My most favorite holiday quote this year is: “Christmas, when Christians and atheists can put aside their differences to celebrate paganism”. I know that “Jesus is the Reason for the Season” is popular, but the reality is that the early Christian church adopted the holiday to co-opt the previous pagan celebrations of the solstice. Christmas was actually banned by the Puritans in early America due to its origins and up until the mid-19th century when Charles Dickens and Washington Irving wrote their Christmas tales, it was a holiday for mischief and drunken debauchery. That is actually a good lead in for what I’m about to tell you, since knowing about literature, history, and culture is a big part of who I am.
After my youngest child, Caleb, who is now five, was born, I stayed home full time and started this kennel. As Caleb has grown older, I’ve continued working on my master’s degree and substitute teaching for the local school district. Well, as of a couple of weeks ago, the school district asked me to teach sophomore English full time this semester and coach the varsity debate team. It is not a permanent thing yet, but it is a trial run for all involved to possibly make it so. If you enjoy reading what I am up to in general, here is the blog that I’m setting up for students to keep up on assignments and for me to just make notes as to what it is that I’m doing: http://mrsupchurchenglish.wordpress.com/
Since I’ve found out about this new assignment, I’ve really been focused on getting ready for the semester and have fallen behind on my kennel phone calls and e-mails. I plan on being caught up by early next week. The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon breed is everywhere in the press right now and the reputable breeders are not in a position to keep up with the demand. I know that I could move to a farm and have 20 or more dogs and have puppies all of the time and make a living, but as much as I love dogs and hunting, it is really only one part of my life. That is the situation with the majority of the breeders in this breed. We are not set up for the demand that we are getting and I don’t think that most of us are willing to change our lives to do so. So be patient with us, please.
If you like to read about Wirehaired Pointing Griffons and versatile hunting dogs in general, you need to join two organizations. The AWPGA is the AKC breed club for the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon. We put out a nice magazine called the Griffonnier every quarter, so be sure to join to receive it (since I’m the co-editor). Here is the link where to join the AWPGA: http://awpga.com/membership. The other organization you need to join is NAVHDA, they put out a great magazine by the name of Versatile Hunting Dog every month http://www.navhda.org/membership-chapters. I have met some really amazing people and lifelong friends through both of these organizations and hope that you take the time to join them.
A couple of Thursdays ago, I went out on my own during the day to see if I could find any ducks or pheasants. I found them both, but didn’t bag any. The first place that I stopped was a private pond along the south bank of the Platte River that we have access to. There were 3 mallards on the far side of the pond that got up upon my arrival. As I was making my way towards the river, I was so focused on the edge of the pond for any singles that I totally missed the huge flock that flew right over my head coming off of the river.
The Platte River, about 1 mile west of the confluence with the Missouri River
Sam and I loaded back up into the truck and headed down to a wildlife management area where we know that there are pheasants. Sam and BB managed to find about 30 hens and about 7 roosters, but I think I only took one shot. I was having more fun watching the dogs and the birds than I was worried about shooting.
Charles, Matt, and Conrad went out Sunday for a little bit with Fire and Sam. It was Fire’s first time out after her accident and she did just fine. Here’s a picture of Conrad and the rooster, along with some duck decoys that they found.
Conrad, rooster, and decoys.
I took this picture of Caleb and Fire that evening, they were not interested in the end of “The Sound of Music” and fell asleep instead.
Caleb and Fire having a snooze
Susan sent me a funny video of training: Zephyr is the lighter colored griff, TracHer is the darker griff (from our 2012 “C” Litter from Sam and Mae), and Max is a German Wirehaired Pointer puppy.
Fire’s sister “Willow” (from our 2014 “G” Litter of Sam and BB) and Kaylee got into some gadwalls a month or so ago and I forgot to share the pictures! Kaylee is a middle schooler in Missouri and I love that she is into hunting!!
Willow, Kaylee, and a gadwall duck
Willow and her ducks
Another angle on Willow and the ducks
There are hunting plans for us following the Christmas festivities, so I’ll get one last hunt in before I turn my life over to school. So happy Festivus/Saturnalia/Winter Solstice/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Christmas, or if you celebrate nothing just enjoy life as you normally do. For this Christian, it is time to pack some bags and wrap some presents. But not without one more story.
Today the kids and I went out to lunch at the best family diner in Omaha, Petrow’s. We were on our way back to Bellevue, driving in the rain down I-80, when I spotted what I thought was a teenage girl walking down the shoulder. I stopped and picked the person up, since people get killed far too often on that road. Come to find out, it was a woman who had gotten into a fight with her boyfriend and he had thrown her out of the vehicle, into the mud, in the rain, on the side of the interstate in the middle of Omaha. She was so thankful that the kids and I stopped and picked her up. We had nothing better to do, so we just drove her the 20 miles home to Plattsmouth. That was the best Christmas lesson I could have given to my kids. It can be a cold world, we have to help people out when we have a chance. And in the words of Tiny Tim: