Sunday, July 25, 2010

Another Week and a visit to Freightliner

We started the week out with a road trip to our favourite Freightliner spot in Red Deer. Surprisingly although it was just off the QEII highway it was a pretty quiet place to spend the night, and they had me back the rig into the shop at 7 AM sharp so, no waiting. After a few minutes of head scratching they figured that it was probably a thermostat problem, but that had to come from elsewhere so it was parked just outside waiting for the parts truck. The thermostat arrived on schedule at 3 PM and they got right back at it. Now those who drive these outfits know that nothing is easy when it comes to changing things in a motorhome. The mechanic spent some time puzzling over how to get at the engine and then came into the lounge looking for some hints from me. Well I had never figured that out myself but I figured if some engineer had built it a couple of smart guys from the patch should be able to figure out how to take it apart. Tried to get a hint from the Fleetwood dealer in town but he was stumped so we just started taking things apart looking for a clue. Took us a couple of hours but eventually the mystery was solved. Pretty easy you just rip up the carpet, tear apart the floor, and the bed, remove a dozen screws, and a couple of nails, and presto there is the top of the engine. Changing the thermostat took about 5 minutes, getting to it, and putting the bus back together took 4 and a half hours.

Motorhome and Freightliner-1

Now this was the second time I have been in a Freightliner here in Canada and both of them were great to deal with and even included me in the operation. It is always nice to see how things come apart and watch the mechanics at work, you just never know when some guy will come and ask you how to get to something. Now I know….and once we got it done and finished the test drive I headed for home about 10 PM. Long day but hopefully the problem is solved.


Just thought I should throw in a picture of flower as that seems to be something that bloggers do. No idea what it is but it is growing wild in the old garden behind the house, that and about a million weeds.

The rest of the week was spent just doing the usual stuff around the farm, mowing grass, fixing fences and working with a horse that has a phobia about getting in the trailer, all fixed for the moment but tomorrow is a new day and the grass is still growing, moose still breaking fences and who knows what challenges the horses will think up overnight.

This weekend we had our oldest granddaughter, Claire, staying with us and we brought the last load of furniture down from Brenda’s house in Rocky Mountain House so while we are there we got an inspection from Ms. Ella, she was having trouble figuring out where all Grandma’s stuff had gone.

Where did it all go?

Once we got the stuff all unloaded Claire and I thought it was time to head out and look for a geocache nearby that has been stumping us for a while. A little different perspective and we managed to find what was advertised as a peanut butter jar, nobody mentioned the camo tape on it… Along the way we also managed to find a few million mosquito’s so we took the photo, logged our find, and ran for the truck.


Today we had a little time to get a ride in and Claire, and Brenda’s horse, Rosie were hitting it off pretty good.

Claire Riding Rosie

Matt, Meg and Mack below here and Meg looks just a little like she thinks that puppy is getting to be a nuisance, but soon they were back at it rolling around and play fighting.

 Matt, Mack & Meg-1

Here is a shot from a hill about 4 miles east of our place looking off towards the Rockies, if it wasn’t for those darn mountains we’d have a heck of a view of the ocean. There is a very small red tick on the far right in the upper third of the shot and that is where our little place down the road from Dogpound is located.

Dogpound Landscape

Now this evening I happened upon a scary sight for us folks here on the Northern Ranges.


Yep, nestled in amongst those nice green leaves there is a tinge of yellow and that my friends is a harbinger of things to come around here. Now Brenda’s house closes on the 16th, and if I can just talk her into moving out, we are ready to pull up stakes, and as Mark says, “slosh some diesel fuel” and get this outfit rolling, where we are not sure but hopefully somewhere the leaves are planning on sticking around for a while longer.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

On the Move?

Well we have been sitting here on the farm for a couple of weeks and needless to say are having a bad case of hitch-itch. Although we have lots of places to go it seems like there is always some reason that we need to be home each week and we never get around to getting going. Today Brenda is off to Rocky Mountain House for Holly’s, a friend of Lacey’s, baby shower, and I am once again mowing grass. Once that is done there is off course the Calgary Stampede rodeo finals to watch. It is the richest day in rodeo and todays winners all take home a cheque for $100,000.00, not a bad days pay.

Yesterday I spent the day with our farrier getting all of our own horses feet looked after. To keep them in good shape it is necessary to get them trimmed up and for those that we take to the mountains they need to get their feet trimmed and their shoes reset so they should be good for another couple of months. Then depending on what we are doing we will either pull the shoes off for the winter or reset them for more late fall rides.

