Monday, October 30, 2006

Judging at Middleburg KC

I got back from the Middleburg KC show late last night. It was a very nice show (as usual) and the weather was wonderful. The fall colors were beautiful and that whole area is very historic and has gorgeous homes. Fortunately, the rain had stopped for my assignment, although the wind was roaring. I had some very nice Labradors to judge and was pleased with my decision. On Sunday, my WB choice couldn't be denied for Best of Breed. She was really lovely with great breed type.

I have finally ended my travel odessey, at least for a couple of weeks. I am thankful to be home for a while, have an opportunity to play with the dogs, and not have to sleep in hotels. The dogs were very glad to see me, although they have been spending nights with Charlie, curled up next to him.

This Saturday is our Labrador Club's Fun Fest at James Island County Park. I'm hoping for good weather and a good turn out.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Recovery just in time to leave again

Today could hardly be called a recovery from the nearly 2 weeks of meetings that I've been to. It was back to work to catch up on things at the office and meet with my staff to go over what has been going on with my projects. I enjoyed seeing everyone but had a lot of things to go over and a lot of email to go through.

I got home around 7 PM last night and did have some time with the dogs. They were very glad to see me and enjoyed pouncing around me and looking for cookies. The cool weather felt good but wasn't nearly as cold as NC where the wind was blowing about 30 kts. Not a good day to be on the water!

Tomorrow I head off again as I'm going to Middleburg, VA to judge Labradors there. The Bare Bones Potomac specialty is tomorrow and the Middleburg shows are the days after the specialty. I'm looking forward to going but here that the forecast isn't good with rain expected. I've got my rain gear packed and warm clothes. I'm looking forward to seeing some nice Labradors. The show grounds at Oatlands Plantation are just beautiful. I can remember showing there myself but never thought that I'd be judging at Middleburg! I may not be posting for a few days as much will depend on the amount of time that I have available.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Some photos from Georgetown boat show


I uploaded some photos of the Georgetown Wooden Boat Show at If you search for people and input BlondeonBlonde, you should see all my photos there. I've included a few here.

I'm at a meeting in North Carolina so Charlie is surviving at home with the dogs. He said that they are loving the cold weather and are jumping about and having a wonderful time.

It is very cold and windy at Atlantic Beach, NC. The wind is biting but I'm loving the cold too.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Yesterday at the Boat Show

I got home from Ohio around 9 PM on Friday evening. The next morning I left at 8 AM to head to Georgetown for the wooden boat show. The pilot gig was being trailored there as the rowing group would be taking people out for public rows. It was a blast! There were all kinds of wooden boats exhibited. There were sail boats, kayaks, canoes, rowing skiffs, and surf boards. There was a boat building contest that was awesome. I'll upload some photos of that. The boats have to be built with time recorded and then the boats have to be rowed in a race. The design is the Georgetown bateau. It was awesome to see the teams of boat builders working so hard on their boats. I entered the knot tying contest and did well to get all my knots done. I even impressed some of the old timers. For the public rows that we did, the kids were so much fun. The young children would sit next to one of us and we would show them where to place their hands and what to do. We were rowing and they were supposed to help and follow along. I would tell them, "okay, I'll push forward for the catch and you help me pull back". Well, each of them would always be pulling back when I was trying to push forward! It was hysterical as one little boy would be pulled out of his seat as I was pushing forward. He was pulling hard against me. A good workout for sure since these little boys are strong! Anyway, it was great fun and a wonderful day. I highly recommend going to a wooden boat show if you get the chance.
Today I'm heading to NC for a meeting in Atlantic Beach. I've been out with the dogs to spend the morning and play with them. I am pretty sure that Gabby is pregnant so puppies will be due at the last of November. Yikes--more babies!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Jet boats and other things

Today was a very full day with a field trip beginning at 8 AM. First, we took the Jet Express from downtown Sandusky (no, I didn't get to see Carol Heidl, although I thought about her). That was a cool ride across to Put-in-Bay. We then took the Water Taxi to Gibraltar Island, toured the Stone Lab and the Castle. After going back to Put-in-Bay, we toured the National Wildlife Refuge and ended up at the Inland Seas Maritime Museum which was one of the best maritime museums I've been to. There were so many things on display, including beautiful fresnel lenses, awesome ships tools, engines, clocks, bridge instruments, etc. There was even a knot display which was great because there were six pins that allowed you to tie various knots. Good practice for me! After touring the museum there was a fish fry and an archaeological talk on several ship wrecks on Lake Erie. It was a long but interesting day.

Monday, October 16, 2006

In Ohio

I got in last night to Huron, Ohio and had meetings today. I'm attending the annual meeting of the National Estuarine Research Reserves and the host site this year is Old Woman Creek NERR. It's the smallest reserve in the national system of 26 sites. South Carolina has two reserves, ACE Basin NERR and North Inlet/Winyah Bay, with ACE being the 3rd largest in the country.

Tomorrow we have a trip to Old Woman Creek and get to see the Reserve and have meetings there. Unfortunately, it is scheduled to rain tomorrow and we will be out on the boat for most of the day.

