Sunday, April 21, 2013

They are GONE!

Well all good things have to come to an end I guess. Our guests have been returned to their parents so Dogpound North is a much quieter place tonight than it has been for a while. They climbed in the truck and Ella drove them out of the yard and off down the highway to Rocky this morning after we fed them breakfast.

Ella and Alle going for a drive

Well even though Ella was driving, they were in her Dad’s truck and towing their boat home with them while the “Jeep Car” was riding in the back of the pickup. We had a great week with the girls and certainly came to know them a lot better over the 8 days they were here. Ella is a real big sister and is always looking out for Alle. Yep, like all big sisters a little bossy from time to time but as protective as a guard dog too. and Alle is just like most younger siblings, always trying to get into stuff and keeping her sis, and Grandma, busy keeping up with her.

The girls went on a shopping trip with Grandma and on a sleepover at Aunty Becky’s house for one night so they were pretty busy. And between trips they were going non-stop here so Grandma is pretty much exhausted. Ella was keen to get out and be around the horses every time it got even a slight bit warmer and we had a few heart warming moments with those equine pals of ours and her. She is fearless around them and like most animals they know that she wouldn’t hurt them so they are exceedingly gentle when they are her. Sometimes when folks are down visiting them they can crowd around and intimidate people but with Ella they each in turn came over and had a visit with her and then stepped back to let the next pony come up for some pets. Facebook friends of mine have been subjected to countless pictures and video’s of her and the horses but I will just try and stick one YouTube video in this journal. Coal is my son’s big Percheron/Quarter cross horse and is usually a little shy around folks but he was the first one to come over and introduce himself to Ella on her visit down in the pasture. Too bad the breeze was a little noisy, the questions she was asking are the same ones an old horseman would have been asking if he had been there. How old is he, broke, etc.


Just for the record Alle did get down to visit the horse but since she was being carried by the cameraman she never made any of the pictures, and while we were watching some training videos and the Buck film she was riveted to the screen every time the horses were on. As Brenda says I might get a barrel racing girl around the place yet.

Now that the girls have gone back to Rocky it is back to the real world for us, a busy week on the medical front, MRI’s, Dentists, Orthopaedic Surgeons, and tests, all to combat the ravages of old age I guess, well old age for me and the side effects of waiting on me hand and foot for my bride, but really just to get us ready for another year of travel. And God willing and the creek don’t rise we will actually bring the bus out of the barn and do a little RV’ing next weekend.

Stay tuned for the next report from a VERY quiet little spot just down the road from Dogpound.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

In a Land just North of Summer

Really, since we have got back north of the Medicine Line we have enjoyed an extended period of winter like weather. I guess maybe wintering at Dogpound South has made us soft but even though the temps have not been terribly cold it seems like it has snowed every day since we got home. But the forecast is for warmer weather and maybe even some of those mystical April showers. That should get the snow knocked down and make it a little more spring like here down the road from Dogpound. I haven’t done much riding but the horses are enjoying their time off and making the most of their freedom.


We kept them in for a couple of days and then turned them out with the rest of the remuda, so it is time for them to just be horses and do a little pawing through that snow for their fed. Don’t worry those that were here all winter are much fatter than our hand fed southern ponies so I am sure they are doing just fine, and I do walk down every day just to make sure all is well. And now that the weather is turning around I will be able to start working with some of our northern horses, to start getting them in shape for the summer.

But we didn’t head home just to make sure we got a little snow and salt all over our vehicles. Our, daughter and son-in-law, Lacey and Clayton, were heading to Cuba to celebrate Lace’s 30th birthday so a couple of little girls were looking for a place to hang out till their parents came home and Grandma and I are glad to have them here. Although looking after two kids under 4 is keeping us hopping I have to say. Well, really, Brenda is hopping, and I am just trying to stay out of the way for the most part.

We are having a riot with the girls and should have them well and properly spoiled by the time their parents get home.

On other fronts I am back at my regular pool and doing 2500 meters (~a mile and a half) five days a week, and both Brenda and I are heading into battery of tests and doctors appointments over the next couple of weeks so we can get that out of the way before it is time to head back to Dogpound South.

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Saturday, April 6, 2013

Down the Road to Dogpound North

Just a quick blurb to let folks know that we made it safe and sound back north of the Medicine Line. It got a little warm down at DPS so we thought we knew a place that offered cooler temps.

