Saturday, November 24, 2012

Vinlands Sunna

Mike Merrell showed his and Deb Hampton's Icelandic Sheepdog Vinlands Sunna today at Agathon in Ohio to judge Mrs. Joan Schurr Kefeli. Mike and Sunna did a wonderful job. Deb is holding their Best of Opposite Sex ribbon. Wow!!

Sunna is a litter mate to Arya, Miss Timber, Saga, Thora, and Wodin.

Lee and Sunna together with Guy Fisher and Mike Merrell.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Monday, November 19, 2012

Tjok and Thor

Here are Tjok and Thor in the Netherlands ~
They are litter-mates to Lee and Moose ~

Song of the Vikings

Today I received a copy of the book Song of the Vikings by Nancy Marie Brown from Linda and Russ. Nancy and Chuck have Edda Rún one of the puppies from Linda and Russ.
Snorri Sturluson wrote Edda, Heimskringla, and  Egil's Saga and thereby saved for posterity Norse sagas and the names and events associated with them

Snorri included the myths and legends that he had heard about Valhalla, the Valkyries, dwarfs, dragons, elves, gods, et cetera in his writings. Much or most of what we know about Odin, Loki, Baldur, Thor, Freyr, Freyja, Sleipnir, Ragnarok, Yggdrasil, etc. we know because of Snorri. Before Snorri wrote them down saving them, those stories were passed from one generation to the next aurally as Icelanders and other Nordic peoples sat around the hearths especially on long winter nights.

I've read (in English, of course) most of the Sagas as an elderly adult. It's hard for me to imagine the influence they must have had on people who experienced them early in life. We know that authors like J. R. R. Tolkien, Ursula LeGuinn, C. S. Lewis and many, many others were profoundly influenced by the sagas Snorri wrote down.

I have suggested, strongly suggested, that people new to Icelandic Sheepdogs delve into the Icelandic sagas. They are endlessly fascinating and open up whole new worlds of thinking. Some that we used to think of as pure myth, we now know are reality based like the voyages of Leif Eriksson, son of Erik the Red.

Please go to or similar sites and treat yourselves to some of these sagas. 

Perhaps a good place to start would be with Nancy Marie Brown's Song of the Vikings.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


I worked in the garden in my front yard today; I sat on the ground and was trimming my Quince - which tends to spread. I was in no hurry because it was a lovely, lovely fall day.
This evening I watched a BBC Sherlock Holmes production and was scratching my right leg a lot. I shook my pant leg and this* fell out: - 
I've been told about them for years but I believe that this is the first one I've ever seen. They say that when they have a thick coat in the middle, it means we are in for a hard winter. Looks like we'd better prepare ourselves. I've heard their hairs can cause irritation which explains my itchiness.

I took him back outside to find shelter for the coming freezing winter weather.

* - Wooly Bear caterpillar

(You may have to copy and paste the web addresses above and below in order to find them.)

Grand Champion - AKC

Vinlands Leifur owned by Jennifer Sanders, shown by Guy Fisher today became an AKC Grand Champion under Judge James Maloney. He also survived the cut in the Group Ring!
Click on photos to enlarge them.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sans Souci ~ Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The horse shoe has been hung - temporarily, but hung so the luck can start to collect!
The 'rib' on the wall prevents an 'easy hang' so I might put it inside the FS/NX. Maybe over the kitchen sink too. I'd hate for it to fall on someone if the door gets slammed.

The refrigerator is now in the kitchen and so is the microwave. Plates, glasses, cups, silverware, pots, pans, etc. are all set to welcome the dogs and me and, who knows, perhaps even visitors. Even the obligatory rooster is hanging on the kitchen wall over the sink.
David's "dancing" painting has been hung over the sofa and Cathy's sheepskin is over the back.
I love this painting of Jon's, it's an example of his old style figuratives, and possibly one of his very first paintings. Actually my very old green outdoor chair IS comfortable. I don't want to leave it outside in the winter so, here it is! Eclectic, as Brian says.
I need some kind of table near the door to throw my keys and stuff on when I come into the room. For now, another green outdoor chair works just fine. The heat is on in the bathroom and the utility room. It's quite cozy. (Remember, clicking on the photos enlarges them. To return to the text, click on the X in the upper right hand corner.)

I had another good talk with a neighbor, John. I got the grand tour last time I was up there from another neighbor Jeff.
I'm excited that Mike and Debbi are going to show Sunna in the 'breed ring' (conformation) on Saturday, November 24. I think she looks great; they should do good. Fortunately Jennifer will be there to help if necessary. It's really nice to see some old fashioned shorter haired Icelandics in the breed ring.
Totty is coming back 'home' this Sunday after this coming cluster. I wonder how the other dogs will react to Totty. She's been away a long time. Ann will be taking a short break and start showing her again after the holidays.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Lee and friends - Friday, November 9, 2012

AKC Champion Vinlands Leifur "Lee", owned by Jennifer Sanders, competed again as a Special and got a second major win this weekend at the West Michigan Harvest Cluster today, Friday, November 9, 2012, under American Kennel Club Judge Carl Gene Leipmann. (See Lee in the photo below.)

