Monday, August 30, 2010

Spit N Polish

This year I put out a couple of hummingbird feeders and we do get some little hummers coming regularly. Really fun to watch, I guess I've always liked things "in miniature".

They especially visit the feeder that is near a tree outside of our bedroom window, and I have become good at picking them out in the tree if I really look carefully (like the guy above). They "sit" more than I thought they did. I think they like the idea of having cover close to the feeder.

I managed to get some video of this male preening, and was so surprised to see how much he used his tongue! The first part of the video where he is grooming his left wing, the tongue is obscured by the branch, but when he switches to his right side (your left) you can really see the full length of his tongue and how he is using it in grooming! At the end I pan away so you can see where he was from my vantage point and how tiny he is in the tree.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Something Blue

Blue Jay

Bald Jay

Monday, August 23, 2010

Okay, I'll Bite! 7 Things

One of the Sheltie blogs I read, Obay Shelties, mentioned that she was asked by a fellow blogger, along with others, to write 7 things you may not know about her and 7 things you might not know about her dogs. While I agree with her in that I don't usually like these things either (called meme's I believe), hers was fun and interesting to read and she asked for other bloggers to join in if they like. So I'm jumping in with both feet! If you have a dog blog, I'd love to read about your 7 + 7 things too! So join us!

Seven Things You May Not Know About Me:

1. I'm left handed. That means no-one was ever able to teach me anything that had to do with handed-ness. Like most sports or knitting or things like that. They'd twist and turn, stand behind me then in front of me, then look in the mirror, hold up one hand then the other, and then give up. Like all lefties I learned to get by in a righty world and am pretty much ambidextrous except for writing. I think it's a big advantage in the dog world to be a lefty.....where all work with the dog is done on the left! Piece of cake...!!

2. I cannot do rides. Roller coasters, amusement parks, there is not enough money in the world to make me get on any rides, let alone pay for the privilege!

3. I'm a perfectionist of sorts to my benefit and my detriment.

4. The first dog I was ever paid to show was a Great Dane. She is in the photo above. The date of that picture was May 19, 1975 and I was 17 years old. Many will remember that judge and yes, that's about as happy as she ever looked! I was quite involved with the local Dane club and finished several of them. A really nice breed and the Dane people were very good to me.

5. I took ballet lessons! (Ack!) When I was too young to "just say no".

6. To my knowledge, I was the youngest Obedience Trial judge ever approved by CKC at age 25 years old. I judged extensively in Canada and once in Bermuda. I didn't accept assignments in the U.S. as I had plenty enough on my plate without having to keep track of the differing rules, but did agree to judge the World Series in Detroit once.

7. So far, all of my very best friends in life have either been Cancers or other Leos like me.

Seven Things You May Not Know About My Dogs:

1. Netta is a very good judge of people. It turns out she's always right, too.

2. Holly hates thunderstorms. Even heavy rain "pinging" in the fireplace can get her going, because it MIGHT mean thunder and lightening to follow. The only thing to do is to put her in a crate, or you will be wearing her on your head like a blue merle hat!

3. Our beautiful Tiffany farts like a bean-eating contest winner and can clear any room! We have stopped the van with our eyes watering to check who has had an accident, to find everyone clean, it's only Tiffany doing what she does! It doesn't matter what she eats and her daughter is exactly the same. Once we were waiting with several dogs in a very small vet exam room for eye checks and Tiffany started with the silent-but-deadly bombs. Should we say something to the vet when she walked in? We decided we'd better, good thing too, the vet said she was "wondering about the smell!". Although maybe she just thought we were blaming the dog....

4. Mason drinks by dunking half of his muzzle into the bowl. Coming up for air, going back down again. By the time he's done his front is pretty much soaked! We refer to it as "Mason's drinking problem".

5. All of our dogs have had and do have "nicknames" along with their regular names. Some have many nicknames! They know them too. Some current ones: Betchty, Woo, Baby Baby, Ma, Billy and Freaky. Hmmm...maybe this point says more about me than about them!

