Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Cherries Cherries Cherries Cherries...

The title is a link... check it out. Your health will benefit. (Other links will appear in the near future, as soon as I learn the code to put them there.)

So begins our days as tourists, and let me tell you, this doesn't happen often enough. We packed up Rally and Fanny, and headed south on US31, then East on M72, our ultimate destination the Traverse Bay and Leelanau Peninsula of Northwest Michigan; home of cherries: The National Cherry Festival, Cherry Capitol Airport, Cherry wines, Cherry Chocolate Truffles, Cherry Orchards, and even, as we discovered, Cherry dog biscuits (called "Hip Bones", because of the anti-oxidant benefits found in the tart cherry).

We decided not to stop in the "Fudgie" haven of Traverse City itself, and go on to Leelanau Peninsula... a large point of land bordered by Lake Michigan on the West, and the West Arm of Grand Traverse Bay on the East. We stopped so the dogs could get wet in Traverse Bay. Rally decided that total immersion was the best way to keep cool on a day where the temperature was rapidly climbing. It was very shallow, and rocky here, but as you can see, we're talking big water here, folks.

Some friends of mine think North Georgia, or Brooklyn are God's Country, but listen to your bodies, which are 80% water.... God's Country is where the water is!

Our next stop was at the Black Star Farm Winery, on the Eastern shore of the peninsula, just South of Sutton's Bay. This is just one of dozens of wineries on Leelanau, and Old Mission Peninsulas.. before you laugh, this is prime wine producing country- the 45th parallel goes straight through the area, as it does the Napa and Bordeaux regions in other parts of the country, and the world. The area is hilly, the soil sandy, the climate arid... (well, normally, but you'd be hard pressed to prove it on this day).

When I first started coming up here, the varietals were primarily whites- Reislings, etc., and, of course, the fruit wines of the region, most notably cherry. These were surprisingly dry, and not at all what you would expect. We purchased a couple of bottles, so you will be able to see for yourselves if we happen to crack one open at a trial or race meet in the near future!

That said, the whites are still the best. The Pinots and other red varietals left me unimpressed, but I admire their ambition. On this day, I tasted a barrel-aged Chardonney that would stand up to any I've had.

We then decided to head across the peninsula to historic Leland, one of the early fishing centers of the Great Lakes. Now, a prime tourist destination, with shops, restaurants, bars, inns- but vestiges of it's past remain, with the shanties, and the old fishing boats... We had an excellent lunch at the Bluebird, which is occasionally haunted by the writer Jim Harrison, when he's not at his other favorite Michigan village, Grand Marais, in the Upper Peninsula.

After lunch, we headed to the waterfront, where I took the picture of "Fishtown", and then to the marina, where I snapped this example of the "little" pleasure craft than come in to tie up.

Then it was down M22, following the Lake Michigan shore towards Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Just inside the Federal boundaries is Good Harbor Beach, where I spent many days in the water in a previous lifetime...
We thought it would be a good time to let the girls sample the waters of the second-biggest Great Lake. Rally wasn't keen on the waves- she should see it when the West wind really picks up!

Unlike Traverse Bay, this was all sand... the entire West Coast of Michigan's lower peninsula is sand and dunes; almost 400 miles of it! Good Harbor beach is nice in that it is dog friendly- at least half of it is... when you come out of the parking area, dogs are not welcome to the left (south), but are welcome to the right, (north). There were several out on this day, chasing Frisbees into the surf, and just having a ball.

As I said, I'd previously spent quite a bit of time at this beach, and it was time to try and find another old haunt: Pyamid Point. Pyramid Point juts out into Lake Michigan, about 10 miles south of Good Harbor Beach. It also rises about 400 feet above the lake, on a very steep sand dune bluff. Unfortunately, there was no one walking on the beach, so I couldn't get any scale shooting straight down, so I thought I'd let the National Park Service let you know how high, steep, and dangerous it is. By the way, the trail from the parking lot is about a mile long, and also very, very steep! I noticed that the top of the dune, as dunes will do, is relentlessly marching East. Several trees on the East side of the crest have been pretty much swallowed up.

