Saturday, September 30, 2006

In Denver

I got into Denver this afternoon after an uneventful plane ride. The temperature was the shocker as it was 81 today. I met up with the other judges and went to dinner at a wonderful lodge/country club near where Buffalo Bill is buried. The restaurant has a panoramic view of the valley and Denver. Claire Senfield judged today and Greg Lynch did Sweepstakes. Tomorrow Barb Nowak and I will be the judges. It is supposed to be in the upper 80's here tomorrow so I suspect I'll get a little sun. I'm looking forward to the day and seeing some nice dogs.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Heading to Denver

The LRC of Greater Denver specialty show is this weekend and I'm heading out there to judge Sweepstakes for Labradors on Sunday. I really like Denver and enjoyed spending some time there at a meeting a couple of years ago. I'm not sure that I'll get into the city but will at least get to see a bit of the mountains in the distance. It should be a fun time. The entry for Labradors is nice and the weather is supposed to be delightful with highs in the upper 70's and lows in the upper 40's. I'm ready for cool crisp fall air.

Our row last night on the Harbor was a bit tough as the seas were choppy and there were only four of us rowing. We rowed for a good 1.5 hour through the chop. I loved it! I really enjoy the differnt styles of rowing. The Dragon boat "chop" on Mondays and the single oar stroke on Wednesday. Then for fun, there is the traditional single rowing shell that I have. It really is good excercise but sometimes tough on the hands. I have more calluses than ever!

The puppies are really coming along and looking wonderful. Amelia and Aggie are carbon copies of their mother. I am excited about showing them this fall and winter. They should be fun, albeit a bit wild!

Hope that everyone has a good weekend and that my plane trips are uneventful!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

More bronze Labrador statues being cast

I received word from Leslie Hutto that she has had a lot of demand for the Labrador bronze that she cast using Attikonak Get Off My Cloud as her model. This lovely statue shows the Labrador in action. I'm providing a link from Gunilla Ek's site as she has kindly included photos of the sculpture on her web site: The traditional cast bronze is the one that Leslie is having a recast of 10 pieces done. Contact her for more information. She will be exhibiting at the Labrador National Specialty and has shown her work at various galleries throughout the country.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Great news on OFA results

On Friday, I received paperwork from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, an organization that rates the hips, elbows and a host of other congenital occurrences in dogs. Both Emily and Barrett received certification that their hip joints were OFA rated as Good and that their elbows were OFA rated as Normal. That is great news for us as we have been very lucky to have a lot of soundness with our dogs. Eye checks are done annually for the entire kennel and we also use the Optigen test to determine whether a particular dog carries the gene for Progressive Retinal Atrophy. There are a lot of clearances that can be done with Labradors, if one desires. We try to recognize that clearances are a tool to be used in making breeding decisions. It is also very important though to keep in mind that one can go down a very winnowing pathway trying to only keep a dog that is "clean". There are no "clean" lines because recessives are lurking in the background. We do the best that we can to preserve the type that we like and to have sound dogs with good temperament. That is a goal that we strive to achieve.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Gabby has been bred

Barrett became interested in Gabby and Gabby also became interested in Barrett so a breeding was done yesterday and today. I'm not sure whether the timing was good or not but we will know in about 30 days.

I've had good news with OFA on the dogs since Emily, Lily and Barrett have all come back with OFA Good for hips and normal readings for the elbows. Thank goodness! It is always great when those are over with.

Today was spent painting the walls in the addition and varnishing the walls. I was dead tired after working on that since about 10 AM this morning. The walls look great as do the doors. Tomorrow will be more of the same. We are hoping to get the floors done in a couple of weeks. Another busy Saturday!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Anniversary of Hugo

