Saturday, June 27, 2009

Backyard Candids








Thursday, June 25, 2009

Oh Deer

I've discovered a group of deer that are frequenting the land just behind ours every evening. I go to the bottom of our property and watch them over our fence. The first night they were making a sound I'd never heard from deer before, like a long snort-whistle. This is apparently an alarm sound for them, warning each other about me, I guess. I really wanted to capture that weird vocalization but was unable to figure out how to turn on the sound of the video part of my camera without flapping around too much. I figured that out once I was out of the situation, but they haven't made the noise since (of course!). Unfortunately when I'm facing them I'm facing due West, which, when the sun is going down, is not ideal for pictures or video. But that's the time of day they're there. I'll have to look for them in the early morning too, which should be better light for pictures.

In the meantime I did get some decent shots and a couple of short videos. All of this was shot while I was standing on my own property, trying to be as still as possible while the black flies and mosquitos feasted on me!

This young buck was fascinated by me and kept slowly coming towards me, stopping and having a good long look every couple of metres! Just after I took this picture I heard the first of the whistle-snort alarm noises, and he turned around and ran back to his buddy.

The very young buck back with his older and wiser buddy.

Yum! Tree!

"The boys".

The prettiest little doe.

Who's the man? King of the hill.

The two young bucks. (Please excuse the shakes on the videos. Not easy to do through the view finder and more practice needed!).

The beautiful little doe.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bye Bye Birds

Our four robins finally fledged on Saturday. Like some adult "kids", we were starting to wonder if they were ever going to leave home, they were so jammed into the nest it was comical. When they shifted around they'd end up on each other's heads sometimes. On Saturday Terry went into the carport and the four youngsters were out of the nest and all lined up along the top of the ladder, kind of standing on their tiptoes looking down. He said they looked like kids on a diving board! One.....two....... By the time he went into the house and got the camera, they had taken the plunge and were gone. No bodies around so all of them must have managed to get into the great wide open. I haven't seen them but I haven't been around much to watch for them either, I'm sure they're fine. Success at last!

Pass the shoe horn. This was taken the day before they fledged. Not very comfortable!

The Chipping Sparrows fledged just a couple of days after I wrote about them. You could tell from the picture that they were almost ready to go, their wing feathers were all in, etc. I could hear all the racket during the flight training stage. Constant coaching!

Once the nest was empty, I could really see how much Sheltie hair was in it, at least half the nest was woven dog hair, all of the inside.

Sheltie hair, at least half an inch thick lines the entire nest. Extremely soft and clean inside! The mother bird must have thought she'd hit pay dirt here. I'd read these birds will even pick hairs off of a sleeping dog....hmmm...that I'd like to see!

All went well with the avians, but the kittens were another matter. I was so optimistic because they looked better than the other one I had tried to save. However, the first one died just six hours after I got them and so it went, one by one, until all five were gone 36 hours later. Just fighting a losing battle. Not a pleasant couple of days! But, I did my best and that's all that could be done. Maybe next time.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Daily Tiffany - Part III

The final one:

Photo by Peter Culumovic

We love all three portraits of our beautiful girl!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Daily Tiffany - Part II

Photo by Peter Culumovic

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Daily Tiffany - Part I

At the last show we attended, the DC&SSA Specialty at the end of May, we were lucky enough to get a photo shoot with our 10 1/2 year old Tiffany done by one of her breeders, Peter Culumovic. Most people in the breed are familiar with Pete's beautiful photography, more of which can be seen here. We are thrilled with the results and there were three shots we couldn't resist. Because they are too special to put up here all at once, I will be posting one a day. Here is the first:

BIS/BISS Am./Can. Ch. Laureate Fifth Avenue. Photo by Peter Culumovic.

Out of My Mind

Today I got another phone call from the vet's office, they had a mother cat brought in from the animal shelter with 5 kittens, the mother was in very bad shape and the kittens hadn't had a decent meal in a few days at least. All were pretty chilled when they arrived. Would I consider taking them?

So I did. By the time I arrived at the vet's, the mother had died. Who knows of what. Once I got them home, I identified them, weighed them and tried to feed them. They had told me they had fed them a meal and they were pretty good on the bottle except one. I found they really aren't clued into the bottle at all and I'm probably going to have to try to tube feed most of them. Their weights vary between 100 and 120 grams but they are supposedly at least 10 days old. I already have one who is weak, limp and feels slightly chilled.

What is it with cats and the gross irresponsibility that exists out there? Apparently there are EIGHT other litters with their mothers at this one shelter. You just don't see that with dogs. You have to wonder if it is these kinds of numbers that drive things as far as the animal radical types are concerned.

