Sunday, September 27, 2020

Masters Jumpers Dog of Canada

 Well, the little dog who could, came out to play agility this weekend. We went to our first agility trial since the lockdown this Saturday. There were many precautions like you had to wear a mask except when you were in your own crating area or when you were running your course, no spectators were allowed in the park, and there was hand sanitizer everywhere.

The trial site was over an hour away, an hour and forty minutes according to my GPS so we left the house at 5:40 am as our first run was to start with the walk-through at 8:15 am. Well, there's no traffic at that time of day and we arrived at ten after 7 but that gave me time to leisurely set up and to walk all the dogs.  The weather forecast was for a sunny and warm day so I just brought my beach shelter and sport umbrella.

I had entered Keltic in two Jumpers runs and one Standard run. First up was Jumpers, he needed one qualifying score for his Master Jumpers title. I liked how the first course walked and I thought that if Keltic would just run we would have a good chance but since we hadn't run since March, other than doing the Fun At Home League that the AAC had started, I wasn't sure what he would do.

I wasn't sure I could lead out with the tire as the first obstacle, so I didn't; but I still got to the end of the tunnel before Keltic came out and so got my cross in. The run was going really well until the tunnel at 14, I heard Keltic fall inside the tunnel, I was sure he was going to come back out the same way he went in but he didn't, he just came out walking.  He looked fine and when I called to him he started to run again so we went on to finish. Keltic did the course in 41.3 seconds, the allowed course time for medium veterans was 50 seconds, so there it was his Masters Jumpers title. There's no video of the run since I didn't want to give my phone to anyone.  

Our next run was also a Jumpers, again Keltic ran really well. I was late doing a front cross on jump 12 and Keltic came around with me but we were well away from obstacle 13 so once I got him back on the right side of me, we finished the run for another qualifying score, a "Q" to spare. Keltic finished this course in 44.46 seconds, the allowed course time was 55 seconds. He actually made the Medium Regular time of 46 seconds but then again he's only jumping 8" rather than 16".  I still thought he was running well. I had been thinking of retiring him, maybe all he needed was a rest. Anyway, there are no indoor trials this winter so we'll see what happens next Spring.  

Our last run was a Standard, Keltic again ran well and I was really happy with the run as he did all of his weaves and never argued about doing the entry, unfortunately we had an off course tunnel.

So the dog I thought would never get a Masters title, now has two.  We'll see what next year brings.

This trial was hosted by the Hilltop Agility Club in memory of one of their life members, Pat DeRonde, who sadly passed away in July.

Liam and Teddy had a good time walking around and enjoying hotdogs and other treats. Both were very good in their crates. Liam enjoyed meeting many other dogs and even some puppies. We had an awesome autumn day, it was even a little too hot by lunch time, but that's far better than being cold and wet.  One more trial this weekend and that's it for 2020. There's no titles on the line so we'll just go and have some fun. Our runs are later in the day and the trial site is closer so it's not another early morning.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

COVID Camping

Well, instead of traveling out West for agility nationals and to visit with family, I'm taking a few camping trips close to home. The first one was just to a provincial park called Rideau River, that's only about an hour away from my house. Two of my sisters and their husbands also joined me.  We had three sites side by side.  The middle one that my youngest sister had was quite private as there wasn't a site directly opposite it on the other side of the loop. We had our campfires there and most of our meals. My site was a corner site, I booked it so that if I wasn't able to back in I could just drive through.  I was able to get my trailer backed in; it just took awhile, like half an hour.

We were only spending two nights so I arrived just after 1 pm, if your site is available they will let you check in early. We all had a hand in planning the meals. I did dinner the first night. It was garlic Dijon salmon with shrimp, boiled potatoes with dill, garlic butter and sour cream and a salad. I had planned a dessert too but we were all full just with the meal. Even though we've had dry weather, there's been just enough rain that there wasn't a fire ban so we enjoyed a pleasant evening around the campfire.

The next day breakfast was ham and cheese croissants, my sister Juanita was in charge of both breakfasts.  After walking the dogs, we ladies went for a swim to cool off.  The showers at all provincial parks are closed this season.  There's not too much at Rideau River but it does have a nice little sand beach and picnic area.  The beach was only about 750 m from our camp sites along a shore line trail. Steve stayed back at camp with the dogs. After our swim, Maureen and Steve drove to the nearby town for ice and bug spray as they had run out and the mosquitoes had been bad the first night. Lunch when they got back from town was naan bread pizzas. 


Naan bread pizza
A friend who lives close to the park came over in the afternoon to visit with us and we just spent the afternoon imbibing and chatting.  Maureen and Steve were responsible for supper that night and they made a foil packet sausage and vegetable dinner.  I put together the dessert that I planned too; it was a foil packet peach and pineapple upside down cake served with ice cream and whipped cream.

Camping dessert
Again we enjoyed a lovely camp fire. The weather the last morning started out beautifully; they were calling for rain, we thought maybe the rain had bypassed our location but then the clouds rolled in and just as we were sitting down to eat our breakfast quesadillas and sausage, the rain started.