I couldn't resist capturing some of the ways people enjoy themselves after the climb. Besides working on golf shots, others go off to the back recesses and probably get naked. And other stuff. South Manitou Island, which is also part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, can be seen in the distance. The golf shot did not carry. But ferry service out of Leland, will take you there, and it's a whole 'nother fun place to hike, camp, climb, and swim.

It was getting late, so we decided to forego the rest of the trip south to Glen Arbor and it's shop, Cherry Republic. It was time to head back to the campground to see Buffy and Randir, who'd spent the day in the air-conditioned comfort of the Express. While passing through Traverse City, I had Margaret snap this shot, which is indisputable proof that this is a very special place.

...and finally, this parting shot, which is more proof, that the land, not to mention the young girls, is fertile, fertile, fertile: (You can grow anything here!)

Friday, August 05, 2005

Biology Series #1

This is old (from the Spring, still in Texas), but I just came across it playing with Picasa. Where do Scissor-tailed Flycatchers come from?

Where do you think? Geez......

God's Country

...that's Northern Michigan to the uninformed among you. And it's where we are this weekend, just south of Charlevoix, and just east of Lake Michigan. They do two things well up here: They cater to tourism in a big way, and they grow the best fruit in the world. Northwest Michigan is the Sweet, and Tart Cherry capitol of the planet, and they're all in season right now. In this picture we happen to be parked in front of a pear orchard, but there are cherry trees up and to the right. Also, apples, peaches.... pumpkin pie..??? Ooops, got sidetracked there. Blueberries, too! All the healthy, antioxidant fruits.

We're up here for a craft show. We're set up amongst the woodburners, glass etchers, trivet firers, clothing painters, and guys who make tables, chairs, and bars out of big treestumps, and slather it with 6 inches of varnish. I'd like it in my house... if I were a hobbit. We just have our photo tee-shirts, totes, and Margaret's handmade jewelry. Here's the booth... looking a bit different than our normal field trial setup. Ask Margaret about the jewelry the next time you're at a field trial!

Once the fair is over, we're going 31 miles southeast, to Lakes of the North... a residential resort community that has a campground. Margaret's parents have a lot there, so we'll get to park really cheap, and then we'll play tourist for a couple of days. Ummmm, fudge.

After playing tourist, we'll be going to Wisconsin for a couple more art/craft fairs- one in Waukesha, and one near Madison. Then we'll get back to the blessed hounds, and shoot the Midwest Coursing Club's trial at the end of the month. That will bring us up to Labor Day, and I'll rant about that later.

Meanwhile, please scroll down to the previous post, and help us out with the vanity license plate poll. Later.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Vanity Plate Poll - 7-29-05

We've been considering vanity plates for the Bounder, and the Escape for some time now. It's especially important, now that we're offering the "Dog Tags" shirt design. We've settled on

for the Bounder. We thought we'd have a poll to help us out with the car. (This will also help us find out if anybody's reading this damned thing). Here are our finalists:
We'll also take suggestions, (we can't think of everything, after all!). Leave your votes and comments.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

BOOK RAVE - 7-27-05

I just finished Folly and Glory, the fourth, and final, book of Larry McMurtry's Berrybender Narratives. The others being, The Sin Killer, The Wandering Hill, and By Sorrow's River. If McMurtry isn't America's best writer, he's at least one of the top five or six.

The series follows Lord Berrybender, and his family's trek into America's 19th Century wild West. The characters are a mixture of fiction, and real heroes of the times, like Kit Carson. Along the way, they encounter Indians, Slavers, Mexicans, other travelling foreigners, both famous and unknown, Bison, trappers, traders. Starting and ending at St. Louis, the trek covers the whole of the West from Yellowstone, to Santa Fe, to Austin.

It's not a series for people who like to get comfortable with a character, because like the real times, death follows the Berrybenders and their extended entourage on their four year, four book trek. I was disappointed, for instance, that their staghound was killed by Indians very early on in the first book!

I give the whole series All my thumbs... UP!

B & B?

I was taking head shots of Fanny and Buffy, so Mary Jane Helder could do a watercolor... and the picture above, just reminded me of something, but I couldn't quite put my finger in, er, on it.......

huh, huh, huh-huh, huh...... I said finger.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

How It Got Its Name..

