Saturday, January 30, 2010

Another Weekend Snow

We're getting a really beautiful snow here today, even though it was predicted to go farther south.

I'm sure the regular readers of this blog (thank you, by the way!) are tired of snow pictures, but I had to snap a few more today.

Truthfully, I figured I'd be tired of snow by now myself, but once it starts falling, both Winnie and I are glad to see it.

She will play in it till she's shivering and her coat is crusted with ice, and I still have to make her come inside!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Asking the Internet for advice? Am I nuts?

Last night I was, not surprisingly, watching TV and snacking. Upon dropping a pistachio nut on the floor, Winnie very helpfully got up and ate it, shell and all. Not alarming, certainly. Doubtful it would appear in a list of the top 30 concerning things our dogs have eaten. But I thought I had remembered hearing something about nuts being toxic and since I had my laptop on my laptop, I did a quick Google: "my dog ate a pistachio."

While some of the search results were responses to inquiries by people whose dogs ate large amounts of pistachios, it's comical to me how directly contradicting the results are. Below is a sampling of the opinions found on just the first two pages of search results:

“Pistachios contain high amounts of phosphorus which can cause bladder stones in dogs.”

“He should be fine.”

“extremely poisonous.”

“Dogs can just about eat anything.”

“my dog ate one and almost died.”

“Pistachio nuts naturally contain aflatoxin, a fungal Aspergillus strain.”

“they contain an unknown kind of toxin.”

“causes liver degeneration/failure/cancer and possibly liver necrosis.”

“my dog eats them, and she is fine.”

“Call a vet.”

“he will be just fine.”

“They have been known to cause symptoms as severe as seizuring and hind end paralysis.”

“Pistachio nuts have never been shown to cause neurologic signs.”

“I would get him to your vet ASAP.”

“Pistachio nuts are not toxic to dogs.”

“Pistachios can be highly toxic to dogs.”

And FINALLY, one voice of reason slipped through the web of opinions:

“Call the animal poison control instead of asking strangers on the internet. Their phone number is 1-888-426-4435.”

Well by this time both Winnie and I had lost interest in the exercise. She is of course fine, no signs of paralysis or liver necrosis. But that is a good phone number to have on hand.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Great idea from Regal Dog Food!

We've been feeding both Winnie and Gromit the same Regal dog food for several months and are very happy with it. The price is a lot lower than we're used to (we switched from Eagle Pack when that became difficult to find around here), plus the store I get it from has a card where you buy 12 bags and your 13th is free.

Anyway today I got a bag and was given this complimentary Travel Bite bar. I had never seen them before but I think it's just an awesome idea! It is a pack of two bars that are made from the same formula as the dog food. Each bar is equivalent to a cup of dry food. The guy next to me in line gets a different Regal formula and the bars are color coded the same as the bags.

But for an overnight trip or short road trip, I just love the concept! I'll be picking up some more just to have on hand.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Flood Photos

I got some pictures of the high water this evening, and tried to find some 'before' pictures for comparison...

These two match up nicely.

Here's a view of our house from across the river. In the bottom left of this picture you can see the shelter.

Here is a closeup of those luxurious accommodations at the riverbank.

And here is that shelter today! (I know I should have brought the kayak up, but I had no idea it would get this high!)

Another view of the shelter from farther away. Those stairs in the lower right, there are I think four steps underwater.

I put this in there because this is about as low as the river ever gets. You can see the bottom of the shelter on the left part of the photo. The river today is about eighteen feet higher than it is in this picture!


The river is rising fast! Massive rain on top of saturated ground is sending a stunning volume of water down the Potomac.

This chart shows that with data collected over 113 years, on January 26th the highest volume recorded at Point of Rocks (just downstream of us) is 72,500 cubic feet per second. At 9:30 this morning it was at 95,600 cfs and rising fast! It's already above flood stage and not expected to crest until tonight.

I will head down there tonight and take some pictures. (Don't worry, I am NOT bringing Winnie down there!)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Warm Winter Days

Maybe I'm getting old, but this winter I've had a hard time with the cold.

I'm usually not like that. Maybe it was the 20" of snow in December, I don't know. But it feels like it's been cold and windy a lot this year.

So when we get an unseasonably warm day and it falls on a weekend, it's a real treat. I was very productive, splitting firewood and doing other chores. I did some work on my chainsaw sculpture of Winnie, which you can see in the background here. It definitely looks best from a distance!