Today is the anniversary of Hurricane Hugo who roared into the South Carolina coast in 1989. We had just moved into our house in November 1988. We stayed during Hugo and it was a truly nerve wracked night. We had no idea that it would be such a dangerous storm. We knew that we were in for a long night when all the radio and TV stations went out. The rain poured through the ridge vent in the roof. The wind howled and there was all matter of debris hitting the house and roof. It was night so we couldn't see out (luckily). After a very long night, we finally saw the dawn and went outside to see every leaf stripped from the trees and debris everywhere. Luckily none of the trees were down but it was difficult to tell what was what. The smell of the damaged trees was strong. We had no electricity for 23 days which seemed like forever. We had a kindly neighbor who passed around a generator so that we could keep our freezer and regrigerator going. Finally, we were able to purchase a generator. It took us 3 days to get to Maybank Highway because we had to cut our way out. Nothing looked the same. The landscape was a mass of downed trees, limbs, and debris. I'm very thankful that we were spared a lot of damage. We never lost a shingle and no water came near our yard. We were indeed much more fortunate than our neighbors to the north of Charleston. There people lost their lives due to storm surge. Let's hope that we never see another major storm such as Hugo.

Today is also the autumnal equinox. Fall is definitely in the air. While not as celebrated as the vernal equinox, fall is definitely my favorite season. I'm looking forward to the cool mornings and the crisp days.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Not much interest

Gabby is in season so I thought that perhaps I might breed her this fall for her last time. Then I thought about the dormitory affect. I really want to breed Clara who is has never been bred and is nearing 4 years of age. For sure if I breed Gabby then Clara will come in season. In fact, the entire place will probably be one screaming mass of hormones. So far, none of the boys are much interested in Gabby so perhaps she either isn't ready or is already out. Timing is everything. I also don't want to be having puppies due when I am scheduled for a meeting out of town, or judging, or around major holidays! I will attempt another playtime for her with Barrett and see what happens.
So far so good on the other girls--no one appears to be coming in yet.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Another happy home

We get a lot of requests for older dogs or junior dogs. These dogs usually work great for people who don't want to go through the puppy phase. They also make great companions for families with young children. Sometimes it is hard to find the right match. We've only had a couple of dogs that have "ping ponged" and it is usually due to not having the right dog for the right family. In one case, I don't think that any dog would have worked.

Sometimes personality of the dog just isn't suitable for active families. We had a junior dog that tended to be tentative and a bit shy. He especially didn't like a lot of loud noises. Because of this untypical Labrador temperament, it was a challenge to find the right home for him. He is doing well in a home without children and where his owner spends a lot of time with him. Being a calm dog who is very smart, he is very attached to his owner and is very good as a house companion. It is always a joy when the right dog is placed with the right owner. It is always worth the wait to find that right home.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Taking photos of dogs

I read on a popular Labrador list that one of the sure ways to have an arguement is to ask your husband to take photos of the dogs. Well today, we took photos of 8 of them in order to update our web page and get a photo of Barrett for an ad. Remarkably, Charlie and I got through the ordeal in good humor. It was only trying for a few of the dogs who were so happy that all four feet didn't touch the ground. Then there was the cat factor in which Abraham decides to tease the dogs by lurking just close enough to wreak havoc. The wonder of digital cameras is that we can take a million photos and probably get about 2 really good ones. Delete the others and you're set. Hopefully, I'll have an opportunity to go through them tomorrow and see if we now have at least one good one of each dog.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Modern Times

We were doing a lot of staining, painting and varnishing today in the new wing to the house. The work was made easier by listening to Bob Dylan's new CD Modern Times. Modern Times is the thirty-first studio album by Dylan, released on August 29, 2006. It has become Dylan's first #1 album in the US since 1976's Desire, thus making Dylan the oldest living person ever to have an album enter the Billboard charts at number one. I'm sure Bob isn't thrilled about being called old. The CD is a good one though and brings to mind an old blues artist whose voice is rough from too much whiskey and cigarettes. Workingman's Blues No. 2 is my favorite on the CD, although the following lyrics to Spirit on the Water are just beautiful. Listening to Modern Times made the afternoon go by quickly.