6. Holly is completely uncoordinated. She's the only dog I ever owned that regularly got grass stains on her head. That's what happens when you run too fast and don't know where your feet are! Agility dog?

7. Sugar loves men. All men.

Everything you always didn't want to know and didn't even have to ask!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Visitor From The Past

When we made the decision to stop breeding Shelties, we had several young dogs that we decided we should place. Among them was a lovely non-white factored Best Puppy in Specialty/Champion tri bitch, same sire as our Sugar, that we had bought as a puppy from another breeder. "Mira" finished quickly while still a puppy and also had several Best of Breed wins when moved up.

A friend had found a really good spot for a sable bitch of hers through the Everything Sheltie site, so we thought we'd give that a go. We decided to start with the tri girl "Mira", BPISS Ch. Aberdale's Spitting Image, and see how that went. Mira had just turned two years old and all her testing was done, including hips, if we had kept her, the next step would have been to breed her. To say I was very turned off and disappointed by the kind of response I got from the ad would be an understatement! I don't know if this still happens but I was hounded by brokers from overseas, who, when questioned, sent some very sad pictures but no definite indication of where my dog would *really* end up. So we pulled Mira's ad down and decided to sell all of the dogs as pets! They all ended up in great homes and we have no regrets.

"Mira" left here at two years old. She has been here this week for a short visit while her family is on holidays. At almost 7 years old it was wonderful to see how beautifully she has matured! Still a lovely girl, so outgoing and thrilled with life. We just had to get a few pictures before she goes back to her life as a treasured pet!

BPISS Ch. Aberdale's Spitting Image at almost 7 years of age.

BPISS Ch. Aberdale's Spitting Image. Her owners have looked after her well!

Both Sugar and Mira have Jambalaya on both sides of their pedigree, but through different dogs on the dam's sides. Adding this mix was working out well for us for some traits we were looking to improve upon. It would have been interesting to see what was down the road. I kind of shake my head when I look at Mira, but, she's as happy as can be, and that's all that really matters!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Another Family Portrait

My mother-in-law Joan at 91 years of age with her youngest of four sons, Terry, on August 17th, 2010.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Umm Umm Good!

I'm not one of those people with very strong feelings about dog food. I think that all of the better quality kibble foods are really about the same. I've used several different brands over the years. I use Nutro Natural Choice now, and have for some time, but I'm not married to it nor do I think it's the "best one". I do think it's as good as any of the other good ones, and my dogs have done fine on it. I have thought about what's "really" in a lot of these foods and can't help but think that a well thought out, fresh, homemade diet has to be the best of all.

I once looked after a Sheltie of our breeding who came with his homemade "muffins" and I've never forgotten how good they smelled, nor how my own dogs tried to tear his bag of muffins right out of my hands! I've been thinking about this food and lately talked to someone else who cooks it up for her dogs, so I jumped in to give it a try. I've made several batches now and can say I really like it so far!

The base mix is made by Essex Cottage Farms. Developed by a breeder, it comes in a bag that for it's size is surprisingly heavy. The mix contains: Stone Ground: whole brown rice, whole oats, whole sprouted barley, organic kamut, whole ground apple, rice germ, ground almonds and/or pecans, pure organic Acadian sea kelp, calcium carbonate, whole ground carob, cranberries, ginger root, parsley, basil, marjoram. It smells really good, and really fresh.

To five cups of that you add: 1 1/2 tbsp. pure Alfalfa (theirs); 1 cup pureed Pumpkin, Sweet Potato or Squash; 1 cup pureed raw Broccoli, Green Beans, Swiss Chard or Spinach; 2 pureed red apples (skin on) - I use pure unsweetened apple sauce; 1/4 cup Sunflower or Safflower Oil; 2 raw eggs; 1 1/2 - 2 cups water; 4 cups (2 lbs.) medium ground raw Beef, Chicken, Turkey, Pork or Lamb; one can of salmon.