I've talked to Charlie and he and the dogs are doing fine. The weather here was a chilly 39 F this AM but it has warmed into the upper 50's today.

I hope to get photos from the field trip tomorrow. The Lodge where I'm staying is spacious and has a lot of dead animals on the walls. There are nice fireplaces though but most have dead animals above them. Not my thing but if you don't look up, it's okay. More later.....

Friday, October 13, 2006

Every dog needs a couch

I received a wonderful photo of Eugene from David Smith. In the email, David explained that Eugene was his best buddy and went everywhere with him. The photo shows Eugene resting on the couch looking at TV.

We've always maintained that Labradors long for the home life, being with their owners, and lounging about. Yes, they have active minds and need stimulation of all kinds. But they also just enjoy being part of the household.

We have placed a number of our retired dogs over the years. Some were former show dogs and some just didn't work out for showing or breeding. They are the ones that I think are lucky, because they get to go to great homes, have attention lavished on them, and live out their lives in bliss.

I'm happy for Eugene and for all the dogs who have a nice couch.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Cats and Dogs

I'm often asked how well cats get along with our dogs. Because our dogs are raised around cats, they have definitely learned to respect cats. The three cats that we currently have are all rescue cats that have either been found by us or made their way to our place. Abraham came to us in a very beat up condition. He had been in a bad fight with another male cat and was evidently bitten badly on the neck and clawed on the legs and face. Although at first he wouldn't let us touch him, eventually he came to us to get fed and we were able to pet him. He remained a bit of a tom cat even after he was neutered. He once turned around and clawed Charlie's face! Eventually though he calmed down and is now the sweetest cat who will let us do anything to him.

I found Rachael on Maybank Highway when she was just a tiny kitten. I was heading to an appointment and saw this little creature creeping across the highway. It was so tiny that I thought it was a flying squirrel. I stopped my car, got out in the rain, and went to the little creature. I then saw that it was a tiny kitten. Her eyes were infected with pus, her anal area was infested with maggots, and she was near starvation. I dropped her at the vet's office and told her that if she lived, we would adopt her. Well, she lived and is now a hefty tabby who sleeps with us. Rachael is a true gem and has the best disposition.

Rebecca is another adopted kitty who is very skittish. She basically still has a lot of feral instincts and isn't as friendly as the others. She seems fearful but will allow us to pet her. She doesn't like to be picked up. However, I try to hold her as much as possible. She is a calico with an applehead. I love her but know that it will take a very long time for her to become comfortable with touching.

Abraham is the only cat who goes in and out of the house. He often torments the puppies by sitting and watching them play. When a puppy comes over, he will then swat at them if they become too rough. Generally, we have to put Abraham in the house in order to not have him cause too many distractions with the puppies and other dogs. They seem to love him!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Long week

Is it really only Wednesday? It seems as if this week has gone by so slowly. Maybe it's all the activity each day and night, either with the dogs or with rowing. Tonight I got some good photos on the Ashley River while out in the pilot gig. It was a nice night, not too warm but not breezy as our past rows have been. Our group is excited about the Georgetown Wooden Boat show and taking the gig there for public rows.

I heard from the Middleburg Kennel Club this evening and will be going there to judge on October 28. I also have been asked to judge the Harrisburg, PA show next August. It seems that things are filling up with a lot more time traveling which isn't something that I really like. However, as long as I don't have to drive to these places, it should be okay. I just want to get in, judge and get back home without a lot of delays.

I've got to write my critiques for the Denver specialty. I made comments on the first and second placements and have to write those up. It's just been a crazy week and things will continue to be that way as I prepare to leave for 2 weeks of meetings. I leave on Sunday for Ohio where the annual meeting of the National Estuarine Research Reserves is being held. On Oct. 22, I head up to North Carolina for a meeting there. I'll do a couple of talks at both meetings so have been getting those together as well. Consequently, there hasn't been much time to play with the dogs. Hopefully, this weekend....

Monday, October 09, 2006

What to guarantee?

I received an email from a puppy owner the other day. In it, the person stated that the puppy had developed a skin allergy and was on antibiotics and antihistamines. The puppy also has a Persistent Pupillary Membrane which was disclosed to the buyer since the puppy was given an eye exam before leaving by an ACVO. Unfortunately, the individual blames me for the issues with the puppy.

We do not offer a long-term guarantee in our contract, largely because it isn't possible to determine what problems may develop over time. Nor is it possible to determine what is inherited and what may have occurred because of environmental problems. We do guarantee that the parents have clearances for hips, elbows, and eyes. We also have the puppies checked by a vet the week prior to being placed in their new homes. When dealing with living beings, there can be health issues and these are discussed with regard to the Labrador at the time the puppy is picked up. I explain to potential buyers that genetic disorders can not be eliminated from any breeding program.

Just as with people, there are things that can occur but they usually aren't so debilitating that the animal can't live a life as a companion. After all, we are not dealing with machines. We have imported dogs that haven't worked out. It just happens and isn't anyone's fault. There are phenotypic clearances that can be done and the genetic test for PRA but largely it is still a crap shoot as to what recessives may crop up.

