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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.

1st Griffon-Only AKC Field Trial To Be Held

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Come and be a part of history! The first Griffon-only AKC Field Trial will be held March 20-21 at Moraine View State Recreation Area near LeRoy, Illinois, sponsored by the American Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Association. All stakes are walking only, no dogs will be handled on horseback (although the judges generally are). Entry cutoff is March 17th at 6 PM Central. Your dog needs to be registered with the AKC to participate, but you do NOT need to be a member of the AWPGA.
There will be six stakes: Amateur Puppy, Open Puppy, Amateur Derby, Open Derby, Amateur Gun Dog and Open Gun Dog. Puppy stakes are up to 15 months old and are mainly judged on desire and running style. Derby stakes are up to 24 months old and are judged on desire, running and point style. Gun Dog stakes are for finished dogs who are judged on desire, running style range, steadiness, backing/honoring, point intensity and retrieving. Amateur is only available to non-professional handlers, whereas Open is available to professional handlers.
This Griffon-only AKC walking field trial has been a huge event for the field committee (thank you especially to Tom and Kristen Mathis) to organize and we are excited to participate!
Yes, it is a competition. You are braced with another dog/handler pair and you are competing against them head-to-head on field performance. Then your performance is evaluated based on the entire entry of dogs and handlers for placement. Full rules can be found by Googling for the PDF document “AKC Field Trial Rules and Standard Procedure for Pointing Breeds”.
Our dogs have been running in AKC German Shorthaired Pointer Club walking field trials for nine years, about the same time that we’ve been members of the AWPGA. It has been a fun experience and we’ve brought home some ribbons on derby dogs.
We hope to have an excellent turnout for this event and look forward to some great sportsmanlike competition and camaraderie!
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Our most recent success at an AKC Field Trial was with Charles handling Wyo Plainsman Kenobi, NA I “Obi” to a 4th place finish in the Amateur Walking Derby at the Heart of America German Shorthaired Pointer Club’s trial just last weekend.
2021 Obi FT ribbon

Charles and Obi with their 4th place Amateur Walking Derby ribbon

2021 Obi FT

Charles and Ruth at the line. Photo courtesy of HOAGSPC

Q Litter at 4 Weeks

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This litter is spoken for and my next litters will be in spring of 2022.  I appreciate the overwhelming desire to get a pup from us, I really do.  I am receiving your emails and will be sure to reach out once I get our taxes prepared.  If you want to be added to my list of contacts, you can email bluestemkennels@gmail.com and I will get you on there and shoot you an email here in the next few weeks.

Why doesn’t she have any time?  Blogging takes time.  Not only do I have to take a couple of hours to write this post, but I have to set aside the time to do the photography beforehand.  Of course, there is taking care of the puppies which now includes daily feeding them and play time.  The big dogs need to be walked several times a day.  I am swimming two miles a week.  We are big foodies, so all of our food is homemade.  Like, I felt guilty for using store bought breadcrumbs in my meatloaf yesterday kind of homemade.  I don’t have a housekeeper and my kids don’t have tutors.  I probably spend six hours a week on tutoring my two boys.  And I try to squeeze in some professional time substitute teaching middle school and lifeguarding.  This is how I have always lived my life, bouncing from one completely unrelated thing to another.  Someday the kids will graduate from high school and I might retire from my out-of-the-house jobs to work on dogs full time.  But I’ve got to “make hay while the sun is shining” as we say out in the Sandhills.  Not time to be an old dog lady just yet.

The puppies are doing great.  Fielding a lot of questions from the new owners about how their personalities are developing and whether they show any curiosity or independence at this point.  The short answer is still “no”.  This is currently how they spend the majority of their life.

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The Q Litter at Four Weeks

They are most comfortable with their litter.  They have brief moments of being up and around and trying to explore with their limited mobility.  But it is not a lot yet.  The photos that I took on Saturday in the yard, they are really only separated from each other and exploring for like five minutes at the most.  Then they were ambling back to me to all curl up together on the beach towel.

Another thing about the photos, is that you can’t really see much of their total personalities in them.  I not only pick photos for the action, but also the general photo quality.  Like here’s a perfect example, I got this blurry shot of Quentin with the grouse wing but the one that turned out is the one where he is howling for mom.

