Saturday, January 31, 2015

No Pictures

No new visitors nor any exciting new vista's in our recent past so this is just a short catch up with what is happening in my life.

Like a lot of my blogging friends I am finding that the dearth of new adventures can put a definite slow down on my creative juices when it come to the blog. Back when I first began this journey we were traveling a lot more and seeing new things and meeting new folks on an almost daily basis so it was easy to sit down and write a few paragraphs each day and slip in a few timely photographs to break up the text.

And then once we settled into our winter home here at Dogpound South I had to cut back on the daily photos of our environs. I mean how many different shots can I find of 3.3 acres of dirt. But we still managed to find some new country on our almost weekly trailriding trips so things were still pretty interesting, at least to me.

What with Brenda's not so successful knee replacement last spring our trail riding has slowed down considerably and that source of new stories has taken a hit, although we are hopeful that we will be back on the trails in the future, so things might get a little busier here then. Till then I am sure you don't want to hear about the almost a 1000 lengths I swim each week in the great new facility the town of Maricopa built just down the road from Dogpound South or the endless beautiful days I spend enjoying the weather here.

The one bright spot on the blogging horizon was precipitated by a reportable disease that has affected Arizona livestock. Vesicular Stomatitis (VS) is a disease that affects horses and to a lesser extent cattle and other ruminants and at the moment Arizona has a couple of cases of this disease lurking around their southern borders. What that means to us is that after 60 days in Arizona our horses are deemed Arizona residents and the Canadian government restricts the movement of Arizona horses into the country. No doubt a good idea as though this disease is not usually fatal it can be expensive to treat and we sure don't want to drag it back into Canada to affect our VS free status there. The last reported case of VS in Canada was in 1949.

So that brings us back to the bright spot. To enable us to take our loyal mounts back to their Canadian home so they don't have to spend the summer in the heat of Arizona we need to move them to another state and get them resident status there. It takes 21 days to acquire that status so we and a bunch of our Canadian/Arizona winter horse folks are planning a slow migration north this spring. Long time readers will remember that usually we load up and head north in a hurry making the trip from Dogpound South to Dogpound North in just 3 days and 2 nights. This year the plan is for a more relaxed journey, once we cross the Arizona/Utah line we plan to slow our journey (Utah being a VS free state). Don't worry Utah we'll have things checked out and brand new Health Certificates in hand so that we don't bring any unwelcome visitors to your state either.  Lucky for us Utah has some beautiful riding spots amongst their red rock canyons and the temps in early April should be perfect. Like all plans in our world these are written in jello so things might change but till the next installment this is what the future looks like.

Till then I will be lurking on the sidelines of blogland, but never fear always watchful, and interested, in what those of you that are still writing are sharing.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

On a Roll

Well we are really on a roll this month, four blogs and the month is barely half over. Well I don't think it will continue as we have had a great first two weeks of the year, what with winding down from the kids visit at Christmas, then a trip up to North Ranch and visits from friends the last couple of days. Last week was taken up mostly with just hanging here at Dogpound South, although I did sneak off most days for a couple of hours to get a swim in at the brand new rec complex in Maricopa. It is a wonderful set-up with an eight lane lap pool that a lot of days has only a couple of diehard swimmers in it. Fine with me and keeping swimming allows me to keep doing the things I really like, eating Brenda's cooking and of course my ice cream therapy.

And on the day I didn't swim an old friend, Phil Staden, and his family came by, loaded up Wink and I and hauled us out to Picket Post for a ride around the mountain. Hard to believe but I didn't take a single picture along the way but it was just as beautiful, if not more so, than it is every time. Definitely one of my favourite all time rides. Just after we had our lunch and got going the skies opened up though and we had a through soaking. Water was running in the washes and some of that slick rock was SLICK. We all came through safely though, if a little wet.

Friday afternoon we were expecting company and before you knew it the Big Pink Motorhome and bright Yellow Jeep with Treasure State plates were pulling through the gates here at Dogpound South.

