Tuesday, June 30, 2009

My Left Foot

So I spent a lot of time last week creating posts and scheduling them to post over the weekend while I was away. For whatever reason Blogger screwed it up and now I have some backlogged posts ... so back to the beach! I promise I'll get something different in the next few days.
This is from Wednesday of last week when I was testing out my new camera ... the dogs ran like gangbusters all over the place in gleeful expression of dog joy. Evidence of their passage is paw prints in the sand. Next time I'll get a print of my foot next to this one but here is Raimi's paw print. It's not very impressive without perspective but my mom commented that someone walking on the beach before these wash away will think a bear has been wandering up and down here.
Plus when he is in sand he splays them out and they increase in size like so ...

(This was on Lake Superior when we crossed Canada.)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Best In Show

Okay - so it wasn't *Best In Show* ... but it was close.

This weekend was our very first dog show in the Maritimes. It was a pretty fun time and people were very friendly - especially the Ridgeback exhibitors (that makes a nice change). It was 4 shows held in 2 days which made it long and tiring but easier on the pocketbook than 4 shows over 4 days.

I'll start with beautiful and brilliant Leeloo. She got Reserve Winners the very first time she went in the ring, she was a little suspicious about why the judge was touching her bum but she stood fairly still. Unexpectedly we won Best Puppy in Group because ... we were the ONLY hound puppy! So off to Best Puppy in Show and although she was still a little bewildered she handled the stress very well. She was definitely not sure why there was a white fluffy Samoyed following her all the time though!

The second show the judge exclaimed how pretty she was as we did our first go round and then awarded Miss Legs her very first 2 point win. I was so pleased with my little Bubby. Of course, we won BPIG again by default and again we headed into Best Puppy In Show. It had been a long day but Leeloo was such a good girl and the judge, when she was going to present the award, said everyone had very nice puppies "... but can I take the Ridgeback home?" I sort of stood a moment and thought "Wha ...?" And then realized she intended to give Leeloo Best Puppy in Show! The win was made more significant by the fact that this judge, Janet Buchanan, has bred Ridgebacks, Deerhounds and more recently Salukis (under the Auldstane prefix) so she knows her hounds. I honestly don't think any other judge, who was not familiar with hounds, would have given Leeloo a second glance(in fact that is what happened the balance of the weekend).

Not to be completely outshone by the little starlet ... Raimi won breed the first three shows, placed third in group at the third show but lost breed to a very nice specials bitch the last show. When I realized the judge was checking rears I knew we were done and let's face it - Raimi's rear assembly is not his fortune! He showed great for me the whole weekend though and I really intended it to be a practice to see how best we would work together - we have a few glitches to work out but in all I think he was a very good boy. People were telling me though how obvious it is that he just adores me ... sigh.

Leeloo, to complete the weekend, won absolutely nothing the next two shows! We started calling her Lee-loser. She didn't even win the puppy group as there was a little dachshund puppy entered in the Sunday shows. Ah well, it simply meant we could leave early on Sunday as we had a long drive and were really tired.

In all it was a pretty great weekend to start our stint in the Maritimes ... here they are after the first show and Leeloo is thinking about pulling that ribbon into the pen to eat. Raimi looks stricken, "Where's my ribbon?" He got his the next day so he's happy now ... his is yellow though. We'll see what other colors we can bring home in the future.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

To Have and To Hold

The beach is littered with all kinds of interesting junk. Shells, rocks, wood, beer cans, seaweed ... any number of things worth investigating by a dog. And carrying. There was a lot of carrying going on especially since the tide was out and there was a glut of junk to sift through. They never did get their teeth into one of these and that was, in my opinion, supremely fortunate. Shudder.
I handed Raimi a piece of driftwood which Leeloo immediately decided was hers and they had a tug of war until the wood split and they each proudly carried around a chunk of salty wood.

