Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Is the only word I could think to describe our trip this weekend. It was time to take my brother and my father up to the cemetery at Auburndale and although we said goodbye a while ago it is still never nice to reopen old wounds. My grandparents and great grandparents were members of the community here and probably had the family plot for a good many years before any of them needed it but over time a cousin, Brent, and my Aunt Hazel have joined them there.


My two brothers and my Dad join Grandma and Grandpa here in their spot. Dad lost his father when he was only 11 years old and always said he had Grandpa Macnab as a father for 50 years so he wanted to have his some of his remains here in the Mount Auburn cemetery.

But enough of that if you want to read about each of them individually you can read my journal entries on Dad, Brent and Kelly by clicking on their names.

A trip up into the Buffalo Coulee country is always a kind of homecoming for me, I spent a lot of time in my childhood here and have a lot of great memories from this place. My cousins and I roamed the countryside here as kids and this is where I learned to ride, along with a lot of other skills that have come in handy over the years. Hey I meant building a fence, feeding cows, and picking rocks.

It is always great fun to get Mike and take Brenda out and share some of those childhood trails with her. It might be 45 years but most of them are still there and the Saskatoon bushes still have berries in the right season and a fellow can still get a toothpick from the Hawthorne’s as he rides by.


The coulee is still a bright green at this time of year and the grass is looking great. Lots of places where it is stirrup high and after a winter in the desert our ponies have come to appreciate it a little more.



After we had a last ride through the coulee and stowed away some of cousin Randy’s great Blueberry Pancakes we got loaded up and head away from the Buffalo Creek Ranch and down the road to the Alliance and the J4 owned by our friends the James Gang. Derek, Shawna, Casey, Jessica, and Justin, along with Grandma Jacqui. We had a great visit and a fine dinner there Sunday night.

The young folk had to head off to school the next morning so Brenda and I headed out with Derek to get one of his bulls loaded up. Our horses are not all that familiar with cattle but we did get the job done. When we got back to the house the kids were soon home from school and Derek and I took off again, this time with Jessica and Justin and their horses.

Part way through the afternoon Shawna broke the news to us that they were expecting 3 inches of rain overnight so once we got the horses cooled out we grabbed a sandwich and headed up out of the the Battle River valley and down the road to Dogpound North. Didn’t pull into our yard till after 11PM but we did get here before the rain. Barely, as it has rained all day today. Sure is good for the trees and the grass though.

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Quest

Since we got our Discovery almost 4 years ago I have off and on searched for the trailer brake wiring harness that is supposed to be run from the hitch up to the drivers seat. Over time I have had the dash apart a couple of times and spent countless hours laying on my back holding my flashlight in my mouth while I rummaged through the rats nest of wires under the dash. All indications were that the cable was tagged and color coded so that hooking up a brake controller would be simple thing. Well they were right about one thing, hooking up the controller was simple after spending another 5 hours today pulling wiring harnesses apart, I can upon a plug wrapped in rubber and tape. Different coloured wires that I was expecting but a little work with the meter and the internet lead me to believe that I had finally found the harness. I should have had some pictures but my wise wife knew that when I am being frustrated by something it is a good time to stay clear. That way I can swear at myself, I am much quicker to forget.

A couple of months ago I brought the bus out of the shed and got it all de-winterized and ready to go so today should have just meant loading up with water and we would be ready to go. Well the theme today was not on taking the easy route and for some reason my water pump was cycling on and off. Usually this means that there is a leak somewhere and plumbing is not my forte but I thought I would have a look and see if it was something simple. After crawling around checking all the usual spots there was no indication of water leaking so I decided maybe it was the pump itself. I carry a spare so I put that in and lo and behold it did exactly the same thing. Hmmmm, no leak but obviously something was letting the pressure off. It took a while but eventually the pump managed to get the pressure up and shut off but after the water was run for a while it went through the same gyrations. Eventually I took the filter out of the casing and put it all back together and it all worked fine, go figure, I guess I will get a new filter and start from there. Hopefully it just needs changing out.

All this activity is getting things ready for a road trip later in the week. We are heading up to the Buffalo Creek Ranch and the Auburndale cemetery where we are going to put my brothers and my fathers ashes in the family plot up there. That is where my mothers family is from and my Dad spent a lot of time up there and indicated that he would like to have some presence there after he passed. I spent a lot of summers up there and that is where I learned to ride so we always like to take the horses along on these trips and hit some of those old childhood trails with my cousin Mike. It will be good to see the Macnabs and the old places again.

Now a flashback to yesterday, and the party. I got some great gifts, some of which will be making their way to Dogpound South, but one was put to work here this morning. Anybody who has sat around the campfire, especially at breakfast time, has heard my story about how I used to have a waffle iron but it got sold out from under me when we moved into our new house 10 years ago. I guess Brenda was tired of that story, she sold it, so she broke down and bought me a new one, bigger and better than the old one. So guess what was for breakfast this morning.



