Sunday, January 30, 2011

Who Would Think..

...shipping dogs would be difficult. I have travelled with dogs before, brought dogs from the UK to Canada, travelled to Ontario and travelled to Virgina. All I want to to send a puppy down to Texas. I am not sure what is wrong with Air Canada, but there is an embargo until March 30th. Continental will only send if they have done business with you in the past 30 days. Guess this is all due to some ink cartridges with a bomb. The only bomb that would be dropped, is a load of turd from a pup. On second thought, that would likely clear an airport out. In the meantime, I will continue on my quest to find transportation for little Lilly. All this is making me nervous about the World's - what trouble will that be like. I guess what doesn't kill you makes you stronger...I should be very strong.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Windy Trip

Today I took a quick trip down to Scott and Jenny's for Gin to have a rendevous with Don. I heard on the news that there were gusts up to 130km per hour - which would explain the multiple number of vehicles in the ditch upside down. I wish I had my camera with me as I drove up to the Glen residence - there was Scott in the field, and if one didn't know it, you would have thought he was by himself - but through the drifting snow you could see the shadows of sheep and a dog coming towards him. My immediate thought was - this would definitely help train a dog to hear - a pretty good return for the windblown hair look (or lack of it, depend whose hair you are talking about).
A couple of coffees later, I struck out for home, leaving Gin behind. Hearing Jenny talk about the Don pups that are out already, and having a conversation with Grant Musgrove, I am having pretty high hopes on these pups. Of course, this is counting the chickens before the eggs. Perhaps she will ovulate 5 eggs, a nice number. Or maybe half a dozen.
I have a few days off before I work again, so I would like to put the young dogs through some paces. If only we had a wide open space - at the moment there are drifts everywhere. Oh, I can't wait for spring!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Other Things To Keep My Mind Busy

Along with the impeding move, another adventure is underway for myself. One of my goals with the trialing addiction was to go to as many different trials as possible. Three years ago, the circus was taken on the road to Kingston, Ontario for the Kingston Sheepdog Trial - and I have gone every year since. Seeing different people and watching different dogs is what it is all about. Airplane travel isn't that stressful with the dogs, but you always have to be on your toes. That was learned the hard way when another big trip to Virginia in the fall with the dogs was a bit rocky when we missed our flight. Then of course, there was the big tadoo to bring Gin back home from Virginia - her being left to get bred - to which that job didn't get done because she didn't cycle. Lots of learning was done. Call it continuing education if you like. Now I am looking forward to the trials in this year. Louanne Twa and myself are going to take a trek out to the Bluegrass this May in Kentucky-we'll fly to Chicago and drive the rest of the way. We will be sure not to take the off-ramp into Harlem, we'll just stay in the center lane of the 6 lane expressway. Would like to take a couple of the dogs, Gin will go, and maybe if I can get some training on Floss she will come along as well. Time will tell. The other trials I am planning to get to are the North Dakota trials in June, the Kingston Trial in August, the Western Canadians and the Canadians in Kamloops at the end of August, and ...get this....the Worlds in England in September. What the heck, only live once right? Got word from the CBCA that we are allowed to go - guess there wasn't a lot of people chomping at the bit to go. Kathy Keats and Mary Lou Campbell are the others planning to go. So now it is getting all the ducks in a row 6 months plus in advance. Rabies titres, entry forms, booking places to work dogs, and booking tickets. We have gone to England a few times before, and have brought dogs back over, but this is new ground for me. Always have to have a new chapter to put into my memoirs, and this year will be a big chapter.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow Day

Well the writing was on the wall yesterday - today would be a day I couldn't make it into work due to the snow. The roads were blocked, and I would have to wait for a grader to clear things out. The dogs however didn't mind.
Young dogs are a pain really - you wait for them to have the instinct, and then when they have it, you wish they didn't.
Tim, Mitch and Jet thought they would have a little herding demo with the cows this morning. Funny with all the drifts, they were still able to travel 100 miles/hour (at least it seemed like it).
Thankfully, when they see you, they will come to their names.
Tim is going to be 1 in a few weeks - he has grown up to be a big fellow. Have put him onto sheep a few times - now the time for serious training has occurred. I wish I had more time, but I don't - so unsure how much he will learn in the next few months.

His brother is in BC, and will be a search and rescue dog - somehow, I think they should have bought this guy instead.
Not sure what they are searching for, and whether they will rescue it is highly debatable.

Perhaps they were looking for these guys. For their sake, they better blend with the snow.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Where Shall We Hang Our Hat?

