Sunday, March 29, 2015

Black and White Sunday: Hey Gracie! Did you hear the one about....

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Happy 10th Birthday Gracie!

Today is my sis's 10th Birthday!

Happy Birthday Gracie!

Expressive Gracie!

Squirrel loving Gracie

Patient Gracie!

Photogenic Gracie!

Little Gracie on the first day we brought her home!

Snow lovin' Gracie!

Hiking Gracie!

Water loving Gracie!

Tell it like it is, Gracie!

Diggin' Gracie!

Jumpin' Gracie!

Fetchin' Gracie!

Super happy Gracie!

Agility Gracie!

Amazing Gracie!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Black and White Sunday: Gracie says, 'It's Spring!'

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Happy 20th Birthday Wiggy!

Wiggy just 3-4 weeks old the first day with Mum.
 Today is a very special day!

Today Wiggy (aka Ludwig) is 20 years old. Can you believe it? That's 97 in human years.

Back in 1995, Mum adopted Wiggy from the Southside Animal Shelter through an adoption event at Petco. That's the same shelter where I came from!

Mum had adopted Wolfie, my other kittie bro about five months earlier at 8 months and he was just a handful. He'd play with a golf ball in the kitchen until all hours of the night, keeping Mum awake.

So Mum thought he needed a playmate. Wiggy was just a very little thing when we found him. They said he was 12 weeks old, but later Mum learned that kittens that old do not still have their blue eyes. So he was probably just about 3-4 weeks old.

Over the weeks he grew and grew and grew. Wiggy kept growing for almost two years. Which we found out later is what Maine Coons do. So Wiggy is a very big kittie now, just about as tall and as big as I am. Come to find out too that Maine Coons are very good with dogs; and it's true of Wiggy; he rules the animal kingdom at our cabin.

Wiggy was a super cute little thing. 
When Mum brought Wiggy home, she was a little nervous about introducing him to Wolfie. The first time they got together, Wolfie got him in a bear hug and started using his back legs on Wiggy. Scared Mum a little. But the third time they got together, they played really well, and then Mum found them sleeping together. That's when she knew they would be best friends.

Like I said, Wiggy is really good with dogs. He and Gracie (and now Rach) are so loving with each other that Mum often jokes they 'need to get a room.'

Wiggy is bold and pushy. And sometimes that creates a little conflict, but overall I respect him greatly, especially after I got that first and only scrape on my nose for trying to herd him.

He used to be a very sickly little guy, but once Mum moved him to organic canned food all his health issues disappeared. He used to get urine crystals so bad that he would drip blood around the house. And he used to get hairballs so bad he would need a vet to come and give him an IV he was so dehydrated. But he's been healthy for years now. He has a little arthritis that prevents him from jumping up and down too far, so Mum puts chairs next to her desk and her bed, so if Wiggy wants to join her, he can.

Still at 20 years old, Mum and I will come down from the bedroom and find Wiggy's toys all over the living room floor where he had a big party all night.

We're really glad that Wiggy allowed me and Gracie and Rach into his life. And I think that both Rach and Gracie are really glad they get to enjoy Wiggy's love, just as Mum does. Me?

Wiggy used to love hanging with the sage in our yard in Indiana.
Wiggy likes to hang on the chair likes this, especially in the summer. Mum won't get rid of that old chair, just for Wiggy.
When we lived in Indiana, Mum used to put a dog harness (as they didn't have kittie harnesses back then) and let him explore the great outdoors. One time he caught a bird flying by jumping up over Mum's head right in mid air.
When our training tunnel is inside, Wiggy can't help but be an agility kittie.
This is one of Mum's cherished photos. She was taking a photography darkroom class (before digital was cool) and she had to take a roll in for negative developing and print developing. This one was a big hit with the class!

Happy Birthday Wiggy!

Black and White Sunday: Rach and Mum!

Look! It's Rach and Mum from our hike last weekend!

Monday, March 09, 2015

Hiking Long Creek Falls!

Talk about cabin fever! We had it real bad. Mum said we reached our peak in being cooped up from the ice, snow and cold.

Saturday was a beautiful day and we hung outside a little, just begging our time waiting until Sunday. Because we knew that the weather was going to be even more pawsome! And it sure didn't disappoint.