Ann Keil handled Aunt Totty today and she got Best of Opposite again. Totty is very proud of nephew Leroy who is on his way!!
Debbie Ostrander's Tri-Star Kalla, bred by Sheryl Thelen, finished her American Kennel Club Championship today under Judge Leipmann. 

Debbie has finished* four Icelandic Sheepdogs, Asgards Tafar - bred by Debbie, Mori-Bjorn av Isheim (he is also a UKC Champion) - an import bred by Arne Håkon Tunheim and brought over here to add diversity to the gene pool in North America, Somi's Katla (who is a UKC Champion and an International Champion) - bred by Judy and Jean Pierre Debeuf, and now Kalla all this year

Debbie has also finished American Kennel Club Grand Champion Arbakki Magni, CGC (who is also a UKC Champion) bred by Laura Lutz! 


* - finished means that they earned their Championship titles.

Sans Souci - Friday, November 9, 2012

The photo below shows the view of my road into Sans Souci from across M-25 - Lakeshore Road - south of Forestville, Michigan. 

The dirt road you see straight ahead is about 1500 feet long and leads to where my pole barn is and where my house will (soon?) be and Lake Huron. The mixed mostly evergreen forest that the road bisects is mine.
I had a really nice conversation with Jeff who owns the property north of me. Jeff is also from Royal Oak and used to live down near 13 Mile and Campbell years and years ago as a kid. I live on 13 Mile. His family owned a popular paint store in Royal Oak years ago. Isn't that amazing? His wife teaches in Port Huron.

But wait! Just immediately north of him is a home that a couple of Royal Oak architects built as a vacation home several years ago. Their office is on Center Street south of Lincoln. Thursday I had an appointment with Brian and Daren, my architect and, hopefully, builder, and drove past and noticed the Schneider's offices near Oakland Community College in Royal Oak for the first time. Before I knew they had a home up there! Also amazing. That must be fate or karma or kismet or something. I will have to go meet them down here!

So ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ that means that three of the four families either living up there or with homes up there, mine and the three homes north of me, are from Royal Oak. What are the chances!

I also spent a good couple of hours talking with Jim Dawson, a man about my age who has a business up there. (I took the above photo from the parking lot of his business.) He and his girlfriend live in a home on the west side of M-25 just south of my place. It looks awesome and the price is really good. They are downsizing and have put their larger home up for sale. It's completely handicap-accessible because he built it to accommodate his mother before she passed. It even has an elevator to go from the first to the second floor. The view from those two homes overlooks a gorgeous valley and is amazing. Jim's current house is down the road from the house that's for sale. The house that's for sale is one of those "once in a life time" homes.

Jim and his girlfriend have an amazing St. Bernard named Hogan who fell in love with the smell of my dogs on my clothes. I've often had people ask me why dogs love me so much. That's easy. They smell my dogs on me and know I'm safe.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Lee today

Lee got "Breed" on Thursday, November 8, 2012 under American Kennel Club Judge Sandy Wheat . He is owned by Jennifer Sanders and was shown by Guy Fisher on the first day of the West Michigan Harvest Cluster. LeRoy looked great today! He's really starting to like this! Lee is on his way towards his Grand Championship. Yay Lee.

Congratulations Guy and Jennifer!

Totty got best of opposite as a special so she got a few points today as well.

Here are this year's puppies from Edgar and Kippa - they are grandpuppies of Kata and Korpur: - 
(You may have to copy and paste this in your search engine but, imo, it's worth it.) 

Peace, perfect peace!

Doesn't this make a great photo? It looks like Mike and Debbi will be able to cut back on their heating bills this winter! Toasty warm laps!! Mike, Sunna, and Moose are the picture of contentment. (I suspect Debbi is the go-fer for snacks.)
Is Moose a camera hog? It seems he is always looking at the camera when the picture is snapped.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Big Jim

I often go to a little old Royal Oak place, The Oaks Family restaurant ( ) for breakfast. It's a bit of old Royal Oak near my old neighborhoods of Altadena and Lawson streets. I heard this morning that one of the regulars, Big Jim passed way on Sunday. He was almost always there sitting at his end table by himself when I came in but he always had a smile and a greeting for everyone and most people sat and chatted with him for a while. I will miss him terribly. May he rest in peace.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


Totty finished her American Kennel Club Championship yesterday, Saturday, November 3, 2012, at the Marion Kennel Club show with handler Ann Keil. Like her nephew, Champion Vinlands Leifur (Lee) she finished with three majors. (Show photo to be posted when it arrives here.)