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You would not see this pic normally because it is out of focus

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But no, the crybaby pic of Quentin is the one that turned out

It’s also tough to balance the number and quality of action photos on the puppies at this point.  I’m just shooting and I get what I get sometimes.

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L to R: Qbert, Quince, Quartz and Quetzal

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Quest and Qiana

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Quentin, Quarry, Queen

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Quartz, Quince, Quetzal

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Quest

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Quarry

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Quetzal

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Quarry

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Quartz

I just posted all of those in the order that I took them.  Like I said, that was over a period of just a few minutes before they wandered back to me and the beach towel.  Several of them didn’t get closeups.  There will be more action photos as they get up and move around more during the day.

Here is the video that I took of them last night as I was cleaning out the chips in their box: Q Litter Four Weeks Old

I do have more to write this week about Obi’s 4th place finish in the AKC Amateur Walking Derby at the Heart of America German Shorthaired Pointer Club Field Trial last weekend and an invitation to our own American Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Association’s breed-only AKC Walking Field Trial in LeRoy, IL.  But it will have to wait until Wednesday.

Think Spring!

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.

Welcome Q Litter!

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Q Litter at 5 days old

I’m sorry that it has taken so long to post the official announcement of the arrival of the “Q” Litter!  At this time, I have all of the puppies confirmed reserved with a plan for the new owners to pick up.  I have one reservation backing them up in the event that someone can’t take a pup, otherwise they will carry over to next year’s litters.  I apologize if I have not responded to your email inquiry regarding puppies over the last week and a half, it has been crazy.  I have set aside time next week to get caught up.  At this point, it would be a very rare instance that I would have more than one person back out.  I am maintaining a list in the event of that situation, but most likely this litter is on the books and any new interest should be for next year’s litters.  If you have emailed recently and just haven’t gotten a response, hang tight.  My email address is the best way to contact me: bluestemkennels@gmail.com.

The story of the puppies arrival is this.  I went to lifeguard rescue practice on Saturday afternoon thinking that the puppies would arrive on Sunday.  So when I got home, I decided to take Fire out for a hike to get everything moving.  We walked over to the nature preserve that borders our house and the Missouri River.  It was a nice mile roundtrip hike in deep snow.

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Fire looking down on the Missouri River

I thought it was going to happen that night with all of the panting and whining going on.  But it hadn’t happened by the end of Dr. Who on Iowa PBS (which gets over around 1 AM), so it was time for bed.  I got up and prepared the whelping area in the garage.  We took walks in the yard about once an hour all morning.  There was definite sign right around noon (I’ll spare the gross details), so I put her out in the area, made lunch and called my mom.  When I went out there next two puppies had arrived already.  They came in twos for the next six hours.  One of the round of two were two stillborns, which even after ten years of doing this is sad and unsettling.  But it happens with almost every litter, so you brush yourself off and keep going.  We ended up with a very nice litter of nine puppies: five males and four females.

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Fire and the newborns in the whelping box

I think that the most important thing that I do during whelping is keeping the female walking outside every two hours.  Even if I have to pick her up and put a leash on her to get her moving, it is really important to keep the labor moving to avoid c-sections.  The puppies are fine to be left for a few minutes as newborns.  Now that we are a handful of days into their lives, mom likes her breaks out of the puppy box.

Fire is doing a good job of keeping hydrated and fed, which is an important part of all of this.  Her mom BB was always skin and bones at this phase of the process, but Fire eats and drinks good so that she doesn’t look emaciated.  The nice thing about nine puppies is that it is just the right amount to feed all-natural with no bottle feeding.  Anything more than that is too much and needs to be supplemented.  I am very lucky that my females have always been good milk producers and so the puppies are pooping like they should be.

So right now my main thing is taking care of mom and looking in the box when there are big squeakers.  They are starting to have a little primitive bark and it is getting louder, so I know when something is amiss (usually just on the wrong end of the box).  They are right in the kitchen where I am most of the time anyway, so not too far away at this point.

