Thursday, September 29, 2011

This and That

Well although the calendar says it happened a week or so ago, this was the first day of fall around Dogpound North. There was frost on the ground when I went out to feed Willow and Blue and the wind was working itself up to a minor gale. All summer I have been putting off doing the farm books and today was the day. That took me a good part of the morning. Then it was onto sending in some receipts for prescriptions and such to our insurance company. That is an artefact of my working life but it is nice to have someone willing to pick up the odds and ends that our Universal Health Care doesn’t cover.  I usually put off that kind of stuff until the weather is not conducive to working around the place outside, or the deadline is approaching. Today the weather gave me the opportunity. Then it was time to get some insurance details for the motorhome worked out. In the past we have paid a premium to allow us to take it south of the medicine line for more than 4 months and as we are just taking our LQ trailer and heading for Dogpound South the insurance company will have to look for some other pigeon to pay for their next skyscraper.

Once that was done there was a cabinet in our living room here in the house that had a myriad of treasures stored in it and today was the day to mine that treasure trove and see just what was there. Amongst the many manuals for equipment that has long left the farm, there were some neat old pictures. Just slide your cursor over the pictures and some of them actually have some details in the titles.

Grandpa Walter Brown in 1910 as he left Scotland - 26 yrs old

Matt BrownWalter Brown

On the left my son Matt and on the right my Grandfather Walter Brown. Some family resemblance there I think.

Jack Brown 1946

And this guy is my Dad up in Norman Wells back in the mid 40’s

Sailing Ryan and Caron

Now let’s take a jump ahead about 50 years and find my niece and nephew on their Dad’s boat “Ain’t Life Grand”. They have grown a little since this picture. Ryan is 25 and Caron is 22. A couple of weeks ago when we took Mike and Janna out to the Yaha Tinda I mentioned that we had brought a few folks there over the years but the picture below must have been our biggest crowd.

Wedding (11)

Brenda and I had all these folks hike up to our overlook of the Bighorn Falls to witness us tying the knot back in 2001. The little cowboy on the right is my nephew Christopher and he pretty much stole the show and in my minds eye that white horse in the background is a Spirit Horse and Rider just watching over us.

Wedding (9)

Me and my beautiful bride and below is a picture of my two little brothers and Christopher in his full regalia for a cowboys wedding.

Brent, Kelly & Christopher at Wedding

Just for the record though absolutely none of the pictures in this blog were taken by me, although I did scan each and every one of them so I could share them with you. As you can see above Brent was wielding his camera, as well as a couple of other friends Peter Hanson, and Stacey Kelley.

Well enough wandering down memory lane and tomorrow is supposed to be a much warmer day so maybe I will be able to get back on track and get our rig washed up for its trip south.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Exit Plan

There is lots of discussion in the RV’ing community about exit plans. Well Brenda and I are going to try ours out for a few weeks.


Yesterday I had an appointment in the city to take care of first thing in the morning. I also needed to drop off some license plates at Mom’s house so I got that done on the way downtown. After my appointment I picked up Dad at his place and we popped over to Humpty’s for brunch. You would almost think we are regulars there as they put a couple of waters on our usual table when they see us in the parking lot, and put in our order for Eggs Benedict, each with our own particular sides, before we are even sitting down. Makes for a quick lunch. After lunch I had to run out to Lac des Arc and winterize my sister-in-laws Class C for her. It is an Empress, Canadian made, and set up so that it only takes a few minutes to run the pink stuff through it. That done I dropped Dad off at his place and then headed back to Dogpound North.

Once I got home it was still a nice day and Brenda had finished doing a final cleaning on our motorhome so I ran the pink stuff through that also. Not so easy, what with the ice maker and washer in there. I got the winterizing procedure for the washer off the internet and just followed Rod’s advice for winterizing the ice maker. All in all it probably took a half hour to do it all. The last time I had it done at a dealer I think they charged me about $300.00 to do it. Pretty high hourly rate, heck I didn’t charge that much when I was a highly paid consultant back in my working days. I think I was in the wrong business. BUT we will see for sure next spring when we turn the water back on.

