Sunday, April 11, 2010

Good Day with Friends

So Milford Hills Hunt Club has been running a special on Chukar (partridge). This inspired Michael to put together a group to go out hunting today. So Michael, myself, Jeff, Becki, Tom and Karen headed out to Milford today for a 3-hour hunt: 20 Chukar, 7 dogs, 4 guns. The weather was gorgeous: around 67 degrees and sunny all day.

What a day! We were assigned "Iowa" field, and there was a very nice pond at the end of the field. Michael decreed that the "old guys" should get to start. Wooster went on one side, Major on the other, and they each flushed and retrieved several birds. Not bad for the 2 senior citizens! (Not bad for the gunners either, who hit all but perhaps 1 of the birds.)

Both dogs enjoyed a water retrieve to cool off at the end of the run. Naturally, after a little break in the cool water, they both seemed re-energized on the walk back to the trucks!

Taxi and Bogey made the next pair. How nice for Michael and me to see both of Baby Gibson's parents in the field at the same time! They each got a couple of flushes and retrieves. Both showed impressive steadiness to wing and shot and enjoyed an opportunity to cool off in the pond at the end of the field.

Ritz and Gibson came out next. Karen and I watched from the top of the field while the others worked the dogs down the pond. Gibson did a great job on his first ever master-hunter style water retrieve, going into the pond, swimming across and exiting on the far bank! (While not a true "blind" retrieve, since he had seen the bird dropped, it showed that Gibson is willing to swim all the way across the pond to get the bird, which is important and will ultimately lead to blind retrieves where he does not know the location of the bird until he scents it during the exercise.) Gibson carried his birdie all the way back to the car, where I was able to get a nice photo of him holding the bird.

Watson was up last today, and Ritz ran out with him again. Unfortunately, the fields were pretty well cleaned out by that time, and they did not flush anything. However, Watson also got the opportunity to show his willingness to swim all the way across the pond, get out to find/pick-up the bird, then get back in the water and swim back to Dad. Again, this is an important step in training to the "master hunter" level. Go boys! Still no bird contacts on the way back to the car, but both dogs worked the field well and showed impressive drive.

After hunting, we headed over to Becki's place so she could groom Gibson for the upcoming specialty show - and so that we could see "wubbies." Gibson's second litter arrived 2 weeks ago today! A nice mix of colors and genders: 4 girls, 2 boys - and 3 black, 3 liver. Their little eyes are starting to open, and are they ever cute!

Once the grooming was finished, we finished the day with some cold beverages at a favorite local brewpub.

While I did not personally find, flush, shoot or retrieve any birds, I did get a good dose of fresh air, sunshine and exercise. Oh, and a good "puppy fix." All in all, a GREAT day with some good friends and fantastic dogs!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Return from the Land of Waffle House and Southern Hospitality

So we had a lovely time in Georgia for the hunt tests this past weekend! The drive was l-o-n-g, but the trip was well worth it: new senior hunter "legs" for both dogs. Moving on after completing their Junior Hunt titles earlier this fall, Gibson now has a total of 2 senior legs, and Watson brought home his first. As always, I was extremely proud of how well Michael handled them at the tests and of the hard work he has put in to get them to this point!

This was our first trip to these tests. They have been highly recommended over the years, though, and the Cocker Spaniel Specialty Club of Georgia did an excellent job, as advertised. The grounds and hospitality were first-rate. Thank you for hosting this event! Special thanks to the judges who donated their time to make and to the other Clumber folk who came out to cheer on our breed this past weekend. Congratulations to the other qualifiers, especially the Clumbers, and special kudos to those who titled this weekend - Kara, Cathy, and Roe!

While we traveled with the "youngsters," Wooster vacationed with our good friends Darrell and Brenna, along with Thor, Loki and Sebastian. Thanks guys! To the cats: we owe you a new glitter ball. Sorry Wooster ate yours (but glad it came back up!). To Wooster: sorry you had to eat cat food for breakfast yesterday. Don't know how I mis-counted when I was scooping out food to send with you!

And now, to continue the pattern of the bad weather following us wherever we go this past week (including Georgia!), we brace for the winter storm...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Ease on Down the Road...

Well, since no one else seems to be blogging at the mo' - I will.

Just to have something to do instead of pack for the weekend. Many things have been accomplished so far this evening, and a break is in order.

Done: hunting training (I am the self-styled "lovely and talented" assistant for this training); dog bath; laundry.

Still to do: dry dog; finishing touches on dog grooming; pack clothes (5 min); pack lots and lots of dog stuff (half an hour or so - we can see what's important here).

