Wednesday, October 31, 2007

would have done better with a broom...

Today's aphorisms for successful bird-chasing are well known, but must be repeated often.

a) Trust the dog (even if he's 5mos old)

b) Don't think about your shot (especially if it's 'easy')

My work schedule got juggled at the last minute and so, instead of celebrating the Sterling Forest season opening-day tomorrow, we headed up to Newburgh and did our usual field-cruising routine. We got there early and while I was (rightly) skeptical that there would be any birds in such an oft-sought field, we were able to get a parking space at one of the bigger, more open fields. As a first stop, it's a great field just to get both boys out together and able to run and stretch their legs -- which makes the subsequent rotation of dogs a lot easier.

But as this nice pic of Jozsi's butt shows, there was frost on the ground. Wohoooo. It's so nice to feel as though fall might actually be coming, as opposed to leaves just changing colors to keep up with fashion.

We then got into one of our favorite fields and Momo put an awesome point on a quail -- which I never saw till it flushed and lit out over the trees. I fired a shot. I am no Doug Flutie -- and, while married in a Catholic ceremony, didn't deserve to issue that particular Hail Mary (or subsequent others). We never found the bird again.

At the next field, Momo seemed unduly distracted by his brother's indignant barking from being left in the truck -- and so I called him off and we headed out. Nothing. Except a father-son team hunting birds with a German Shorthair and a pair of semi-automatic howitzers. They were nice, but as they said, "It got a little like WW3 out there." We walk back to the truck, I unload my gun, and Momo still seems distracted by a bush close by. And out flushes a big cock pheasant. Ditch-chickens 3 Team Vizsla (sadly hampered by their father) 1.

And so I bring out His Junior Majesty. To this point, his method always seemed to, and I stress seemed to, verge on the demolition-derby style of fieldwork. But after he wouldn't come on call and I subsequently found him locked up hard on point on a hen pheasant in a dense thicket, I can no longer demean him in this way.

He is a boy-genius. And I am a sieve.

Our final field produced this picture. All of sudden Momo contorts into position, I wander up a bit to see if I can figure out where it is, look back, and realise there's a hen on the ground. Seeing the look in Momo's eyes and the fact that the bird hasn't flinched, I take the picture. It's the only decent shot I get at the bird. I will claim flesh-eating brambles as a legitimate excuse, but the fact is that I am not a sieve, I am a vacuum.

I was only redeemed (temporarily) by Momo getting all squirrely again on the way back to the truck -- and as I approached him, a nice rooster fought its way out of the brambles. Sadly, for him, it was a short flight. Ditch-chickens 3 Team Vizsla 2.

So we got back to the truck, gave Jozsi a good sniff on the rooster, and he and I set out for the final time. We found our way into a relatively clear field. And he freezes again. And there's another hen sitting on the edge of a patch of tall grass, quite visible once you knew where to look. Jozsi was not quite so in the mood to lock-up and after an initially fabulous point charges the bird. I missed the rapidly-rising, but still straightaway shot... twice. I am not a vacuum, I am a black hole. But sadly, I am not a black hole, today I just sucked.

Some birds were clearly destined to be found, but made wilder by botched shotgunning on my part. So, in short, trust your dogs... they were born with noses with 220million scent receptors... and go practice with your shotgun... it's not an appendage, just a prosthesis.

Monday, October 29, 2007

big broom...

It's over. Till the next time. Charles Pierce at Slate has a nice column on the Red Sox win in the World Series, including some speculations on whether next year's Red Sox will look more different than next year's Yankees.

With A-Rod deciding to opt out of his contract with the Bombers next year, BUT with Sox 3rd baseman Mike Lowell being named World Series MVP, it will be interesting to see who is willing to spend the money for Alex Rodriguez. Nevertheless, as Pierce astutely points out: "If the Red Sox shuffle him out of town — and worse, if they shuffle him out of town in favor of trying to [sic] bring in the Antichrist from the New York Yankees — the good feeling of the 2007 championship is going to dissipate very quickly." Here's hoping this possibility won't be another J.D. Drew or Eric Gagne-style piece of speculative bungling by Theo Epstein.

In other news: the opening day for bird-chasing in Sterling Forest is Thursday.

In more news: looks like we'll be spending Veteran's Day weekend headed up to western Maine to visit our friends, Dudley and Susan, and introduce them to His Junior Majesty -- and where hopefully Dudley and I can chase some grouse for a couple of days.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

bonus round...

