Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Big Ten!

On Sunday, 16 Jun 2019, it was Beckett's tenth birthday. Just where does the time go? It seems like yesterday that I went to get him and then on Labour Day Monday, his very first weekend with me, ended up spending five hours with him at the animal hospital as he broke his leg playing with another dog.

Gotcha Day

First Day at home

With his splint

Thanksgiving weekend 2009
Beckett has been an amazing dog.  He loves to play Frisbee and fetch and has excelled at agility. He has gone beyond what I would have dreamed to achieve. I'm sure if he had a better handler he could have made it to international competitions. He's starting to slow down now, he enjoys his naps but is still ready to go for walks and play Frisbee.

I had a party for him on Saturday. The people had ice cream sundaes and the dogs had cookies and frozen yogurt.

Birthday boy

Vanilla dog cookies


Party Guests

Frozen yogurt

Ice cream Sundae

I know that likely we will not have another 10 years but I sure hope we have many more birthdays to come.

Happy Birthday Beckett boy!!!

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Leader of the Band

Daniel H Stewart, Apr 1957

Awhile ago I wrote about stories my mother told me and I thought I would do one about my dad too, except when I tried to think of stories about his life that he had told me I realized there weren't that many. That's kind of sad.  And most of the stories I do know my mother told me.

My dad was a quiet person but he was always there for us especially when it came to driving us around.  I was on a swim team in my teenage years and parents often had to drive us to swim meets. My dad drove so often that once our coach said and not Mr. Stewart again.

My dad was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba but was raised in New Brunswick, mainly around Saint John and Hampton. His mother moved back east with my dad and his brother when she left her husband. My mum said that they lived on the charity of family for quite some time.  As kids we often said we wanted to live on a farm but mum said dad wouldn't like it as once he had been kicked by a horse named One Apple, since the horse only had one eye.

Danny and brother Alex

Danny on a pony

Danny with pet rabbit

Danny with his mother and father.

My dad left school in Grade 8, I'm not even sure he finished the grade. I think he worked at a grocery store for awhile and at Ganong's candy factory on the loading dock where he said he carried large bags of sugar.  He joined the Ground Observer Corps and spent sometime in British Columbia. He joined the RCAF as a plotter and later was an Air Defence Technician (often called a radar operator or scope dope)

Danny Apr 1950
Cpl DH Stewart

Inspection Oct 1958, Dan Stewart on the phone.

Dad loved music especially classical and opera, my mum said it was surprising as he didn't likely have much exposure to that type of music in his youth. He loved Pavarotti, Josh Groban but especially he loved Sarah Brightman, who he always referred to as his "girlfriend".  He also loved planes, everywhere we would go he would take pictures of any planes that he saw, he had a photo album just of pictures of planes. I'm sure if he had gone further in school he might have tried to be a pilot.

But how I remember my dad was on our family trips. He did all the trip planning and most all of the cooking, He was so organized about our trips that he even made a cabinet for the back of our Volkswagon bus and that was the pantry. 

This is Us!
We took many a family trip and, of course, there were the postings what with dad being in the military, when I was young those moves happened about every three years. In his quiet way, Dad was always the leader of our little band.

Happy Father's Day Dad! I miss you!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

RPod Adventure - Regional Agility Championships


For my second RPod adventure, I headed off to our Ontario East Regional Agility Championship. This trip I did all by myself, hitched up and towed the RPod to Harrowsmith, Ontario. I took the secondary roads rather than the highway so it was also a nice scenic drive.  I traveled with the battery disconnected and all of the water and anything else that could be was frozen so that I didn't need the fridge on either. The trip went well but the bit of trouble happened on arrival at the trial campground site.  We have had so much rain this spring that when I drove on the field to set up the trailer, my Ford Escape got stuck in the mud.  I waited 3 and half hours for CAA to send the tow truck. They cancelled the first call since I don't have an RV package. Once the driver did show up, I asked him if he could get the trailer out too and I would pay extra. The tow truck driver managed to get the trailer hitched up again; I had unhitched as another competitor was going to try with his truck but he couldn't get in to hitch up either. The tow truck driver pulled both my car and trailer out at the same time, when I asked how much I owed him, he just put out his hand and said to have a nice day.

I got myself set up, but this time I parked my little Pod on the asphalt. I didn't have the wheel up on the Lynx levelers properly and when I was putting down the tongue jack the trailer rolled back a bit but the chocks stopped the trailer but now the tongue jack was on the ground.  This caused a little problem when I went to hitch up again as not I couldn't get the receiver high enough to get the ball under it. Another competitor helped me out, he put two large pieces of wood under the tongue with the jack as high as it would go, then cranked the tongue jack back up until we could get some blocks of wood under it.

So I've learned some valuable lessons on this trip, the Ford Escape does not go off road and make sure the trailer is even up on the levelers and well chocked before unhitching. I also learned not to cook inside without the fan on.