Halo found her own piece of wood and dammit she carried that thing for ages. Any dog who came near got a curled lip and a low rumble. I even checked to make sure it was not stuck or something because she just would not put it down. She looks like she could be in one of those Toblerone commercials.
And of course Archer, never to be upstaged, found his own thing to carry. My mom calls it a razor shell but I call it "Don't eat that!"

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Creature from the Black Lagoon

Raimi still does his Weird Thing reaction to innocuous objects he can't identify. This time it was a rock sticking out of the water in a tide pool. Here he is spotting the Weird Thing for the first time. You can understand his trepidation right? I mean ... look at it ... that's a freaky thing to see in the water. Crazy rock.

He progressed to higher ground in the hopes he could get a better view and be safer at the same time. High ground is an advantage after all. I especially like how his neck has telescoped out but he's no where near the edge of the water. Can't take chances you know. This is where the rock startled him when it did ... nothing. That is some kinda scary. I think, and I could be wrong, a wave lapped against it but since the water is so calm I could be mistaken. He stood and stared at it for some time. I think in the end he determined it was just as scared of him as he was of it and they left it at a cautious truce. He gave it a wide berth when we moved on down the beach. Next time though ... that rock is totally gonna get it.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


My digital SLR camera is like a slice of poorly toasted bread. Sometimes it's a golden brown and ripe for butter and others it's a black charred piece of cardboard. Unreliable and no damn good. I'll switch out the lens for the telephoto to see if that works better but the problem is in the shutter curtain ... NFG. It will cost more to repair than replace and until the coffers are filled again I need an interim camera.

So yesterday I bought a cute little red Canon Powershot 12.3 megapixel. Sweet. It's the size of a credit card, slips into my purse perfectly, ligth weight and the photos it took today are pretty darn good actually. I haven't worked out all the fancy settings yet but so far it's impressing me. It also takes video which is something I've missed.

The first photo it took of the dogs. They are waiting on the deck for me to get their collars so we can go for a walk.

Halo mincing along the beach - the tide is way out - the most out I've ever seen it. I can't get a handle on when the tides are in or out ... makes no sense. I've been several times at various times during the day and I can't make out a pattern.

The tide was going out so there was a little island surrounded by water. The walk to the island meant I had to go through about 18 inches of water and after a moment of thought Raimi and Leeloo followed me and discovered water glee.
They put Archer and Halo to shame. Archer had an excuse due to his size. Halo is just Halo ...

Archer's face says it all really. If you can see it. That's my parents and Halo in the background. I haven't called Halo to me yet. Much hilarity ensued when I did. Halo minced her way to me, Raimi went out to meet her with much splashing and carrying on ... to her horror. I didn't get a photo of her on her way back to the beach because I was laughing too hard, it was priceless.
So far I'm pretty happy with the little camera - I'll fiddle with the settings more and see what I can get out of it. Really, I felt naked without a camera ... so weird. Tomorrow I'll regale you with the salty tale of Raimi vs Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Last Picture Show

I just now realized I didn't post anything yesterday. I must have been traumatized by the fact that my camera is now broken. One of the shutter curtains has a rip in it and without that incredibly important mechanism functioning there are no photos to be had. I did take a bunch of photos before the incident yesterday so will now post what could be the final images from my digital SLR. Sniff.

We found this place a while ago but I hadn't been because it seems pretty popular. There are absolutely no signs indicating there is a beach here, not on the road, not at the entrance, not even when you pull up. If you didn't know where was a boardwalk you wouldn't know there was a boardwalk. I simply drove up and around until I found the walk way by accident. In fact, I found the place by accident because I could see a line of cars parked when I was approaching from the other direction. If you don't know its there, you drive right by. A local secret perhaps.