Right now, the Patriots are beating up on the Redskins something fierce. (There has to be some kind of politically incorrect pun in there to be found.) But the reason for posting an extra post this evening was inspired by visiting Dan at shotonsite.com and seeing his reference to this post by Pat Burns at Terrierman.

Sadly, the bird-dog crowd seems rife with duffers with bum shoulders, lame dogs, poor bird conditions, and a litany of excuses for why they can't quite make it out the door to go chase birds these days -- but who are somehow capable of recalling the miracle grouse seasons of the early 1940s and who were, at that time, in possession of mythically-powered, long-dead bird-dogs and a shooting ability to rival Lord Ripon.

Needless to say these were some of the same duffers who told me that hunt tests, whether AKC or NAVHDA, field trial or hunt test, were populated with poseurs with genetically-botched show dogs that don't deserve to be called bird-dogs. Their comments reminded me of a great passage in Phil Drabble's
It's a Dog's Life about some of the folks who get attracted to bird-dogs:

This Rolls-Royce-and-runny-nose brigade, who think their money buys respect, turn up in their flash cars with a labrador retriever in the back to tell the world that they are not just common rough shooters who need a spaniel to find their game.

And while I have seen some evidence of this, my experience at hunt tests has been of folk who were largely motivated simply to give their dogs a fun time in the woods -- even if their dogs were incapable of finding a box of KFC chicken wings in a paper bag. But then again, maybe it's just a Vizsla thing.

The Unholy Rouleur has made a few related observations about 'pathletes' -- the clowns who will race you on a bike-path, claim moral victory without ever declaring actual competition, and who will never pin a race-number on their jerseys.

And so, while I cross my fingers and hope for a Red Sox sweep of the Rockies, I will also raise a bottle to you, my favorite iconoclasts.

where have we been...

Seasonal item #1: Well, it is October and the Red Sox are playing like prospective champs. I will admit to being just a play-offs baseball fan (i.e I really only watch when the play-offs are in session), but following the Red Sox is more of a religious fanship.

Howard Bryant has an interesting article on ESPN.com about why the Red Sox of the last five years aren't the same Sox that our grandfathers worshipped. He maybe takes the Sox vs. Yankees as merely the different sides of the same, very expensive coin analogy a little far by suggesting that the psychology of Red Sox fans has either changed or should somehow change. But interesting it is, nonetheless.

And to the guy who booed my Red Sox hat while we were waiting for brunch with friends on the Upper West Side: there are two teams still playing baseball right now and neither is the New York Yankees. Both those teams still have a manager, too. And a third baseman. And a catcher. And most of their pitchers. But I wonder if the Yankees would like still Eric Gagne? Anyways, I digress. To that guy: why the hell are you booing a stranger when you're carrying carry-on luggage?

Seasonal item #2: While Dan at shotonsite might disagree with me (again), U.Michigan wins against Minnesota but not in a fashion that makes me think that the November 17th game against Ohio State will go the same way. If Michigan keeps needing a whole quarter, let alone a half, to get itself settled and start scoring, Ohio State will have racked up enough points to put in the B-team for the second half.

Seasonal item #3: Can your Vizsla do this? I hope not. Jozsi somehow managed to find my two-week-old phone and adjust the screen settings considerably.

Seasonal item #4: We did manage to hunt up a very nice hen pheasant up at Newburgh this past Thursday. I was a little surprised when we found it -- and the amusing part of it was showing Jozsi the pheasant after we had picked it up. There was definitely a double-take in his scheming little brain as he realised that this was definitely a whole lot bigger than a quail. But he buckled down, figuring that if he could destroy a cell-phone, he could get a pheasant in his mouth. Ditch-chickens 2 Team Vizsla 1.

One of the ways I like to pay tribute to the birds we kill is to pluck a few feathers and put them in my gun case. It's an interesting paradox: we honor the beautiful birds we kill by hunting them. And keeping a few feathers gives me a constant reminder of how beautiful what we're chasing is and the need to, nevertheless, hunt them with respect.

National Geographic Magazine this month has a nice article on hunters as conservationists. Again, it's a similar paradox to John James Audobon's attempts to amass information to ensure the preservation of species, that in order to save them, he still had to kill them.

Monday, October 22, 2007

a couple of cool pics

Mark posted these from the VCCNE Hunt Test weekend back in September in Falmouth, MA. The whole album can be found through the VCCNE website, but here are two pictures of folks you already know. These pics must have been taken on the Sunday because it's dry. And I'm wearing my raffle prize, my Mayflower GSP hoodie.

