Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Now it Can Rain

We got some bales put in the barn for the winter and a little for our friends from Drayton Valley and the rest has been tarped and once those stack covers are on, it is time for some welcome rain.



We still have some barley but that will probably go as silage so a little moisture will be good for it. Tuesday it started spitting at us but by evening it was a pretty steady drizzle and all day today it has been coming down. Not a torrential rain just a steady soaking rain that will replenish the soil moisture and give our trees and lawns a good drink. Not to mention our hay fields which now are growing back for winter pasture. We are planning on taking our saddle horses south with us but the pensioner pen here will be staying home and they like a good regrowth to paw out of the snow.


For all you Texans suffering through a drought that is one 24 hour period of rain.

Monday, once we got the hay put away we had ourselves a wiener roast with my son Matt and our granddaughter Madison. It was a beautiful evening for sitting around the campfire and visiting.


And watching the dogs play, although Mack is bigger, Meg still has a way of growling that tells him she is ready for him to quit.


And the sunsets on another day at Dogpound North.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Haying is Done



We have enjoyed a streak of great weather here at Dogpound North and you know that old saying “make hay while the sun shines” describes what has been going on here. Until yesterday I was just an interested bystander, but it looked like Bob could use a little help so I climbed in and he gave me the grand tour of his engine and baler. The tractor was pretty high tech compared to my old John Deere 4020, but the baler was basically a newer model of the balers we used on my Mom and Uncle’s farm 40 years ago. Pretty good design I guess to stand up all that time.


Thursday Bob had the whole family out working on our place, two balers working till the sun went down and the bale wagon was working in the wee hours picking up all the bales that they had made that day.


These bale wagons have made a lot of the hard work that I remember haying and baling straw a thing of the past. I had a question about the little bales from Rod over at Retired Rod. The answer like most is a combination of things, in our country we grow a lot of timothy hay, and try to export it to Japan. The Hay Plants like the small square bales as they compress them so that they are much smaller, and heavier, for shipping overseas. Now recently there are getting to be some big square balers around and they are moving towards them as the trucking is easier, but those balers are pretty expensive and this is what Bob has so that is what we use. And for our own use here at Dogpound North we hand feed our horses and take bales to the mountains all summer so we don’t need any 1500-2000 pound monsters for that.


The feather at the top was left out in the hay by one of our resident hawks. They love watching the haying and picking off any unsuspecting mice that might be exposed by the recently cut hay.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Ram Falls


Our trip yesterday, Thursday, took us up to the South Ram River on the Forestry Trunk Road. Just east of the road is Ram River falls. It is a beautiful spot but man are there a lot of stairs to get to the viewpoint.


I took a scamper down them but as you can see Brenda and her bad knee stayed at the top, she is up there encouraging me as I looked up. Oh and she kept our picnic lunch up there so that gave me a little more incentive to clamber back up to the top.


Well with one more look around I headed back up the stairs and boy did that lunch taste good, and what a great view.


If you look at that little island below the falls you can just see a young fellow standing on the left side. He was fishing down there and almost every time he drop a fly in the water he caught a fish. Good sized ones from what I could see with the telephoto too.


But in this part of the country it is Catch and Release so his frying pan will be empty tonight.


Here is a look at my traveling partner and a couple of fishermen we saw along the creek as we snooped at a new campground


that we might take our horses into some time in the future. A beautiful drive but time to head home and see what is happening back with the working folks at Dogpound North.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Heading West!

This morning we jumped in the truck and head out into the hills. I spent most of my working life in those hills doing one thing or another from hauling heavy stuff up them by hand to soaring over them with a helicopter. Almost every turn of the road brings back a memory and Brenda had to listen to a lot of them today. Not all, but a lot, gotta save some for next time I guess. We are lucky to live in a place where such spectacular country is commonplace and I couldn’t think of a day working out there that I didn’t appreciate the raw beauty. Things have changed a bit since then, more people, more oil and gas activity, and some logging, but time marches on and in a hundred years it will probably look different again.

Most of our trip was along what has been called the Forestry Trunk Road by locals since it was built back in the 50’s and 60’s. The link leads you to a Wikipedia page and although it gives you the general idea, the road actually begins down near Coleman in the Crowsnest Pass a couple of hundred kilometres south of where their entry puts it. Over the years since sometime in the 60’s I have driven this road end to end numerous times at all seasons of the year and although it can be dusty it is never boring. Today there was not much traffic and the road was in pretty good shape so we made good time heading north from Bearberry to the South Ram River. I’m saving the pictures from around the Ram River for tomorrow but along the way we passed Limestone Mountain off to the west as we transited what is called Corkscrew Mountain. A couple of weeks ago Ivan over at Roadtrip 2010 took a tour right up to the lookout on Limestone and did a great job of showing it up close. I can only take you as close as my camera will go as we were 5.73 miles off to the east.


But with the big lense maybe we can get you in close enough to see the lookout cabin.


