Friday, October 14, 2016


Olympic Trials at DPN

It has only been a week since my last blog post, but I am trying to keep things a little more up to date here. It is hard to use this as a journal to look back on when I only say a few words every two or three months. Last week I wrote we had finally finished the haying here at Dogpound North (DPN), and the last bale had hardly hit the ground when the snow started. A lot of our neighbours and fellow Albertans and even folks over in Saskatchewan are caught with their crops still in the fields. The news reports say the harvest is about 80% finished so that means most of the profit is still laying out under the snow. In the past the oil patch has served as a fall back position for many in the agriculture industry, you could always pick up a few months work over the winter to pump up the cash reserves. Well this year that might not be easy, although the price of oil is playing with $50 it is still pretty slow out there in the patch. Canada desperately needs pipelines that reach tidewater, Canadian tidewater. For the most part our oil has been sold to our neighbours to the south, but that necessitates taking a discounted price and they are less inclined to buy our product as they have a lot of their own now, since the fracking has taken off in the Bakken and Texas. So it really doesn't make much sense for us to sell our oil to them at a discount so that they can in turn export their own production around the world at world prices. Well enough of that topic.

Up here north of the Medicine Line we don't just use Scarecrows in the Garden
Another piece of news that I thought I would share, this year for the first time since we bought our place down in Arizona, five years ago we are not taking a horse south with us. Brenda, because of her CRPS can't ride, and I am not much on riding by myself so I thought it would be a good time to leave the horses home. We are still taking our LQ with us and if the mood strikes us we may get out and visit some of those old spots we liked to boondock in before we sunk roots into the Maricopa soil. We have no plans to give up Dogpound South (DPS) but might not be tied so tightly to it. Just blueskying but that is one idea anyway.

We are doing what all snowbirds do at this time of year, visiting with our medical teams, planning our departure, and readying the rig for travel. Who knows when we are going to head out but Max is looking at me like, what's the holdup old timer, there is snow on the ground and we should be heading for that warmer place with no grass.

And with those thoughts in mind we have been bringing our security detail up to speed here at DPN, surprisingly the dogs don't seem to mind the company.

On Patrol

Just checking

Friday, October 7, 2016

All the way up to October

Remember back in June when I was saying we needed a little rain. Well we got it, in fact it started raining at the beginning of July and other than the odd day of sunshine it has continued right through to end of September. The hay here on Dogpound North started getting knocked down on the 17th of July and even taking advantage of every bit of sunshine, it was yesterday, October 6th when the last bale was rolled out. Best I can remember that is about as late as it ever been. We had a big reunion here at DPN for Rebecca and Lacey's cousins in mid-July and actually that was one of the sunny weekends here.

Once we wound up the reunion we followed Clayton and Lacey out to the Bighorn Dam for a few days of chilling by the riverside.

Alle and Sam just chillin'


Anderson Girls

Next stop was Shelly Roste's 60th birthday. Back in almost prehistoric days Shelly and I worked together on Shell's Party 4 wandering around Western Canada looking for oil and gas. Those were back in the good old days before the environmentalist's took over when oil and gas was actually a good thing to find.

Then a week or so later we headed up to Alliance for a reunion of another sort. Brenda, Derek, John, and Gina have been friends for a long time, I am thinking something like 34 years. They were all just kids when they met in Cochrane and have kept in touch every since. Derek had Brenda as a groomsman at his wedding and he gave Brenda away at ours. Long time readers will remember us heading to Vancouver Island and hiding out on John and Gina's place on the Nanaimo River.

L to R Derek, Maya, John, Gina, and Brenda
Late in August I was up to the Buffalo Coulee Ranch near Wainwright. My mother grew up near there and my cousins still call it home. The occasion was cousin Blair's wedding and he asked me to come on up and take a few pics. It was a great time and I took a few more than a more, hopefully some of them good and a few real good.

Blair and his bride Jacki

That about covered our gallivanting around for the summer, we had a trip planned out to the Yaha Tinda but the week we were going it was raining, and snowing in the west country so we decided the wiser choice was sticking close to home. I got out a few times to do a little picturing as those who follow me on Facebook are probably more than aware of.

The Horses of Dogpound North
Our horses are fat and happy here at home and I haven't heard one complaint from them about not getting out to the mountains all summer.

What with Brenda's CRPS and my sore leg it has been a lazy summer of eating grass and standing around relaxing for the remuda here at Dogpound North. And probably be a pretty easy winter as I am thinking about not taking any ponies south this winter.

Well that about catches things up to the end of September, and October started off with a big event, my niece, Caron, and her guy Chris tied the knot, so the whole fam damily was down to Canmore for that event. It was a rainy dreary day until an hour or so before the ceremony when the clouds cleared and the sun came out. I have no doubt that brother Brent was responsible for getting the weather in line for his oldest daughters wedding day.

Oh remember back in July when I said we got done with our hay on October 6th, well today is October 7th and we have had snow all day so it was good timing.

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.