Monday, August 25, 2008

a few new faces

If you've been noticing a few changes on my blog-roll, there are numerous new additions and a couple of subtractions.

1) I added a couple of Drahthaar blogs -- Wingshooter's Journal and Drahthaar Addiction. While I haven't figured out why wirehaired dogs are a great match for hunting in UT, it's always nice to find blogs by folks who are commited to their dogs (and their fabulous mustaches). I made a nod to the breeding-through-performance commitment that's embodied in a Drahthaar in a post back in January.

Side note: on the topic of breeding-for-performance, Steve Bodio has a nice summary of the issues 'exposed' through the recent BBC documentary on the Kennel Club (and its promotion of genetic deformity) -- and I would encourage folks to read the comments, especially those from Mike at Living with Birddogs. Luisa at Lassie Get Help has her own, albeit similar, take on the predicament. In my opinion, it's too easy just to take a swing at either the AKC or at show-folks -- while the former does enable the worst of the latter, does anyone who really needs a working dog really start with a list of 'reputable' AKC breeders?

2) Brad McCardle has a nice blog out of Lewiston, MT, For Love of Dogs and Birds. And thanks to him I discovered that fellow Montanan, and legendary bird-dog man, Ben O. Williams has now put up the first sections of his own website.

3) I also found a couple of hunting-gathering food blogs which piqued my interest: Fat of the Land and Hunt Eat Live. For those enamoured of wild huckleberries, FOTL has a great post about gathering said jewels in the Indian Heaven Wilderness in WA.

4) I also found Norcal Cazadora's blog. Holly Heyser seems like an interesting woman -- a journalism professor who found hunting at age 41. Amongst other things, and whether entirely self-interested or not, she does gear reviews for women's hunting gear. The piece that caught my eye was this story about a pro-hunting group attacking the NRA for giving millions of dollars to members of Congress with bad records on conservation. It caught my eye because it does seem like a David vs. Goliath struggle -- however, as an umbrella organization (and like the AKC in this regard), the NRA is beholden to a wide-range of groups and as such must struggle with how to prioritize. However, the NRA has also done a fair amount to alienate those of us who don't believe in bazookas-for-all -- and the skeptic in me also likes to see giants wince, if not fall. The comments that accompany Holly's story are worth reading -- and I have yet to do my own due diligence on this.

In the meantime, here are a couple of Team Vizsla pictures from the weekend. At the top, here's the boys and Meg up at the watertower near Blue Lake. We hadn't been up there in almost a year -- and you can see how much Mr. Enthusiasm has grown if you go here. The bottom picture is of the boys in their Taj Mahal newly installed in the new Team Vizslamobile. We got this just over a year ago, too. It's one of the best investments you can make.

For all those who prayed for rust, Bob would like to thank you. His 2000 Tacoma needed a lot more searching, but Toyota is buying back his truck, too. Sadly, for now, he has to ride around in an F-150.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

generations pass

We learned today that our two monsters' common grandmother, FC Obertakt Hollywood Wildthing JH VC, aka. Wylie, passed away yesterday. She had retired to the life of faithful family pet in downeast Maine a couple of years ago -- but was a heck of a bird-dog in her own right. The picture is of her 3rd Place at the Vizsla Club of America's National Championship in 2003; she also placed 3rd in the National Gun Dog Championship that year, too. She would have been 12 years old this November.

We'll be remembering Wylie in the energy and enthusiasm our two hellions have in the field. Love the ones you're with.

Friday, August 15, 2008


A few folks (who should probably be doing more blogging of their own) (and so, of course, now some of them have) have been wondering what we've been up to here at The Regal Vizsla. I think August largely serves to delay September -- and while I am excited for both the hunt test and hunting seasons to open, I am also grateful that we actually have a few weekends at home this month and a little more time to rest.

Flavor #1: I did just write a new book review for Living with Bird-dogs. Even though it is a relatively new book (2006) somehow I had missed Jack Sharkey's Winning Ways up till recently -- despite the awesome picture of a happy hunting vizsla on the cover.

Flavor #2: We have also taken possession of the new Team Vizsla-mobile -- another Tacoma, this time a 2006. The novelty of owning a vehicle made in the same decade that we live in is a novelty we haven't quite gotten used to. All in all, our experience with Toyota -- from buying back our old truck to buying this new truck from our local Toyota dealer -- has been very positive. I realise that companies rarely do this kind of generous buy-back purely from the goodness of their hearts, but it was certainly nice to be on the receiving end of their munificence. We should get the new cap for it sometime in the next week or so. My friend Bob is taking his 2000 Tacoma in on Monday -- let's pray for rust, everyone!