Spirit on the water
Darkness on the face of the deep
I keep thinking about you baby
I can't hardly sleep

I'm traveling by land
Traveling through the dawn of day
You're always on my mind
I can't stay away

I'd forgotten about you
Then you turned up again
I always knew
We were meant to be more than friends

When you're near
It's just as plain as it can be
I'm wild about you, gal
You ought to be a fool about me

Can't explain
The sources of this hidden pain
You burned your way into my heart
You got the key to my brain

I've been trampling through mud
Praying to the powers above
I'm sweating blood
You got a face that begs for love

Life without you
Doesn't mean a thing to me
If I can't have you
I'll throw my love into the deep blue sea

Sometimes I wonder
Why you can't treat me right
You do good all day
And then you do wrong all night

When you're with me
I'm a thousand times happier than I could ever say
What does it matter
What price I pay

They brag about your sugar
Brag about it all over town
Put some sugar in my bowl
I feel like laying down

I'm as pale as a ghost
Holding a blossom on a stem
You ever seen a ghost? No
But you have heard of them

I see you there
I'm blinded by the colors I see
I take good care
Of what belongs to me

I hear your name
Ringing up and down the line
I'm saying it plain
These ties are strong enough to bind

Now your sweet voice
Calls out from some old familiar shrine
I got no choice
Can't believe these things would ever fade from your mind

I could live forever
With you perfectly
You don't ever
Have to make a fuss over me

From East to West
Ever since the world began
I only mean it for the best
I want to be with you any way I can

I been in a brawl
Now I'm feeling the wall
I'm going away baby
I won't be back 'til fall

High on the hill
You can carry all my thoughts with you
You've numbed my will
This love could tear me in two

I wanna be with you in paradise
And it seems so unfair
I can't go to paradise no more
I killed a man back there

You think I'm over the hill
You think I'm past my prime
Let me see what you got
We can have a whoppin' good time

Friday, September 15, 2006

Feeling more like fall

The dogs were bozo this morning with the cool weather. They were running around, chasing each other and generally having a blast. It certainly makes me more peppy as well, since I'm not soaked in sweat at 5:30 AM. I'm really looking forward to the beautiful days of the Lowcountry fall. Although the colors aren't spectacular, the tourists are gone and the days of October and November are just delightful. Not freezing cold but nice enough to go for a walk on the beach with just a sweater. I think that the dogs are also eager for that time of year.

Monday, September 11, 2006

In Georgetown

Although I'm at a meeting in Georgetown, I'm getting news from home about the dogs. Charlie has his hands full with taking care of all the dogs and doing painting on the new wing.
The temperature here is a high of 69 F here today so that is quite a change from Charleston. The topic for this workshop is on marine biodiversity. There are a lot of quite well known scientists here so it is a very stimulating conference. One of my programs, the Southeastern Regional Taxonomic Center, is actually a part of the Census of Marine Life's Oceanographic Biogeographic Information System. What's alarming is that with the loss of species and the changes in biodiversity can change the important ecosystem services that we all come to rely upon. That is really the focus here and we will be doing work over the next several days to put our collective minds together to address the ecosystem changes that may occur as biodiversity change.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Beautiful weather

Wow, what a beautiful day! We woke up fairly late for us. The weather was so wonderful--fairly cool for Charleston and without 98% humidity. I took Eugene and Meddle at 10 AM for their rabies shots. I generally get the 3 year shots for the dogs. After that, I met Berta for lunch at Mimi's overlooking the marsh on James Island. There was a slight breeze and it was very nice to sit and talk.
Charlie and I went to Home Depot after that to order the counter top granite for the vaniities and to pickup some more lights for the bathroom and hallway. We are going to paint some tonight in hopes of getting the rooms ready for the electrician on Monday. I have to leave tomorrow for a meeting in DC and will be back Wednesday night. I'm planning to take my laptop. At least my plane doesn't leave until late afternoon.
I guess that it will be a full day tomorrow.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Painting and painting

We are getting close to finishing up on the new wing on our house. This weekend will be one filled with painting--finishing up the master bedroom and the library which is pictured here. The tile work is almost complete in the master bath, the vanities are installed, and the electrician is coming to install fixtures on Monday. I am so ready for this to be done. It hasn't really been an inconvenience at all but it will be nice to have the fireplaces active for winter and have the porch to enjoy this fall. We'll be able to sit and watch the dogs play from the porch and the windows of the library. It is going to be spectacular when completed. Just hope that I live long enough to see it through!