I hope I can have at least a little success here. I'm coming to realize that when you are starting with babies who've likely had a very poor start from conception, it's very discouraging. When you get them with many strikes already against them, it's difficult to pull them through. I hope I don't have to watch them all die. But what can you do? You can't just put them to sleep, you have to try. One advantage here, we have don't have a cat and have no plans for one! (there, it's in writing) so no worries about bringing things home to the residents. Puppies from such a sketchy background would be more of a worry.

The gang. They are longhairs!

Most are black and white like this one.

Not supposed to do this favourite!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Neat Little Package

I received this lovely "first points" picture from Michelle Rogowski of Cassbar Shelties. This little girl is one of the litter of 8 bred by Cynthia Charbonneau of Cynchar Shelties, who I posted about here and here. Sired by our Willow Cove's Prize Patrol - "Mason".

She is Cynchar Rock The Cassbar, "Alexis", co-owned by Cynthia and Michelle and shown by Michelle. She is just 6 months old in this picture. Her litter sister, Cynchar Baccara, also earned 5 pts. at just 7 months of age, just two weeks later. There is at least one and maybe two more from this litter yet to be shown.

I was really drawn to the outline of this puppy and the lovely frame she has to grow on. Much good luck in the future!

Cynchar Rock The Cassbar - "Alexis" - by Willow Cove's Prize Patrol ex Ch. Cynchar's Blackeyed Pea. First points at 6 months of age.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Robins - The Last Close Look

All weekend we could see the beaks/heads of the little ones poking out of the nest, even with no parent around. It's getting crowded in there now. The parents are working overtime feeding them and I'm sure they're fed up with that idiot with the camera!

Today I climbed up for a close up picture, three days since the last one. They've really changed! I can't fit them all in the picture as they barely fit in the nest and are over the edge of it most of the time. In these shots the camera is as far away from them as I can get it. Although it doesn't show in these pictures, they are aware of me now and at first moved around quite a bit, mouths open, then looked me in the eye, "Mom?". In these two pictures they are hunkering down as they realized "Oops, not Mom". I don't dare go up there again as I don't want to disturb them further and I would feel so bad if one decided to jump ship or something.

When I looked at this picture, I thought, how come there is an older bird in there? (The one with the eye open compared to the one beside him). And then I looked at the next picture:

Clockwise, starting with the one on the left with all the feathers, the more elongated beak with a slight hook, eye now closed, going next to the one at 12:00 position, who is cut off in the picture and so on, don't they all look differently developed and in that order, with the 6:00 position one looking the youngest? I found that really surprising!

And for a reminder of how they looked exactly three days ago:

I didn't notice the developmental differences when I took this photo. But now, in retrospect, maybe the one at the top, with the beak cut off in the photo, looks more developed. (And possibly the one with it's head furthest right ).

I suppose the next step will be flight training! I'm curious to see if they leave the nest at the same time, given their development, or if they leave a few days apart. If they don't leave at the same time, it must be quite the running around for the parents to look after both the "innies" and the "outies"!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Whole 'Nuther Bird

When I look outside the window of my office, I see the row of emerald cedars right beside the dog run. I had noticed a very small bird going in and out of one of the cedars all week. I knew that could only mean a nest was in there. So today I decided to investigate a little further. Looking from outside the tree, it took me a long time to spot the nest (which is actually just below my eye level). The cedar is very dense and the nest is very small and well hidden. While I was doing that, an adult came along and was hopping from branch to branch in a very large tree near the one with the nest. I finally got this picture, and I'm so pleased with it. Note the meal of tiny grubs in it's beak for the babies. I wasn't sure what the bird was, so I e-mailed the picture to my bird identification guy, and it's a Chipping Sparrow. (Thanks, Dad!).

Chipping Sparrow. They are smaller than a regular house sparrow but bigger than a chickadee. Adults are 5 - 5 1/2 inches long.

The babies in the nest. I pulled back just the right branch by the tip to get this. I was stunned to see the tinest birds I'd ever seen! Their heads are half the size of the first (tip) joint of my pinky finger. The nest is lined with Sheltie hair! All that wispy white stuff is dog hair. Apparently they are referred to as "hair birds" as they always line their nests with animal hair (or even human hair!). The black is threads of landscaping cloth from the dog run. The colour of the babies really blends in.

Something to show just how tiny the nest and birds are. You can just make out one beak in this photo, they are well camoflaged. I was very, very careful not to be too intrusive.

The little cedar that the nest is in. Very close to the dogs. Protection?

Friday, June 12, 2009

What a Difference a (Few) Days Make

Here are the robins today, at 5-6 days old. As usual, click on the picture for a close up view. One guy's beak is cut off in the photo (I can't see what I'm shooting until after the fact) but I like the view of the eye opening on the one that is in profile. I didn't quite get how those bulbous looking eyes worked until I saw that. The wing feathers are really coming in.