The morning had seen heavy rain but the afternoon lightened and while there was still heavy humidity in the air it was a glorious, calm, still day for an outing. We arrived for only our second visit to this beach and the dogs knew the drill. The boardwalk leads you through some brush toward the beach and the first time we were here the dogs figured out the hard way that the boardwalk is not at the same height at the brush - even though it looks like it should be. They also think it's a total gas to streak up the path a light speed, thundering on the wood, and then turn around and come barreling back. Leeloo especially thinks this is an absolute riot.
Leeloo also thinks bounding through the grass is super fun too. Bound bound bound and then onto the boardwalk and off again into the grass. It's pretty hysterical.
This isn't actually a very good picture except the expression on Leeloo's face. She is closing her eyes because of the sand Raimi is kicking up. Everytime the dogs sped past I had to turn away because I'd get a sand shower. Late last night I found sand in my ear and thought WTH ... where did this come from? It pays to be the lead dog ... I only managed to get one photo of Archer (and none of Halo) before the camera died - he is still sidelined a lot of the time from the big dog play but I've noticed in the last week or so he's had a growth spurt ... he'll be Big one day.

This is the postcard image of the east coast.

Of course the dogs roughhoused for part of the time ... they don't care about the view. Often though they spend most of their time sniffing, wandering and simply exploring - I think they cue off of my mood a lot when we're there. Halo was way back behind me in her own little world of exploration, eating various tidbits she'd found on the seaweed from the high tide. She keeps tabs on me but as long as I can still see her I let her do her own thing. That's probably part of the reason I don't have any photos of her this time, she was always waaaaaay off in the distance.
This area seems to be a breeding ground for Great Blue Herons - finally determined by my mother - and yesterday there were three sitting just off the shoreline. The tide was out and they were in shallow water about 30 feet off the edge of the water. This is as close as I got to take a photo, not because they flew away, but because the camera died. Apologies for the crooked horizon line.

Of course the day my camera dies is the day where there were so many photo ops I was going mental not being able to take any. The Herons stayed put for us to walk past, get within about 30 feet, and the dogs to walk about 5 feet into the water to 'get a closer look'. The Herons simply stood and watched us. Perhaps they've seen Ridgebacks before and knew they were safe if they stayed in the water. They eventually flew off one by one, not by harassment from the dogs, I think they simply got bored watching us, or the fish weren't plentiful, so they opened their great wings and silently skimmed the surface of the water for about 200 feet before turning inland. Leeloo took off down the beach after one of them and as it flew over her head I think I could hear it laughing.

I did get one photo that I just love to pieces. Of course it would be of The Boy and if my camera did take its last gasp yesterday I'm very glad to at least have this photo as a keepsake. To me it possesses the Periodic Table of beautiful.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Monty Python's Flying Circus

I've noticed something odd about the dogs since moving here. Odd but good. Ridgebacks don't really smell of anything. They don't smell of dog unless they haven't been bathed recently but even when they do need a bath it's more because of the dirt and oil build up in their coats than an actual smell. Even when they're wet and come in from the rain they don't have that typical wet dog pong because they lack the undercoat that causes the smell.

What I have noticed in the last few days is that the dogs smell ... really nice. Kind of like fresh laundry. They haven't had a bath in 5 weeks so I can't say it's the lingering scent of dog shampoo. Even Archer, who is losing that divine puppy aroma, smells like he just came off the wash line.

It's a sort of soft, pleasant, warm hay kind of scent and I like to bury my nose in the folds of their necks and breathe deeply. They think I'm full of extra love which works out well for everyone.

Speaking of baths for the dogs; both Raimi and Leeloo will get a dose this Thursday for a show we're attending this weekend in Canning, NS. It's a limited entry show so the entry is quite small, as they usually are here in the Maritimes, but I am looking forward to more pleasant Ridgeback competitors(there were great people in Alberta but the rotten apple spoils the barrel as it were) and seeing what the east coast show scene has to offer.

It's Leeloo's very first show ever and she will be almost 10 months old - kind of late to start a show career. She attended a show when she was 5 months old to get used to the atmosphere but she hasn't ever been in the ring. The combination of her age, the litter, and the move timed out so that I was not able to get her into a show before now. We'll see what Atlantic Canada thinks of my white footed, light wheaton, Ridgeback/gazelle ballerina.

