Thursday, June 27, 2013


Ever since we first got Callli as a nine week old puppy, she has been a big grass eater.  She especially likes grass that is growing next to or in the water.  The grass of choice is a wide bladed one that can grow very tall, and likes damp places.  I think it's most likely Reed Canarygrass.  Our dogs have always liked eating grass, and sometimes all three of them will stop in a certain spot and chew away.  They especially like the fresh new Spring growth.

Now if you google 'why do dogs eat grass', you get about 2.8 million results.  After reading through a few of them, I think I agree with one vet who just decided that dogs eat grass because they like the taste.

Yesterday was another rainy morning.  Since it's not a whole lot of fun to take the dogs on their usual morning bush walk when the foliage is sopping wet and dripping branches are hanging low over the trail, we decided to go for a quick walk at the dyke.  We don't seem to get down there much these days, so the dogs were pretty excited.  Which translates into two females who whine all the way there.  Thank goodness it's only a seven minute drive.  The water was still pretty high, and we didn't get very far before Jake and Luna decided that they had found a spot that was perfect for swimming.  So that is what they did.

And Calli mostly ate, although she did go in the water a few times.  Unfortunately the camera batteries died, but not before you got to see our herbivore at work.

                           Doesn't Jake have an annoying bark?

There was this cool kind of bridge just downstream.  Not that it led anywhere, just into a field of very tall grass, and there was a no trespassing sign at the other side.  Just my luck, I'd get to the middle and find out the pole rotted over the winter, and that the water really wasn't very warm:(



Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Summer Solstice

The summer solstice is supposed to arrive here in about 10 minutes. That would be about 10:04pm. Excuse me while I laugh...... or cry.  Crying would be more like it.  It felt like frickin' November today.  It rained. all. day.  It's still raining.  It's cold for the last day of Spring. It didn't get above about 13 degrees Celsius.  That would be about 55 F.   When we went outside this morning, Pride, for some reason only known to Pride, was stood out in the rain. There was some wind too.  He was soaking wet.  He was shivering and cold.  Larry put a thick winter blanket on him and fed him in his shed.  Later in the day, after Pride was warmed up and dried out, Larry switched out the winter blanket for his rain sheet.  The grass in the hay field is just laid out flat, with only the dock weeds still standing upright.  The peas have fallen over.  The slugs are having a feast.  I collected 90 slugs today from the dahlias, potatoes and squash.  That's added to the 75 or so I've already collected in the previous days.  That is one gross stinky bucket of salt water and slugs.

Sorry, I don't have any pretty pictures for you.  Not that slug buckets are pretty anyway.

I was glad to make jam this afternoon to warm up the main floor of the house.  This evening I lit the woodstove.  That just seems wrong.

At the end of last week I did another event that I had entered before I went to Ontario, and wished I hadn't when I got back.  It was called the Longest Day Run (for whatever reason, it was held a week earlier than the longest day).  I entered the 10 K run. There were other options.  ( I should have entered the 5K)  Having paid my entry was supposed to be the incentive to keep running.  I wasn't too bad with keeping up the training before heading to Ontario.  I did manage four small workouts while I was there, but didn't manage anything more than a stroll around the block after I got back.  But, I'd paid my money, and I was going.  It was held in Vancouver, on the campus of the University of British Columbia, a good hour plus drive from here.  Larry was my support team.

Looking mighty happy before the race.

The weather was good, sun in and out from the clouds, not hot, and it was held in the evening, so the sun would only be getting lower and the temperature cooler.  I was running on my own, which made it tougher.  The run was limited to 1500 entries, and it was a much fitter looking group this time.  Not too many people that wanted to check a 10 K run off their bucket list had entered this one.  We started just after 7pm.

The start.  Me in the black to the left of the yellow t-shirt.

The first part went okay.  I picked different people along the way to keep pace with, but in the end they always seemed to leave me behind.  The kilometer markers seemed to be a long way part.  Somewhere around the 2K mark I noticed that I was keeping perfect time with another woman who was also running on her own.  Eventually I commented on it to her, and said I was going to stick with her.  She said that was good, because most other people seemed to pass her.  We spoke the odd sentence occasionally, and ran side by side the whole way. It was quite fascinating how our feet hit the ground, perfectly in time, like a drumbeat.  I honestly don't think I would have made it on my own if I hadn't met up with Jane (we introduced ourselves at the end).  When we finally got to the 3K mark, I felt like it should be 5K.  It was tough.  Very tough.  Unbelievably tough.  Brutal.

Runners are much more spread out now.

It was sheer will power that kept me moving.  My body was done.  But we kept slapping our feet in time onto that pavement, and eventually we crossed the finish line.  Jane seemed to have a little more reserve than me at the end, although we both did pick up the pace in the last few hundred metres.   She thanked me for being her pace partner, and I did the same, and we both knew how much harder it would have been if we hadn't run together.  Actually, I could barely speak at the end.

Moments after crossing the finish line.  Looking much happier than I felt.  Just before collapsing on the grass.

 I staggered around for a few minutes to catch my breath, and then sprawled on the grass, totally done in.  Eventually I dragged myself back up and did my stretches.  Not sure if I didn't stretch enough, or I had just pushed my body to the limit, but my legs and hip joints weren't happy for the next couple of days. I finished in 1:03:21.  31 seconds slower than I did the Sun Run.  I was pretty happy with that.
Eventually I recovered enough to think about food.  And there was a ton of free food for us there.  Healthy and not so healthy, take your pick, or take both.  We did, take both that is.
While I was running that race my thought was that I never, ever wanted to do another one.  Will I ?  Oh probably at some point.  Us women seem to have a short memory when it comes to pain.

