Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Camping Weekend

Two weeks ago we went camping with some friends and their dogs, we've done it for a number of years now, choosing a different provincial park nearly every year. We missed last year though as there just wasn't a weekent that worked for all of us.

This year we went to Presqu'ile Provinical Park. It's one of my favourite parks in Ontario; it's small size makes it perfect for a weekend get-a-way as you don't feel like you have to rush to see the park. We had two camp sites since you are only allowed to have two cars on a site. 

Camp site
Lisa and I got there at check-in time around 2pm, Lyne arrived later at about 4 pm.  Lyne and I were sharing a site so after helping her set up her tent we sat down for supper. Lyne and I have started doing what another friend and I did for our first night supper and that is to have pate, cheeses, cold cuts, baquette, crackers and wine.  It means that the first night you aren't so rushed to get set up and to make dinner.  After supper and an evening stroll, we had the first campfire of the weekend.

The next morning after a plan B (I'll leave that story to Lyne) breakfast, we went to the old lighthouse where we would be able to begin a hike on one of the park trails.  At the lighthouse, we first took the short foot path that takes you down to the shore and seawall. 

Beckett and Keltic on the seawall

After getting directions to the trail head, we headed off to hike the longest trail in the park, which was some 4.5 kilometers. Just as we started we met some people who had just finished the trail, they said it was very buggy but I didn't find it bad at all. Usually when people say that, you find you get eaten alive by black flies or mosquitos and while there were mosquitos, they weren't too bad.

Keltic wishing his Mum would hurry up

Well deserved break

 We went back to the campground for a late lunch after our hike, then Lyne and I went down to the shore so the dogs could have a swim while Lisa took a nap. That evening for supper, I made chicken with dill and white wine with brussel sprouts and potatoes. The recipe came from a blog (see the link below). I would do the chicken again as it was quite easy but I wouldn't use the spice recipe that was used as both Lyne and I found it a bit salty.  I had par cooked the potatoes but hadn't done the brussels, if I did this recipe again I would also par cook the brussels before frying them.  We ended the evening with some games and another campfire.

The next day, we were off hiking again. This time we did the two shortest trails, the Marsh Boardwalk and the Jobe's Woods trail. We did the Marsh Boardwalk in the morning before lunch and then drove the parkway road to the day use area and had a picnic lunch before continuing on to the Jobe's Wood trail.

View of the marsh
Marsh Boardwalk Viewing Tower

On the Jobe's Woods trail
Fairy mushrooms

 We all ended the day with a nap. Dinner on this last night was filet mignon with fried red and yellow peppers with onions and potatoes with sour cream. We drove back to the day use picnic area so we could let the dogs off leash for just a little bit; then back at the campsite, it was time for our final campfire of the weekend. 

The last morning we packed up and headed to a friend's farm so the dogs could have a bit of an off-leash walk. Away from the water, where it had been quite comfortable weather, it was very hot and humid so we only did once around a mown hay field before going into the shade of the barn and chatting for a while,  then we hit the road again this time for home. I got in around 7 pm, I got my little trailer into the garage, the cooler, the dog's stuff and my kit bags out of the car but all the rest of the unpacking waited until the next morning.

A walk down on the farm
More memories of a great camping trip. I have one more camping trip this summer down to Letchworth State Park in New York; I hope that the weather will be as nice as we had for Presqu'ile.  Next year, we are planning to go to Algonquin Provinical Park which is closer and much bigger than Presqu'ile.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Canada Cup 2015

This past weekend we were off to Guelph, Ontario for the Canada Cup event which is held at Royackers Kennels in Arris, Ontario. Canada Cup is a private event that attracts competitors from all over Canada as well as parts of the United States. This year, I heard, there was even a competitor from the Czech Republic. The Canada Cup has two games events that are each a single heat and three championship events, Grand Prix, Jumpers and Steeplechase, that have two heats for each event with the top 45% of dogs moving on to the finals. The top four dogs in each height class win money prizes and really big ribbons.