I also entered Raimi as a special. Hee hee. I have to smile whenever I envision how this is going to go. See, I will be showing Leeloo in the classes, there are 3 class bitches entered so I'll be in and out a couple times. Without The Boy. I'm not sure how he is going to handle watching me show another dog, giving her treats, cooing at her, and running around the ring with her. My mom is helping and I already told her to have a really good grip on him when I take Leeloo in. He is going to go mental with joy when he realizes that I will also be taking him in the ring. It won't help that he hasn't been in the ring in almost a year - he needed to grow up, grow a brain(faint hope) and I do not believe in campaigning dogs under two years old; showing to a championship fine ... specialing ... no.

So in a few days we'll take this circus on the road and see how it plays out - it's 4 shows in 2 days so both dogs will get ample opportunity to make asses of themselves and me.

Back to the Future

Yesterday was Father's Day so I headed up to my parent's place to celebrate. It was, and still is, raining cats and dogs out there. I remembered I have some photos that I haven't yet posted from when I was out there a few Sundays ago. When I look back through these, although they are only a couple weeks old, they remind me of the promise of when we first arrived ...
Raimi drinking from the aptly named Frog Pond at the end of my parent's driveway - the frogs here are much larger than I'm used to seeing. I learned after this that standing water here can contain leptospirosis which is carried by deer and racoons and can make your dog really sick. So ... their aversion to water comes in handy. There are always some photos you just can't plan. This is Leeloo's smug raspberry that she's here and you are ... not. Archer checking to make sure he didn't leave anything behind in Calgary. These habits start young in the boys. And Halo in her, uh ... glory. I have noticed that very slowly her boobies are tightening up. She'll never look like her svelt self again but I think the skin will eventually retract so the boobies are not quite so ... free..

Saturday, June 20, 2009


The fence is done and the garden-to-be is secure from the dogs who have noted their smaller yard and come to terms with it.
Not without a minor demonstration of protest but it does nicely illustrate the reason for the fence in the first place. Every nose was covered in a light layer of red dirt so I guess it was a group effort. Leeloo feigns innocence in extreme concentration on a bone. I don't buy it.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Don't Fence Me In

This probably more belongs on the Bonny New Scotland blog than the dog blog but it's dog related. Well, dog preventative anyway. I want a garden, I want fresh veggies and maybe some fruit and pretty flowers and that won't happen with four large dogs who like to dig and eat leaves and twigs off things.

The yard is being divided into two sections, the dog area and the Tamzin area. After my Unfortunate Incident I evaluated the lattice and here we see 4 sheets relatively intact. I'd dug 4 holes for the posts (NO CEMENT) and placed the lattice over top so I wouldn't end up with broken legs. The side with the concrete pad is where the dogs will stay.
Halo likes to stand in the sun and ... just stand there. Eyes half closed, soaking up the rays I guess. What Leeloo is lying on used to be a tidy pile of grass which the dogs destroyed over several days. Now it's gone because my compost bin was finally emptied and I cleaned up the grass. Archer is lying on the Spongebob blanket donated by Tanja before I left. In the far corner there, also now in the composter, is a great pile of the bush that we(meaning my Dad) hacked down to install the fence. It's kind of like bamboo but not as tough.
The area for my garden will be about 15 feet by 45 feet and I hope to turn it into a sort of garden sanctuary which I'll never get to sit in because if I do the dogs will stand forlornly on the other side of the fence and I'll just feel guilty. And yes - what you are seeing at the back of the yard, completely fenced in with no hope of escape, is my trailer. I've turned it into a garden shed. I'm nothing if not resourceful.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I Know What You Did Last Summer

As I sit here on the floor of my livingroom my computer says it's 26 degrees outside which means we are inside where it's nice and cool. We are not going anywhere today because it would just be torture. Last summer in Calgary was barely summer at all with wind, rain, low temperatures and well ... it was Calgary so ... you know. The Suck.
The beach will still be there tomorrow so for now this is the most active the dogs have been all day.
Now imagine, if you can, me on the bed trying to sleep ...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Dust Devil

I recently ordered new bling for the dogs with updated contact info on them. I lurv them. They are so simple yet so pretty - they are from Poochy Couture on http://www.etsy.com/ and are made of copper with soldered silver accents.

