Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Fancy Shmancy ribbons

I put together Ptera and Koira's title ribbons with miniature portraits I had painted of each of them. The portraits are meant as Christmas ornaments, but they ended up fitting perfectly on the ribbons. And, of course, they are simply amazing paintings as well. The artist does amazing larger work as well (I have pretty much no where to display artwork, but keep trying to figure out a place to put a larger painting so I have an excuse to order something larger). When NAFA finally gets around to sending title pins for Ptera and Koira (they only just sent certificates for titles earned in July, so not holding my breath it will be any time soon) I plan on adding those to the ribbons as well. I'm debating if I should add Koira's FM pin as well as her FMX pin when it arrives (or her U-Fli title pins?), but don't want to make the ribbons look too cluttered.

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Ptera's FM ribbon, and Koira's FMX ribbon, with custom miniature paintings done by Before the Bridge Fine Art. https://www.facebook.com/btbfineart


I'm sure the artist isn't taking any more orders for delivery before Christmas this year (her work is amazing, and painting takes time), but I think she has gift certificates available if you are still looking for the perfect present for someone. I paid full price for these ones to be done, and would happily pay again. I am sharing her work only because it is amazing, and works so perfectly paired with the ribbons my dogs and I have worked so hard to earn.

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One last thing, if you are ever the one in charge of ordering ribbons for a dog event, choose bridle hooks on the rosettes, instead of cord. The bridle hooks make the ribbons easier to hang, and easy to hook to the dog's collar for a ribbon photo. Bridle hooks all the way!

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Sunday, December 10, 2017

Happy Birthday Koira

Koira turned 10 years old today. The weather is freezing cold but clear today. We probably should have taken advantage of the sun shining with a hike, but instead, we snuggled up inside with a flannel comforter and a roaring fire and enjoyed some movies.

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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Koira FMX, MBDCh

Last weekend, Koira raced in Multibreed with the Portland TailBlazers and earned her Flyball Master Excellent (10,000 points) and Multibreed Dog Champion (500 multibreed points) titles. She is going to mostly retire from flyball at this point, though she may come out to play a time or two over the next year if she is feeling good, and race one more time next year (again, if she is feeling good) to try to earn her Iron Dog.
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Credit to Big Air Photography


She was a really good girl, and did her job great. She had a really good time too. I think she would be perfectly happy without the long car rides to and from Canada, though. 

We happened to be getting Christmas photos done by a photographer at the tournament, and she took a picture of Koira with her fancy new FMX ribbon while we were there as well.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Sweaters!

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Ptera's awesome sweater with our flyball club logo on the back- all hand knitted


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And the front view


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But, I totally have a hat AND sweater vest that match! The hat has jack russells and pteranodons on it, and the sweater has Ptera's name on the back.


These were all made by the super awesome mom of one of my flyball teammates. She also made us an awesome Christmas sweater that we are raffling as a fundraiser for our flyball club. (If you are interested, check out our team facebook page for the post about how to enter.)

Monday, November 20, 2017

Holiday Knitted Hats

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Koira is willing to wear hers in exchange for cookies, but will likely shake it off her ears if I asked her to wear it on an adventure.


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I'm sleeping with one eye open, because I'm pretty sure Theo is going to cut me if he gets a chance after I made him dress up...


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Ptera doesn't mind the hat at all, but does mind not getting the treat yet.



Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Beazell Forest Hike in the Fall

Beazell Forest is one of our favorite places to go to hike. Previously, we've normally aimed for weekdays to avoid people, but my new job and the early setting sun makes that impossible. Instead, we aimed for a cloudy and on-and-off rainy weekend day and lucked out, meeting only two couples hiking and both within the first few minutes. We had the place to ourselves the rest of the time.

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Our bridge photo we need to get every time


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Recall over the bridge


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Exploring the ferns and trees


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Choosing the path


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Natural material steps and archway


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Sniffing her way along a log


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Tippy toes


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"Wait, what was that?!"


In an effort to post more often, I may do more posts like this, with plenty of photos and short captions, rather than longer ones with lots of writing.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Fall in Oregon

The fall colors are appearing on the trees this week. Oregon doesn't tend to get the brilliant colors that some places enjoy in the fall, and windstorms (like the one happening right now) tend to rip what color we do have off of the trees before we have a chance to enjoy it much. I spent yesterday afternoon taking a few pictures of Ptera and the fall leaves in town before they are gone.

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You can see the raindrops in this photo as well. Fall here means rain.

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I realized while doing this shoot that Ptera thinks "wait" means "sit and wait" so didn't get many photos of her standing, or doing anything other than sitting. Something to work on.


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Getting cold toward the end of our wet walk around town.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Fall Flowers

I have been getting pictures of the dogs with seasonal flowers whenever the opportunity presents itself. In late September, I drove by an awesome field of sunflowers and planned a trip back there later that week for pictures.

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Wearing her new fancy collar

This field of sunflowers was more like a narrow strip of them, but it was enough for photos. The day was cloudy with on and off rain and tiny blips of sun.

