Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sunday, January 24, 2010

When Dogs Fly (sort of)

Well, it is a damp, ugly day on Bully Hill.  The one redeeming part about a day like this is that I can take photographs without glare.  Thus, when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade... or maybe a nice lemon meringue pie or something.  I could go for some pie right now, but in the meantime, I will just present some photos of the dogs playing:

I had to shoot the pictures of Kane jumping while holding the camera down and away from my body.  Kane wants to stay next to me, so it is tough to stand off in the distance and squat while directing her to jump over things.  Some of them turned out pretty good though.  It was a combination of luck and repetition.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Morning fun

I slept in a bit this morning and then took the dogs out in the light of day. We had some really nice light as the sun rose over the ridge and cast a warm glow on our little valley. It was very dramatic, so I decided I would pose the girls for an album cover-like shoot. The important thing here is to look away from the camera with thoughtful expressions.

Harriet is watching Cowboy. I'm sure Petunia is staring longingly at some poop she wants to eat, but the general viewer can't necessarily tell that from the photo. To the average Joe, these look like two stately, maybe even regal animals... ahh the magic of photography. Of course, what you don't see are the 15 shots that look like this:

or this:

Apparently, HT was having tongue issues.

Anyway, I took some more PR shots of Kane. She wanted me to chase her and try to take her stick away. She thought it was very enticing.

Although it appeared to be a very nice stick, long, not too thick, good strong wood, "chase" does not really get Kane tired. "Chase" just makes me tired... and nauseous. Consequently, being the one with the large, developed brain, I decided we would run the obstacle course instead.

I also got this video:

I like this one because Kane burps at the end. Hard work can make you gassy... or nauseous. The important thing is that Kane was tired and content. This is all very important because the dogs are going to be left to their own devices for most of the day. The Mrs. and I are going to go to the Horse World Expo extravaganza at the State Fairgounds. While this may not seem very manly, I want to shop for a tractor!

UPDATE:  No real tractor shopping to be done, but we did have fun.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Happy Birthday MLK

Today is Martin Luther King's birthday, so I have off.  In the spirit of the day, I got to work on a volunteer project that I need to get done.  The funny thing about being off of work is seeing the animals mid-day.

I looked out of the kitchen window and saw both horses sleeping soundly in the mud.  They looked very pleased.

Kane was snoozing:

I think I was disturbing her at this point, so I went back to my office and stumbled upon this scene:

They both looked a bit surprised to see me.  I have no idea what they were doing, but HT quickly scampered off and Petunia did her best to look innocent.

So strange.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Obedience jumps

Due to popular demand... and popular is a relative term for this blog... I am going to share my sage knowledge regarding the construction of obedience jumps.  After all, they are relatively easy to build and they can provide a lot of fun for your dog.

So here is the end product:

I actually wish I did one thing different for my jumps.  As you see, I used a 90 degree fitting at the top, but I now wish I had extended the vertical pipe above the top crossbar to guide the dogs a bit better.  I will give instructions which include this modification.  (Note, these plans are designed using stuff you can find at basically any hardware store.  You can go a lot fancier and get furniture grade pvc pipe and specialty fittings.  The benefit would be that normal pvc pipe can be damaged by UV rays.  That being said, I think it takes years and years for that to happen and these jumps do not support any weight so you don't really have to worry about a structural failure.) 

First, go to your local hardware store and locate the plumbing aisle.  I used 1" pipe.  They come in 10 ft. lengths for about $3.00.  You will need 3 lengths for one jump.  You will also need 6 end caps and 8 "T" fittings  (also called Tee Slips). 

Make sure the caps and fittings are for 1" pipe.  While you are in the aisle with the pvc pipe, look for a package of pvc primer and cement.  They come in little tin containers with screw tops.  Next, go to the aisle that contains electrical supplies and pick up some vinyl electical tape for accent striping.  This is optional, but if you love your dog, you will want his/her jumps to look nice.  (Note: pick his/her favorite colors.  If you don't know your dog's favorite colors, you might need to spend more quality time with your dog.)  Most hardware stores will carry your basic Scotch brand 3/4" electrical tape which comes in quite a few colors:

(Grey, Violet, White, Blue, Black, Orange, Brown, Yellow, Red, and Green)

I have seen all of these colors at the local True Value.  Finally, you will need a saw to cut the pvc pipe.  If you do not have a saw, you can purchase a small hand saw for about $10.

Now, there are official rules regarding agility equipment.  Although it is not necessary to construct your jump to this standard, the rules do provide a nice guide regarding bar heights.    Under the rules, crossbars are set to the following heights:
  Dogs measuring 12" or less must jump at least 12"; 
   Dogs measuring 16" or less jump at least 16":
   Dogs measuring 21" or less jump at least 22"; and
   Dogs measuring over 21" must jump at least 26".

The rules also require crossbars to be 4 ft. wide.  I made my crossbars 3 ft. wide and they have always been sufficient for my purposes.  (You can go with 4 ft. crossbars w/o getting an extra pipe).  I also used bar heights of 18" and 26" since my dogs are about 16" tall, but also tend to be very athletic.

