Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas 2011

I had a wonderful relaxing Christmas Day in the country with Kathy and loads of great dogs including Taefa. We talked and laughed and ate - the best Christmas in a very long time. The day was bright and sunny but cold with no snow on the ground. Joe was there feeding in one of his pastures, the one near her home. It was just the two of us, both second-borns with all that implies. Time has flown. I am blessed.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


"A lie can get half way around the world while truth is still pulling on its shoes." - Mark Twain

"In this hyper-linked information age, a lie can get all the way around the world and back while the truth is still in bed." Alan Miller

Monday, December 12, 2011

Quince & Faux-Koi

Beneath the early winter ice, my faux-koi (aka goldfish) are going into hibernation. If you look closely you can see their reddish colors beneath the still transparent ise. Soon the snow will hide their prsence until this coming spring. I leave an airstone bubbling all winter so the fish don't suffocate.

Sylvia, one of my dog agility friends, has invited me to see her koi pond next spring - six feet deep with no ledges for blue herons to stand on while feeding. I eagerly await spring while still enjoying winter. Sort of. Sylvia has an absolutely gorgeous and intelligent Irish Setter named "Murphy" - why not?

I have several volunteer quince bushes in my yard. Don't know why my one volunteer flowering quince produced so many 'apples' this year. You can see them on the branch still in the middle of December and also littering the ground.

Did you know that in colonial times almost everyone had apple trees growing in their yards. They were not the sweet apples of today but sour, bitter ones and they used them to make hard apple cider which they, everyone in the family, drank with every meal because the water was not safe. The alcohol in the hard cider killed germs. As he traveled along the ever expanding American frontier, Johnny Appleseed collected seeds from the 'good' varieties of apples, you know, the kind that made good applejack, and planted those seeds in his yard. He raised them into small trees and then sold the saplings when they were almost ready to bear fruit. As the people moved west, so did Johnny always planting more seeds in his new homes. He would sell the apple saplings to the pioneers as the moved ever westward. (He apparently did not sell seeds or give them away.) His 'business' was selling saplings that would soon be productive. People did not eat apples. They drank the cider which did not taste like our modern cider made from sweet apple varieties.

Their pigs also ate the leftover apples and the waste mash. Waste not, want not. Maybe that's why roasted whole pigs had apples stuck in their mouths?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Vinlands Kani (AKA "Tryggur") just got the results of his PennHIP X-rays back and he is in the 90th percentile for all Icelandic Sheepdogs in the United States. I want to thank my vet, Dr. Nancy Heinhold of the Downtown Birmingham Veterinary Clinic in Birmingham, Michigan for doing the test for me. She has done all of my dogs over the years. Indeed she has done many Icelandics now!

The photo shows Tryggur at Cobo Hall in Detroit with my friend Eileen Hyde.

Friday, November 25, 2011


Can you tell mother (Vinlands Piaf - Pila) from her daughter (Vinlands Lille-Mora - Tjok)?

One lives in Europe with Christine; the other lives in North America with me.

Thursday, November 24, 2011



Of course you should never feed your dog scraps from the table. HA!! That's really hard to do if you have a dog like Lee! Sylvia tries so hard to be good but who could resist a dog like him?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Herding Icelandic

Here are a couple of photos of a female Icelandic Sheepdog puppy named Paeja. She was born in February, 2011 on a working ranch and ended up on a farm where she is doing what she loves doing - herding sheep. Her mentors include Suzanne and a seasoned Border Collie.

Isn't Paeja lovely?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I came across this saying, apparently a Balkan proverb, according to a great article by Louis Menard entitled "Getting Real" in the November 14, 2011 New Yorker:

"It is permitted to you in time of great danger to walk with the devil until you have crossed the bridge."

I have a question: Once one has crossed the bridge, what does one do with the devil who continues to bedevil our lives?

Sunday, November 13, 2011


It's November 13 and we have still had only one frost. Even this late the garden is still lovely as long as one doesn't expect the so-called perfect flowers and plants. First they don't exist any more than the perfect person or dog or horse etc. exists.

I was reminded that today is/was Christine's birthday. I value her friendship over the years. We have shared many joys and sorrows. I wished I lived close to Christine and Richard so I could see her more often. She always, always lifts my spirits - not an easy thing to do.

The bonsai pomegranate entirely nude of its leaves is lovely with its twisted trunk, the gingko bonsai with its yellow leaves, the young barberry with its red leaves, the autumnally yellow-brown Hosta and the euonymus with its shockingly red fall leaves, etc. all make for a wonderful season.

