Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Fun with Cairn Terriers

One of my friends has a shop on Cafepress.com with the theme around dog breeds. Critter Circus has designs that mention more dog breeds than any CafePress shop I've been to in awhile. Yesterday she had sent in a message to a few of us letting us know of some new designs she brought online, which includes the competitions where dogs participate. When I saw that her list had a link to Earth Dog designs, I had to go visit. I was curious what she came up with for a design for a competition that definitely is not a spectator sport. My 'creative' mind would have come up with a tail sticking out of the ground, or just the opening of a tunnel.

For those who have never heard of Earth Dog Trials, it is an AKC approved competition for AKC registered Terriers (including Dachshunds) 6 months of age or older. Although those Terriers who may be taller than 15" at the shoulders may have problems with the tunnel. Dogs are graded on approach to the quarry and working the quarry (caged rats) in a specified time frame.

My one experience with earth dog trials was a keystone cop type of an affair. It was funny, but not. Poor Skyler barely qualified to participate as he was just 6 months old by a few days, when these trials were held.

For those first timers they have a preliminary Introduction test in an area fenced off, with an L shaped tunnel for them use. (This test is designed for young and/or inexperienced dogs and is intended to introduce the dog to the sport as well as help evaluate the dog's enthusiasm for the work.) The ground at the entrance of the tunnel was sprayed with rat scent to entice the pups to enter.

Well, I lost the toss on who was to be the handler for this test. The dogs can not be on leash, nor have a collar (thus the fence). What the handler does is place the dog on the ground in front of the entrance and hope like hell they take the bait/scent and enters the tunnel.

Well, not my pup. I put my pup down and he takes off just running, and running and running around the fenced area. Luckily the judge was a friend of ours, and he took his time with Skyler, once we caught him that is. To catch him I finally had to make almost a flying tackle on him (to the laughter of the spectators of course). After that our friend had retrieved the caged rats from their spot at the end of the tunnel and tried to get Skyler interested in them. Actually without any luck ::sigh::

Then he put the caged rats back where they belonged, opened up the end of the tunnel where Skyler would have wound up had he gone through the tunnel, and we placed Skyler in there. What does Skyler do? Fresh hole, so he starts digging at the walls and the floor of the tunnel. All the spectators could see was dirt flying. Needless to say, he didn't qualify to move on to even the first level of competition. I am sure today would be different, as he now chases anything that moves (squirrels, grasshoppers, shadows, etc.)

That was a little over 5 years ago, we have not tried to compete since then. It isn't that we didn't want to, but we live in Nebraska and at that time there were no ED Trials being held near us. The ED Trials we attended above was in Oregon and had been planned as a stop on a vacation trip.

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Christmastime and Genealogy

This time of the year is great for expanding on your family tree. Why, because of family gatherings. These gatherings are remembered and cherished throughout one's lifetime. Throughout the year you visit with your extended family, but at Christmas time thoughts of past Christmases are always remembered. With the elderly, this would be a fantastic time to ask them about their Christmases past, who was there and any little thing they can remember about them.

One thing to remember, if you are reading this and have not gotten bitten by the genealogy bug yet, you may someday. Each and every elderly person when they pass on is equal to a library burning. This library is a window to your past. Even if you never decide to research your roots, what marvelous stories you have to tell your own children when they ask 'what was great grandpa like?'

My Dad tells stories of my mother's grandfather and his method of dealing with cars and their clutches. He said you could always tell when Grandpa Jones (that is right, I have Jones in my family tree) was coming to visit. You could hear him a mile off, as he didn't use the clutch in the car, just changed the gears.

Tales like that come out at family gatherings and I think much more so when the time is right for memories, like this time of the year.

Do you have someone bitten by the genealogy bug in your family? Looking for a great genealogy gift for them? My genealogy themed shop, Genealogy For You on CafePress.com, has products to help you fill their stockings. AND, until the 20th of December you get free shipping for orders of over $50 or more.

We have tile coasters listing what genealogists wish for, whether at Christmastime or any other time of the year:

Some of us are really addicted, and you will find us at our computer everyday working deligently trying to complete our family tree.

Oh, remember those family gatherings above? There are really great, but when you are hosting them sometimes you really do wish everyone would go home. Not to be mean, but just to have your life back to what was once normal. You might want to display a hint or two of the fact that your favorite Christmas Lights just could be taillights.

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Christmas Traditions

My immediate family (parents and I) really didn't do anything traditional. It may have been that we lived far away from relatives, the lack of money or it could just be my failed memory. I've been racking my brains trying to think of something we did every year and cannot. Nothing more than me going to bed on Christmas eve, waking up on Christmas morning to finally be able to open up the gifts. Oh, yes, the one tradition was to be told "save one present for tomorrow." You see 'tomorrow' (the 26th) was my birthday. Somehow, I never was able to last out until tomorrow .

However, the best Christmas I ever had was in 1958. My family had just moved down from Rhode Island to Virginia in August of that year. I think we had been settled in about 6 weeks when my Dad had to go out to his ship to finish up a Mediterranean cruise with the squadron he was newly assigned. Back then cruises were 9 months long, so he would be gone for the holidays. I don't know when my mother decided that she would spend this Christmas with our relatives in TN, but am so glad she did.

I have never helped decorate so many Christmas trees, tasted so many different types of holiday foods, from sweets to turkeys, nor seen/meet for the very first time many of my cousins. After almost 50 years, a lot of the faces have faded away, along with their names, I just remember the warm feeling I had being around everyone.

It was also the first time I realized what it was like having to go out to an outhouse in the dead of a very, very cold night. You didn't linger very long, that is for sure. My great-aunt and uncle owned a dairy farm, and although they had running water in the house, they had no toilet. What a rude awakening.

We slept over Christmas eve with my Dad's older brother and his wife. Only to be awakened at the first sign of light to "Merry Christmas, are you guys going to sleep all day?" That was my uncle. I have never, before that day, seen a grown man act like a 7 year old on Christmas morning. He was delightful, and something I will never ever forget. My uncle enjoyed his life to the fullest, he always saw good in everyone and kept a smile on his face.

The most recent best holiday memory I have was in 2000. I had only been married 6 months, and my new hubby wanted a surround sound system. Found one he wanted (he kept on looking at it every time we went into the store). So while we were away in Virginia for Thanksgiving at my daughter's house, I had my in laws buy it for me and keep it at their place. So on Christmas morning, I left a card under the tree, telling him his present was located somewhere else in the house, and it became a treasure hunt with 4 or 5 cards. The last card said we had to go to his parents house to retrieve the present. I think I pushed it too far (oops), he was not a happy camper. My in laws surprised me with little directions all over their house for him to follow. . . I have a feeling by the time he found his present and opened it up that if it wasn't a surround sound system I would have been in deep doo-doo. LOL

Anyway, folks have a happy holiday season, whether you have traditions or not, its a great time to be around family.

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