Friday, May 27, 2011

Regional Wrap-up

Funny, I went into last weekend with no real thoughts about how I wanted to do with Jake and Luna, other than us not making fools of ourselves.  At the end of Saturday,  I knew Jake was in a decent position, after having three clean runs, but didn't bother to check what his score was at the end of the day.  I did happen to walk past the table displaying the aggregate results on Sunday morning, so thought I'd take a look.
Holy Cow, he was in first place in his group!

Here's Jake's Jumpers run on Saturday.  He had one little spin when he thought I was going a different direction.

  Dogs are broken down into groups according to their height.  You do have the option of dropping a dog down a height level from what they would regularly jump. Jake measures just a hair over the cut off for the 22" jump height. That means he has to jump 26", which is 5" over  the 21" plus that he measures at the top of his shoulders.  I did compete him at that height for the first three years, and then to make it easier on his body, I dropped him from 26" Regular to what is called 22" Specials.  (Just in case anyone is wondering what the 'Specials' meant on his trophy).

After he got a clean round in Sunday's Standard run, I started to think about the possibilities of finishing near the top.  While he was running his Standard round, it was pouring rain.  I was a little worried about him slipping on the wet grass, so ran him cautiously, and probably called out 'easy' as many times as I called an obstacle name.  Not that it made a lot of difference to his time, but I just wanted to remind him to think about what he was doing and not to go hell bent for leather.  His safety was more important than a brilliant round.
It wasn't really raining when his Jumpers round came up, but the grass was still very wet.  Another clean round!  By this time word seemed to have got out to people that I knew that Jake was in contention for the top placing in his group.  They were coming up and telling me.  Jeff (Pippin's owner) was joking that I was so far ahead that I didn't even need to go in the last class.  I was starting to get a little excited:)  What I really wanted was to get the gamble in the last class, to make it 6 for 6 clean runs.  Despite getting 50 points in the opening, the gamble wasn't meant to be.  I didn't really handle that part properly at all.  (The Gamble is when you stand behind the line of tape and send your dog through a set of obstacles in the required order)  Completing the gamble would have given us an extra 35 points.  Despite that, overall Jake finished 53 points ahead of the next dog!  Of course I didn't know that at the time, but had to wait until the results were announced.

Jake's Gamblers run on Sunday.  Nice opening (he gets double points for doing some of the obstacles if I can stay behind the line).  I totally messed up after the buzzer went and we tried to the final gamble.

Anyone that read last years posts about Regionals and Nationals might recall that Jake had issues with the dogwalk.  He would start up the plank, and before he got to the top, he would jump off the side.  This went on repeatedly until I finally had to take a 'non completion' penalty and move on.  Both times it was a dogwalk made by a company in Armstrong.  This year we lucked out, and Jake's rings had a dogwalk made by the local manufacturer that supplies most of the equipment used in this area.  I've come to the conclusion that his equipment is sturdier.  I think the other manufacturer's dogwalk must get some sort of vibration going, which is Jake is sensitive to, and that is why he won't go any further on it.  (He doesn't like things that move under his feet).  
Thank goodness it wasn't an issue this year!

I was also thrilled with how Luna did.  She measures a hair under 21", so runs in the 22" Regular class, which had 49 dogs!

Here's Luna's first Jumpers run.  I got a bit lost as she ran through the straight tunnel the second time.  In fact as I ran past the judge I distinctly remember saying that I didn't know where the heck I was going.  I ended up between the tunnel and the first jump of the last little circle, instead of between the first and second jump.  Then I was sort of scrambling and let Luna go on to take the jump in the corner that wasn't part of the course.

She got the first Gamblers class, and then had a clean Jumpers run on the second day.  She had one refusal
(my fault) in the Standard round in the pouring rain.  I forget that I have to make my cues a bit more obvious with Luna, and hold them longer.  She is more sensitive to body movement, and if I move away too soon can pull her away from an obstacle.  
She finished 20th in her class.

