Black Acorn Dogs

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Fried Pidgeon, Anyone?

I've just discovered the real purpose of grill covers.

Diane and I got all ready to grill for the first time of the season yesterday. We got a bit of a surprise:

My first thought was that we'd had some kind of crazy windstorm, and then I noticed a little blue egg in the middle of all that straw. The darn mourning doves had built a nest in our grill!

This explained several things, like why we've had a pair of mourning doves suddenly hanging out (and pooping) on the corner of our deck this year. It also explains why Indie has been spending a lot of time sniffing the grill in the last few weeks.

The one lone egg was somehow missing this morning, so I don't know what happened to it, but we're going to give the darn creatures a little bit of time to finish their business before we reclaim the grill. Hopefully they haven't done damage or created a fire hazard while they've been in there, but we'll find out soon enough. I don't know why there was only one egg or why it was gone this morning, but hopefully it's just been shifted to another part of the "nest" and wasn't eaten by some *other* creature that discovered how to get in there.

Next year, grill cover.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

1st Agility of the Year

We had our first agility lesson of the season with Melissa on Friday night, and it went better than I could have hoped (minus the fact that we had to quit a little early due to rain). Indie, naturally, ran through straight and curved tunnels like he was born to them, and was a pro over the low teeter. Furthermore, he jumped like a rabbit, of course right after I told Melissa about how he's continued to have a tough time with his hips. I'm pretty sure he was working on solid adrenaline though. He was really excited to be up there again. Ebony hasn't had as much exposure as Indie, so she needed some reminder with tunnels, but she was able to consistently take the A-frame and tire with minimal direction from me. I can't remember if she's even practiced the tire before. She was also popping back and for over 24" jump in beautiful arched form. I do have high hopes that I can get her trialing by the end of summer. We have a heck of a start, that's for sure!

Happy Earth Day!

I went out this morning to do trail clean-up on our Adopt-a-Trail at claude Moore Park in Sterling. Diane had to work, so I was on my own for our trail. This was a little rougher than I expected, because there was a lot more pruning and sawing than I'd counted on. I was surprised because it hasn't been all that many weeks since we've been out. On top of that, it rained all morning, so when I was done, I really needed a hot shower. On the brighter note, I wasn't chilled or uncomfortable while I was working, and it was quite a pleasant way to recognize Earth Day. Our trail is a pretty half-mile loop right near the Visitor's Center, and has places where it's hardwood, places where it's predominately evergreen, and places where it's open. There is lots of dogwood along the trail, and it's just started to bloom.

Today was the annual "all hands on deck" day where they bring in extra volunteers to do general trash pick-up around the park, but we unfortunately lost a lot of folks to the weather. I'm really sore tonight, but it felt good to get out and do something really physical.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Best in Show

I love the movie Best in Show. I must have watched it 50 times. I'm not a big movie watcher, but it's *the* movie I put in when I'm doing something, say on the computer as I am tonight, and I'm only half watching the television. It's a little disturbing, but I just do not get sick of it.

"I woke up, I was so glad"

"We were so lucky to be raise with catalogs"

"It worked for my family... you know, until my mom committed suicide in '81."

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Smash My Viper

I bet Al Gore never envisioned the Internet being used for stuff like this back when he invented it:

Here's video:

It's an advertising site like Million Dollar Pixels where you can purchase a key scratch or hole drilled in a (previously good condition) shiny red Dodge Viper. Or cough up a little more money and they will throw your item of choice at the Viper, or Loiusville Slugger it. Good stuff.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Shiloh Playdate

Back is MUCH better incidentally. Just took a couple weeks to get straightened out. Hey, could have been worse!

New album is up of a pup we went to play with this weekend. We just brought Ebony, but we worked him with Indie a little on Sunday. Marti from this photos is his current foster; she's the same one who fostered Ebony. The other dogs in here (Much and Tuck) are two of her three. The third isn't much for rowdiness and does not appear here. :D

I have a couple videos I might post later. One of them is of Ebony bouncing off the head of her favorite boy, Muchie.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

"Just Too Young to Feel This Dang Old"

The herniated disc in my back has been flaring up the last two weeks, which has been a lot of fun. The silliest thing though, is I keep catching myself grunting and groaning every time I stand up or get out of the car or whatever. I'm too young to have to make noises every time I raise my body.

