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.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Blog a Month


Well if I am to keep up my blistering pace and maintain my membership in the "Blog a Month Club", I thought I had better get to it. A long time ago I swore I wasn't going to tell you about my morning coffee everyday and we haven't really done a lot of exciting stuff this month so I don't have a lot to catch you up on!

Brenda's knee is still not progressing at the pace we thought it would. She still has another couple of weeks of using crutches and although she is not liking it for the most part she is complying. We headed into the hospital one day and had some X-rays done and it appears as if the fracture is still there, but not moving around so that must be a good thing. Guess we will hear what's next at the end of the month when we visit her orthopedic guy.

Last time, I told you about our little flood, not much has happened on that front either, but the fans and dehumidifiers are now gone so it doesn't sound like we have a Twin Otter preparing for take-off in our basement any longer. In the next few days I expect to hear about the re-construction plan.

About the only thing of note around here the last month was Miss Ella's birthday and we did manage to get up to Rocky Mountain House for that event.


Looking back wistfully on the past 5 years




It took a while this year but we did eventually get some peonies blooming
 We have had an exceptionally late spring and a lot of rain early in the year so getting onto the land was a bit of a challenge. We finally got some seed in the ground along about July 11th so hopefully we get some silage and the timothy that is underseeded gets a good start for next year.


The rain has had some good effects though as the grass in the yard is loving it and we are mowing a couple of times a week still.


Last Friday Lacey, intuitively it turns out, figured Grandma need some Grandgirl time. She brought the girls down and we had a great visit. It is so nice to see them but with Grandma's knee she is not really up to a lot of driving.

A game of "Ring around the Rosie" going on!


And of course it is always nice to get a little work out of our visitors too.

  These Sandhill Cranes thought they would join the party also, they are not common here this time of year, but I am thinking the freshly sprouted oats and barley drew them in for a little snack. As you can see in the picture below if they were not vigilant one of our local coyotes would have made them into a little snack also.

Ella always loves to get a ride on Grandma's horse while she is visiting.

And that about catches you up on all the excitement here at Dogpound North this past month. So as you can see, my not drinking coffee certainly curtails my journals.

But we have had some pretty cool cloud formations roll by.


Friday, June 27, 2014

Still Kickin'

Well I see it has been a while since I last put some words together for those few folks who still check in on us from time. It is not that we are doing nothing, just probably nothing that is all that interesting for our readers. I go swimming most weekday mornings and try to average 16-20 (10-12 miles) kilometers a week. Most weeks I make it but last week was a washout,  between a cold, muscle spasm in my back, and a flooded basement I didn't get much swimming in, but I am back up to 16 this week.

Brenda's knee is story all by its own. She has been feeling like she is not making enough progress so we headed down to see the doc a couple of weeks earlier than scheduled. They took an X-Ray and that indicated maybe they should investigate it a little more throughly. Scheduled an CT-Scan, but we didn't like the timing on that so we jumped ship and had a private clinic do one for us. That got us back to the doc a little quicker and with the CT-Scan confirming what he had suspected from the X-Ray he said she is not to use her leg for about 6 weeks. Not a happy camper I am here to tell you. They say she has a crack in her femur and are hoping that keeping the weight off it will allow it to heal as there is no displacement. Now those who know Brenda know that sitting around is not one of her better developed skills so I am constantly nagging her to stay off it, often to no avail. Oh well, hopefully my nagging will help it heal.

June is usually a pretty wet month around these parts and this June is no exception. Over the last few weeks we have accumulated about 7-8 inches of rain and even as I write this it is coming down hard.
 During one of those rain events the sump pump in our basement failed and within a couple of hours we had converted our always dry basement into a wading pool with about 5-6 inches of water. A quick trip to town and a new pump and the incoming water was once again diverted back out. That only left us to mop up. Luckily our insurance covered this type of failure so within a day or two they had the carpet ripped out, all damaged contents logged and hauled out and had stripped away the drywall and a battery of industrial fans and dehumidifiers howling away in our basement drying it out again. We have taken two good sized dumpsters full of building materials and other assorted flood damaged stuff out of the basement so it is looking pretty empty down there right now. Eventually we will replace the carpet and the drywall and things will quiet down around here again as we shut the fans down.

Everything is drying out, at this point the tear down is completed. You can see the maps on the walls, Dad had collected road maps from around the world and wallpapered some of the walls in the basement with them but the bottom half had to go with the wet drywall, to bad but we'll probably keep the top half.

Other than watching the rain come down and trying to keep up with the grass mowing we have really not done a lot of anything this last month. What with Brenda's bad leg and the wet weather it has been a difficult to get up much ambition for a camping trip, but we are planning on heading out next month and at least get a little mountain time in and maybe a ride or two for Blue. Wink and the rest are just hanging out getting fat on our over abundance of grass.

"Who us? Fat?"
But it has not been all rain, we had some great days and these folks came by to make sure Grandma and I didn't float away.