The weather over the weekend was far from cooperative.  The only good thing was that we couldn't complain about it being too hot.  Quite a bit of rain both days.  Both Jake and Luna's Standard runs on Sunday were during a downpour.  By Sunday afternoon though, the sun had come out.

Larry was at the farmers market on Saturday, and then had other things to do part of Sunday, so not much got filmed.

Jake and Luna did not run in the same ring.  They ran the same course, but it was surprising how different the 'same' course could be from one ring to the other.  One jump at a slightly different angle could make quite a difference.

Here's Luna's last Gamblers run.  I was really pleased how she got that first weave, and then got back there to do it again.  Not so thrilled when she popped out though at the 11th pole.  After that it was a bit of a mess. She said that there was no way she was going to do those weaves for a third time. Oh well!

This homeless guy showed up and fell asleep in my chair!

Luna knows how to relax, just like Larry

And then looked kind of cute/weird while waiting for the results to be announced.

Here we are, the 22" Specials

We wanted to try for a better individual shot on the podium after it was all over, but everyone else had the same idea.  We gave up and just went out onto the field and took a photo there.

Jake finished with 537.54 points, and Luna had 426.47.  Of the over 300 dogs that were entered, the highest points earned were 619.84, and the lowest were down in the 100's.
Both Jake and Luna qualified to go to the Nationals, they needed 350 points.  The Nationals are being held in Ontario this year.  No, we are not going.

And then the dogs just had some fun, which is really what it's all about.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Earth Calling Cloud Nine

Unfortunately today I had to come back down to earth.  It was a fun weekend, despite the fact that the weather just really sucked.  Running two dogs in different rings, more often than not at opposite corners of the field, worked out okay, although sometimes it was straight from one ring, back to the tent to switch dogs, and then straight to the other ring. Hopefully I'll get a post done about the weekend in a day or two.
Today it was back to reality.  Looking out and seeing April the sheep, who has been having real mobility issues these past few days.  She doesn't seem to be in pain, and is still eating well, or well for a senior citizen, but her time is drawing to a close quickly.
Back to the hospital in White Rock to visit my mother.  It's the seventh day since her stroke.  I'm certainly not seeing any great positive changes.  Her mind is pretty good , but I still notice some things.  Her left leg has stopped spasming, but I don't think she can move it as much now as she could before.  I stopped by her place to water a few things, take in the papers, feed and brush her cat.  Now I need to go through the fridge and sort things out.  I can't see her being back there anytime soon, maybe not ever.  It's all rather depressing.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Quick update

Despite the stinking weather (rain or drizzle most of the day, and cold), it was a great day at the Regionals.
Jake had three awesome runs.  I didn't take the time to check the results, as we just wanted to get out of there at the end of the day, but I know he will have placed high in all of his classes.
I was really happy with how Luna did as well.  When I am running her, it always feels like I'm just barely holding imminent chaos in check.  She has no respect for the equipment, and sometimes it seems like she is just trying to do one obstacle as fast as she can (without caring HOW she does it), so that she can get to the next one, and then so on and so on.  She did get a few faults, but I was really pleased with how she did.  In the last class, jumpers, she would have had a clean run except I forgot a little bit where I was going, and didn't get myself in the right place.  That resulted in her continuing on and taking a dummy jump in the corner, which was a 20 point off-course penalty.  That was totally my fault.  I was just thrilled that she didn't knock down a bar.  It might all go to hell-in-a-handbasket tomorrow, but today I'm riding high!