The puppies (Arya, Squirrel, Wodin, Miss Timber, Saga, Thora) born last spring, therefore, have two American Kennel Club champions for parents: - Laki and Totty.
On Friday Pila (first photo below) earned her second leg towards her Novice Jumpers With Weaves agility title and Kria (second photo below) earned her first leg towards her Novice Standard agility title. Pila and Kria both finished in first place. I'm happy when they qualify. Kria has never had an agility class but we probably should have done so! Pila jumps 16"; Kria, who is slightly shorter, jumps 12". I'm really glad they don't have to compete against one another.


Moved a couch and coffee table up to the new office today. I've had the coffee table since about 1970 - it's a ship hatch (door) that was converted into a coffee table and takes abuse while still looking very nice. My brother David had one years ago when he lived in Florida and I asked him to get one for me and bring it back to Michigan - - at least that's how I remember it happening.
My taste of furnishings in the annex has been called 'eclectic', which is probably kind. I would have called it graduate school modern in my day. It's really a hodge podge of old things but they seem to work nicely together. (Clicking on photos enlarges them.)
My northern neighbor told me today that he took the boat dock. He said that he paid the former owner for it. He also said he bought the dock leading out into the water. I won't make an issue of it.
He had someone drive over his breakwater and onto my beach to go out on his beach and mow his phragmites, the tall pampas-like introduced alien grass that has taken over the habitat of our native cattails driving out the red-wing blackbirds. Pity. I really like them. Maybe one day they will be like the passenger pigeons - extinct.
I will have to be careful of the dynamics of the relationship between neighbors. I'll do fine. I hope. Good fences - - - - - - .

Saturday, November 3, 2012


I visited my own personal cauchemar today, Saturday, November 3, 2012, a few days after hurricane Sandy left many downed trees and power lines here on the shores of Lake Huron.
The views today at 7470 are fantastic. It was coldly raining with a very interesting overcast sky.
I saw five freighters in the short time I was there. If you look closely on the horizon you might be able to see one of them - - and Canada!? (Clicking on photos enlarges them a bit.)
Verizon cable has marked the curve of the common 1500' driveway with small red flags. Is it cable for TV or phones or both? I hope so. I would really miss PBS.
I've had so many problems with deadlines. Although I've heard of other people having problems with building or renovating this is a first for me. I love the plans but ~ ~ this is very frustrating. I think they feel that way too.
I would never have bought my property without their commitment to do the job. I love what they both do and they work well together. They've missed many deadlines. This house has to be built!
OMG was it lovely to be there today. I've shared some photos taken today.

Friday, November 2, 2012


I just heard from Imelda and Steve. Here are some recent photos of Wodin

"Wodin has had his first obedience class and we really like the two instructors, particularly as they only put six in a class, so lots of help.  He did not like being in his crate and playing crate games as he would much rather meet the other dogs - which he didn't. He began to settle at the end and all of us had three pages of homework to do. We're still on page one as that is where he is. I guess the term is "impulse control" that we are working on. I've changed his food from a salmon base which had a 33% protein to the Lamb and non wheat product which has a protein of 25%. He still likes lamb the best and I think he was really feeling 'his oats' which hopefully came from the other feed and not from 'teenagehood'. What do you think? Is the lower protein better for him at this stage? He's still filling out and has thickened in the neck and shoulders substantially. We are quite amused when we look back at his 'puppy' photos. I've begun doing his nail clipping and this is done at his 'cuddle time' one foot at a time. He was excellent and hardly noticed the procedure at all. He's right here now with his "tug" hoping I am going to play with him - we're losing weight keeping up with him. He's such a loveable dog that I think he's a little spoilt! We really like the way you can discuss things with him, he listens intently and most often stops what he is doing and does what he is asked. He's definitely an independent spirit.
Here are his 7mth photos. Enjoy."

Lower protein slows growth and is OK. Our puppies are approaching maturity and their need is lower now. Wow! Three pages of homework. Wow!!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Chocolate Moose

Moose sits in his chocolate chair, with the chocolate drapes, a cup of cocoa (must be!) on the table, and his TV remote controls the picture of contentedness, lord and master of all he surveys.

"He likes watching basketball and hockey, particularly basketball. There's lots of barking in basketball, I think he's saying, "I'm open, throw it to me!", yet they never do. He also likes some nature shows, if there are more nature sounds, and less announcer. Sunna is still more interested in checking out the speakers, and looking for what is making the sounds. Moose tries telling her he's been down that path, and it's a dead end. He likes licking the outside of ice cold glasses, or trying to steal ice cubes."