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NAVHDA UPT Passes and Move News

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Thank you to the Central States NAVHDA Chapter and the judges present who made Obi and Ruth’s UPT tests possible. Obi passed on Saturday with a Utility Preparatory Test Prize III and Ruth passed on Sunday with a UPT Prize II. I wish that I could have been there to photograph the event, but our upcoming move kept me at home. Thank you to Pam Robinson of Robingun Small Munsterlanders for the photographs. Obi’s mistakes were in the field and Ruth’s were in the duck search. But we passed! It will be a few months before we hit the testing grounds again, so it is good to have this under our belts.

Obi with Charles and our youngest son, Caleb, on Saturday
Charles and Ruth all wet on Sunday

In other news, we somehow managed to avoid the bidding wars and drama that are going into home purchases in the Charlotte/Rock Hill region and went straight into contract on a nice house and almost three acres with a little barn between Clover and Lake Wylie, South Carolina. It is 20 minutes to the Charlotte airport, so an easy shot should we need to get home: there is a direct flight between Charlotte and Omaha, which is important since our daughter will still be here finishing up at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the next couple of years and my mom and brother are still in Valentine.

This is my first half-way-across-the-country move since I was four years-old when we came back to Nebraska from the San Fernando Valley in California (where my mom grew up) back in 1978. I still vividly remember the trip in the green Gran Torino station wagon towing the red VW Beetle full of stuff.

Charles has been here since he started at UNL in 1991, when he rode the Greyhound Bus from New York to Omaha.

But I know the folks down in the Clover area are good people and we look forward to experiencing their own version of rural culture. And there are lots of good Griff friends and family on both sides nearby and that makes it easier.

I gave away all of my snow shovels today. That was an awesome feeling.

We’ll be pretty bogged down in the move with not much news until we’re settled in South Carolina, probably mid-July. So hang tight fans.

And a big shout out to Susan Davy and TracHer from our “C” Litter with Sam and Mae who has almost all of her AKC Master Hunter legs up in North Dakota at 9 years old. Griffs never give up!

So keep training and spoiling your dogs. My dogs just got themselves a tiny farm, which we are all excited about.

Bluestem: Transplanted

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Bluestem is the state grass of Nebraska. Little bluestem to the west, sand bluestem in the Sandhills and big bluestem in the east is a dominate grass species across the state. Charles was originally a range science major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln when he moved out here from New York in 1991 and was part of the international plant identification team for the university before he became an economics major.

He started on at Ameritrade in 1997 and recently relinquished his position there (of our own doing) after the business was sold to Charles Schwab. We will be moving to York County, South Carolina over the summer to advance his career (the southern suburbs of Charlotte, North Carolina). This is actually the homeland of the Upchurches, as Charles’s parents were raised in Hamlet, North Carolina not an hour from there. We still have many relatives in the area and have visited there our entire relationship.

We have retired Fire, she is currently recovering from her spay and will go home with one of Charles’s old hunting buddies who is retired between Minnesota and Arizona.

I would like to devote this post to the retired mothers of our kennel. Sue, Mae, Velma, BB and Fire. We would not exist without their bodily sacrifices and motherly love. I have yet to rush a female to the vet to do a c-section or have to bottle feed puppies because a mother would not nurse. All of these mamas have whelped naturally and nursed their puppies. They will always be loved and remembered as contributors to our kennel and the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon breed.

So here’s to the mothers of Bluestem Kennels:

Sue, the griff who started it all for us, who is still alive at 17
Mae, great-grandmother of Obi, who recently passed at age 15
Velma out of De Jac Pine, who is still living with our friend Aaron
BB from Bourg-Royal Kennel in Quebec who is currently living in Kansas at 10
Fire and the most recent Q Litter, who will retire this year at 7

Q Litter Homegoings!

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Feel free to email bluestemkennels@gmail.com if you wish to enquire about our 2022 litter plans.  I am hoping to get through the 2022 interest emails by the old tax filing deadline of April 15th.

