Wednesday, December 29, 2021


 Post before the end of 2021. I haven't been a very frequent poster this year, but then maybe subconsciously I would just as soon forget most of it. 2021 was certainly different and came with its own set of challenges. On the positive side all of us here at Dogpound North are triplicated with our Pfizer shots. 

Mom took a spill about 6 or 7 weeks ago and broke her hip. She already had a titanium joint in there so they wired up the femur, put a new ball joint in and resurfaced the cup so she should be good for another 20 years on that side. It has meant she has been kind of restricted from putting any weight on it for the last 6 weeks, but just last week she was cleared to walk on it and is doing a whole lot better. It has meant that I have been in and out of one healthcare facility or another everyday for the last couple of months so it seems that my Pfizer experiment is holding up pretty well. That said the unit she was on for her first two weeks was a covid ward for most of the past year and it was pretty enlightening speaking with the nurses and health care aids about their last year. Those folks are angels and I can only imagine how traumatizing that experience was for them. 

This year being home for Christmas meant we spent Christmas Eve with the girls, Rebecca and Lacey and their families, the first time we have done that for about 10 years. Seeing as how half of their kids are younger than 10 it is probably OK to call it a lifetime since we last did Christmas with them. Brenda and the girls whipped up a turkey and all the trimmings and we had a great day.






The whole gang

Over the Christmas season we have been enjoying some crisp weather, temps in the -30's, wind chills knocking on -40, but on the positive side it has been weeks since we have spotted a mosquito.

Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 16, 2021


 Might be just a little overdue but life here at Dogpound North is pretty much steady as she goes. The fact that I am finding myself going back to review past blogs to remind us of what and where we were got me thinking I need to either keep my journal more up to date or at least throw some things on here once in a while. 

Covid kind of has our travel schedule a little restricted but that said we did manage to haul ourselves over south of Speedy Creek in Saskatchewan to spend a week at the Grasslands National Park. It is pretty much as it says just grass, but there are some interesting critters over there, both bison and prairie dogs. The bison are pretty cool but the prairie dogs look just like gophers who have spent to much time at the feed bunk. There are also sage grouse and some mule deer hanging about. The campground there is infested with Richardson Ground Squirrels (gophers) as well.

Plains Bison Bull

After our journey out into the flatlands we were back here at Dogpound North for July and other than some cool cloud formations it was business as usual.

Compliments of our neighbours to the west in British Columbia we had a pretty smoky summer but we managed to break loose of our ties here on the farm and head out into Banff National Park for a week or so camping in the Bow Valley. Other than that aforementioned smoke and a poorly timed fire ban that curtailed our morning campfires we enjoyed our time off the grid for a week or so in July. 

Along with the smoke here it has been a dry year and our hay crop is down about 50% and the dust is creeping into everything.

Harvest was done in September this year in much of the country, the low rainfall meant small crops and faster harvest times. It will also probably mean with all the crops beating winter into the bin the snow owl population this winter will be smaller and harder to find.

For the second winter in a row we decided back in summer that we would forego our southern migration, we have some family issues to deal with and the covid potential in our usual stomping grounds lead us to this decision. With that in mind I put the Solitude to bed in September, winterized it, pulled the batteries out and brought them into the basement. We will enjoy another winter here at home.

Friday, June 11, 2021

 Early camping trip with my folks

This is turning into a semi-annual blog it seems. We are still hanging out here at Dogpound North enjoying the spring weather we have been having. That said we did have a couple of days of +30C (+80 F) a week or so ago. Unseasonably hot, in fact not to many years ago that would have been hot in any season here, we don't typically get to many days in the mid 80's or higher here. 

On the Covid front we are in the process of getting vaccinated, I have had two shots and Brenda has had one, I expect she will get her second in the coming weeks. (update: Brenda is now booked for her second jab on the 15th of June). Most of our eligible kids and grandkids have also had at least the first jab. Alberta had a pretty high third wave but it seems as if the vaccines are knocking that down to manageable levels so the summer is looking positive. There has been a lot of discontent here in Alberta about the way the government has handled the pandemic response, some 35% of folks think we should have done nothing, it is all some kind of government hoax, interestingly enough about 35% of the population  think we should have locked everyone in their basements since February 2020, and the other 30% are split evenly between those who probably don't even know there is a pandemic going on and those of us who are glad we are not having to make these decisions. For my own part I think they done the best they could in a bad situation, some things could have been done better, but given the evolution of knowledge about the disease they have reacted well. Canada as a country has fared better than a lot, and Alberta our home province has done better than most, our restrictions have been less than others while our infection rates have been no worse for the most part. Alberta Health Services is doing a bang up job of vaccinating people, with about 68% having received their first dose and we are leading the nation on second doses with about 17% completely vaccinated.

We are planning on getting the rig out of mothballs and doing a little camping, in fact have a week or so booked over in southern Saskatchewan at the West Block of Grasslands National Park. We feel a little bit like the Grizzly Bears, who used to be plains animals but were pushed into the mountains by the crowds of settlers, now, like those bears we find our old haunts out in the Crown Land in Alberta's West Country are overrun with folks escaping the city and the restrictions therein so we decided it was time to head East to less populated environs.

Other than that we have not really been doing anything exciting. I do get out numerous times a week and exercise the shutter on my camera so there is that. I will stick a few of those shots here to fill up space.

Our models here work for peanuts

Mountain Bluebird

Plains Bison wondering "What are you looking at?"

Monday, March 15, 2021

 Brenda has commented that she is tired of that bird giving her the eagle eye everytime she comes on to read a blog or two so I thought I would do something about it.

Now St. Paddy may be just a little early but I don't think my ol' Irish grandmother will be to upset.

I haven't been inspired to write much here, as nothing much has changed on a day to day basis. It seems from all reports that the USA is going gangbusters getting folks vaccinated under this new administration, with the aid of folks in the past who have poured some cash into helping the pharmaceutical folks with pushing a new vaccine. The new mRNA vaccines, initially developed in response to the SARS virus, back in 2004, seem to have opened a world of possibilities when it comes to rapid vaccine development. So for those who think it took a year to develop, it is kind of like the band that is an overnight success, everyone forgets that they have been working the clubs and country fairs for 10-15 years before they made it into the big lights.

I spent a lot of time reading and reviewing things about these vaccines so have no issue with taking them. Afterall I have had great experience with both the polio and smallpox vaccines so will do my part to help the globe achieve herd immunity. I understand there are folks who for valid medical reasons can not take the jab, so it is up to those of us who can to give them the protection they need.

Enough of that though, over the last 7 months here at Dogpound North we have enjoyed our winter at home. It has actually been a pretty nice one, other than a week or ten days in February where we got to shake the moths out of our winter duds.

We are enjoying spring type weather here at the moment, but no fear, I am not putting the snow blower or my long johns away just yet. Here at DPN we still have another couple of months of good sledding weather to get through before the mud season begins in earnest.

I of course have done a little picturin' around the hood so I will throw a few of those photos up here to fill the space and hopefully will be inspired to be a little more regular with this tome.

Bald Eagle and a Raven 

Ringside seats for the Presidential Election

The smaller half of our Security Team here at DPN

Male Snowy Owl

Not every night is early to bed around here.

Mrs. Snowy

A wild stud in the West Country

Even the eagles are calm back home

Just an interesting play of light

Bull Moose hanging here at DPN

These guys will soon be gone back to their northern summer range