Friday 27 April 2012

Trip down memory lane..

about 1992,
In the Netherlands,
same me, same Eric (just younger)
Sarplaninac Chantal
 20 years on,
in Alberta, Canada
same me, same Eric ( just much wiser)
Sarplaninac Katcha, and border collie Lad.

Tuesday 24 April 2012

Phew, what a weekend.

It all started off with truck problems..
 I could not take the truck down to Canmore as Eric needed it to haul horses and sheep into the rodeo.
This meant either cancelling my trip down to Canmore to give a presentation,
or to make alternative arrangements.
As the presentations were advertised and promoted, I felt it was not appropriate to cancel and so decided to fly down to Calgary, rent a car and attend the presentations.
The flying part,
would become that jaw dropping part of  this whole trip.
As I had some time on Friday, I really wanted to utilize it to visit with some (new) friends and some dogs. My first stop was at Zoran and his wonderful family (Hi MayaJ) and of course their sarplaninac dog Ringo. I felt very welcome, had great Serbian food and dark sweet Turkish coffee.
Zoran, Maya and I spoke about dogs, history and all sorts of things. It was a great visit and always great to meet new friends and talk about amazing dogs.
Ringo, is still one big pup!
Then it was off to Cochrane to meet another friend and visit with a pup we bred a few years ago. It was great meeting with Katrin, Jim, and of course now adult, Rubic again.
Wow, Rubic is one huge girl.
Her job is to guard the poultry..
She is still not being very nice to the turkeys,
but the ducks seem to be relatively safe in her care…

Katrin and Jim treated me to a night on the town.
Thanks for a wonderful dinner, great wine and good conversation.
It got late, so I did not have the time nor the inclination to review my presentation,
and worse of all completely forgot to take a picture of Rubic!

Drove to Canmore.
Wow, I do love the mountains.

One day,
when we are rich
I am going to have a cabin in some remote mountain area...
Of course I had to stop for some wild sheep on the way..
A lovely drive and I was looking forward to hearing the first presentation about wolves and conservation issues facing them given by Sadie Parr.

Photo from Shelly Black, Northern Lights Center

After lunch, it was my turn.
Unfortunately, there were just a handful of people attending this presentation about predator friendly ranching. Perhaps this topic does not touch the lives of mountain resort tourists? Or, maybe it was the first great sunny weekend and people wanted to be outside?
Whatever the reason, this was a pity considering the cost and time put into it.

On Sunday, the topics where focused on the plight of the bears in Alberta and the conservation issues facing them. These presentations were well attended; perhaps the mighty bear speaks more to people than the wolf?
Interesting presentations and an eye opener as to the lack of motivation the government or Parks Canada has in wanting to save the last few remnant populations of Grizzly Bears in Alberta. In fact, the Great Bears are facing extinction in Alberta and nothing is being done…
zip, zero, nada.
Sunday night I took a drive and a short walk in the mountains and pondered the Griz matter.
Monday morning, I had some time to kill so I visited with another former pup of mine and his mom. Remember Bear? Well that’s who I dropped in to see.

Bear is doing well.

 He is as beautiful and magnificent as always.
He needs to get his mind a bit more on the job at hand
and is still very much a large overgrown pup.

 It was great to visit with Louanne.
Her whole house should be posted on my pinterest wall, I love how its decorated. The only thing I would change is the location. It needs more trees and forest.
Thanks for the tour Louanne, love what you have done.

Then, it was off to the airport.
You know, clean the car, hand it in and then wait and wait and wait and pay huge sums of money for overpriced water…
The first part of the flight back home was to Edmonton, this was non descript, boring, the usual flight and airport hussle, full body screeining, pat downs etc..
It was a lengthy wait in Edmonton but I loved reading my new book that I had bought in a second hand book store in Canmore. In fact this book is very entertaining and gives you glimpses  the world of the wolf.
So, find this book “Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat”.
I had read it years before, but when I found it at the bookstore I had to have it and read it again.
I am not sure how much is fact or fiction however, it is entertaining!
When it was time to board, I think the most memorable event of the whole weekend took place during the 40 minute flight back to Grand Prairie…

Get a coffee as this gets lengthy..
I sat down in my aisle seat and said a quiet hallo to the 40 something lady sitting in 4A, the window seat. I got my book out  and was looking forward to another reading session,
the wolves where calling me to read on.
The lady looked at me.
She put her hand out and just subtly touched my arm and said, “I am so excited, can I show you something?”
“Sure”, I answered, expecting to see a picture in her purse of her children, hubby, grand kids, her pet, you know, the usual thing.