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Week Isn't Over Yet

Tomorrow and Sunday are the BC/Yukon Regional Agility Championships.  Luckily they are being held here in Abbotsford, or else I probably wouldn't be going.
It's been a miserable week, what with my mum's stroke and all, and I haven't really given the Regionals much thought, and I'm not really 'into it' at the moment.  I'm running both Jake and Luna tomorrow and Sunday, and who knows how it is going to go.
Yesterday was a very depressing visit with my Mum.  She seemed worse to me.  Her left eye was droopy, and she seemed more affected by the stroke that the two days previous.  She had been dreaming/hallucinating the night before and must have tried to stand up and walk away from the bed, and of course crashed to the floor.  Fortunately nothing was broken.
Today when I visited, she seemed better, not really physically, as she can't do much at all with the left arm yet, but she just seemed better somehow.  The eye wasn't droopy though, and that made a big difference.
The nurse seemed quite pleased with how much she had eaten, how she had done with the therapy, and just how she seemed to be.  I left the hospital today feeling much better.
When I talked to the doctor this morning, he said there a few days of swelling that happen from the stroke, which would account for the droopy eye yesterday.  It will take about two weeks before they have a good idea of what her recovery will be, and she will probably be in the hospital for 3-4 weeks.  She might be sent elsewhere for more therapy.
Anyway, I'll be entering the competition tomorrow feeling better about things, so let's hope that carries over to our performance.  I'll let you know!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

That's a Tan, not Rust.

There's a joke in this area of the province...'we don't tan, we rust'.  Well we can put that to rest for a while at least.  Another beautiful day.  I cracked out the shorts for the first time this year. Went for a four miler this morning about 7am, in just shorts and t-shirt. Yep, it was a bit cool to start, but I sure was glad that was all I had on after the first half mile.  Lovely!
And then back at home I was making my usual fashion statement.  The only thing was though on the bush walk, the bare skin between boot top and mid thigh was fair game for the stinging nettles.  Sure enough, at least one of them got me.
The rubber boots rub all the hair off the back of my legs at the widest part of the calf, and then grind dirt into the pores there.  So then if I go out somewhere with that part of my skin exposed, I have to make sure that I remember to scrub the tide line off the back of my legs.

The sunshine also brings out the flies, so it was time to put Pride's fly mask on.  This is the one that I made last year, and I'm proud to say that it has held up fantastically.  Pride is notorious for putting holes in the part over his eyes.  I think he must rub his head on trees. No holes in this one yet.

Luna likes to live dangerously

And the sun is turning the dandelions from

                 to this ----->

I got sick of waiting for the ground to dry out, so planted some dahlias on top of the ground and hilled over them

Like I had done with some potatoes on the other side of the blueberry bushes.
There's my little drainage channel.

This afternoon we headed back to White Rock.  Larry went to visit his mother in the care home on one side of the street, and I went to visit mine in the hospital on the other side.  While I was there, my mum was moved from emergency up to a room on the rehabilitation floor.  There a team of therapists and other experts will give her the help she needs to make the best possible recovery.  There is no obvious improvement in her left arm yet.
Thank you everyone for your kind thoughts and best wishes for my mum.
It's only day two, and I'm finding it tough already.  I don't handle this stuff well, and I thought today would be a shorter visit.  Then I decided to stay to help settle her in her new room, and then stay to help her eat supper.  By that point, three hours later,  I was decidedly twitchy, and desperate to be anywhere else:(  
It is a bit of a rocky relationship, my mother's and mine.  It would be nice to have someone to share the visiting with.

This evening we were walking the dogs around the small block.  At one point we looked behind us and there was the dog that injured Calli 5 years ago next month.  Yes, the date is stuck in my head. I was furious, and stormed back that way yelling at her to get home.  She turned into the driveway where she used to hang out (not where she lives).  She is supposed to be contained on her own property as ordered by animal control after the attack.  I'll be calling them in the morning, as this is the third time in as many weeks that Larry or I have seen her running loose.  
There's no point in calling the owner.  I did that five years ago, and somehow, in his eyes, it was all my fault.
Gee, it wasn't his dog that ended up with big medical bills and a permanent disability.

