Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
This gentleman is working with Spaniels, but other than the "Hup" command, this puppy work applies to all gundog breeds. I particularly like the part about exercising a young pup's mind. And, something we all need to remember... Always end the session on a positive note!
This alone should be inscribed in the mind of everyone who works in the field with dogs!
On to the clip from Shooting Sportsman UK...
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Other names: Allantide (Cornish), All-Hallow's Tide ("Alhalwyn-tyd," Germanic), All Souls' Day (Christian), Calan Gaeaf or Hollantide (Welsh), Halloween (secular American), Kala-Goanv (Breton), Sauin (Manx), Samhain (Modern Irish), Samhiunn (Scottish Gaelic), Trinouxtion Samonii (Gaulish from the Coligny Calendar).
There's a quaint old Scottish verse that goes as such:
Hey! Ho! for Hallowe'enAn' all the witches tae be seenSome in black an' some in greenHey! Ho! for Hallowe'en.
Samhain was the new year of the Celts. The earliest reference seems to likely be on the Coligny calendar, which began the year with a month called Samonios, a name which is echoed in the modern Irish name for November, Samhain. According to the Coligny calendar, it commenced with three days called the Trinouxtion Samonii, the Three Nights of the End of Summer.
It’s also a day of major change in the mythological cycles; according to Irish myth, Oengus mac ind-Og was born on Samhain; An Dagda mated with the Morrigan on Samhain, just before the Second Battle of Magh Turedh, which may have also been on Samhain; it is mentioned as an important feast day in both the Ulster and Fionn cycles; and in some versions of the Hanes Taliesin, the bard is found by Elphin on this day. In many folk tales and in some late Fionn tales, it was the day that the Hollow Hills would open and the sidhe would walk about. What one can then see is that this holy day is one of great change—it is the day of rebirth, and the day when order is battled over and restored.
They did believe that the walls between this world and the otherworld grew thin at this time, but then, they also believed it grew thin at Beltane. When combined with the Catholic feast of All Hallows (modern All Saints), it was a feast to memorialize the dead. But it was also a harvest festival, the last of the year before the coming of winter; it is no mistake that the Welsh name for this vigil feast--Nos Galen-gaeof--translates as "Night of the Winter Kalends"--the beginning of winter.
In the modern calendar, the day is called Halloween, from early modern English "All Hallows Eve"--that is, the vigil of the Feast of All Saints on the Catholic calendar. Originally, this feast was celebrated on May 1, but was later moved to the Irish feast, perhaps under the influence of the many Irish monks on the continent in the early Middle Ages. However, the feast also seemed to expand under this influence, gaining the vigil feast of Halloween, the true feast of All Saints', and the final day of All Souls'--thus returning to the old Gaullish Trinouxtion Samonii. The feast, with its trappings of costumes and jack-o-lanters, was brought to America by Irish immigrants in the nineteenth century. Halloween has retained its more gothic characteristics, focusing more on the concept of the Feast of the Dead than on the New Year or the sidhe.
It is important to point out that there is no Irish "god of the dead," and especially no god named "Samhain," as some rather erroneous books/websites will tell you. There is some argument as to whether one can consider Arawn or Gwyn ap Nudd Welsh gods of the dead, or at least psychopomps, but the Irish pantheon has no official god of the dead. (Some, though, hypothesize that Donn or Mil is this god, as Caesar says that the Gauls believed they were decended from Dis, the Roman name for the god of the dead, and sometimes Donn or Mil are named the ancestors of the Irish.)
One popular custom associated with the dead was the dumb supper.