Flavor #3: Mongolia won its first Olympic gold medal. All hail Tuvshinbayar Naidan! The article from ESPN makes it sound as though he defeated the reigning champion from Japan with some jinkin mongol wrestling throw. You can see Tuvshinbayar manhandle Suzuki clean out of the ring on this NBC video clip. (You will be asked to download Silverlight software. It's worth it.)

Flavor #4: Georgia has won two gold medals, the first in Graeco-Roman wrestling, the second in judo. And while Georgia will not likely win a beach volleyball medal, it is mildly comforting to note that not every encounter has to be a 'Blood in the Water' match. Jim Caple of ESPN was actually being fairly perceptive when he wrote "Given that the current conflict between the two countries is due in large part to disputes over who is Russian and who is Georgian -- and which country should hold power over them -- it was only fitting that the postmatch news conference also turned into a fierce debate about who is Georgian."

Nevertheless as the wise fellows at Registan have pointed out, the situation is also a lot more complex and, unfortunately for Georgia, imbalanced both symbolically and militarily -- even if it is willingly playing the victim as much as it is suffering at the hands of the Russian military. And why our present US government continues misunderstanding how to use its diplomatic and military influence.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

busy weekend

We just got back from Sharpe's Farm up in Hopkinton, NH, after taking part in the VCCNE's Annual Meeting (at which I was elected to the Board) and running Momo through his first legs of his Versatility Certificate (VC).

I don't actually know if the VC is unique to vizslas -- or if other breeds have their equivalent. In any case, the dog is evaluated for conformation, obedience, and fieldwork -- and has to pass each section three times, each time under a different judge. And while you could tell that he was a little nervous for both the obedience and conformation sections (because we've never done things like this formally before), Momo passed all three parts successfully. Bravo.

Nevertheless, his brother produced a good omen for the weekend by finding his first grouse on the Friday night before everything happened. I had headed out to the field to run the boys after almost five hours in the Prius -- and after about 10mins, Jozsi pulls up in a very dramatic, atypical point for him... ears back and horizontal from head to tail. I called Momo into honor him (which he did with almost no command... progress indeed) and then kicked around in the brush to no effect, so I relocated him, and he froze again after only 2'. His eyes were bugging out and he was drooling... he was possessed. So, trusting the dog, I went in again sifting through all the tall grass. Nothing. So I turned them both loose... Jozsi cruised off, obviously thinking he must have been mistaken, while Momo started rooting around with his mouth. I called him to 'Take'... and he came out with this baby grouse. Zoiks.

After I had congratulated Jozsi on finding such a great bird, I sent them off and hid the little guy in a different spot. The short version of the story as it continues is that Jozsi promptly found the poor thing again the next morning... recognizing the spot this time, I knew exactly what I was looking for and managed to grab it to avoid it getting either stepped on or chomped on.

While the first pic above is from this morning after the boys had burned their jets off (and after Jozsi had found a chukar in one of the back fields... again, nicely honored by Momo). They are stud-muffins. We love them. They rock. The final pic is what you get when you combine two tired vizslas, a bunch of camping gear, and a Prius.

Anyways, speaking of camping, this was our first weekend of camping with the boys. With the number of events we go to, the number of hunt test venues that permit camping, and the cost of hotels, we decided to invest in a family tent. We were lucky that our first attempt was on Manny + Stephanie's camper site... in no small part because it threw down rain last night and so we were able to eat dinner in their camper with them and Wendy + Chris... and because they were such great hosts in allowing us to pitch our tent there and pretty much feeding us dinner and a great breakfast this morning. Thanks to M+S -- and to Baron + Roxie + Benny for putting up with our two numpties.


As ever it was nice to see Mike, Kim, Jaida + Cedar. Kyler wasn't at the weekend's events because she was due to give birth tomorrow. But as I found out when we drove past their exit this morning, she was a day early. Kim has already posted pictures of mom and her 5 puppies (3F + 2M) on her blog. We got to meet a 5mos old pup from Wendy + Chris's Seeker and Duke on Saturday -- and she looked like dynamite. I don't think the couple who had her had any idea just how much dog they have -- judging from that pup, Kyler's litter should be great-looking, hard hunting field dogs.


In other news, although I signed papers on Friday before I headed up to NH, we have selected a new Team Vizslamobile. Assuming there are no weird unexpected hitches, I'll pick up our new-to-us 2006 Tacoma. We were able to find a double-cab with a long-bed -- and it certainly seems as though we got a good deal, in no small part because we were long-standing customers of the dealer's service department. Which is arguably the way it should be. So, fingers crossed, we should be back in business next weekend.