Saturday, November 15, 2014

First Time but not the Last Time this Season




Brenda made it safe and sound down to Dogpound South and we spent the week just loafing around enjoying the great weather and catching up with our neighbours down here.

Yesterday I loaded Blue and headed out to a favourite trail over near Superior. We re-discovered this trail last year when we were riding near Picket Post mountain and figured there must be some way to circumnavigate it. Oh yah, Blue and I did pass right by Retired Rod's place over there in Mesa but thought maybe his neighbours wouldn't appreciate an organic fertilizer delivery on a nice Friday afternoon.

The whole gang, Suzi, K, Julie, Blue, Teresa, and Janet with Ted on the camera
 Hard to believe but this was, K, who has shown us most of our Arizona trails, first time around the mountain. It is a great ride and passes some pretty nice scenery along the way. Most of the horses there had a lot more riding than ol' Blue but he made out pretty well. A little sweated up but still stepping along at the end of the 11 or so miles. He'll get his trail legs back pretty quick down here after a pretty soft summer.

Good to be back on the trails down here in Arizona
Always nice to ride a trail with a little water down here in the desert

Looks like the fall colours will be along eventually but not in full glory for a week or two.

And these saguaro's have made it in the blog before and hopefully will again
I am hoping to get this blog a little more current than in the past few months but it will probably be more focussed on trail riding than RV'ing although we still do a lot of boondocking as we follow the trails around Arizona and back home in Canada.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Deja Vu All over Again

Well I made it back to Dogpound North and spent a few busy days up there, getting things ready for our imminent departure. The folks doing the flood repairs are working hard to get things done so they are gone when we are gone also.

I had a couple of ponies that were going to my friend Wayne's place for the winter so they had to be moved up there. That is where Rosie came from ten years ago and it was obvious that she knew where she was as soon as she got out of the trailer. She will spend the winter with a group of mares, including one that she grew up with 18 or so years ago. Hank is spending the winter with Wayne's geldings and a couple of young stud colts, so they will be living the life of Riley.

While I was home I managed to sneak in and see Annika playing a soccer game, the first of the winter season. Boy those kids got a lot of energy, I was tired just watching.

Another job that had to be done was getting the horses blood tests done, not sure if I mentioned it earlier but I had already done this a couple of weeks ago. Appears that my usual vet's CFIA certification had expired so she arranged for another vet to come and redo the tests. All was good and we managed to get the federal vets (CFIA) signatures on Wednesday when we were in town for Brenda's appointment with her surgeon. That done we had a green light for an early morning departure on Thursday morning. I was up and loading horses about 4:00AM. After a quick stop at the border so the USDA vet could check our paperwork and have a look at the horses and give us the OK to head further south. That first day we made our stop at the Dillon, MT rodeo grounds. They had a nice big pen so were able to move around and work out the kinks of standing in the trailer all day.

Next morning we were up and loading again by 4:00AM. It is nice to get out on the road early, not much traffic except the odd transport truck. Late in the morning we ran the gauntlet that is Salt Lake City. The interstate through there is in a constant state of construction but timing is everything so if you make it through at a none rush hour time it is a relatively painless journey. That night we made our stop once again at a rodeo grounds. This time the Clark County Fairgrounds in Logandale, NV supplied the pens for our overnight. They were having a barrel race there that evening so even Max and Maya had lots of folks to watch as the evening went on.

Saturday morning found us slipping through Las Vegas very early and got us down here into Dogpound South about mid-morning. Needless to say horses, dogs and I were all glad to get out and stretch our legs without the need to jump back in the rig for another long drive.

Sunday was spent washing cars, trucks, trailers and the deck and house again in anticipation of Brenda's arrival Sunday evening.

And that brings us to today. I have moved the leftover 25 bales from last year under cover and readied our stack yard for arrival tomorrow of another squeeze of hay. And now that the horses have had a couple of days off it is time to start legging them up so we can get out and get a few pictures for this blog.