This can be seen in conjunction not only with hospitality towards the dead, but also the harvest festival. In Pembrokeshire it was called cinio cynhaeaf (harvest dinner), or ffest y wrach (the hag's feast), which is thought to refer to harvest traditions. It is thought to also be tied to the slaughtering of animals; the name for November in Welsh is Tachwedd, meaning "slaughter." The animals were then cooked in a large feast, It was thought that spirits roamed the land; some would take the form of a ladi wen (white lady), while others would be the hwch ddu gwta (the tail-less black sow), which terrified people. Young people would prepare huge bonfires, where they would roast apples for food. Stones would be thrown in for divination--to find the stone the next morning was a sign of health for the year; to not find the stone was a sign of death. The people would spend the night dancing and running through the bonfires until the fire died out. As it would do so, the people would shout rhymes, such as the following:
Hwch Ddu Gwta a Ladi Wen heb dimm penHwch Ddu Gwta a gipio'r olaHwch Ddu Gwta nos G'langaeaLladron yn dwad tan weu sanaA tail-less Black Sow and a White Lady without a headMay the tail-less black sow snatch the hindmost.A tail-less black sow on winter's eve,Thieves coming along knitting stockings.Similarly, when trick-or-treating, young men--gwrachod--would sing the following verses:
Nos g'langaea', twco 'fala',Pwy sy'n dod ma's i whara?Ladi wen ar ben y prenYn naddu croes ymbrelo;Mae'n un o'r gloch, mae'n ddau o'r glochMae'n bryd i'r moch gael cinio.Winter's Eve, baiting of applesWho is coming out to play?A White Lady on top of a treeWittling an umbrella stickIt's one o'clock, it's two o'clock,it's time fo the pigs to have dinner.
Again, the White Lady and the pig are featured.
To some extent, we are reminded of the Northern European tradition of the Wild Hunt.
It was a night for divination; nuts would be burned, and brightly-burning nuts signaled marriage; the practice is old enough to be mentioned by Dafydd ap Gwilym (fl. 1340-70) and Iolo Goch (1320-1398).
Like the Irish, the Welsh would hollow out turnips and place candles in them, but reportedly to frighten people, not spirits.
In America, of course, we eat candy. Lots of it. Of course, there is also the traditional apple cider, caramel apples, and donoughts.
In Montgomeryshire, girls would prepare the stwmp naw rhyw, the "mash of nine sorts", which included potatoes, carrots, turnips, pease, parsnips, leeks, pepper, salt, and new milk. A ring would be hidden in the mash, and she who found it was predicted to be married within the year. In other parts of Wales, the would make pancakes. Often, these dishes required nine girls to make them, which is reminiscent of Taliesin's poem on the Cauldron of Annwn:
In the first word from the cauldron when spoken,From the breath of nine maidens it was gently warmed.Is it not the cauldron of the chief of Annwvn? What is its intention?A ridge about its edge and pearls.It will not boil the food of a coward, that has not been sworn
Other foods included a wassail bowl; games of trying to bite suspended apples; and of course bobbing for apples.
People would go "sowling", collecting food to be given to the dead "hel bwyd cennad y meirw--collecing the food of the messenger of the dead."
Friday, October 24, 2008
Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children. - Tribe Unknown
We can learn much from this country's first inhabitants, and the more litter I see on our roads, the more smog I see in our air, and the more plastic homes where there once existed woods or forest make me believe this all the more...
Thursday, October 23, 2008
All summer I've been shooting clay targets low gun with the 20 ga. SKB 280, as I annointed it as this season's "go to" birdgun. I've been shooting an 1150 fps load with 3/4 ounce of shot. This is a very light load, and oh so pleasant to shoot, not to mention it's easy on the wallet with lead prices being what they are.
Now the rub... As the temperature has fallen somewhat, I've had failures of the second barrel to set up.. I've been wondering if I've been releasing the trigger completely, but, I've never had the problem before.
This little gun is built with 3 inch chambers, and the Roman Candle 3'' 20 can raise hell in the recoil department, so I'm beginning to wonder if my super-lite reload is on the ragged edge of having the ability to reset the second trigger, particularly when temps are lower and energy is reduced somewhat.
So, I grabbed a box of field reloads today, and lo and behold the second trigger set up just fine. So, maybe that's the answer, but, since I'll never shoot heavy loads in this little gun, I'm wondering if a little inertia block warming over is in my future, or should I say, in the SKB's future... or maybe just drop another half grain of Unique and take the easy way out...
I like the 28 ga. light load in the 20, so maybe I'll look into a little inertia block modification.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
The weather was absolutely perfect for searching the fall woods for birds. There were still plenty of leaves on, but that did not prevent us from moving some birds in the paper company. The weather, gorgeous fall colors and dogwork combined to renew the soul of an old birdhunter who has missed a couple of seasons in recent years to injuries.
