Saturday, October 16, 2010

My Friend!

Yesterday a friend had to put her dog down and know very much the pain in the heart that can be. I know she will get through this in time, but will never forget.  Roni you will get through this, the pain will subside, but the brain will always remember.  And do remember Antsy...

The thought of her pain got me thinking about my own buddy that I had to lay to earth just a few years back. This morning with Britt in my thoughts, I went looking for the memorial I wrote about him.  But, I couldn't find the website where I posted it.  My daughter, being the wonder person she is, had a copy.  The following is the memory I wrote the day after laying Britt to rest.
RIP Britt

I layed my friend to rest yesterday, August 26, 2008. I am not going to get into the why's of it. I would rather speak to what a good friend he was and is. Britt was my friend from the time I brought him home in May 1998. In just a few days the guy learned his name and not to pee in the house. I don't think I have ever known such a smart dog in all my life. Britt was a Brittany. Some know the breed as Brittany Spaniels, however they not spaniels any more than a mule is a horse. The breed orginated in Brittany France many many years ago. Here they crossed a spaniel of somekind with a pointer of somekind and got this hard working, intelligent dog that had quality from both breeds. Spaniels and Pointers are both hunting dogs as is the Brittany. They all have a ton of energy, which should not be confused with hyperactive. Now, Spaniels hunting by flush the game out and Pointer will lock up in a point, showing the hunter where the game is hidden. Brittany hunt in the same manner as pointers, thus a number of years ago, maybe 15 years by now, the spaniel part was dropped off of the breeds name. Thus Brittanys are just Brittanys. Enough said about the history of the breed.

Britt was a large dog, somewhere around 65-70 pounds. Yes, that is large for a Brittany. None the less, this guy could run all day and about 26 miles an hour and maintain 15-20 miles an hour for miles.

We never did a lot of hunting together, rather Britt was just my friend. At one point in his life, he was a snow plow manager. He would make sure I plowed the snow just right from the long snow bond driveway we had. At another time, he was a beekeeper. Though I have to admit he didn't care for the bees that much, but he would watch to make sure I did it right. Most often that was from the safety of deck. Isn't that just like a manager! He was a barnyard manager, keeping the raccoons and deer out of the yard away from the chickens, ducks geese and fruit trees. Yes, he was a chicken farmer too.... he didn't like the geese or the turkeys though. He thought the turkeys were weird as they thought they were dogs. They would follow him around the yard, much the way a puppy would following his human.

Britt was the father to twentyfour sons and daughters that out there somewhere with their families. He also helped to raise two cats.  Britt was the type of dog that took most things in stride and trusted that I wasn't putting him into harms way. I remember the first time I took him to be groomed. It was actually his son Duke and Britt that needed the grooming. Duke freaked out... where Britt just stood there, allowing the groomer to do her thing. He would occasionally make sure the groomer was doing it correctly, but mostly he just stood there with the majestic look about him. He was the same way whenever we would go to the vet. He often received comments on how well behaved he was.. not just from the vet, but from the other pet owners too. I can not take credit for this... this was just the way it was with Britt. Just about everyone that met Britt would comment on what a good dog he was.
One of his most favorite things, besides a doggy treat, was to ride in the truck. Britt loved to ride, at one point in our lives, we lived out of a mobile home that had more hole than roof, so he spent the nights with me swatting skitters and trying to stay dry. And during the daytime, he would ride with me to work. There he most happily spend part of the day in the truck...yes with the windows open.. waiting for me to come out on a break. We spent breakfast, lunch and dinner together everyday for almost two years. These days we spent together were the best, though our living conditions were not.

I will always miss the way he would look at me when ever he was trying to communicate a need of his. Whether it was water, letting him out, food or to just to pet him... He would just lay his chin on my knee and look up at me with those big brown eyes. He had other communication skills too. He would grunt in the morning, expressing his need to go out, when I wasn't moving fast enough towards the door handle. Often the grunting would sound like a monkey grunting.

Yesterday, I had to say goodbye to my friend. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. To look into his eyes for the last time, knowing that soon he would not see anymore. As with everything in this dogs life, he took this to in stride. If there is another life I hope we met again and continue our friendship. If not, Britt will never be forgotten. He will live in my memories for the rest of my days as few or as many as that might be.

