Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Crinkle, the black female from the Barrett x Gabby breeding, is staying at Surry for a while. She misses her brothers and sisters though. She is also very spoiled with a lot of toys and attention. It's often hard to just have one puppy because with two, they entertain each other. Yesterday, Crinkle had a bout of diarrhea. So it was off to the vet's office to get some ID formula food, some liquid Albon, and some Kaopectate from the drug store. Today, she is doing fine. She is a happy bouncing puppy who loves to be held and snuggled.

Unfortunately, it's been a bit cold to take the Barrett x Clara babies outside. They were out for about 2 hours on Sunday which was nice. This Saturday they will also get to go outside as long as it isn't raining. I hope to have some photos of them from their outside excursion.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Farewell Ali

Ch. Sumo's A-Hoy All Decked Out, known as Ali, was put to sleep last night. Ali, who was born in June 1992, was the dam of our Ch. Castlewood Why Ask Why at Surry. Last year, at the Charleston Kennel Club show, both Tilly and her mother were entered in the Veteran's class. It was wonderful to see mother and daughter go around the ring together.

I remember when Robin and Gina got Ali. They brought her over for me to see, and I thought, "What a beautiful puppy!" She went on to be a wonderful producer of sound typey Labradors. Most importantly, she was a wonderful companion for Gina and her family. Ali was diagnosed with cancer a couple of years ago and had started to decline in health in recent weeks. Over the last few days, it became obvious to Gina that it was time for Ali to have a final rest from her pain. I like to remember her as she was when she was in her prime, with a beautiful topline and flowing gait. I wish that our canine friends could be with us forever.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Lowcountry Oyster Festival

I've heard about this event for so many years. Since I couldn't show yesterday because my friend and co-owner of Gabby was judging, I decided to go in another direction and attend the World's Biggest Oyster Roast. Boasting of over 65,000 lbs of succulent oysters and over 10,000 oyster lovers, I decided that it was time to attend this world class event. Fortunately, I got to Boone Hall Plantation where the festival was held around 10:45 AM. Already there was a stream of cars going in to the event.

There was a lot of standing water on the grounds but I slogged through to buy my oyster tickets. I managed to get through 1.5 buckets of delicious oysters. There were tons of people having tent parties, eating food from other local restaurants that had set up booths, and generally enjoying the sunshine and nice temperatures. I took my camera and shot over 100 photos of oysters and people doing all kinds of things. Some were in the oyster shucking contest and plied their skills as the crowd yelled "Shuck, shuck, etc. " Others were really brave and entered the oyster eating contest where the idea was to see how many lbs (yes, lbs) of oysters you could slide down your gullet in 3 minutes. The winner managed to hold down 6.5 lbs of raw oysters. His table manners were on a different scale and closer to what one would imagine Neanderthal man would be like downing a mega amount of oysters.

Later in the afternoon, there were several bands who took the stage. The best was Plane Jane who seems to be booked at a lot of events in the area. They do good covers of lots of rock songs. People were dancing in the muck and drinking what seemed to be a lot of beers. I was probably the only stone cold sober person amongst this sea of humanity. I did get lots of shots of people just to remind myself that it isn't fun to make a total fool of yourself and wake up with a hangover. One of Budweiser's employees was wearing a hard hat with two horns on which were skewered a Budweiser can topped by a plastic cup. He was not the best advertisement for the "Drink responsibly" logo of Budweiser.