Over the last couple of weekends the Q Litter has gone to their new homes.  They are really a handful at 8 weeks old and I am so glad that they are with their new owners getting into a routine and having plenty of individual attention.  We still have Sally here (her litter name was Quarry) and she is very sweet but obviously does normal puppy annoying behavior, like chewing stuff that she is not supposed to and having potty accidents.  I am not going to try and sugar-coat housebreaking a Griff.  They are really one of the toughest breeds to get through in my experience.  Where I can have an English breed fully broken by 12-16 weeks, I’m honest with myself in knowing that I’m still going to be struggling at that point and not to expect to be accident-free until 20 weeks with a Griff.

The only thing that I can think of to account for the longer period of time is that they have so much to learn as a versatile breed that it just takes them longer to get everything down.  And they are just a slower maturing breed anyway; Obi is 17 months-old and still has some very puppy behavior.

Let’s do photos first, then I’ll talk about what we’re working on with Sally.  I’m just going in the order of pickup for simplicity’s sake.

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Joe and family, with Qbert going to Iowa

We are excited to have Joe and Qbert (he will be called something else, but I always forget to write down their new call names and so I’ll just refer to their litter names, sorry) just across the river in Iowa and hope we get to train with them soon.

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Ricardo and Quartz are off to Colorado

Ricardo has an older Griff who will be showing Quartz the way on pheasants in Colorado.  They have a population of white ptarmigan out there that I hope that we get to chase someday, so maybe we’ll meet again.

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Cliff’s family and Queen on their way to Oklahoma

Cliff also has Belle from our “C” Litter between Sam and Mae, so this is their second Bluestem puppy.  They had just come up from taking their granddaughters to show their pigs.  Belle and the pup are still figuring out their relationship but it is going well so far.

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Greg and his wife with Quince going to North Dakota

Greg also has Epsilon from our J Litter between Sam and BB, so yet another two Bluestem puppy family.  He will be getting spoiled since both Greg and his wife work independently and someone always has the dogs with them.  And of course North Dakota is one of our favorite places to visit during hunting season, hopefully the bird population up there bounces back in the next few years.

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Jim and his family with Qiana

Jim and his family lives out on an acreage in central Nebraska.  This is their first Griff, so they are in for an adventure.  But Jim has had hunting dogs his whole life and his dad was a trainer of Labarador Retrievers so they’re ready for action.

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Aaron and his wife heading back to Ohio with Quest

Aaron has a Bluestem pup that goes by Pepper from our D Litter between our original breeding pair Sue and Sam.  He says that Quest and Pepper are getting along splendidly and she is really fitting in with the family.  Aaron also wins the “traveled farthest” award for coming almost 800 miles one way to pick up his puppy.

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Quentin going to Michigan with Paul and Deb

Second in the “traveled farthest” award is Paul and Deb, flying out from Michigan to rent a car and drive back home with Quentin.  They also own a pup by the name of Fielding from our O Litter between Fire and Chief with their daughter Galen and her fiancee.  Galen works in IT for a major Detroit auto manufacturer and her fiancee is a police officer, so all four of them take turns raising the dogs with schedules all over the place.

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Travis and family with Quetzal going to Kansas

Travis and I have been in contact about getting his family a puppy for a long time, but being active duty in the Army with consistent deployment and his wife home with three kids, there was no way she was going to let him get a puppy until he retired!  So happy military retirement, Travis and thank you for your service!  Bird numbers in Kansas have been good lately, so I’m sure you’ll get a chance to chase some of them around.

I suppose I should set up a tripod and take a family picture of us with Sally, but it has not happened yet, so here are just a few candids from around the house.

Charity Upchurch Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Puppies

Sally and I taking a selfie

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Sally on top of her big sister Ruth, who is almost exactly four years older

On Good Friday, Charles took Caleb and mama Fire out for some preserve hunting.  Caleb shot a rooster and a few of the chukar, with Charles harvesting the rest.  The most important to me was that Caleb and Fire had a good time.

