Saturday, February 28, 2009

Happy Birthday

In singsong..
Happy Birthday to us,
Happy birthday to us,
Happy birthday dear "Bombshell",
Happy birthday to us!!

Today is The Bombshell's First Birthday!
Actually not, because last year was a leap year, and the actual day was the 29th, but the staff and myself are not waiting another three years to celebrate.. What started out as a repository for old Gordon related memorabilia and trivia has morphed into a forum to express my own egotistical ramblings, and the maniacle idea that there are those somewhere in cyberspace that actually care about the electrons I place on this electronic diary.
In a small way, I'm surprised that we lasted the first year, with salaries for the employees climbing, and the economy in the tank. But, I'd like to take a moment to thank the old friends that have stuck with us through thick and thin, and the new friends we've made in bloggerland because of the encouragement I've gotten from others.
So, everyone grab a hat and noisemaker and help us celebrate one year in the wonderful world of blogs... And, if you're out and about, please designate a driver for the ride home after the festivities..

Thanks one and all for your support!

Friday, February 27, 2009

You can get anything you want..

at Alice's Restaurant..

I freely admit to being a child from the Age of Aquarius.. The Woodstock Generation.. Lot's of friends and aquaintances proceeded to Max Yasgur's Farm in Bethel, N.Y. in the summer of 1969, and I was scheduled to go, but true to hippie tradition, I just didn't have the bread, man... besides, I had turned 20 years old, and was getting just a bit long in the tooth for it.
Am I sorry I missed the infamous concert?? Not really. I always liked sleeping in comfort, and would not have really gotten off on rolling around in the mud, but then again, it was one of those "rites of passage".

Woodstock '69
Well, I came upon a child of God
He was walking along the road
And I asked him, 'Tell where are you going?'
This he told me
Said, 'Im going down to Yasgur's Farm,
Gonna join in a rock and roll band......

Following the old saw that everything old is new again, I thought some readers of my age group might get a kick out of an old baby boomer hippie link..

I will say that the late sixties were a great time to reach physical and sexual maturity... well, maturity may be a bit of a stretch, but it was a great time to be young, and I wouldn't trade My Generation for any other.. New ideas were taking over from the old guard, and we all took it oh so seriously! Truth be told, I never completely outgrew those times, and still harbor thoughts of how correct we actually were!

"When comes the time to leave this world someday, what you get to keep is what you gave away."

Now, I never wore flowers in my hair, and not all the folks I knew were gentle people, but I recall "The Summer of Love" like it was yesterday, and I still enjoy Scott McKenzie's old tune. More than a few young ladies of the day, though, did wear flowers in their hair, and painted flowers on their faces... Those were Strange Days for many of us.. some people I knew never survived it, but I guess that happens to every generation.

So, I hope everyone enjoyed our little trip down memory lane into the heady days of the late 1960's.. In a way, I wish I were back there, and then common sense kicks back in and I'm glad I'm not.. Neither my body nor mind could relive the abuse!

And by the bye... I headlined Arlo Guthrie, but I was never truly a fan... I think much more of him now than I did in 1969.. although my mind at that time was clouded by the sweet aromas of perfume and flowers..
Let your imaginations run free for an instant while pondering this post and the links..I hope it takes you back to a magical time..

Enjoy the weekend...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

There's still money about....

Obviously, these lucky buyers were not invested with Bernard Madoff, or any of the other algae that has recently risen to the surface of the pond with the outgoing tide.
But, there are obviously still folks with fair amounts of disposable income stashed away, as evidenced by the wherewithall of the lucky buyers of these Purdeys, as discussed on the blog, Dogs and Doubles..

Just wishin' I was one of 'em...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Road Less Traveled

A somewhat introspective thought for today.. and I hope everyone enjoys a little side trip.


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth

Then took the other as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet, knowing how way leads onto way
I doubted if I should ever come back

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence
Two roads diverged in a wood
And I took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference

Robert Frost

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Time for a minor rant!

