In 2021 I made this art quilt of Lucy and I entered it into the Canadian Quilters Association (CQA) national juried show. I was thrilled to learn that it was juried into the 2021 CQA Show. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the in-person show was cancelled and replaced with a virtual show so I never got the opportunity to see it hang on the show floor.
This summer I received at email from CQA informing me that they were compiling a selection of juried entries into a “Best of Quilting in Canada”collection and they wanted to include my piece. The quilts would be exhibited in the New England Quilt Museum (NEQM) in Lowell, Massachusetts, from January 17 to May 9, 2023. Needless to say, I was shocked and thrilled.
All of the selected quilts are also featured in the 2023 spring edition of Canadian Quilters Magazine.
Those who know me well know that the 5 years that I was blessed to be able to volunteer at the zoo were very special to me. Of course my favourite was Lucy. She has captured my heart and soul. The only reason I made this piece was so that I could see her face and soulful eyes everyday because COVID brought an abrupt and heartbreaking end to my time at the zoo.
If anyone knows someone who lives near the museum I can’t tell you how special it would be to have a picture of her hanging in the exhibit.
Yesterday we got the very sad news that Brodie’s Mom Ceilidh crossed the rainbow bridge unexpectedly and much too young. Our hearts go out to our breeder Shannon. We also received a bunch of CKC mail for Brodie which is a fitting tribute to his wonderful Mom.
Today Spirit received her Sporting Detection Dog Association Master Champion 2 title (SD-MACH2). She earned it at the Mojave Dog Sports trial on September 4th. She is the only Bernese Mountain Dog and the 7th dog to ever achieve this title. The best part is that 9 of the 10 titles required to earn a MACH2 were gold level titles meaning a score of 96% or better. For anyone who knows Spirit, this is quite an accomplishment. She does not necessarily love to do nosework but she does love to get treats.
It has been over 4 years since the last time the dogs and I participated in Rally Obedience. In fact, Brodie was 18 months old when we last trialed. This past weekend we took a big leap of faith and participated in the Lloydminster Kennel Club’s fall trial. Brodie’s very first Rally trial was in Lloydminster when he was only 7 months old.
My goal for this weekend was to have each dog earn their Advanced title. I am thrilled to say that not only did they meet my goal they exceeded it. Brodie Q’d in 3 of 4 runs, earning his Rally Advanced title and 2 Q’s towards his Rally Excellent. He also had a perfect score of 100 on his first run and a high in class (HIC). His NQ was completely my fault, I had a total brain fart melt down and failed him miserably.
Spirt was the big star this weekend. She Q’d in all 4 runs, earned her Rally Advanced title, 2 Excellent Q’s and 3 HIC. We went home with $80 in prize money for the 4 HIC.
There were a group of Berner breeders sitting together near the Rally ring. When Spirit was strutting her stuff around the Rally ring one of the breeders asked “Any one know who’s dog that is? She is a wonderful performance dog”. It just so happens that Spirit’s breeder, Tailspin Bernese Mountain Dogs, was in the group and she took great pleasure in saying “Why yes I do know who that is, she is one of my dogs”. A proud breeder moment brought to you by my big, shiny, black and beautiful girl.
Took the dogs for a much deserved off-leash run this morning. Although Edmonton’s fall colour consists primarily of shades of gold, there are a few trees and shrubs that turn a magnificent red or orange. Stopped for a photo shoot to capture the brilliance.
We had a wonderful Coppermoon family reunion this morning. Brother and sister Brodie and Cricket, Felix (Cricket’s son) and Dolly (a niece from Brodie’s sister Maddie). They all got along famously and ended the visit with a lovely swim. (L-R Dolly, Brodie, Felix and Cricket)
Once Brodie earned his SDDA (Sporting Detection Dogs Association) Elite Championship and Grand Master Championship I hadn’t planned to trial him anymore. Well plans change. Since Spirit was still working towards completing her SD-MACH2 and we were still attending trials, I decided to let him continue to play since he loves it so much. Much to my surprise he earned his 6th title in July and today his 7th. That’s his 4th Elite title this year compared the very long drought (2.5 years) between #3 and #4. He really loves this game.