I remember well a fall we had many years (decades) ago where David, Bill, Louise and I met at a campground for Thanksgiving turkey done outside on a grill. (Thanksgiving comes on the fourth Thursday in November here.) The yellow and brown leaves were still on the Oaks and Hickories and the weather was mild. It was amazing. To this day it's hard to believe that it really happened but it did.

There are two sets of rules:

1. for them

2. for the rest of us

Sunday, November 6, 2011


These are the parents of the litter on the previous post. Both parents are HD-Fri A. All four grandparents are HD-Fri too. (Mom is the top photo, dad the bottom one.)

If you might be interested, they could hitch a ride to the US as soon as this Thursday. Contact me so I can connect you to the breeder.

If they miss this travel opportunity, they can still get here.

My email is below the photos.

Clicking on the photos enlarges them. You may have to click on "Show original" once or twice.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Nice puppies

These beautiful Icelandic Sheepdog puppies, four males and a female, are available from the breeder.

From top to bottom: -

Thorkatla Thumalina is a tricolor female
Palli Putti is a tan male with a white collar
Dolli Dropi is a tricolor male with a blaze and a spot on his forehead
Tumi Thumall is a tan male
Svarti Skuggi is a tricolor male

Both parents have HD-Fri A hips as do two of the grandparents. The other two are HD-Fri B and HD-Fri. The double coats are thick. Notice the great bone structure, the good toplines, the placement of the feet. They are excellent examples of the breed and should do very well in performance homes and the breed ring.

I'll post photos of the parents and the pedigree in my next post.

Send me an email if you might be interested and I'll connect you to the breeder who is willing to ask a fair price. I would love to have one or two of these puppies for myself.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Vinlands Piaf, CGC, RN, RA, RE

Pila finished her American Kennel Club Rally Excellent title under AKC Judge Marilyn Tomaszewski this past weekend at Sportsmen's Dog Training Club's 93rd all breed obedience trial. Pila also earned her first leg towards her Beginner Novice title.

Pila has started training in agility at Canine Community Center owned by Linda Brady with Instructors Rita, Jen and Linda. In a year or so we may be ready to start trialing.

Check out these photos from Cathi Winkles' Photography.

(Clicking on photos may enlarge them. If you get a black background screen, click on "Show original" and then click on photo again.)

The second photo shows Pila is the "Honor" position in Rally Excellent. When she's working, she usually folds her ears back - I'm guessing that reduces drag so she can run faster - ha!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Niagara - the artist, rock star

When I got my first painting of, not by, Niagara, I had little idea about who she was - I just liked the portrait by Jon Parlangeli. When I got my second painting of, and again not by, Niagara by Jerome Ferretti, it was the third painting in a water color triptych entitled "Sex, Drugs and Rock N Roll" and I did NOT know Niagara was in the painting. I also recently bought some yellow and orange shoes Niagara had painted and donated for an auction for breast cancer. Is the world trying to tell me something?

(It's possible to enlarge the photos by clicking on them and/or doing some clever technical stuff, like, perhaps, clicking on "Show Original" once or twice.)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Jerome Ferretti

My deepest thanks to Uncle Russ and Jerome Ferretti and, as always, to Rose Frame Shop in Ferndale, Michigan - they always do a great job. (Sorry for the blurry photos - .)

Pila is entered in Rally Excellent tomorrow at Sportsmen's fall Obedience and Rally three day trial.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Are the plants that flower out of season or are the last of the season and brown around the edges appreciated more?

Click on photos to enlarge them (or click on the "location" to the lower left of the photos if the screen goes to black).

Digitalis ambigua (Foxglove)


Sedum Autumn Joy


Corydalis lutea

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Aconitum (Monkshood) and Siberian asters are the last two perennials to flower in my yard - and here it is only October 23 and they are in bloom. Because of the very mild and wet fall perhaps they will not last as long this year as they usually do.

I think the cold and frosty weather, which is what we normally have this time of year, helps the plants last longer.

With no frost yet this year even the Dahlias are still blooming - even though they have fallen down because of the weight of their flowers, they are still beautiful.

"Friendship isn't about who you have known the longest. It's about those who came and never left your side."

First two photos: - Aconitum
Second two photos: - Siberian asters
Last photo: - an enthusiastic Dahlia

Click on photos to enlarge them.