I have included below the picture from just 3 days ago, and below that, the newly hatched (from the previous batch) picture, for easy comparison.

They sure grow quickly and both parents are hard at work feeding them.

Three days ago. At about 2-3 days old.

Just hatched.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A *VERY* Special Day

Today a beautiful Sheltie girl bred by me turns 18 years old! I'm thrilled to wish a very happy birthday to Am./Can. Ch. Calabar Design Classic, CGC ! "Kayla" is shown here at 18 years of age with her owner, Jane Davies of Fairisle Shelties. We couldn't be more proud!

Am./Can. Ch. Calabar Design Classic, CGC at 18 years of age. Sired by BISS Am./Can. Ch. Bare Cove Keep On Tri-N U.D., Can. C.D.X. - "Keeper" out of my heart dog, BIS/BISS Am./Can. Ch. Whitegates Only Make Believe - "Dream". I see Dream in Kayla. What a grand old girl. Doesn't she look absolutely great?!!

When the litter of 7 arrived on June 10, 1991, we were more than a little surprised that all were tri colours! 4 girls and 3 boys. We had told Jane (who has owned 5 Whitegates or Calabar Sheltie girls) that she could have the pick of the litter. She ended up taking home two of the girls, "Kayla", the birthday girl, with her nose on my shoe in the front row, and "Jessica" the first one on the left in the back row.

All of the boys and one girl were sold to pet homes and another girl was sold to a novice person as a possible foundation for her. She earned 7 or 8 points towards her championship as a puppy before her owner lost interest and dropped out. I didn't know at the time that we would never have this kind of choice with black girls in a litter again.

Kayla as a baby on her way home with Jane.

Jane showing the littermates at the DC&SSA Specialty and winning Best Brace. They were just a year old in this picture. Kayla is in the foreground and Jessica (Calabar Custom Maid, CGC) is in the background. Jessica died of cancer at only 8 1/2 years of age. Calabar was my kennel name before I got married, I used it from 1984 to 1991. Not long afterwards, we decided with just the few dogs we had we didn't need to continue using two kennel names!

Kayla winning Best of Breed on the Vermont circuit at age 5 years on the way to her American Championship. She was shown by the owner of her sire, Bob Olsen, Bare Cove Shelties. We have always been grateful to Jane for going the distance and finishing Kayla in the U.S. Not easy with the black girls, especially in those days of very large entries.

Kayla winning Veteran's Sweepstakes at the Western Mass. Specialty at age 8! Just a baby! Presented beautifully by Bob Olsen.

Kayla's dam, BIS/BISS Am./Can. Ch. Whitegates Only Make Believe and me in 1988. My very special girl. Dream lived to over 16 years of age. I still miss her. 38 years of owning Shelties, and she had the very best temperament of all. She was my first big winner, so much fun to show, so sound, so much personality, and I loved her dearly.

Kayla's sire, BISS Am./Can. Ch. Bare Cove Keep On Tri-N, U.D., Can. C.D.X. - "Keeper", a "Whirlwind" son. We bred to three different tri colour Whirlwind sons over the years, and it worked out well for us.

The five unbroken generations directly behind our 18 year old birthday girl ! This picture was taken by my sister Sandra, this was pre-computer and pre-digital, we had to get all the girls physically together in one place in decent enough coat at the same time, to get this photo. This five generations of girls are behind all of the older dogs mentioned and pictured in this blog, i.e. the lead picture of the blog (Ch. Whitegates Danielle Steel) is a "Dream" great-granddaughter.

In the center, the tri-factored sable is the foundation of Whitegates Shelties, Ch. Whitegates Hey Look Me Over - "Mahogany". She was sired by Am. Ch. Calcurt Luke, ROM. There is a sable line that descends from her as well. Jane owned Mahogany's tri colour litter sister, Ch. Whitegates Tinker Belle. Both of these littermates lived to be close to 17 years old.

The tri colour (2nd from left) is Mahogany's daughter BISS Ch. Whitegates Lo And Behold, ROMC (sired by BIS/BISS Am. Ch. Chenterra Thunderation ROM/ROMC). "Sally" was the dam of 7 Champions, including Jane's sable girl BISS Ch. Whitegates Tequila Sunrise, who, when bred to Am./Can. Ch. Alfenloch Rio Lane Glacier, produced the great producing sable merle bitch, Arhope Nationview Bombshell, ROMC, who is behind many Specialty and BIS winners, including being the grandam of BISS Am./Can. Ch. Laureate Santana, ROMC.

On the far left is Sally's blue daughter Ch. Whitegates Fly Me To The Moon, C.D. (sired by Am./Can. Ch. Shadow Hill's Blue Dynamic, ROMC). "Kitty" was my first Sheltie bitch, who I purchased as an adult.