This was our third year going to the Canada Cup. Some of you might remember that two years ago Beckett qualified to run in the finals of two of the events but I tore a calf muscle in his final Jumpers heat and I was unable to run. Last year we were not fortunate enough to make any of the finals so I was not certain what to expect this year and was thinking that it might be our last Canada Cup.

This year there was a UKI trial the day before Canada Cup was to start so we drove to Guelph on Canada Day so as not to have the long drive and trial on the same day.  We got to Royackers on Friday, 2 July with plenty of time to set up both at the outdoor ring for Canada Cup and in the indoor crating area for the UKI trial.  Royackers put down artificial turf in the indoor arena this year and it was just wonderful to run on, I hope the dogs liked it too.

Beckett and Keltic were both entered in Jumpers and Agility; Keltic in the Beginners level and Beckett in the Champion level. Keltic did rather well but no Q's. I was especially happy that he did 12 weaves and made the entry on both sets of weaves. He did pop but when I put him back in he did all 12, maybe we're seeing some progress. I thought we only had 5 faults for a dropped bar in the Jumpers run but the score sheet said 15; someone told me that they fault the weaves even at Beginners.  They didn't fault the weaves though in the Agility run, where we only had 10 faults for two missed contacts. I guess I have to read the rules before our next UKI trial. Beckett did well getting one Q in Jumpers. It was the first time he had to do a wall jump; I saw him hestitate taking the wall but didn't see exactly what he did to get over it. I was told afterwards he jumped up on the wall but managed to not to take anything down so he was not faulted. A great way to start the weekend.

Canada Cup started on Friday with one of the Games events, a Gamblers. We don't do the Games events. This year had we known the course in advance we might have entered; it was a strategic gamble not a distance gamble so Beckett would have done alright with that. The main Gamble was either four tunnels and a finish jump or three tunnels and the finish jump; if you did all four tunnels you got 25 points and three tunnels got you 15 points. The tunnels were placed around the outside of the ring and the time was tight so you had to really leg it to get them all done.

The first event we were in was Grand Prix 1. It didn't run until about 11 am so I had time to take Beckett and Keltic to play some Frisbee. On Friday and Saturday, we had three runs, Grand Prix, Steeplechase and Jumpers. We had just awesome runs. Over the six events, Beckett had one only bar down; the last bar in the first Jumpers round. Beckett finished 10th and 7th in Steeplechase so I was pretty sure we would make the finals there. He finished 14th and 12th in Grand Prix so pretty steady; some others who had finished well the first day didn't have as much success the second day so we qualified for that final too. In Jumpers, that one bar put us in 16th place; it's time plus faults so fast dogs can make up taking a bar down but Beckett and I have to go clean. I didn't think we could move up enough to make the final. We finished 8th in the second Jumpers heat and I was surprised to see that we made that final too. 

Just flying


On Sunday, the first event, Grand Prix was held indoors. Beckett and I were psyched to run in our first ever Canada Cup final, we, or at least I,  had been waiting for two years. We gave it all we had and ended up in 7th place out of the 12 dogs that were in the final or you could say out of 28 if you included all the dogs in the height class that didn't make the finals.We had a beautifully clear round with a time of 40.53 seconds. Our second final was Steeplechase thought this was our best chance to be in the top four but things didn't go so well. We started fine but had a bar before getting to the weaves to the second time. On the second time through the weaves,Beckett popped his entry. At Canada Cup, this is not faulted but you are losing time. I put Beckett back in but he popped again this time at pole 10, I tried to get him out but he back weaved for 5 faults. We tried the weaves again and again he popped at 10 so I decided to just finish the last three jumps. Not completing the weaves gave us another 20 faults so we finished this event in 11th place. Last up was Jumpers, it was getting rather hot and Beckett was getting tired but we still had a good round and finished in 9th place.

Grand Prix 1

Grand Prix 2

 Video of Beckett's Grand Prix runs

Grand Prix Final
We had a spectacular weekend of agility.  I'll have to really think about whether we go next year or not. Beckett did really well but he still was one of the slower dogs; don't know whether that's him or me.  As much fun as it is, it would be nice to have a chance to make the podium. We shall see....

