Sunday, January 18, 2015

On a Roll

Well we are really on a roll this month, four blogs and the month is barely half over. Well I don't think it will continue as we have had a great first two weeks of the year, what with winding down from the kids visit at Christmas, then a trip up to North Ranch and visits from friends the last couple of days. Last week was taken up mostly with just hanging here at Dogpound South, although I did sneak off most days for a couple of hours to get a swim in at the brand new rec complex in Maricopa. It is a wonderful set-up with an eight lane lap pool that a lot of days has only a couple of diehard swimmers in it. Fine with me and keeping swimming allows me to keep doing the things I really like, eating Brenda's cooking and of course my ice cream therapy.

And on the day I didn't swim an old friend, Phil Staden, and his family came by, loaded up Wink and I and hauled us out to Picket Post for a ride around the mountain. Hard to believe but I didn't take a single picture along the way but it was just as beautiful, if not more so, than it is every time. Definitely one of my favourite all time rides. Just after we had our lunch and got going the skies opened up though and we had a through soaking. Water was running in the washes and some of that slick rock was SLICK. We all came through safely though, if a little wet.

Friday afternoon we were expecting company and before you knew it the Big Pink Motorhome and bright Yellow Jeep with Treasure State plates were pulling through the gates here at Dogpound South.

Mike and Janna and the Tin TeePee were coming to visit on their way back to North Ranch after visiting other friends in Tucson. We had a great visit and then headed into town to Plaza Bonita for a great Mexican dinner.

Mike, Janna, Emmi and Max in the background

Saturday we continued our visit and along about 11:30 Rene and Jeanette from RV Voyageur pulled in the gate on their Kawasaki motor cycle. They are camped over at Gold Canyon and we had enticed then over to Dogpound South for a visit. Although the two couples had never met they have been following each others blogs for a long time so like always, it was old home week and we solved most of the world's problems and ate a way to much of Brenda's good cooking.

Jeannette, Mike, Brenda, Rene, Janna and Emmi, Maya and Max thrown into the mix also.

Sadly the afternoon passed quickly and Rene and Jeanette had to hit the road home. We convinced Mike and Janna that they could stay another night with us though so we had a little more yakking and then finished off the day with another feed of Brenda's Carrot Cake topped with some good Blue Bell ice cream.

This morning the Clark's were off for North Ranch and I was off to Cowboy Church so we said our goodbyes and headed off down our own trails.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Off to the Ranch

This weekend we decided we needed a change of scenery.

Sunrise over the desert
Brenda and I loaded up the dogs and the trailer and headed north to visit a bunch of our friends who have gathered up around Congress, Arizona this winter. Although we had been through that area before we were getting our rig wound up to climb the Yarnell Hill so we had never really had a decent look around. Did a little visiting this time and had a brief look at the countryside and it is easy to see why folks have ended up spending the winter around there.

Mike Clark met us at the main gate to North Ranch and guided us around so that we could put our rig on a site with as little problem as possible. It was a short drive, but boy, did we see a lot of familiar faces. As we cruised along the street two ladies in a golf cart buzzed us, good to see Pat McFall and Ellie Meacham. Then around a corner and there was that big pink motorhome with Janna Clark standing on the step waving. Just a little bit up the hill we found our spot.

Got a lot of strange looks along with welcoming waves though. Not sure that North Ranch sees many RV's like ours pulling in. Probably put some fear in our neighbours wondering what kind of critters those guys are going to unload from the back of that livestock hauler. Well we don't get to town to often but we knew Blue, Wink and Willow would probably not be welcome so we left them home with C.C. Cochran making sure they had all the feed they needed.

Friday we spent catching up with the Clarks and enjoying a great supper that Janna had whipped up.

Saturday morning we loaded up Max and Maya and drove them up to visit the Pheebs, a key member of the Bayfield Bunch. Mike and Janna and Emmi joined us on this visit. I know Max and Maya loved to opportunity to run free throughout the beautiful landscaping that Al and Kelly have done on their place.

Al and Kelly of the Bayfield Bunch
Not sure that Pheebs appreciated her space being invaded by a couple of unruly country dogs and Emmi decided sitting this one out, on Mikes lap, and letting the big dogs run was a wise move. After chewing the fat for a few hours and eating to many treats we all retreated to our own corners to rest up for Happy Hour.
Brenda and in the background Maya and Max with a couple of Pheebs toys that they had shanghaied

Hard to get a shot of Al without his camera.

We gathered the same gang together later in the day at Jim and Ellie's new house to review paint colors and eat some great pizza that Mike and Janna had brought in from Congress. The pizza was great and the company was even better.