The winterizing done meant that I needed to empty and sweep out the Quonset Hut this morning. Our rig will only fit through the door with all the air out of the suspension so it is a slow and easy job sliding it into it’s winter lair.

That done I thought I should empty out the living quarters trailer we are taking south this year and make sure that I didn’t have anything in there that would get us in trouble at the Medicine Line. And of course take out the winter gear that we use while riding in the mountains in the spring and fall. Hopefully we won’t be needing that done around Dogpound South.

Took a stroll out through the retirement pasture and visited with the old timers a little while they searched my pockets for treats.


We are about 3 weeks away from heading south so it will be a little while until the real loading begins. I have worked out a myriad of options for that trip. It is a lot more complicated traveling with horses than just us, Meg, and the bus. We could stop almost anywhere but with our equine pals along we will need to find some place to turn them out for the evening as well as a stopping place or two through the day. I guess once we arrive at Dogpound South we will figure out where we stopped although I have talked to all the folks I know who travel south with horses and gleaned all the information I could from them. For the next three weeks this will be our abode.


That will have to do until we next do something interesting to tell you about here down the road from Dogpound.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Brenda’s Back

Saturday was a day of cleaning up. Brenda headed off to Rocky Mountain House and took Miss Ella with her, so I thought it was a good day to take the motorhome into Cremona and dump the black tank to get it started on the winterization process. Once I got home, I took the pressure washer to her and washed off some road grime and dust as well as the many bugs that had committed suicide on our windshield while we were wandering around northern Alberta with Mike and Janna.


There she is all clean and ready for the inside crew to finish up and give me the OK to pump the pink stuff.

Once that job was done it was time to drag our old bumper pull horse trailer out of the barn and get ready for Sunday’s gymkhana. Caron has had Willow down at her barn all week doing a little practicing and just for fun we are going to take her new horse Jager along for the ride also.

You have a chance to ride more than one horse at these events although your points only count on your designated points horse. This time out Willow was the points horse and Jager was a no point addition. So there is no pressure on the young horse and his trainer that way they can take the time to get it right. Jager did great for his first trip away from the barn.

Although Jager is just a youngster and still growing he is already 17 hands tall (68 inches or 172 cms). For comparison Willow is about 15-2 or 62 inches. And I am thankful that she is done growing as that is already a long way to climb up or fall off.


The smile tells the whole story.

I never keep track the same way the timekeepers do at these events but as far as I am concerned the champions came home with me.

Today was another horse day. We are starting to get ready to head towards Dogpound South and there is a mountain of paperwork that needs to be completed to bring our horses south of the Medicine Line. You’d think they were Trojan Horses or something. Nevertheless it has to be done and I got started today with a Brand Inspection. Most of the states that we will be traveling through have Brand Laws and want a valid brand inspection done. For traveling around Alberta we don’t need that done so I had to haul Blue and Willow off to the local auction mart to meet up with a brand inspector. Pretty simple process as long as you have your 3 photos ready and the horses present. He just had a look at them and said yep they match the papers and pictures so we filled out the forms and submitted the $31.50 each and in a week or two they will have a Lifetime Brand Inspection paper. Just for interest Willow does carry our JB brand on her right thigh but Blue is brandless. I don’t want to start a kerfuffle about the pro’s and con’s of branding but Blue not having a brand does concern me a little as horse’s that are stolen are usually just sold for meat and a brand is the only reliable way to identify the horse.

When I get my passport I just need one headshot, a horse needs three shots, left side, right side, and head on.

Now just a Health Check and blood test and maybe they will be OK to head down the road from Dogpound.

Oh yah back to the title, Brenda came back this morning so I am off the Chocolate, toast and Ice Cream diet and back on her good cooking.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Time is Moving On!


