Saturday, May 28, 2011

Raining, raining, raining

Thursday afternoon we took off for Rocky Mountain House to visit Clayton, Lacey and of course Miss Ella. Becky headed out to Dogpound and met us and then her and Brenda followed me up in Becky’s Jeep.

It has been raining here non-stop since we got home Monday afternoon and we have had enough moisture here to last us a while, or at least until we get the crops seeded. And then we could probably use some heat to get things popping here on the Northern Ranges.

We popped into Lacey and Clayton’s for pizza and when we left Aunty Becky had kidnapped Miss Ella to keep her company on her sleepover with us. Here is a shot of Ella hugging Becky and her soon to be cousin.


The next morning it was still raining but the forecast was for an end to it sometime Friday. Meanwhile Ella and I thought we should keep up with our email and read a few blogs to see what the rest of the world is doing while we watch the rain fall. You gotta keep her pretty well wrapped up or she likes to get right down to typing. And to tell the truth a lot of what she types is just about as interesting as what her Grandpa gets hammered out.


But you can only keep her reading blogs for a while until that Clean Gene she got from her Grandma kicks in. She really likes to dust and especially to vaccum.IMG_4861

Saturday morning we packed up and headed home, stopping for breakfast in Caroline along the way. The sunshine has come out though and maybe things will dry up although from the look of the Westward Ho campground it will be awhile. Not the best picture as we were going by on the highway but the little river in the middle is overflowing its banks and those white bits through the trees are RV’s that typically spend the summer alongside a peaceful Little Red Deer River.


Here’s hoping that the rain stays away and tomorrow maybe I can get the first cut on the lawn this year, if it waits much longer we will probably just bale it and sell it with the rest of our hay in the fall.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Dogpound North to the Yaha Tinda

Last Wednesday we thought we should take a run out to the Yaha Tinda and take along our ponies and the new rig to see how they all worked together.


It took us a while to get all of our stuff loaded into the new rig and you can’t travel with horses without bringing along a lot of feed and things to make sure they are comfortable for both the ride out and the stay in the hills. This new rig doesn’t have nearly the storage that our old trailer did but you have to give up something to combine both units into one, so I guess I will just have to pack better and decided which spares I will need and which I have been hauling around for years without every needing. Now I just know that it will be one of the latter that I will need first.

But it was good to head into the back country and see some old friends along the way.


Not sure where these guys and gals were heading but it was in the opposite direction than the one we were, so we just carried on to the ranch to check on some other residents out there.


The resident elk population appeared to make it through the winter with only a few losses. There were probably close to 500 of these critters hanging around in view of our campsite for most of our stay, although as the weekend wore on they were only on the hillside in the early mornings and later evenings.


There even appeared to be some artists in residence although I am sure that these folks like to have a few brews while they work, if only just for inspiration. Now the fellow below was new, to me anyway, and even though it appears the Yaha Tinda is in the eastern part of his mountain range, it was the first time I had stumbled upon a Western Tanager, at least one in full breeding plumage.


There has been a little trail work done in the area over the past couple of years and it would be remiss of me not to mention and thank those folks at Suncor and SHELL who have contributed in so many ways to our enjoyment of this special place. And not only is Shell a great corporate citizen in the area when it come to Environmental Enhancement they are also the primary sponsor of Brenda and my Incredible Adventure. Thanks to all those hard working folks who actually make up the soul of the company.


Here is a shot of our campsite with the trailer set up and the horses over in the trees on the right.


And finally a picture of the real stars of the weekend, Blue on the right and Willow behind. I mentioned in an earlier blog that Brenda`s favourite horse, Rosie, was having an issue with some arthritis so it appears that her trips to the mountains will be curtailed in the future and she will likely be relegated to the most esteemed position of `pasture ornament`and her only rides will be with our grandchildren around Dogpound North. Willow will fill her spot in the mountain team, a position she has held for much of the last 10 or 12 years off and on. Brenda rode Blue this weekend and Willow once again became my ride of choice.


We came home Monday afternoon and it has been raining here ever since but given a choice we will take the rain over the tornado`s that many of our friends have been contending with in the central and southern states. Just a suggestion but we have room for lot`s of visitors here at Dogpound North and although tornado`s are not unknown in this part of the country they are far less frequent than down south.

Tomorrow we head off with our daughter Rebecca to Rocky Mountain House to visit with Lacey, Clayton and of course Miss Ella for a few days.

Friday, May 13, 2011

New Horizons

There is a rumour that spring has finally come to the Northern Ranges. But we are not so new to this country that we don’t think there will be at least one more opportunity to take some snow pictures and maybe even more. We will enjoy this nice weather while we have it and enjoy our spring and summer visitors here at Dogpound North. The fellow below and his mate have been hanging around the pond behind our barn the last few days so maybe they are planning on raising their family here in the yard.


Long time readers know that we look forward to summer here as it gives us a chance to head to the hills with our horses and enjoy some of that fine scenery that the Canadian Rockies are known for. The outfit below was our summer rig for the last few years and served us well, but with our acquisition of Dogpound South and the plan to haul some horses down there we needed a rig more adapted to long hauls but still able to serve our needs in the summers here north of the Medicine Line. A few weeks ago we sold the Arctic Fox to a couple from Nova Scotia who are headed to Alaska in a few weeks, so through the wonder of the internet, the deal is done, and they will be here to pick up their new rig in a couple of weeks and head north. And just for Mike down there in Montana, although you have only seen me dragging that Chevy around behind the coach, that is just because it is broke to lead, when it comes to trucks to actually do some work around here this is Ford country. My old dually is going on 13 this year and still doing a days work.