Today was hot. Hot hot hot. I did some work in the yard prior to 11am and was sweating up a storm. After a quick trip into New Glasgow I decided to head to the beach for a jaunt with the dogs. What a trip.

Around these parts they've been advertising something called 'Grading Day' which I was confused about until about 2:46pm this afternoon. Grading Day is when they grade the gravel roads. Ever driven on a gravel road while it's being graded? One word: dust. I drove over the pile of gravel in the middle of the road after passing the grader and ended up with a very unhappy sounding rock in some part of my tire which eventually popped out. Nothing like a screeching, grinding tire to give you pause.

We made it to the beach, it was sweltering and there was almost no wind. Not as cool as I'd hoped but we made the most of it and I actually caught two of the dogs in the water at the same time.
Archer waded in to say hello to me when I was standing in about 18 inches of water but those eyes tell you he is his mother's son.
Leeloo is fascinated by the fact that things in the water *move*. They drift back and forth and entice her into the depths. So far she hasn't followed the siren song of a seaweed strand but I won't hold my breath.
Halo attempted a dip but it was short lived. You can't see the disgust on her face but I guarantee it's there. We were there about 20 minutes when I decided it was enough. The dogs were being driven to distraction by big horseflies which BITE, it was way hotter than usual and we fought our home way through the dust, stopping briefly to photograph whatever these birds are. We arrived home and everyone had a nap ... including me. Ah bliss.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Strange Days

For a good giggle head over to my Wee Bonny New Scotland Blog ...

Today we took a break from renovation adventures to head out to the beach again. It is just beautiful here right now with clear sunny skies, temperatures hovering just below 2o degrees and light wind. With a south facing backyard the temperature can seem higher so at about 2:30pm we headed down to the beach because it's always cooler there than here.

The dogs know of course when they get in the truck that we're heading somewhere fun so they act like asses. Leeloo and Archer yowl and wookie at each other for at least half the trip and Halo and Raimi are noses to the wind, lips flapping, ears flying and eyes half shut in concentration. Today though I caught Archer's nose taking in the smells too, he had his paws up on the edge of the window pane and his big ol' ears were flapping away. He looked like he was in heaven. I suppressed mild panic and eeked the window up a scootch. Don't need another Petal or Halo event. It's just adorable though how he tries so hard to copy what the big dogs do not knowing how small he is ... or how big he'll get.

It was an incredibly relaxing walk with gentle waves rolling in, the tide was high but there was still plenty of sand to walk on. I took off my flip flops and walked in the sand for about a kilometre and the dogs meandered along with me, none of us were in a hurry to anything but absorb the sun and silence.

I came across a few empty crab bodies and skirted them quickly - don't need Leeloo ingesting that sort of thing. Also, it's the beach where you can't take anything away with you.

Raimi was doing something fascinating and I'm curious to find out what it was. He'd trot along nose to the ground, suddenly stop and dig like mad for a moment, shove his nose deep into the hole and sniff deeply. After a moment he'd lose interest and trot to the next hole digging frenzy. Once he dug like crazy, stopped, and (I swear) he tilted his head like he was listening to something and then shoved his nose in for an extra good snort. I'll be honest, it freaked me out a little. What the hell is down there? There are little holes all over the beach and I think there are things living down there waiting for the next tide to roll in but I don't know what they are. He never did dig deep enough to find anything except when he unearthed a little tiny shrimp who looked horrified to be so rudely exposed. I let it be. Maybe it's the little shrimp things he can smell and ... hear?

