Thursday, September 29, 2011

Peace, Perfect Peace

When Icelandics gather together you cannot be sure what will happen. It's best to capture the peaceful moments before (or after) they meet. There are sure to be noisy and friendly greetings with lots of barking, whining, tail-wagging, jumping, play-bows, circling, etc. The few quiet moments MUST be captured.

How can one tell when the moment is pure bliss? Look at their tails. These dogs all have great tails. They are only 'down' when they are totally relaxed; the rest of the time they are up in single curls, double curls, with korkur tips (3 of them), or with semi-circles (1). Some have tails like bottle brushes with short thick fur; others have long flowing fur.

This was one of those quiet moments, rather rare, I'm afraid.

Click once or twice to enlarge.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


The rare flying-porcines must be on their way down south for the winter and are just pausing in the garden long enough to sip nectar, hummingbird-like.

This one flitted about so fast I wasn't sure where it would finally stop. I snapped as many photos as I could.

I had some excellent and very satisfying news yesterday about the PennHIP scores of one of my "adult-puppies". Yay!! It can now continue to do an amazing job in AKC agility.

In my opinion, PennHIP is THE way to go.

Kata and I will be retiring from agility trials for a while.

Yes, we will keep practicing but we will not enter shows for several months.

Cindy and I call it the Hansen Curse. Of course, OF COURSE, we are just kidding. Our dogs are special and so are we.

The major trouble with teaching classes is that you have significantly less time to practice. I need to cut down on what I teach and increase my practice time!! (I have no room in my yard for agility equipment so practice has to be at the building.) The question is: "Which classes do I stop teaching?" I want only one prep now. Cathi??

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Yesterday we, Kata and I, got up before the crack of dawn with pouring rain and blowing wind outside to get ready to go to our first agility show as "Excellent" entries in jumpers with weaves and standard at a trial in Dexter, Michigan which is just to the west of Ann Arbor near I-94.

I fed and pottied the dogs, showered and shaved, packed lunch and supplies, and then Kata and I boarded (a perfectly appropriate word here) the car and set out in the pitch black of what felt like the middle of the night. The rain and puddles of water along 94 in Detroit were horrendous. I was sure we were going to have an accident. My nerves were frazzled by the time we got to the show site at about 7:15 a.m. Kata, like the Viking trooper she is, slept the whole way. Her ancestors, after all, one thousand years ago came all the way from Scandinavia in the Viking long boats to Iceland in the frozen waters of the mid-Atlantic and then lived for generations on glaciers, bogs and volcanic rock.

At about 7:20 they started the "obsessive walk throughs" for the jumpers with weaves. We boggled the weaves because I was on the right side of the weaves which is the wrong side for us. Yes. we can do them with me on the right of the weaves and we often practice that in class but our preferred side while we are still learning is the "obedience" or left side. I should have listened to myself. Well meaning people sometimes try to talk me into doing things a "better" way and I usually do not listen - it's my nickel, after all. Unfortunately this time I listened to them.

It's my fault that we NQ'd.

Later we were waiting in line to do the excellent standard course and there was an unusually long delay. Kata was getting bored and someone suggested that I play with her to wake her up before we went into the ring. I never do that. Kata responds very quickly once we are in the ring. I was bored; she was bored; we played a bit and she really did wake up - - - so much so that almost as soon as we went into the ring, she started doing any obstacle that she liked. She NEVER has done that. It was totally out of character and, once again, I blame myself. She does not need to get motivated out of the ring. I've seen other dogs run around the ring and have felt bad for the handler. I hope people felt bad for me.

The NQ was again my fault. What do they say? Dog needs new handler.

I know my Kata and she knows me. We do not need advice in the show ring and I will not listen to anyone again. In the practice ring during class I will listen to anyone who wants us to try something new - BUT NEVER AGAIN IN THE RING WHEN WE'VE ACTUALLY PAID MONEY TO ENTER.

I think walking through the ring practicing turns and foot work three times is always a great idea but I think I can overdo it - sometimes I practice so much that I flub things once we start.

So today we stayed home, slept in, read and rested instead of going back to Dexter for the second day of the three day trial. Depending on how we feel on Sunday, we may also skip tomorrow or go. I will not enter any show again that accepts registrations at 7:00 a.m. and starts at 8:00 a.m. and is that far away. It's just very simply too hard. I need a good night's rest in order to be awake for the trials. It's not an age related thing. I have always been that way.

(Click once or twice on the photos to enlarge them. Kata's eyelashes, once black, have lightened up I think.)

Early Fall Flowers

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011

Vinlands Piaf, Vinlands Kani

On Saturday and Sunday, September 17 and 18, the St. Clair Kennel Club had its Breed and Obedience trial at Goodells County Park. Vinlands Kani (Tryggur - on the right) finished his AKC Rally Novice title under Judge David Haddock and Judge Delvyn Lunn and Vinlands Piaf (Pila - on the left) finished her Rally Advanced title under the same judges, Judge David Haddock and Judge Delvyn Lunn.

Tryggur also earned two more points towards his AKC Champion title in Breed under Judge Elizabeth Muthard on Saturday and Judge Charles Olvis on Sunday. Eileen Hyde started Tryggur (aka Yankee) on his path towards his breed title. I hope I don't disappoint Eileen and we finish him. This trial was the first time I showed successfully in conformation and I did it two days in a row because I made a mistake when entering Tryggur. At the advice of the nice lady on the phone, I entered Tryggur in BBE - not realizing that BBE means Bred By Exhibitor. That meant the breeder/exhibitor, which is me, HAD to show the dog. I was not a good student in Roz Jenkins drop in Conformation class on Monday nights at Sportsmens. I was a klutz running around the ring and "showing" Tryggur. Roz and Shirley Baker really tried to help me but I have two left feet - or maybe two right feet but whatever, I do not have one of each! I think Shirley and Roz wanted to give up on me. Maybe the judges felt sorry for me. Regardless, I am becoming quite fond of showing in Breed (I wonder why!) although my real loves still seem to be agility, rally and obedience. All along Sylvia and Jennifer Sanders have been there to support and encourage me. Bless them. I would not have done it without them pushing and pulling me. They would not let me stop what Eileen started.