Anyway, after working hard all day, we did what we often do - sat on the platform out back and watched the river roll by. And, of course, celebrated the hard work with a couple beers.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Photography of Tosh Brown

As long as I'm on the topic of writing I wish I had written, I should mention these photos I wish I had taken. I found Mouthful of Feathers through Tosh Brown's web site. Needless to say, I'm a big and instant fan of the talent showcased in both of these sites. Thanks to Tosh for allowing me to post a couple of his great images here, but go to his site for more!

Mouthful of Feathers


I came across the wonderful blog Mouthful of Feathers yesterday and I haven't been able to stop reading it. A few examples of the superb writing that got my attention...

We hunt the fringes, the transitions, the anomalies. We gravitate to this without much conscious thought; pulled to these points at the extremity of an amorphous compass by the lodestone of experience. You could say we’re merely following the dog, but there is more to it than that. The dog is pulled to these places as the birds are pulled as we are pulled – the collision of impulse and instinct between three separate species.
* * * *
I had seen him hunt and I knew it was there and that he’d burn hot and long and get it done. And so it was and then all four dogs were out on the ground–a huge canvas of grays and browns and four white setters dancing across it like notes on sheet music. Glory.
* * * *

A decade gone by and a bird dog buried at the base of a chukar cliff in another state, a place where chukar walk across his grave and his name is carved in soft yellow sandstone above. Now his grandson at my heel, then cast out into the thick of it–the old cold lava, the junipers, the sage, the cheatgrass greening in December sunlight and a fresh-dead partridge in that same frayed-by-years bird vest. Dead and warm against the small of my back and a honed-hard, bones-and-balls white setter out in it, after them.
* * * *

I didn’t care about the bird – I just didn’t want this moment to end. I wanted us both to go on standing there, motionless, till darkness descended or the storm cut loose overhead. These are the things that will nurse me through the months of waiting. Waiting for it to all start again – these all too rare perfect moments, the many less than perfect ones, the sore feet, the hours and days with an empty game bag. All of it.
* * * *

He was three years old when I bought him and he came with that name. He never found many birds, but one day (before lunch) he killed a baby goat, got sprayed by a skunk, and ate two bobwhites that he neither pointed or retrieved. He ran off the first six times I let him out of the box. On one of those jaunts he was gone overnight. The next morning I found him snoozing in a hog trap where he had eaten and rolled in a vile mixture of rotten feed corn, molasses, and catfish guts. I eventually traded him for a cast iron smoker pit on wheels.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Grooming Table

Winnie got a bath today. She needed some additional trimming and clipping too, so I found this convenient grooming table in the garage! Thought it made for a funny picture.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Very Special HWV in the Czech Republic

I love this story (and the great photos!) of a truly magnificent Wirehaired Vizsla from the Czech Republic. Thanks to Zsofia at Zöldmáli Kennel for this write up and for producing some of the finest Wirehaired Vizslas in the world.

Zöldmáli Kalász and his owner, Karel Kolar, are doing a great job building the reputation of the Wirehaired Vizslas in the Czech Republic! Kalász was not only awarded Vizsla of the year in 2008 in show and work, but went on to become the first Czech HWV participating in the MKP (Memorial Karl Podhajsky).

MKP is the annual main international all-around competition in the Czech Republic, and is considered the biggest and most prestigous competition in Europe. A dog can only particpate once in a lifetime in this competition, and only 10 foreign and 10 Czech dogs can participate. Nomination, particularly for the Czech entries, is extremely difficult and most Czech dog trainers aspire for a lifetime to have their dogs nominated. Kalász was the only HWV there and possibly the only ever HWV from the Czech Republic in the competition.

Despite very bad luck in the second day's last task, the forest track of a fox - Kalász made a mistake coming out of the forest with the fox a bit further from the owner Karel where the crowd was standing, and Karel had to give two oral commands to help the dog find him - Kalász still finished in 6th place.

Only 9 dogs finished the competitions, the others failed and Kalász was the highest placed non-GSP (the first 5 places were won by GSPs, and the 8th by a pointer). Two Smooth Haired vizslas participated as well, but both failed. In the Czech Republic, GSPs are still the most popular pointing dogs, so about 70-80% of the participants on such competitions are GSPs.

Congratulations to Karel Kolar and Kalász for such a great accomplishment!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Please vote for Winnie!!

I've entered Winnie in the Field and Stream Gun Dog Photo Contest, and would greatly appreciate if some of Winnie's friends could GO HERE AND VOTE FOR WINNIE'S PICTURE! I actually entered three photos, but this one is my favorite, so I'm asking friends to vote for the photo you see below. It's on page 11, third column from the left and toward the bottom of the page.

Thanks in advance for taking the time to vote for Winnie!