Hamster's first question when I mentioned that my back was out was "so which dog was it?" That cracked me up, although it wasn't the dogs this time!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

I'm watching usability testing today, which is fun. It's basically what you've seen on TV before, where a person asks questions about a product in a bright room with a big ol' mirror, and behind that mirror are people like me hanging out in a dark room and watching. It's extremely useful for getting information on how people view a product. Reading summaries isn't nearly as helpful as getting to see people's firsthand reactions to whatever it is you've created.

The only bad thing about today is that the dark room has tons of candy and junk food and snacks stashed inside. I think I've consumed enough calories for 3 days. The worst are the Cadbury Mini-Eggs. I love those darn things.

Stinkin' Up the Joint

I've been in desire for some kind of nice air freshener or pretty smelling stuff since the van smells a bit like, well, a 10-year old van. It doesn't stink, but nor is it "New Car Smell". I don't like the smell of your basic tree-shaped fresheners, so I was thinking about using some lavendar flowers or something to nice it up. Diane got me some great lavendar sachets double the size of my fist at World Market that were simple purple netting filled with lavendar flowers, tied with a little ribbon. I was thrilled -- until I smelled them. They reeked like something you'd buy at Bath and Bodyworks. Now mind you, if I buy lavendar scented handsoap from Bath and Bodyworks I wouldn't consider it to be a reek. I'd *expect* it to smell perfumey and fake. But I couldn't believe I was holding these two huge packets of wonderful lavendar that I couldn't even enjoy because they were drenched with "Authentic Imitation Lavendar Scent (tm)". Gross.

Fortunately I had a baggie of lavendar upstairs that has been sitting around for a while, and I took a handful of it, wrapped it into a little pocket of cheesecloth tied with a twistie, and left it in the van all day. Not nearly as attractive perhaps as violet tulle and ribbons, but after sitting in the hot van all day, lavendar (REAL lavendar) was the first thing I smelled when I got out of work yesterday. Works for me.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Dulles Pet Expo

Much fun was had at the Pet Expo this weekend. The magnificent Shiloh "demo dogs" outside the booth drew lots of crowds and attention. I took a lot of pictures which I hope to have up by this weekend.

I did bring Ebony out for a bit, but it lasted only about 30 minutes. I brought her out on Saturday afternoon, which was the worst time I could have done it because it was wall-to-wall people, children, dogs, strollers, etc. WAY too much. I'm sure it would have been easier if I'd brought her out during average traffic or a slow time, but it was a good experience for her anyway. Fortunately, I think I was more stressed out by it than she was. FOr her part, she was just waaaay too excited!

I may have lined up some show handling gigs for the Punxsutawney Shiloh Specialty in May. As in conformation handling[1]. What, you didn't know I did that? Well, me neither, so apparently there's no time like the present to learn. I'm surprised to find that I'm really excited about it. There seem to be quite a few people who come to show their dogs but either don't want to take them into the ring or need extra hands if they end up with more than one dog going into to the winners rings, so I'll probably show up and make myself available. This is what's fun about being part of a breed that isn't so competitive that you wouldn't dream of sending your dog in the ring without a handler that costs hundreds (or thousands) of dollars. The local Shiloh club has an instructional show handling day scheduled as the May club event, so I'm planning to cram. Plus, just for grins, I'm going to start taking Ebby into any of the shows where they offer "companion classes", which are a more casual class for pet dogs (particularly spayed or neutered; you can't compete in confirmation competition with a fixed dog). We will try it for fun, and it's good experience for her anyway.

I made some updates to the Black Acorn Dogs site last night. I changed the format & design and finally posted about Katie passing last November. Comments on the changes are welcome.

[1] i.e. Like what you see on TV for Westminster, minus the cameras, evening wear, and glam