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The wind was blowing pretty good for part of it too

This blue stool has long been one of my favorite props for photos. Especially with things like sunflowers, even relatively large dogs will be much lower than the picture-perfect end of the plant. This stool is tall enough to place the dogs in a much better position for photos. Plus, I just love the color and look of the stool.

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With grey rain clouds in the sky

Koira doesn't like posing for pictures near roads. I can't find places like this without driving my them, most of the time. The stool helps keep Koira in one place while I set up for a photo, and treats help her feel a little better about the situation.

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Big smile

Panting from nerves and smiling look surprisingly similar, especially if you can get the ears forward. Really, though, if Koira is too nervous about this kind of thing, there is nothing I can say or do to get her to stay on a stool (or anything) and no treat that will be worth eating- and most of all, no way to get her to look at the camera and put her ears up. As long as she is doing all of those things, and we stop before she stops, I figure we're doing okay.

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Awkward sibling photo

Your mom made you pose awkwardly with your siblings, right?

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"Whatcha doin' up there?"

I hope everyone's fall is going well so far. I am trying to get back into the swing of regularly blogging, but with a ton of agility photos to edit that I am already behind on, a new full time job, flyball class and practice, and trying to get ready for winter (which means stacking firewood, making sure the area around the stove is cleared out and safe, weatherproofing doors and windows, and tons more), I am not sure how often I will be making it to the blog. I feel sad every time a favorite blog disappears from the internet, though, and it seems to be happening like crazy this year, with people leaving with announcements, just disappearing, or simply going from posting regularly to once a month or less, so I hope I won't become one of the many who disappear.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Crave Dog Food #chewyinfluencer

This month, we chose to review Crave dog food from Chewy.com. The formula we chose was Lamb and Venison. We received this food for free in exchange for our honest review, and were not compensated in any other way.

The ingredient list is so-so. The first ingredient is lamb, followed by chicken meal. Venison meal isn't actually on the list until after chickpeas, split peas, potato protein, and alfalfa meal, so I am not too confident about how much actual venison is in this food in relation to the other proteins. That said, there is both deboned lamb and lamb meal in addition to the chicken meal, and no by-products are listed.

Both Ptera and Koira really liked this food. The kibbles are flat and round, larger than I like for doing training with Ptera, but still relatively small.

Overall, I am happy to feed this food, but it probably will not be making it into our regular rotation of food. However, I wouldn't hesitate to feed it again if it was on sale for a great price (currently just over $40 for a 22 lb bag, which isn't horrible but also not awesome for price in my opinion).

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Dave's Canned Dog Food #chewyinfluencer


Canned food isn't something my dogs get a ton of. With no medical issues requiring it, Ptera tends to eat kibble most of the time, while Koira eats raw most of the time. That doesn't mean I don't like using canned foods sometimes, though. I always like to keep a few cans on hand for emergencies like dental issues or hiding medicines. This month, I had the opportunity to review Dave's dog food, a brand that I have actually never tried or heard of before (we were not compensated in any other way and all opinions are entirely our own). I decided to try the 95% beef option.

Leading up to the flyball tournament earlier this month, I actually put Koira on a diet of this canned food plus Crave kibble every other day, alternating with raw elk meat. I like having her on a kibble food when we travel since it is so much easier, but I feel like she does better on raw food, so this was the compromise. She ran great at the tournament, so I think it worked fine.

I've also been using this food to stuff Kongs for Ptera when I leave for work in the morning. I've been crazy busy this month (hence falling off the face of the internet for most of the month), which means Ptera hasn't been doing as much as she should be. I reduced her kibble from 1/2 cup twice a day to 1/3 cup twice a day, fed in a Kong Wobbler. Then, I added a kong stuffed with Dave's 95% beef canned food and a little kibble, frozen. The Kong Wobbler for actual meals and the stuffed kong for a snack give Ptera something to do with her brain while I am gone for the day and help keep her behaving herself. She seems to really like the food in the kong, as they are always licked clean when I get home. She used to ignore them when I left her with stuffed kongs, so I don't know if she just really likes this food or if she is learning to enjoy food toys without me.

I am super happy to feed this food. It is a normal pate texture, but doesn't smell super gross when you open the can, and it stuffs well without being too messy. The ingredients are pretty basic and boring, just enough extra added minerals and vitamins that you know it is a balanced food. I would much rather stuff a kong with this than with peanut butter! I would be happy to continue using this food in the future.

Friday, September 1, 2017

July/August Hiking Goals

I skipped the July update of our hiking goals for the year. We didn't actually go hiking at all in July. I know. Pretty bad, considering we have so few dry months here.

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My favorite SUP selfie so far this summer


In July, I did make it out on the paddleboard and kayak a few times. I went to a small, local lake with my mom a few times.