Long time readers will remember when I used to keep track of the miles I walked each day on the bottom of this journal. Well my old knees were not holding up to the walking and I had to make choice, walk or ride. Much to Blue’s, my horse, chagrin I chose riding. Well after a lay-off of a year or so with little to no pain in my knee I thought just maybe I could start walking again. I started back in April and worked my way up from a mile or so till I was doing a four mile walk in the morning. Sadly that was to much for the old knee and it seemed that if I walked any more than a couple of miles a day the old pain was coming back. Not willing to give up riding I thought I needed to discover a different way to get some exercise. Now back in the misty past, when I was a working person, 60 months ago, I used to drop into the YMCA on a regular basis and spend time in the pool at least 3 or 4 times a week. Not sure why I quit but it probably had to do with my heart issues back then.

Well after talking to the doc at my annual physical and telling him my woes about not being able to walk more than a mile or two a day, he suggested swimming and I jumped at the chance. Now the Dogpound Leisure centre has not yet entered the planning stage so I had to chose between Sundre and Cochrane the two closest pools. After weighing all the factors and especially the times they allocated for lane swims I chose to go to Cochrane and imagine my pleasure to find that down the road in Cochrane they actually sell “seniors” passes to folks who are in their 50’s, so not only do they have the best times they have the cheapest rates.

I started out two weeks ago today and could barely make 2 lengths without stopping for a breather and only managed to drag myself up and down the pool a total of 12 times that day. But swimming like riding a bike comes back to you pretty fast and today I managed to complete 60 lengths without a breather. Only 1500 meters (0.932 miles) but I was pretty happy. Although you don`t get to enjoy the birdsong or see the wildlife when you are swimming, unlike walking, the world and all of its distractions are isolated from you by the water so you get to spend a little time thinking. Not to much though or you lose count of the laps and have to start over again.

I left off this blog last Tuesday and I was mowing the grass and Saturday dawned bright and sunny so that is what I was up to again. It takes a few hours around here to keep the grass low enough that you can see out the windows and with all the rain we have had lately it is growing pretty quickly. I am also glad to report that my hummingbird friend appears to have recovered completely and is feeding happily at our feeders.


Yesterday was Fathers Day here at Dogpound and Brenda had cooked up a storm and invited a whole mess of folks out here to celebrate it. As usual we had more than enough fattening food and I managed to partake of more than my share of the main course and of course the Pecan Pie Cheesecake and I see in the fridge there are a couple of pieces left for breakfast. (Harken back to the third paragraph and remember the 60 laps.) We had the whole dang family out here along with all of our grandchildren with the exception of Kashton. No idea what he was up to, although rumour has it he was just back from a vacation on the Yucatan peninsula. All of my nieces and nephews managed to come along to so it was a great, fine spring day here, and although we had a few showers roll through early in the afternoon we managed to keep it all out under the trees.


You can see eldest son Paul manning the BBQ back there in the background and the mountains of ribs and Brenda`s special twice baked potatoes on the table.

This was my first Fathers Day without my Dad but I know he was there in spirit and rest assured some of his stories got told under that old tree once again. I never look at that old tree without imagining Dad under there telling stories or look at our windmill without seeing little brother Kelly up top of it checking the oil. As for my brother Brent he would have been busy getting everything organised and making sure that all the little details were being looked after. I missed them all but am sure they were with us all yesterday and enjoying the family being together.


Alle Kitten got to spend a little time with Grandpa today although I had quite a time fending off Grandma.


and Miss Ella and Great Grandma and Charlie Brown had some special moments.


Below is a collection of photographs from the afternoon.


Over the years I have tried at these kind of gatherings to get everyone gathered up for a family photo, as  the years go past it gets harder and harder but then I am probably getting more stubborn and stubborn, not sure which came first though.


Now just to get you to sleep quickly I am going to list the whole gang, Back Row from the left, Sidney, the dog, my son Matt, nephew Ryan, SIL Tricia, Paul’s MIL Marilyn Laslop, DIL Terri, my mom, Georgia, of course Brenda, Terri’s Dad Helmet Laslop, niece Caron, and son Paul. In the middle row in her Dad, Clayton Anderson’s arms, Alle, daughter Lacey, niece Remi, granddaughter Claire, behind the hair, then grandson Lucas, DIL Michelle, and nephew Christopher. Now facing away from the camera and making sure nobody moves is Meg, and Mack patrolling the perimeter. Standing beside her old Grandpa is Miss Ella and behind me doing her best imitation of Pocahontas is my granddaughter Annika, and in the pink in front of her Mom is granddaughter Madison. Out of the picture and running the camera are the rest of the dog pack, Leo, Charlie, and Rex.

Oh yah, I’m sitting down cause getting all these folks rounded up was hard work and my mother tells me I turned 60 this weekend also. Have to take her word for it because I confess I can’t remember the exact date.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Healing Hands


Our hummer friends are back here and I thought I would get a close up picture so Judy can tell me what kind this is?