PS  I went upstairs to watch the 11 o'clock news before I finished this post.  Rain connected to the same system that hit us has caused devastating flooding in Alberta.  OMG.  How dare I complain about a cold and rainy day.  Our house is still here, warm and dry.  Our roads are fine.  Nothing is underwater.  In Alberta and south eastern B.C., may the water drop fast, and no lives be lost.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Where to Start?

I've been back from Ontario a week now.  I've wanted to blog but just didn't know where to start.
How much (or not) to say about my time away.  Just know that my sister and her four kids will be okay, it will just take time to learn and accept what the new normal is.  My brother-in-law was a well loved man, heavily involved in his community, and will be greatly missed by many many people.  The turnout for the wake and funeral was huge.  The food delivered to my sister's house was unbelievable.  Another father and husband leaving his family too soon.  My sister was 26 when our dad died.  Her eldest child has now lost his dad at the same age.  The reason for all this sadness...ruptured aortic disection.

Two  Farmer's market weekends came and went while I was gone.  Larry and Meredith went to the markets.  They were very successful weekends. Unfortunately I couldn't convince either of them to make jam in my absence:),  so after the second weekend, there wasn't a whole lot left.  I had three days when I got back, to play catch-up. Nineteen batches of jam made (about 250 cups).  

The BC/Yukon Dog Agility Regionals were held last weekend.  Larry and Meredith did the markets again.  I had been undecided for the longest time as whether to enter.  Finally I decided that I did want to be part of the party.  I entered Jake an hour or two before the entries closed.  Figured one dog would help to keep it more relaxed, and since Jake was the oldest, made sense to take him.  Of course at that point I didn't know how things were going to change so suddenly.  When I got back from Ontario, I was really wishing that I hadn't entered, as I just wasn't 'into' going when I got back.  But since I'd paid my money, and it wasn't cheap, I was determined to go.  I purposely hadn't entered any of the warm up games held on Friday, so was able to just show up Saturday morning and start walking the courses.  I had asked Donna if I could share her shade tent, so didn't have that to set up either. Was sure glad it worked out that way, as it was fun to have the companionship and another dog for Jake to hang out with.

I wasn't expecting much from the weekend, as the last trial I had taken Jake in, back in February, was a bit of a disaster.  We weren't working as a team, and there wasn't a clean run to be had.  We continued on with our fairly regular Monday night club practices, the last one being the 13th of May.  The next Monday was a holiday, and the two Mondays after that, I was in Ontario.  So I was prepared for things to go very, very wrong.  Instead, they went very, very right.  All three of Saturday's runs were clean, and of decent speed, so lots of bonus points collected.  At Regionals the scoring is done differently, and a clean run will give you bonus points if you did the course in less time than was allowed.  There was only one weird thing on Saturday.  It was in the Gamblers class.  In this class, you make up your own course, collecting points from different obstacles.  Some obstacles are worth more than others, and you can only do an obstacle twice for points.  At the 40 second mark, a buzzer goes, you run to a part of the course that has a line on the ground.  You have to stay behind that line and send your dog over or through 4 or 5 obstacles in a given order, before the next buzzer goes.  This is called the Gamble.  If the dog does it successfully, it is worth 35 points.  I thought the Gamble in this class was relatively easy.  The dog went into a tunnel that made a 90 degree turn to the left.  They then had to go out to a jump that would have been the obstacle the farthest distance from the handler.  No problem for Jake, except he couldn't seem to see the jump.  He was looking for it, bouncing around out there, head up, searching.  Finally he got it figured out, went over the jump, and laid down.  What the...?   Seem to take forever to get him moving again, and up and over the A-frame and out the other way to the last jump, but he actually did it with time to spare.

The event was held at Thunderbird Show Park, a world class horse facility only ten minutes from home. The footing was some kind of sand, with felt pieces added to it.  It packed nicely and was great, although quite bright to look at when the sun came out.

When I got there on Sunday morning, my friend Donna said she had been to look at the scores, (she and Breeze were in the same division as Jake and I) and did I want to know how we stood.  I said sure, and she told me Jake was in second place in his division.  (The divisions are based on a dog's height and age).  OMG.  Of course, I did know that he had done decently on Saturday, but wasn't quite expecting to be in second place.  So then I felt a bit of pressure to try maintain that placing.  Three more clean runs on Sunday.  I was really nervous before the last run, but we pulled it off just fine.  And when the results were added up....
~Drum roll~

It was a very tight race though.  Jake ended up with 607.70 points.  There were only 2.20 points separating first and third place.  Wow.

Up to this point Jake didn't know Larry was even on the grounds.  Larry had come by after the market and had been standing behind the podium area. When Jake and I went up there,  he caught wind of Larry, and kept looking in that direction.


Donna coming over to share a hug.  She was thrilled to finish in 4th place with Breeze.  She didn't think she had a chance of finishing in the top 6, because she had a not so great first run.  The rest after that were clean.  Unfortunately she didn't have Breeze with her at the award ceremony.


Love you, little red dog!