The Lineup

I have always wanted to get some pictures of Don at work but for the most part I am busy holding horses and unable to run the camera or at least to see anything interesting. But Brenda’s horse Rosie has a mental problem with being shod so we take her to Don’s place and she gets a sedative to keep her calm. Don’s Dad was there to hold the horse so I was able to take a few photos.

Once Don was done Rosie hopped into the trailer and we headed home no worse for the wear and ready to hit the hills again whenever the mood strikes us.

Once the rodeo is over, now that the grass is mowed I am heading up to Red Deer to the Freightliner dealer to get a little work done on the rig. The last few times we have had it out it seems to want to run the engine temp right up to the red line before either the fan kicks in or the thermostat opens and it starts behaving the way it should for rest of the drive. Thought it was a good time to get ‘er looked at seeing as how we need to hit the dump in town and once we make the decision whether or not we are heading to Goshen there will nothing between us and the Escapade except 1900 miles of highway.

I’ll leave you with a shot of the sunset last night.

Sunset on the 17th

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Hot, Sunny, Cold, Rain and even a little Snow

Yep it has been a week of changes here down the road from Dogpound. We have been up near 30C and then back down around 2C, brilliant sunshine and then torrential rain. Well it is all good as long as the crops like it I guess. The Calgary Stampede is in town so that occupies a lot of my day, but rather than wandering in and braving the crowds I am enjoying the close up action with CBC everyday. The rest of the time I have been staying pretty close to home and getting some things done around the place that needed to be done.


Well that and taking a few photos around the place. The shot above is my granddaughters pony Spanky wondering where everybody has gone, Madison is down in Saskatchewan with her other grandparents and Spanky is feeling forgotten.

Now the shot below is a mountain bluebird and I am not sure whether it is a female or just a juvenile as the air is full of these guys this time of year.

Mountain Bluebird

And this is a poor shot of a red-winged blackbird but the best I could get.

Red-Winged Blackbird

Other than the usual stuff I have been battling the lawns here, altogether I think we mow about 4 acres of grass and the more you mow the more it grows it seems.

I have been reading a lot of folks blogs and there appears to be a major hunt for moose going on across the lower 48, while I might suggest head north across the medicine line and just down the road from Dogpound we seem to have a few that wander through on a daily basis. The shots below were taken this morning and I had to run back to the bus to get the camera so they have moved quite a bit farther off than when they first walked into the place.

Maybe I should trade moose sightings for lawn mowings or I can always hope Bob and Molly show up here on the northern ranges rumour has it she loves mowing grass.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

R.I.P. Socks


Socks sleeping

Today our family says goodbye to a great canine friend. Socks was an institution on the farm here at Dogpound and came here as a puppy almost 18 years ago. She was a Red Heeler and Border Collie cross but looked more like a blue heeler than anything else. Her first years she was a pretty timid dog and stayed in the shadow of her predecessor, a dog we called Orph, who was brought here by my late brother Kelly after his mother was killed. Orph was a pretty “A” type of personality as far as dogs go and ruled the roost here until his time came to cross the Rainbow Bridge. I don’t think I ever heard Socks bark while Orph was here, that was his job she was just his eyes and ears.

After his passing she grew into a darn good farm dog and a great companion for anybody who was on the place. Very rarely is she in the foreground of any of my pictures but usually she is somewhere to be seen in the background always keeping an eye on her place and making sure everything was running the way it should.

Socks in the Background-1

For the first part of her life she was a farm dog through and through and lived outside year round. She had a shelter and a bale of straw to keep her warm and that was where she wanted to be. For many winters Socks and our old horse Dolly had the farm to themselves for long periods and developed an interesting relationship. Dolly would come up to the fence and nicker to call Socks out to play and they would spend hours in the corral with Socks swinging on Dolly’s tail. Looked a little strange but it kept them entertained for hours. We would have stopped it if it wasn’t plainly Dolly’s idea and there was no aggression just good clean horseplay. Dolly was an interesting horse who actually attempted to play catch with our dog Meg one day while we were watching. I am sure as I am composing this Dolly and Socks are once again at it up at that Rainbow Bridge.


Above is a shot of Dolly entertaining my young nephew Ryan, he’s 24 now and Socks directing the Easter Egg Hunt with his sister Caron and some of my grandchildren and younger nieces and nephews.