So here is a diagram with your cut lengths:

OK, so I'm not exactly an engineer, but you get the idea.  Now, before you put this together, you will need to cut the top 4 "T" fittings into cups.  This is a pretty easy process:

(Not an engineer, but I can get a lot of mileage out of Microsoft Paint)

Once all your pieces are cut, you join everything using some pipe primer and then some glue.  Put caps on the ends of your exposed pipes, and then apply your accent stripes using the vinyl tape.  Obviously, the top two crossbars do not get glued.  The bottom crossbar needs to be glued for stability.

Now get your dog and enjoy.  Start off using only the bottom crossbar.  Click and reward your dog for jumping over it.

Have fun.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


First, all of us from Bully Hill would like to congratulate the Baltimore Ravens on a dominating win in Foxboro today.  We were all decked out in purple and glued to the television.

As you can see, Tubbs was riveted and remained so, even after the game.  In fact, we were all so excited, we went outside for a long playtime.

I did a little filming of Kane too.

As I keep noting, she is a good dog and will make a really nice companion animal.


I tend to listen to National Public Radio a fair bit.  I noticed today that some of our local programming has underwriting provided by local law firms.  Well, now that Little Brett Buckwalter is a partner in a fictitious law firm, I figured that I would ask him if Cocker, Blue, LaDeaux, LLP would underwrite this blog. 

Brett is a pretty reasonable rooster and the negotiations were easy because:  A) It does not cost anything to keep this blog; B) Neither of us have any idea what underwriting is; and C) Although the content of this blog is questionable at best, Brett is a rooster and his law firm does not actually exist.  Consequently, we just decided to place a logo for Cocker, Blue, LaDeaux, LLP under the blog.  Just look... it really is down there.  Anyway, it seems good enough and now I can say that my blog has under writing by a make believe law firm.

Friday, January 8, 2010


I am very happy to announce that Brett Buckwalter has been named a partner at his law firm.  I could not be happier for him.  I know he has worked very hard to achieve this goal, and he is a very deserving individual.

You can see the pride and dedication in his face.  Brett is partner material.  Sure, you could say that Brett can be a bit of a cock, but I think you want that in your legal representation.

Kudos to you, Brett Buckwalter, from all of us on Bully Hill!  We wish you the best.

P.S.  And just in case you are wondering, I believe Brett started out in a small, family-owned firm, Bock, Bock, Bock, P.A., but later switched to the much more prestigious, Cocker, Blue, LaDeaux, LLP.

Also if you are wondering, there is no way Brett reads this blog.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Bumpas issues

I believe I mentioned that I had plans to work on my patio this holiday weekend.  Now, I have gotten the aggregate down... and when I say I, I mean my contractor and his workers.  He sort of took over when I started the new job.  They also have put down most of the sand, but ran a bit short on material.  We... and when I say we, I really mean they... have also put in a drainage line and started the stone wall that will frame the back of the patio.  Things are looking good, but progress has been slow due to the continuous snow and rain.

Anyway, in anticipation of getting four days to contribute to the project, I made sure that I set up a delivery of sand and gravel to go behind the wall and help with the drainage.  The delivery was set up for Wednesday between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m.  My contractor made plans to be there so that he could get to work.

Sure enough, at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, I was sitting at my desk when I got a call on my cellphone.  It was the gentleman from the rock store.  He was sort of chuckling and informed me that his driver ran into problems making the delivery due to...

the Bumpases.  The guy on the phone informed me that the delivery guy was really afraid of dogs.  I told him that I would have my contractor call them in a moment to give his estimated time of arrival.   I certainly did not want the delivery guy to leave without dropping off the sand and gravel, so I quickly called my contractor... let's call him Matt... because, well, that is his name.  I explained the situation to Matt, and he said he would take care of everything. 

Matt called back a bit later that day.  He was also laughing and informed me that he had a story that I could tell to all of my friends.  Of course, Matt knows me well enough to know that I don't really like that many people, but whatever. 

Apparently, the delivery guy was dropping off the sand and was out of the truck when Cowboy and Sarah came out from the bushes barking.  The guy, as I mentioned, is terrified of dogs in general, much less two large, barking dogs.  So the guy freaked out and ran into my garage and shut himself inside.  That was an unfortunate decision because my garage is where the Bumpases live.  They were probably confused as to why some large man just locked himself in their home... maybe he was coming out with their food... maybe he was taking over.  Either way, it was probably worth their while to wait and see what happened.  This sort of thing had never happened before and it was obvioulsy pretty confusing for them.  Consequently, they hung out in the driveway and wrestled with eachother to pass the time.

This was a terrifying turn of events for the delivery guy.  He thought the dogs were just trying to kill eachother... surely he would be a gonner if he went outside.  Obviously, if they were trying to kill eachother, they would surely team up and try to kill him if given the chance.  (That was his logic anyway).  He decided that discretion was the greater part of valor and he called for help... which is why I got the phone call.  To make himself comfortable, he found a small A-frame type ladder which I keep in the garage, moved it to clear area, and opened it up.  He set that up so he could sit on it and still be elevated enough to look out the garage windows.

From his perch in the garage, he was able observe one of my neighbors drive down the driveway.  Sarah and Cowboy, rather bored at this point, decided to chase and bark at the car.  He watched the dogs run off and then quickly made his escape.

The delivery guy's day was not over, however.  He had to come back with the load of gravel.  Luckily for all of us, Matt was at the house by that point and was able to get the dogs under control.... and more importantly, got the story regarding the morning's events.

Sad in a way, but nobody got hurt so I don't mind laughing about it.  And really, look at these faces...

those dogs are not going to hurt anyone.