Lord knows I like Rachael Ray.. She's about as cute as a button, with a personality to match! One step further, she's a New Yawker, but, what in the world does she know about dog food?
Now, I might have been born at night, but it wasn't last night! I've been around the block a few times, and I know how the game is played.
A popular celebrity puts there name on a product, or endorses it to make it sell, and I suppose it works. Not on me, because a celebrity endorsement often means I think less of the product without even trying it, but I suppose to lot's of folks it makes a difference. But, we're not talking cosmetics or Oprah's book club here! We're discussing canine nutrition, and it's not a subject to be taking so lightly, or left in the hands of a Rachael Ray, or any corporate entity that thinks they can make money off her name and popularity by pulling the wool over the eyes of the pet owning masses!
To make matters worse, the product itself appears to be one touting the benefits of vegetables for dogs, as if they posessed human digestive tracts. Dogs are carnivores! They thrive on meat! Sure, a little roughage here and there is OK, but a dog's diet, left to it's own devices, would be a fresh, or even not so fresh animal kill. Enough of the Caesar salad pictures to promote doggie health already... I've had my fill of it!
But, I guess that idea doesn't play well with the current thinking from the foo-foo crowd, where a canine companion should be an eternal baby dressed in ridiculous outfits to peg our cuteness meter, and eat it's veggies to boot!

So, I still think Rachael Ray is a real cutie... but stay out of the dog food biz!
Have her people call my people!

Rant over!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Something new under the sun..

The vibration paging feature has been around on some brands of e-collars for some time, but never before as the primary method of stimulation, and not adjustable for intensity.
Unleashed Technology has brought us something new, in that the primary method of stimulation, and attention getting, is vibration, and the secondary means on the more advanced collars, is electrical stimulation. The vibratory paging feature is adjustable for intensity.. This is very much the opposite of what dogtra users have been using for years, and is a new departure in dog training using positive reinforcement.
I find this new direction somewhat interesting, and may in the future be experimenting with it. It certainly opens new avenues for training, and giving long range commands, to dogs who have lost hearing, as many gundogs ultimately do. That advantage alone is eminently worthwhile.. Be sure to click on "Product Training" on the Unleashed Technology site to get an idea of what the system is all about, and how it differs from traditional e-training.
As an aside, I've been a Tri-Tronics user since I cut my teeth, and once one gets used to the tube style transmitter with three levels of stim at your fingertips, it's hard to move to another style. Further, TT does not offer vibration, only a tone, which I have found useful.. But, vibration offers many advantages that we never thought of before..
We'll all have to decide whether this new departure will fit into our bag of tricks or not, but it's always nice to add a new option that could possibly help that dog that hates juice, or has been turned off by it in the past.. It never hurts to have something just a little bit different to try in some cases.
Maybe it's time for an old dog like myself to learn some new tricks...

More in the future

Friday, February 20, 2009

News from the North Country

For those that follow my posts of New York's wild and beautiful North Country, The Adirondacks, I stumbled across a blog that I think folks will find very enjoyable..
It's called "The Adirondack Naturalist," and it will spend a period of time at the top of the blogroll, as is my habit with all new blogs that are added.
Peruse it all, as it's eminently worthwhile, but there's a story, for me at least, connected with the post of February 13, "The Mighty Hudson"... Oddly enough, when I was searching for acreage to build on in the ADKs, the Newcomb/Long Lake area was at the top of my list, because I had spent so much time in the area, and loved it's wildness and natural beauty. One of the parcels I looked at was just to the left of the small building on the Hudson in the first picture.. The parcel banked right on a bend in the Hudson, as shown. It was, at that time, owned by National Lead, who at that time also owned the old McIntyre Mine up at Tahawus, only a few miles away. The acreage was still being logged, was criss-crossed with logging roads, and was not in pristine condition to locate a camp. NL also would not deal in any way whatsoever on the asking price, so we never made the deal. But, I still remember that piece right on the river, and how beautiful it could one day be, with the High Peaks in the background..

So, spend some time reading "The Adirondack Naturalist," and don't forget to notice my all time favorite little creature of the forest floor, the red eft, pictured to the right. How many hours I've spent mesmerized by these diminutive creatures while on post in the deer woods... and god only knows how many bucks passed within inches of me while entranced by their slow and deliberate walk ....

Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

My Love/Hate relationship with Skeet

The words love and hate evoke thoughts of powerful emotions, admittedly much more powerful than necessary for our discussion here, but they will have to suffice...

The game of Skeet... developed by grouse hunters for grouse hunters. Originated in Andover, Massachusetts as off season practice by William H. Foster and C. E. Davies, the game was shot somewhat differently than the "speed up" game we shoot today.
First, a little history...
I started out shooting Trap, regular 16 yard.. Shot it for years and enjoyed it immensely.. Started shooting Skeet, and shot it pretty exclusively for years. I went through a period of about 5 years when I shot four rounds of Skeet every day of my life... If there was something to do that couldn't be missed, I'd shoot very early or late. It was a rare day that we didn't pop a hundred caps.. Suffered a severe bout of "Skeet burnout" and moved to Sporting Clays, then a relatively new game, and I thought I'd found shotgunning nirvana... After many years, it became just another tedious game that I started shooting just out of habit more than anything else..
Today, I can once again shoot limited amounts of Skeet and enjoy myself. Trap and Sporting I still love, but it's just for fun and to keep my average skills from getting too rusty...
Today, I shoot everything with a birdgun... Low gun as God intended, and it's all pretty social. I don't take the games, or myself for that matter, all that seriously anymore.