Jim and Ellie in the house they are renovating. Good luck choosing the paint colors
We had lots of laughs and relived a lot of old stories, and maybe even started some new ones. It was a great reminder of why we love our old RV friends, but one of the lessons we learned in that RV'ing world is you are always leaving, not forever, but going on down the road, looking forward to the next time our paths cross.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

An Unexpected Early Sunrise

 Two days two blogs, maybe what my Inuit friends are saying is true. The earth has shifted.

After Brenda's trip home to deal with her brother Brent's passing she was back down here getting ready for Christmas. She always like to do a lot of baking to get ready for the season, so that means I have to get out my tasting hat to make sure it is all OK to serve to company. As usual everything passed the taste tests and if company hurries there might even be some left to serve to them.

This is a big Christmas for us as early Christmas morning Santa is delivering our presents to the Sky Harbor airport in the form of our granddaughters Ella and Alle, oh yeah, and their parents too.

Ella, Alle and mom, Lacey along with Claytons legs
The weather was a little cooler than I was hoping for their visit but these are tough Canadian girls and were running around in sun dresses and shorts for most of the week while everyone around them was bundled up in their winter gear.

On Boxing Day or the day after Christmas for our American friends we just chilled at home. Ken and Verna Pohl came over in the afternoon with their wagon and Ben and Beauty and took the grandkids and I for a ride around the neighbourhood. The kids loved the big horses and enjoyed the ride.

I hadn't packed a helmet for the girls so riding the horses here at Dogpound South was going to be a non-starter, but luckily Santa Claus got that covered. They were sure happy with their upgrade as back home in the North Country they were wearing an old motorcycle helmet and this is definitely a more styling look.

Gotta a little growing to do to fit those stirrups
 The day after Boxing Day we headed out to Goldfields for a little dancing and a look around.

That blurry look is natural for these girls, they never slow down.

Goldfields townsite
 The kids enjoyed the gunfight with the little one clapping enthusiastically when the shots were fired and the gunfighters were falling down. We even ventured out on the train ride, rumour had it that the local " Canadian Rubber Band Bandits" were out in the hills so it would be a safe journey. In fact those same rumours said a local hero was going to try to lead them out into the Superstitions and lose them in the dark out there so they would never again harass the peaceful citizens of Goldfields.
Keeping an eye out for bandits
The rest of the week was filled with eating out and hanging out at Dogpound South. I for one sure enjoyed the kids visit and marvelled daily at the amount of energy they had. They were up with the sun and went steady till long after it set.
This little fellow was watching the activities all fluffed up from the cold.

Meanwhile these Canadian girls had captured the ice cream truck for some treats

And a little tomfoolery


They love our dirt

Walking the tightrope

Burning off some energy and helping Grandma get the dog hair off the beds and into the house.

But even the best holidays have a little computer work involved
Sadly New Years Eve I had to run them back into Phoenix to catch a plane home, and no matter how I tried I couldn't talk them into staying with us and letting their folks go home alone.

We haven't been doing much trail riding as Brenda's knee is still pretty painful. She has worked hard to get the flexibility that she needs back and has been successful at that, but the swelling just won't seem to go away so it is still difficult to build up the strength she needs to ride and control her horse properly.

And probably a good thing as over the last month or so both Blue and Willow have been on the injured reserve list so Brenda's Wink horse is our only sound mount right at the moment.

Back to the title of this entry. My Inuvialuit friends up Inuvik way tell me that the sun rose on January 4th this year. Doesn't sound all that odd to most southerners but as long as I can remember and that is a long, long time, I am sad to say, the sun has always risen on January 6th, after a month of no sun at all. In the summer though they get 56 days when the sun never sets at all so it seems a fair trade I guess. Kind of makes you wonder if this old earth is really spinning out of control or what.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Brent Vogt 1958 - 2014

Brent giving me a hand with some clean-up at Dogpound North

Early in December Brenda received word that her brother had died in Calgary after undergoing more surgery to deal with his diabetes related problems. Brent was a kind of loner and liked to deal with his problems on his own and not be a problem for others. Although they hadn't spoken recently they were pretty close and she had a lot of good memories about Brent and their childhood and young adulthood.

Brent spent most of his life working in the restaurant business and was an awesome cook. He shared some of those recipes with Brenda and they always had a sibling competition about who was the best at what. Tough to compete with a pro, but Brenda always managed to hold her own and even showed Brent a trick or two.

Brent never had an easy time of things in his life, and I never really got time to get to know him all that well, but what I do remember is a guy who always had a smile, or a funny story to tell, no matter how tough things were going in his own world.

Brent doing his magic in Becky's kitchen on Christmas Eve a few years back
RIP "Uncle B"

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.