Unfortunately, even the best of times for renewal also carry a tinge of remorse and sadness. My old friend and closest neighbor has been suffering from bone cancer in recent years, and has taken a turn for the worse. This gentleman and his lovely wife were our first, and still best friends when we first came to the Adirondacks. We bought the old family farm where he grew up. Many would think that the situation could cause some hard feelings, but nothing could be further from the truth. These folks accepted us from the start. They have both taught us many things... about living in the mountains, and about unconditional acceptance and how to live a decent and god fearing life. They have made me examine my own hates and prejudices and made me ponder them much more closely.
I guess one could say that on some level, I love these people and look up to them. They're not rich monetarily, but have more than most people ever do in faith and goodness.
So, while I'm elated to be walking behind my Setters again carrying a gun, my heart is also heavy at the prospect of losing someone who has meant so much to me..
I love to be in the North Country chasing birds, but the Adirondacks will never be the same to me when my old friend passes..
Life goes on, and life ends.. the constant cycle of death and renewal..
I refresh the deepest reaches of my soul by once again feeling the crispness of the autumn woods, but the realization that an old friend will soon be gone from these mountains also tugs at my heart... Why can't life be more simple.. Pure elation or pure sadness???
Why does one emotion always have to be tempered by the other??
Perhaps our Maker is the only one that holds the answer, but I'll remember this trip... for it's joy, and it's foreboding of sadness..
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
An English Setter by his side
and that old Parker gun
To walk the colored October wood
Made warm in golden sun
He caught a dream the upland life
As others had before
To love the King and where he flew
And that Parker twenty bore
The years return less than he gave
The way he chose to run
The English Setter by his side
And that old Parker gun
Fourteen years and ya they've aged
Just about the same
Now moving stiff and a little slow
Ruffed Grouse is still the game
Two old sages side by side
And a bird that is called a King
Making memories slow to fade
Called forth-- the dog bell rings
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Apparently, Flush helped Ms. Browning extensively through an extended illness. She composed this poem in tribute...
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Loving friend, the gift of oneWho her own true faith has runThrough thy lower nature,Be my benediction saidWith my hand upon thy head,Gentle fellow-creature!Like a lady's ringlets brown,Flow thy silken ears adownEither side demurelyOf thy silver-suited breastShining out from all the restOf thy body purely.Darkly brown thy body is,Till the sunshine striking thisAlchemise its dullness,When the sleek curls manifoldFlash all over into goldWith a burnished fulness.Underneath my stroking hand,Startled eyes of hazel blandKindling, growing larger,Up thou leapest with a spring,Full of prank and curveting,Leaping like a charger.Leap! thy broad tail waves a light,Leap! thy slender feet are bright,Canopied in fringes;Leap! those tasselled ears of thineFlicker strangely, fair and fineDown their golden inches.Yet, my pretty, sportive friend,Little is't to such an endThat I praise thy rareness;Other dogs may be thy peersHaply in these drooping earsAnd this glossy fairness.But of thee it shall be said,This dog watched beside a bedDay and night unweary,Watched within a curtained roomWhere no sunbeam brake the gloomRound the sick and dreary.Roses, gathered for a vase,In that chamber died apace,Beam and breeze resigning;This dog only, waited on,Knowing that when light is goneLove remains for shining.Other dogs in thymy dewTracked the hares and followed throughSunny moor or meadow;This dog only, crept and creptNext a languid cheek that slept,Sharing in the shadow.Other dogs of loyal cheerBounded at the whistle clear,Up the woodside hieing;This dog only, watched in reachOf a faintly uttered speechOr a louder sighing.And if one or two quick tearsDropped upon his glossy earsOr a sigh came double,Up he sprang in eager haste,Fawning, fondling, breathing fast,In a tender trouble.And this dog was satisfiedIf a pale thin hand would glideDown his dewlaps sloping, —Which he pushed his nose within,After, — platforming his chinOn the palm left open.This dog, if a friendly voiceCall him now to blither choiceThan such chamber-keeping,"Come out!" praying from the door, —Presseth backward as before,Up against me leaping.Therefore to this dog will I,Tenderly not scornfully,Render praise and favor:With my hand upon his head,Is my benediction saidTherefore and for ever.And because he loves me so,Better than his kind will doOften man or woman,Give I back more love againThan dogs often take of men,Leaning from my Human.Blessings on thee, dog of mine,Pretty collars make thee fine,Sugared milk make fat thee!Pleasures wag on in thy tail,Hands of gentle motion failNevermore, to pat thee.Downy pillow take thy head,Silken coverlid bestead,Sunshine help thy sleeping!No fly's buzzing wake thee up,No man break thy purple cupSet for drinking deep in.Whiskered cats arointed flee,Sturdy stoppers keep from theeCologne distillations;Nuts lie in thy path for stones,And thy feast-day macaroonsTurn to daily rations!Mock I thee, in wishing weal? —Tears are in my eyes to feelThou art made so straitly,Blessing needs must straiten too, —Little canst thou joy or do,Thou who lovest greatly.Yet be blessed to the heightOf all good and all delightPervious to thy nature;Only loved beyond that line,With a love that answers thine,Loving fellow-creature!
