I'm actually going to be very brief about the Tour today. (Michael 'The Chicken' Rasmussen has just won the stage... the overall GC should be quite interesting.) But holy chaos: I realise I am about to send Levi Leipheimer over a barricade, but he's about the only favorite who hasn't bitten the dust yet; and Linus Gerdeman might be the savior of German cycling in the post-Ulrich disgrace.
A QUICK NOTE: I'm putting up small pictures... the thing I really like about Blogger so far is that if you 'click' on them, they'll go to full size in your browser.
But the real chaos unleashed is Widdershins Upwind Jozsi: 14lbs of rambunctiousness. Phew.
Momo and I drove up to Maine on Friday to select a pup. Along the way, we stopped in at Quinebaug Kennels in Canterbury, CT. They are a boarding kennel and training facility and have some significant experience with gun-dogs. Nice place: clean, friendly, good space, and a great philosophy ("A tired dog is a happy dog."). So, we may board the boys there sometime this winter when we take a trip. We may also do some training to prep Momo for his first hunt test in September. Will keep everyone posted.
We then drove up to Rangeley, ME, to spend the night with our dear friends, Susan and Dudley, and their dog, Momo's true love, Lida. I really believe that Lida gave Momo the confidence to range in the woods and not just stick within 25 yards of us at all times. He minds beautifully, so a little extra range isn't a problem. But those two just have a ball together. (This is them sitting, looking nervous about flash-photography.)
The picture is off their dock the next morning looking out into Mooselookmeguntic Lake. When we drove up the previous afternoon we drove through a hard squall -- but as it cleared and the trees burned off the moisture, looking at those sharp, wooded ridges was like being in western Oregon again. Which Meg and I would love to move (back) to sometime in the not too distant future.
And then on to Widdershins: it's always great to see Chris and Wendy. They love their dogs, and are just careful about who they breed, and who they send dogs home with. I really can't say enough good things about dealing with them. Anyways, this was Momo's aunt Gemini's last litter (and the sire, Rebel Rouser Smokey, is from a famous Vizsla line in Nebraska). She is the white-muzzled beauty on the left here; her niece, Seeker, is in the background; Momo's butt is in the foreground.
In any case, the pups should have a lot of bird-finding potential. And the winner, largely by dint of the fact that he went nutso over a chukar wing I brought with me, was Jozsi. He is the biggest of the four pups (about 1.5lb heavier than Momo was at 9 weeks old) -- and should be a bigger dog than Momo, but still medium-sized -- maybe topping out around 55lbs (to Momo's 48lbs).
Momo has realized that a) he's not being traded in, and b) that he can share, and that c) he can still be the king when it's appropriate. They've been around each other long enough that they are just starting to figure out how to play with each other. Once those ground rules are established... holy schneitkies!
Keep watching this space.