Sounds good, eh? It sure smells good cooking too, causes my guys to pace around the kitchen! Now, I'm not feeding this alone (and you're "supposed" to, of course), because kibble is still convenient, especially when the dog sitter is here or when on the road. However, I'm feeding half and half (or a little less than 1/2 kibble) most of time. It is at the very least no more expensive than kibble and might even be cheaper. Best of all, I know EXACTLY what's in it! Perhaps I might go to only this food down the road.

An adult Sheltie eating only this food would eat approximately one and one half "muffins" per day.

All the ingredients for one batch (the mix in the brown bag is good for about 5 batches and the Alfalfa in the gold pouch is good for quite a few batches, not all the oil, pumpkin or applesauce would be used in one batch either).

The mixed ingredients for one batch. It can also be fed raw (but not as convenient to feed and store). I like to cook two batches at a time.

The cooked "muffins". Cooked to the consistency of "cakey meatloaf". Keep out as much as you need for three days and freeze the rest, in bags with three days worth each, and just take them out to thaw in the fridge when needed.

I thought I'd share this as I'm sure I'm not the only one that has felt I could do better for my dogs in the feeding department, and I have found this way to be easy, convenient and really good.

A tip: Make sure everyone in the house knows this is actually dog food!

Friday, August 13, 2010

A Getaway from the Everyday

When you retire, you can't just wake up in your own bed the very first workday that you are off! I'm sure that's against some law. So we planned a 24 hour getaway for Terry and I and my sister and brother-in-law, to celebrate Terry's retirement and make sure that first Monday morning as a retiree was unique! We decided on Niagara Falls for an overnight, golf on Sunday at Whirlpool Golf Course in Niagara for the guys, a little cross border shopping for us. Then, to a nice hotel, dinner and casino, wake up in a nice hotel, have a leisurely first "would have been a workday" a.m.

We took two cars and met at the golf course. Enny, meeny, miney, mo...the girls would take Terry's car and the guys would keep Paul's car. Sandra and I would check into the hotel after shopping, they'd meet us at the hotel when they were done golfing.

Bye guys, have a great day!! Their last words to us: "Try to get an upgrade".

We head for the Rainbow Bridge to cross to the U.S., the lineup is longer than we expected, should we bother to go? Eeny, meeny..okay let's go. The outlet mall we were headed for was just 10 minutes across the border, BUT, somehow we took a wrong turn. So we decided to stop and ask for directions. Kind of in the middle of nowhere, we saw a little restaurant and pulled off there to get directions.

Sandra goes in, I decide to turn off the engine. When I see her coming back out, I start the car. Or try to! Click...nothing. Come on! Seriously?! Wherever we are, we aren't going anywhere. The next words out of my mouth "Do you have CAA?"... She does! All these years of driving all over everywhere by myself and I have never joined CAA. We would have been completely out of luck without it this time!

Before we make the call to CAA, a super nice guy tries to boost the car, but it doesn't work. This battery is beyond dead. What if the situation's worse, like the alternator? It's Sunday afternoon, the guys have no passports so can't come over to get us, can you tow a car across the border? Can you take a taxi across the border? We did see people walking across the Rainbow Bridge and have visions of us pulling our bags behind us, walking back to the Canadian side over the bridge. But, one step at a time, we call CAA.

The dead car outside of the little restaurant. After waiting about an hour and a half for AAA, we stepped outside, not realizing the restaurant people locked the door behind us, closed the blinds and left out the back door. Nice!

Middle of Nowhere, NY.

The only crossborder shopping we got anywhere close to...the yard sale next door to the restaurant!

Our hero Jim from AAA, who kept us in suspense for a while (battery = going home, alternator = tow and ?).

The white steed Jim rode in on. Soooo happy to see him.

It was the battery, it was replaced on the spot, paid for and we were on our way! All we wanted to do was get back into our own country a.s.a.p.!

On the bridge towards Niagara Falls, Ontario. As grateful as I was to be going back, I sure didn't want to have insult added to injury by having to pay duty on a new battery that was no bargain to begin with! Luckily that didn't happen.

"Purpose of your trip ladies?"

"We crossed, drove for 10 minutes, the car broke down, we got it fixed, turned around and came back."