Sunday morning, we headed down the mountain, gingerly. Our gravel road doesn't have any more gravel on it after all the weather mess. And after the snow and melting its really slippery mud now. We have no idea how the school bus gets up and down this mountain day after day. That bus driver is very brave!

Anyhoo, we headed down, met up with some friends, then started up the forestry service road to the trail head for Long Creek Falls.

We hadn't been there since 2011, so we thought it was time to visit again and enjoy the nice two mile in and two mile back hike with the falls as the reward in the middle. We want to go back again in May when the rhododendron are blooming because just across from the Long Creek Falls trail is the Benton MacKaye trail that's completely lined with these beautiful huge shrubs and May is the peak blooming time!

Off we went, hiking away following the trail all along Noontootla Creek. After the big snow melt the creek was running very well. It's just the best sound, so peaceful and tranquil, just what we needed after hanging around with Mum working and having a lot of meetings.

Mum says it was a day all about us and having a good time, and that's just what we did.
We headed up the mountain, three side by side since the trail was nice and wide. Look we're just a blur!

The rushing waters of Noontootla are one of the best places in the country for fly fishing and trout.

Beautiful and serene.

We stopped for a quick break and a little photo op.

And ventured on when Gracie had to investigate (don't worry Mum checked the log for critters first). What's in there Gracie?

The hemlock are beautiful and prolific on this trail. You just have to click on the photo and bigify to enjoy it's beauty.

And Mum can never resist a beautiful rock with lots of green, green moss. The photo just doesn't do it justice. Mum actually gasped when she first saw it.

We stopped for another photo op. This time with Mum and Rach. Seems Rach has turned into quite the hiker. He loves to lead, never wants to be in the back, pulls Mum up the mountains just like us and is learning 'easy' for slippery, risky spots going down. 

We met about 15 northbound thru hikers as this is part of the AT. A lot of thru-hikers hike the AT starting in March/April and ending in Maine in September/October. They had only been out about a day or so and asked us a lot about where we've hiked the trail around here. 

We talked about Blood Mountain, which we hear is about the third day in and shared our experience; and we shared other areas on the AT we've hiked. 

I have to tell ya, hiking for six months straight sounds really tough; these guys and gals have a lot of guts if you ask me. 

Here's one of them we met. Mum asked this one if she had seen the new Reese Witherspoon movie, Wild, before she started her trek and she said, definitely! That's my girl go get 'em. We wished them all good luck and happy journey.

Finally after two miles in and about a 1000 foot elevation change, we made it to the Falls. The  Long Creek Falls are about 50 feet tall. A lot more water was rushing Sunday than when we were there in 2011. We couldn't even get as close as we did last time. And as I was sitting there on Sunday, the power of the water created a wet, cold wind that twitched my ears. That's the difference between early spring and deep summer.

Mum wanted to have Rach experience being next to rushing water and he did really well! At first, he was a little hesitant, but after a while he really got into it. Now all he needs is to learn that swimming in the streams is super fun too, but we didn't try that Sunday as the water was very cold.

Thanks Mum for a great day spending time with our pack, I had fun!

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Black and White Sunday: Puppy Rach is 10 months old!

Can you believe it, my little puppy bro, Rach is 10 months old already, 20 inches tall and 28 lbs. They grow up so fast!

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Watch Crufts dog agility live March 5-8, 2015!

Today starts all the activities at Crufts being held in Birmingham, UK, March 5-8, 2015.

Founded in 1891, Crufts is the world's largest dog show featuring confirmation, flyball, agility, freestyle heelwork, obedience, heelwork to music, demonstrations and much more.

From the Crufts YouTube channel you can watch all the festivities live, including dog agility.

The full schedule for dog agility includes (click for running orders):

Thursday 5thFriday 6thSaturday 7thSunday 8th
Large Team Semis
Medium Team Semis
Small Team Semis
Championship Jumping
Novice Cup
Singles Heat
International Jumping
Championship Agility
British Open
Large Novice & Medium ABC
International Agility
Flyball QF1
Flyball QF2
YKC Senior Jumping
YKC Senior Agility
YKC Team
YKC Small Agility
YKC U18 Jumping
YKC Medium ABC

Times include:

