Tuesday, August 2, 2016


 It has been a while since one of our local luminaries made an appearance on our blog. They are still out and about and although since we came home they have been leaving the yard patrols to Max and Maya I am sure they are watching closely how we maintain their winter home for them. While we are gone in the winter they roam pretty much all over the yard, and though we have never seen one up on the deck that might just be an oversight on our part.

April and May were pretty spectacular months here at DPN, fine weather and not much moisture. Nice for hanging out but not so nice for our hay crop. We can use some rain.

I of course have managed to pry myself away from the farm and do a little picturing around the neighbourhood as well. The shot below was along the side of Highway 1A between Exshaw and Canmore.

Although the moose are not hanging out right in the yard we do have some new residents in the barn. Each year we get a new crop of kittens but these aren't your cuddly little fur balls, they are highly bred rodent control specialists and brook no interference in their duties. They are wild as March hares and would probably scratch your eyes out if you caught one of them. That said they are pretty used to me being in and out of the barn and don't bug out everytime I open the door.

We have seen some of the kids this month and did sneak into Chestermere in mid-June for a visit with Bec and her kids, Kashton and Everly. I am trying to do a few more people type shots and this pair make pretty good models for my endeavours.

Bec and Everly
Towards the end of June our long hot, dry spell came to an end and we are still under a daily thunderstorm regime here at DPN,

That makes for some pretty cool storm clouds rolling over the hills here.

And of course every day we have a sunset and that gives me all the excuses I need to break out the camera.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Well time for another journal entry, so I can keep them somewhat up to date, OK, I am only three months behind but time seems to fly and life is not that exciting. Case in point early in May I made a whirl through Banff and up to Lake Louise but the ice was still hanging around, but it was still packed with tourists.

Washing trucks here at DPN is a pretty exciting day I guess, worth a taking a picture of at least.

Mothers Day weekend my Mom and I took a run up to Ponoka to watch the Farming with Horses demo at Pohl's place near Ponoka. The weather was beautiful and the teams were working hard in the heat.

L to R Ben, Beauty, and Buddy
 Early on Mothers Day morning the old people were dancing in the sky over DPN. It was without doubt the best display of the Aurora Borealis that I have seen since I worked in the Mackenzie Delta.

Not often do the lights get so intense or so far south, they were actually filling the sky, I must have taken well over a thousand shots and still haven't finished processing them and deciding which is the best but these two will have to do for examples.

That brings us to the Long Weekend in May, commonly called May 2-4 or just May Long. Blue and I packed up some supplies and headed west for a few days of riding.

It's all you really need

After a great day or two the rains started and we ran for the flatlands and home. Everybody had already packed up and pulled out so the only rig left in the place was Blue and I, and seeing as how there were at least two grizzlies and a couple of cubs wandering around Blue said either I stay in the trailer or we blow this pop stand.

The rest of the month was filled up with visits from the kids and grandkids, Paul and Annika were out to pick up their rig for a camping weekend.

And then along came the Tomasirs, Rebecca was showing a house to some clients just down the road and the whole family came along so we had a visit with them.

And then a few days later the Andersons were in the neighbourhood and spent a night with us. We didn't get to visit long as no sooner had we got the fire going and the marshmallows out to start cooking when we had a horse get tangled in some wire and I spent the rest of the evening and a good portion of the night with the vet stitching it up. I do truly believe that horses were put on this earth just so vet's would be able to pay off their student loans.

And of course on final sunset picture just to close off the month.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

April's Goings On

A couple of days into the month our daughter Lacey, her husband, Clayton, and our granddaughters Alle and Ella came down for a visit and to pick up Clayton's river boat out of the quonset. It is always special to see the kids no matter what the excuse is.

Alle and Grandma

A little ice cream therapy is always good for you.
The rest of April was taken with enjoying the great spring weather we were having, getting my annual physicals out of the way and roaming back and forth to deal with Brenda's CRPS. I also managed to get out and do a little photography. I have most of the roads for 20 miles around Dogpound North re-driven and did some night shooting as well.

Some star trails with a little Aurora photobombing the bottom of the shot.

Moose Mountain south of us.

Rail bridge across the Kananaskis River at Seebe.
And then of course at the end of April we made a jaunt up to Rocky Mountain House for the Anderson girls birthday. Both Alle and her mother Lacey were born on the same day, different year, but same day so that makes it a natural for a double party.

The Birthday Girls

So that wraps up April in my quest to actually get this journal back on track. Hopefully as we get into the more recent past I will actually be able to actually remember some details, but till then enjoy the rambling.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Summer Solstice

June 22, 2016

Well the sun has hit its high spot this year and is on its way back south so I thought it was time I put some words together just in case there is still anyone out there.