If you look close off to the left side of the photo you can see one of the power poles that supplies power to this lookout. From up there on a good day you can see the city of Calgary, 85 miles away off to the South East. Lots of good stories about Limestone Mountain but maybe the best was told by a helicopter pilot I had doing some work around there who came up on the backside of the mountain and spun around the cabin only to find the lady Fire Spotter making sure that she didn’t have any tan lines for her winter vacation. Gentleman that he was I am sure he averted his eyes quickly and reversed his flight path just as quickly….or maybe not.

Limestone to Corkscrew

The image above I stole/borrowed from Google Earth and the circle to the left is the Lookout and the one to the right is where I took the photo from the road on Corkscrew Mountain. If you search “Limestone Mountain, Alberta” on Google Earth it will take you to the live shot, or do like Rod and blow up the shot to get the coordinates at the bottom, then you can zoom in and see some other photographers pictures from both places.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

And Another Day Rushes By.

Today was another great weather day here at Dogpound North. Temperatures got up to 28C (85F) here today and for us that is HOT! Things should moderate back into the low to mid 70’s F over the next few days so we will be able to put away our parasols and stray away from the air conditioning.

I got going early this morning and got the outside yard all mowed before the heat got to carried away, no AC in that mower. Brenda ran into town and washed her Jeep and took her recycling in at the same time. And that was about all the excitement for today. To steal a great quote most of the day I just spent sitting and thinking, or maybe I was just sitting.

Our hay is ready to bale and Bob turned it over last night and this afternoon so I imagine the balers will hit the field any time.



And of course as I wandered around out having a look our mutts gave everything the once over too.


Meg on the left, and Mack on the right

The only other thing of note today was my son Matt arriving back from his shift in Albania for a break. He should be home for almost a month before he heads back. His dog Mack was pretty happy to see him wheel up, and I know his grandparents have been looking forward to his return.

Once the hay was all rolled over it was time to start baling, and that started this evening.

There will still be lots to do tomorrow and maybe the day after but it is good to see it getting started. Now if we can just get a couple more days of dry weather.


I liked the way the clouds came out in this one. Tomorrow we are thinking about a little road trip out west to scout out a new riding spot and maybe just see some country that I haven’t been in for a few years.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Now What?

Not much happening around Dogpound North today, guess that is why they call this time of year the “dog days of summer.” It is hot and sultry here in west central Alberta, but hot here doesn’t mean hot like a lot of our American friends are dealing with. Talked to a friend of ours down in Maricopa the other day and his low was 29C, far as I can figure that was our high, for the year, so far. And even down in Montana it is getting into the 30’s C on a regular basis. I usually don’t find much to write about if I can;t find anything to capture with my camera and so far today has been a dead loss, so maybe I will just wander back into the past and dig around for some interesting shots. Maybe I should start off with a cooling trend for our southern neighbours.


Hope he has his snow boots on

We have our hay all cut here and have had 5 or 6 good drying days so I am thinking that the baling will start any minute now. It will probably need to be rolled over once just to let the dew dry out a little though. While the hay is drying out let’s take a leap down to Florida and see what my old friend the Wood Stork is up to.



OK, so he is just sitting around waiting on a hurricane to come by and cool him off, or his buddy the sandhill crane to come past for a visit and tell him about his travels north in the summer looking for cool weather.


Or these ducks talking about how soon they should head somewhere warm for the winter.


But after having a look through my files I figured if you were looking for bird photo’s you’d just pop over to the “Birdlady of Bloglands” own blog and see the great pics she has rather than my poor substitutes.

Just to prove Emma can sit still.

Judy and Emma at a Wildlife Refuge in Texas last winter.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Road Trip

Our new LQ horse trailer needed a little tender loving care from the dealer so I was up at 6:00AM and on the road to Red Deer to have it there for an 8:00AM appointment. One of the benefits of early mornings is the sunrises.


The trailer was on time for its appointment and the guys hoped right to it. We had a weld that needed rewelding and were moving a couple of tie rings on the outside of the trailer so it didn’t take long once they were started. Meanwhile I wandered around town and fuelled up the truck, shopped at the farm supply store and then took a run out to Sylvan Lake. Sylvan is Central Alberta’s best known lake community and for the most part is the closest natural lake to the city of Calgary. Lot’s of changes there since I was last there about 15 or 20 years ago. Holy Smokes they even have a Walmart Supercentre now. And people, lots of people.


And off in the distance I saw this guy looking for a party. Might be Rod from the Lake of the Ozarks down there in Missouri wandering along checking out the coves.


Got the trailer hooked up and headed home by 11:00AM so I had time to take down some temporary fences I use to pasture the horses on some of our lawn here. The grass has slowed down enough that I am thinking I will be able to keep up on my own now and it is time for the ponies to move on to greener pastures. Besides that we might get some company in the next couple of weeks and maybe those horses looking in their motorhome window would be disconcerting, although I guess it beats bears on the deck.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bates Bar J

Today we had to return Miss Ella to her parents. Figured they knew where we lived so sooner or later they were going to come looking for her. While Brenda was driving her home Caron, my niece, and I loaded a couple of horses in the trailer and headed out to Bates’ place for a ride. For many years Caron spent time every summer here and up till last year was a horse leader there. Not sure the horse’s needed a leader but I guess the little kids who were going on the trail rides sure did. Today she took me out and showed me some of the country. The picture below is Caron riding my mare Willow as we cross one of the many creeks along the trail.


