Wednesday, April 16, 2014

It's Spring............

It is spring here at Dogpound North, we are down to just some 3 or 4 foot drifts around the yard and most of them should be gone by late June or early July. Just kidding although we are having some nice warm days we are still getting some wintry days also. Oh well, that IS spring in Alberta. We usually get most of our snow in March and April so I am hoping this year is a little different than usual cause we have enough snow already.

We are into week 4 of the rehab of Brenda's knee and although she is not convinced it is going as well as it should, all the professionals we see think she is doing great. Might be a while before she starts running marathons or riding Wink, but she is doing a lot of her usual stuff. Tough to keep her down.

Last weekend we snuck into town and picked up a stationary bicycle from Claire's Mom Melissa, thanks Melissa, and while we were there we kidnapped Claire and took her out for lunch. She is a delightful young woman and managed to put up with her old grandparents and keep us entertained and caught up on the goings on in her life.

And then once we got home Clayton, Lacey and their girls popped by to have a visit. Major score three granddaughters in one weekend.

As the snow melts around the country the wildlife is starting to move around a bit more. These moose are hanging out just a couple of hundred feet from the house here.

Today was another snowy day so I thought I would head out into the West Country and see what was moving about. Along Alberta's Eastern Slopes there are some wild horses that have been out there for a long time and seem to be pretty well adapted to the country. Likely some of them are descended from horses that were either let loose out here or escaped from local ranches, but some of them probably escaped from the local First Nation folks over the last couple of hundred years. I managed to find a small band and get a few photos.

Hiding in the trees

Took over an hour to get these guys to let me see them without trees between us.

Although the rest of the small band keep grazing while I was watching them the guy in the photo above never really took his eyes off of me the whole time I was there.

Along the way I crossed paths with this fellow and it looks like he is complaining about the spring weather also.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

New Knee's and Other Things

One morning when we weren't paying attention and forgot to lock the gate, Mike and Janna slipped out of Dogpound South and headed for North Ranch, up Congress way. We will miss them but in this lifestyle it is always till we meet again not goodbye.

We haven't been doing near as much riding this winter as in previous ones, primarily because of the problems Brenda has been having with her knee. She has been traveling back and forth to Dogpound North this winter on an almost monthly basis and her doctors and her have finally decided on a course of action. It is out with the old and in with the new and that is going to happen on March 18 so we will be packing our outfit and heading for the northern ranges a little earlier than usual. It is sad to say goodbye to the great folks and great weather that this winter has brought here in Arizona but the call of the north is irresistible, as is the promise of a new knee and the free healthcare that Canada provides.

Floating mountains and green fields near Dogpound South
 After packing everything away for the summer and getting the horses paperwork all completed we got everything loaded and headed for Sky Harbor. Brenda is going to fly home as that is a whole lot easier on the old knee than a 3 day drive up the interstate to Canada. After dropping her there the horses, dogs, and I headed for the snow topped mountains of Utah for our first nights stop. We made it to Fillmore the first night and Great Falls, Montana the second. From there is is a short 7 hour trip into Dogpound North. The roads were great the entire trip and we never saw a flake of snow, except up there on the mountain tops where it belongs. That was not true once we got to Dogpound North. There is more snow here than we have ever seen in the 37 years we have been on the place and before we could even get the rig unhooked we needed to do a little snow removal. We barely got a spot big enough for the LQ when the tractor had a problem. They just don't make things like they used to, those tires are not a day over 53 years old and you'd think they could last a little longer but alas they pushed their last snow bank.
Just flat on one side though.
Well even with the flat tire we got everyone unloaded and put the LQ to sleep right where it sits, at least till some of the snow melts, and got the horses settled in. Once stroke of luck, it is chinooking up here and that means above freezing temps for the first week or so we were home. A little nice welcome home for the horses and it will give them time to acclimate.