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Fire and the newborns in the kitchen

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The Q Litter as newborns

We got their tails docked and dew claws removed at Heartland Pet Hospital in Bellevue with no issues and all of the puppies were inspected by the new lady veterinarian (she has a Dutch last name that I’ve already forgotten!).  She said that they looked great and did well.  Many breeders do their own tails and claws, but I just like having the vet do it and it gives the newborn puppies that first inspection.

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Q pups at the vet

I did get a video yesterday.  The SD card from my camcorder got misplaced and I need a new card, so it is just a phone video.  I don’t know on my phone how to do all of the titles and credits like I normally do, so it is pretty basic.  Click the link to go over to YouTube and watch it: Q Litter 5 Days Old Video

Here is a montage of a few more pictures that I’ve taken here over the last couple of days:

The boy in the pictures is our soon to be twelve-year-old son (our youngest) Caleb.  He does not know life before puppies.  We’ve always had puppies since he was a baby and he just loves them.  (Yeah, about that shirt.  I had it in the laundry slated for the donations bag, but it is his favorite and he pulled it out to wear it again even though it is too small.  Boys.)

In other news: Charles wrapped up the hunting season a week early and he didn’t get any photos from his last hunt.  The weather was rough and the roads were terrible.  There were gobs of hunters out where he was at.  A six hour round trip for one rooster, but hey, they had fun.

AWPGA Griffon-Only AKC Walking Field Trial

This is the next item of excitement on our list.  The AWPGA will finally be sponsoring a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon ONLY AKC Walking Field Trial on March 20-21 at the Moraine View State Recreation Area north of LeRoy, Illinois.  Charles, Obi and Ruth will be there along with some of our other AWPGA friends and their dogs from our area.  This has been years in the making and I thank Thomas and Kristen Mathis for finally getting it off of the ground.  I will post the premium once we get ours turned in!  For all of the rules, Google “AKC Field Trial Rules and Standard Procedure for Pointing Breeds”, it is a weird PDF link that doesn’t transpose well.

Signing off for now, but will be back next week for another update.  Stay warm and don’t hurt yourself in this snow and ice.

 

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.

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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.

The End of 2020!

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Breeding Announcement

My reservation list for this litter is currently full, but if you wish to be on the backup contact list in the event of someone dropping out or us having more puppies than reservations, please e-mail bluestemkennels@gmail.com.

We had four ties between AKC/NAVHDA Bluestem Otoe Chief, NA II and Bluestem’s Prairie Fire, NA I between Wednesday, December 2nd and Saturday, December 5th.  When Fire and I went back to see Chief on Sunday, December 6th neither he or Fire showed any interest in continuing, so we assume that step one was completed.  I am hoping that she retained the pregnancy, but after last year (two ties and zero puppies) I am not taking any chances.  Fire and Chief had two litters previous to last year, so we know that it is possible, but for whatever reason the pregnancy didn’t come to fruition last year.  So Fire and I are heading down to rural Lincoln on Monday to Hillcrest Veterinary Clinic to have an ultrasound to confirm pregnancy.  I am pretty old fashioned, so this is my first time having a female ultrasounded to confirm pregnancy at 30 days.  I am excited to see how the process works and hope that we get the results that we are anxiously anticipating!  If things are going as planned, puppies will be whelped at the beginning of February and go home at the beginning of April.

God Must Need Griffonniers

2020 was the worst year for losing breeders of the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon.  I just got the news yesterday that Rob Garity of Pennsylvania, founder of Flatbrook Sporting Dogs (now operated by Dick Byrne) passed.  I had never met him, but really feel the urgency of continuing with our work when we’re losing so many good people.

Chuck Speiss was half of ChuKar Kennels in Michigan along with his wife, Karen.  They never missed a national specialty, here he is pictured in 2014 in Maine.  He handled in the field and Karen in the show ring.  He was very generous with the AWPGA (American Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Association) in that every year he made a metal Griff yard art sculpture.  We’ll miss him.