She scooted over into 4B the vacant seat between us on the plane,   whipped out her iPhone 4s with leopard skin cover and proceeded to find her camera roll of pictures.

This is not her, nor her phone, just added this image for effect!
O dear I thought, lucky me, I get to see endless pictures of babies, kids, pets…
While her hands were working at finding "the" photo,
 she casually states that she was going to show me some photographs of herself,
I am startled, stunned and completely flabbergasted.
In that instant,  I  really and truely did WANT to see drooling babies, smiling kids and Shih-Tzu's (for the ignorant, that is a lap dog of sorts and is pronounced Shit sue!).
Now, I am not all that squeamish, I can handle rotten and aborted lambs, dog puke, vaginal prolapses in both sheep and cows and a whole lot of bull shit.

But, looking at a complete stranger’s,
40 plus
naked body
is not something for the faint hearted.
So, I smiled and said, “sure I can handle some boobs”.
So, before I could change my mind, out came the “before” pictures, with the accompanying explanations. We, I mean she, scrolled through some  20  pictures,  some focusing on certain focal points on her body, others full frontal and others of the "other side".
“Look” she says and points to a liberal fat roll around her waist,
and in the following picture she points to some stretch marks above her buttocks,
and then on to her sagging belly button,
all the time explaining that this was "before"...

I did not want to dampen her enthusiasm or hurt her feelings so I feigned interest,
going so far as to even ask some delicate questions that she was dying to answer.
The next twenty were the “after” shots.

The scalpel line,
and the sutures,
the swelling
and redness…
in all its gory glory was laid out for me to see.

This, she explained was her gift to herself!

“Yes” I motioned, “the sexy doctor in Mexico, he really did do a fantastic job”
She glows.

I add:
“wow, for nine thousand dollars cheaper than the Canadian doctors,
gee I can’t believe the bargain”
“Yes”, she radiates “I am so happy”.
Still, having been brought up to be polite and kind, to show genuine interest in people, I was certainly not going to put a damper on all this awesomeness.
So, to try and wind things down a bit,
I once again  dared to ask how the healing process was going from her recent tummy tuck …

Before you could say “what” she jumped up, in the plane, pulled up her shirt, pulled down her pants so that I could see the healing process in action!
Right there, right now.
All that came out of me was a stunned “wow”.
As she sat down, I grabbed Never Cry Wolf, I wanted to hide in the words..
I needed time to process what just happened to me (and to her).
I started to read.
 I felt her familiar hand on my arm again.
I did an inside sigh.
My thoughts were racing, I was about to have a menopausal flush,  what now?

My husband used to beat me she whispers..
I quietly set my book aside and listened to her life story
and once she was done,
I could honestly appreciate her happiness, the tummy tuck and all!
And, so 40 minutes later we landed in Grand Prairie.
Eric was meeting me,
he asked about the weekend,
but my head was filled with another story…

Thursday 19 April 2012

A busy week

This week has been busy.
Calving is going steady with some hiccups now and again.
The calves on the ground are doing good.

The weather has changed and now all the snow is melting,
so everything is mud again...


This weekend is going to be busy.
We have the local spring rodeo in town,
Jess is doing the grand entry,
my horse is also doing the grand entry... just with another rider..
Our sheep are doing the muttin bustin..
Oh, and Jess has entered the barrel racing competition.
I am sorry that I am missing this...

I will be away in Canmore this weekend,
so will leave Eric and the kids to do all the work and chores here...
and go to the rodeo.

Have a great weekend!

And, don't butt heads!

Sunday 15 April 2012

Walk in the woods

Our day started off with this:

view out our front window..

We had about a foot of snow and by the end of the day it would be close to two.
Where the wind was blowing it went to about 3 feet.
All our morning chores meant plowing through the snow and breaking trail.
It was a slog.
Feeding took longer as the gates had all snow drifted in and we had to dig our way out.
As the cows are calving, it was a priority to get our there and check and make sure everything was ok.
These two are doing good!

While out checking, I found two newborns.
Both were deep in the woods, protected from the wind and laying under big spruce trees for cover.
They were dry, had sucked and had good mommas.
I noted where they were and then went back to finish the rest of the chores with Eric.