Directing the Easter Egg Hunt

I guess about ten years ago my Dad brought her inside as she had developed a bad back that was aggravated by cold weather. That changed her from a clean living, dog food eating, working animal, to a bacon and toast eating lady of leisure. She still managed to keep the coyotes out of the yard, and would regularly wake Dad up when he fell asleep watching a hockey game in front of the TV. She knew when it was time to go to bed and although she would go to lay on her sheepskin when she thought she was ready she would always come back out of the bedroom and check to see that Dad was not forgetting to come to bed himself. Although she was a pretty quiet dog when she was living outside as she aged she got to making noises around the house and Dad came to understand most of them.

Now for a dog like Socks I think 12 or 14 years is a good long life but she had things to do and places to be and was in no hurry to move on, she lived with Brenda and I when Dad was gone periodically from the farm and once we started traveling she stayed with Jennine while she was house sitting our place. Last winter when I was away at work and Dad was living in the city Socks used her winning personality to find another home, she moved into a condo in the city with my niece, Caron’s, Mom and when Sandy moved to Canmore, a mountain town west of Calgary, Socks went along with her. She had changed from an outside farm dog to a resort town pavement princess who had her own scheduled rendezvous with a dog walker.

Socks you were a good teacher, Meg our own Border Collie, is a gentle dog, just like you taught her to be and although she has a few of her own quirks she will look after your place and your people well.

Socks and her protege

Rest in peace girl we will miss you!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Over the Last Week

We got home from the weekend at the Buffalo Creek Ranch last Sunday. Our granddaughter Claire stayed with us Sunday night and then we dropped her off with her mother Monday morning, and then popped by the Stampede grounds to pick up my volunteer pins and this years buckle. Although I am not active with the Stampede they still give me a couple of pins which allow us free access to most of the events for the ten days as a benefit of my previous activities.

Tuesday Brenda headed off to her place in Rocky Mountain House to complete packing it up. The next day I ran up with the truck and trailer to pick up a load of stuff. My son Matt is working on a rig just out of town so we coerced him into coming in and helping me load the trailer. Thanks Matt. Once we got the trailer loaded we headed back to the farm at Dogpound.

Thursday we unloaded that stuff into the house here on the farm. Brenda has been working pretty hard the last few weeks both getting her place in Rocky ready for the new owners and trying to get some sense of order in the place here down the road from Dogpound. Although she doesn’t see much change to my eyes it looks a whole lot better and although it is a long process it appears to be coming together nicely.

Other than lugging stuff in or out as needed I am mostly just in the way so have been working on the yard around here. I finally got our smaller John Deere front deck mower working again so am able to pick up the grass and leave the place looking a little neater. The big JD lawnmower does an OK job of cutting but just doesn’t give it the finished look that the smaller unit does.

Down the Road from Dogpound

The shot below is from a road about a 1 1/2 miles west of our place and we are in the treed area just to the left of centre in the photo.

From Tanis's over the district

We have had a great week weather wise although there has been a little shower activity in the evenings but that is pretty typical of our weather here in Alberta in the summer. Not to hot, not to cool, and the humidity is pretty low except during those showers….lol.

I’ve been reading our friend Rod’s blog and hearing about the invasion of his hummingbird feeder. We had a similar attack on ours a couple of winters ago near Why, Arizona. This Gila Woodpecker and a couple of his buddies seemed set on draining the feeder, that is if they didn’t tear it down before they got done.

Gila Woodpecker invasion

We have a few things to take care of in the city next week and will need to mow the lawn up in Rocky but I am hoping we can head out to the Yaha Tinda with the horses for week or so after I get their shoes reset next weekend. But we’ll see how things next week turn out next week I guess.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Back to the Ranch

Friday morning we got our horse trailer hooked up, loaded Blue and Rosie, then Brenda, Claire, Meg and finally their intrepid driver and off we went. First stop was the dump station in Cremona, no point in hauling any more than we had to, then we headed for the Flying J in Red Deer. We last refueled on the return from Alliance a couple of weeks ago so it took us awhile and the shares of both Flying J and Shell should have taken a jump after we took on a load of fuel.

We are headed to the Buffalo Creek Ranch for a celebration of my Uncle Brent’s wedding last October. Might take our family awhile but we eventually will use any excuse for a party. Actually he and his new wife, Helen, ran off to Indio for the winter so we thought we should wait till the weather was better once they returned.

 Uncle Brent and Helen cutting the cake

The weather was pretty good all weekend although we did get enough showers to keep any dust from being an issue.

