Monday, September 28, 2009

Super Weekend

I was at a dog show in Monroe, Michigan this past weekend with a lovely female I have recently purchased, and who was only 1 point shy of her American championship. "Jolie" acquired her Canadian championship some time ago, and then spent a number of months around the Carolinas and neighbouring states being shown with the hopes of completing her AKC championship as well, but just fell short by the time she came back up here to Canada. I promised my friend when Jolie came to live with me in April that I would get that last point on her, to give him his first homebred American champion. So off we went this weekend, with her coat ready to go into a full body shed, and also giving signs to any and all takers that she's likely coming into season before too long, to compete in one of the largest shows around. No mere 6 or 8 rings ... a full 18 rings, all full at any given moment, on a piece of property that you can't see one end from another. The weather was fabulous, downright hot at times, very fitting for what might be the last outdoor show of the season.

We showed well on Saturday, but not quite well enough, and took 2nd in our class. That was all right. When I showed Jolie for the first time, we were 4th of four, and then at the next show, an indoor specialty, we were 3rd, and now today, 2nd. Well, at least we're moving in the right direction! Sunday came, and it was one of those no pressure days. Our ring was in the far corner of the fairgrounds, with some shade trees and lots of grass, that by now was pretty much vacated. I took a big towel over to some shade and a long leash with a toy, after Jolie was all groomed up and ready to go in the ring, and with time to spare, we played and relaxed and enjoyed just being there, ready for our last shot for this year at her championship.

I knew we were "on" from the beginning. I was ecstatic when the judge pointed her finger to us and awarded us Winners Female. And I think my feet left the ground for a moment when she then gave us Best in Breed. That was all Jolie needed for her championship ... now she was finished! But the icing on the cake was in the very competitive group ring, where we were awarded 4th place in the group ... a delightful finish to a super weekend, and well-deserved recognition of a lovely Sheltie ... new American/Canadian Champion Shaydeechase Girl Interrupted.

I took this photo at the Detroit Specialty earlier this month. What a cutie!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Off to the Fair!

We went to the Western Fair over the weekend, something we don't do every year, but always have a good time when we do. The weather was phenomenal, the best in many years, and the crowds were still going strong by the time we were there on Saturday night, the second last night of it's ten day run.

While we were munching away on fair food (poutine and elephant ears), I took a couple of photos while it was still light out.

This ride was called "Super Shot", but I think it should have been called "Death Drop" :).

The ever-popular Tilt-A-Whirl.

We moved inside to the agricultural exhibits, watched a lot of the horse show, then of course visited all the farm critters. We saw a couple of very newborn lambs, chicks hatching on the spot, and even met a cow that didn't mind giving kisses. How special is that ? :)

This little black pony was very persistently flirting with this shiny beige "horse". I don't know if the pony ever realized that the object of it's affection was actually fiberglass, but it didn't seem to care.

And here's what the rest of the fake horse looked like! This guy was hilarious, great entertainment!

Here's Chelsea hamming it up with one of her very favourite characters, SpongeBob Squarepants. He was looking a little shabby and not very frightening, but made a perfect photo-op nonetheless.

Back out to the midway, and night had fallen when we weren't looking! I love the fair at night, the colours are brighter, the music's louder, the games are more fun to play, the rides are wilder ...

I forget what this ride is called, but there are people standing up along the whole inside. There was a huge lineup for this ride ... not my cup of tea!

These glow sticks and other glowy things were selling like crazy. They looked great, bobbing along in the distance.

And my favourite ride, the Himalayan ... first you go forward, faster and faster, and there's a bit of a dip and rise on each side. The music's hard and loud, the carnie's urging you to scream louder, and everything outside the ride is a teary blur. Then just when it slows down practically to a stop, and you figure you're safe, you've made it, the ride's over, it starts up all over again, but this time in reverse!! It's awesome!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009


I had gone down to the Thames River to fish the other night, and although I didn't catch anything (I did "liberate" a few worms), there were a number of ducks and geese that I thought would make a fun photo shoot. Chelsea loves to feed birds (animals of any sort, really) so she and I went back to that spot last evening with the better part of a bag of bread and Rustle and had a great time.

Are we feeding the ducks or singing with them? :)


And then these really funky geese came along, just the 3 of them ... didn't ask what party they had come from or were going to, but it must have been a good one!!

Till next time ...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Summer Reflection

As summer draws to a close, I wanted to relive my garden through some of the photos I took at different times over the last three or four months. Although certainly not finished yet, none of the plants are looking particularly fresh or young, and if you look closely, the blooms are pretty tired and even downright wilted. Stems are brown and broken, and some plants have all but folded up, already gone until next year. It's time to think about spring-flowering bulbs, autumn mums and falling leaves. But I'm glad that tomorrow, I'll cut the lawn one more time ...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Field of Dreams

I spent the last couple of days having a wonderful visit with my good friends Kim and Pete (Laureate Shelties) near Ottawa. Of course it was shelties that we first shared years ago, but when Bunny came into the Laureate household last fall, the first time I met her, I was smitten!! And then along came Barbie, Bunny's half-sister, this year, and now it's just poodle heaven! Oh, the shelties are pretty darn nice, too!!:)

Here are the two sisters starting to rip across the field.

It didn't take long before Barbie started to look like a little mud hen, racing in and out of the ditch.

Bunny takes a moment to check out the field behind her.

Gabi, the matriarch, looking on at the mayhem around her.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Bog Revisited

I took some photos while visiting the bog in the spring. It doesn't ever seem to change very much, but this time I was less interested in the flora and much more interested in the fauna. I know there's a lot of deer in there ... somewhere ... and a friend had told me how they'll come out to drink at the pond most evenings. That was good enough for me ... off on safari!

There is a boardwalk that takes you through the bog in one direction, and a dirt path in another. I took the boardwalk this time; I don't know if the dirt path takes you very directly to the pond. It's kind of eery; the sun doesn't get through in any strength, as you can tell from the heavy algae layer and the dense moss growth.

At the end of the boardwalk is a platform with a railing around it. It's a great vantage point to see the whole pond (almost a small lake), and the wooded area beyond. While I was waiting for what I was sure would be herds and herds of my intended photo subjects, I was watching these goldfish pecking at something they thought was edible. Apparently people opt to come and dispose of their unwanted fish in this pond rather than flushing them, but they are so abundant, the bog caretakers need to purge them from time to time. Like the deer, no natural adversaries to help keep their numbers down.

I'm not a turtle expert, but this fellow didn't seem interested in the goldfish at all, so perhaps he's strictly a vegetarian-type. He was only mildly curious about me.

And here is one view of the furthest point of the pond. I'm quite sure there were many pairs of doe eyes just waiting for me to leave so they could come out and get their evening's drink. I left them to it ... this time :)