But to all of you who haven't gone yet to Canada Cup, you need to go at least once!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Catching Up

Wow, it's been awhile since we wrote our last post, we've been busy and I just haven't had the time.

On 16 June, it was Beckett's 6th birthday where does the time go; it just seems like yesterday that I went to Oshawa to pick him up.  We had a low key birthday. Beckett and Keltic both got a special cookie treat and Beckett got three new discs; after all what else do you get a Frisbee-holic.

Beckett with his new disc toys

Beckett with his birthday cookie.
Since our last post we've done some agility trials including our first United Kingdom International (UKI) trial. I entered Beckett in two Speedstakes and the Masters Series event which is one round of Jumpers (with weaves) and one round of Agility (Standard to those who follow AAC).  Beckett got Q's in one of the Speedstakes and in the Jumpers run.  For the Masters series, they also do aggregates of the Agility and Jumpers rounds and the dogs that place first and second in their height class get a bye to the Masters series finals at the Canadian Open (the National event). Beckett placed third; it didn't really matter as we can't go to this year's Nationals anyway. Keltic, I just put in Speedstakes events since it was the only event that didn't have weaves. He did good but had three bars down in the first run and one bar in the second. I could hear him give a little grunt each time he jumped so that pushed me to finally make the decision to put him in a lower height class. We had another UKI trial right before our Canada Cup weekend (more on that later) and will have another later this month.

Keltic also had his first K9 Kup event on 28 June. K9 Kup is the agility house league in our area to get young dogs or dogs new to agility used to a trial environment. Keltic ran pretty well even in the pouring rain but none of his runs counted towards the team's placements as he now gets handicapped for having his Starter's title. He missed his dog walk contact in the Standard run which was otherwise clean. He did had a great opening in Gamblers getting the mini gamble and he also did get the main Gamble. The main Gamble was jump, jump, tunnel and I doubt I could have called him off the tunnel though so good thing it was that easy. We had a 40 second opening and 20 seconds to do the main Gamble, Keltic's time was just over 48 seconds. We were in an absolutely perfect position when the buzzer went and Keltic was done the Gamble in a flash.  We were clean in Jumpers only because the judge wasn't sure if he did the tire or not; he didn't. This was the first event he did back at the lower jump height so not sure why he didn't do the tire; it was probably harder to go between the tire and the standard than just doing the tire at 10". I'll have to lower my tire in the backyard and get him working on it again.

On the home front, I'm having a sun room built but so far the project hasn't progressed all that much. The contractors parked their trailer in my driveway on 8 June but since it was pouring rain, that's all that got done that day. The rest of the week was rainy and my contractor and his partner got sick so nothing got done the first week. The second week, the old deck came up and the technoposts for the foundation went in, but they revised where the technoposts were to be placed so we needed new drawings from the engineers before anything else could be done. Those new drawings took nearly a week. After we got the new drawings, the beams and joists went in and that's where we still are today as we are waiting for the city to approve the new drawings and we can't go any further until the foundation is inspected so the floor can't be insulated or closed in until that's done. This four to six week job will likely now take 8 to 10 weeks so it doesn't look like the sun room won't get much use this summer.

The beams on the technopost foundation

The joists are in.
The sun room will have tile floors and a tongue in groove pine vaulted ceiling with a fan and light. There will be three double (full screen) slider windows at the end away from the house, a double hung window near the sliding door, a fixed transom window above the slider window at the far end and two skylights in the roof to make sure we still get as much light in the dining room as possible. We will just be installing a storm door just beside where the double hung window will be so not quite mid way as I didn't want to break up what's to be the main seating space. Hopefully the city will approve the revised drawings soon as they've almost had them longer now than they had the first drawings which we submitted with the permit application.

It sure will be nice to have a space where I can wipe the dogs feet before they come into the house. It will also be a great space for brushing them too. And, of course, for it's real purpose sitting out in the evenings without getting eaten alive by mosquitos.