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
This one made the Tri-Cities Quail Forever 2009 Bird Dog Calendar, and he's on the page for November, in the top right corner, with a covey of quail pinned dead to rights..
It's Whitelail's Smokey Blu, an exceedingly fine Field Gordon owned by one of our own members, Ted Croushorn of Kentucky, also known around the internet as Grousehunter12...
Affectionately known as Blu to Ted, they are constant companions, as Blu always rides shotgun on the front seat of Ted's truck.
Blu was bred by Whitelail Kennels, also in Kentucky, and a finer specimen of the field side of the breed is hard to come by! Ted reports that Blu is a natural on birds, and needed little training, and by the pictures I've seen of Blu, I certainly can believe it!
Blu is also a one man dog, as many Field Gordons seem to be. Also one of the traits that make the Gordon less than popular as kennel dogs, as we've discussed in the past..
I hope, with Ted's permission, to feature more posts about Blu in the future. He's very photogenic, and one of the best looking small Gordons I've seen...
So congratulations to Ted, and Whitelail's Smokey Blu, for some well deserved recognition..
And don't forget to click on the pic to enlarge.. And BTW, this is an honest to goodness hunting picture, not set up or stroked up in any way... Enjoy!
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Holly came into season on Saturday.. pretty much true to form. I'll run her anyway since I hunt alone and there are no other dogs about. The hormonal changes messes with her head a bit, and she will not show her true form, but she'll be good enough for the early season,
Now, for the true gist of this post. Holly lives in the luxury kennel with us, so, we have little hotpants for her that take regular feminine napkins. On Saturday when she came in heat, we were all out. My wife was at work and I had to stock up myself.
Now, I doubt that many of the male readers have had to shop for these things in some time. I know that I haven't!
The selection these days can be bewildering! Minis, Regulars, Maxis... labeled in English and Spanish (what's up with that?), with "wings", without wings, with a tongue (there's one I still can't figure), and without.. Extra thick, you get the picture..
And the price... all exactly the same! What about unit pricing??
In any case, I seem to have gotten the wrong kind, but usable nonetheless... I'll have my wife stock up for six months hence...
Maybe a male is in my future again??
Monday, October 6, 2008
Here's a picture of a Stone Tavern Matrix pup called Kate. She's a great little Setter with an exemplary nose. Here, she's pointing old scent from a spring trap that was picked up close to an hour previous.
So, this leads us to a question... Do all pups have the same scenting powers, or do some just process the information taken in by the nostrils better?
From my experience, I'd say it's decidedly both! There are dogs with exceptional noses! Of this, there is no doubt in my mind.
But, I also believe that some dogs are more disciplined, and just use their scenting powers more efficiently. These dogs possess a greater desire to encounter game. More desire to be a part of the team and work with their handler. More of the predatory instinct...
So, it follows then that some dogs have inferior noses??
Yes, I think so, and all the other attributes we like to see in a quality gundog also.
I believe that scent is like vision.. As Bud Decot of shooting fame once said.."We look with our eyes, but we see with our mind."
