Monday, March 8, 2010

To Drive the Cold Winter Away

A few pictures from last Spring, when the D litter, born December 30, 2008, were little pups. Hard to believe they are yearlings now. Here, Deodan and Domovoy Dmitri, Delilah, and Wilhem DeKooning lounge around the front yard. Red-brindle Stripe stands in their midst.

We will soon have Daffodyls again, but they are not blooming yet. The bamboo takes a beating most every winter and does not dump the crispy brown leaves until late spring at the earliest. It probably looks even worse this year, since some of the shorter varieties spent over a month covered in snow.
Drakar peers innocently from behind a fallen log.

Mystery blue flowers on the left, Bloodroot on the right.

Close-up of the blue Mystery Flower.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


The Fimbulwinter swallows our front yard

I had to laugh when I saw our latest Virginia snowfall had been named "Snowmaggedon". I was already thinking we were in the midst of The Fimbulwinter, that dire season right before Ragnarok, the Twilight of the Gods. 
We were barely dug out and back at work from the last snowstorm, but we knew a big one was headed our way.  Once again, we ransacked a couple of grocery stores on our way home from work Thursday, as we knew we would be going nowhere on Friday.  Or Saturday.  Or Sunday.  We already had snow shovels, which was good, because the stores were sold out of those. Once again, we laid in several bales of straw and several hundred pounds of dog kibble. Once again, North Mountain faded to white. . .

Dmitri and his mother, Churanova, hunting the Fenris Wolf

Legend has it, Fenris is the dastard who swallows our sun at the end of the world. If we have an "F" litter, that will be the biggest, blackest pup's name. I love Norse mythology. Lately the score for my life has included continuous mental airplay of "The Ride of the Valkyries" and "The Immigrant Song" by Led Zepplin. You know it too, unless you slept through the Seventies: "I come from the land of the ice and snow. . ." Obviously snow was the central reality of Viking life, as it has come to be the central reality of mine.

I wonder if there was a Snowshovel of the Gods, back in the Day? (Possibly I have become snow-obssessed?) Thor, the god of thunder, had a hammer named Mjolnir. I read that in a comic book somewhere. . . He also rode around in a chariot pulled by goats, but that did not make the comics. I have named my very own Three-Pronged Ice-Hammer Of Death after it. After Mjolnir, not Thor's goat-chariot. I use Mjolnir to chip packed snow and ice from the skislope, formerly known as "the steps to the paddocks up the hill".

Wolf-hunting practice. . .
. . .just in case the Fenris-wolf does show up!
 Jackie always gets to be the wolf.

(Some of us may have wolf-hunting confused with making snow-angels.)

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep--
And poop to scoop before I sleep!

--doggerel with appologies to Robert Frost

Monday, December 21, 2009

Snowed In

Snow-covered pines and bamboo in our front yard

Friday afternoon, December 18, the blue-grey mountain across the road abruptly disappeared into white. We were ready to depart for an early Christmas celebration at Leigh's sister's house in Connecticut on Saturday morning. . .or so we thought. The snow came down hard and fast all night Friday and part of the day Saturday.

Our house under 14 inches of snow


14 inches of snow and 3 days later we are still digging out with a barn shovel and the snow shovel I bought at the drugstore in the "impulse buy" section Friday morning.

 Una, alert during a previous snow
(which kept us from the Winston-Salem dog show)

Anlyn lurks in a sheltered spot

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Dashing Through the Snow!
Kalakirya Howff Noel Caerlin, LCM IV, VLCM

This is Vickie's very favorite picture of Leigh's old girl Noel, who will be 12 on Christmas Eve 2009. This picture was taken at a 2002 CHAMP field trial at Montpelier in Virginia, the year she was Number 1 ASFA Borzoi. There was 8 inches of crusted snow on the ground. Cancel the trial because of a little SNOW?  HELL, no! We kicked out a path for the string and ran those puppies! And they had a blast--even the veteran borzoi ran well that day. Vanessa Johnson and Diana Darling were the other borzoi slippers that weekend. No pun intended--though Vickie did a spectacular face-plant in the snow while walking dogs that morning at the motel.

Noel is doing pretty well for her age. She has been retired from lure coursing for several years but she still loves traveling--especialy checking in to the motel. 

She had surgery to remove 4 small mammary tumors last Wednesday and seems to have bounced back nicely. We feel blessed to have her with us.

We sing The First Noel for her every year around this time, but sometimes we customize the words a little, just for her:

The first Noel
The Angels did say,
Was to certain poor Shepherds
In fields where they lay
In fields where they lay,
Chained to their doghouses
Because they were not sighthounds
And could not go lure-coursing.

Noel, Noel, Noel, No-o-eeeelllll!
Go chase the bunnies behind the motel!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Weekend of the Lepus

The gallery: Slow hiking with fast dogs

ALL day long. . .

Pastures are way different in Virginia
And this dog would know! He was one my eye was constantly drawn to.

A weary hiker, resting with her faithful hounds.
Geeze, was it REALLY 11+ miles???

Meanwhile, back at the vans. . .
The black beauty in the foreground was one of the fastest at this event, and proved an excellent digger as well.

Kubei, my "Rabbit Dawg" with a friend.
My backpack is in the foreground--ANY excuse to get that thing off my back! 

Could there be a more beautiful sight? Yes: once they start running!

Working the sagebrush
No photos could do a magical day of running beautiful hounds with pleasant companions in a stark landscape justice, least of all these very amateur ones.
But I have always agreed with GK Chesterton:

 "If a thing is worth doing, it's worth doing badly!"

All photos in this article by Vickie Littleton

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Some of Street's Children

Dual Champion Avalon Ubiquitous Spirit, GRC, LCM
The first of the Avalon U litter to finish
Howff Carbonel Bagheera
He's a brick . . . house! Bagheera lives with Bonnie Dalzell in Maryland.
Renee McCartin photo
Ch Avalon Una Howff Carbonel, Fld Ch
(finished with wins under breeder judge Bill Cuningham)
Ch Howff Carbonel Bakai
(ASFA pointed with several first placements) That's me showing a dog in BLUE JEANS! You can dress some of 'em up, but you can't take 'em out. . .then there are those people you can't even dress up!
Howff Carbonel Chetai