Spring is well along here at Dogpound North and we are working our way through our usual June rains. It was a pretty dry winter around here so we needed the moisture badly, but, enough is enough. We have had about 6 inches in the last 3 weeks and now a little heat would be appreciated.


I took this picture thinking specifically of Mike down there in Custer, South Dakota, I know he likes windmills and here is two for the price of one.

Remember away back in April when Alle Kitten surprised us with her early arrival. Well the original plan that day was for Brenda and I to head to Rocky Mountain House and make supper for Lacey. It was her birthday, and she chose to spend it in labour rather than enjoying one of Brenda’s steak dinners.

Well last Friday we figured it was time to get that little detail out of the way and Brenda started planning another birthday dinner for Lace. Once again she had other plans, I guess in their house they are on some kind of diet. And like all diet books written recently it has a big warning on the title page, “NO EATING BRENDA’s COOKING”, so now what. Well we haven’t seen Alle and Ella for a while so even the possibility of Eggplant Parmesan wasn’t going to deter us from that visit. But some higher power was looking after me and Lacey whipped us a great chicken and rice dish complete with steamed vegetables. Now that kind of diet I can take.

But I am not sure how Lacey cooking us dinner qualified for her birthday dinner. Oh well, mine is not to question, just eat.

And we did manage to complete our real reason for the trip and get to visit with our two granddaughters for the afternoon and evening.


Alle “Kitten” above and her big sister Ella below. And just like her Grandma she likes to do a little vacuuming to wind down. Smile


Although Alle had a slow start and spent the best part of her first month in the hospital she is off and running now and growing like the proverbial bad weed. It won’t be long until she is making off with Ella’s toys but for now she pretty much eats and sleeps with the odd sideways look at all the visitors. Ella is a great big sister and although she will share “her baby” it is only with some pretty close supervision.


This week at Dogpound North it is pretty quiet as Brenda has jumped on a plane and is down in Brockville, Ontario visiting with her nephew, Adam, and his family. She had never met them before so is a pretty exciting visit for her and from all reports she is having a great time although the hot humid temperatures are not to her liking.

Me I am just hanging out at home trying to get some things done around the home place, and Tuesday was a break in the weather so I managed to get all the grass cut back before it took over the place. This time of year it is about 5 hours on the riding lawnmowers just to keep it so we can see out of the house.

Oh, back to the title and that first picture, although it is not my first time with a hummer in my hand I am not a bird whisperer of any sort. Our house is pretty much solid glass on the SW side and those little guys get to fighting over the feeders and don’t pay attention to where they are going. This time two of them hit the glass, the other one got up fairly quickly and took off but this little fellow was laying there pretty stunned and not wanting the dogs or a passing cat to enjoy a snack I scooped him up and for a while he just lay on my hand but eventually got up and when I took him over to a tree he managed to buzz his way onto a branch. I kept an eye on him and soon he was off doing whatever it is hummingbirds do when they are not trying to break our windows.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Calgary Western Riders Gymkhana

I almost forgot that I write a blog from time to time. I am not sure what excuse to use but it just seems that there is always something going on here down the road from Dogpound that keeps me busy, well busy enough that I get no writing done. But I have remembered to take my camera along with me so I will dig around and see what pictures might motivate me to write.

The last Sunday of the month here in the summer is the Calgary Western Riders gymkhana at the Springbank Equestrian Centre. Long time readers will know that I have often attended that event and cheered on my niece Caron. Well after making a fool of myself at the TACC gymkhana’s down at Dogpound South I finally got up the nerve to enter here at Springbank. Now this might not seem like much but the organisation had to acquire all new equipment for the timers because of my entry. Their clocks like many time things down to the hundredth of a second but they had no settings that could deal with an actual change of date. And after my inaugural runs I am sure they are thinking about lights for the arena or maybe just an earlier start so that I can actually finish in the daylight.


The photo above has the Dogpound North team making their way to the arena on May 27th, granddaughter Madison and her pony Spanky, of course Willow and I and behind us is our ringer my niece Caron and her new pony Quiz. Below you can see this is serious business and just like at the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness the jocks get thrown into the saddle before their runs. Well at least the little ones do I had to drag myself up there.


And below are pictures of the girls runs


And they set up these stakes just to see if I was actually moving.


Now here I am working the flags and I am not sure if that is the second or third girl to run, while I was completing my run, there in the background. Unlike TACC all the events here except for the barrels are run as races so there are actually two horses competing in the arena at the same time, makes it a little more exciting WHEN you actually get a horse race going.

If you look closely you can see the calendar they are timing me with.

and here we are actually in the saddle and waiting for our runs. These events are western dress also so if you are not wearing a helmet you need to have a cowboy hat on at least when you start your run.


I am not sure how we fared in the placing's but that is not what we were there for anyway. We all had a blast and it was good to see the girls having fun.

Now that is probably enough for now and I will try to be a more regular writer.