic (which has been changed slightly for this blog).

Twas Sixteen Hours Before Christmas

Twas Sixteen Hours Before Christmas

and all in the yard

were 43 red and white heifers

and an ass named Jenny on guard.

The sheep were escaping,

as fast as they could,

from any hole in the fence,

no matter how small they would.

The Borders were all barking,

and some making a tunnel,

it would be only minutes,

until they were out of their kennel.

Chris in his long underwear,

and I in my nightie,

had just settled down,

to watch some CBC.

Coronation Street was just over,

and Two And A Half Men was on,

I flicked the channel to see,

OLN talking about a fawn.

"How fitting," I thought,

watching the blurb about the deer

But the barking outside was worse,

So outside I went to place some fear.

The dogs they were crazy,

trying to get to the stock.

"That's enough you guys!"

I yelled as I did walk.

To the kennels I strode,

with my ears burning red.

"If I get my hands on you,

you will wish you were dead!"

When out of the corner

of my eye did I see,

a streak of something gray

running quickly to flee.

I knew right at that moment,

it was not my eye's trick

It was a big coyote,

God I wish I had a shooting stick!

He quickly glanced at me

with a glare in his eye

took one look at my hairy legs,

and turned tail and cried.

As he ran off to the north,

in the direction of McCord,

I yelled out after him

"I hope you get hit with a Ford!"

Merry Christmas All!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

New Year Babies That Couldn't Wait

Shadow, has a new shadow following her these days.

Once in a while, we have some new folk arrive in these parts that we didn't expect...

...and Frosty was one of unexpected visitors.

Oh, and we can't forget about these boys as well.

It won't take long for Frosty and his friends to grow - just look what 8 weeks did to this little one.

Perhaps in 2 years she will be in nursery. But for the time being, all of these young ones are in the nursery, playing grownup games.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Home, Home On The Range

Let's sing together now...

Home, home on the range....

Where puppies glug milk all the day...
Where one sees a flock...

..and a dog looking like Spock...

...and others wanting to chase them away.

Monday, December 5, 2011

She's Alive

There has a small hiatus since last blog, and after the local mortuary called asking what should be on my tombstone, I decided I had better let everyone know that I am alive.

Now, where did we leave off?

I do recall we were on our way to Agribition. It has turned to be a mini family reunion over the years, with my sisters coming to cheer Chris and myself at the competition.

Not sure why they looked so happy, Saskatchewan Roughriders did NOTHING this year.

Even my nephew Timmy and my great-nephew came to watch (and for the life of me, I can't remember his name-Alzheimer's, meeting people for the first time every day!)
The sheep were proven to be tough - grips were allowed, and most dogs gripped. Some dogs flossed their teeth more than others. I was pretty happy with both Gin and Floss. They moved the woolly beasts with few problems. Floss however will have remedial classes this winter regarding flanks.

Chris showed his great aptitude in mixing up his flanks, and getting frustrated with Jill when she took the flanks he had asked for.

Poor Jill - perhaps Chris should have remedial classes in flanks.

Two clear rounds had to be done to get into the finals. Gin finished 6th both rounds, and overall came in second. Kayleen Forsyth, Jared Epp, Peter Gonnet and Dale Montgomery (the King as he was noted) would be the other top handlers going to the finals during the evening's rodeo.

Someone (Jared) ticked off the rodeo clown. Beware of the blue goop.

Gin and I ran second last, and managed to beat Peter and Taff by 1 second.

Alas, the pixie dust was forgotten, and Dale Montgomery and Ben (with help with his teeth) managed to beat us by 15 seconds.

The Western Canadian Agribition of 2011 would go down in history again. The King continues his reign.

As the Queen of Mankota, we will be back. Possibly a dethroning will occur next year.

Time will tell.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Address Change

Well, it is has been about a week at the ponderosa - home is now (minus a lot of household stuff) Mankota, Saskatchewan. Chris has been down here since middle of May, and my busy summer of trialing and working allowed me only a few days at the new place.

Now, it is time for move in. Alas, my household items are still 7 hours away, and still have to be packed up and moved. All I want for Christmas is to make this house a home!

