Saturday, September 19, 2015

Just in the Nick of Time

I was reminded this morning that I still have a blog out there in the ethernet and that Brenda checks it daily to see if it has been changed. The last time I updated this journal it was the summer solstice and here it is about to be fall so I guess it is time. We have had an eventful summer, not much riding, but a lot of other things going on.

Beginning back where I left off oh so many months ago, we had a couple of our favourite visitors for a weekend at the end of June.

Alle and Grandpa

Lounging by the poolside

Alle Kitten

The girls telling Grandma a bedtime story?

 Then it was off to Crimson Lake in July for Ella's 6th Birthday party, 6 where has the time gone, it seems like this was just yesterday.
Now she is a grown up little lady. Her birthday celebration was a beach party and the kids and I had a great time swimming at the lake and then eating her ice cream cake.

The next weekend was a celebration of Cheryl Brydens birthday her girls and our girls all came for a campout at Dogpound North. We ate well and stay up late around the campfire telling stories.

 And of course it wouldn't be July in Alberta without a little snow on the ground. Well really I guess if was hail, but frozen water is frozen water.
 But it does make for dramatic skies and some great photo opportunities
We finished up July with a visit from Mark and Jolene on their annual western swing. Always great to see Jolene and sure was nice to meet Mark this year. We did manage to spirit them away for a little drive in the mountains also.

The Bow River in the Stoney Indian Reservation near Morley

That takes us into early August and then we were off on an adventure in Upper Canada or Ontario as the natives call it. We were going down to Brenda's nephews wedding and decided to include a few other stops along the way.
Niagara Falls looking across the American Falls to the Horseshoe Falls in the background

The locks on the Rideau Canal between our Hotel and the Parliament buildings

Our digs in Ottawa on the left

Ashley, Madeline, Adam and Lukus, well the top of his head anyway.

Granny Doak, Donna and Danny Doak, Adams Dad

Mr. and Mrs. Doak and their kids, Madeline and Lukus

Aunty Brenda and Adam

The Doak clan, L to R Danny, Lukus, Ashley, Granny, Adam, Madeline
 After the wedding we headed off to meet some RV friends who have settled down in Smith Falls. Gordon and Sandra are also Facebook friends who capture some pretty nice photographs. Gordon, in his former life, was a graphic designer and is quite the Photoshop expert. I asked him to do his magic on this photo I stole off their page. To my eyes it appears that he did a great job on Brenda and Sandra but has managed to add a few wrinkles and a lot of gray hair on himself and I. So for those who don't really know us all that well, be advised that we both look much younger in person.

Those who have been to DPS before know that there used to be a patio roof running all along this side. It was blown off in a windstorm this summer and now currently resides in our neighbours yard about 300 yards away.

Once we got back to Dogpound North from our Ontario swing I headed south the Dogpound South to review the damage with our insurance folks and some contractors and initiated the process to get it repaired. That took about 10 days then it was time to come home for a couple of more birthdays. Our granddaughter Everly turned 1 and her brother Kashton turned 4 so they had a little soiree for their friends and family at Becky and Ved's place.

1 year cute

Kashton in the centre supervising his Dad's pinata installation
 While we have been fluttering back and forth across the continent Bob has managed to get all the hay put up here at Dogpound North and a portion of it sold. Seeing as how I didn't have any part of that I thought I had better get working on some other things around here. 30 some odd years ago when my Dad bought this place we needed to replace the fence along the road on the west side and lo and behold it is time to do it again. I spent a couple of days removing wire and with Matt's help got all the old posts hauled away. Another neighbour of ours is pounding posts and stringing new wire so soon it will be a nice shiny new fence instead of a tumbled down eyesore.

And the construction at DPS has begun so Brenda headed south to supervise that process. She has a much better sense of colour than I do, or so she says, so I agreed that she was the right person for that job. The patio roof is back up and from my daily report the painting is completed today. Now just to repair the door and the wall damage inside from an botched burglary and she should be able to come home. That could take another couple of weeks though so if you are in the Phoenix area give her a shout.

The dogs and I are looking after ourselves up here at DPN and although the cooking is not up to our usual fare we will probably survive. I have managed to get out a couple of days and take some photographs of both landscapes and some night scenes so will include a sampling of those shots to end this long, looooong update.

Some Northern Light dancing over Dogpound North

Looking back at the LaFarge plant at Exshaw

The Milky way from our deck at DPN

Mt. Kidd looking across Wedge Pond
The Kananaskis River running past Canoe Meadows

And finally a shot of Venus rising on the eastern boundary of DPN

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Still Kicking

It has been the best part of a month since I updated the journal, so I thought I would let you all know we are still alive and kicking here at Dogpound North. There haven't been a lot of exciting things happening here other than fence building and the seemingly never ending task of hauling away broken tree branches from our late summer snow storm last year.

Not to sure but I think I have moved about 100 loads like this so far.

And as you can see it isn't done yet.
Way back in May Mom and I took a trip up to our friends the Pohl's place near Ponoka where they had a Farming with Horses day going on, coincidentally on Mothers Day. They were plowing, disking, and harrowing in preparation for seeding about 5 acres with oats. There were a bunch of teams there and it didn't take long till it was looking pretty good.

Nope Ben and Beauty didn't fall into the Lady Clairol, Ken borrowed this team for a bit.

Doing a little plowing   
We did get out and visit some little people in the last month though.
Hmmm, not getting in the house like that though!

But Grandpa I am still pretty cute.