First, here's Ella with her mom, Adrian. What a pretty Vizsla-girl she is! I hope we'll get to see her again before too long.

Second, here's Momo and Jozsi queuing up for a drink at the Team Vizsla-mobile. It's hard work being hyperactive quail-finding machines when you're surrounded by the rapturous smells of quail, slow-cooked pork, dog-food, Dad, and a bazillion other dogs that look a lot like you.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

weird kharma flows

Flow #1: Boston wins Games 6 & 7 in convincing fashion to go the World Series against Colorado.

Flow #2: U.Michigan wins, in however less convincing fashion, against Badger-slayers Illinois.

Flow #3: With Andy Schleck's fourth place in the Giro di Lombardia, the final major race of the professional road racing season, Andrew (in the guise of 'Team Chinggis') wins his fantasy cycling sub-league for the third year in a row and finishes 90th worldwide out of 1377 competitors. Those interested in playing in next year's competition can go here.

Flow #4: Andrew avoids prosecution by the Department of Environmental Conservation by the skin of his teeth. See notes below.

Flow #5: In the Ditch-chickens versus Team Vizsla competition, I am regarding a bird seen crossing the road as equal in score to a bird found and flushed, but not shot. Details can be found in the notes below, but after this morning's action, the score remains Ditch-chickens 2 Team Vizsla 0.

Notes: Bob and I decided to go hunt early this morning... hoping that we'd catch a decent parking spot and be able to mop up some birds from the previous day's Youth Hunt. We got there at 7am and quickly realized there were a lot of people out. However, shortly before Bob got there, I realized that I had left my hunting permit by the computer (because I was trying to buy a non-resident permit for Maine on-line). So, we hummed and hawed, but decided to go in anyways -- and if necessary just flubber in front of any law enforcement that might show up. I am legally licensed, but also absent-minded. (To be honest, I was pleased I had remembered my boots after re-waterproofing them the night before.)

We drove around for over an hour trying to find a parking spaces. This was made even more frustrating by the two dufuses from NJ who pulled out in front of us, then proceeded to drive at stalling speeds, missed the first turn off into a prime field, and then came in the second entrance. I like hunting, but I yielded the spot to an obvious lack of pretty much anything considered common decency or basic intelligence.... and cursed them a lot. (The picture is of Belle directing my driving.)

Besides one pheasant looking to qualify for the Gallinaceous Bird Track Team, ie. it ran like crazy to avoid the Belle-Momo tag-team, which finally lofted itself behind some trees thereby avoiding a shot from the Bob-Andrew tag-team, we wandered some nice fields and watched various assorted violations like not parking in a designated spot, hunting on both sides of the road, hunting in a party of four. But being someone in violation myself, I also yielded the high ground in favor of some low-breath mutterings.

So after a couple of hours, we headed back. (The highlight of the walk might actually have been that Jozsi is clearly not gunshy. Where we were parked was right next to a police firing range. We're trying to load up the dogs and multiple semi-automatic pistols start firing off about 25yards away. Phased? The wee tanker? No, sir. And here's a pic of the happy, tired soul.) We were about to leave when a DEC Enforcement jeep pulls up and asks us to stay. The fellow then walks over and starts asking about the day and then asks to see my gun to make sure it's not stowed in the back of my car loaded. I unpack it -- being prepared for NYC, it's broken down, trigger-lock on, locked in a case, locked in the storage section of the dog's Taj Mahal. He then says 'thank you' and heads over to Bob. There is no mention of a hunting license and I certainly didn't volunteer it.

I left and got a phone call from Bob 10mins later. We're both laughing.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

why it's called 'fall'

Here's the hunting report from Wednesday and Thursday. I'll be brief, because the actual hunting was brief.

Wednesday: we started in a new field we hadn't been to before (and which might be nice to go back to at some point). Momo picked up some smells in a roadside thicket and after some encouragement went in and out popped... a timberdoodle! But it flew out over the road making a shot impossible, if not illegal.