So, a walk through my world of Skeet is in order, and follow along to see if your "problem targets" coincide with mine..

High one... When I started shooting Skeet, it was never a problem. while I don't consider it a major problem today... I can take "fits" where this bird gives me fits.. Sometimes I just can't stay under it enough and shoot over the top... What else is new? Doubles just exacerbates the problem..
High Two... Ahhhh, my old nemesis. Always the problem child, and I never really "had it in my pocket! Always a bit of trepidation stepping into the box and calling for this target.. and therein lies the problem! This bird has my number, and it knows it!
Doubles?? See station one..
Three, Four and Five.. I hafta say, I eat these for breakfast. Without a doubt, my favorite place on the field.. When you're "in the Zone" and having one of those days, the targets look like big saucers flying in slow motion. Take your broom and sweep them outta' the air...
Low six.. The opposite of High two, but less of a problem. Doubles? see station one.
Seven... The old saying goes that if you cannot break all the targets on this stand, you couldn't buy sex in a whorehouse with a fist full of 50's... Quite true, but I still haven't broken every single target thrown from seven through my checkered career!
Eight... Again, when I started out, these targets gave me no trouble. We'd often move in on them to close the distance and make inkblots in the sky, easy to do from eight, even for myself because you're sooooo close... From a low gun position, the situation changes drastically! My reflexes, never catlike, are slower now and I don't see the bird as clearly, so no target here is in the bag.. and it's been so long that I've had to face 2 targets at low eight that it just doesn't matter anymore! I'm often knocking on the door of a staight, but it has eluded me recently.. The days of putting them together, I fear are long gone..

So, you've just wasted fifteen minutes of productive time reading of my problems with the game of Skeet.. If anyone cares to post, I'd love to hear about how your thoughts correlate with mine...

Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


A musing on my part..

I don't know if I like this traditional term, and I certainly don't regard my meager efforts as training, per se...
I see my self as more of a mentor.. a leader. I'm of the opinion that well bred birddogs do not need training, but merely direction. They need to be praised when they perform correctly, or as we would like, and discouraged when they get it all wrong.
The dog has the nose and the instincts.. We cannot put into the package anything that is not there already.. All we can do if offer encouragement when our wishes are complied with, and a correction of only the necessary harshness to prevent unwanted behaviors from becoming habit.
We must also have the necessary temperament and experience to realize that we are dealing with an animal. That animal has a tremendous capacity to learn, but we cannot think that our efforts will be rewarded as quickly as with a human.. Some breeds, and some individuals within a breed, are slower to mature than others, and while we must take care not to fall behind the learning curve, we must also be cognizant of the fact that repetition and consistency are keys, and that the experience is a process rather than a destination.. There is no prize for the handler who finishes first..
Did I mention fairness? Don't expect more than the pupil has had the time to mentally sort out and come to learn.. This is a sure way to turn the dog off altogether, much like the child that reaps failure for lessons not yet learned. It sets up a pattern of negativity..
So, what we need is time, and plenty of it, patience, consistency and understanding... We often need to work on our own temperament moreso than the dogs. And always finish up on a positive note, even if the day's work was not world class of if there was a setback.. even if it takes setting up a situation that we know the dog can perform correctly.. We're still pals, no matter what... And as one member of the team goes... so goes the other.

pictured is an old friend, Tom, getting down with the dog to style up his then, young Pointer, Bailey..
Tom and Bailey both deserve a little recognition.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Chinese anyone??

This, from the You just can't make this stuff up department..

A Chinese rertaurant in upstate Hamburg, NY, was closed after people witnessed a road killed deer being dragged inside by the owners. Authorities were notified and, sure enough, a butchered deer was found in the kitchen... Whether the roadkill was going to make it into the General Tso's Venison or Moo Goo Gai Pan, is anyone's guess, but I think I'll stick to Mickey D's for awhile just to be on the safe side...

And, I always wondered why the local Chinese buffet played so much havoc with my stomach afterwards...

In the words of Ebenezer Scrooge... "I'll retire to bedlam....."

Check the story out here...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Our Monday Lesson...

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: first, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third, by experience, which is the most bitter.” Confucius

China's most famous teacher, philosopher, and political theorist, 551-479 BC

I must confess, much of my learning has been a bitter experience.. My dear old Dad always opined that I was a hardhead, and needed to lear the hard way.. And so it goes.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

An unfortunate side effect of the economic downturn...