It is a beautiful spot and I am going to be bugging her to take me back time and time again. Best part is it is only about a half hour from our barn, so it is not long drive.


The shots above and below are from a couple of overlooks , the one above with the Rockies in the background is where we ate our lunch.


I sure hope we get back there when the leaves start to turn as it will be an even more beautiful spot, and I might even take my good camera’s along.

Going into Bates is a pretty steep hill and it was apparent that the trailer brakes were on some kind of break of there own, going down there. Once we got home I started investigating and soon isolated it to the truck we were using, my Dad’s Remnant truck. Took about five hours to find the place where the wire had corroded off and about 2 minutes to fix it. Time I get it all back together I will have spent about 7 hours looking for one little broken wire. Well better me than some guy charging me a $125/hour to do it. Tomorrow is another early day as I need to take my other horse trailer up to Red Deer to get a couple of things fixed and a modification or two done to it.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Rocky and Back


Today we were up early with a mission in mind. We headed off before breakfast so we could catch Lacey and Clayton still half awake and smuggle Miss Ella out of their house. Once we had her in our clutches we ran for the wide open country and holed up at Dogpound North for day or two with our youngest grandchild. She wanted to see the horses, over and over again.

We set up her swimming pool on the lawn and filled it with well water. Yikes that was cold but Grandma came through with a few buckets of hot water from the house so it was not long until she was swimming away to her hearts content. I think she spent 2 or 3 hours running and diving into that pool.


Almost every picture we have of her whether on the ground or in the pool has Mack keeping a close watch on her. It would be a brave fool who would try to get between this little girl and her bodyguard. And when Mack wasn’t on duty Meg was.


All in all it was a great day, sunshine, no wind, Ella to keep us smiling all day.


Oh by the way here is picture of our WHOLE apple crop this year. Looks like apple pie is not on the horizon again. Last year we had lot’s of flowers but no bees, this year we had flowers and bees but I guess the bees were not doing what bees do as this is the only apple on the tree. While farming is like that, maybe next year.


Yah, that is my thumb in there for reference.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Hays all Down


Well last night just as I finished updating the blog the last of our hay got laid down. Of course then we had a little refreshing rain shower but this morning dawned bright and sunny. Here’s hoping it stays this way for a few days so we can get this part of our harvest done. We still have about 50 acres of barley that will need to be cut, but that may be a while yet. It will probably go as silage as it was pretty late when Bob got it seeded so it might not ripen soon enough to combine it.

I took a walk out through the hay this morning and of course Meg came along as well as my son’s dog Mack. Mack hangs with us most days as Matt is over in Albania working on a drilling rig.


He is about a year and a half old and a pretty good dog, well trained and especially well socialized, he loves kids and other dogs, and like I tell people that come to the farm he never bites anyone while we are around. Smile The rest of the day was spent just hanging out and getting a few things done around the yard. I ran the big lawnmower through a couple of old gardens here knocking down and mulching the weeds and thistles that have sprung up since we stopped planting vegetables here. When my Dad was living here he kept about a half acre of garden growing an assortment of vegetable and fruit well weeded and ready for the families consumption. After that I spent a while stalking around with my weedeater cutting down the thistles that are hiding out along my fences and such. I don’t think you can ever entirely get rid of these dang things but we are trying.

Not a lot other than that happening around Dogpound North but I talked to a fellow down at Dogpound South today, and it is hot, hot, hot down there. The last couple of haboobs down there have left a little dust around the place but all in all it is faring pretty well and waiting for us to reappear in the fall.


Thought I would throw in this picture of a couple of Pingo’s up near Tuktoyaktuk in Canada’s Northwest Territories a few years back. Hope it brings a few cool thoughts down there to Arizona.


Some might think that is an artifact caused by the sun in top centre of the photo but I know it is a couple of interested guys watching over us down here at Dogpound North. Thanks for stopping by Bro’s.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

HAYING so Guess what?


Another day at Dogpound North. Our hay has been getting cut so that has given me a new landscape to work with my camera. I’ve been watching Al over at the Bayfield Bunch and trying to figure out this Photographers Eye thingy he talks about. Not sure what it is, but I just have to find what I like and that will have to do for the rest of you. Some of his tips and comments make sense when I read them but I can’t remember them all when the camera is in front of my face.


It sure helps when the man upstairs sends some interesting cloud formations by to highlight the photos, and you know since we have our hay laying down we WILL get rain out of those clouds. It would be nice to have the hay dry but seems like that is not going to happen this year.


Shot from a hill about 4 miles east of Dogpound North.

Today Brenda was into town to see our daughter Rebecca and do some last minute shopping before that new baby shows up on the scene so they had a day of shopping and talking and while they were doing that I ran into town and had lunch with Dad. After that it was a trip to our local Costco to pick up a couple of things. While we were away last winter they built a new Costco north of the city and it is not as busy as the ones in town so it is easy to pop in and pick up a thing or two, without the usual long lineups.