Britt I miss you!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


August and Rosalie Fenske
 I 've been working hard as of late getting back into my genealogy.  I have recently discovered new branches of the tree, knocked down a wall, and started a scanning project of 100 year old photos.  My guess is that most to the family have not seen these photos and its time they did.  I am scanning the images in high resolution for maximum affect.  I will be posting the photos on Flickr or some other web gallery to share with family members.  This, I hope, will allow easy access to the photo for all family members that want a copy or print a high quality photo.  Stay tuned for upcoming post of the gallery creation and postings.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Guinea Roosting in coop
While away from home for few days, the predator showed up again.  Yes, this is not the first time it has been here.  I fear it has hunted here many times this past summer, however the first visit that I am aware of was just a weeks back. It came in on the setting sun.  The dark sky is its camouflage.  When hunting there is not a sounds, or a whisper, no not  a clue its afoot. Just the after math the following day, where one finds the feathers and wings of  the butchered bird laying about in the yard.  My guineas have been slowly disappearing, though I figured on a few losses throughout the summer as they were growing up and free ranging about the property, but I didn't expect so many.  They roost in a tall pine tree that stands next to the coop where the chicken roost at night. In the past few weeks at least four more of the guineas are now gone.  Dinner for some predator of the night!

As I pulled into the yard yesterday evening, I spotted a wing laying in the middle of the yard, between outbuildings.  Concerned, I scouted about the yard and the coop area, where I found more feathers.  A quick count of the guineas revealed two more were missing.  I suspected an owl, but I've only heard one this past spring and have spotted not a one.  After feeding the chickens, guineas and geese, the guineas did not head for their normal roost in the big pine, but rather into the coop with the chickens.  Did they understand that the tree is now dangerous, since it has become the hunting grounds of an owl.   Yes, I am guessing the predator is an owl.  A hunter of the night like no other... the clues are many; totally eaten birds, fur and feather pellets at the base of the telephone pole in the yard, no foot prints other than the chickens, guineas and geese and all killings are a night.  Then last night the most solid evidence was witnessed.   An Owl in the pines that tower of the house... hooting just after the fall of the sun.  There are number of owls that are in this area; the Great Horned, Grey Gray, and the Barred Owl. All are big enough to take a chicken or guinea, but they will leave the geese alone.  The hooting call that I heard was that of the Great Horned Owl.   This morning I went out the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website to confirm the call.. and indeed it was the Great Horned Owl.  Now, I don't have any images of this owl to share with, so here is a link to see an image and call of the owl... click me!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Pond Reflection

Was heading home on Hwy 169 when I spotted this small pond with great flections.  It was early morning as I was heading east from Buhl Minnesota, with sunning coming up over my shoulder this little pond was in its glory.  I had to drive another three miles before I was able to make a U turn.  It was well worth the slight delay of my morning travels.  See more at my Flickr gallery .

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


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Monday, October 4, 2010

Wooly Bears in the shed!

No, not a bear from the Cenozoic era, in which the Wooly Mammoth walked.  But rather a caterpiller most of us are familiar with in the fall of the year.  The Wooly bear is the caterpillar stage of the Isabellla Tiger moth of the night.  The Wooly bear or Wooly worm is thought by some to be able to predict the come winter.  The longer the band, the milder the winter, the shorter the band the more serve.  All the caterpillers I spotted today had bands that were at least an inch in length, which is three quarters the over all length.  Now, I don't know if this is considered short or long... I am hoping its long.  This time of year they are easy to spot as the Woolys are crawling about looking for a place to over winter.  This afternoon as I was preparing the chicken coop for winter with a good amount of oat straw, I needed to move feed bids around, as I did, many woolys were found that were already settled in for winter. I tried not to disturb them, but after all I needed to straight things up and stack in the straw.   While looking at data about the Wooly bear, I found a reference noted that the Wooly worm can survive temperature of -90 F. On another site, they lived through being frozen in an ice cube.  I just love learning something new about nature each and everyday!