Chuck Speiss

Chuck Speiss, far right, chatting with the Terrys

We also lost the best groomer in the breed, Claudette Blackburn, who was half of Elevage Des Battures in Quebec, Canada.  She handled in the ring and Dominic Brisson handled in the field.  I’m sure that Dominic will miss her expertise in his kennel and we’ll all miss her knowledge and passion for the breed.  Her male Bayou made the cover of NAVHDA’s Versatile Hunting Dog magazine for his influence on Wirehaired Pointing Griffons.  I was lucky enough to meet her and learn from her at the grooming seminar at the 2014 Maine Specialty.  See you at the big Griff party in the great beyond, Claudette.

Claudette Blackburn

Claudette Blackburn showing Ron Granai how to groom the head

Life Goes On

I promised to post pictures of Chief since he moved in with Kyle in November 2018.  He is the father of Ruth and so we didn’t want to have any father-daughter accident litters.  (I am still flabberghasted at the handful of “oops” litters I’ve had from one tie and then no puppies from two intentional ties last year.  But I guess it was my turn of having bad luck breeding after ten years of nothing but good.)

Fire BB Chief ND 2015

Fire, BB and Chief, North Dakota 2015

BB Chief Fire ND 2015 2

BB, Chief, and Fire, again North Dakota 2015

Chief 2016

Chief in Downtown Omaha, Summer 2016

Chief BB Fire at the lake

Chief, BB and Fire hanging at the lake, Summer 2016

Chief and Fire 2017 ND

Chief and Fire, North Dakota 2017

chief-and-kyle

Chief going home with Kyle, November 2018

Chief is also immortalized in my entryway over my leash hanger in a painting by my cousin Sierra Furtwangler, check out her Etsy shop https://www.etsy.com/shop/UnFckedFabricOmetry

Chief Entryway

Psychedelic Chief Retrieves a Pheasant by Sierra Furtwangler

End of 2020 Hunting Update

Charles keeps busy in the field while I mainly stay home finishing up unpacking from our move (yes, it was two years ago but we are still unpacking) and overseeing the tile project in the kitchen, bathroom and bar (about 400 square feet overall).  We started the tile project the day after Thanksgiving and we have to be done by the beginning of February in the event that we have puppies!

He headed up the Sandhills at the beginning of November for deer season, stopping for a brief hunt with Obi, Fire and Ruth in Northeast Nebraska.  He only hunted one small area but got into both quail and pheasant successfully!

Northeast Neb

Northeast Nebraska mixed bag in November

He also got a nice muley buck in the Sandhills on opening day on public land.  It was the busiest he had seen the area in years with Nebraska being one of the few states without massive COVID restrictions.  License plates were spotted from all over the nation and trucks were everywhere, so the pressure was on to drop something as soon as possible because there might not be anything left in the area on day two.

Sandhills Muley 2020

Charles’s 2020 Nebraska Sandhills Mule Deer

The weekend after Thanksgiving Charles took our youngest son Caleb and our youngest dog Obi on a European tower shoot.  It was a great opportunity for Obi to get into lots of retrieves and Caleb to get some more dog handling experience.  The pheasants that were shot on this trip by Charles and his friends were turned into fried pheasant fingers for our New Year’s Eve celebration.

Tower Shoot

Eleven-and-a-half year old Caleb and one year-old Obi

Then at the beginning of December while I was getting Fire bred, Charles met up with a gang in south central Nebraska to chase some pheasants and quail on some private land.  He said that it was very thick cover with lots of birds hiding out in little draws and creekbeds.  Obi let a lot of the older dogs do a lot of the work, but he kept up, worked cover and had some good moments.  Ruth was a workhorse.

South central Neb 2020

The bird gang with Ruth and Obi

South central Neb 2020 2

Bird haul from the last day in south central Nebraska with Obi and Ruth

He’s also been getting out with the dogs and our neighbor who has private access in Iowa.  Iowa is visible from our house, so it is not that far away to get into some good spots.  Sam has a nice little Deutsch Drahthaar, a breed that the genetics of the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon contributed to.

Charles Ruth Sam Elsa

Charles with Ruth (in the dark), Sam with Elsa the Deutsch Drahthaar

Home Life

Griffons don’t just get it done in the field, when properly exercised they are relaxed in the home and fun company.