PS... But now that's got me thinking....we have three dogs, and we are only 'allowed' to have two.  Apparently we would need a kennel licence to have more than that. Ridiculous.  So that would mean you could have a subdivision, say each house is on a tenth of an acre, in the space of 10 acres, there could be 200 'legal' dogs. We live on 10 acres, and we are only 'allowed' to have two dogs (without getting a kennel licence).  Now I'm not sure if that is ever enforced.  Maybe it's complaint driven.  So if I complain about the dog that attacked Calli....well the owner would pretty well know who the complainer was.... and would he complain that we have over the legal limit of dogs?  Not quite sure how to handle this now.....

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Spring Has Finally Sprung (We Hope)

Turned out to be a lovely day today, and there are four more coming!  Supposed to hit 24 C on Friday... I don't know if we can stand it.
 The same pair of geese (an assumption on my part, as I've no way of verifying that) seem to nest every year right by an elementary school.  Right across from there is a property with a large man made pond right near the road.  The geese graze along the edge of the road and the school playing field, and then stop traffic by all trouping across the road for a swim.  Since they are in a school zone, the traffic is only supposed to be going 30 kmph, so I suppose that helps the geese survive the road crossing.
I could see seven goslings.  I wonder if that's how many hatched? 

I was on my way to White Rock.  I got a call from the hospital this morning. My mother suffered a stroke last night, and was in emergency.  It affected her left side.  
When I got there, she was in better shape than when I recieved the call.  Her mouth was no longer drooping, and she could move her left leg quite a bit.  Her left arm was still just a dead weight.  I was there quite a while, and heard the details of when she fell/passed out around 11pm, to her being admitted to the hospital just before 2am.  Of the long, exhausting, frustrating struggle to move herself enough to pull the phone off the side table by the cord, and the agony of trying to dial a number with one hand by the light of the tv.  Her lamp is on a timer, and had turned off automatically.  The denial she was having; how she didn't want to admit to herself that she might need to go to the hospital. The failed attempt to call us, and finally success at being able to dial 911.  The friendliness of the paramedics, who she was on the phone with the whole time, and had to direct them to where her spare key was, so they could unlock the door to get in.  How they turned on the siren as they were leaving her place, and what on earth WOULD the neighbours think?

I'm thinking positive, and expecting her prognosis to be good.  How it is going to affect her and her lifestyle remains to be seen.  How it is going to affect mine remains to be seen also.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


The last month or so I've made some effort to do something that you could officially call exercise.  When you have a farm of sorts, you are always doing some physical kind of stuff, but these days we tend to take our time, and don't work ourselves into a sweat on a regular basis.   I wanted to do something that got my heart rate up and kept it there for a little while.  If that something is a thing that exercises the dogs at the same time, so much the better.  I have more than a couple of pounds I'd like to lose, not that this is enough to shed them very fast, but it's better than nothing.  So sometime between  6:30 and 8:30 am I head down the road in my 'athletic gear' (yeah, I want to make it look like I'm officially exercising).  I have Jake and Luna in tow, well maybe it's more like they have me in tow, but they have got with the program now, and the pulling on the leash is pretty minimal.  I usually start out at a run from our place.  I really am not a runner, but the first part is a bit downhill, so I feel like I want to run.  When I hit the uphill to our neighbours driveway, quite often I walk and then run again at the next downhill.  I go two miles as fast as I can walk it, with two or three little stints of running mixed in.  It takes me about 25 minutes.  I heard by word of mouth that a dog chiropractor said that exercising your dog at a steady trot is an excellent conditioning tool.  When I walk, it's fast enough that both dogs are trotting, although Luna just barely.  When I run, Jake has to run, and Luna gets this great ground covering trot going.  Makes me think of a horse that Meredith had borrowed from a friend to ride in 4-H.  She was a bit long-backed, like Luna, and she had this great ground covering trot also.  The dogs travel in front of me.  Jake likes to walk out to the right, on the pavement.  If I say 'car', he drops back behind me and into the heel position.  For some weird reason though he seems to prefer to be on the pavement rather than on the grass shoulder.  Every once in a while, but not every walk,  he will turn back at me and give me this look like I am the most wonderful person in the world......awwww:)   Or he'll turn to Luna and sniff her face and maybe give her a lick, like she's the best friend he could have.  Sweet Jake:)  

The photos are taken on our driveway, I didn't want to take the camera with me.