Mike and Janna and the Tin TeePee were coming to visit on their way back to North Ranch after visiting other friends in Tucson. We had a great visit and then headed into town to Plaza Bonita for a great Mexican dinner.

Mike, Janna, Emmi and Max in the background

Saturday we continued our visit and along about 11:30 Rene and Jeanette from RV Voyageur pulled in the gate on their Kawasaki motor cycle. They are camped over at Gold Canyon and we had enticed then over to Dogpound South for a visit. Although the two couples had never met they have been following each others blogs for a long time so like always, it was old home week and we solved most of the world's problems and ate a way to much of Brenda's good cooking.

Jeannette, Mike, Brenda, Rene, Janna and Emmi, Maya and Max thrown into the mix also.

Sadly the afternoon passed quickly and Rene and Jeanette had to hit the road home. We convinced Mike and Janna that they could stay another night with us though so we had a little more yakking and then finished off the day with another feed of Brenda's Carrot Cake topped with some good Blue Bell ice cream.

This morning the Clark's were off for North Ranch and I was off to Cowboy Church so we said our goodbyes and headed off down our own trails.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Off to the Ranch

This weekend we decided we needed a change of scenery.

Sunrise over the desert
Brenda and I loaded up the dogs and the trailer and headed north to visit a bunch of our friends who have gathered up around Congress, Arizona this winter. Although we had been through that area before we were getting our rig wound up to climb the Yarnell Hill so we had never really had a decent look around. Did a little visiting this time and had a brief look at the countryside and it is easy to see why folks have ended up spending the winter around there.

Mike Clark met us at the main gate to North Ranch and guided us around so that we could put our rig on a site with as little problem as possible. It was a short drive, but boy, did we see a lot of familiar faces. As we cruised along the street two ladies in a golf cart buzzed us, good to see Pat McFall and Ellie Meacham. Then around a corner and there was that big pink motorhome with Janna Clark standing on the step waving. Just a little bit up the hill we found our spot.

Got a lot of strange looks along with welcoming waves though. Not sure that North Ranch sees many RV's like ours pulling in. Probably put some fear in our neighbours wondering what kind of critters those guys are going to unload from the back of that livestock hauler. Well we don't get to town to often but we knew Blue, Wink and Willow would probably not be welcome so we left them home with C.C. Cochran making sure they had all the feed they needed.

Friday we spent catching up with the Clarks and enjoying a great supper that Janna had whipped up.

Saturday morning we loaded up Max and Maya and drove them up to visit the Pheebs, a key member of the Bayfield Bunch. Mike and Janna and Emmi joined us on this visit. I know Max and Maya loved to opportunity to run free throughout the beautiful landscaping that Al and Kelly have done on their place.

Al and Kelly of the Bayfield Bunch
Not sure that Pheebs appreciated her space being invaded by a couple of unruly country dogs and Emmi decided sitting this one out, on Mikes lap, and letting the big dogs run was a wise move. After chewing the fat for a few hours and eating to many treats we all retreated to our own corners to rest up for Happy Hour.
Brenda and in the background Maya and Max with a couple of Pheebs toys that they had shanghaied

Hard to get a shot of Al without his camera.

We gathered the same gang together later in the day at Jim and Ellie's new house to review paint colors and eat some great pizza that Mike and Janna had brought in from Congress. The pizza was great and the company was even better.

Jim and Ellie in the house they are renovating. Good luck choosing the paint colors
We had lots of laughs and relived a lot of old stories, and maybe even started some new ones. It was a great reminder of why we love our old RV friends, but one of the lessons we learned in that RV'ing world is you are always leaving, not forever, but going on down the road, looking forward to the next time our paths cross.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

An Unexpected Early Sunrise

 Two days two blogs, maybe what my Inuit friends are saying is true. The earth has shifted.

After Brenda's trip home to deal with her brother Brent's passing she was back down here getting ready for Christmas. She always like to do a lot of baking to get ready for the season, so that means I have to get out my tasting hat to make sure it is all OK to serve to company. As usual everything passed the taste tests and if company hurries there might even be some left to serve to them.