 And Max and Maya are enjoying the summer here and all the green grass to roll on.

Mid June Rebecca and her cousin Leighanne took off on a little bike ride to raise some money for MS. They rode about 178 km's over two days along with about 800 other riders and managed to raise about $650,000 total. Good for you girls.

It has been a pretty nice spring here in the north country and just the last few days we have been getting a little moisture which makes digging those fence post holes a whole lot easier.

Once again we have resumed our monthly lunches with our eldest granddaughter Claire and yesterday we tracked down the Perogy Boys food truck and gave them a whirl. There are a bunch of different trucks rolling around Calgary and if it weren't for the fact that we need to try out some of the others we certainly would be back at this one pretty soon.

Two of my favourite girls.
Today was Father's Day here on the farm and I celebrated by getting a few more fence posts dug in and mowing all that nice green grass. That made it a great day in my books and Brenda cooked me up one of my all time favourite dishes, Fetticcini Gigi so that made it even better.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Where Did They Go?

So when I last wrote a blog we were still in Jamaica celebrating Lacey and Clayton's marriage, and now that they are old married folks it is probably time for me to get this journal updated. We did manage to get out of Jamaica, but I had a tough time explaining to the US Customs and Border agent why my passport wasn't stamped each and every time I had been in and out of the States over the last year. She told me I needed it stamped and I told her that I made it a practice not to tell Border Crossing folks how to do their job and that policy has served me well over the last 60 odd years of crossing the Medicine Line. Usually when you fly you get a stamp, but as I drive, can't fit the horses on a plane, you don't usually get a stamp. They just scan your passport and we all have heard how the computers are working now and they are keeping track of our movements much better. Well, maybe you guys, but apparently not me. I finally convinced the nice lady that I had no intention of becoming an illegal alien and had kept a good record of my comings and goings just in case the government needed them and she let me on through.

The last year has been an interesting experiment, what with Brenda's knee replacement not going so well, but we have discovered one, maybe the only, benefit of her plight. When we travel we usually get a wheelchair to get from the check-in to the gate and back. Most airlines also supply a driver for that conveyance. And those folks know how to get around those big places in a hurry. It means no waiting at the Security Check and priority boarding. Big benefit entering Jamaica, our lady driver knew the ropes and we were through Immigration and Customs quicker than you can blink. And coming back out of Montego Bay there was at least a thousand people in the line and we scooted right to the front. And nobody even gives a lady in a wheelchair and her bodyguard a second look.

It was an interesting winter from a horsepersons point of view. Arizona had an early outbreak of a critter disease called Vesticular Stomatitis which meant all our horses were going to have to be out of Arizona for 21 days before they were allowed to cross the border back into Canada. So we made a plan to wander our way home slowly after sprinting for the Arizona/Utah border to get the clock ticking.

As it turned out the outbreak took a break and the Canadian government allowed horses that had not been in the county in southern Arizona with the problem to head for home without the 21 day condition. But we had some plans made and decided at least part of them needed to be acted on.

Hard to believe but in all the miles we have driven around the United States and the many years we have been to Arizona, we had never gotten to see the Grand Canyon, except from 35,000 feet as we flew by it. This time we combined it with a trip to Dave and Linda Modahl's ranch in Northern Arizona.
Ben and Beauty were enthralled by Dave and Linda's gate guards

Ken enjoys the riding and seeing new country.

Ken, Verna, Linda, Dave and Penny in the foreground

Not sure what kind of snake that is but it is a sign that we are not far enough north.

 After enjoying Dave and Linda's "Lazy D Ranch" for four days we headed for the big ditch.

Words really can not describe this place, it is truly a wondrous place, and I will let the pictures do the talking.

 Through the wonders of the internet we knew folks who knew folks who had scouted out a site we could camp with our horses and and still be within riding distance of the Canyon.

Ken, Verna and Penny

Blue and I, Blue was happy the Canyon was behind us and not ahead on the trail.

Ken and Beauty

We finally made it

You can see the bridge across the Colorado down there.

At the bottom of the photo is a roof at Phantom Ranch a way station on the ride across the canyon

This fellow was looking at me like, "I ain't hauling your big ass down into Canyon, not to mention back up"
It was a great place and we will be back. But once I got done riding over and having another look down from horseback Brenda and I loaded up and headed north. The next night we were in Dillon, Montana and heading for the border the next day. All our worry over the border crossing was for naught, the fellow just took copies our horse papers and sent us on our way. Not much excitement there but a little farther along in our journey our Pressure Pro sent us a message telling us that things were going to get a little more exciting if we didn't find a tire shop pronto. As luck would have it we were a block from a great little tire shop in Nanton and they quickly pulled off the flat and put the spare on for us. They checked out the tire and discovered that the wheel had a crack in it. After talking to my tire expert and favourite tire selling cousin I decided to change all the wheels on the trailer from the cast aluminum mags to plain jane, but strong, steel. While we were at it we also switched the tires to a set of Goodyear G114's.

Since we got back here down the road from Dogpound we have been to a couple of birthday parties and visited a few folks but have been sticking pretty close to the ranch otherwise.

I always tell folks that wondering what to do to keep busy is a non-issue if you have a farm and Brenda and I have been busy cleaning up after our early snow last September, fixing a water leak in our outside system that developed over the winter and general yard maintenance, including replacing our crumbling retaining wall. Just another century or two and we'll have that "to do" list whipped.

Now in a blast of information you are caught up and maybe, just maybe I can keep a little more abreast of things in the future.