I used a solar panel on this trip and it did work well, keeping the battery charged. I used the lights quite sparingly but after all I was only at the trailer in the evening.  The propane worked for the fridge and I even drove home with the fridge on propane.

Beckett and Keltic did well at the championships and both qualified for Nationals. You need 350 points to qualify. Keltic got 411 points and Beckett got 396.  Beckett came third in his height division 8" double drop veterans and Keltic came fourth in his height class 12" veterans.

8" Double Drop Veterans Podium

12" Veterans Podium
I almost thought I might have to pull Beckett, on the first day he refused a tunnel in Jumpers, twice and nearly walked the course finishing nearly 12 seconds over time.  I had him massaged by one of the canine health practitioners and he ran much better after a couple massages and an ice pack on his shoulder on Saturday night. In his last event, also a Jumpers, he ran clean and was 12 seconds under time.

Keltic had his first ever clean Masters Standard round. I thought he had missed the dog walk contact but was surprised to see no faults recorded on his score sheet. This clean run nearly 24 seconds under the standard course time was only good enough for 4th place in the class, that's how tough the competition was.

Beckett with his ribbons and prizes

Keltic with his ribbons and prizes

Competitors swag
The boys got nice prize bags for placing, but I think they just enjoy the treats.  The competitors got a nice bag too and it had a collapsible drinking bowl, treat bag and gel pack in it as well as some other small items and some roll over treats for the dogs.

So that's Regionals over for 2019. I wasn't planning on doing Regionals next year as it will be further away from me but I heard a rumour that next years Nationals may be down east; if that's the case, we might just have to try and qualify again next year. This year even though Nationals is in Ontario, we won't be going; I will be going down east to the Arsenault Family Reunion.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

RPod Adventures

Last year, late in the summer, I bought a new-to-me RPod travel trailer. I had hoped to get out one weekend before putting it into storage but that didn't happen. I did get a chance to take it out on the road just to see how it towed with my Escape and to practice backing up; thanks to my brother-in-law.

This spring after having the RV dealer dewinterize it and replace the battery I went and got it out of storage. I managed to hitch it up, tow it home and even get it backed into the driveway all by myself. It only took four times around the block and multiple tries to get it in the driveway.

Two of my sisters, a brother-in-law and I went on a check-out camping trip to one of the campgrounds in the Parks of the St Lawrence called Riverside Cedar.  Since we went on the holiday Monday, we very nearly had the campground to ourselves.

Above is my RPod with my sister's tent set up behind me.  The photo below is my youngest sister's and her hubby's little trailer with mine in the background. The weather was somewhat chilly and windy but it kept the bugs down that's for sure.  We stayed three nights. I was able to try out almost everything in the trailer except for the AC and the furnace, neither of which were needed.

One of the reasons I chose this campground as it is near Upper Canada Village and the Crysler Farm Battlefield both of which are dog friendly, so on our second full day we went to visit both sites. The dogs can't go into any of the furnished the historical buildings but usually they will let them into any of the barns as long as the dogs don't disturb any of the animals.  They were also permitted in the blacksmith's and the woodworking shop, but only because I think it wasn't at all crowded when we were there.

Crysler Farm Battlefield was the location of a decisive battle in the War of 1812, 400 British soldiers, Canadian militia and natives repelled nearly 8000 US troops.

We also did all the usual things while camping, enjoying good food along with a few drinks around the campfire.

Shrimp and asparagus

Beckett in the sun set

 We had a gorgeous  moon rise over the St Lawrence on the second night. The photos from my camera just don't do it justice; you'll just have to believe me that it was spectacular.

Although it was a tad chilly, we only had a bit of rain and mostly it was overnight; so my first RPod adventure went pretty well.  I drove down and back without any problems and even managed to get the trailer back in my driveway with only two trips around the block. I'm off tomorrow to our agility regional championships where I'll be dry camping so I hope the solar panel will keep the battery charged and that I don't run out of propane. If all goes well, I'll be heading off on a long journey down east in August, I've booked the first two campsites with pull thrus so that I don't have to back the trailer.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Happy Mother's Day in Heaven

Mum with all her girls

Anne - Reflection
I made this video last year after hearing Ed Sheeran's Supermarket Flowers; I did make a few minor changes to it.  This song will forever remind me of packing away my mother's clothes and belongings at the nursing home; so few material things were left once we had sorted through her things.

But she left us with many memories, she lived a life full of love and still lives on in our memories. I'm still scanning family photos, at least the ones with people I know in them. These are just a few I have scanned of my mother.

Bourton-on the-Water, England, 1990

Anne with brother Jimmy, Fall 1956

Anne with her mother Louise Arsenault Pineau

Family trips in the Volkswagen van is how I remember us. We had many summer camping and road trips in that van. Mum and Dad always made them special.

Family Trips