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Caleb trying to pose with Fire

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Caleb showing off his rooster and his smile

As fas as what we are working on with Sally, I focus on the housebreaking and crate training.  If someone isn’t watching her to catch accidents, she is in a crate near the rest of us so that she can still interact and hear what we are doing.  Charles is working on whoa and heel using treats in the morning.

When we started out working with dogs twenty years ago, we didn’t do much other than housebreaking the first year and letting them on to wild birds.  This was sort of the old field trialer dog training mentality.  But as we’ve matured as dog owners, we’ve found that the sooner we work with them the better.  Not overtraining or hacking on the pup, but just fun basic command learning and general obedience.

Especially with Griffons, if they are not exposed to a little pressure to behave right away, because they are so sensitive it is extremely difficult to impossible to break bad habits since their feelings get hurt so easily.  It’s better to get them used to being trained early so that when you get to the more advanced steps they are not as difficult to handle.

Speaking of advanced steps, Charles is taking Obi and Ruth down to Lincoln for AKC Senior Hunter runs this weekend, so we’ll see how those go.  I had forgotten about the tests and am scheduled to lifeguard, so I am a little bummed that I won’t get to do some field photography.  We’ve also got them signed up to do the Utility Preparatory Test for NAVHDA in May, so I need to make sure to keep my calendar open that weekend to get some good photos.

Good luck to everyone with their Bluestem puppies, we are all in this challenging and joyous situation together so don’t hesitate to shoot me an email with questions.  And of course don’t be afraid to turn to your local NAVHDA chapter members for help and advice.

Q Litter Seven Weeks

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This litter is all microchipped with their new owners’ information and they start to go home on their eight week birthday on Sunday.  Our next litter will be in Spring of 2022 between Wyo Plainsman Kenobi, NA I “Obi” and Bluestem Peaches En Regalia, NA I “Ruth”.  We keep going back and forth on a final repeat breeding of Fire and Chief next year and have not yet made a final decision.  Once these puppies are all in their homes I will start responding to my backlog of new interest emails.  If you want to join the queue, shoot me an email at bluestemkennels@gmail.com.

I’ve made sure that the puppies all been over by the pigeon coop and have had a bird fly up near them so they get used to that wing flapping sound and are not startled by it.  We’ve all had a couple of turns on the leash.  They’ve spent time in the crate.  They run around the yard like wild animals and run out into the woods so far that I’m afraid a coyote will eat them.  They have their shots, microchips and vet checks.  The papers from the AKC and NAVHDA are here.  They are ready for their own people.

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Queen (female) is going to Oklahoma as the family’s second Bluestem pup

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Quartz (male) is going to Colorado

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Quentin (male)  is going to Michigan as the family’s second Bluestem pup

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Qbert (male) is going to Iowa

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Quince (male) is going to North Dakota as the family’s second Bluestem pup

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Quest (female) is going to Ohio as the family’s second Bluestem pup

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Quetzal (male) is going to Kansas

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Qiana (female) is going to Central Nebraska

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Quarry (female) is going to become AKC/NAVHDA Bluestem Sally Forth “Sally” and stay with us.

Here is the video that I took this week: Q Litter Seven Weeks Old

I really need to run and do puppy chores, but for now I’m just going to post the photo of Charles and Wyo Plainsman Kenobi, NA I “Obi” and their sweep of the Walking Derby at the inaugural AWPGA AKC Walking Field Trial, winning first in both the Amateur and Open Divisions!  We are so proud and thankful that the club was able to pull off such an event.  Biggest thanks to Tom and Kristen Mathis for their work.  Also thank you to our Griffon friends for showing up, I really wish that I could have been there and thank you for all of the messages of being missed.