I've come to believe that dogs and humans are more alike than not, and the senses and the brain are irrevocably tied together..
I'd love to hear other thoughts on this issue..
Sunday, October 5, 2008
First and formost, I'd like to extend a warm welcome to our newest member, John McG, or as he is known around the BBs, Alpha Setter. I know John to be a confirmed Setter lover, and an avid bird hunter.
I'm very pleased that John as chosen to join us, and hope he posts about his experiences this season with Tucker, his English Setter....
On another front, the High Peaks of the Adirondacks had the first snowfall of the season on Friday night.... I love snow...
Saturday, October 4, 2008
It's come to my attention that various military entities of the world are pursuing "green bullets" and other projectiles. Thankfully, they are no less lethal than their lead core, copper jacketed forerunners. Actually, lethality may even be somewhat enhanced.
So, the big jump in technology is that people of the world can kill and maim each other more efficiently, and save the environment all at the same time! A win-win situation.... I guess.
Now, I'm one of the last folks to be branded a bleeding heart, but this whole situation strikes me as profoundy ludicrous! My view has always been that we need an invader from the dark reaches of the universe to band the tribes of our meager planet together.. Would it be good for us or not??
I dunno, but I'll leave this dichotomy for you to ponder...
In the meantime...
I'll retire to bedlam!
Enjoy the weekend!!
Friday, October 3, 2008
"Bite your tongue!" Bill Farrell of Huntington, NY tells fellow hunters when they ask if his Irish Red & White Setters are English setters or Brittanys with long tails. Bill's eyes are twinkling, but, he's serious. "This breed has a better nose than any other breed I've hunted with. They are incredibly adapted to finding game."
The Irish Red & White Setter is, not surprisingly, related to the farmiliar Irish Setter, but much less common: only about 2,000 exist in the whole world. That scarcity did not make it easy for Bill to get one. He had to wait three years for a breeder in Ireland to send him a pair, but the wait was worth it.
"Red & White's are natural hunters and they look good doing it,"Bill says, who now hunts with Glendaloch and Ned, sons of his original pair. "They are very athletic and energetic. When I've had enough, they still want to go."
Finding pheasant and quail is the specialty of this aristocratic pointing breed. "They look under every bush and every leaf," says Bill, and they are so thorough that other hunters will often ask to join their hunting party. Some Red & Whites are natural retreivers. Bill has hunted with Pointers since he was in his teens, but he likes the closer hunting style of his Red & Whites. "These guys hunt at 100 feet. When they point a bird, you can be within shooting range within fifteen seconds."
As pets, these handsome dogs are kind, friendly and loyal, with a great memory. Bill fondly recalls visiting one of his original Red & Whites, who had gone to live with his daughter in Arizona and hadn't seen him in a year and a half. When Bill came through the door, his old companion's eyes lit up and he did a "happy dance." The dog spent the rest of bill's visit with his head pressed against Bill's knee.
size: 22-26 inches at the shoulder
coat: Short and flat on body with silky, fine, longer fur call "feathers" on tail, legs, ears, flank, chest and throat
color: White with red patches
grooming: Regular brushing. The "Teflon" coat sheds mud as it dries.
For more info: www.irishredandwhitesetterassociation.com
The above excert was taken from an article on some of the more obscure hunting breeds in the October issue of The New York State Conservationist, the publication of the NYS Department of Environmental Conversation.
I've known Bill Farrell for a good long time, we're in various Bird Dog and Sporting clubs together. I know him to be a committed dogman, and I'm happy to see him recieve recognition for it..
Congratulations to Bill and his "Red & Whites"...
P.S. don't forget to click on the pic for an enlargement..
Thursday, October 2, 2008
And this haunting tune, Inion Ni Scannlain, performed by Lunasa, is perfectly suited to the task.
I'll leave the gadget at the top of the sidebar for awhile. Click on the link, and when the "Box" window appears click download..
I've been struggling with this for two days, and I promise to find an easier solution for future downloads...
Until then, enjoy Lunasa...
BTW, don't forget to turn on your speakers to a moderate level, and use your browser's back button to return to The Bombshell while listening..