"What was wrong with it?"

"The battery (here it comes...) ... "

"Go ahead."

And we were back on Canadian soil. Yay!

Luck changed when we both scored identical suites at the Hilton that were FAR more than we had paid for or could have expected! Yes guys, we managed a BIT of an upgrade. We were so pleased to be able to surprise them with these rooms!

I opened the door to this sitting room, complete with large couch, dining table and big screen TV. Followed by a gorgeous bathroom with a huge jetted tub, a complete wet bar, a fireplace, a king bed and another seating area and second big screen TV.

View from the second sitting area, the glass is where the big tub is, there is a blind that comes down between the glass. The fireplace is in front of the bed and the bar is outside the bathroom on the left.

Sandra had gone to her room which was the same, she calls me, OMG!! Isn't this great! Did you open the curtains yet and see the view? No, not yet, wait a sec and I'll look..!

She heard me yell when I saw this view out our window, what a super view of the falls!!!

View from the tub through the room to the Falls. You could see the Falls from inside the tub, and I did just that! Terry "Upgrade" Pavey would be proud of me!

Off to a great dinner also overlooking the Falls, then to the casino where everybody came out ahead except me!

American Falls at night.

After a leisurely Monday morning in the suite we headed home via Niagara-On-The-Lake. I was charged with putting the quarters into the parking meter (which I did) and apparently was supposed to print out a slip to put on the dash (which I didn't) so we ended up with a parking ticket. I just was having no luck at all with putting money into machines!!

No matter, our new retiree golfed an 89, got his car fixed, had a great meal, won at the casino and woke up on his first day "retired" to a Starbucks and the Globe & Mail, overlooking Niagara Falls. A good start.

Prince of Wales Hotel, Niagara-On-The-Lake

(Almost) one week in, we've been incredibly busy. Retired people, eh?

Friday, August 6, 2010

A New Chapter

A new chapter in both of our lives, Terry retired from FedEx today, after 13 great years there. Unknown to Terry, I was invited down to the offices for his retirement party. Driving down there, I thought about Terry's working career, starting in banking, pre-computers. As soon as computers were even a hint on the scene, Terry was in there with both feet like he is with any new technology. He loves everything technology and rapid changes and improvements are exciting to him. Thus started a career in Information Technology, first in the insurance industry, then in cutting edge call center technology, then with FedEx. Last but definitely not least, FedEx was a company Terry really enjoyed. Great people, great opportunities. Terry was the Managing Director of Information Technology for FedEx Canada.

Part of FedEx Canada's head office building in Mississauga, near the airport.

When I arrived at the offices, before the presentations started, the first thing that was done was that I was introduced and presented with a huge bouquet of flowers. Class!

My "wife of the retiree" flowers.

Many presentations and speeches were made, stressing Terry's contributions to FedEx and his leadership qualities. All things I know, but very nice to hear!

President of FedEx Canada speaking, Terry with the screen in the background of Terry and mostly FedEx IT people.

Some of the people at the event listening, there is another screen with many still pictures in a slideshow at the far end.

Listening to the presentation.

Terry with the two Admins he had at FedEx, Abi and Pam (nearest to Terry). They were both of huge help to him!

Framed print of St. Andrew's Golf Course in Scotland. "Birthplace of Golf". go with the round of golf at St. Andrew's golf course in Scotland that Terry is opening here!! Guess where we're going.....!!!!

Great cake with a golf cart down to the tiniest detail of the clubs in the golf bags!

We are both grateful to FedEx for the opportunities, plus the world wide travel that Terry got to do, some of which I was able to do also. Our trip to Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand was a highlight of my life. We have both been bitten by the travel bug. It's one huge world to explore out there!

Terry also lived and worked in Colorado Springs for six months with FedEx, while I stayed here. It was a great experience and I took several opportunities to visit of course! I had been there a few times before, but this six month stint cemented Colorado as my favourite of all U.S. States, we've been to many of them, and Terry agrees with me! I would live there.

Terry in his office in Colorado Springs, the Rocky Mountains in the background as they always are. Beautiful.