After running Jozsi up there as well, we hit our quail field from the week before. We got in a back corner and Momo started to get all squirrely. I should note that there was little to no wind either Wednesday or Thursday and any birds in this field had stayed alive for six days. Which meant that as Momo moved to try and get a more precise location, a pair of quail bolted. I took a shot. I might as well have tried throwing rocks. But seeing birds got Momo jacked. And about 15mins later they flushed as a pair again as soon as we got within 3ft. I took two shots. I would have gotten better odds at Vegas. But the highlight was about 10mins later. I looked down a deer alley to see Momo getting squirrely again and the next thing I know there's another woodcock, this time flying directly at my head. It flashed past and over me, with its peculiar profile backlit against the sky. Once I got Jozsi out, he managed to find and flush the male quail twice, although he, too, couldn't really establish distance well enough to set up on a decent point.

Thursday: nothing. nada. rumors of the bird-stocking truck coming 'anytime.' two DEC law enforcement guys checking tags who seemed to be sized big and bigger. and temperatures just getting hotter all morning. and as we drove out, a pheasant crossed the road. Ditch-chickens 2 Team Vizsla 0.

But I decided to post a couple of pics of the scenery. Despite the warm temps, the colors are starting to come out and, especially in the morning's when it's cool, it's just a beautiful time to be out in the woods with the boys. And Jozsi is a complete wee tanker. There is nothing he seems to like more than to be charging through the woods looking for birds. And he is devout in his mission. He was so rapt with a couple of starlings sitting on a trail that he completely missed the whitetail deer crashing off 10yards to his right trying o get away from him and his dad. But the video is hopefully clear enough to show, not just His Junior Majesty, but why autumn is called 'Fall' here in the provinces.

video

Monday, October 15, 2007

adventures with Bob & Belle

Sadly this picture is in many ways the highlight of our adventures on Sunday with Bob, Belle and their Regal Majesties. Not sure if our timing is just wrong, but somehow whenever Bob and I hunt together we see huntable birds, but in all the wrong places. Last winter, we found grouse... but either they were in the road, or they flew across a road, or they waited till we had unloaded our guns as we walked back along the road to our trucks. In any case, the grouse had clearly been reading the hunting regulations as well as we had.

But here's Bob and his beautiful Llewellin Setter, Belle. Belle is 5yrs old and puts up with no guff from either of the boys. She's also a sweetheart who loves to get out and hunt up birds. And from what Bob was saying had had a great day the day before.

And this Sunday was no different in terms of bird-luck. We had gotten there later in the morning to give the bow-hunters, whose opening day it was, time to hunt and leave. And we trawled a couple of likely fields to little avail. At one point both Momo and Belle got into some hot-spots and we got excited, but whatever had been there was no more. On our way to our third field, we passed beautiful cock pheasants in two different places -- one pair and another trio -- entering or leaving the roadside and nowhere near a legitimate parking spot. Oh well. Score one for the ditch-chickens.

We'll try again on Wednesday or Thursday.

Friday, October 12, 2007

en fuego...

I have mixed feelings sharing this publically because I wouldn't give this advice to anyone with a 5mos old pup unless they had way more experience than I do. (Now I don't have a particularly huge amount, but I do know my dogs.) In any case, read the following as the words of a proud father not as a prescription for all you aspiring gun-doggers out there.

I shot Jozsi's first pointed bird today. I'm a little stunned. Not just because I did it, but because he pointed, held for the flush, hunted dead, and returned the dead bird to hand! 2 days shy of 5mos old. Picture perfect... not at all. But an incredible omen.

(Here's a pic taken from my fairly new cell-phone because I forgot my camera.)

The boys and I went up to a hunting area where the State does some bird stocking, but when you enter a particular hunting area you might find quail, or pheasant, as well as the occasional grouse or woodcock. I decided to 'hunt' with each boy in turn: using Momo to find spots with birds so that I could at least take Jozsi into places where he should find scent. After a bust in the first fields, he and I got into some bobwhite quail. We found and shot 3 and then time was up for Momo in that particular field.

So I put some subsonic 12ga shells in my gun... shells that most folk ask if the gun is a 28ga or .410... figuring 'what the heck, if it happens...' And despite his age, I rationalized potentially shooting over him by looking at his demeanor during his brother's recent hunt tests when handlers and gunners were shooting off some pretty loud cannons. He's shown no problems with sudden loud noises.

