Rockets and cones

Piano was cancelled tonight. So we were fortunate to be invited to two rocket launchs with a classmate. 

Just a bit of Slo-Mo

And then Tastee Freez for dinner. Rich found her a hat. 

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Good boy

My favorite dog show of the year is held the first weekend of June at the Chugiak Benefit Association Ball Fields. 

This year I entered Bing in Rally Advanced B on a whim. I haven’t done Rally Adv B but I knew most of the signs more or less. He hasn’t learned the exercises formally but they are all variations on the noodling heel work we have played at for years. We didn’t squeeze in much practice time before the show. And he’s been feeling his age enough his willingness to jump even a single 8″ obstacle varies daily. 

So my expectations were low. Go out. Have some fun. Support the hosting club with my entry and provide comic relief. Ask my boy if he feels like working and respect his answer. 

We had a kind judge with high standards. I asked about foot movement for one of the exercises. Nope. Not even a teeny bit. 10 point loss. Whoo, I thought, better not figure on earning a Q today!

So we went out and did our best. I made a silly error right off the bat. Bing took about four signs to engage. 

I was a bit shocked we qualified. 

And thrilled we tied for fourth place. 

Then ecstatic, because my sweet nearly 13 year old partner had the faster time. 

Bing brought home a qualifying ribbon in green and a fully respectable ribbon in white for Fourth place. 

I love Bing so much. He has been such a good friend and partner over the years. 

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Healdsburg and ekaphants

Visiting my mom in Healdsburg California. Spent some time at the plaza and drove down to Oakland zoo so EKA could see elephants in person. Rode the sky tram. Road the train. Saw elephants, giraffe, elands, camels, lions, tigers, zebras, emus, wallaby, flamingos and many other birds. 


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Partnership with a Very Good Dog

Video of Bings run

Bing, Wales Tails Roques Crooner HSAsM, RN, BN, CGC, RATN, ASCA STDs, AHBA JHDCook Inlet Kennel Club

20170402, Wasilla AK

Barnhunt, Open
Bing is twelve and was suggesting before we made the drive this morning that maybe he would prefer to stay home today. I’d told a friend I’d give them a ride, so I bribed Bing with a cookie and we loaded up. E joined us. The drive out was uneventful and Bing rode unprotesting. An hour later we picked up our friend and her Cardi.
A quick hop over to the trial site and a great parking spot. 
Bing wasn’t a happy boy. He was protesting with a hoarse whiny bark, and trembling. I got E settled inside the trial, checked Bing in (though I was doubting we would run) and returned to Bing. 
Treats, water, and a quiet walk settled him and he was my happy boy again. 
I watched the Instinct and Novice dogs run. E played with her toys, chatted up other handlers, and convinced our friend to color with her. Plus ate a donut. 
I’ve noticed that this venue, for whatever reason, seems to be tougher. It seems like fewer dogs Q and more dogs mark. I don’t have numbers to back that up, just the sense I’ve gotten of the place. A couple people mentioned that there’d been no Qs in Open the previous day. Hmm. The first three Instinct dogs peed in the ring. Not a shining start. 
I like the judge and enjoy trialing with him. His courses are interesting and creative. 
Our friend was one of the leaky unfortunates in Instinct but showed excellent teamwork and a fine nose in Novice. The rat was found. The Climb accomplished. The tunnel proved to be her boys Achilles heel, and they ran out of time. Still, I think he gave a good run for Novice and she handled him well. Their Novice Qs will come with a bit more work.
Bing was the first dog in the second Open blind. We had another walk, a few more treats and a little water. I asked if he would prefer to kennel or work, and he indicated he was looking forward to working. Ok buddy, you’re the boss. Work it is.
In the ring Bing showed interest in a hide close to the gate, but refrained from stuffing his nose in and didn’t offer me eye contact after checking it. His indications are subtle and I must watch carefully with my mind fully engaged or I miss them. He was patient and willing as we methodically checked hides. He was moving slow so I was not sure he would be able to give me a Climb, and thought it likely we would time out. I was not concerned about the tunnel at all. Even the dark 90 turn is fine in his book. 
In Open there are two rats, two litter tubes, and a single clean tube. We did the outside edges without finding a rat. I asked Bing to climb the ramp. First he told me he couldn’t. We backed off, did a little other work, and approached the ramp again. With encouragement he successfully got his climb. It was pretty tough for him. Before we gave up on the ramp I gave him a few more inches of space and held my hand flat in our classic Touch game pose. I was very careful to not come into contact with the bales or Bing and I didn’t verbally cue Touch. That did it – he dug a little deeper and got up the ramp. He checked the hides atop the bales, no rat. Tunnel happened in there somewhere, no sweat.
I thought time was growing short. I was really tempted to call Rat on the first tube but decided it was a lot more important to trust Bing. 
We timed out. The elevated rat was in a location Bing probably could not have reached (today), the second rat was in a spot off the edges I forgot / ran out of time to check. The tempting tube in the beginning was a litter tube. So pleased I trusted Bing and refrained from calling a wrong tube. 
I am pleased with our teamwork and communication today. This was Bing’s fourth time in the ring, second trial weekend, in Open. It’s been months since we played this game and he was absolutely feeling his age today.
He is my very sweet and smart goody boy. I feel fortunate to have him as my partner. 
We will see if we can pick up that third Q in May…

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Sheep therapy

I always feel so calm and happy after being on our friends farm and doing a little herding. 