So for those who are planning to come visit - here is a quick overview of the new place.

The kitchen is quite large, and open. I won't have to do any painting - partly because 1. I don't mind the color scheme and 2. I hate painting.

The sitting room. Doubt if I will be sitting a lot. The only thing I would like done would be to rip up the carpet that is in the hallway and put laminate down. I may be asking my FAVORITE brother-in-law Ken to come down to help with that project.
I do have my old fashioned tub. It is to be deemed my personal spa in the R.M. of Mankota. All that is missing is candles...and bubble bath....and essence. Guess I will just use the shower for now.

The view to the front yard. Yes, there are trees, and a small garden to be planted next spring.

The backyard looks out to ...the back.

The little red barn now houses all the dogs for the moment. Yet another plan is for a proper kennel for the hounds. So much yet to do.

Wide open spaces...and I do mean wide!

Stop by and visit and stay for awhile. But maybe wait until I get a few more dishes...and a table...and chairs. Maybe bring a sleeping bag too.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I Should Have Stuck To The Tea

***Note-names have been changed to protect the innocent.

After leaving Penny Casters, I made my way back to Beiseker to start the packing job. I succeeded in hauling a Dora (the Explorer) load of clothes to the Salvation Army - there will be a large selection of clothing that has shoulder pads in the Airdrie Salvation Army now. When I left last night, it sure didn't look as if I had made a dent in the packing department, but I did manage to go through the drawers of a desk or two. It is amazing what you keep over the years. I found that I had the habit of keeping letters - pre-email days. I guess I didn't have to be reminded that I was 25 years old about 20 years ago, and the well wishes of a long and happy marriage have been occurring. I should have kept those love letters though - but they are in the burning barrel (of love) now.
I packed as much into Dora (that would include 17 dogs, okay 14 of them are pups), and made my way out east. I stopped by about half way, and popped in to Doris's*. Doris's * housemate Delila* was about to have a cup of tea and go to bed, but a bottle of Crown Royal was consumed instead. As the night progressed, this was brought out.....
....and now you know why names have been changed. I had smelled it as a teenager, and never had smoked it in the past. I am not sure if pot gets better with age, as wine does, but this 20 year old pot went back into the closet to age further.
In the morning, Delila* said, "I should have stuck to the tea."
I couldn't agree with her more.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Edmonton Northlands 2011

Northlands in Edmonton is one of the last trials of the season. Everyone was in full force. Some people even tried to bribe the judge (me) with some icecream. After I had called Abe's dog Cap off for gripping, I feared for my life since he was staying at Penny Caster's as well that night. Never underestimate a Scotsman.

Penny Caster borrowed Corey Perry's dog.

I think in Penny's mind she was thinking, "Go ahead, make my day."
Stormy winters had not been in the forcast, but yet, here in Edmonton, Stormy Winters (and Kate) had arrived.

After the second go round in the morning, all the ten finalists waited until the evening to find out who would be the big weiner.

Louanne (who got both of her dogs in) and I watched the ranch horse competion and sale.

When that was done, we sat and watched people. The crowd was quite large, and being the week for the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association's finals, everyone dug out their best hat out of the closet.

There were look alike couples.

I thought Prince Williams was in attendance.

There was the bold...

...and the beautiful.

The finals was just prior to the finals of the Ranch Rodeo. The stands were packed (yes, really they were packed, this picture was from the earlier performances - do you think I really had time to judge and take pictures??? )

In the end, Thad Buckler and Nic took the big cheque home.

Louanne and I stayed to watch some of the Ranch Rodeo finals.

The teams of four has to various timed events, including, cattle sorting, branding, and wild cow milking. Yes, it was wild.

At intermission, a person won a free bull.

Sacks of nuts everywhere.

Louanne and I came home to Penny's soon after this. It was getting too nuts for us.

2011 Northlands is now in the history books.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

When Mother Nature Calls, She Yells

After I had left Lisa Wright's pad, I made my way to Penny Caster's place. Now, she was the hostess with the mostest - mostest dogs in her place. Abe Marshall, Randy Dye, Louanne Twa and Chris Jobe all stayed at her place for Northlands. I had brought my gypsy crew, Gin and her pups, Lyn and Floss - who was expecting any day. Total count of dogs, 22....and not a dog licence in sight.