Terry has said many times "I work for a great company". I know he loved his time at FedEx, and I think of him whenever I see this clip:

There are many great things to come, including golf at St. Andrew's!! Settle in and enjoy the next chapter in your life.

Relax, it's no longer FedEx.

FORE !!!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

CSSA Ontario South Regional Specialty

Sunday saw us heading up to Barrie for the CSSA Regional Specialty, where Terry was to judge Puppy and Veterans Sweeps and I would ring steward for the Specialty judge. We had a great day, the weather really cooperated, the show was very well run and there were some lovely dogs entered.

Terry chose the 9-12 bitch class winner as his Best In Sweeps. This pretty sable girl turned out to be the same girl I had awarded 1st place in the large 6-9 puppy bitch class in Sweeps at the CSSA National Specialty in April. I was so pleased to see she is just getting better as she matures.

Best in Puppy Sweeps - Crinan's Diva - Am./Can. Ch. Talisker's Bengal ex Ch. Highledge Dream A Little Dream.

Best In Veteran Sweeps - BISS Am./Can. Ch. Lynphil's Porscha ROMC - Ch. Bonnyville's Intrepid ex Ch. Lynphil's Gold At Snowdancer

Veteran Sweeps Winner.

A highlight was the lovely judge's gift for Terry. We have a very talented artist in our club and she was to paint a picture of his "favourite dog" onto a vase. I had to be told about it so I could tell her his favourite and supply the photo. Well, what to do, he could NEVER pick between his two girls! I even tried to pry it out of him - if you had to choose between them, which one?

I could never choose, he said. They are both my special girls. Fifty-fifty, right down the middle.

I went at it a couple of different ways at a couple of different times, and the answer always came out the same. If you know Terry and his two girls, neither of them can do any wrong and neither one comes before the other.

Could she paint them both on the vase by any chance?

Yes she could. (Which meant she had to do two for the other judge of course!! Sorry about that!). Both vases done for each judge were just beautiful.

Tiffany's side (BIS/BISS Am./Can. Ch. Laureate Fifth Avenue)

Sugar's side (Ch. Whitegates Icing On The Cake)


Thanks Maureen!!

Terry and I at the show. Thank you Evelyn Susin of Images by Evelyn for this picture and the Sweeps win photo. See lovely candid photos from the Specialty including all the winners at Evelyn's site here (select Dogs on the top bar, then select CSSA Regional Specialty 2010 on the left side bar).

Monday, August 2, 2010

Milwaukee Sweeps

I was pleased to be asked to judge the Sweepstakes at the Greater Milwaukee Shetland Sheepdog Club's Specialty show on Friday, July 30, 2010. As Terry would be judging Sweepstakes at the CSSA Regional Specialty (Ontario South) on the Sunday (Aug. 1), it made for a weekend of Specialties in two countries, many miles apart. At both Specialties I ring stewarded for the breed judge, which I enjoy and it was fun to note the differences between the two countries.

I had a great time with old friends and new ones in Milwaukee. This club has a small membership but puts on a very nice show! They put on a wonderful spread for all exhibitors right at ringside after the show. Held in conjunction with the largest all breed shows in Wisconsin, the Specialties are all held on the Friday for many breeds. Nice to see big shows with big entries, many rings, lots of dogs. We went back to watch Shelties on the Saturday, a supported major entry, before I had to get to the airport to be home in time for the Sunday Specialty here near Toronto.

As far as my assignment, I had some nice puppies and some decisions to make. I ended up awarding Best in Sweeps to a young (6-9 month) sable male who I feel has the essentials in place to mature into a very handsome boy. There were definitely more bloomy, mature puppies there, but this youngster had the virtue in head detail I wanted, along with a pleasing outline - a nice frame to grow on.

Best In Sweeps - Presidio Intrepid (Willow Cove Presidio Priceless ex Willow Cove's Intrigue)

It's always so nice to get out of your regular area and see some different dogs, meet new people and visit with friends you don't usually get to see except at the National. I had fun !!!