PPM's can occur in Labradors although the mode of inheritance is unknown. Every puppy has pupillary membranes and most go away. For some reason, some will persist and can occlude part of the lens. There is a good article on PPM's at

As far as allergies go, I am baffled as none of the other puppies have an allergy. I have two litter sisters who are in the kennel but who are fine. The Lowcountry is tough on Labradors who can develop staph infections from having damp coats from either swimming or the high humidity. Because our dogs are misted daily, it would seem that allergies would develop or at least staph would occur. We haven't had that except when there has been a flea outbreak. Luckily, with Frontline Plus, we are able to keep the dogs free of fleas.

I'm sorry that the puppy owner is unhappy. I certainly want all the dogs that we breed to be healthy. Unfortunately, there are things that are beyond my control.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Working Saturday

It was another day of painting and staining on the new wing. I worked on the library walls and Charlie was working in the hallway. We are getting close to finishing the painting and then can have the floor guys come in to finish the floors.

The correct answer for the knot posted yesterday came from Trixie and is a bowline. One of my favorite knots is shown at the left. Which one is this?

I practiced on the knots for the contest today and also did some line throwing. There are actually contests for line throwing, mainly noted for the Tugboat Festival in New York. Lines are thrown from the boat to a bollard. The key is to throw the line straight out as if shoving it away from the body, rather than throwing like a lasso.

The dogs were loving the crisp weather this morning. They spent a few hours outside and I actaully had to wear a flannel shirt tonight. It is a welcome change to have the cool weather. The moon is also beautiful tonight. The harvest moon is occurring now. It actually occurs when the moon rises near sunset and sits low on the horizon. This appears to make the moon appear larger than it actually is. That is called moon illusion. At any rate, it is truly beautiful.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Knot tying contest

I' ve been practicing nautical knots since I bought a book about knot tying a couple of months ago. There is a fellow at work who is a wizard with knots and who judges a lot of the contests. He is a member of the International Guild of Knot Tyers. He has gone over quite a few interesting knots with me and showed me several neat tricks. Anyway, there is a contest with the Georgetown Wooden Boat Show and there will be six knots to tie during a timed event. The knots aren't hard but I'm wondering whether I should enter the contest. I'm not much on being center stage so will likely choke under pressure! Anyway, here is one of the knots to tie. Can you guess it?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Clara is in season

Yesterday was the first day of Clara's season. Since I bred Gabby a couple of weeks ago, my dilemma is now whether to breed Clara. I almost feel that I have so much on my plate that it will be very difficult to even think about another litter. I'm having a debate with myself about this one as Clara is four years old and never been bred. I would really like to have a puppy from her but am wondering whether now is the right time. I'll need to go with my feelings on the day for this one as I'm just not sure what to do.

Last night's row on the pilot gig was beautiful. The sunset was wonderful and with the nearly full moon rising we rowed back from near the Battery to the City Marina. The pilot gig will be at the Georgetown Wooden Boat Show on October 21 where we will be giving pubic rows. That is also the day of the Open House at the Marine Resources Center. That event is open to the public and free of charge. There will be lots of exhibits that should appeal to both adults and children.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Fall rowing

I couldn't resist putting this lovely photo here as it captures the glory of fall on the water. I am so happy to be going out on the water at least twice a week rowing. I would like to get out more but house, dogs, and other stuff seem to prevent it.

We are still painting on the new wing and hope that our cabinet and finish work guy will eventually show up. He's had some tragedies to strike his life recently so I'm sure he will be around when he gets his act together. I'm just hoping that it is before Thanksgiving!

The dogs are doing great and are enjoying life as only dogs can. I'm hoping to enter some shows in November as October is completely taken up with meetings, judging and a lot of travel out of state. November through February should be good for shows as there are some that aren't too far away and the dogs will have coat.

Tonight I'm out on the pilot gig to row. I'm really looking forward to the Oct. 21 Georgetown Wooden Boat show as I'll get to go and help with the public rows on the pilot boat that day. I've been working on my knot tying also. Not sure yet if I'll enter the contest but I might give it a try. Well, off to go row for now....

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Catching a squirrel

I was out at the kennels this evening and was heading back to the house when I stopped in my tracks. There was one of the dogs with a long brush tail hanging out of the mouth. It was a squirrel! I immediately went in the paddock and called over the dogs. The squirrel retriever was dancing around and having a wonderful time. She was so proud of that poor squirrel. Finally, she came over to show her prize to me. I was able to get the poor squirrel out of her mouth but it was already dead. My guess is that the squirrel fell out of one of the trees and was then picked up by a very fast Labrador. I felt sorry for the squirrel but at least I was able to get it away from the dogs before they each had a turn at carrying it.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Fun day judging

I had a wonderful day today judging at the Greater Denver Specialty. The entry was nice and there were several very lovely Labradors that I would have been happy to take home. The weather was spectacular with the backdrop of the mountains reflecting in the nearby lake breathtaking. Temperatures weren't as high as yesterday and there was a breeze which helped to keep the humans and the dogs comfortable. All in all, this has been a wonderful stay. I'm heading back to SC tomorrow having made more friends here in Colorado.