Tonight Charlie and I are going to eat some Thai food at one of our favorite restaurants, Little Thai Two. We like to go there, and then go get coffee and browse the CD's at Millenium Music. It hasn't been a bad week for me but with the days getting shorter, it is going to be harder and harder to play with the dogs in the evening.

Last night was a great row in the rain. It was drizzling as we left City Marina with four of us in the gig. We rowed past the Battery to the end of White Point Gardens and then took a break. People were photographing us and a couple of people stopped to say how beautiful the boat was. We then rowed back in a pretty steady downpour. I love being on the water with my team mates straining on the oars. Our coxswain, George, really knows how to get us right to the slip. It is a lot of fun and I'm excited about having the boat in the Christmas parade when the Battery will be lined with people. Let's just hope that it won't be raining in December! You can read about the history of pilot gigs here:

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Puppies like the cool mornings

When I went out this AM at 5:30 to let the dogs out and clean the kennels, it was noticeably cooler. I could really feel that fall was just around the corner (probably wishful thinking since it is only early September). The dogs could sense it as well as they were romping and playing with more gusto than I've seen in a while. Aggie and Amelia were having a blast playing in a water puddle. Everyone was in high spirits and I suspect that it is due to cool conditions. I remember when I would ride that the cool days would really make my horse frisky. Everyone seems to perk up when it isn't 85 degrees at dawn. We've actually been able to suspend the misting system recently because of the cool rainy conditions. I'm ready for fall, wearing sweaters, and feeling chilly.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Sad about Steve Irwin

I was sitting in the Atlanta airport after a flight cancellation and waiting to get home when I heard that the Croc dude Steve Irwin had been killed after a stingray barb to the heart. I felt tears come to my eyes as he was such a passionate lover of animals and really enthralled so many people. Having such a zest for life is a remarkable thing.

My thoughts then went to the fact that there are lots of dangerous things in this world and the lowly stingray is not high on the priority list. However, having seen the affects of a couple of ray/human interactions, I can say that it isn't a pretty sight. My husband was pierced through his calf by a ray barb which he indicated was painful beyond belief. Then, one of my biologists was pierced through the top of her foot and had to undergo skin grafting because of severe necrosis to the skin. She was out of work for about 4 months. In spite of all this, rays are pretty docile and generally hang out on the bottom eating crabs, clams and other shellfish. They scoot along the bottom and then settle down partially covered by sediment. That's why it's a good idea to be careful when walking in shallow water of the ocean. Slamming a foot into a ray barb would be a very painful thing. I'm just hoping that the rays don't get a lot of bad hype as being deadly. This was a freak accident, no different than having any sharp object pierce the heart. I had hoped for many more years of the Croc guy. Sadly, that won't be happening.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Back from California

I really enjoyed judging at the Sierra Vista LRC show. It was a beautiful show site and the entry was very nice at 90 entered. I was pleased to see so many nice Labradors and was happy that my Best of Breed winner also took a group 2.

I appreciated the great hospitality of the club and especially Wendy Gai and her husband. I had the pleasure of attending a dinner at their house. Rich Gai restores classic cars and took me for a drive in a 67 Mustang with a 5 liter engine. It was really neat!

The worst part of the trip was airline travel. My flight was delayed leaving Charleston and was cancelled on the return leg from Atlanta to Charleston. I had taken the "red eye" from Sacramento to Atlanta so was beat when I arrived at 6:30 AM. I then found out that my Charleston flight wouldn't leave until 10:40. In the meantime, I had no mouth wash or hand gel or any liquid of any kind due to the TSA and Homeland Security "we ain't gellin' " rule.

Thankfully, I arrived home around 12 noon and am just now going to get a good night's sleep. No airports, no screaming babies, no angry tourists, no canceled flights.....