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Charles and Wyo Plainsman Kenobi, NA I “Obi” First Place ribbons in both the Amateur and Open Divisions of the AWPGA AKC Walking Field Trial

 

 

 

Q Litter at Six Weeks Old

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All of these puppies are spoken for, but feel free to email bluestemkennels@gmail.com if you are interested in our Spring 2022 litters. I am working with a considerable backlog of emails right now but I am receiving them and will be responding and placing you on our contact list for the future when we are ready to do interviews and take deposits for 2022. Due to the demands of home and family, it is pretty much impossible for me to manage raising a litter and communicating with those new owners, while trying to work with interest on future litters. Sorry.

These puppies are ready for action. We are going out in the yard around three times a day and if it is raining I have the garage picked up enough for them to run around. This is a big week for the puppies since they are going to be de-wormed for the first time, also introduced to the pigeon coop and a dead quail. It is always fun. Oh and I want to get them started on crate conditioning. It is not full-on crate training, but just the opportunity to spend time in a crate so that it isn’t a totally unfamiliar experience. They already prefer to potty outside, so hopefully having the new owners housebreak them once they are in their new homes won’t be awful, although Griffs are notoriously long to housebreak.

They are weaned off of canned food and only eating puppy kibble and drinking from the water dish. They do still get to see mom at night. They are all conditioned to the weather and are no longer receiving supplemental heat to their living quarters.

I will be in touch with all of the new owners this week and picks will be finalized by this weekend since they get their microchips a week from today. Also make sure to have your pickup plans finalized so that I can have you on my calendar.

Okay, time for photos! I took these this morning in the yard, they are pretty random and I’m just going to post them in the order that I took them.

Queen
Quest and Quentin
Queen
Quentin, Quartz, Quetzal and Quest
Quartz, Quince, Qiana, Quentin
Qiana and Quentin
Quetzal
Quetzal
Qbert
Qbert
Quest and Queen
Quetzal
Quartz
Qbert and Quincee
Quentin and Quince
Quest
Quetzal
Quest and Quetzal
Quest with rop, Queen and Quartz in the background

WordPress (what I design this blog with) just did an update and changed some things on me, so I just had one of those times when you do something, then click the wrong button and all of your work disappears so that you have to do it all over again. So putting those photos in took way longer than I had planned!

Here’s this week’s video which was taken yesterday evening between rainstorms: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SszbnY3D_W4&ab_channel=CharityUpchurch

Time to walk some dogs! Hopefully everyone out in Colorado and Wyoming is safe and digging out from the big storm. We just have had lots of rain these last couple of days, it should stay cool throughout the week and be nice over the weekend. It is actually easier to keep pups healthy when it is cool outside since you aren’t fighting all sorts of weird dirt fungi, bacteria and bugs. So the cool weather can just stay until these pups go home in a couple of weeks!

Q Litter at Five Weeks

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Five week old puppies keep you moving!  This litter is spoken for, but feel free to email bluestemkennels@gmail.com regarding our Spring 2022 planned litters.  My responses are slow right now with everything going on and I keep being hopeful that I can get around to responding to emails, but right now my focus is on raising these puppies and caring for my family.  If email responses have to wait until April then so be it.

But I’m here writing to you all now and that’s what counts.  Just to make sure that I got pictures of every single puppy, I pulled them out individually yesterday and played with them on the front lawn.  I am really going to take my time on making picks with this litter, they are really all fantastic and I want to make sure that I talk to all of the new owners again and get it all right.  They get their microchips on Monday, March 22nd so final decisions all have to be made by then.

Here is what I ask that the new owners have in mind when we talk next week: 1) have your pickup plans pretty firm so that I have it on my calendar 2) think of the personality of the pup that you are looking for: do you want an alpha dog or somewhere in the middle?  Coat length?  Size for your purpose?  All of them are really lovely and we’re having just a terrible time even figuring out which female we want to keep.  Regardless of which puppy you get, you will be happy!

Okay here are the pics.  They are simply in the order that they were photographed the first time at the age of three weeks, no reason for the order other than the random selection that I did on that day.