It is starting to look a little like fall around here. Summer has left and fall has arrived. Just in the last week we have gone from green to gold around here. Brenda and I spent the week getting caught up on some of our doctors visits. Dentist and optometrists for me and the dentist and a orthopaedic surgeon for Brenda. Mine went OK, got to slip back to the eye doctor for a follow up in a few weeks and as for Brenda she hates the dentist and still has an appointment next week to finish up what they are doing. The surgeon guy didn’t have a lot of great news either. He said that what is wrong with Brenda’s knees is unfixable and then went on to prescribe a three course treatment plan. He is convinced that some physio will help the problem, and then if that doesn’t work he might slip in there and polish up her knee cap a little. Failing that working, his plan is to go in and change her kneecap. Funny thing after Brenda’s GP told her that she had to have an MRI before she could refer her on to the next step, the “sports medicine” folks didn’t prescribe any physio, and the surgeon says that MRI’s are over prescribed and not very useful for what he is seeing. Says there are always a bunch of artefacts and things that can only really be seen for sure from inside. Makes sense to an old seismic guy though, take a seismic record, which really is just a BIG MRI, and give it to four interpreters and you will probably get 5 different answers. And the only way to tell which guy is right for sure is drill it. One good thing though the surgeon is a horseman and thinks the physio will help with the horse riding and if we can get Brenda riding again she will be pretty happy.

Miss Ella came to visit us Thursday night and yesterday, Friday, we took her and headed into Chestermere to visit with Becky, Ved and Kashton. Ella just loves babies and can hardly wait to play with Kashton when she gets there. She is a little rough at times but with a name like Kash that little fellow has just got to be a cowboy and cowboys gotta be tough so he can take it.



Great subjects but I have asked Becky to get another colour of couch. That white just doesn’t cut it for photos, but maybe Kashton will fix it up with a Sharpie in a couple of years so that there is a little pattern to break it up.  LOL.

And here is a picture of Miss Ella with her pillow and blanket set that Loyce sent home with us from Arizona last spring. Thanks Loyce, and keep that Rod in line so that he heals quick and gets down there to show us the way to Fuddruckers again……Wendy’s we can find ourselves.


Brenda has taken Miss Ella home today so tonight I will be batching here at Dogpound North, so it looks like a Toast, chocolate, and ice cream night for dinner.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Just Hanging Out!


Started off the week by taking Matt to the airport. He is off to Albania for another tour of duty. He should be back just a day or two before we leave for Dogpound South in Maricopa. That will give him a day or so to say goodbye to his buddy Mack below. Mack is going to spend the winter with us down south so he and Meg are all up to date on their shots and ready to roll south as soon as old man winter shows his grizzled face.


Matt will be having his horse Coal sent off to the trainers soon after he returns so it will just be him and his pony Spanky along with those residents of our retirement pen to keep a watch on Dogpound North.


Other than that Brenda and I are just catching up on our dental work, and in a day or so Brenda will actually get to meet with a surgeon about her knee. No idea what will come of that visit but it is a step in the right direction.

Rumour has it that Miss Ella is coming to Dogpound North to spend part of the weekend with Grandma and Grandpa so Meg and Mack are looking forward to that. Oh yeah and Grandpa too.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Down the Road from Dogpound


All good things must come to an end, but it is not goodbye, just see ya later. Mike and Janna were off down the road from Dogpound heading south. As Janna said yesterday this time had to end, her and Brenda matching each other meal for meal, and soon Mike and I were going to have to head into the big city and buy some bigger clothes. We had a great time wandering around northern Alberta and sharing stories and good times. They snuck into the country through British Columbia but it didn’t take long for them to make the jump to Alberta and with that pink camper and the bright yellow jeep pushing it, it was not long until we intercepted them. After that they couldn’t shake us and finally gave up and let us drag them back to Dogpound North. We love sharing our country with our friends from south of the border and it gives us a great excuse to revisit some of the great spots in Western Canada. So keep that in mind if you wander north of the Medicine Line you are liable to be intercepted and hauled into our northern lair. It is the least we can do to say thanks for sharing your country with us in the winter.