This isn't the 'look'.  His whole face and ears would be softer looking

The road we live on is a bit of a commuter route to get to the freeway, so that time in the morning, the cars can be going by pretty fast.  Unless I'm sure I recognize the vehicle, I usually don't look at the driver.  Well I can't really see them anyway through the tinted windshield, and then if it actually IS someone I know, and I don't realize it, and don't wave, they might take offense.  So most of the time I act preoccupied, and then I don't have to worry if it's someone I know or not.  The other day I glanced up and someone in a red car, don't know who the heck it was, waved at me with one hand and the other hand was holding her phone to her ear (illegal here). Yeah, well I'd rather she kept at least one hand on the wheel, considering that I'm pretty sure she didn't know me.  It's always interesting how the cars pass us.  I walk facing into traffic of course, and try to get on the shoulder, but if it's all wet and tall grass, I don't really.  Some people seem to think they are doing you a favour by moving over a whole two or three feet.  Never mind the fact that no one is coming the other way, and that they can see ahead for half a mile or more.  Gotta love the ones that move right over to the other side of the road a couple of hundred feet before they get to you.
Usually I see something a bit interesting, even if it's just a pair of mating crows:)  The other morning I saw one neighbour pull out with his big cube van, and rip the lattice work off a section of the fence he was cosied up to.
The neighbours dog that is chained out it the middle of the front lawn.... well now it's a dirt patch.... barks and lunges at us.  Uggghhh.  At least it's not out here all the time, and I have seen it going out in the truck with the owner sometimes.  Great dog owners they are not:(  I always speak to the dog, and keep meaning to take a dog biscuit that I can toss it's way, but so far haven't remembered.

Yesterday morning I was so organized for the farmers market that I even had time to do my walk/run before I left.  It was about 6:30, and it was a beautiful morning, mild and the sun came out.  An hour and a half later when I got to the market to set up, the clouds there were just about on the ground, and it was pouring rain.

And Luna says...'can we just get going'...

This morning I'm thinking it's time to change it up a bit.  I'm planning on heading out on my bike.  Of course though now I've 'trained' Jake and Luna to expect that they are going out.  I might just ride the bike around the small block across the road from us, to give them a bit of a trot/run,  and then head out to do a bigger loop on my own.  Better get going before the rain (is it ever going to end?) starts up again.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wet (and miserable) Wednesday

What an ugly day it turned out to be.  It was raining when I got up this morning, and 15 hours later it is still raining. This afternoon when we put on our rain gear and slogged around the block with the dogs, we realized the culvert under our driveway was plugged and water was running over the driveway.  Larry and David had been weedeating the ditch and I guess all the long loose grass had plugged the culvert.  I had a go with that stick you can see, but the water was too deep. 

 When we got back, Larry rounded up some weapons, and managed to push the grass plug enough that the water broke through.

It was really roaring at the other side

He hauled a lot of the grass cuttings out.

And then the ditch was back to normal.  Well except for a lot of topsoil washing out of our neighbour's field.

I'm just glad that we aren't dealing with the floods in the southern states or in Manitoba.
And we're all sick of this miserable cold wet Spring we are having.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Mother's Day is no big deal around here.  In fact I'd be quite happy to just do what *I* felt like doing today.
When the kids were little, we used to quite often make a picnic dinner and take it and our two mothers to a park somewhere.
Now I'm happy not to do all that work.

David is not one known for making a fuss on any special day.  I'm lucky if I get a hug and a verbal happy birthday wish.

So I just about fell over this morning when he handed me this, wished me Happy Mother's Day, and gave me a hug.

It had the perfect, none sappy verse inside, and his own special touch:)

Is he turning over a new leaf, or were his friends all discussing what they were going to do for their mothers...and he felt a little guilty?
I'm not going to ask, I'm happy with what I got.