Oh Yah! A reminder of just why it is we come to Dogpound South. Dogpound North is pretty but also pretty cold this time of year.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Snow in Them 'thar Hills


Well we have had a good run of fall weather here at Dogpound North, but rumour has it that it may be coming to an end. Earlier this week I was out working around the place in a t-shirt but the last couple of mornings have been a little frosty around here. And as it was time to draw some blood from our ponies for their Coggins tests and Export Health exams crisp mornings made it all the more challenging. Although they get regular vaccinations and the Coggins test is an annual thing, our horses, like a lot of people I know get a little jumpy when someone is waving a needle around them. It usually takes a little horse whispering and a few threats uttered about having to spend a long cold winter at home to get them to stand steady while our vet draws the blood. But without to much trouble that job is done and the test results should be back in a few days and then I will be able to get the governments vets stamp on the paperwork I need to have for them to cross the Medicine Line.

We have been slowly getting things ready around here for our southerly migration and now it is more about execution than planning. Because of the trouble Brenda has been having with her knee, I will be doing a double trip again this fall. She will fly down to Dogpound South and I will take her car down for her, then fly back up and load the horses and pups up and move them south. Sounds a little complicated but Brenda does like to have her own wheels down there and I really don't mind the driving.

Those of you who stuck with us through the summer will remember we had a flood back in June and a lot of work going on to recover from that. Well the crew is here now and replacing the drywall and next week it will be painting and carpet. So that story should be completed before we lock the doors for our trip south.

Well I thought if it works for Retired Rod, it should work for me, so with little fanfare I lit out of Dogpound North early Monday morning and let the old Buick run with the big dogs. That night we stopped for a sandwich and a sleep in a little town called Filmore, just 167 or so miles north of the Arizona line. After a half a dozen hours of sleep we hit the road early enough so that rush hour in Las Vegas wouldn't be an issue, but maybe just a little to early as we hit the tail end of the morning rush in Phoenix.

All that driving called for a siesta at Dogpound South in the mid-afternoon, but I did get some of the stuff ready for todays activities before slipping over to Raceway for a bite to eat, and then an evening watching the Royals shut down the Giants in Game 6 of the World Series. At the time of this writing it is not looking good for the Royals in Game 7 though. (Giants won)

 Today I was up with the sun, thanks to a rooster who has his clock set on Atlantic Standard time, so I had the dust washed off the house and the outside windows cleaned before it got to hot. We have a local fellow who keeps an eye on our place over the summer and he had all the spider webs knocked down and the trees all trimmed up so those jobs didn't need to be done. Once everything dried off I hauled all the patio stuff out and got it set up, I am sure in the wrong places but Brenda will get that corrected once she comes down in ten days or so.

Then it was off to Home Depot to order a new blind to replace one that the sun had ruined and pick up a few breakfast things along the way. Then it was off to the new Copper Sky rec centre for a swim. Beautiful facility and only about 15 minutes from our place. That is sure appreciated as last year it was about 40 minutes to the pool in Chandler and back home it is about 30 minutes into Sundre.

Somewhere along the road we blew past Ivan and Hailey and left them up in the cool temperatures so in a couple of days I will take a flight north and see if I can spot them from the air in one of those out of the way spots they like to camp. Then I will continue back to Dogpound North and start loading up the trailer and the ponies for their trip back down here next week. It's good to be back down here at our southern home but it ain't really home till the whole family, Brenda, Max, Maya, Blue, Wink and Willow make it down also.

Friday, October 10, 2014

A Beautiful Indian Summer Day

Today was a beautiful day here at Dogpound North. The temps were in the high 20's (`70F) so it was a shirt sleeve day. I ran into the city early today to pick up my boots at Alberta Boot. For those of us who live close enough, when you need sole on your boots they take them back to the factory and rebuild them from scratch for you. I was expecting the Whitlow's to come and move their cows back home for the winter so I put the horses in the yard and loaded Max and Maya up for the ride to town and back. They really love to jump in the truck and go for a ride.