And we have managed to keep the grass from overtaking the house, although that means everytime there is a couple of hours of sunshine we roar out of the quonset with the John Deere's and cut as fast as we can.


And I have been able to keep an eye on the neighbourhood youngsters as I head out in the early mornings to go for my swim as well.


Monday, May 19, 2014

May Long (with an added map of our rides)

Wow, looks like another month has gone by without me getting busy updating the one follower I have left on the blog here. We have been doing all our regular stuff but I have written about that so many times that I think I should just refer you back to previous entries.

Brenda's knee is coming along well, she thinks a little slowly, but the doc says all in good time. Her last appointment she was given the go-ahead to drive and in another week or so she will be good to get on Wink for a short ride.

The girls made it out here for Mother's Day

and as usual Brenda was busy in the kitchen preparing for that. She just needs to feed people, as anyone who knows me can see, so I was in charge of most the playing with the grandkids. They sure love it here at the farm where they can run till their hearts content and there are a whole pack of dogs to play with.




 After riding the Jeep Car and running around we got them all to stand still for a family photo, from the left Lacey, Clayton, Brenda, Bec, Alle, and me. Down in front Ella and Kash and on the camera, Clayton's Mom Becky. Oh yah and can't forget Everly, hiding under Bec's shirt.


It has a been a little different spring here, we get nice days spaced out between replays of winter but the May Long weekend is usually when we get out on the trails for the first time here in Canada. Our horses have had a pretty lazy spring. We pulled the shoes off back around the first of March and I headed off last week to get Blue shod so we could head out to the West Country this weekend. But first I needed to run out and see how the roads had fared over the winter. Along the way I ran into a couple of bands of wild horses. It seems that depending on where they range they have had different winters.


This stud and his band of mares appeared to come through winter with flying colors but the mare with the foal in the picture below obviously was in a little poorer range.


But the green grass is coming and she will pick up quickly I hope, it is not an easy life being a wildie on these northern ranges
The road scouting trip went well so we pried the rig out of the shed here at home and headed west on Thursday. We were headed to the Eagle Creek camp just on the boundary of the Yaha Tinda Ranch. There is a spot there that will take a number of rigs without any crowding and the Pohls, Lewis's, Vic Almond, and Daniella, Trevor, Mel and Serena were going to join us so that looked like a good spot to set up camp.



Not to shabby a view over those trailers



The ice was a little thick for swimming but we were thinking of our Arizona friends who were riding the beaches of San Diego this weekend.


"Hello" Meadows


Just a little scenery viewing stop.





Arriving at our lunch spot

I never get tired of that view, unlike my readers

Mike Lewis, riding Harley and ponying Missy




Glad to share that view with Razz down in the centre there.
 Friday we saddled up and headed out onto the Poplar Ridge trail, that Brenda and I just call the high trail, and as you can see from the photos above it has some pretty spectacular vista's along the way. We took a small detour up towards Eagle Lake to see how it was coming along. Might be awhile before there is much swimming there but there were reports a large grizzly was seen up there in the last few days and one of our group did spot a large black bear track along the trail. We weren't so lucky but the fact that the bears are out and about is a pretty good indicator that warmer weather is on the way. After the ride we enjoyed a great time visiting around the campfire and watching the sunset over the Rockies.



 Day two we headed out a different way and crossed through the Bighorn campsite on the way. Lo and behold, in that site we ran into our old friend, Dave Schmidt and his daughter Heidi and her husband Darcy. Dave's wife Sherri has apparently had a mishap back at home and had to miss out on this trip. Damn the luck. After leaving the Schmidt crew behind we headed up towards the cut blocks on the west side of Bighorn Creek. Once we got across the meadows we took a trail to the right that lead us down to a great little lunch spot overlooking the Bighorn creek valley.

Julie


The "Red Serge Gang"

Ken and Verna enjoying the scenery


We saw a bunch of elk this weekend

These Rocky Mountain Bighorn sheep were laying along the trail up to the Hat. This shot is from about a mile or two away though.

Verna does like her comforts and brings along her pillow to enjoy her lunch time nap.

Vic pondering the crossing of the Bighorn Creek



Ladies Choir practice
We had a great time and although Day two we had a little rain and we got to try out our slickers on the ride back to camp it was not a real soaker. That was to come later. Once we were settled back in camp the rain settled in and came down pretty steady throughout the night.

A little monsoon is not enough to stop this group from setting around a Yukon Candle.


Sunday morning we got up and the rain was still coming so we figured we would run for the flatlands. It took us a while to get everyone ready to roll and as the road was pretty muddy by this time it was better to travel in a group just in case someone had some trouble. Once we got out of the camp it was clear sailing though and other than a big rock slide along the Coal Camp road there was really no problems getting out.

There are a few folks who like to see where we have been in a more traditional form so here is a map of some of our rides in this area.

The Red trails with the white spots are trails we rode this weekend and the others are trails we rode last year in this area.