I have been really bad about posting about our trialing adventures lately but this one is a big deal. My big shiny black girl did a thing today. Spirit earned her SD-MACH2 with 9 of the 10 titles in her second MACH at the gold level (scent detection master champion x2 which requires a combination of 20 advanced and excellent titles). She is the first Bernese Mountain Dog to earn this title and, according to the latest published stats, she is the 7th dog to have ever achieved it. I have to admit that I was beginning to wonder if she would ever earn this title. She is not a speedy searcher so we have timed out numerous times.
This weekend we attended an UpDog seminar to learn how to play 2 games: Throw ‘N Go and 4 Way Play. My throwing skills are slowly improving. I’m lucky that I have a smart fast dog who can make up for my inaccuracy. Brodie had an amazing catch in 4 way play. We had a few seconds left when he caught a frisbee in the 3 point zone. I quickly threw one into the 2 zone and he ran there still with the frisbee in his mouth. My soft mouth boy managed to catch a second frisbee in his mouth, without dropping either, just as the time ran out. Unfortunately one of the instructors stepped in front of Don while he was filming so you can’t see the amazing catch but you can hear everyone cheering. We did get a video of a successful catch in throw ‘n go.
Brodie made his first donation to the Canadian Animal Blood Bank (CABB). He did so well in a strange environment with 4 students holding him down. He is continuing the legacy of Wally who donated blood regularly until he was 10 years old.
We spent this weekend at Prairie Dog Sports’ Barn Hunt trial. Although we’ve done some local barn dog trials, we haven’t been to a Barn Hunt trial since before COVID. Our weekend didn’t start out great but it ended with a bang. Although he Q’d in every Crazy 8 run we NQ’d in 3/5 Open runs. Sunday morning things started to click. We got our final Open qualifier to earn our RATO title. Brodie finished 1st in the large dog category and 1st in class. For our last run of the day we moved up to Senior. He was awesome and got 1st in the large dog category and 1st in class again. I am over the moon proud of how he managed to control his over excitement and hunt so well. We came home with a mitt full of ribbons and swag.
Big thanks to everyone at Prairie Dog Sports, Judge Christina Benishin, all the amazing hard working volunteers and my fellow barn hunt enthusiasts who support one another and find joy in each other’s success and share in our ‘oh so close’ moments.
It has been a very long drought for us but I am so thrilled that we earned our 4th SDDA Elite title today. Even better than that, my normally “chicken sh!t” dog amazed me by not only jumping on a table but he climbed up on a tractor and even on an open grate spiky metal platform. I couldn’t be more proud of him. Big thanks to Kristina of Little Nose That Knows, our Judge Kelly Ladouceur, the volunteers and my fellow competitors for cheering us on.
Well my mileage for this year was way down from last year but even with all my injuries this year I still managed to beat the challenge and end up in the top 7%. Hopefully 2022 will be a better year for my old body.
As I continue my art quilt journey I am always in search of my next muse. Meet Rosie-Roo, the sweetest, shiniest Cane Corso you could ever hope to meet. This was my inspiration photo.
Just to challenge myself even more, I bought myself a Cricut and learned how to cut all the pieces electronically rather than by hand. Too many years of being an IT geek have left my hands and wrists in pretty bad shape.
I did a lot of thread painting to not only enhance the portrait but to also help blend all the different values of red together.
I surprised Rosie’s Mom this morning when I delivered the quilt. There were tears and hugs. A few weeks ago I had asked her what her favourite colours were but she had no idea why I asked or what I was doing.