Shortly after we arrived back home the Whitlow's showed up. They pasture a bunch of cows in the place just south of ours and because there are no pens down there, each fall they bring their herd up and load them out of our pens. It is a family operation so Grandma Joyce and Grandpa Brian, Jeff and Lori, as well as their kids all take an active part. Consequently the only thing I do is sit on the fence and tell stories. Funny how as I get older, my job gets to look more and more like my fathers. Oh well, good thing he left me with a lot of great stories. And of course in an old family tradition I am more than capable of adding details as required.

Sheridan and Lori are digging the cattle out of a fence corner

Lori riding and Grandma Joyce on foot

The whole family is involved in this operation.

Great Helpers, Sheridan and Gus

Sheridan and her good little cow pony.

Our "Border Collie", Maya, could care less about cows, she is really a princess and that is probably below her, but old Max, the Beagle Cross, took an opportunity to hurry those cows into the trailer. Don't think either of them are going to be cleaning up at the stock dog competitions though.

Once the cows were gone the DPN horses were back down in their winter pasture to enjoy this fine fall day.
Rosie enjoying the twilights last gleaming

And the sunsets on another fine day at Dogpound North

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Fall is in the Air


Well here it is almost the end of September and fall is definitely in the air here at Dogpound North. Other places also, I guess, I see the Bayfield Bunch has already flown the coop heading towards their Congress, Az winter refuge. As well I see Judy and Emma, along with Nurse Ratchet (Kurt) are heading south also. When the Birdlady of Blogland heads south the geese can't be far behind.

We have had a month of interesting weather here, 12-15 inches of snow to begin the month, some 80+ degree days in the middle but things have become more seasonal now. Our own harbinger's of fall are evident also. The other day I winterized my SIL Tricia's motorhome and today my son Paul hove into sight with his trailer all winterized and ready to assume its spot in the back of our Quonset Hut.

Yesterday I ran into the city and had my monthly lunch with my oldest granddaughter. As usual it was a great time and I really enjoy her company. On the ride home I mused about how becoming a grandparent seems to change your outlook on a lot of things. Claire is pretty focussed on a career as a hairdresser and from what I have seen so far she is going to be a great one. Vidal Sasson move over, there's a new girl in town. Back to the grandfatherly mellowing, I know if my kids had come home with green and blue hair I probably would have had a stroke, but all I could really think was her hair really kind of set off her ensemble.

I can only assume that as we get older it dawns on us there are a lot of things that are vastly more important than the fashions that float your boat.

On the way home from lunch I managed to stop in and give a final goodbye to my Aunt Donna Engel, I won't explain our family connection but suffice it to say she was my aunt 60 years ago and although things changed over that time I still think of her as one of the nicest ladies I ever had the privilege of knowing. We'll see you on the other side Aunt Donna.

Along with Paul today came two more grandchildren so I have had a great weekend. Strangely it seems that all the little babies I remember just a short time ago are growing like bad weeds. Luc and Annika are in Grade 8 and Grade 6 respectively. Not sure how that happened, seems like yesterday they fit almost in the palm of my hand.


For those who are following the saga of Brenda's knee replacement. She is recovering from her second surgery and yesterday was her first day back driving. I won't go into a lot of detail but suffice it to say this has not been an easy road. It seems like one step forward is followed by two steps back but she is a trooper and will make it work.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Where Did August Go?

Well not only did we not get three entries done in August for the first month in a long time we got none. Not a lot of exciting relate-able things happening here at Dogpound North I guess. Not to say there wasn't any excitement though. Mid month Brenda was in for another surgery on her knee. We are hopeful that that will resolve some of the pain and mobility issues she was having. Of course it does mean restarting the rehab process back where she was in mid-March so it is a slow painful journey back to normal.

Our horses have been enjoying the easiest summer they have had since I quit working and are all as fat as ticks. One thing we have no shortage of here at DPN is grass, it is stirrup deep, so they don't even have to bend their necks to get their fill.

September started with a visit from our nephew David Odo on his way to a camp counsellor assignment at the YMCA's Camp Chief Hector. He had a day or two to kill here at DPN so I took him on a little tour out through our west country. We saw a lot of forests and some mountains as well as a few wild horses along the journey. The last time he was out to visit us was for our wedding back in 2001 so both the country and he have changed.