It suddenly struck me: Why Hare-Brained Express? The idea came from many photo images I've taken of our hounds in pursuit of the Corralitos version of the Black Tailed Jackrabbit- a formidable foe- capable of amazing speed and agility in avoiding being caught. In fact, until last Winter, my hounds have never caught one- and they've never caught one without help from another dog... usually a Saluki! Anyway, here is the image we chose to put on the rear window of the Bounder... That's the World Famous Buffy the Vampire Slayer, in a single-minded, "hare-brained" pursuit. This, of all the shots I've taken- even the later ones of Rally's intensity of purpose, best illustrates the name. From a format standpoint, it's also the one that best fit the window. LOL.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Dog Tags!

Introducing Dog Tags: the T-Shirt

Here it is... the latest innovative design from the fertile minds of Dan & Margaret. The cool part about this is that it will be constantly evolving, as my collection of "dog tags" grows and grows, meaning that the shirts will be true limited editions. My shirt is a plum color... very close to the color of the font, above. It looks great. It also looks great on Black. Click on the image to see the full size!

Leave comments and feedback. We'll be sitting tight here in Jackson, MI until the camera comes back.

I'll update the Fall schedule in the next day or two.

Friday, July 22, 2005

I'm getting Behinder and Behinder!!

I can't believe I haven't posted since April! Well, most of the events of the previous posting have come and gone. The Irish Wolfhound specialty was fun, especially watching the big'uns doing agility. I was impressed. The II was hot, humid, exhausting, and, as always, impressive.

This past weekend, we went to Canada to shoot the Ultimate Canine event. Obedience, Rally, Shows, Lure Coursing, and Racing- both straight and oval. We entered Rally in the oval meet- her first official event as a greyhound. And damned if she didn't go undefeated and win the damn thing!

The picture above is one of Margaret's new "artsy" designs for tee-shirts, tote bags, and such. We'll be seeing how much interest is out there over the next month, as we take them to a couple of craft shows in Michigan and Wisconsin. We'll put a selection up on the website, so you can see what we've been doing lately.

We're on a kind of "forced bivuac", as the Nikon D2H... the workhorse of my business, went to hell last weekend, and is now being "rejuvinated" by the Nikon service techs on Long Island. $400+ bucks, they tell me. Hey you out there- Buy some shirts!

I've got a cool new shirt design, that all you dog folk are going to love! I'll post it tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Schedule Update, and a List Essay.

First things first, as it's been a while since I updated the schedule:

April 16-17 BCOSW Belvedere, IL (ASFA)
April 20-22 Jackrabbit hunting in OK!
April 23 IHCA Shreveport, LA (All breed AKC trial)Tentative.
April 24 BCOA Ferris, TX (Borzoi ASFA trial)
April 25 BCOA Ferris, TX (Borzoi LGRA races)
April 30-May 1 LSWC Ferris, TX (All breed AKC trial)
May 7-8 AAWC Hutto, TX (All breed ASFA)
May 17 IWCA Gray Summit, MO (IW ASFA trial)
May 18 IWCA Gray Summit, MO (IW LGRA races)
May 19 IWCA Gray Summit, MO (IW Agility) Tentative.
May 21-22 WCLCC Hobart, IN (All breed ASFA trial)
May 28-29 NCC Ravenna, OH (All breed AKC trial)
June 4-5 ASFA International Invitational, Remington VA
June 7-10 SCOA National Specialty, Lexington, KY
June 11-12 NCC Oberlin, OH WRA (and LGRA?)& fun match
Sept 18-23 The Dog's Camp Asheville, NC
Sept 26-28 BCOA Basenji National Specialty, Gray Summit, MO
Sept 30-Oct 1 Loomis, Nebraska Dog Races and Swapmeet.

Whew! What a schedule.. and most of the missing Summer weekend dates should get filled in. We're also going to try and get the gig shooting the Kenton, OH "Coondog Nationals" on the week leading up to Labor Day. For those not familiar with coondogs, (as opposed to coonhounds!), they're basically greyhounds.... that bark/bay. The coondog races are a speed event, covering a distance of about a mile. There are also water races. It's a massive event held in central Ohio every year for a long, long time!