The dogs and Charity Upchurch

Charity with Fire, Ruth and Obi

Obi Ruth and Fire

Obi, Ruth and Fire

Fire and Ruth

Fire and Ruth

Pupdates

I have a couple of hunting pupdates.  Here’s Bluestem TracHer SH, NA III having fun up in North Dakota with Susan and a rooster retrieve.  She’s from our 2012 “C” Litter between Sam and Mae:

Bluestem TracHer 2020

Bluestem TracHer SH, NA III

Here’s Han from our surprise K litter between BB and Chief in 2016.  Picking up a pintail duck water retrieve in Missouri for Mark.

Han K Litter

Bluestem Han

We love to hear from our puppy owners, keep sharing the photos!

From our family to yours, best wishes for a 2021 filled with adventures and good health.  We hope that you all had a quiet and healthy holiday season full of good cheer.  We’ll keep you posted to new developments in the coming weeks.  Praying for puppies!

October 2020 Hunting Recap

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For those of you looking for puppies, we are planning one litter in the Spring of 2021 between Chief and Fire.  I consider the reservation list full, but we may get a surpise with more puppies than reservations.  Feel free to shoot me an email at bluestemkennels@gmail.com if you wish to be on the backup contact list.

In Memoriam

The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon world recently lost two special breeders, Jan Resler of Potowotomi Kennel in Wisconsin and Philippe Roca of Des Vignes Rouges Kennel in Kentucky.

Jan was a strong woman with an intense passion for the breed.  She bred, trained, showed and hunted Griffs and excelled at all of it.  She and her dog Amstel won Best of Breed at the 2013 National Specialty and I captured this shot of her celebrating by drinking some wine from the trophy!  I thought that photo really represented her fun-loving spirit.  We shared many good times all over the country at Griffon events.  She is missed by many.

Jan BOB

Jan Resler celebrating Best of Breed

Philippe was our American breed ambassador to France and cannot be replaced.  When I was editor of the breed club magazine, he called me at least twice a month to talk about Griffons.  We worked intensely on a few of his articles together that really captured some important breed history from Europe.  I am so glad that I had the opportunity to help clarify his vast knowledge of the breed.  A native of France, he felt most at home on his sheep farm in Kentucky.  He told me many tales of how he incorporated dog training into everyday farm life.  I promise that I will learn French when my kids graduate, Philippe.

A side note to this photo by Barbara Young, is that the dog in the photo is Owen des Dunes du Captelat, our foundation female Sue’s grandfather and also in our new male Obi’s pedigree.

Philippe and Owen

Philippe Roca and Owen by Barbara Young

October Hunting Sandhills and North Dakota

October was a whirlwind of activity with Charles on the road hunting and I’m back in the classroom substitute teaching middle school.  Not two weeks before the district asked me to come back, I told another substitute that I’d probably never go back into education!  But here I am and it’s keeping me active.  But it does keep me distracted from hunting and blogging.  Luckily, Charles can’t seem to stay out of the field so the dogs get plenty of action.

The COVID is even impacting hunting, one of Charles’s hunting buddies ended up in quarantine due to his daughter testing positive and missed out on the trip to North Dakota, so it just seems to be more and more pervasive.

Before Charles made it up to North Dakota, he stopped by the Nebraska Sandhills for a few days of hunting.  The entire trip was warm, but the dogs held up throughout.  In the beginning, he only had one or two at a time out of the box to keep their competitive energy in check.  This photo is from the first morning on October 7, with our friend Ryan joining him on sharptailed grouse.

October 7 AM

Obi and Ruth with Charles and Ryan’s sharptails

Later on that afternoon, they took Ruth out again for some duck jump shooting.  The toughest thing about jump shooting ducks is keeping the dog on “heel” so that they aren’t running and swimming ahead and busting up ducks out of range.  It was good to see our usual creek produce yet again.

October 7 PM

Ruth and some jump hunted Sandhills ducks

The second day of Sandhills hunting, Obi was the star with Charles’s first limit of snipe in his hunting career.  This is impressive to me since I have shot at probably 100 snipe in my hunting life thus far and I’ve never hit a single one of them.  Snipe hunting really tunes in the dog’s pointing and retrieving skills because they are such a small bird to scent to both point and locate to retrieve.