I left around 5: 30 and managed to get out of the parking lot after about a half an hour. There were a lot of people who were bogged down in the muck. Some cars were buried up to the axle and might not have gotten out based on the number of inebriated people trying to help. I just hope that they managed to snag a packet or two of saltines to tide them over until this morning. It was a good time and really didn't seem like there were 10,000 plus crazy people out eating oysters. I posted a bunch of photos at under people for BlondeonBlonde.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The CSCLRC dog show

Today was the first of two days of shows for the Coastal South Carolina LRC. The show is held at the fairgrounds at Ladson. It was a gorgeous day and everyone seemed to be having a wonderful time. I showed Izzy and Amelia. Izzy made the cut in a large class but didn't place. Amelia got second in her 9-12 puppy class. Amelia looks just like her mother Stella. I was also able to pick up Tobias today and he was so glad to see me. Paulina who takes care of the dogs when they are on the road was very sad to see him go. She told me that Tobias was her favorite and got "special" attention. I was very grateful that he got such good care. He looks great and is very happy!
I'm hoping that tomorrow is a good day but it is supposed to rain. Everyone today enjoyed the catered barbecue lunch and there were lots of positive comments about the beautiful weather.

Last night I met up with Robin Moody and Gina Cheatham (Castlewood) for dinner. It was great to sit and laugh with them. Robin is judging Sweeps today. I can't show today because Robin and I co-own Gabby. I know that she will do a great job.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

On the Spirit of South Carolina

Tonight was my first time to visit the Spirit of South Carolina. I have signed up for marlinspike seamanship in which a group of us will help put the rigging on the ship. The Spirit is to be used to educate students in math and science. In addition, they will learn team work, responsibility and committment as they work on the ship and live together at sea. There were 70 of us on board the ship tonight. Dan Machowski, who works at the lab with me, lead the group as the main "knot man" in Charleston. We learned how to whip a line and to splice last night. It was fascinating. I'm looking forward to learning more knots and working to get the ship ready for launching on March 4.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Stella is over her spay

BISS Ch. Surry's Interstellar Overdrive was spayed yesterday and is recovering nicely. Stella has produced some awesome babies, including three champions from her breeding to Ch. Dickendall Buckstone Thunderstruck. Unfortunately, she has had to have two C-sections for the two litters that she has produced. I decided that it isn't worth the risk to her health to not have her spayed. She will be a wonderful house companion. I was anxious about the surgery but am very glad that all went well.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Tobias is a Ch---I think!

I received a call from Florida to tell me that Tobias had gotten his second major which finished his AKC championship. I was thrilled! However, later when I called to talk to the handler, he indicated that he had on the number of another dog when he took Tobias into the ring; however, he indicated that it was Tobias who indeed did get the major. So, I'm not really sure when this will be resolved. The handler talked to the AKC field rep who indicated that these kinds of things happen. Luckily, there is a photo record of the win so I can identify Tobias. Anyway, it takes away a bit from the excitement. I am hoping that all will be resolved soon and I'll receive his championship certificate from AKC in the mail. At least, I will be getting him back at the Charleston shows at the end of the month.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

relaxing Sunday

Today I just decided to do a bit of shopping and take some time for myself. It was a warm day and so I went for a walk on the beach, had a nice dinner of roasted oysters and generally enjoyed the unseasonable weather for January. There are only two of Gabby's babies left and the other yellow girl leaves this weekend. I am keeping Crinkle for a while to see how she develops. Clara's kids are doing great and are very cute now. They have had their first time outside.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Saturday puppy pickup

Saturday was a busy day with two families coming to pick up their puppies. One of the little yellow girls from Gabby's litter went to a home in Florida and two of the boys are going to the upstate of SC to live. The puppies will have great homes and seemed quite taken with their new owners. I have a puppy packet put together that includes lots of articles as well as pedigrees and clearances for the sire and dam. It takes time to go through each article and explain the basics on care to the new owners. It was coincidental that both families arrived at the same time so everyone was playing with the puppies as I went through information and contracts with each party. Charlie and I were trying to hurry to get out the door as we were meeting friends for a basketball game. We managed to get away by 5:15. It was nice to relax afterwards at a favorite Thai restaurant downtown.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Back to reality at work