Now his nose is nowhere near as sensitive as Momo's yet, and so after I accidentally foot-flushed a quail, I got him to sniff the spot and he got all jazzed up. We heard a quail call further up a stone wall line that the birds appeared to be hunkered down in and set off. And Jozsi sets up on a lovely point, head in tall grass, tail out... and he holds when I called 'whoa' and move in to flush it... the bird takes off without a good shot possible... I send him in after it. He locks up on point, and then changes his mind and relocates. I'm laughing slightly because he is now standing directly over the bird. It flushes from between his back legs! I shoot it and immediately start with the happy voice and send him off to hunt dead. Again, with a little coaching, the next thing I know he's found it. So i back off 3-4ft to see if he will do what he's done before with wings and bird-field quail... he puts the semi-dead bird in his mouth, I call him to 'come', he comes and on 'drop' puts the bird at my feet. I almost fainted.

I told this story to his breeders who said that Jozsi's great-grandfather, Obertakt Hollywood Debut, 'Woody', started his first season at 5mos old and found 24 birds that year! Here's a picture of Woody. Now Jozsi certainly needs a lot of polishing with a check-cord, but the omens remain very very promising for the little guy.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

a little canine controversy

Pat Burns at Terrierman has a synopsis of Nathan Winogrand's new book Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation and the No Kill Revolution in America. Pat's post is a little hard in places to figure out where he's being sarcastic, but he does also link to a nice review by Christie Keith of Winogrand's book with some good quotes from Winogrand himself.

I won't go into too much detail, but Winogrand's thesis is two-fold: that too many healthy cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters around the US because civic contracts to neatly dispose of apparently abandoned animals provide a powerful financial disincentive to shelters to keep dogs and cats alive and because those same shelters lack leadership that seeks to address the seeming overabundance of cats and dogs with legitimate needs-assessment and creative problem solving, eg. more community outreach, better foster-care programs, subsidized neuter-spay programs. I'm looking forward to reading this one.

I was on the Board of Directors of what was then our local SPCA back in Maine. Those were tumultuous times, but happily not because we were arguing about whether no-kill was a realistic fiscal and ethical stance. I'm pleased to see that they have now opened their new facility and appear to be doing well.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

four for four

We just got back from the Flaherty Field Trial Area in East Windsor, CT, after another weekend of hunt testing with His Senior Majesty, The Mominator, soon-to-be-crowned Widdershins Momchil JH!!

The first cheesey pic says it all. One proud dad with his quail-finding machine. I wonder if he has been so good with the bobwhites because they were the birds he was initially trained on. In any case, he rocked.

Saturday's synopsis: Flaherty is pretty easy to find once you extricate yourself from New Yorkers fleeing the city on the Friday afternoon of Columbus Day weekend. What was a 2hr drive home on Sunday was a 3.5hr drive getting there. We stayed at the Comfort Inn, in part because our friends that we met in Falmouth, Rich + Adrian + Ella, were staying there, in part because they have a clearly stated pet policy, and because as members of the Ruffed Grouse Society we get a deeper rate discount there. Was very pleasantly surprised.

But on to the day: it was hot and sticky! And there were close to 50dogs running Junior Hunter! We were lucky to get an earlier brace that went out around 10:00am. It was still overcast, although the humidity broke while we were out coming down into the high 60s%, and the temperature rose up through 70degsF -- the air was still. Again, I'll take some credit for steering Momo in vaguely the right directions based on the few puffs of breeze we had seen -- but for the first half of the test we saw nothing. And then he hit the motherlode. And unlike the trial down in Falmouth, the birds would fly when harassed. I would guess that a lot of dogs who weren't sure in their points were busting birds or barely flash-pointing. He had five points in as many minutes. And he looked great.

Thanks for the reminder, Stephanie, to wipe and wet your Vizsla's eyes and nose on hot days like this before heading out for a hunt.

By the time Rich went out with Ella, the humidity was about the same, but the temperature had climbed through 80degsF and there was now scattered cloud cover... which meant that any bird not in the shade was either a) eager to move or b) had had their scent burned off in the heat meaning that dogs wouldn't find them till possibly too late. Ella had three nice points to start, but all on dead birds that hadn't been picked up. And then, for any number of possible reasons, she wouldn't hold firm. It was sad to see her locate birds well but then bust through them.

One of those possible reasons might be 9weeks old and sickeningly cute. Rich and Adrian have been bitten by the bug and added Khumbu to their family a week ago. Having picked up Ella at 12weeks old (already crate-trained and sleeping through the night), taking in Khumbu at 8weeks old has added a whole new level of Vizsla to their lives! Congratulations, Rich and Adrian! He's a handsome devil. We gave him a chukar wing as a present.