This is a big Christmas for us as early Christmas morning Santa is delivering our presents to the Sky Harbor airport in the form of our granddaughters Ella and Alle, oh yeah, and their parents too.

Ella, Alle and mom, Lacey along with Claytons legs
The weather was a little cooler than I was hoping for their visit but these are tough Canadian girls and were running around in sun dresses and shorts for most of the week while everyone around them was bundled up in their winter gear.

On Boxing Day or the day after Christmas for our American friends we just chilled at home. Ken and Verna Pohl came over in the afternoon with their wagon and Ben and Beauty and took the grandkids and I for a ride around the neighbourhood. The kids loved the big horses and enjoyed the ride.

I hadn't packed a helmet for the girls so riding the horses here at Dogpound South was going to be a non-starter, but luckily Santa Claus got that covered. They were sure happy with their upgrade as back home in the North Country they were wearing an old motorcycle helmet and this is definitely a more styling look.

Gotta a little growing to do to fit those stirrups
 The day after Boxing Day we headed out to Goldfields for a little dancing and a look around.

That blurry look is natural for these girls, they never slow down.

Goldfields townsite
 The kids enjoyed the gunfight with the little one clapping enthusiastically when the shots were fired and the gunfighters were falling down. We even ventured out on the train ride, rumour had it that the local " Canadian Rubber Band Bandits" were out in the hills so it would be a safe journey. In fact those same rumours said a local hero was going to try to lead them out into the Superstitions and lose them in the dark out there so they would never again harass the peaceful citizens of Goldfields.
Keeping an eye out for bandits
The rest of the week was filled with eating out and hanging out at Dogpound South. I for one sure enjoyed the kids visit and marvelled daily at the amount of energy they had. They were up with the sun and went steady till long after it set.
This little fellow was watching the activities all fluffed up from the cold.

Meanwhile these Canadian girls had captured the ice cream truck for some treats

And a little tomfoolery


They love our dirt

Walking the tightrope

Burning off some energy and helping Grandma get the dog hair off the beds and into the house.

But even the best holidays have a little computer work involved
Sadly New Years Eve I had to run them back into Phoenix to catch a plane home, and no matter how I tried I couldn't talk them into staying with us and letting their folks go home alone.

We haven't been doing much trail riding as Brenda's knee is still pretty painful. She has worked hard to get the flexibility that she needs back and has been successful at that, but the swelling just won't seem to go away so it is still difficult to build up the strength she needs to ride and control her horse properly.

And probably a good thing as over the last month or so both Blue and Willow have been on the injured reserve list so Brenda's Wink horse is our only sound mount right at the moment.

Back to the title of this entry. My Inuvialuit friends up Inuvik way tell me that the sun rose on January 4th this year. Doesn't sound all that odd to most southerners but as long as I can remember and that is a long, long time, I am sad to say, the sun has always risen on January 6th, after a month of no sun at all. In the summer though they get 56 days when the sun never sets at all so it seems a fair trade I guess. Kind of makes you wonder if this old earth is really spinning out of control or what.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Brent Vogt 1958 - 2014

Brent giving me a hand with some clean-up at Dogpound North

Early in December Brenda received word that her brother had died in Calgary after undergoing more surgery to deal with his diabetes related problems. Brent was a kind of loner and liked to deal with his problems on his own and not be a problem for others. Although they hadn't spoken recently they were pretty close and she had a lot of good memories about Brent and their childhood and young adulthood.

Brent spent most of his life working in the restaurant business and was an awesome cook. He shared some of those recipes with Brenda and they always had a sibling competition about who was the best at what. Tough to compete with a pro, but Brenda always managed to hold her own and even showed Brent a trick or two.

Brent never had an easy time of things in his life, and I never really got time to get to know him all that well, but what I do remember is a guy who always had a smile, or a funny story to tell, no matter how tough things were going in his own world.

Brent doing his magic in Becky's kitchen on Christmas Eve a few years back
RIP "Uncle B"