Once they headed down the road it was not to long until Blue, Willow and I headed off to meet Caron at her barn to join in with their trail ride. We just headed out from the barn and wandered around in the forest to the north. Although it was surrounded by highways, it was a great spot and we had a good ride. And then it was back to the barn where they were having smokies. Not hot dogs Janna!

Willow is staying at Boyce’s barn this week so that Caron can work with her to get ready for the gymkhana next weekend so Blue and I made the drive back home alone. Brenda was at it again though and soon after we got back it was time to eat again.


Now I was quick with the camera but not quick enough that the cook didn’t already have a piece out for a test. Homemade “Dogpound Special” and good as always.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

No Pictures!

Brenda and Janna headed into the big city today with a couple of destinations in mind, but first and foremost was a visit with Kashton. Although I specifically requested pictures so I could see how much he has changed I guess my request got lost in the excitement,……or something.

After some grandbaby time it was off to Costco and then over to Cochrane to browse the shops there. Not sure what got bought but probably nothing other than some groceries that I would be interested in.

While they were off rambling about I thought I could hook up my new monitor camera so I can watch the horses in the back of the trailer while we are moving. Seemed like a pretty simple job and with Mike to give me a hand it wouldn’t take but a little while. Yah, right! For some reason we started off with power issues with the truck and they migrated back to the trailer. Almost looks like the wiring is not heavy enough to carry the current so the voltage drops off at the taillights, where we were attempting to splice the camera’s in. After spending a few hours hunting that problem we came up with another power point that would work and then it was only a matter of hanging the camera’s and hooking up a few wires until we were putting it all back together again.


Above you can see the two camera’s one high on the back centre and the other in the corner just inside the door


The shot above is inside the trailer and the one below is the rear view.


You can set the system to scan between the two camera’s and also set the time each camera is on the monitor. The screen looks much better in person without the glare of the flash hitting it and the picture is quite clear. I should be able to tell if the lady following me is putting on her lipstick or paying attention to the road.

This wireless system is quite touchy as to where you place your antennae, and the the obvious locations are not always the best ones. The monitors antenna works best on the drivers door under the mirror. Go figure but whatever works.

Having Mike there to give me a hand really helped in fact for the most part I was just giving him a hand as he had a better idea of what needed to be done than I did. One thing about this system that could have made it easier was a set of directions that were actually in the English language. They used all English words but the order was a little out of this hemisphere. Oh well their English is much better than my Chinese I guess.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Into the Park!

Today we jumped in the truck and headed out to the Icefields Parkway in Banff National Park. Our goal was to see if we could catch a view of Peyto Lake. It is a short but invigorating climb up to the viewpoint and as usual the first view of the lake took your breath away. It is a beautiful lake in a beautiful place. The quote Rollie and I found last year still holds true. “When God made this place he was showing off.”


This is just a peek, the header picture on our blog is this same scene last year.

On the way to Peyto we drove out the Bow Valley Parkway and stopped at Eisenhower Junction for a break and a look at Castle (Eisenhower) Mountain. Check out the link to catch up on the name controversy of this prominent mountain.


It is a much more peaceful drive along the Parkway than over the four lane on the other side of the valley. And of course no visit to this area would be complete without a visit to Lake Louise.



And then it was time to head off to St. James Gate in Banff for a little bite to eat. Although the food is usually excellent here, today was not as good as other days although everyone seemed to get through their dinner. Or maybe I am just feeling that because they took my favourite Blue Cheese Boxty off the menu.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

And once again out to the Yaha

Once we left Hilliard’s Bay Provincial Park Tuesday morning we headed towards Entwistle and the Pembina River Provincial Park. When we got there we found it closed for the season and after fueling up in Drayton Valley decided Dogpound North was only another 3 hours down the road and we could haul in there and park for free and have peace and quiet included. We made it home around 6:00PM.