The day after I got home was Brenda's birthday so we hustled off to the city to meet Becky, Ved, Kashton, Cheryl and Haley for a little celebratory dinner.
Stolen from Brenda Brown
The next weekend we managed to run up to Rocky Mountain House to spend a couple of hours with Miss Ella and her sister Alle, oh yah, and Lacey and Clayton.
Getting ready to get some tats
Tuesday morning, March 18th, we headed off bright and early, and I mean bright and early, we had to be at the hospital for a 6AM check-in as Brenda was number 1 on the list that morning. Her knee surgery went fine, and was videoed and broadcast in the hospital for some staff and streamed to the Science Centre here in Calgary for a class of high school kids that they were trying to recruit into the medical profession, so keep an eye on Youtube, these things tend to show up all over. It took most of the day for the freezing to wear off but from all reports once that happened this was not a pleasant experience. There is a lot of pain involved in this surgery and that is only the beginning, the physio afterwards seems to be very painful also. Brenda is gritting her teeth and getting 'er done, as she wants to be back riding before to late in the summer, but unless the memories fade, I think it will take a bigger fellow to drag her back to get the other one done, should it need it.

So other than physio and watching the snow come down, along with my daily 4000 meters in the pool that is all that is happening here at Dogpound North.

Wouldn't be our blog anymore without a horse picture though.

And for my bird watching friends
This little fellow was sitting out in our tree the other day, either commenting on the weather or Daylight Savings Time.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Where Did They Go

Well really not to many places and rather than bore you with a running dialogue on Brenda's flights back and forth to Canada to deal with her medical issues I thought I might just let this blog have a little rest. But all those many trips have not been for naught, she has a date for her knee replacement and they are moving forward on other fronts as well. Should be good as new by summer.

Her riding has been curtailed this year and without my riding partner I have been not doing as much either. Not sure the horses find this to be a problem though.

All that said I have had a few opportunities to dust off my saddles, I took a group of Canadians out and around the Loop through Butterfield Pass and then a couple of days later a smaller group out to Picket Post to circumnavigate the mountain on the new trail we found just after the new year. Then again to Picket Post with another bunch of Canadians while Brenda was back in Canada.

Back in January I mentioned that Mike and Janna had left their motorhome here while they headed north. Well, last week they came back to pick it up and we had a great visit with them. And then we heard another old friend was roaming across Texas heading in our direction.

Rollie's Rig
We met Rollie about 5 years ago in Kerrville, Texas and have crossed trails a time or two since. It was great to be able to lure him into Dogpound South for a visit even though it was only for a few hours.
But even in that few hours we did solve a few of the world's problems
Mike and Janna are roaming Arizona looking at real estate and we looked at a few places around here while they were in the area, but nothing caught their eye so they are on to other spots to continue their search.
Mike, Brenda, Rollie, and Janna with Maya and Emmi out front.
We enjoyed a few happy hours on our patio and a couple of spectacular Arizona sunsets along the way.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Picket Post Again!

Picket Post is one of those rides that gets under your skin. The trails are great and the scenery is second to none. I joined some Canadian friends and a couple of our American hosts out there at the trailhead. They had arrived a day or two earlier so were out on a ride and Blue and I headed out on our own, first stop was the phone booth on the hilltop out of camp. Just to let the rest of the world we made it safely. Here is Joel up there checking his messages.
So this is what the guys who drive trucks for Walmart do on their vacation.
Then we headed out the trail and not to far along we ran into the bunch coming back to camp. Short ride but shook off the trailer legs anyway. Once we got unsaddled we ran down the highway towards Superior where these wagon tracks are cut into the limestone. Must have been a lot of heavy silver ore in those wagons.
Ore wagons cut these into the rock
Always great sunsets here.

The next day we headed off across the highway and up to Happy Camp Canyon. That is ride I first did about a year ago, but it was a lot greener and prettier this year than last. The GPS tells me that this ride is a little less than 13 miles. You go out along a ridge back that gives you great views in all directions.
From these ridge tops you can see for miles

Always good to run into a little water for the ponies on these rides

Joel and his Tennessee Waiting Horse waiting on the rest of us to catch up. 