I have a fantastic quote from the good Helga about training Icelandic Sheepdogs. It's absolutely brilliant. Spot on!! I am anxious to share it but until it's published, I cannot in good faith share it on my blog. She deserves the credit. (I will reveal it, however, to anyone who emails me privately.)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Boomerang - Michael Lewis

Boomerang by Michael Lewis

Has anyone read Boomerang by Michael Lewis?

The book was mentioned on PBS last night. I wonder about the reaction people in Iceland and the friends of Iceland here in the US might be having to what he says in the book.

He apparently stated in the book that Iceland is a nation of 300,000 people that turned itself into a banking hub by recycling the world's money to the Icelanders themselves saying that they borrowed the money and then used that money to acquire things in other countries which, he claims, started the whole European banking crisis.

He also said apparently that Icelanders themselves told him that their own Icelandic history and culture and DNA left them very well suited to become investment bankers. He said that Icelanders told him also that they were inbred and have a sense of themselves as genetically special because of their history of risk taking. They walked away from a lot of their debts and are in a deep economic slump still, according to Mr. Lewis.

He also spends a good deal of time examining several other European cultures including Greece, Ireland, France, Germany and others and their role in the current really bad financial condition that the whole European continent is currently in and the possible repercussions for the United States if things get worse over there.

I have not read the book. I hope that if it says those things about our beloved Iceland that people will not blame the Icelanders themselves but rather, perhaps, instead their bank. To blame the Icelanders would be akin to blaming the people of the United States because of the excesses of Wall Street and our own banks and banking system and perhaps especially the US politicians.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Vinlands Leif, Jennifer Sanders

Here's a great photo of AKC judge Edward Wild with Jennifer Sanders and her dog Lee, aka Vinlands Leif, on September 24, 2011 at the Pontiac Kennel Club's Trial. Doesn't Jennifer look totally happy! What a terrific team!! They're on their way!!!

Notice how they're all in "chocolate-brown and tan shades"! I think they must have planned it.

Click on the photo to enlarge it.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Autumn Flowers

Chrysanthemum japonicum is a semi-woody mum that doesn't die back to the ground in the fall. It can get to be a small bushy plant and has flowers, as you can see, that resemble Shasta daisies. This is one of the last plants in the garden to flower each fall. I have a Siberian aster that has just started too and usually lasts until Thanksgiving.

As you can see, it's hard to take photos in the yard without helpers - in these photos are Huld and Tryggur. These shots were taken without a flash in the late afternoon on a very cloudy autumn day - hence the blurry shots.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Thor, a four year old Icelandic Sheepdog, lives with Alex and Jasmine. My puppies end up in the nicest homes! Doesn't he look great!

Thor's sire is Korpur, a black and white Icelandic who also carries the at-gene for black and tan (sometimes called tricolor because of the Irish Spotting gene that most Icelandics have) and AY-gene for tan shades.

Thor's dam is Kria, a black, tan and white Icelandic with two at-genes who also carries one b-gene for chocolate-brown from her dam Thordunu Eyja.

Korpur has his AKC RN, RA, RE and CD titles and his CGC award. Kria also has her AKC RN, RA, RE and CD titles as well as her CGC award.

Kria has started studying for her agility trials. Yes, she's over seven years old but we expect great things from Kria.

Kata was over eight when she started studying for her agility titles and she earned her four titles at the age of nine. Not bad for an older dog. Will Kria equal her record?

Korpur's PennHIP scores are left 0.33 and right 0.44. Kria's scores are 0.56 for both hips. We trusted Penn HIP's suggestions for breeding healthy dogs for hips and the PennHIP scores for Thor proved them right.

I believe that breeding for health (especially hips and eyes), temperament, intelligence, and working ability are extremely important for the long term health and well being of our breed. Breeding pretty dogs is not enough, in my opinion. Fortunately most Icelandic Sheepdog breeders feel the same way!

The humans in the first photo with Thor are Alex and Jasmine. Anaegja is with Thor in the second photo. (By the way, it was a hot day and the humans and dogs had just returned from a long walk. The cool grass must have felt nice on their bellies.)

Click to enlarge. I love the color of Thor's eyes and the contrast with his black fur, his shiny black fur.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

October 5, 2011

October 5, 2011 - We are having some gorgeous early autumn weather this year. No frosts yet so the garden is still enjoyable. Because it has been so nice I've been able to do a few clean up chores in the yard. Debbie has sent me the photos of an interesting cottage with about 200 feet of Lake Huron frontage and a nice beach near Harbor Beach. The price is kind of high; I want to see a floor plan; I'd like more land but this one is intriguing.

Click once or twice on photos to enlarge them.