We walked along the beach to where the sand ended and turned into rocks so we explored the rocky shore a little. As we approached where the coast curves I stopped to watch the dogs and enjoy the moment. Halo was way ahead of course lost in the new smells and the other three were picking their way along stopping to sniff interesting crevices. I looked beyond the dogs to the ocean and spied a log in the water with a bird on it about 20 feet off the coastline. I was just making up my mind to go and see what birds they were(highly likely they would be seagulls) when the log walked out of the water.


I swear I just about had a heart attack. Three deer, one at a time, walked carefully out of the water and disappeared into the trees at the top of the cliff. Man ... when a person needs a camera. I hastily recalled Halo who was the closest to the deer and we headed back the way we'd come. I'm not sure if the deer were just in the water cooling off or, I know it sounds totally insane, if they swam from Pictou Island which you can see from the shore but come on now ... it's freakin' far to swim. I am 99% sure they were swimming into the shore when I saw them, they weren't drinking, it's salt water, and I am not sure deer use water to cool down, besides which, it wasn't that hot really. It was so weird.

So that was today ... tomorrow looks much the same. How ever will I cope?

Monday, June 15, 2009


Leeloo cracks me up. Even when she looks serious ... she looks silly. I'm not sure why.

Recently I compared her to a ballerina when I was discussing body development with someone. She reminds me of a dancer the most when she moves ... maybe one day I'll be able to take some video of her movement. Of course the only time she doesn't look like she's on stilts is when she's standing in the grass. Sometimes I wonder if she'll ever grow into those pegs.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Walk in the Clouds

Today I changed the sheets on my bed so I pulled them all off, dumped the down duvet on the bare mattress and set the washer to work. I put the dogs outside in the warm sun while I painted because they do the opposite of helping when I paint. I let them in after a while, they drifted off to various locations to sleep and since there was no room on the couch (apparently) I found Raimi here ...I don't think I've mentioned it, but even if I have it bears repeating ... I don't think I could ever love a person as much, or more than, this dog. Actually I think the only love that surpasses mine for this dog ... is his for me.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Over the Top

Caribou Provincial Park is the name of the beach I go to with the dogs. For now it's the best of both worlds because it's got grass up at the top of the park and down below, past the 'dogs on leash' sign is the beach.

Raimi spotted a lone woman walking her aged dog far down the park. Ample opportunity for photo taking of the handsome boy. This is at the top of the park and beyond Raimi, behind the fence with signs on it saying 'actively eroding cliff', is the ocean. Hard to tell but it's definitely there.
Sometimes I feel sorry for little Archer. The big dogs run and run but he just can't keep up. Sometimes he sits dejectedly on the beach watching them. It's no use telling him one day he'll be able to keep up ... he wants to keep up NOW.
They tend to get really distracted when we are at sea level because there are so many new smells they just follow their noses and lose track of distance. I offer a recall to draw them in and if I start running the other way they turn on the after burners. Archer brings up the rear but his enthusiasm is no less keen.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Prince of Tides

We had a marvelous time today in between torrential downpours(we got really lucky) down at the beach off a provincial park which isn't open yet. We pretended to not see the giant white sign proclaiming 'Dogs must be on leash and you must pick up after them" (which I religiously do anyway) and headed onto the deserted expanse of sand.
Raimi was in a swither when I crossed a rivulet of water and he danced from paw to paw until he plucked up enough courage to wade through 6 inches of water. Leeloo bounced through, Halo minced through and Archer stomped through like any self respecting puppy. The tide slowly crept in while we were there but the beach was marvelous - wide, shallow, sandy and offered long stretches for the dogs to run. I was disappointed I didn't remember my camera but it doesn't react well to rain. The end result was, as usual, a couch full of comatose Ridgebacks in various positions.
Raimi, it seems, has competition. Fortunately I have final say in who gets the girl ... as it were.
Although, I can't help getting the impression Archer is just a little bit smug.