Males

Quartz

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Quentin

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Quince

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Quetzal

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Qbert

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Females

Queen

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Quest

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Qiana

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Quarry

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Wow, those are some cute photos!  They were pretty nervous.  They would run around for a couple of minutes, then come up to me for a cuddle and pets, then I’d put them back down and let them run around for a few more minutes.  When you see where they are sniffing and searching around, they are looking for their litter or their mom.  They are still very focused on wanting that security of being together.

Here is the video that we took in the backyard yesterday afternoon, pretty unscripted and random: Q Litter at Five Weeks Video

It is really getting to be nice weather here and I’m looking forward to when the puppies start to let themselves out which will be any day now.  Right now when I open the gate, they still pretty much want to stay in their kennel but that will change soon.  I did put collars on them a few days ago, those will stay with me when they go home.  Some of those camo collars on the boys are 10 years old!  Those are the small puppy collars, they will be ready for their new owners to bring medium puppy collars when they go home in three weeks.

We are trying to transition from soft canned food to puppy hard kibble, but they still really like canned food so they get it once or twice a day.  They have access to kibble at all times.  Mom generally goes out to see them once or twice a day and spends the night with them.  With the limited nursing, they do drink from the water bowl.  I will start our deworming regimen over the weekend, then next week is when I’ll defrost a dead quail to let them have a go at picking that up and also letting them inspect our live pigeon loft.  I’ve been doing noise exposure daily when they eat and they know to expect that and are not reacting.  We’ll mess around with a leash next week and practice being in a crate a little.  With it being spring break I’ll be able to have my helper Caleb assist me with all of this.

Of course right now sanitation is a continuous job and it will just get to be more so.  I’m able to get away with a once per day cleanup now but soon it will be twice a day and will continue that way until they go home.

Charles is preparing for the Griffon field trial in Illinois in a week and a half.  I am excited to see who shows up and how it all goes.

Time to sign off, enjoy the spring weather and good luck to everyone who is training, trialing, testing their big dogs or raising puppies right now.

Q Litter Three Weeks Old

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All of these pups are spoken for, but feel free to email bluestemkennels@gmail.com if interested in future litters (Spring 2022).

After hitting us with seven inches of snow yesterday, Mother Nature is going to give us a break with snow-melting temperatures for the foreseeable future!  The puppies are really upping their output, so it was time to get them into the garage with woodchips.  I was struggling with indoor bedding, as Fire would dig at any blankets that I would put underneath the whelping box and I was afraid that a pup would get wrapped into it and get hurt or die.  So we settled on a layer of cardboard on the bottom with brown builder’s paper on top.  Okay absorbancy and needed frequent changing.  But it was totally safe so that was the most important thing to me.  Wood chips just make a huge mess in the house, but are the best thing if they are in a space that they can mess up.  They are old enough to regulate their body temperature now and I’ll have a warming lamp and heater on them for a couple of more weeks.

Here is this week’s video, taken today: Q Litter Three Weeks

And the moment that we’ve all been waiting for, individual pictures and names!  I do not call the puppies these names, they are just silly names that I give them to identify their pictures.  They generally get called “puppy” or “puppies”.

Also because of the perspective, angle, lighting, etc. it is tough to really tell too much about them at this point.  We’ll have a better idea after 5 weeks.

Males

Quartz

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Quartz face, three weeks

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Quartz back, three weeks

Quentin

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Quentin face, three weeks

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Quentin back, three weeks

Quince

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Quince face, three weeks

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Quince back, three weeks

Quetzal

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Quetzal face, three weeks

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Quetzal back, three weeks

Qbert

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Qbert face, three weeks

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Qbert back, three weeks

Females

Queen

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Queen face, three weeks

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Queen back, three weeks

Quest

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Quest face, three weeks

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Quest back, three weeks

Qiana

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Qiana face, three weeks

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Qiana back, three weeks

Quarry

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Quarry face, three weeks

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Quarry back, three weeks

Okay, that is all nine puppies.  Between moving their living quarters, giving them their first mush meal and getting these photos taken I worked up a sweat today with dogs.  Here was what I fed the puppies, some Science Diet puppy food mixed with dog milk replacer.