Roscoe did fabulous today. He has a firmness with the sheep yet doesn’t insist on being constantly inside their bubble. I only ran him once. He is a clever boy and will stop working when he realizes it is practice not true work. 

Allie also worked nicely. She’s a real rocket dog and likes to zip around furiously. Her recall is non existent in the presence of stock so she trails a horse lead line. I need it as an aid to practice halts, and the inevitable “that’ll do”

E joined me today. She spotted a jar of hard candies on the picnic table. A few minutes of relentless whinging was finally put to a stop with a sharp rebuke and dire threat. After a brief period of pouting E recovered her good humor. She enjoyed the lambs and geese and ducks. She spent most of the time pulling strands of hay from the nearby round bales and ensuring each of the rabbits got a bit of a treat. 

It was wonderful to see friends. The weather was warm and we didn’t need our hats the entire time. I continue to be thankful to have access to sheep within a relatively short drive. I know in the lower 48 must drive several hours for stock. 

Tomorrow Bing will try for his third Q in Open Barnhunt. 

Love my cardigans. 

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5th birthday

I made an ice cream cake for Elizabeth’s party later today.Gluten free cake from a box mix (who knew such a thing was available?!?)

Baskin Robbins Strawberry ice cream

Baskin Robbins Chocolate ice cream

Chocolate icing (powdered sugar, Hershey’s Cocoa Powder, heavy cream)

Whipped cream frosting (heavy cream whipped, and aforementioned chocolate icing folded in) on the sides

Commercial cream cheese frosting for the piping. 

We tried to buy an ice cream cake but they all contained wheat. Drat. 

I think it came out well. 

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Meanie Allie

She always steals toys. Meanie. 

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Balance beam reboot

Today Uncle Walter guided me thru building the support piece for a balance beam I’d picked up from Calgary IKEA. 

Dragging up aunt’s walkway

The balance beam is cleverly constructed in classic IKEA fashion. All but one piece break down to flat easily transported pieces. In order to get it back to Alaska I abandoned the support beam after hacking off one end to be a guide. I did so knowing that Uncle Walter would almost certainly be willing to lend his expertise to fashioning its replacement. 

It transported home easily. 

This morning I met UW at the shop. We laid out the pieces. I showed him the instructions for assembly, and the bit I’d brought back to use as a template. 

Think. Plan. Do.

There was a nice piece of scrap lumber reminescent of mahogany that possessed the requisite qualities. UW ripped it to the correct width. Mark ran it thru a machine that squared everything up. Then several passes thru a sander. 

36″ sander

I marked where the holes were to be drilled. Then UW taught me how to use a great big drill press. I needed two hole sizes. I drilled ten holes deep into the board vertically. We drilled five vertical holes of a smaller size by hand. 

Holes. Many.

The beam is composed of five lozenges. Each lozenge has three penetrations. Two receive short dowels, the center penetration goes all the way through and is secured by a screw. So 15 holes across the top. 

Checking fit. Readying for center holes.

The four support legs are likewise secured by two dowels each and a long bolt all the way through. Very strong. 

Drilling holes for legs

Many holes later, plus rounding the edge with finish router, I’d made a thing. I enjoyed spending several hours with Uncle Walter, asking he and Mark questions. They are both dreadfully competent and that is a very fine thing indeed. It was kind of them to help. 


The support beam is drying in the garage. I had a bit of clear varathane from a different project. Slapped on a coat just before E and papa returned from their adventures. 

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Pink violin

I started E on piano quite awhile back. Mostly to expose her to rhythm and the idea of music. Once a week we troop over to The Music Man and make some joyful racket. 

She is fascinated by the different instruments naturally. We also write letters to nana regularly (E dictates and I write down her stream of consciousness). E shared with her nana that she wanted a pink violin. We had been telling her she needs to get a handle on the piano before we start adding instruments. 

Well. Nana is a classically trained violinist. I grew up attending concerts and quartet sand practice with her. I adored it. I never dreamt she would be on board with an unconventional violin. 

This is what I received in today’s email from nana:

HI – well it arrived yesterday and is it ever PINK! We probably don’t want to know what it’s made of, but it came in a good looking case plus as many accessories she will ever want – extra strings, shoulder rest, awesome music stand… even a gadget to help her tune same, although I can’t figure it out.

After more than an hour, I finally managed to get the bridge in place, tune it up and try it out. ( I kept trying to put under my chin to tune, just like I do w/mine – ha ha. Figured that out – holding it where expected, chin rest comes to my inside elbow. what fun. ) Had trouble playing on one string only at first, & thought uh oh, bridge might need adjusting. but today managed it…. getting used to a fiddle that small. The sound is surprisingly good, but the sound post is going to need adjusting – I don’t know to do it, but can see it’s not in quite the right place. (not urgent) If this rain ever stops, will take same to our violin guru in SR & have him look it over & make necessary adjustments. 

P is looking for Little Tree’s Suzuki book, but it’s been a long time. we’ll figure something out.


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Cardigans do Algebra

<laughing>If Anchorage receives x+2 feet of snow and dog owner y shovels 14z+12 cubic feet of snow away from the back fence, then how many d nonobaddogs hop over the previously 4′ fence to the neighbors yard. 
Solve for d. 
Yes, that is correct. 2 nonobaddogs hop over the fence and tear trails around the neighbors (fortunately also fenced) back yard. 
Allie and Roscoe are oh so very pleased with themselves and their adventure. 
They were caked with snow. They came cheerfully when I called. I lifted them back over the fence. I thought I’d shoveled away enough snow. These two are even more athletic than I thought. 
Any bets on who led the adventure?

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