Snipe Limit Obi Oct 8

Obi with Charles’s first snipe limit on October 8

The day of October 9th was spent driving from Nebraska to North Dakota and getting set up in the house with the other guys.  I don’t know their names and they never make an appearance in any of the photos, so I apologize that they sort of get left out of the whole story.  They are a part of the harvesting though, so not all of the North Dakota birds were taken by Charles, but the dogs did get to do all of the pointing and retrieving which is what is important to me.

NoDak Day 1 Oct 10

Ruth, Obi and Fire with the mixed bag from October 10th in North Dakota

NoDak Landscape

North Dakota landscape photo by Charles Upchurch

By the time Sunday, October 11th rolled around, the dogs were worn down enough to have all three running at once.  All of the crops were harvested in that area of NoDak, so it made for some fun cattail hunting.  It is hard work for the dogs busting through dried cattails, but at least you know where the birds are hiding out.

NoDak mixed bag Oct 11

The October 11th game bag

You can also tell that Charles is starting to get a little tired because he isn’t posing the dogs for photos for a couple of days!  He said that the dogs would be tired and sore at night, but when the tailgate dropped the next morning that they were ready to go to work again.

NoDak mixed back Oct 12

October 12th NoDak game bag with dogs boxed

Photo short a rooster Oct 13

Fire, Obi and Ruth with the final day’s mixed bag in North Dakota, October 13

It wasn’t the best year he’s ever had in North Dakota, but it wasn’t like the last time that he and I went up there in 2017 either.  2017 we hardly got into anything and some days we got skunked.  At least this year there was game in the bag every day.  I really appreciate the other gents who were there to help put birds in my dogs’ mouths.

Back Home

The weekend after Charles and the dogs returned from their big trip, he and Ruth hit a local swamp and got two teal and a snipe.

Ruth Oct 19

Ruth with two teal and a snipe in southeast Nebraska

Most exciting of all is Caleb’s first roosters at the Nebraska Youth Pheasant Hunting opener the weekend before Halloween!  Charles said that there were gobs of roosters flushing everywhere and Caleb was just blasting and they were falling down.  There are miracles in hunting, I’ve seen it.  And Obi just really loves Caleb, so this photos is just perfect.  They also had one taken by Nebraska Game and Parks, so keep an eye out in Nebraskaland and you might see him.

Caleb Youth Hunt Obi

Eleven year old Caleb with his first two pheasants.  Obi on retrieve and kiss.

In Closing

Write about one trip and get ready for Charles to go on another soon.  Deer hunting is just around the corner and he is taking the dogs to hit some fields on the way.

We got Obi’s Penn HIP results back and the doctor said that they are the best sporting dog hips that he’s ever seen.  Greyhounds have the best hips all-breed and the vet said that is where Obi’s are.  Just off of the charts.  I am working with a new scanner and will get those ready for my next post.  But great news.

The weather is finally cooling off and I’m thinking about getting out for some roosters and quail myself after rifle deer season ends.  It also sounds like I’m getting roped in to handling Obi with Caleb at a European tower shoot at the end of November.

We’ll see what all of this brings.  After Thanksgiving we are having our kitchen and main level bathroom floor torn up to replace the dying pergo with porcelain tile, so that will be an event.  At the same time we’ll be tearing down a gazebo in the backyard that will be replaced with a dog kennel set-up.

Oh speaking of dog kennels, one last thing.  My worst nightmare happened to someone else. Desbattures Benelli Bro, NA II UT II was stolen from his kennel at the Wild West Lodge in Grenville, South Dakota.  Owned by Coppershot Griffons Cliff Koele but used as a guide dog by the John Andersen of the lodge.  Bred by Dominic Brisson and Claudette Blackburn of Quebec, Canada.  He is very special breeding stock for Griffons in the Great Plains of the US and he needs to come back!  Reward offered, please contact Wild West Lodge or Cliff Koele on Facebook with any leads.  Look at other people’s trucks while hunting, like if they have a mess of mutts and this guy.  Or if you use any guides in the Dakotas.  He could be anywhere at this point.

Desbattures Benelli Bro

STOLEN: Desbattures Benelli Bro

 

 

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