Have you ever noticed how reality smacks you in the face after a pleasant sojourn that is geographically distant from your home? Today I dealt with hundreds of emails, a personnel crisis, administrative necessities, and other mundane tasks just trying to catch up from being gone for a week. My staff had a nice birthday luncheon for me that was the highlight of the day. Tonight, all the puppies were so adorable and it was nice to play with them. I've finally wound down from the trip and today's dose of reality. Tomorrow, the first puppy from the Gabby litter will go to his new home.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Birthday arrival

After another 5 hour drive, I made it home. It seems very different to see the sights, condos and traffic of Charleston after the last few days on the Eastern Shore. It is truly like culture shock. The dogs and husband were very glad to see me. The puppies had grown a lot in a week. Clara's babies are bouncing around. All are eating like pigs. I opened birthday cards and presents. It was a nice welcome home. Hard to believe how tired I am. I did manage to read a little in some new books that came while I was gone. Tomorrow I go back to work and will likely have hundreds of emails to read. I think that it will be fine to put those off until tomorrow though.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Heading back

I got off the ferry in Crisfield and retrieved my car from the parking slot rental at Tawes Hardware. I stopped to drive around Onancock since I hadn't seen much of it during daylight. It is a very attractive town. I got back across the Bay Bridge and then made it as far as the Goldsboro exit where the Raleigh-Durham Labrador Specialty is held. It was around 7 PM and I just couldn't drive any further. I got a room at the hotel that hosts the Labrador specialty. I had already called home several times to check up on how Charlie was holding out with all the dogs. He seemed to be doing fine but I am sure that he has had enough of all the dogs for a while! Tomorrow I will get back home and it's my birthday!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Off Smith and onto Tangier

I got the 8 AM boat from Smith Island to Crisfield where I caught the 12:30 PM boat to Tangier Island. I had made reservations to stay at the Bay Side Inn. Tangier has more of an eye to the economy than Smith Island. The homes are neat, things more organized and there are lots of gift shops. I actually prefer the more dilapidated Smith Island to Tangier. The people on Smith Island also seemed friendlier. I walked around Tangier for the afternoon, went to dinner at Lorraine's Sandwich Shop and then walked back to the inn. Tomorrow I catch the 8 AM ferry back to Crisfield and start home.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Touring Rhodes Point and Tylerton

Today I went to the 8:30 AM testimonial at the church. The testimonial is by various members of the church who talk about what has happened over the past week to influence them. The church is the Ewell United Methodist Church which was the only one at Ewell. I stayed for the later service which started at 9 AM. I had talked to the minister the night before about catching a ride by boat with him when he went to Tylerton. Tylerton can only be reached by water. The minister gives 3 sermons every Sunday. The first at Ewell, the second at Tylerton and the third at Rhodes Point. I rode on a deadrise work boat over to Tylerton and walked around over there. It was neater and less dilapidated than Ewell. Tom Horton who wrote Island out of Time lives on Tylerton. I had hoped to meet him but he wasn't home. After walking around Tylerton for an hour, I got back on the boat with the minister and we headed to Rhodes Point. From Rhodes Point, I walked back to Ewell which was about 1.75 miles away. Rhodes Point used to be named Rogue's Point due to the more unruly nature of its inhabitants. This is true crab country for sure. Last year's season was poor and more and more watermen are retiring or dying and few of the young people want to make their living from the Bay. I think that I shot about 200 photos today.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