Thu 5 Mar
0900 LG Agility – Crufts Team – Large Semi Finals – Agility 7 teams
0945 LG Agility – Kennel Club Novice Cup Final – S/M/L – Agility 24 dogs
1035 DJ Agility – Kennel Club British Open Final – S/M/L – Agility 29 dogs
1355 DJ Agility – Crufts Team – Large Final – Agility 4 teams
1715 LG YKC Agility Dog of the Year – Agility Max 18 dogs

Fri 6 Mar
0845 DJ Agility – Crufts Team – Medium Semi Finals – Agility 8 teams
0930 DJ Agility – Crufts Singles Heat – M/L/S – Jumping 36 dogs
1025 DJ Agility – Crufts Large Novice & Medium ABC Final – Agility 20 dogs
1105 Rescue Dog Agility
1335 LG Agility – Crufts Team – Medium Final – Agility 4 teams
1405 LG Agility – Crufts Singles Heat – L/S/M – Agility 36 dogs
1715 DJ Agility – Crufts Singles Final: S/M/L – Agility Max 19 dogs

Sat 7 Mar
1030 LG Agility – Crufts Team – Small Semi Final – Agility 8 teams
1130 LG Agility – International Invitation – Large – Jumping 20 dogs
1400 DJ Agility – International Invitation – Large – Agility 20 dogs
1430 DJ Agility – Crufts Team – Small Final – Agility 4 teams
1710 LG Agility – International Invitation – Large – Agility Final 16 dogs

Sun 8 Mar
0900 AB Agility – Championship – Round 1 - Jumping M/L/S 47 dogs
1105 AB Agility – Championship – Round 2 – Agility L/S/M 47 dogs
1655 AB Agility – Championship – Final – Agility S/M/L Max 24 dogs

Remember UK time is 5 hours later than ET time; and 8 hours later than PT. To use a time converter, click here.

The events include:

Kennel Club Agility Championships - for Large, Medium and Small dogs which have won an Agility Certificate at a Championship Show in the previous year. The winner of this event at each height immediately gains the title of Agility Champion. 

Kennel Club 'British Open' - International event for the top Large, Medium and Small dogs from different countries which have qualified by competing at the KC International Agility Festival (Grades 6 or 7, or the equivalent)

Kennel Club Festival Novice Agility - for the top Large, Medium and Small dogs from the Novice Cup competition held at the KC International Agility Festival (Grades 3, 4 or 5)

Kennel Club Team Agility - for Large, Medium and Small teams from KC registered clubs which qualified at a series of heats in the previous year

Kennel Club Singles Agility - for Small, Medium and Large dogs which qualified at heats in the previous year

Kennel Club International Agility - invitational events for Large dogs from GB and overseas (Watch for Desiree Snelleman, representing the US, first on the line at 1400 UK time (2 PM UK, 9 AM ET, 6 AM PT).

Kennel Club Large Novice ABC Agility - for Large dogs other than border collies and working sheepdogs (Anything But Collies) which qualified at heats held during the previous year. Semi-finals at Discover Dogs in November 2014.

Kennel Club Medium ABC Agility - for Medium dogs other than border collies and working sheepdogs (Anything But Collies) which qualified at heats held during the previous year. Semi-finals at Discover Dogs in November 2014.

Other links of importance include:

See the dog agility results here and here.

Good luck to all the competitors!

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Big snow days!

Last week, we had our big snow dump!

Yep, on Monday we got three inches and it got very, very cold. Then on Wednesday night we got another six inches!

The best part is that after the six inches, it warmed up a lot so we actually got to enjoy all that snow!

It was Rach's first big snow and he loved it just as much as Gracie and I do.

It started snowing before dark on Wednesday, so we got to enjoy some of the big flakes coming down.

Gracie got covered!

We posed for some quick shots. Seems when it snows Gracie always has some on her nose!


Then we got our run on!

And got some more run on!

Gracie and I love to play snow fetch, but Rach never has! So Mum started teaching him, he almost got the hang of it before it all melted away.

And we got some more run on!

And some wrestle time!

The snow was cold after a while, especially since we only see this about once a year. So I hold my paw up when it gets cold and I get ice balls.

And speaking of ice balls, Gracie is the queen of them with her spaniel toes. She had her work cut out for her after our time in the snow!

Our mountain road doesn't have any more gravel on it, so we couldn't get down our steep, steep mountain until Sunday afternoon. Now the highs for this weekend may be near 60 degrees. I see a hike in my future!
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