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We’ll do this everyday until they get the hang of it.  Then we’ll get rid of the milk in a week or so, then after awhile we’ll add kibble, then the soft food goes away once they can handle the kibble.

Everyone enjoy the warm up and hope that you were all spared any power outage related horrors (we were all fine).  Until next week.

Q Litter Two Weeks Old

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Fire and the Q Litter at Two Weeks Old

With all of the snow clearing and bitter cold I am running behind on responding to new interest emails.  At this point I don’t know when I’ll be caught up, since we have another cold day off from school tomorrow and I have to keep up with the boys as well as the puppies.  All of the puppies have homes at this time, so if you do email it should be for interest in future litters.  Our email is bluestemkennels@gmail.com.

Today it is so bitter cold that we are subject to rolling blackouts, so I’m going to keep this short.  The puppies are growing.  They are starting to push themselves up on their legs and their eyes are opening.  Next week we will definitely be ready for individual pictures and names.  We’ve passed the critical two week mark and I can see that these guys and gals are all going to make it to long, happy lives.  It is also time to start them on mush soon to take some of the feeding pressure off of mom.

Here is the video that I took earlier today: Q Litter at Two Weeks Video

And of course a photo montage:

I am going to do my part to conserve energy (the power company even called us with a message asking us to do so) and sign off for now.  The weather is supposed to break on Saturday and we will be looking forward to more normal temperatures.  It will be -25 without wind chill tomorrow morning.  May the Lord keep us safe and warm in these trying times.

Q Litter One Week Old

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Fire and the “Q” Litter at One Week Old

At this time the litter is entirely spoken for so any new interest should be considered for next year’s litters.  Reach out to us at bluestemkennels@gmail.com.  Aside from emails and phone calls from the new puppy owners, I am using my blog entries as my primary method of communication with the general public for the time being.  I am hoping to be caught up on new interest emails by the end of this week.

Snow on top of snow on top of snow and subzero temperatures have been making life difficult in Bellevue, Nebraska lately.  We shovel, and it snows, we shovel again, and it snows again.  The last little skiff of snow is just sitting there unshoveled as we stare at it disgusted, knowing that it won’t get warm enough for it to melt and that we need to shovel again.

I know that I only have a couple of more weeks of Fire cleaning up after the puppies before I am going to be shoveling lots of poop.  The setup might have to be in the basement if it doesn’t get warm enough.  Right now the puppies are in the kitchen.  I decided that the Step 2 sandbox was getting too small and moved the big whelping box in the house with a blanket underneath.  I will need to change the blanket every day so that it doesn’t get stinky.

The puppies are starting to get loud sometimes at night.  Hopefully the bigger quarters will prevent some of that but it might just be like having a baby for awhile where I have to get up with them in the middle of the night.  I’m not working outside of the house a whole lot these days, just a couple of afternoons a week probably until they go home.

You can see their little legs starting to work a lot in the video:  Q Litter One Month Old

Here is the montage of photos that I took today.  You can click on the individual images to make them larger.  The lighting in the pictures makes their dark liver coloring look black.  They are not black!  And in the video you see a bare patch on Fire’s back.  She does not have any disease.  This is where I went to grab her hide to stand her up during whelping and a big patch of fur let go into my hand.  It is not uncommon for females to get weird bald patches right after birth, so she is fine.  But anyway, here are the pics.

The only time that Ruth and Obi get a chance to see the puppies is when Fire is outside.  Otherwise she will growl and snap at them to get back!  A mother’s instinct is to protect her young when they are this small.  Once they are up and moving around, Fire will allow the other dogs to have play time with them.

Once their eyes are open I will take individual pictures, identify their genders and give them their silly “Q” names.

Charles is signing Obi and Ruth up for an AKC Walking Field Trial in Missouri at the end of the month to get primed up for the big show in Illinois in March.  Speaking of which, I had better sign off and get those premiums in the mail to the Heart of America German Shorthaired Pointer Club.

Stay safe and warm in these Arctic times.  Until next week.