Heading into Happy Camp Canyon

Kelly and her stud the Huntsman hanging around on the ridge
For the return trip we popped over top of the ridge and dropped into a wash for the return trip. Along the way here is a stock tank with great water for the horses.

After the ride that night Ken and I ran into Superior to try and run down a map of the area and see if we could find a map that showed a trail that made a loop around Picket Post Mountain in its entirety. There is a map but the only one in captivity was taped to the inside of office window on main street. There was a fellow in there sanding the floors and we tried to talk him into giving/selling it to us but he was incorruptible.

But we did get a picture of it with the phone and a little store across the street gave a photo copy of a smaller portion.
With that new information in hand we headed out on a ride of discovery the next day. The first part of the ride was a little bit of bushwhacking Arizona style, looking for gates and discovering fences blocking the trail, but eventually we got through that part and got ourselves down into Arnett Canyon. What a treat that was, it was beautiful down there. Towering cliffs, big sycamore trees, and ample water crossings. And to top it all off a pretty sandy trail so easy on the feet. That was important for Blue as just before we loaded up to come out here he had a visit with the farrier and he is always a little tender for a day or too after that experience.
Arnett Canyon

Ken and Beauty enjoying the crick

More canyon and creek views

Whoa, Blue is leading the ride.
 And when Blue and I lead the ride there is a lot of time for enjoying the scenery, we sure don't see a reason to race through this kind of landscape.

Believe it or not this is what I was looking for.....the other side of the mountain

Here is the littlest Saguaro growing right in that rock. He has made it in a couple of blogs now

Verna, Toni, and Ron and Toni's trail dog Madeline

Although we spent five or six hours on this ride we stopped a bunch of time to enjoy the scenery, eat lunch and do a little pioneering along the trail. I think with all the back and forth we did we were just over 9.5 miles total on the trail and all that to and froing will probably result in it being around 9 miles next time. A little shorter than usual but there is lots to look at and some challenging spots but they are short and sweet.

Sunrise at Picket Post

Same sunrise different angle
The following morning Blue and I packed up and headed home. He was a little foot sore and it seemed the wise thing to do. The others were going to go back around yesterdays loop and try to eliminate the one technical spot on the new trail. Below is a Google Map for those who like that kind of stuff.
Green is the Happy Camp Canyon trail and the Magenta trail is the Picket Post Mountain Loop

And when I got home there was a party about to begin. Brenda had spent the weekend preparing food and drink for a surprise party for her friend Stasia.
Part of the Party People

Brenda and the guest of honour. Hey, it's a Canadian party so we get to spell it how we like.

Now Mike and Janna stopped by on their way home to Montana and I didn't get any pictures but no problem I have their pink motorhome held hostage here so they will be back.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Tis the Season

Although we have no snow here, it is Christmas and we have been doing some Christmasy stuff. Visiting with friends and eating too much seem to be at the top of the list. The weekend before Christmas we jumped on the wagon with our Canadian friends, the Pohl's, and toured the community singing Christmas carols. Not sure that Thunderbird Farms will ever be the same, but it did get some of the more vocal dogs in the neighborhood to hide under their decks with their paws over their ears. The Arizona Hitching Post a local equine newspaper sponsored a contest for the best dressed horse and rider combination and although I don't know the official results there was lots of colorful horses following us around, even a couple decked out like carousel horses.

Carousel Horses complete with poles

Christmas Carollers

Ben and the Beauty's

Christmas Outriders
We enjoyed Christmas dinner with the Pohl's and Ken's daughter and her husband along with some other Canadian friends the Lewis's who we met previously at the Yaha Tinda back in Canada. We had planned on getting some riding in with them while they were down here over Christmas but life happened and that was not to be. But Blue and I have been working on a few things out back in our virtual round pen so all is not lost.

New Years Day we joined a bunch of friends here and took a little spin around the neighborhood.

L to R, CC, Brenda, Paula, Kathy and Crystal

Brenda and Wink
Now there I got a post everyday this year so far.