We got an early start on Thursday and pulled out of Dogpound South about 5:15AM. That made the traffic in Phoenix not to bad, and we took I-10 then I-17 up to the Carefree Highway and then across to Wickenberg. No issues at all and a lot less stop and go than the other way on the 303 Loop. With only stops for fuel it was not to long until we crossed into Utah and headed up into the high desert to overnight in Fillmore. When we got there the guys on the Sheriff’s work crew, a chain gang with no chains, were mucking out the stalls and gave us some tips on where the best places to eat were.

We put the horses up and headed off to Costa Vida for dinner. Looked like a fast food place but everything appeared to be made from scratch to order and it tasted pretty good.

Not much to do hanging around the stable at night so we were early to bed and early to rise the next morning. We had the horses loaded by 4:15 and hit the road north. Slid through the Salt Lake City smozzle before the traffic got to bad and then let the big old Ford run across those foggy flatlands of Idaho heading for the hills of Montana. Mid-afternoon we arrived at the rodeo grounds in Great Falls and once again got our stock settled then headed out to eat. Once we were fed we came back and took the ponies for a walk about to stretch their legs, all evening the fairgrounds were filling up with kids and horses for a weekend High School Rodeo, so I kept going around making sure no one was blocking our exit as it appears we have developed a habit of getting out of town before the authorities figure out we are there. It was another early start and we were again on the road soon after 4AM.

We crossed the Medicine Line about 6AM and other than a quick chastisement from the Border folks about having no receipts we were on our way north. I unloaded here at Dogpound North about 10:30 this morning and the unpacking began, hurried along by the sleet and wind. Oh well, spring is in the air and by all reports it should be here before we head south in 6 months.

Montana Drive-by!

Took the shot above as we rolled up the Beaverhead River valley in Montana thinking the place looked empty without Mike and Janna.

As I finish this up I notice a nice little spring snow blizzard working up outside, so our quest for cooler temps has been fulfilled.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

AZBCR & Old Friends

Last weekend we headed off to Lake Pleasant to enjoy a weekend around the fire and on the trails with a group of folks who began us on our Arizona trail riding experience. The Arizona Back Country Riders website is run by a young woman, Tishri, who has facilitated many long lasting friendships amongst horsefolk here in the Southwest. Each year about this time we all get together to do a lot of socializing and little fund raising to keep this site running.

Unlike most of our weekend adventures this one started with the potluck on Friday night, because on Saturday we were eating a catered dinner are part of the reward for contributing I guess. As usual the food was great and the company better. Both evening were beautiful Arizona evenings with an almost full moon and clear skies. I stood around with my Sky Scout both nights enjoying the night skies and actually learning what the names of many of those stars are. I have it rigged up with an external speaker so others can listen in the descriptions of what we are looking at.

Two fine horseman in the shot below, K Rogers and Bill Roberts.

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Below is Lynette and her menagerie.


Saturday we took off on a ride over to the Lake and that was also where we decided to eat our lunch. I believe I got everyone in this panoramic shot but if you look closely this program added a couple of extra heads to folks and legs to their horses. Oh well tough to get forty mounted folks to stand still.


Sunday we had a clinic with K demonstrating getting your horse to ask for you to mount as well as a few tips from Bill about getting your horse to recognize you as the leader, then K worked with another persons Saddlebred who was not great around the trailer. By the time he was finished both the horse and its owner were a lot more comfortable with getting in and out of the trailer and the reports from the owner as the week goes on are that they are practicing daily and applying what they learned.


After the clinic wrapped up it was time for us to make our rounds and say our `catch you down the trails` as this was our last ride for Arizona this spring. We will be back in the fall cause we got a lot more of this state to see yet.

The last few days have been taking up with putting Dogpound South to bed for the summer, but today we had a visit from an old friend from back in the North Country. The first time I met Heather we were up in Tuktoyaktuk, on the Beaufort Sea, doing some work, and she was working for one of the other companies active up there. Over the years we crossed trails and eventually she came to work for Shell and when I retired back in 2007 she took over that Arctic portfolio. Now she is doing some stuff on SE Asia and is based in the Netherlands.

But the Netherlands is a little cool this winter so she jumped on a plane and headed for Palm Springs for a little R&R. So what brought her 5 hours over here to Dogpound South. Lunch, yep that`s right. 5 hours one way just a drop in the bucket for a girl from Old Crow, in the Yukon Territory, where it is five hours to the road and then another five to the nearest restaurant. But it was a great lunch and we really enjoyed seeing Heather and catching up on her new globetrotting portfolio and hearing about all those friends we left behind to follow the sun.


Tomorrow we head to a “land just north of summer” and just “down the road from Dogpound”.