We're also most likely going to do the WCLCC trial at Hobart in September, because we NEVER miss the pig roast. More events will be listed as they become established.

DOG LISTS- (they eat their own)

I noticed a strange phenomenon this week on one of the lists I'm on. I became involved in a bit of an imbroglio.. a first for me; have been on numerous lists since '98 or so and have never been in an imbroglio. And all from a brief "toss off" posting. It brought about the cannibalistic nature of lists, and I'm not sure I'm going to stay subscribed to most of them, other than for informational (read: business) purposes.

But anyway, back to the interesting dynamic... where the people on the list one least identifies with (for political, personality, or whatever reasons) become one's defenders, and those who are one's (supposed) friends turn on them. Very disconcerting. And a little bit hurtful. I'll be more careful around them in the future. Especially the instigator, who has a long history of this sort of thing on many lists, and in my thoroughly non-professional opinion, should probably seek therapy to root out the source of their insecurity. It ain't natural.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Schedule Update

Here's what we have for the next few weeks:

February 19 Dutch Salmon's Desert Hare Classic New Mexico
February 20 TCC Open/Mixed Hunt New Mexico
February 26-27 GIT LGRA Altoga, TX
March 12-13 LKC AKC trials/tests Folsom, LA

There's LGRA in Florida the following weekend, and I'm checking on whether we can go to that.

So, tomorrow I head for the Desert Hare, with Rally and Fanny. Have to go alone, with just the car... economic considerations based on the lack of income-producing events two weekends in a row. The entry has dropped this week from the max of 18 hounds, to 14 hounds. Betters our odds, but also reduces the purse. Winning some money would be very, very welcome at this time.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Free Coursing the Lazy E

You ought to be able to see a bigger version of this shot. Click on it to enlarge. Rally is here, hot on the tail, as she always is. Randir stays with the course all the way to the fence. Randir don't do fences!  Posted by Hello

This is Rally two days after her hypoglycemic episode at the Pack Hunt. Seems none the worse for wear.

And there's something gratifying about seeing an almost 9 year old Scottish Deerhound enthusiastically chasing some of the fastest jackrabbits in the country.. even though he doesn't put much of a fright into them.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

The Lost Weekend

But before I go into last weekend... it's time to update the Shot On Site schedule..

Feb 5-6 GIT NOTRA McKinney, TX (Doggie Camp)
Feb 12-13 NOTHING! We need your input!
Feb 19 Dutch Salmon's Desert Hare Classic Somewhere in NM.
Feb 20 TCC Open/Mixed Hunt Somewhere in NM

To make a long story short... as if that were easy for me to do... but the details will be found in the next issue of Performance Sighthound Journal.

We went to New Mexico last weekend for Dutch Salmon's Pack Hunt. This is an event where folks run their hounds, or "pack", against the blacktailed jackrabbit, with the only "judge" being whether they catch the hare or not. Well, it was a long day, and our pack... "Dan's Hot All-Girl Review"... was drawn to go 6th. Well, by the time we were ready to run, Rally had gone into a hypoglycemic funk, and couldn't run. So our pack was reduced to Fanny and Buffy. Buffy being Buffy, just ran really fast straight ahead, and was a non-factor. Fanny was right on the jack for a couple hundred yards, but without help from Buffy, our day- and entry fee- was a lost cause.

Congratulations do go to Bill and Cindy Brown, and Chris Mason, whose packs did manage to catch their jacks.

The next day, the TCC hunt at the Corralitos, just kind of disintegrated, as we ran only one rabbit before 1 O'Clock, and the wind came up and everyone went home without completing the mixed hunt, or the Saluki breed hunt.

Thus, lost weekend.

But Monday was a new week, and we decided to take the girls- and Randir- back to the Corralitos for some free coursing. The best news to come out of this was that Rally seemed to be mostly recovered from her weekend "event", and her formerly dislocated toe seems to have held together well, when taped, as the photo shows.