Notice dinner was not on the list. Since my enthusiasm for cooking has waned noticeably since getting home, I am thinking we will have to resort to something frozen - bummer!

For all you dog lovers out there, here is a quick pic of my Woo-man, who knows something is UP! Also, he is in desperate need of a haircut...

And now, back to the mines, as we are hoping to ease on down the road to Des Moines right around 5 tomorrow! Wish us luck...


Friday, July 17, 2009

Bang, bang!

I am happy to say that I shot 18/50 targets tonight. OK, so they had to give me some do-overs (2-3) because I still had the safety on.... Still, a VAST improvement over the first time I shot, maybe 9 months ago, when I hit 5 or 6 of 50 targets! If the improvement continues at this rate, I calculate that within a couple of months I will be kicking both boys' butts. That would be great mostly because it might stop them chirping at each other about who won. :)

And now, for the rest of the weekend...nothing! A rare occurrence. I may head to the office for a couple of hours tomorrow, but other than that, no firm plans...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Say Cheese

Hope you enjoy these photos of Kylie & Watson following the Williana Specialty this past weekend! Thanks to Kylie for presenting Watson so beautifully at this event. Congratulations to Schroeder (CH Clussexx Tickling the Ivories) on his BISS win and to all of the other winners.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Shoulda Taken That Left Turn at Albuquerque...

Well, we've had a busy evening.  

First, we erected temporary fencing around the pond in an attempt to repel any nosy Clumbers (or Frenchies or Salukis) during tomorrow's Clumber Jamboree.  Sure, our dogs get into the pond occasionally, but the main culprit from our household is out of town.  (Gibson is traveling to Toledo with Becki and Kylie this weekend, to compete in the FSSA supported entry there.)  No, I am primarily concerned about Fannie, who last time managed to get dirty despite the fact that we had drained the pond and covered it with a tarp!!  She is persistent.

Wooster naturally wanted to inspect our work, so he was allowed to go out into the yard after that. Surprised to see him intently poking one area of grass with his nose, Michael called him back.  When he didn't come, Michael went to investigate and found the source of Wooster's interest: a nest of baby bunnies that somehow miraculously survived yesterday's mowing and were now attracting the wrong kind of attention from Woo.  (Unfortunately, there was one dead one.  Since we didn't see any marks on it, however, we conclude that it was the victim of neither the mower nor Wooster and must have died of "exposure" or some other appropriate baby bunny disaster.)  

We finally called the emergency animal clinic, which directed us to cover the nest back up and hope the mama bunny comes back tonight and moves them.  Here's hoping, since we're expecting, at last count, about 12 people and 16 dogs to invade our yard tomorrow around noon!!

After dealing with the bunny crisis, we spent the remainder of the evening getting our digs squared away before tomorrow's invasion.  (Did I mention we may be hosting a Saluki?!  I've never met one before...)

On tomorrow's agenda: cleaning, grocery shopping, hopefully grooming.  Then, enjoying an afternoon with friends and hoping all the dogs get along.  A lack of drama would be refreshing!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Counting Down

Getting very excited about the National coming up in a little more than a week.  I guess we leave for St. Louis in about 10 days.  In honor of the coming event, I thought I'd post a few pics here from prior years' gatherings.  Unfortunately, I apparently took very few photos at most of the preceding events and don't have access to the husband's camera (or hard drive) just at the mo, so I'll have to make do with what's on my own computer.  Note to self: take more photos this year!!

First, one of my all-time favorites:

Watson (l) and Wooster (r) with the "Duke of Newcastle," who lugged his period costume (fresh from Crufts!) all the way from England and did photo ops with the dogs as a fundraiser for the Clumber Spaniel Health Foundation!

Above, Wooster & I take a picture after placing in the Veterans' class.  You can just barely see the Delaware River in the background.  We showed in sweeps & classes for the National and classes for the regional that followed.  We weren't exactly the star attraction, but it didn't matter-- it was just great being in the righ with my Woo-man for the first time ever!  I am looking forward to showing again this year!

Terrible photo - great memories!  This was taken as we took Kipper (1993-2006) on his "victory lap" in the CSCA's Rescue & Placement Parade.  This was the 2nd time he made an appearance in the R&P Parade, the first time being in 2003, before we even joined CSCA.

Kipper with his friend June.  June does instinct (a/k/a "birdiness" testing every year at the National.  She comes all the way from Wales to do this!  In 2005, when Kipper was about 12 (we only got him at age 8 or so), she tested him.  He was "off the charts" (in my unbiased opinion).  Afterwards, he followed June all the way off the field, pouncing on her bird bag the whole way!!

Hopefully, you've enjoyed this little mini-retrospective.  Stay tuned for more National-themed photos after the event!