On Smith Island

I drove to Crisfield, MD and caught the 12:30 PM ferry to Smith Island. Since I hadn't made a reservation at Ewell on Smith Island, I was told by one of the ferry boat captains that there was "nothing on Smith" and that I'd better find a place to stay or I might be out " in the cold" and have to "live off the land". I had printed out all the information on the B and B's on Smith so I started calling them. The first one that I contacted was filled with French TV people who were doing a documentary on the island. The next two calls went to voice mail. I was beginning to wonder whether to go to Tangier instead, when I received a call back from the owner of the Ewell Tide Inn. Wayne, the owner, told me that he did have a room so I got on the boat and made the hour long trip to Ewell. I'll be putting up some photos soon but can only tell you that it was a step back in time. Smith Island has slightly more than 100 residents and the houses are typical of the Bay--mostly two story with a room, often the kitchen, off the back. Many of the houses on Ewell have seen better days and are in need of roofing and painting. Boats were everywhere as were the tools of the watermen's trade such as crab traps, oyster tongs, crab scrapes and dredges. It was fascinating to see. Wayne mentioned that the church was having a chicken dinner for $2 so I went over to the church and met a lot of the Ewell residents. They were very friendly and seemed to be glad to have someone from "off" be attending the supper.
There is no internet or phone signal on Smith Island so I'm without communication for a while. I'm hoping that the puppies, dogs, cats and Charlie are doing well!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Visit with Rick

Today I drove to Highland Springs to visit with my cousin Rick. When I arrived, Nat indicated that he didn't want to see me but I went in anyway. He exclaimed when I walked in that he was so glad that I was there. It was a bit of a shock to see the decline since August but he still has a sense of humor although there were moments of obvious frustration and sadness over his condition. I heard from Nat after I left that he was very peaceful after my visit and ate a good dinner. I think that it did both of us good to see each other.

After the visit with Rick, I headed across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel to Charles City, VA where I had a wonderful dinner of soft crabs. I am staying in Onancock for the night, which is a beautiful old city on Chesapeake Bay. Tomorrow I head to Crisfield to catch the boat to Smith Island.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

visiting Gloucester and Mathews

I had hoped to see my cousin Rick today but there were several therapist appointments so I am going to see him around noon tomorrow. I feel a bit frustrated about driving hundreds of miles and not getting to see him more but I also understand how tired his wife Nat is. Also, there are good days and bad days for him and apparently today wasn't a particularly good day. So, I decided to fill my day with visiting Gloucester where I grew up and Mathews where my father was born. It was a nostalgic trip. I went to several places that I hadn't visited in a long time in Gloucester. In the late afternoon, I drove to Mathews and Gwynn's Island to eat dinner at the Sea Breeze restaurant right on the water. It was fun to see so many boats and have really good oysters at the Sea Breeze. I am a bit anxious about seeing Rick tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

arriving in Williamsburg, VA

I left Wadmalaw this morning and made it to Williamsburg by around 5 PM. I am staying for a couple of days at the Williamsburg Hospitality House which is located across from The College of William and Mary and about two blocks from the historic district. I received my MS and Ph.D. from William and Mary but there have been a lot of changes to the campus and to the entire area since I was there. I walked briefly down Market Street to see the houses still lit with candles in each window from the Christmas season. I then had dinner at the Trellis restaurant and have decided that I need to get some much needed sleep. All is well at home with the puppies and dogs. Charlie has his hands full!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Clara's babies are eating gruel

I started Clara's babies on gruel today. They are 3 weeks old and it was time to supplement them. They lapped up the applesaunce, baby food, Half & Half, and ground Pro Plan with fervor. Of course, they always seem to end up with more food on themselves than they eat. After eating, they immediately flopped out for a nap. Because they are on weaning formula, they will probably be moved to shavings soon. It's just too much biomass for the whelping box with 9 puppies.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Good wishes for Stella

This afternoon I heard from a friend that her dog Stella is having severe disc problems. Stella is a little mixed breed who is so sweet. She is having difficulty with her rear legs, so much so that she is dragging them. Karen is very concerned about Stella who is her heart dog. She is giving her predisone with hopes that the steroid will reduce some of the swelling around the disc. Hopefully, Stella will be feeling better soon. I've seen her jumping and running about so it's hard to think of her being in pain.