Pila (left) and Tryggur (right) are taking a well deserved break after their fantastic weekend! Don't they look regal? Me? I'm very surprised, slightly frazzled and quite tired.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


At last some down time to wander through the yard. (Click once or twice to enlarge photos - then use the arrow to return to posts.)

I know when fall has arrived by the kinds of flowers that appear in the garden even if the weather remains summer-like.

The first two photos show some Sedums called "Autumn Joy". Hello! What a great name. They are joyful. The bees love them. That's certainly a hint fall is here.

The third photo shows an old fashioned sedum whose name has been "lost".

Best of all are the white crane-like Cimicifugas - they look graceful and smell wonderful.

Turtle-heads are called that because the flowers look like pink turtle heads and they have appeared almost overnight.

Peeking our from beneath the morning glories I found some early Colchicums (sometimes called autumn crocus even though they are not crocuses).

Tryggur and Pila have trials coming up this weekend! I don't know about them but I'm already exhausted. Classes have started again at Sportsmens. We shocked students today by telling them that we are all unpaid volunteers. They thought we got paid! As if!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Saturday & Sunday September 10 & 11, 2011

The Pontiac Kennel Club trial was held in Davisburg, Michigan last weekend; Pila (Vinlands Piaf) and Tryggur (Vinlands Kani) did very well.

Pila earned her first leg in Rally Advanced under Judge Margery West and Tryggur earned his first leg in Rally Novice under Judge West also.

In the Breed Ring (aka Conformation) LeRoy (Vinlands Leif), shown by with his owner/handler Jennifer Sanders, earned two points in two days of showing. It was Jenn's first conformation show; Lee's too!!

We had a nice time with Tina and her son who also showed this weekend. I'm sorry I've forgotten Tina's son's name but Jenn and I thought he did a really good job showing his champion female.

We had a chance to meet Runa (Lappevennen Runa Embla), a beautiful female puppy Tina recently imported from a great kennel in Norway. I am sure we will see them in the breed ring with Runa soon.

It is truly wonderful when people from Europe and Iceland are willing to part with their wonderful, well-bred puppies in order to enrich our own gene pool here in North America. The future health and well being of our beloved Icelandic Sheepdogs depends on sharing our best dogs.

We had a really good weekend!

(Top photo is Pila, bottom one is Tryggur. Pila's photo was taken at night without using a flash - hence the coloring. She was so tired she held still - an amazing "trick". Click once or twice on photos to enlarge them.)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Gifted and Talented - - -

We just spent a wonderful week with a good friend who loves Icelandics as much as I do because of and in spite of their enthusiasm and intelligence.

She has asked me NOT to include her image and I have done so - - sort of. I suspect she did not want to be identified as a friend and must say I understand and don't blame her.

The gathering of dogs or the swirl of Icelandics or the hurricane of Icies or the storm of ISDs or the blizzard of Icelandic Sheepdogs - - all became identifiers this week. We had one straight week of rain, drizzle, mist, cloudy skies, and damp.What's up with that?

We read - lots. We ate plenty and drank moderately.

We traveled to a foreign country and visited an art museum while there. We browsed a few "vintage" clothing stores. Toured the largest Arab American Museum in North America. Breakfasted at Frittata and a few other restaurants. Ate delicious whitefish at Lily's and the Red Coat Inn's famous (infamous?) burger and fries. Were feted by friends. Went twice to Sportsmen's Dog Training Club with Kata, Pila, Totty and visited with some of my good friends while there. Got sidetracked by the seasonal orange barrels that litter the roads, expressways, highways of Michigan. Never finished the assigned project: -


I grieve for myself because I don't live near her.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Hotter than - - - -

It's been too hot to photograph the dogs outside so I've been doing flowers of the late summer garden. By this time of the year it's really hot and dry and weedy. Who wants to work outside when it's in the nineties? Not me.

Garlic chives can be used like regular chives but they give dishes a bit a a garlic flavor - yummy.

I have only a few species of Hosta. Species of Hosta are the wild ones - the ones plant hybridizers started with. Most commercial Hosta are hybrids or sports (mutations). I grow some of my Hosta plants from seeds and some I buy and divide when they get big enough. This species Hosta is even pretty when the buds are forming - They look a bit like cranes.

Plants that come up from seeds that I do NOT plant I call "volunteers". Some of my favorite plants came up from seeds that birds or the wind must have dropped in my yard. They are the most interesting, in my opinion.

Helenium is a nicer name than tickweed, eh? Some of mine are pure yellow like the one in this photo. Others have bands of brown.

As always, click on photos once or twice to enlarge them in order to see more detail. You can use the back arrow to return to the blog.

Some people don't seem to realize that plants need:
1.) Sun to grow - hello? They make their own food using sunlight. If they don't get sun, they simply do not thrive. They might live but are not healthy and therefore not resistant to stress and parasites. Even shade loving plants need some sun.

2.) Water. You have to water plants if you want them to thrive.

3.) CO2 - plants need carbon dioxide which they can easily get from the air.

When they combine carbon dioxide and water using chlorophyll they can produce their own food, simple sugars. Simple, eh?