On the far right is Kitty's double merle daughter Whitegates Vanilla Ice Cream (sired by Ch. Ridgeside Star Wars, ROMC), "Crystal" was quite a character and a super producer. She had normal sight and hearing and had a leg on her C.D. title. I have always regretted not going for the other two legs to finish her C.D.

Second from the right, is Crystal's daughter BIS/BISS Am./Can. Ch. Whitegates Only Make Believe, my "Dream" dog, who was sired by Am./Can. Ch. Honeybun's Blackjack. Dream, the baby in this picture, is the dam of our 18 year old birthday girl. Jane also owned another tri colour Dream daughter from a later litter, Whitegates All In The Family, who passed away just recently.

Jane has looked after all of her five Whitegates/Calabar girls so well, we can't thank her enough. Beautiful 18 year old Kayla, happy birthday sweetheart!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Robins II - The Sequel

The second batch of robins have now hatched and here is their baby picture! I knew they were "due" around the weekend some time, but as we were away, I don't know when they hatched. The first thing we looked for when we pulled into the driveway on our return was whether or not the bird was on the nest, and were relieved to see that she was. Today was the first opportunity I've had to find out just what was in the nest. All four eggs hatched successfully and these guys are further along than the last batch got, you can see the dark stripe pigmentation on their pinkness, plus more, dry feathers and they're well plumped out.

Every time I hear a crow I cringe and we can just hope these guys stay under the radar.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Vegas Vacation

We're just back from a short but busy Las Vegas trip. We're not big gamblers but have fun playing a little. We didn't do all that well this time, but since we don't spend a lot, we don't lose a lot either. Since we won the trip itself in a draw, we had already done our winning! This was the third visit for me and the fourth for Terry, and this time we decided to do some things we hadn't done before. I really wanted to see the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon. After looking at our options, we decided to do it by helicopter! What a fabulous experience and a super way to see everything. I'd never been in a helicopter before (none of the 7 passengers on our trip had) but I'd been in very small planes and was okay with those so I figured I'd be alright. I really loved the helicopter!! I've never had an interest in flying a plane, but I would try learning to fly a helicopter. I love their manoeuvrability. You can get so close to everything. They take you right into the Canyon and land inside it. They can land almost anywhere and just need enough room for the blades.

The front of the Hoover Dam from the helicopter. The size is almost unimaginable. Those specks are cars!

Just behind the Hoover Dam. You can just see the rim of the dam in the lower part of the picture. The rock shows the "bathtub ring" from the water levels.

The Mojave Desert. It goes on as far as you can see in any direction.

Inside the Grand Canyon. As the pilot approaches it, you get a sense of it and then he suddenly crests it and dips right down into it. Breathtaking!

Our Helicopter on a ledge inside the Grand Canyon.

Beautiful. The helicopter above is behind me.

The Colorado River runs through the Canyon. It's very desolate and completely silent.

Terry and I in the front of the helicopter. Everyone got an opportunity to sit in every position (rear left, rear right and front) as it took off/landed three times on the trip. The headphones are necessary as it's very loud without them. We can talk to each other and the pilot plays some great tunes to fly by as well!

In the front seats the glass is almost all around you, even on the floor, you can see the road and the desert under my foot!

The controls of the helicopter. (Foot controls also). Doesn't look too hard, eh?!

The Mojave Desert. Like another planet.

Lake Mead, man-made lake in the desert.

Stopping to refuel in the middle of the desert.

Joshua trees in the desert.

Flying by the Mandalay Bay hotel. On the way back, we fly down the Las Vegas strip! Two items crossed off my bucket list: the Grand Canyon and the helicopter flight!

We spent most of another day exploring some of the big hotels we hadn't seen on previous trips.

Entrance to the Luxor hotel.

Inside the Wynn.

Outside the Venetian.

Our hotel, the Mirage. Our second time here, we love this hotel. We watched the Belmont Stakes on Saturday in the Mirage casino sports betting area (does it have a special name?!) on the giant screen with the crowd cheering on their favourites. Good thing we didn't bet on the race, we wouldn't have won!

Part of the Mirage pool area. We really like the Mirage pool, easy to find nice shady spots.

Another love is Cirque du Soleil. We saw "O" at Bellagio this time, as well as Love for the second time!! We both LOVE Love and I can't imagine going to Vegas and not going to see Love each time! I'm a huge Beatles fan but even so, it's just a great show! We've now seen Mystere, Ka, O and Love. Cirque du Soleil originated in our native Quebec and we love its French Canadian flavour.

A Las Vegas "must see".

Walkway to the Love Theatre.

I couldn't resist sharing just this teeny tiny taste of Love! I can hardly wait to three-peat!