It was a beautiful day today. The puppies got out for a while and I went out for some physical exertion. It was great to just be outside. I've started to pack some for my trip to Virginia and Maryland. It's hard to think about it being cold next week as today is almost like summer.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Smith Island

I'm a native Virginian and grew up crabbing and fishing with my father in the rivers around Gloucester, VA. I now make my living studying the waters and marine life of South Carolina and the southeastern US. Recently, I read a wonderful book entitled An Island Out of Time. It's about life on Smith Island, off Maryland's Eastern Shore. There are several of these islands, primarily inhabited by watermen, and I am going to visit a couple of them when I go back home next week. My primary time will be spent with my cousin but I know that he will likely tire easily and I'll have some free time. So, I'm going to drive to Crisfield, MD and take the ferry to Smith Island. Hopefully, I'll find a place to stay on the Smith Island Marina. I want to photograph and document in a journal many of the places that I read about in Tom Horton's book. I also want to visit Tangier Island off the eastern shore of Virginia. I went there when I was a kid but don't remember much about it. I want to photograph the deadrise boats so typical of the Chesapeake. I also hope to visit Deal Island where I can photograph some of the remaining skipjacks that historically dominated the bay fleet. I find that by using my camera, I can find comfort even when things appear glum. Hopefully, that will help this time when I go back home.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Update on my cousin

Thanks to those of you who wrote about my cousin and closest relative, Rick. He had the surgery and as much of the tumor (glioblastoma multiforme) as possible was removed. Pathology indicated that the tissue removed was dead which is great news. Unfortunately, the effects of radiation are causing a lot of problems. He is currently in rehab for physical therapy. According to his wife, Nancy, he has difficulty walking and has a generally very glum outlook on many days. He doesn't want to talk much and has times when the anger at the disease is fierce. Sometimes he remembers things and sometimes he doesn't. I am going to Virginia to see him on January 10. I have read so much about GBM and very little is positive. Nancy would like information on alternative treatments for GBM and asked me to see what was available. There is a lot of non medical information on line but it is very hard to determine what is useful and what is quackery. I guess that I'm one who thinks more about medical research and what the studies have shown. Of course, there is a lot that isn't known about GBM. I realize that this is a very tough and usually fatal tumor. I am just hoping to see him and be as positive as possible. Miracles can happen and it would be wonderful for him to recover. That is my wish for 2007.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Clara's babies have their eyes open now

Clara's babies are toddling about and have their eyes open. They are a bit over 2 weeks old and should start the play phase soon. They are fat and cute little bundles of black fur. There are nine of them so it was hard to corral all for the photo. We chose to try to keep track of only 5 in this photo!

Once the solid food starts at around 3 weeks, we will have our hands full. Clara will likely not want to clean up after them much then. I am so pleased that all are doing well and that she is an excellent mother.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Puppies had visitors

The Gabby babies had visitors today. Yellow boy's family came down to visit from Charlotte. All the puppies got to go outside and have fun playing with everyone present, going exploring, and generally enjoying the shoe laces and pant legs of all who were around. The babies are so sweet and adorable. I enjoy seeing the interactions of the puppies with their visitors. The tails never stopped wagging!

The rest of the day was spent putting away all the Christmas decorations which is always a bit sad for me. I love the lights and the tree and all the decorations as well as just the festive feeling of the holidays. In Sweden, the lights are kept up much longer because it makes the dark winter days much brighter. I think that's a nice idea and would like to keep my Juhlstachers up for as long as possible.

I hope that everyone has a peaceful 2007.

New Year's Eve

Today was a really full day. I met the rowing team at 10 AM at City Marina. It was drizzling and raining a bit but the temperature was great and the water was flat calm. We rowed around the battery to the Maritime Center where we docked the pilot gig and had lunch at one of the nearby restaurants. By this time the weather was much better and it was warm and sunny. After lunch we rowed back with the tide to City Marina. It was a great way to celebrate New Year's Eve. I then met up with some friends for some afternoon activities including going to the beach. Later I went out to dinner. I did make it to midnight and got to see the fireworks. It was a nice day.