Riding Crystal in 2001


David Odo today.
 Then it was on to a couple of big events in September, Kashton's birthday was on the 3rd and he was 3. It was a good party made even better by his Grandma Tomasir's Slurpee machine. Put enough vodka in those slurpee's and even a bunch of 3 year olds can't get you down. Well those that know, know I am kidding, I love being around the kids so we didn't spike the punch.

Then the BIG event, September 6th was Rebecca's due date and right on schedule she delivered our newest granddaughter, Everly Quinn.



Rebecca, Grandma and Everly



Grandpa, Kash and Everly
Last weekend I was up to Ponoka for a Canadian Cowboy Challenge clinic. I am sure Blue and I learned a lot of things there, we were just shy about showing them off in the clinic.  Although some think Blue is a little stubborn about doing some of the stuff I like to imagine that he is a thinker, and after a quick look he figures why walk over that plank mounted on some tires, when there is perfectly good dirt right beside it, and a whole lot less risk of slipping off. When we are in the hills he seems to do what we need to do so we'll just have to work on our fancy town riding a little more.

While I was off gadding about the country Bob and his crew managed to finish up the hay so that was all under cover when Monday's snow storm hit. We left here at about 11AM and we had a skiff, when we got home about 3:30PM we had 9". By nightfall we were closer to 10". And then overnight we probably added another 4-6 inches. But September on the northern ranges meant it was melting the whole time so who knows how much moisture we really got. I do know that our windbreak which is primarily 80 year old poplar trees took a beating though. We have lots of trees down and once the snow is all gone it will be time to don the chainsaw pants and start to uncover a few things around here.
Yes, that is Tricia's Motorhome under that mess.

It all looks so peaceful but that is because there is no sound so you can't hear the trees crashing down around the yard. One laying there on the centre across the lawn.
Oh well, so it goes, and I will leave you with this sunset from Friday night in Ponoka.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Not a Picture to be Seen

We seem to be having a pretty nice summer up here north of the Medicine Line. After a pretty wet June, which is kind of normal for us, the weather heated up a lot and the Calgary Stampede had spectacular weather with almost everyday in the 80's and nary a cloud in sight. So maybe there is something to this global warming thing after all, in the past we probably only got about a half dozen days over 80 every year and I am thinking we are already at that point with our hottest month, August, still to come.

In my last journal entry I mentioned that we finally got some seed in the ground on the last acres of the place. Pretty quick after that Bob, the fellow who farms our place, started cutting a small part of the hay that we seeded last year. It had a pretty good volunteer crop of rye mixed in with it so it will probably end up being cattle feed.

About all the excitement we have had around here the last few days is the preparation for Lacey's wedding in Jamaica, a ways off in February. Lace and her mom, along with her sister Bec, and a couple of other bridesmaid girls were off yesterday on the hunt for the perfect wedding dress. Although no pictures were taken the only report is that she is going to make a beautiful bride, which is no surprise to me anyway. Brenda was pretty excited to go along on the search and even though she is restricted to crutches all reports said that Lacey's bridesmaids took wonderful care of her all day.

Well she was off on the dress hunt I decided I should head out into the West Country and see what I could see. It had been years since I had really driven many of the roads out West and it is always interesting to see what changes had been wrought on the landscape. Remembering that a lot of my working life was spent searching for gas and oil out there is was great to see the final product of my labours. Most of the seismic lines are now being used by ATV's and offroading folks, and of course some of what were just rudimentary trails in the distant past are now pretty nice roads. Of course I had my camera's with me so although there were no pictures of our beautiful bride to be I did manage to catch a few shots of some of our local denizens of the woods.

The whole band of wild horses, four mares, one colt and the stud off to the left

Here is a close up picture of the herd sire.
Watcher in the Woods
The wildflowers were spectacular along the way also.
So there a few pictures of my activities and a second blog in a month. who knows maybe we'll get three next month.