Wednesday was a recuperation day and other than solving some of the world’s most pressing issues Mike and I basically just hung out while Brenda headed into the city to get some X-rays looked after and Janna got caught up around their motorhome.

Thursday we continued a tradition of dragging our guests out to the Yaha Tinda. It is Brenda and my favourite spot and we like to share it with our friends. We took a walk up Bighorn Creek to the base of the falls.


Mike, Janna, and Emmi at the base of the Bighorn Falls

Then it was around and up the canyon wall for a look at the falls from above. This is a special spot for us as it is where Brenda and I chose to say our wedding vows, 10 short years ago.




I took both of the above shots from that spot. The girls riding in them were actually on our side of the creek when we got up there and then crossed above the falls. After our hike around the falls we headed down into the campground and started another one of those “Heritage” fires and cooked ourselves up some smokies for lunch. Things always taste good in the fresh air and when cooked over an open fire.

I thought I would go back into my archives and find some other pictures of folks we have drug out to the Yaha Tinda to share this special spot.


Yaha with the Kendall's


Yaha with the Thurston’s

Brenda & Jacki

Yaha with Jacki Allen from Tasmania


Sunset over the Red Deer River on the Yaha in 2006.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Hilliard’s Bay Provincial Park

We moved on down the road from Dunvegan today to Hilliard’s Bay on the shore of Lesser Slave Lake. It is the second largest lake entirely in Alberta and runs about 60 or 70 miles from end to end. Just for interest the largest lake is Lake Claire in Wood Buffalo National Park. We are dragging Mike and Janna along with us as we explore a lot of places that I have spent the last forty years just driving by.


The significance of this picture is one the wood not Mike. That is some of that fine “Heritage” wood that Brenda is always bugging me about carrying around and not burning. See Mike and Janna’s blog for some better pictures of the area.

Tomorrow we are headed more south and looking at the Pembina River Provincial Park just out of Entwistle, Alberta for our next stop. Thinking about that Pembina River country I should jump back a few days and mention that we had a visit from our good friends Dave and Sherry Schmidt down at Dogpound North on Labour Day. I neglected to get any pictures of that visit but we did manage to spend the day visiting and of course breaking some bread together before they, and the 50 bales of good Dogpound hay they bought from us, headed back north to their idyllic spot along the Pembina River.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Dunvegan Bridge

After a night just out of Grande Prairie, Alberta spent catching up with Mike and Janna’s adventures over the last 6 or so months since we crossed trails it was time to move on down the road. Our destination today was the Dunvegan Provincial Park right on the mighty Peace River. This is the location of a couple of fur trading posts as well as an Oblate Missionary Settlement. It is also the location that the Alberta government chose to install our only suspension bridge spanning the Peace River.


The bridge was installed in 1960 at the then exorbitant cost of $5 million dollars. It was a way of opening up this Peace River country to the many settlers and resource industries that were arriving at the time. There is a great little Provincial Park here with about 60 odd sites all with electricity but no water or sewer. There is a dump station with potable water at the entrance though. We got a good site, big enough to fit both of our rigs.


Today we decided that we should take a little tour of the country north of the river and see where a person who was so inclined might end up homesteading if he had made it up here in the 1960’s. The country out of the river valley here is quite flat and pretty consistently rich farmland so there are many large farms in the area with good crops, at least those that weren’t affected by the over abundance of rainfall this spring. We found a nice drive down to Many Islands park along the way that gave us a look into the Peace River Valley.


Also in our travels we found an interesting church made out of square dovetailed logs that has sure stood the test of time.


Then it was back to our campground in time to make sure Brenda got her Black Raspberry Cheesecake ice cream. In fact we had desert before supper just to make sure they didn’t close before we got down to the ice cream stand. Another great couple of days with great company.