And that is in our animal shelters..

My wife and I visited our local no-kill shelter yesterday, and unfortunately business was booming... Not animals being adopted out, but animals being dropped off by municipal animal control officers..
I asked an officer who obviously cared if they were strays. Is reply?? Unfortunately, no. These dogs were relinquished by their owners. He went on to say that it was not an uncommon occurance since the economy has taken a nose dive.

I know that everyone has alot on their plate at the moment, but if we could all find a small way to help out our local shelters through these tough times, we would all benefit.. Our shelter accepts food donations, needs folks to walk and socialize animals to help their adoption prospects, all kind of tradespeople to keep the place running and donations of cash are always a help.

If we all could spare a little, the life of an animal bred at man's behest could be made just a little brighter.. and why not??

Have an enjoyable weekend, and think about the plight of your local shelter and the animals they are trying to help....

Friday, February 13, 2009

Looks like I made it...

I'm not superstitious.. or am I??

At this point in the day, I feel safe and confident in declaring victory over yet another Friday the Thirteenth.. I've suffered a few broken bones and accidents on Fridays attached to the number 13. Luckily, today was half over before I was informed it was one of those dreaded days.. I looked back on what I had already done, and just counted my blessings..

As I said, I'm not superstitious.. that's for people that attach a negative connotation to normal everyday occurences... Not me!

But, I was watching out for ladders and making sure that no black cats attempted to cross my path...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sage words

All dogs have faults. The really good ones just have fewer.

Something we all need to be reminded of from time to time...

Even George Tracy, upon picking up the HOF Pointer Bases Loaded after uncharacteristically bumping birds on the course, realized this.. When asked why the great Pointer received no correction... "He knows he messed up better'n I do" was the short reply..

How true!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Duncan's Pedigree

Here is a piece of paper that means more to me than an honorary degree from Harvard Law School..

The pedigree of Springset Gale Warning, Duncan as we called him, is here to peruse by those that have an interest in such things, as I clearly do..
I'm sure those into Gordons will recognize many names here, in spite of the fact that this document goes back more than twenty years.. when Men were Men, and Field Gordons were Field Gordons. Obviously, times long past.

Click on the image to enlarge..

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Cover Girl

The cover of the October, 1986 issue of Sports Afield.

The pictured bitch is "Springset Not Tonight", Molly, the dam of my beloved Duncan, and other great Gordons that went on to do great things... for their lucky owners, and the Field side of the Gordon Setter breed in general..
At the time, these litters were known as Super Gordons, and Super they were..
The family resemblance is striking, as I have pictures of Duncan that are the spitting image of this cover shot.

Duncan was my first "Field Gordon." Back in the mid 1980's and before, we were fooling around with the best stock we could find, which admittedly, left something to be desired.. But these dogs with the old reliable pedigrees containing Sun-Yak, Loch-Adair, and Windy Hills were the foundations of the best the breed had to offer, and even show up in the pedigrees of the once famed Super Gordons.. The dogs that continue to confound and mesmerize todays field breeders with their abilities.
Duncan was a truly great dog in spite of all the mistakes I made bringing him along.. We learned together.. I can still see him as a months old pup who wouldn't get out from under my feet.. I remember thinking to myself that this dog was never gonna' make it... Not bold enough.. Didn't have what it takes! He went on to show me how little I really knew! And for ten years, he made me eat my words.. And I was only too glad to do so.
I did alot of gunning over him.. Often alone, sometimes with a friend, and occasionally guiding for others. That little Gordon never failed to produce birds for the gun! He'd always manage to dig out a bird to save myself or a guest from getting skunked.. I still sometimes come across people that knew him in the field and ask about him, he seemed to make an impression on everyone.
But, he was much more than a gundog to me. He was a constant companion, and best friend. I knew his every movement, and what it meant. I could read his mind, and he mine!
I remember when we were first building the camp in the Adirondacks. He and I would go up for a little hunting, and a little work on the camp.. He usually hung around camp until I was ready to go... unusual for a very birdy gundog. But he was keenly aware that there would be no birds on the ground without myself and the gun tagging along behind him..
We were up for maybe two weeks... the inside of the camp was unfinished. I had a sleeping bag, and he had a bed.. A ladder to get up into the loft..
My wife came up with her family a couple of days before we left, and remarked on how dirty and tired we both looked.. but we didn't feel it. We were both in our element, and we were together, and that's all that mattered!
It's been a long time since I lost my friend to grand mal cluster siezures, and his ashes are buried near the camp under the shade of a tree... the dream that he helped bring to fruition now completed.. and him never to feel the comforts of it.
But, we gave 'em hell while he was alive!
I always opined that God played a cruel joke on man by giving the gunner 60 to 70 years to chase birds, and the friend and companion he needs the most in his endeavors, only ten.. I'll never figure that logic as long as I live, because I would have been perfectly content to finish out my gunning days with that one little dog...
I'll never forget him, and I hope that when we meet up again, he hasn't forgotten me.. I still think of him every day of my life. My only hope is that the premise on which Corey Ford's Road to Tinkhamtown, is based, is correct, and that when I reach that old bridge by the apple tree, Duncan will be on the other side, frozen on point with a wily old grouse pinned...