So Spirit did a thing today. I’m so incredibly proud of her for passing her CKC Urban Tracking Dog test (UTD) today at almost 7 years old. It wasn’t pretty and she struggled for a very long time at her second corner but ultimately we made it to the magical leather glove at the end. Thank you to our amazing Judge Donna Brinkworth, our track layer and friend extraordinaire Susan Dueck, my training partner Leslie and our coach/trainer Mary Ann. And of course thank you Coreen and Steve of Tailspin Bernese for sharing this big, shiny, goofy black girl with me.
Brodie and I took an Intro to Parkour workshop today. I learned that he is a whole lot more confident/brave outside than he is climbing on stuff inside. I was shocked how quickly he took on each challenge. I am hoping I can transfer this confidence to his interior nosework searches. In SDDA Elite searches dogs need to be able to search up to 4 feet above a stable surface.
It has been almost 2 years since Brodie has been to Sprinters. We are signed up for a trial next weekend so we were thrilled to find out that there was a practice last night. As we were pulling into the parking lot it was clear he knew what was coming. My normally quiet, well behaved dog started moaning, barking and vibrating. I had wondered if he would remember the game or still enjoy it….. he LOVES it . He is so crazy at the start line that I can’t hold him….Don has to release him. It takes all of his strength to hold on to him as the lure is approaching the start line. I get to be the “catcher”. It takes all my strength to leash him up and drag him off the field. He is possessed!!! Took him 8.74 seconds to do 100 metres, which is just over 41km/hr. In between his 1st and 2nd run we had to put the shade cloth, doubled up, over the back of the car so that he couldn’t watch the lure go by.
We spent the past weekend in Olds Alberta at the Canine Coaching SDDA trial. Both dogs had a great weekend. Although Spirit had retired from SDDA more than 2 years ago, she came back this weekend without missing a beat. On Saturday so got an advanced title with 3rd place in exteriors, 2nd place in containers and 1st place overall. Sunday morning she ran in Advanced again and got 3rd place in interiors, passed containers but we timed out in exteriors. Sunday afternoon she tried Excellent and got 3rd place in exteriors and 3rd place overall. So proud of her. She got a Mickey D’s ice cream cone to celebrate her achievements.
Brodie ran in Elite on Saturday and Sunday. No title for us (or for anyone this weekend which is not that unusual for Elite). On Saturday he got a 2nd in Exteriors and Containers (we finally broke our container jinx) and Sunday he got a 2nd in Interiors.
It was so nice to reconnect with so many handlers that we haven’t had a chance to visit with in over a year. Overall and fantastic weekend.
The garden seems very slow this year. I suspect the intense heat we have had may have something to do with. Normally we may hit 30 Celsius a few times a year. So far we have hit 30+ twelve days and it is only mid July.
Normally I have my first ripe sungold tomato by the July long weekend, just ate my first one this morning. Tried a new variety this year, Indigo Rose. It is so dark, I’m not sure how to tell when it is ripe.
I’m surprised that my peppers are still alive. Many days the greenhouse was close to 50 degrees Celsius. It was too hot to stand in there to water.
Took the dogs out early this morning for some tracking. Brodie did a 300 metre field track. The crop was taller than him and filled with dew and seed heads. The yellow seeds turned Brodie into a “ golden” Golden Retriever instead of a cream coloured one. Both he and I have thousands of little seeds in every crack and crevice of our bodies and my clothes. My pants were so wet from the heavy dew that they were weighted down and moving towards my ankles as I ran through the field trying to keep up with Brodie 😂😆
Thank goodness we have a high powered dog blow dryer to get these seeds off.
Spirit ran a 700 metre urban track that was aged for 75 minutes. Unfortunately for the second time this week, just before we started to run the track, huge industrial lawn mowers went right over our track and articles. After a few expletives, I decided we would try and run the track anyway. She struggled for the first 200 metres weaving widely back and forth but eventually we made it to an area that hadn’t been mowed and she got back on track. So proud of her for handling this very tough puzzle and making it to end successfully.