Friday, September 9, 2011

On the Road Again!!

One last visit into Chestermere to make sure Kashton was enjoying his new digs and then Grandma and I hit the road north.


Yep, you read that right I said north. I know it is not to long until I will be hopefully heading in a different direction, but, Mike and Janna, our friends from Montana are taking a late summer vacation and decided that they wanted to make it as far as the Peace River so we thought what the heck, the weather is good, the baby is happy in his new home, and we needed to scratch that Hitch Itch. We left Dogpound North and headed up the Cowboy Trail to Valleyview for a visit with cousin Mike. He runs the Fountain Tire in Valleyview and has a place out towards Sunset House that had a spot just right for our rig to spend the night. We had a great visit, a fantastic meal, and a nice fire to sit around and solve the troubles of the world.


I didn’t get a picture of Mike but I did get the sunset shot as we enjoyed that campfire.

Mike was off to work early in the morning and we were a little while later heading out on our quest to find Mike and Janna. A quick email in the morning gave us a good clue as to where they were and where they were going to be although finding a pink motorhome pulling a bright yellow jeep doesn’t sound that difficult, northern Alberta is a big place and without a few hints we may have been a day or two longer running them to ground.

By noon we were parked right beside them in the Happy Trails RV Campground just out of Grande Prairie, and while Mike and I visited the ladies were off to Costco for a resupply run. Once the girls were back we spent the afternoon sitting in the shade and catching up on each others spring and summer. Brenda and Janna whipped another great meal so in the tradition of RV’ers all across the continent we are overeating. Along with all the eating and visiting we did come up with a plan for tomorrow so now it is just a matter of working that plan and we will keep you all up to date on what is next, when it happens.


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Kashton Cole Tomasir


“Grandpa figured that I should write this blog but although I am thinking about it I figured today was my day and why should I be bothered with all this wordsmithing, it is bad enough that he has almost blinded me with that danged camera of his.”

So I guess you will all be stuck with me writing the blog Kash said “I can’t even read yet so why bother with a blog.” Oh well that will come soon but for now I will be still authoring this journal even though today it will all be about Kashton. He was born last night at 7:48PM after what Becky described as a not to bad a time. Now I am not sure what she measured that against but whatever the result is pretty cute. He was 7 lbs 7 oz. and 21 inches long for those of you who keep track of such things. Notice that although us Canucks use the metric system for a lot of things we still use that old Imperial system to measure our entry into the world.

Ella and I did manage to keep Grandma from storming the doors of the hospital for most of the day and only at about 8:30 PM, once Lacey let us know he was there, did the security system there suffer a massive breach and in she went. She was out of the Jeep before we stopped rolling at the door and all Ella could say was “where Grandma go!”.


She got a short visit in last night while Ella and I patrolled the parking lot and then it was back to the farm to wait for the official “grandparent visiting hours” in the morning.


As the clock struck 11:00 AM we were into the hospital and I got to see the little tyke for the first time for real. He is pretty cute and although I am sure he looks just like himself everyone else sees a resemblance to his Dad although for the time being he does appear to have my thinning hair. I am sure that will change as time goes on though.

After a short visit this morning we cleared out to make room for Ved’s parents and we were off to Chestermere as Brenda wanted to make sure that Bec and Ved’s fridge was well stocked when they got home. Lacey, Ella and I basically loafed around all afternoon as Brenda whipped up some chicken roll-ups and a beef stew to leave behind for the new family when they got home.

Bec and Ved got home about 4:00 PM and we mauled the baby, took a few photos then cleared out so they could start to settle in themselves.


Ella was enthralled with her new cousin and tried to make sure he was covered up with his new blanket as well as giving a concert to help him get used to his new home.


Congratulations Rebecca and Vedran, he is beautiful and I know he will grow up to be all you have dreamed about. And hopefully I will be here to chronicle it all.