Discovery and Horse Trailer

As usual the Macnab’s fed us well with cousin Randy functioning as the Head Chef.

July 3-1

That’s him with about twenty pounds of breakfast sausage cooking early Saturday morning. The sausage was supplied by Meatco Sales in Wainwright and if you are ever in the neighbourhood I would stop by and load up on those sausages they were great. Now if you want the cook you will have to travel up to Fort McMurray as Randy has a day job at the Fountain Tire up there.

Once we got done with the sausages, bacon and blueberry pancakes that Randy cooked up we saddled up our horses and took a jaunt down into the Buffalo Creek coulee. It was as usual a beautiful ride with good company.

Bufflo Creek Coulee ride

On the ground in the background is my cousin Mike, another cousins daughter, Jacki and then the closest rider is my sister-in-law Trish. The horse in the foreground is Brenda’s Rosie. All the other horse’s are Mike’s and he travels extensively around the province competing in Team Roping events with the two sorrels and the roan he is mounting is a new prospect he is working on, when he is not busy managing the Fountain Tire in Valleyview, Alberta. Starting to notice a theme here, yep, my cousins are in the Tire business, and the youngest one Blair, who somehow avoided being captured by the camera this year is just about to retire from Fountain Tire in Fort McMurray and move back to the Buffalo Creek Ranch. But if you pop over to my blog about last years Reunion you can catch a couple of shots of Blair and maybe get the idea that this group are really RV’ers at heart, we seem to always be eating when we get together.

My brother Brent and his wife Trish have recently joined the ranks of the RVing masses after many years of being boaters. They have acquire a new Triple E rig that fits the bill for them pretty good.

Brent's Triple E Regency

Now the kids were kept entertained all weekend and made many trips to the coulee with one or another of the adults in some of the many ATV’s that were on site. One of the best lines was my nephew, Christopher, asking my brother, Brent, “Dad did you go down to the coulee alot with the ATV’s when you were a kid?” Well I think the only ATV’s we had were a quarter ton jeep or a horse and I don’t think Brent was lucky enough to get to take the Jeep and the horse he rode the most was Shank’s Mare. Tough for the kids to believe that we didn’t have all these cool toys then, but we did have fun in the coulee anyway. Here they are coming back from their last coulee adventure.

Coulee Kids

Here we are loaded up and ready to go once the kids get back.

July 4th-2

We did attend to one other thing while we were up in the neighbourhood. Those long term readers who have been following us for a while will remember that some of my brother Kelly’s ashes are in the Auburndale cemetery along with my Grandparents and Uncle Brent and I got his headstone ready to mount down there at the cemetery. Here is Uncle Brent working away on that project in his workshop.

July 3-7

July 3-6

And here is Kelly’s monument along with my grandparents.

 July 4th-5

And once again we put the Buffalo Creek Ranch in our rearview mirror and headed down the road to Dogpound.

July 4th-1

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Canada Day Eh!

Wednesday we had a few things to do in the city, a couple of doc appointments for Brenda, and a restocking of our provisions at Costco. But most importantly we picked up our oldest granddaughter, Claire, about noon. She is going to spend a few days with us and join us on our travels. Last night we took a run out and tried our hand at geocaching. We found one and left one as yet undiscovered for another day. Next time we will head back with a pail of mosquito dope and hopefully have better luck. The stone behind Brenda and Claire is the location of this cache. It is an “erratic” left behind by the glaciers and originally started its journey near Jasper a couple of hundred miles away from here the way the crow flies or rather the glacier flows.


Today we had a busy day planned with a lot of things to get done but the most important was our youngest granddaughter, Ella’s, first birthday party. Her mom, Lacey, had a park in the town of Rocky Mountain House staked out for the party and they had an industrial size BBQ and a bunch of picnic tables set up by the time we got there. Wow, there sure are a lot of kids in Rocky and a bunch of them turned up to help Miss Ella paint the town red, or rather her face pink.

mmm mmm good!

I am thinking there is always a photo like the one above from every 1 year olds party, must be something us old folks do to make sure we have something to threaten with once the youngsters get the photos of us drooling over our cakes at the home.

She got a bunch of gifts but the one she liked best I think was the paper cup. It seemed to entertain her all through the gift opening which she sub-contracted to her mother and one of her small cousins.

Ella's 1st-1-1


The photo below is of Brenda with two of our four granddaughters.

Ella's 1st-1-2

And here is a photo of the birthday girl walking off into the sunset.

Ella's 1st-1-3