Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What The...?!

Before we went on the road this past spring, we sold some of our lambs and both of our rams. We figured we were due for some new blood and we'd buy a new ram when we got back. However, when we returned, we saw that there was a drought going on and we weren't going to have a hay crop this year. The hay should be more than twice as high. We shouldn't be able to see Skid in this picture. We have had some promising clouds float over us but they always seem to pass us with out unloading. So our solution is to not lamb this year. We normally lamb out in January and since the rams are already gone, we'll just get down to about 30 sheep. That will be enough to train dogs with this winter and it will cut down on the amount of hay we have to buy.
We were feeling pretty good about that plan so you can understand our surprise when we saw this the other day.Yes, it's exactly what it looks like.Somebody didn't follow the rules.
How many others are hiding a pregnancy?
Kit gave a sigh and said she'll be ready, no matter what comes.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Brief Blog

We are off to a local trial this weekend so I just have a quickie for you today...
Before we drop the raptor topic, I just wanted to show you the pictures my mother took the day she left New Dayton.
These are the baby hawks that live next to our road. They are just learning to fly.

Pilot ready? READY!
Clear the runway? CLEAR!TAKE OFF? Ummm... Ok, sure. Be right there.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Around here, it's animals first, farm second. So it takes us a while to get around to maintenance that is often over due.
I'm sure you've seen pictures of our barn before. It's featured prominently on our website and it's often in the background of my pictures on the blogs. It's a grand old structure that is the centerpiece to our prairie farm. Rumor has it that it's over a hundred years old but the only date we've seen is the one carved in the first box stall that says 1958. Early graffiti or the construction date? We don't know. What we do know is that the barn has needed a face lift. Scott's brother put a new tin roof on it a couple of years ago and we decided it needed a paint job to go along with it.
This summer, Scott has taken on this task by himself. I can't say I didn't have a heart attack when I looked out the window and saw this, But he made it down in one piece and I have to say the barn looks pretty spiffy. As a finishing touch, we added the sign that my best friend, Melissa bought for us years ago. The one we said we'd put up when we got the barn painted. (it's been a while) Yes, Scott, I think this finally makes up for the stone steps in the front yard.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Scottish Images

I found this Scottish thistle in my yard this morning.What did it make me think of when I saw this symbol of my Scottish heritage?

Did I have images of Celtic crosses in crumbling walled church yards or tartan clad men wielding large broadswords in the heather? Pipers ghostly sounds carrying across fields?
Or did I think of working with my border collies to move woolly sheep on the misty hillsides of the land of my ancestors?No. I was thinking that Scott better repair my lawn mowers 'cause the yard is getting out of control.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sled Dogs In Summer

While we were in Banff, my parents surprised me with a tour of the Snowy Owl sled dog kennels. Although I really enjoyed it, if you want to see some actual Iditarod sled dogs, (the dogs at Snowy Owl were bred for visiting tourists) I would encourage you to visit the North Wapiti sled dog kennel in Athabasca, Alberta. By touring that kennel you will support a 2010 Iditarod competitor and her team of dogs.
Back to Snowy Owl:
When we first arrived, they were getting ready to take some tourists out on the trail. You can see that these dogs hate their job.

Romeo was the first dog we visited with who looked us over and decided we all passed muster.
Although most of the dogs were happy to see us and snuck a kiss from my nephew, Tyler, when ever they could,
others would prefer we go away and leave them to mind their own business. Many of the dogs looked like wolves but there was only one who could actually claim that title. I don't belive in wolves or wolf hybrids being kept as pets but Tok was very well taken care of and was often brought out for off leash walks in the woods with a trainer and tourists.

Unfortunately our time ran out and we said good bye to all the dogs.
They appeared to be be sad to see us go.

Birds of a Feather

Although not intense bird watchers, Scott and I do enjoy the raptors that we share our farm with. Every winter we get excited for our annual visit from a female Snowy Owl and we've been known to put flags around a hawk's nest in our hay field so the young family can live safely. I like to take a walk into our back field to talk to the young owls that hatch every year, but for some reason, I get the impression they don't appreciate my conversation. Perhaps it's because their return comments are limited to the clacking of their beaks.
These guyz were born this winter and have been living in the shelter of our trees.So I was curious to explore the Alberta Bird of Prey center that was only 30 minutes from my house. My parents visit gave me the excuse to finally visit.

I was incredibly honored to get to handle this little guy.He's a Burrowing Owl and is an endangered species. I've never been so close to such a rare bird.

Spirit, the Golden Eagle has a touching story. He had been found by the side of the road, shot through the head and breast. He survived his ordeal but was left totally blind.He held no grudges and allowed people to touch him. You could see him turning his head to catch sounds to make up for his lack of sight.

Call me a silly American, but I'm still awed by the fierce look of this fellow...My mother also had a good time on the tour and found herself the most popular kid in school when she pulled out some chicken food.Remember those babies in the trees? Well, the highlight of the visit for me was to meet an adult version. A beautiful Horned Owl.He was clearly as excited to meet me as I was to meet him. (Trust me, he's happy on the inside.)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Catching Up

"The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated". Sorry folks! I haven't been posting because I've had no computer access for a week or so. I've been traveling. I went to a few trials (which I will slowly update over on my trial blog) and my parents came up from California to visit us. We traveled to Banff, sans dogs, (Scott stayed home and babysat) but don't think for one minute there were no animals on this trip. More about that later...
For right now, I present you with some time sensitive material. Otherwise known as Togo's growth spurt.How many 17 week old pups have you met that are this big?
Alot of people are asking me how Kit is handling having him around.Oh, she doesn't mind him too much.My mother and father just adored him and took lots of pictures. I once caught them discussing whether or not he would fit in their suitcase.
Rumor has it that Togo is starting to bark at the coyotes at night now. My parents were hoping he'd fail as a guardian dog and they could take him back to suburban Orange County, California. As they were leaving this morning to get on the plane to go home, my father whispered to Togo, "Don't bark anymore - Don't bark."