Last time I wrote we were just contemplating our northern migration. We headed north but did manage to stop along the way and have a visit with our friends Dave and Linda Modahl at their Lazy D spread west of Seligman, Arizona. They have built a beautiful spot up there and all their hard work is starting to pay off.

Dave, Brenda and Linda settling in for Happy Hour

Our spot at the Lazy D Ranch

After a couple of days visit with the Modahl's we loaded up and headed north for real this time. We found ourselves in the rodeo grounds in Spanish Fork, Utah that first night and with an early start the next morning we were in Great Falls by shortly after noon. After a quick fueling stop we decided we might just as well head for Dogpound North as it was easily reachable before dark.

It has been a nice spring here in the land just north of summer this year. Warm temps and fair winds, but not a lot of moisture either. We have been watering the lawns here at DPN for the first time in a lot of years. We usually get enough rain to keep things greened up fairly well but this year we are having to supplement the meager rainfall.

July 16, 2016

As you can see my good intentions kind of went all to naught, but recently I have been looking back over our old journals looking for names and things of places we stayed, travelled or ate at, and the value of having this record is pretty apparent so if only as a historical reference for my slipping memory I will try to do a better job of updating. It is also another venue to put some of my photographic endeavours so those of you who follow me on Facebook or Instagram or Flickr may find it a little repetitive.

So taking up where I left off we got home the day before Easter and Easter Monday was Becky's birthday and they came out to see us here at Dogpound North.

The Tomasirs

Before the end of March I was able to make a run out to the Yaha Tinda. While there I ran into a herd of elk, probably somewhere between 200-300 head, as well as some wild horses along the drive out to there.

Wardens Rock and part of the elk herd
Now that has caught the future forgetful me up to the end of March and we will see how I do with April.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Ides of March

It is time to wrap up the winter just so folks know we are still out here and mostly kicking. Christmas was quiet here, no kids this year, so we didn't have much hoopla going on, and New Years Eve came and went without us needing to make sure the New Year was welcomed.

January I did a few rides with some old friends from back home, for the most part just SW of our place here in Thunderbird Farms although we did head out to San Tan Regional Park for one ride.

Brenda's CRPS has not been kind to her and for most of December and January she was in a flare-up. She ran home in early January for an appointment with her neurologist and he told her that the pain in her hand wasn't CRPS but XXXX and there was not much that could be done about it considering if they operated the CRPS would probably move into that limb also.

Early in February we got into a clinic in Phoenix that does Ketamine Infusions, although there experience is mostly with depression patients they have had some success with CRPS folks as well. It consist of three 5 hour infusions with a follow-up booster set of 2, 2 weeks later. Stuff was like a miracle drug, within hours of the first infusion the pain levels were dropping and by the end of the first three Brenda said her pain level was at a 0-1 for the first time since the knee surgery 2 years ago. It was great to see the pain that was etched on her face gone and her eyes dancing without pain. Even heard a laugh or two.

We managed to head up to Congress to visit Mike and Janna, along with Jim, Ellie and some of their other friends and even got out to see Kelly and Al for a short visit.

Then it was back to Phoenix and get the boosters done before Brenda once again headed back to Alberta to meet with the folks at the Alberta Health Services Pain Clinic. She reported back that the meeting was great and they have a lot folks to give her a hand there. Physio will start on March 30 so we will be back in Canada before then.

After a week or ten days at home in Canada she headed back to Dogpound South. We have had a great month around here, I even got a ride or two in, but sadly last week the CRPS started wearing through the Ketamine and has worked itself into a major flare-up again.

Now Ketamine works but the infusion process is pretty harrowing so without even considering it's considerable cost Brenda is doubtful whether it is sustainable as a long term treatment so we are back in the world of CRPS and the monster rules our lives again.

It was great while it lasted though.

So here's hoping the roads are clear on the northern migration route next week and the snows not to deep at Dogpound North when we pull into the yard.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Hay Creek Ranch

We have been here almost a month now and it is time to get things caught up here in blogland. After reading about the issues with Live Writer I was inspired to get going on my contribution. Since I made the jump to the Mac ecosystem I have been without Live Writer and sure miss it, but Blogger does a passable job, but then maybe that is why I never seem to get anything written anymore.

I have done a little riding here at Thunderbird Farms but until this weekend we had not had the LQ out of the yard. Last week we started stocking it up with supplies to carry us through 3 or 4 days of camping out near Oracle at the Hay Creek Ranch. We have heard about this place from a few of our riding friends and the Pohl's from Ponoka, along with their friend Rob Patterson were heading that way so we decided to join them.