"Steady Boy, I'm coming...."

Monday, February 9, 2009

A Gaelic Blessing


May the road rise to meet you.

May the wind be always at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face.

And the rains fall soft upon your fields.

And until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of His Hand.

I don't know why I chose today to post this.. It's pretty familiar, I've known it for a long time.. But, It's my wish for all my readers, yes, both of them, today...

Friday, February 6, 2009

Westminister KC dog show

And once again, that annual bacchanalia of conspicuous consumption known as the Westminster Kennel Club dog show is upon us.
It's time anew to view, for those that have the stomach for it, the malformed, bred for show and not for "go", goo goo dolls of the canine world.. More akin to a freak show than a beauty contest, in my humble opinion.
All the primping and preening will be in evidence, for a trot or two around the ring. Known as the second longest continued running event in the Sports world in the USA, behind the Kentucky Derby, this event has everything to do with appearance, and exactly nothing to do with performance!
Form follows function, but for these exhibitors, the old axiom is completely reversed, and many breeds are showing the harm that can come from this point of view.

However, for a little history on "Sensation," the dog that has become the logo of the Westminster KC,pictured above, and a look at the past, before dog shows were entirely about appearance... when a dog had to perform at it's intended work first, and then look at conformation, read this from the Westminster KC site.

And for those that will tune in to see the harm that the AKC has fostered upon our canine friends, be sure to observe the differences between show bred Setters, and Performance bred Setters.. The differences just might shock you...

For more on the dog show world, be sure to visit our friends at A Piece of the Purest Challenge, the folks that brought their breed back from the brink of extinction as working dogs..
If anyone knows the havoc that can be wrought upon a working breed by conformation breeders, and the ubiquitous AKC, they do!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Grouse and Woodcock Art

I received an e-mail this morning from Chris Smith, who is a friend of my old pal Dan Thomason.
Mr. Smith is an outdoor artist from Northern Michigan, and as can be seen from the print of the Gordon, his work is outstanding.
We're all looking for art to make the home or camp a little more cozy and inviting, and the work of Mr. Smith appears to be of the calibre that can be proudly hung..

See more of Chris' work at Chris Smith Art, or send him an e-mail at....

this address

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tractor music

I found this over on Maggie's Farm, and it's worth a listen in it's entirety..

Who needs a percussion section or a metronome when you've got an old tractor lying about??

Turn on your speakers and enjoy!

It's time for homework...

And I'm going to be sure that the dog doesn't eat it...

Pictured is a gift from a good friend, and a person that knows gundogs intimately, and the Red Setter breed in particular.
I recently sent my application to become a member of the National Red Setter Field Trial Club. This group is devoted to the working attributes of the Irish Red Setter, and the working attributes only!. No fluff and show types here. These Red Dawgs are the real deal! Beauty is as beauty does. And another old engineering axiom that I think applies, Less is more. Less coat, less weight equals more brains and more energy.
I'm embarking on a journey, and one that takes me out of the old familiar areas and forces me to cover new ground.. And it's a journey that I hope will give me one more shot at the brass ring, and one more "brag dog" to boot!
I assume that everyone knows where I'm going with this..
It's hard to leave what one has known for thirty plus years, but improvement often involves risk, and stepping out of one's comfort zone into the unknown..
I have the utmost confidence that my sojourn will be a pleasant and rewarding one..

Many thanks to the folks that provided this book for my enjoyment, and are helping to guide me through some unfamiliar territory..

More info to come...

Monday, February 2, 2009

Phil saw his shadow!

And we all know what that means... six more weeks of winter! I can't say I'm sorry, hopefully it will mean that the dreaded summer will arrive six weeks later..

Punxsutawney Phil has been mentioned on these pages before, as Sam Light had much to do with the creation of the tradition, and was an early leader of the Punsutawney Groundhog Club.

So, read about Phil's latest exploits here, and snuggle in for six more weeks!