I got up bright and early, ready to judge the final day at Northlands (I had cleaned my glasses specifically for this), and before I set out, I put the dogs out in the back yard.

Well - the fire department almost had to be called.

Floss, in her motherly wisdom, decided to crawl under Penny's garden shed in the back, which sat only about 8 inches from the fence. No amount of pleading would bring her out. Penny crawled between the fence, and was able to get close to the hole to hold onto Floss's collar, but she couldn't pull her out. I am not sure how I did it, but I squeezed down beside the hole, and tried to pull Floss out. She was stuck. Stuck like glue. And I was feeling stuck as well, and willing myself not to hyperventilate because of the claustrophobia setting in. Well, Penny flew in the house, Chris Jobe was ready to come out in her bra (oh my burning eyes), and people were ready to knock down the fence beside the garden shed to get Floss out.

I managed to dig out the back fill of dirt she had pushed behind her with my free hand, and I dragged her out before 911 was dialed.


Into the locked crate, in my locked vehicle she went, and during Northlands she had her 6 pups.This could have been the picture on the front page of the Edmonton Sun, but I will settle for it in this blog.

Monday, November 7, 2011

My Nomadic Ways

After I finished in Wetaskawin, I packed up the dogs (in which increased exponentially since Gin decided to have 9 pups during that night), and headed off to Lloyminster for their arena trial. I had originally entered both Floss and Gin in the competition, and gave Gin the decision to do it if she liked. Well, really, it was like asking a duck if it liked water. In the end, I didn't get either dog in the finals, but it was close. On the way out of Lloydminster, I stopped to have dinner with the big weiners (Thad Buckler and Jerry Kubatoff) and then stayed overnight in Vagreville - the home of the big Easter Egg (of which I don't have a picture - sorry).

My next journey was off to Mayerthorpe to judge the ASDA finals - but what was I to do in the meantime. A moment of a-ha, and I contacted Lisa Wright - and off to Athabasca my gypsy caravan was to go.

I got up to Lisa's with minimal problems (okay, a quick phone call was made to clarify some directions) and we waited for Princess Louanne Twa to come up that afternoon. We did a little dog training, and then it was Girls Night Out (or Girls Night In more appropriately).

I really do wish I had some pictures from that night - let your imagination fill in the pictures. Wine bottles, a big screen TV, and a good movie. The movie took 4 hours to watch, and Louanne did not like the feel of eggs in her mouth the next day. Yes, a successful evening was had.

The next day was going to be dog training day.

Bill Shields was there...
...and his wife Naomi.

They are still in the early stages of training together. It is a well known fact that training with their spouses do not last for long-we'll listen from advice from other people, but definitely not from our spouses. Just ask me.

Lisa worked on a dog named Finn who was owned by Jen - hopefully one day Jen will come to the dark side and join the border collie world.

Louanne was able to get her sorry carcass out of bed and at least watch the training. Notice the dark sunglasses.

It was a nice day to spend outside with the dogs and put them through their paces.

The next day was our trip to Mayerthorpe for the ASDA finals. It was warmer outside than it was inside. It helped me keep me awake.

I had a bird's eye view to judge the trial. By this time, Louanne could whistle without her head exploding - the longest hangover ever in the history of dog trialing.

Some people hogged the heat sources.

Warming the cockles of your heart. And your toes as well.

After the trial was over (congrats to Carol Nelson and Jess for winning, my postal address is Box 39, McCord, Saskatchewan if you want to send me the bribery check that was agreed upon), I went back to Lisa to check on the new mom and mom to be.

Travis (Lisa's better half) stayed behind and kindly watched my dogs for me.

Gin watched her clan quite well.

We brought Floss in as well, waiting for her pups.

In the end, Floss did not have any pups overnight - perhaps a bumpy ride will be in order for her to have pups. A trip to Edmonton to judge Farm Fair is to be done, and the gypsy caravan will be packed with the dogs to stay at Penny Caster for the trials' duration.

The bed and breakfast at Lisa's and Travis's come highly recommended.

Five stars out of five.