Our new rig is a 2011 Bison Stratus Express, all aluminum, to make hauling long distances as reasonable as possible, and room for us and three horses on board when we head to the hills. We rarely ever travel with three ponies but usually use the front stall for storage. This rig has an outside, escape door, on that front stall so it is likely we will be able to us it as a kind of mud room, where we can take off our boots and jackets, before heading into the real living quarters. Can you hear Brenda cheering loudly! Smile


I am planning on putting a little solar energy on the roof so that we are able to join our friends out in the desert from time to time for a little boondocking through the winter, and to cut down on our need to run our little generator as much as possible.


Next week we are heading to the Yaha for the new rigs maiden trip so we will  see whether it was a good buy or not. So to get ready for that trip we are spending the day tomorrow shoeing and trimming the remuda around here. We seem to be getting more and more ponies looking over the fence every time I head down to have a look, and less and less of them ready to head into the back country. Oh well, they have all done their time and deserve a nice retirement just like ours so as long as the grass holds out they are welcome to it.

On a more important subject last week Rebecca and Ved headed over to the Ultrasound joint to give us a sneak preview of our new Grandson Kashton. All appears to be going well on that front and we even got a few pictures.


And one of Kashton and his cousin Miss Ella together as well.


It will be a few months yet until we get to meet Kashton in person but we are looking forward to “Labour” day weekend for that big event.

Babies seem to be in the air alright, my friend Carley, and her husband David, down under in Perth, Australia, just welcomed Ryder Kai Morgan to their household a day or two ago, and over in B.C., Jodi and Pardner Payne are on a five minute warning for their new arrival, to join big brother Kai in keeping them busy. Jodi is the niece of our good friends from Dease Lake Bill and Margaret who some of our readers have meet either at the Dease Lake RV Park, which they own, or down in the desert of Arizona in the winter. And we can’t forget those long lost Fort Worth Dallas relatives the Brown’s, who just gave Mark and Dortha, another granddaughter, Kinley Blair Brown

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Early May

It has been a while since I had anything exciting enough to write about. But as Nick says there is no such thing as writers block, you just need to sit down at the keyboard and let your fingers ramble over the keys and by golly, as my friend Joe says, see what comes out.

We have been busy since we got home back in the middle of April, doing what, we are not sure but the days sure fly by. After six months of wandering through the sunbelt we have family to catch up with, and some doctor, and dentist appointments to clear out of the way. Brenda was in to see the Sports Medicine folks and they are doing something, we are not sure what, with her knee. A little cortisone shot gave her some relief for a day or two but certainly not long enough. Not sure what the next step is but probably more injections to introduce a little lubricant into that bad knee.

Bad joints appear to be a plague around here, last fall Brenda’s good saddle horse Rosie developed a slight limp on one of our trips to the mountains. It seemed to come and go so we thought maybe giving it a rest over the winter would cure it. That was not to be, when we got home I noticed she still had a little hitch in her gitalong and although it appeared to be mainly the right foot, at times it seemed to change sides. So I loaded her up and took her into downtown Balzac to Moore and Co.’s clinic. They work on a lot of performance horses and although Rosie is not ever going to Spruce Meadows or the Derby she does perform perfectly for us. Good news and bad news, the bad news first, she has a touch of osteoarthritis around her navicular bone. There are  a couple of treatments and the most effective is another shot of that lubricant, remember it from Brenda’s knee, and it seemed to relieve most of the discomfort. The good news is that if that doesn’t work Rosie is not in to much discomfort and we have an abundance of grass around here and she will be able to live out her days as a fine looking pasture ornament.

Oh more good news, I found that although the vet and Brenda’s doc use basically the same stuff the vet is only half the price,………so maybe I can work a deal there.

Then the last weekend in April we headed off to Red Deer for a horse deal called the Mane Event. Three days of watching trainers and clinicians deal with lots of different types of horses and disciplines. An opportunity to see and maybe even remember some great information. And to top it off Miss Ella joined us for one day and entertained us while we were shopping around the exposition.

Those who are familiar with our summer rig know that although the camper was a great unit it was pretty heavy for our dually and with a horse trailer on behind we were a little over loaded. Yep a little over 2500 lbs overweight and although most of our usage is just an hour or two west of us we had to take it pretty easy going and coming to make sure nothing untoward happened. With our acquisition of Dogpound South and the likelihood that we will be hauling horses south with us next winter a more road worthy outfit seemed to be in the cards. We have looked around and had a pretty good idea of what we needed, or rather wanted, pictures to follow in our next blog. I learned that from my blogging friend, Rick, out on the West Coast, always keep something back for the next blog.

Let’s just jump ahead to today and I’ll tell you a little about Mother’s Day around Dogpound North. I got going pretty early this morning and ran into Calgary to take my Mom out for breakfast. And although my original plan was that famous Canadian icon, Tim Horton’s, she got lucky and the golf course down the road from her place was open so we slipped into their restaurant. Those who know me know that the restaurant is as close as I get to a golf course and although it was snowing lightly there were a couple of guys in shorts heading off to chase the little white balls around the grass. We had a nice breakfast and a good visit.

Then it was back to the farm as the girls were coming out to spend some time with their Mom, and Miss Ella was coming to visit her Grandpa.


While she was here though she had a card for Grandma,


And had to give Grandpa a hand figuring out to start the DVD player to watch the Ultrasound of her cousin Kashton,


Meanwhile outside we were enjoying another fine spring day on the Northern Ranges.