Meredith came with me to visit my mum, and we three went out for supper, and then watched the finale to The Amazing Race:)

Hope your Mother's Day was amazing!


The fields are full of them.
When we are not seeing much sun, they are a cheery sight.

Some people spray their lawns and fields to be rid of them.
We should all be eating them.

The sheep know.

Pride loves them too.
The dandelion has a very long tap root that accesses minerals that many other plants can't.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Garden Report

There you go, that word says it all.

Everything seems to be a real battle this year.  The weather is the worst, cold and wet.  The orchard garden is still too wet to plant anything.  Things that I seeded a couple of months ago in the garden close to the house, came up, and then did nothing.  I just reseeded arugula, salad greens and spinach.  The chard needs reseeding too.  The broad beans, or at least the ones that haven't been eaten off yet, are doing great.  There's a big rabbit around that we see occasionally.  I think that must be what's dining on the broad beans and the peas.  I had long narrow pieces of gauzy fabric laid over them, but now they are too tall.  The broad beans are disappearing again.  I've already reseeded them once, and now I have more seeds to do it again.
At least the night temperatures now are closer to normal, but the daytime temperatures are more below normal than not.  It keeps raining.
6:30 this evening I dashed off to the Otter Co-op to buy a roll of chicken wire, and then spent an hour out in the rain getting some posts pounded in and the wire up around peas, beans and the stuff I just reseeded.
I asked David if he was into rabbit hunting.
He said they are too cute.
I have seedlings in the greenhouse.  The tomatoes are doing fine.  The broccoli seedlings that I was too scared to put out because of the rabbit, are now being decimated by mice, I guess, that are getting into the greenhouse.  They have also eaten some tiny lettuce seedlings off, and some of the zucchini seeds that were planted have been completely removed.  Tonight I have those three flats balanced on the tops of tall buckets and pots.  The only way the mice can get at them is to take a flying leap from the potting benches.
I wouldn't put it past them.
Mouse traps are in order I think.

The Abbotsford Farmers Market opens for the season tomorrow.  Rain is forecast.
Spring is a write-off.
Roll on Summer!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Getting Caught Up

Meredith that is, not me.  I never get caught up.  But yeah, Meredith is back from her wonderful trip to Europe, and is slowly picking away at her mass of photos and posting the best and a bit of a story to go along with them.  So if you want a cheap tour of Europe, check out

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

All Settled In

The new hens have settled in quite well.  Since they were older when they arrived than the bunch we got at the beginning of March, they were quite willing to step outside into a brave new world right away.  They are still penned in just a portion of their field, but it won't be long before I open it right up.

They are creating their own dust bath holes.  There's a whole line of them right under this gate.  Maybe they're plotting their escape into the garden, or maybe they just want us to twist our ankles when we got through there in the dark.

At least this one had picked a spot way off in the corner,  in a none ankle breaking spot.

After the first few days of dropping eggs all over the coop floor, they have now got with the program, and are laying them in the nest boxes.  They figured that one out all on their own.  Good thing, because I don't know how I would have actually taught them to do it, other than 'baiting' the boxes with a few well placed eggs.   They haven't figured out how to get into two of the top boxes yet, but they will.

Well all but one hen have figured it out.  Every day there is one egg laid in the top of the oyster shell feeder that is outside the coop.  Can't you just picture that hen crossing her legs, waiting for us to open the door in the morning to let her out.

They are eating lots of grass, but aren't too sure about other foreign things.  I threw some apple pieces in the field the other day, but mostly they are untouched. 
Luna wasn't going to let them go to waste.

50 eggs from 54 hens.  
Not too shabby

Waiting at the gate to head to the other coop.

And at the other coop we got 44 eggs from 46 hens.
Plus that tiny little mini egg.

Good thing the Abbotsford Market is starting on Saturday.
We are being swamped with eggs.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Just Because

The dark storm clouds to the northeast, and the light of the setting sun, made for some really nice colours at the back of our place this evening.