I was sent out to look at some places in Saskatchewan to call home. The first stop was in Mankota - basically east and a little north of Val Marie (best have Google Maps on a tab to see all the driving I did). The realtor picked me up in Ponteix, and I set out with him for an hour drive, with myself asking as many questions as I could think of. He drove me across some of the pasture in question, and we came along these three boys - looks like they thwarted the 2010 hunters.
The area is quite vast with rolling hills, and even with all the snow around, it was quite pretty.

A small valley is within the property, and there is always supposed to be water available - but then - how much can you trust what a realtor says?

We visited the main yard, and saw how they looked after things in the winter. Pretty fair corrals were there, and the buildings not in too bad shape.
The barn has a new roof, but there has to be some major renovation inside for it to be as useful as it can be.

The yard has a few buildings, and looked at a few that could be changed into potential dog kennels.

We went into the house, and for the 1927 little home, there were updates that made it nice.

One has to look in the bathroom as well - note the old fashioned tub:)

After the tour, we made our way back to Ponteix, and waited for another realtor to show me another property. The guy's name was Bert, and his buddy with him should have been called Ernie. It was an hour drive, and then found out we could only get within a mile of the property. The road had a little snow on it, and "Bert", even though he said he loved his Ford 350, couldn't muster enough gumption to plow through the 4" drifts. Yes, 4 inches. They say that 4 inches isn't enough- but it was enough for "Bert". Needless to say, I didn't get any pictures of that place - it was only pasture, so look at the previous pictures and that probably what it would have looked like.
I then drove to Regina to stay at my sisters, and the next day I went to Hanley - just south of Saskatoon.
This is an aerial picture. I showed this to my sister, and she asked where the snow was.
This place was developed for a yearling program - meaning that it was set up to feed 100's of yearlings throughout the season. There are MILES of electric fence - up to 10 fields in each quarter. The water is piped to all of the fields. It was a quite impressive setup.
The fellow was running 150 cows at the moment. He showed me around the property, and one thing that stood out was the flatness. Not even an A cup.

All his cows new what 1 wire meant. I couldn't help but think about our cows, and how 5 wires are often a joke to them.

The working corrals were very good.

The little barn was more of a horse barn, two boxstalls for horses, and some tiestalls.

After we had dinner - and finding out that he was the father-in-law to a person I went to University with (for those who know Lester Price ), and he was also related to Art Patkau who I knew from Brooks a lifetime ago. This world is a small place.
After this, I drove to Radville to stay with my brother (this is south of Regina). The next day, I went south of Bengough to see the Big Muddy Ranch. The realtor couldn't come with me, so basically I was there by myself. The fellow who fed the cows didn't come while I was there.

The 620 square foot summer home was the best thing of the place, and even it needed fixing up.

There was another home on the place- peeking through the winters it looked like it was a time capsule- stuck in the 50's.

There was no barn to speak of, and I am sure that with the corrals being in the bottom of the valley, there is a reason why it was called the Big Muddy Ranch.

On the east side of the ranch, there were branding corrals, and the winter feeding grounds.

I was about to leave when I found this waiting for me.

I found myself screwed in Saskatchewan.

When I was growing up in Saskatchewan, there was an afternoon handyman show, with a lady called Mary on it. We always joked that our mom's name was Mary, since she was very good in fixing stuff. Any road, I remembered the episode where Mary showed how to correctly change a tire. I went and started to remove it, then the top of one of bolts came off.
I was able to change the tire (since here I am blogging). Kal Tire will see me on Monday with my tire and a request for a bolt.
After Big Muddy Ranch, I drove home through a blizzard between Moose Jaw and Swift Current. It meant a little more time to travel, but thank god for the double lane highway.
Well the hunt has started, will have to look at a few more places, but the Mankota place seems the best so far. As for vet clinics, I will have to drive, but it would be no worse than driving to Calgary.
It also looks very nice for a double lift for my stockdog friends.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Looking For A Home For 300 Cows

Not a small feat, in fact, if you want to count, it is over 1200 feet we have to find a home for. I took this first week in the new year to check out some places. One potential place is down in Mankota - yes, close the the Dakotas. Won't see much but snow, but hopefully will get a feel on how a cattle rancher will work things out there. If we pick this place, we will be neighbors to the famous Stormy Winters. There is also a place near Big Beaver I would like to see - not sure if there is any big beavers there, but the population is 15 (at least in 2006). Mankota boasts 238 people - party town. Hanley (pop 510) - which is south of Saskatoon, will also be given a once over. This place is in the populated area of Saskatchewan, but one has to remember, there is just over 1 million in all of the province, and Calgary has over 1 million people - so populated is a very relative term. I will try to take some pictures and post them when I get home. Perhaps I will let the masses decide where we should go, since the decision is causing more grey hair to pop, and more hair that is lost.