2021 Puppies on the way

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We have a litter due to be whelped the first week of February between Bluestem’s Prairie Fire, NA I and Bluestem Otoe Chief, NA II.  I currently have ten reservations with deposit and a backup contact list in the event that anyone decides not to take a pup this year.  Should you wish to be included on this contact list, please email bluestemkennels@gmail.com.  Our pups are placed in hunting homes only and need to be picked up at our residence at eight weeks of age, air cargo is no longer available.

I took Fire down to Hillcrest Animal Clinic in rural Lincoln, Nebraska a couple of weeks ago to have an ultrasound to confirm pregnancy.  They saw 12-15 embryos in there!  Whether they all turn into viable puppies is a mystery, it is not unusual to have a couple of stillborns or one or two that are born alive who fail to thrive in the first week or so.  But it was fun to find out two weeks earlier than usual that she was indeed pregnant and it is something that I plan on continuing in the future.

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Fire getting her ultrasound

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View of the pups

There is no mistaking now that Fire is pregnant!

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Fire eating at six weeks along

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Fire flopped out with a full belly

Late Season Hunting

Charles has been staying busy in the field while I’m trying to finish healing a torn up right foot from a year ago.  My goal for 2021 is to swim 100 miles (I’m on mile 5), so I’m hoping that by grouse season in September I’ll be ready to rock and roll again.  I don’t walk with a limp and really only start to have pain when I get up in the 10,000 step range, but that is a normal day in the bird field.  My oldest son is at the end of his high school career and the beginning of his life in the work force, so I stay plenty busy keeping him and his younger brother (who starts middle school in the fall) on track.  I figure that as long as I stay in shape that I have the rest of my life to bird hunt, but only have a few more years with kids in the house.

The neighbor Sam and Charles headed over to close out Iowa’s hunting season with some success.  Compared to southeastern Nebraska, which hasn’t had a decent pheasant population since the nineties, it is a paradise!  I’m going to have to think about getting an Iowa license in the future.  We think that it is just the difference in terrain and agricultural practices.  Southeast Nebraska is flat enough that you can farm it fenceline to fenceline with no scrubby borders like pheasants need.  Iowa has more hills and draws, so you either have terraces that have the lip on the end that you can’t hit with a tractor, or just naturally occuring draws and creeks with the thick cover.

Obi Elsa Iowa

Obi our Griff and the neighbor’s DD Elsa with an Iowa quarry

Last Friday, Charles and friends braved the blizzard in Eastern Nebraska to head out to the southcentral part of the state to see if there were any birds left from the last time.  There were plenty of cars in the ditch and going off into the ditch between Omaha and York, but things were clear sailing by the time that they got past there.

It was a long Saturday hunt walking nine miles for the people and far more for the dogs, but with plenty of success.  Obi is getting lots of good practice running down and retrieving poorly hit birds that are still alive.  No offense against the shooters, it is just that the pheasant is a tough bird and can take some pellets.  The dogs really have to work some thick tumbleweed cover and it is very dry out that way (a town almost burned down from a prairie fire last week and had to be evacuated at 4:30 AM).  I am really proud of their hard work on these wild birds in wild country.

Obi Ruth SC Neb

Obi, Ruth and the southcentral Nebraska birds

This old bird caught Charles’s eye and I thought that it looked like Gonzo from The Muppet Show.

The neighbor is trying to get his DD certified in fur, so we’ve been trying to live trap a raccoon, but ended up with an oppossum instead.  He was happy to play dead while Obi fetched him (the oppossum was not injured and lived to see another day).

Obi Possum

Obi and his oppossum

So I’m now on puppy watch and we’ll see if Charles takes these last couple of weekends of Nebraska bird season off (ha) or not.

It is easiest for me to keep my Facebook page up-to-date, so keep an eye on that for when the puppies start to arrive!  I’m expecting them sometime between January 30th and February 5th, but the Good Lord and Mother Nature will let me know when it is time.  Keep us in your good thoughts for a safe delivery.

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