Camping Facilities

We recently got back from a week of camping.

This is the sort of news that not everyone shares my enthusiasm for.

There are the people who hear my family (as in Mom/Dad/Brother/Sister-In-Law/Nephew) were along and get a bit wide eyed.

There are quite a few people who hear we brought the boys (boys in my case always refers to my dogs) and raise an eyebrow questioning my decision making skills.

My boys, re-named “Fish Dog” and “Snail Boy” by the end of the first day due to their respective new odors.

There are even more who find out we brought all of our supplies to an island (Okay, this year it was actually a super long skinny peninsula, but it felt like an island) by boat and make some sort of surprised exclamation.

And then there are those who inquire and find out that our toilet facilities consisted of a nice long trail with a raised toilet seat over a pit in the woods and declare that it would never happen in their world.

Fortunately we only had a bit of rain (with awesome double rainbows as a reward for all the wet) the family got along well (and also there was Rum), the boys were fairly well behaved (if stinky), my brother and my dad had motor boats so we didn’t have to canoe all the stuff in (which was very nice) and so it was really quite an excellent trip.

But…

I wasn’t totally in love with that open air bathroom.

It wasn’t the long walk up the trail through the woods. That was quite nice and usually populated by cute tiny toads.

This is not a tiny toad, it’s a tiny tree frog. Toads are cute, tree frogs are cuter. Sorry toads.

It wasn’t the open air experience. I’ve been a camper all my life, a “throne” with a view is excellent perk.

It wasn’t the mosquitoes- well sometimes it was the mosquitoes – but it was pretty breezy so they weren’t much of an issue.

This face had nothing to do with bathrooms and everything to do with the smell of dead snails. Not coincidentally they smelled just like my dog Snail Boy.

It was the lack of locking door.

At home my kids, like everyone’s kids have magic sensors every time I go into the bathroom. In case it’s been awhile since you’ve had kids or you’ve yet to experience the fun, let me explain.  Once a mother goes toward the bathroom their magic sensors pick up on it and they come down with severe cases of “questions that must be immediately answered” or break out in rashes of “crisis’ that aren’t”. At home there is a door, and it locks and yet it’s still hard to break away from the children.

See how happy she is? It’s because her mom wasn’t trying to go to the bathroom while this picture was taken.

At the campsite there was nothing but a long trail.

I was at their mercy.

Our “island” home.

Good thing I like camping.

 

Advertisements

Dog with Drive

I’ve got a dog with drive.

In pointing dog speak that means that when I take him out looking for birds, he is willing to hunt every bit of the cover we are in and beyond.

It means that when he is out in the field with his nose to the wind, it doesn’t matter how tired he is or how long we’ve been out.  He still flies over the ground with enthusiasm.

It means that when a bird goes down running, he runs after it.

It means he never quits.

In everyday-life-speak that means that he digs holes like he means to go to China.

And it means that when his paws don’t work, he uses his teeth.

Yup, I’ve got a dog with drive.

 

Rotten Brothers

My brother and I used to get into terrible fights. Little arguments turned into wrestling matches, he was scrappy and strong and didn’t know how to give up. Fortunately for me he was late to grow. Unfortunately for him his big sister was super mean.

Maybe it was when he did finally grow bigger than me and I had to be nice to him, or maybe it was just that once we didn’t live together and fight over the radio station everyday that we discovered we actually, maybe, sorta, liked doing things with one another.

But, somehow or other we’ve gone from no-holds wrestling to me purposely subjecting myself to multiple hours in the car with my kids just so our families could spend the weekend together.

Rotten brothers change.

My brother and Trip.

Well, some rotten brothers change…

Trip (my dog) and his litter mate Sunday (my brother’s dog) got into their first real fight when they were about 12 weeks old (prior to that, I didn’t know puppies ever did that).  Things have improved since then but I still wouldn’t call them “friends”. We all survived their adolescence, when they both went looking for a fight, with minor wounds and have settled into a more mature phase where, while supervision is always necessary, they can co-exist and hunt together and so long as they are busy they don’t feel the need to beat up on one another.

Except for when they do.

While out for a long run in the woods, while we skied, the boys were mostly ignoring each other and things were going fine.  My brother ahead and I behind, the dogs had all come together on the trail between us and paused. Maybe it was the inactivity, probably it was the presence of a girl dog (Yeah, I’m totally blaming the boys’ terrible behavior on a girl. It’s a thing!) but they went from happily coexisting to, snarling, snapping monsters.

This was not my first dog fight rodeo with the two of them but it was the first time that I had to separate the two of them while wearing cross country skis and poles. After quite a lot of ineffective pole waving (I do not recommend ski poles as an effective prop for dog fights) and yelling, (I always yell. I have no idea why, it does zero good) I was able to ditch my poles, side step into the deep snow off the trail and grab a dog in each hand.

Disclaimer: Don’t try this at home. Sticking your hand into a dog fight is a terrible idea. Breaking up a dog fight on skis is an even worse idea. It must be done strategically, quickly and it helps if you are strong enough and the dogs are small enough to hold them in the air at arms length if necessary while balancing on skis.  Did I mention this wasn’t my first rodeo with these two knuckleheads?

The dogs, once in hand, calmed down immediately and simply stood and looked at each other as I held them apart. Thankfully I saw that my brother was coming back through the woods towards me so I would not be stuck in the woods holding the tiger(s) by the tail, so to speak. I sighed and looked back down at our two trouble makers to assess damage.  Sunday had a small tear under one eye and I could still feel him growling and grumbling. I looked over to Trip, who was bleeding from a scratch on his nose, and saw that he was wagging his tail to beat the band as he cheerfully looked at his brother.

It reminded me of fighting with my own brother as a kid. Those few shining moments when he started it, came out on the worse end of it and he got in trouble for it… well, if you’ve got a rotten brother of your own then you know that’s enough to make any sibling gleeful.

My brother and I shook our heads, put a little distance between them, and headed the boys back down the path toward home. They went back to happily running through the woods as if nothing had ever happened.

Brothers…

What can you do?

I’d also like to note here that Goose (my dog) and his litter mate Buster (my brother’s dog) have so far gotten along fantastically.  Let’s just hope it stays that way! 

Full Manual

I haven’t used full manual mode much but I gave it a try while running the dogs this week. In the past I have struggled to catch the all the action of the running dogs and still have them in focus. But, this time, I think I did it!

It just turns out that most of the action I see is from behind.