After lunch we went out to tag, castrate and check the new babies.
The one was where we had left him.
We managed to vaccinate and tag him but his mom was getting more and more agitated.
We did not want her charging us in deep snow as we would not be able to get away.
Running from a raging cow in deep snow is just not a good plan.
So, we made a note to "do" him later again.
Off we went to find number two.
We could not find him so quickly and decided that his mom had hidden him in the bush somewhere.
We would check later again.
Later came,
and we went out to find the second baby.
We went to the last place we saw him...
he and his mom where not there.
We looked around the other cows, we looked at the feeders, we looked behind brush piles, we looked behind trees.
So, we decided to take a walk deeper into the woods.

Eric was leading the way, breaking a trail.
Every step was thigh deep.
Climbing over fallen trees,
bush whacking through thick under growth,
every step,
every bump of a brunch resulted in a snow shower.

The plan was we would first head west,
then turn south at "the clearing",
finding the back fence and the making a loop back.
We walked, we climbed, I made photo's, we walked some more.
We never did find "the clearing".

I suggested to Eric that he was heading in the wrong direction...
And, like most males, he disagreed.
So, we slogged on.
I reminded him that I had a compass on my iPhone...
nope he knew the way.
After lots more slogging I asked:
"are we lost?"
All I got back was a quiet "yes".

My view from behind...

Luckily, the fresh snow and the  woods were magical.
The walk was beautiful and we were enjoying ourselves!
So, once again I suggested which way to go,
as my sense of direction was still intact...
We followed the sound of some ravens, took my advice
 and a while later we out in the open.

Finally, we are out of the woods and can orientate ourselves..

We had turned north in our wonderings
 and had ended up in a completely different direction.

The way home is south...

So, we plowed on, found the cows again,
but never found momma cow and her baby.
So, today we will be out in the woods for another wonderful walk!

On out walk back we saw this eagle:

It was truly a magical day in the woods,
and we get to do it allover again today!

Tuesday 10 April 2012

Good Intentions..

I am running behind in blogging due to a VERY poor Internet connection.
Honestly, it drives me crazy!
There are just way to many days that we cannot connect to the Internet.
I have the very good intention to phone and complain tomorrow!

On Jan 1st, I also had the very good intentions to keep up with the book keeping,
as tax time is here I have been scrambling to get it all done.
I intend, from now on to keep up to date!

We have a really old cow.
She should have been shipped eons ago.
However, despite all those intentions,
it did not happen.
And, now she is pregnant.
So, Eric and I decided to help the poor girl as she was rather thin.
We would move her into the barn,
into the lap of luxury...
warm, plenty of food and water and lots of TLC.
So, I started to move her nicely along to the barn,
when she had a change of heart.
She decided there and then that I was the enemy!
The old bag started charging me and trying to kill me.
I scrambled to safety through the mud, but the old gal decided to keep going.
So, I jumped behind a tree.
When I ventured out again, she put the run on me again.
Eric was having a good laugh sitting up on his safe perch in the tractor.
I gave him the evil eye and he came down to help.
I then decided to whip out my camera and watch him scrambling away from our geriatric raging old cow, all while I was laughing and making pictures!

So, once again despite our well intended actions, the cow is still out in the bush.
I bring her a pail of feed everyday...
I am a slave to a geriatric crazy cow!

And, now a quick update:
  • we have a new student called Barbara, from Switzerland
  • she arrived yesterday and today she had to catch close to 300lambs.
  • we vaccinated all the lambs today.
  • she has muscle ache
  • our twin calf died, despite my hard work to keep her alive.
  • we have another new calf
  • it has a nice natured momma, without murderous intentions
  • two weeks ago we still had all of these:

  • since then another pup joined the jet set club.

  • the great thing is that Minka has gone to another great home!

  • we only have two pups left, Shadow and Zina (pictures to follow soon)
  • Jess is getting a lot of driving as she will be doing her test next month

  • this is scary
  • last year this time we were halter breaking 4H steers,
    this year we are halter breaking 4H lambs

  • Jess was given a horse for her birthday, from a friend not from us!
  • He is black, sweet and bright. His name is Ace (photo's to follow)
And, that just about wraps it up for now.
Hope you all had a great Easter!

Friday 6 April 2012

Earth Day

I am spending the Earth Day weekend in Canmore.
Who is coming to join us?

For more information visit:

Wednesday 4 April 2012


Mud season has started!
I hate mud.
I love filled dugouts.
I hate the sloppy mess.
I love spring.

Sunday 1 April 2012

The chubby club

Lambing is almost done now,
we are just finishing up with the last few stragglers.

And then the waiting game starts for these chubs..

But, the waiting did not take too long as we had our first twin today!
All the cows came to see the new kids on the block..

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