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Playing with the GoPro at the local lake


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"Docking" the SUP and going for the dismount


I also went camping at the coast for a few days with a friend and her family. We took out the paddleboard and some kayaks to Beaver Creek on the coast. I mostly stuck to the SUP, but did take a spin in the kayak. We camped at South Beach State Park, which was a lot of fun, but I didn't get a single photo of our campsite (we were in yurts) or of the beach. Or of the beach at Pacific City when we went there at the end of the week.

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Kayaking a little at Beaver Creek


The first week of August, I slammed my week full of water trips. I started with a trip to Olalla lake with a friend who has never kayaked. I helped her put a big, super fun check mark on her bucket list, and had the opportunity myself to get out and have a great time.

The next day, I headed down to a reservoir near Eugene with a friend, where we spent a very smokey day out on the water. The Willamette Valley has been in smoke almost all summer, it feels like, from wildfires in Oregon, Washington, and even some smoke coming all the way from the big BC wildfires.

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In a reservoir near Eugene- it wasn't overcast at all, that haze is all smoke


Then, I headed to the Silverton lake the next day to meet up with another friend and enjoy yet another day on the water. I was exhausted, but it was an amazingly fun week. It wasn't quite planned to be like that, rather, I made plans with three people and kept forgetting that I had plans. But somehow it all worked out, and I had an awesome week.

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Still a smoky day, but much clearer in Silverton than in Eugene the day before

I went whitewater rafting with our flyball team boxloader and his friends/family, which was pretty awesome. I got exactly zero photos, and didn't have a dog with me, and didn't know anyone except the one person, but it was an absolute blast. So much fun.

I also had a chance to hit the beach once in August, even though I rarely do the beach in Oregon in the summer.

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Posing on the beach


And went back to an old favorite hike, Drift Creek Falls. There was actually a tree down across the road and a few people had parked and hiked in the last mile to the trailhead. But, with teamwork between three carloads of people, we managed to move the tree out of the road with zero tools. That kind of eclipsed the hike, to be honest. It felt awesome to come together with a team of strangers and get something done that would have been impossible alone.

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Classic sign photo


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Having a tiny dog willing to balance on things is pretty fun sometimes


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Trailhead mileage sign


I just love the suspension bridge at Drift Creek Falls. It scares me, but I have been slowly tackling my fear of heights (remember that I went ziplining in the Redwoods in California?). This is a solid bridge in good condition, but narrow enough with open looking sides to be scary, but with chainlink and solid boards, so you can use it to conquer fears.

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Drift Creek suspension bridge


What have you been doing in the great outdoors this summer? Any fun plans before summer ends? I'm hoping to get some more hiking in this month, and at least a few more SUP trips as well.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Chewy Review: Nutro Wild Frontier #chewyinfluencer

A while back, we did a full review of Nutro Wild Frontier in a venison flavor (officially called Woodland and Trail recipe). This month, we had the chance to review a different formula, and chose the Cold Water recipe, which is a fish and chicken food. We were given this food in exchange for our honest review.

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Waiting for foodstuffs is so hard

My absolute first reaction to this food was being thrilled at the size of the kibble. The kibbles are a really nice, small size, and rounded in shape. I might be a little obsessed with kibble size and shape right now, because we've been doing training with meals. Smaller kibbles mean more treat opportunities before we run out of meals. And the rounded shape is easier to handle than kibbles that are triangular or square.

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Tiny little kibbles


A 4 lb bag of this food, which is what we were sent, has lasted Ptera about two weeks at one cup per day. On Chewy.com right now, this bag costs just over $17, which makes a reasonable monthly cost for food. The 24 lb bag would actually last long enough for us that I won't buy a bag that big if only Ptera is eating it (Koira is eating mostly raw food, rather than kibble). We actually had to throw out about eight pounds of kibble this month because it had gone rancid (which is nasty, and you really don't want to have happen). That is actually why Ptera started eating the Nutro full time.

We have been training with meals roughly half of the time, sometimes both meals in a day will be training meals, sometimes a few days in a row all meals will be in a bowl, etc, depending on how much free time and motivation I have to get some good training in. Even eating this as her main food, Ptera is happy to work for it, and is thrilled to start training times. When I fill her bowl, she actually runs over to our training area immediately and I have to call her back to her rug if she is eating out of the bowl for that meal. Of course, I still measure out the correct amount of food for each meal, whether we train with it or feed it out of a bowl. Ptera actually has gained a little weight this month, so I am scooping "light" half cups of food for meals instead of full or rounded cups.

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Om nom nom


My final impressions of Nutro Wild Frontier are that we like it, regardless of which formula we are using. Ptera is a fan of it, the ingredients are decent quality, and I don't have to feed a metric ton of it to keep weight on her.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

WW: Drift Creek Falls

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Hiking down to the falls


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Good dogs


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Ptera spotted a squirrel


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Koira isn't a fan of heights, but posed on the suspension bridge for a photo with the falls


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The dogs with Drift Creek Falls


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Drift Creek Falls, with the suspension bridge on the right


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The falls from above


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Ptera's view from the bridge.