It is a beautiful spot up on the side of the Santa Catalina Mountains north of Tucson. There is a nice campground and great stalls for the horses. The first day we rode over to the American Flag Ranch House and Post Office and then a short distance up the Arizona Trail looking for a geo-cache that Ken and Verna had found online.

Looking for the Geo-Cache
Beauty doing a little trail clearing

Coming down the Arizona Trail
 We didn't take a long ride on Friday, my horses and I have not done a lot of work this summer so it was a good day for me to get some kinks out and I rode Brenda's Wink as she has only been on grandkid duty since last spring.

Saturday we woke up to intermittent clouds racing by pushed by a 30-50 mph wind and sporadic rain and snow. The mountains over there by Mt. Lemmon were covered with snow. We made a call early on that Day 2 was going to be a camp day.

There's a little snow in them thar' hills

Sunday dawned clear and sunny so we saddled up and headed down the wash to a local crested saguaro. These things are thought to be some kind of genetic mutation and only happen in about 1 in 250,000 saguaro's so they are always kind of neat to see.

And if a person was going to look for a Geo-Cache around here you might use the above picture for a clue. Today Brenda loaned her horse Wink to Rob Patterson to ride so both Blue and her were on our ride.

Rob on Wink

Mt. Lemmon complex from the Hay Creek Ranch site.

Couldn't resist a little night photography, the light pollution is a combination of Tucson and Phoenix
 Although we didn't ride far either day both Blue and Wink were looking pretty happy to get back to the trailer. All that good green grass and loafing around all summer hasn't done a lot to get them ready for hiking around Arizona washes and hills.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Gone to DPS

Yep, it is November and we have flown the coop and left winter behind at Dogpound North. Last week I loaded Blue and Wink and pointed the truck south. We had found a weather window that gave us a good shot at getting down to Dogpound South (DPS) without hitting to much weather along the way. Late season trips to the south place mean your travel plans need to be flexible and as we slid across Montana we started hearing reports of an incoming storm in Southern Idaho, mostly high winds but some snow and that led us to change our first overnight stop from Dillon, Montana to down near Idaho Fall, Idaho. And to ensure that we beat the winds out of Idaho we made an early (2:30AM early) departure from Idaho Falls and headed for Utah. The early start got us out of Idaho and into Utah so that we were through the Salt Lake City rat race before most of those folks got out of bed. As we rolled south across Utah the roads were good, at least until we hit the junction of I-15 and I-70, at that point they went downhill in a hurry. Although the temps were up around 45F we came over a hill in the middle of a pack of transport trucks to find a State Trooper jumping up and down in the middle of the highway. Sure wish he had gone a mile or so farther north as that might have given us a chance of getting slowed down a little before we hit the packed snow and ice covered highway ahead. Now anyone who has driven the ice roads in the Arctic knows how much fun it is to be on solid ice when the temperature gets above freezing. Hard enough to stand up let alone skid our big LQ down the highway while trying to get down to a more reasonable speed as well as not cause any issues for the surrounding transport trucks. Eventually the truckers and I managed to slip our way between the ditches, which were full of four wheelers, and get our speed down to a still too fast 15-20 mph. The ice and snow only lasted for about 3 miles, but they were an exciting three miles.

We called it a day once we wound our way down the Virgin River gorge and through Mesquite towards Logandale. Logandale and the Clark County Fairgrounds have a great spot to stop with horses. Brand new box stalls, pens, and even a place to plug in the LQ for the night. Even with all the excitement we were all settled in by mid-day and probably could have made DPS if we had been so inclined, but the horses had two long days in the trailer and it was better to let them get out and move around a little and get an early start the next day.

Day three we were up and on the road again early and through Las Vegas before rush hour and well into Arizona when the sun rose. One stop for fuel and it was all downhill in the Valley of the Sun. We were at DPS around noon and got unloaded and stretch our legs, all 18 of them. I never mentioned the dogs but they are great travelers and slept most of the way down.

Things here at DPS are pretty well setup so it was just a matter of hanging a water bucket on the rack and turning the tap and we are ready to go.

Thursday, Brenda was up early back in Canada and onto an airplane headed down to join us here at DPS. We gathered her up and stopped to pick up a few supplies on the way back out of the city. The last few days have been spent getting settled in here and restocking the larder.

We've spent the last few days getting settled in and trying to get Brenda not to do to much. When it comes to the former we have been relatively successful, but the latter has not been that great a success. She has raked and swept and cleaned both inside and out, so DPS is looking pretty nice.

And back at Dogpound North it is looking like "we are glad we beat it."