Sunday: Rich and I got up early and got to the field around 6:30am to see if we could give Ella a tune-up. Things looked a little desperate as she busted a big covey of around a dozen and then proceeded to chase like a maniac. Again, she probably just needed to get her ya-yas out. We managed to find a couple of birds, including one that was too tired to fly, that we were able to get her on a check-cord and keep her staunch while Rich flushed. In any case, we were able to end our early morning romp on a high-note.

Rich had drawn an earlier brace for Sunday and it looked a lot more merciful that Sunday for weather. The temperature was around 65degsF, the humidity was about the same as it had been for us the day before, it was fairly overcast, but there was a nice cooling breeze from the north. Ella looked like a hunter and while it took till the last few minutes for her to get a nice point in (largely because her bracemate had been taken far away to avoid busting all the birds in the neighborhood), she got that point in, held beautifully and was eager for more when her dad fired the shot. Bravo!

We had drawn a later brace for about 1:00pm: the temperature had broken 70degsF, the sun was out, and the humidity had dropped off into the mid50s%, but the breeze was still playing nicely from the north. I did have a game plan for where I wanted to set Momo up in the birdfield -- and he was all business on the way out, not interested at all in playing with his bracemate, a very handsome, rugged Weimaraner named Wyatt. Kudos to Wyatt nevertheless: the couple of times I was able to look over and see him point, he looked stunning.

Speaking of stunning: here are the boys waiting for something more exciting to happen. Our wee monster, a.k.a. The Evil Genius, is now 34.7lbs and has almost figured out how to get his leash off the hitch on the back of our truck.

And back to the action: once we got in the field Momo threw a nice point, but it must have been for a freshly moved bird. But within two minutes, he just started to throw beautiful, intense shapes. In probably half of the six or so birds he found, I couldn't see the bird and so asked him to relocate to help me out. Not a bird busted despite our proximity. And he did not want to stop.

Both judges on both days asked if he was going to do his Senior Hunter; Sunday's judge also said that he didn't get to see enough of Momo, meaning that he just loved to watch him work. Some of the intricacies of JH scoring are here. Suffice to say, that the minimum passing score is a 28 (for an average of 7 ex 10), and the maximum a 40. Momo scored 37.5 on Saturday and 39 on Sunday! The only point he didn't get was for 'Hunting': Momo is not an extrovert hunter which is fine with me. I'm a proud pop.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Central Asia roundup...

I have been neglecting Central Asia, especially when there are such tasty tidbits to ponder such as 'who can get the most leverage out of a natural resource' and 'how can a national constitution be subverted to stay in power under a thin veil of legitimacy'.

1) Flour and water: Bonnie Boyd has a nice piece on water politics in upstream Tadjikistan and downstream Uzbekistan -- while, via Registan, Victoria Panfilova, has some poignant observations on how poor wheat harvest in Central Asia open the door for some power politics by Russia.

2) Straight outta Tashkent: the gentlemen at Registan have a nice section on Alisher Usmanov. The debate in the comments section is also interesting. Usmanov has allegedly engineered the shutdown of former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray's website as part of a libel suit. You can read Murray's allegedly libelous full-post there as well.

I'm not sure that buying significant shares in English Premier League teams will do any more for Usmanov's reputation than it does for Thaksin Shinawatra. Having said that, if Allan Cowan at Partick Thistle could find a nice, benign former-dictator to sink some cash into The Jags he'd probably be up for it.

3) Straight outta Tashkent part 2.: We are all stunned at the Liberal Democratic Party of Uzbekistan's choice of a candidate for the upcoming presidential election. I wonder who would have thought of that first? Nobody expects Vladimir Putin.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

... and all I got...

It was the first day of hunting season for us... and all I got was this nice picture of a warm, happy dog standing in some lovely leaves. While every hunter has a litany of excuses, I'm sure, it was a difficult day to find anything.

The temperature was warm, rising from about 60degF to roughly 75degF, overcast, and humid. Sadly, there was little to no breeze to speak of either. And there was a lot of leafy ground cover. Did I mention that Momo is recovering from an infection to his nasal area?

On the bright side, Momo was happy as a clam to be free of The Lampshade and eager to run around a new area looking for little feathered monsters. Being the first week of the season, we saw quite a few other cars despite it being mid-week, but (and again, as consolation perhaps) heard only five shots in four-and-a-half hours. In any case, my father was pleased for the exercise and the company, human and canine, and we for his.

We have a much better idea where we'll start next week. No more farting around in chest high grass, that's for sure.