Evening fire

Rainy breakfast
 Luckily it didn't last long and it was still warm so things dried out fairly well before we had to pack up.  I had a few things that were damp and bit sandy that had to be cleaned off once I got home.

After the rain
I think this was Teddy's first camping trip, I think he enjoyed it.  The next time we'll find a trail and take a nice long walk, he'll enjoy that.

The next trip is to Murphy's Point Provincial Park which is just a little further away. It's bigger and has some nice trails and walking paths we can do.  There's also an old mine; I doubt the mine will be open since the parks are keeping most things closed, even boat rentals, but maybe you can still walk around the grounds.

Thursday, July 23, 2020


I guess you really don't need things to help you remember but I can't help but put together a few things in remembrance of the dogs I have loved and lost.  In addition to having a memory stone, I also have a memory box for each of mine. It started because when Duffy and Gryffon passed their ashes were returned to me in a plastic bag wrapped in tissue in a gift box. At the time, photo boxes were easy to find so Duffy's, Gryffon's and Ceilidh's boxes were store bought. I glued on one of their metal dog tags to Gryffon's and Duffy's, Ceilidh's came with the flowers. Gryffon's tag says Born to Be Wild and Duffy's says Most Loved Dog.

Well, that was in the days of film and printed pictures; so when Tucker passed I wasn't able to find a photo box as photographs were mostly digital. My dear friend and neighbour, Julie made me a box for Tucker. For Tucker's box, I bought a metal dog tag that has a heart with wings and his name is engraved on the heart. It's the second box from the left in the picture above.

Julie was one of the people I messaged when I was waiting at the vet's office with Beckett on that sad day.  She offered to make me a box for her "little buddy".  It took me a while to get everything together. Today I went and had some photos printed at Walmart to finish off the memory box.  In Beckett's box are his CKC registration, his Agility Trial Champion of Canada medallion, his baby collar, two other special collars, his garden flag and a little brown paper treat bag from his 9th birthday shopping trip.

CKC Registration, ATChC Medallion

Garden Flag

First collar, Gentleman in Red and Black Sheep collars

Treat bag
Beckett's box is done with a beautiful inlay around the lid.  I almost didn't want to put anything on it but in the end I did; Beckett's box has his Momma's Boy dog tag on the corner.

The picture on the lid of Beckett's box is from his second try at herding.  He passed the first time round but there were no photos, at least no good ones taken that first time.  The second time he went, a photographer, Erika had a photo shoot at the same time as the herding test.  Beckett always looked either so serious or very focused in most of his pictures, this one shows his joy. It's one of my favourite pictures of him. It's how I'll always remember him.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Flavourful Friday

It's a Flavourful Friday post of Thursday night's supper.  I had been planning on just having bacon and eggs for supper last night, when I noticed that I had asparagus that was getting a little limp in the fridge.  So I went on the internet and searched egg and asparagus recipes and found this: Bacon, Egg and Asparagus Pizza.

I used a pre-made whole grain pizza crust. I didn't have shallots so I finely chopped some onion and added some red pepper. I think next time I would add some spices to the egg mixture, maybe cayenne pepper or a mild or medium curry or toss the vegetables in balsamic vinegar as I found the pizza rather bland. I put some hot sauce on mine after it was cooked and that tasted great. 

But it was a quick easy, somewhat healthy meal, so I'll likely make it again sometime.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Behind the Scenes

So here's a little behind the scenes look at a virtual choir.  The link above is to a video explaining about the summer music festival and Choir! Choir! Choir!'s participation. Daveed also talked about another song Across the Universe we recorded as a virtual choir.  It's another Beetles song that has a chorus that goes: "Nothing's Going to Change My World".  We have already recorded that song but it has not yet been released, so I might be in another upcoming video.  It was recorded before the tragic events surrounding George Floyd.  Daveed and Nobu decided that when what we need right now is change that it might not be the right time for this song.

To be part of the virtual choir, you need to rehearse and then video yourself singing.  Daveed and Nobu put out guide tracks and instructions.  The link to the instructions are below but you don't have to read them unless you really want to. I rehearsed a couple hours total before I recorded my video submission. My set up was my cell phone on a tripod recording my video submission and a tablet paired with Bluetooth wireless headphones so I could watch, listen and sing with the guide track.  This way the only audio on my video submission is just me singing.

I sang to the Part A Guide track, there is a Part B which is higher but I found it was a little more difficult and I had problems reaching a few of the notes.  You also download the lyrics although this time they had them on screen in the guide tracks as well. Kostis Maraveyas sang the left hand side. We, the choir, sang the right hand side and everyone sang the lyrics in the middle.  

I recorded my video about a half dozen  times; every time either I messed up the words or my breathing was off.  I still wasn't really happy with my video but my voice was getting a little raspy so I just selected the best one of those I had done.  You'll see in my submission that I count in and clap; the clap, in particular,  helps them to align the tracks as the clap creates a sharp spike on the audio track.

If you watched my submission, you've heard that I'm not a great singer so it's a good thing I'm part of a larger choir. The link below is bookmarked to our video of the Choir! Choir! Choir! virtual choir.  

Finally, I've also added a zoom video with Daveed, Nobu and Kostis. Kostis says "when we're together, there is no worst singer".