Friday, January 14, 2005


We're going to try and keep the schedule always near the top of the blog. So here is the latest:

January 15-16 AAWC ASFA Trials Hutto, TX
January 22-23 AHCD ASFA Trials Ferris, TX
January 29 Dutch Salmon's Pack Hunt Las Cruces, NM
January 30 TCC Open/Mixed Hunt TBD NM

We're urgently seeking events in the Southwest (TX, NM, AZ, OK, etc) for February. Particularly the 12th & 13th. Anything action-oriented will do! Lure Coursing, straight or oval races, whippet or other breed, agility, horse, flower, cat, or rabbit shows, kid soccer... whatever! Thanks for anything you can help with.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Jabbering about the weather and other stuff

Is this another El Nino year? Lots of terrible weather on the coast and really nice weather everywhere else? Being in Texas for the second Winter in a row has been downright pleasant; most of the time. Take this week for instance- It's been t-shirt and shorts weather. And even when it gets cold- like it's about to tomorrow- I just need to look at a weather forecast for Wisconsin, or Michigan and I say to myself: This ain't cold. This is all right.

The AKC trials and tests at Glen Rose, TX last weekend were pretty successful, despite an uncharacteristic bonehead move on my part. On Sunday, I imagined that I had swapped CF cards with Margaret, and went ahead and reformatted the card in the camera. Oops.. senior moment... It was a card with the first 22 or so JC's, which hadn't been downloaded to the laptop yet. Gone... just like that. Fortunately, we have a program that we found last Summer when our external hard drive crashed, disappearing about 9000 archived images. It's called "Get Data Back", and it worked then, to recover the images, and it worked... finally... this week, after a couple of days of trying. Some of the images were corrupted, but most of the good ones were saved.

Many of you read about Rally, our half & half gyp in Performance Sighthound Journal. Since her early success in the open field, there have been a "series of unfortunate incidents". Starting with a dislocated toe in early December, followed by several episodes of grand mal seizures- origins unknown, but some popular, non-prescribed medications and treatments are prime suspects. The seizures are under control now, and we'll be weaning her off the phenobarb, as she's unlikely to have any more as long as I don't give her any more Ivomec or Arnica Montana. I think there's another whole Sighthound Performance Journal article brewing here.

We've been spending the week indoors. The Bounder.. er, the Hare Brained Express, has been parked inside at The Paint & Body Shop in Brownwood, TX, finally getting the tree damage repaired. The guys here have done a fabulous job so far, and the owner, Terry Blevins, (a poor, misguided "W" supporter), has let us live in the vehicle, has given us a key to the building so we can come and go in the evenings, and, the building even has a shower in the bathroom. With luck, we should roll out of here tomorrow. And the best part is the insurance company pays for all but $800 of a $5000+ repair. (Almost $6000 when the shipping's thrown in). And I thought all I did was damage the right outside mirror. Wrong-o.

More news as it happens, and after the AAWC trials in Hutto this weekend.

Saturday, January 01, 2005


Next on the agenda:

January 8-9 AHCD AKC Trials & Tests Glen Rose, TX
January 15-16 AAWC ASFA Trials Hutto, TX
January 22-23 AHCD ASFA Trials Ferris, TX
January 29 Dutch Salmon's Pack Hunt Las Cruces, NM
January 30 TCC Open/Mixed Hunt TBD NM

Happy New Year 2005!!

Buffy leads the way!

Three days down, one to go. On Friday, the Borzoi Scarlett wrapped up the number 1 position. There were, as usual, a number of ASFA Top 20 hounds in attendance this weekend... 4 or 5 greyhounds, 6 or 7 whippets, and on and on. It's always a party at Cartersville at the end of the year. Speaking of which, the party at Les & Shirri's was as small and intimate as I've ever seen; but Margaret and I had a good time... especially me, as Margaret was pressed into designated driver duties.

This morning, at approximately 9:35AM, Buffy the Vampire Slayer became the first dog in America to chase a lure in 2005. She ran a totally typical Buffy course, zigzagging about the field, oblivious to the whereabouts of the lure most of the time, but doing it very fast, and looking cool. Fan Club members would be proud.

Just watched the Rose Bowl... the less said the better. A very entertaining game if you're not emotionally attached to the losing team.