Home

Waiting for puppies and first birds

Leave a comment

If you would like to be placed on my contact list in the event that I have puppies available from this litter, feel free to email bluestemkennels@gmail.com.  I am confident that they are all currently reserved, but in the event of folk possibly backing out, I like to have a contact list to reach out to for additional interest.

Any day now for Fire going into labor, any hour actually.  I suspect that it is an average sized litter of four to eight puppies.  It doesn’t look like fourteen, but it looks like more than three.  I can feel them and see them, she is starting to get milk in her teats, so once they start making their way into the outside world I will keep my Facebook page up to the moment as much as possible.

Pregnant Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Pregnant Fire

You can see in the photo where she is starting to pull the fur out around her teats.  Some people shave them, but the puppies will take care of it on their own.

If you are on my list, do not panic if we don’t have your number of puppies.  Some folks want a specific gender or will decide at the last minute that the timing isn’t right for them.  Once they are whelped, it will take some time for me to get that all sorted out so just bear with me please.

This will be the seventeenth litter that I have whelped.  Even so, I am still anxious and excited.

First Birds for Obi

Charles has been working with all of the dogs on daily obedience exercises and getting Obi ready for his NAVHDA Natural Ability test.  We are talking about possibly doing it early, with a late spring test or a summer/fall test.  He has caught on to the drag track game.

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Puppy Retrieve

“Obi” sixteen week old Wirehaired Pointing Griffon puppy retrieves a quail

While the dog is with a handler out of sight, we pull some feathers out of a dead quail and lay them in a pile, then drag the dead quail and hide it.  Then the handler brings the pup out of hiding to the feather pile and they track and retrieve the bird.

We also took Obi out with some live planted quail and the starter pistol.  This is not his first exposure to loud noises, we’ve been banging pots and pans since we got him and then shooting a kids cap gun while he’s playing after that.  He caught on to the excitement of flying birds very quickly.

First Flush - Hunting Wirehaired Pointing Griffon (2)

“First Flush” sixteen week old “Obi” Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

On the homefront, we think that we have pretty much conquered housebreaking.  He has chewed up a few things, but that happens with every puppy that we raise.  He sleeps through the night in his crate.  His favorite things to do are play-fight with Ruth and jump on Caleb (we are working on the “stay down”).  He is in good health at 25 lbs. and gets his rabies shot on April 1st, then look out world!  I look forward to taking him on walks in the Old Market (Omaha’s downtown entertainment district) and Charles can take him to NAVHDA training days with other owners and dogs.

That’s all of the dog news for now, but keep an eye on Facebook for when the puppies are being born.  And send up some doggie prayers for a safe and successful whelping.

Opening Weekend 2019

Leave a comment

For those of you who are on the reservation list for 2020 Spring Puppies from dam Bluestem’s Prairie Fire, NA I “Fire”, we are going to use Bluestem Otoe Chief, NA II “Chief” as the stud.  His information is on the “About Our Dogs” page of the website.  Let me know if you have questions.

If you would like to be on the contact list in the event that we have additional puppies available, please e-mail bluestemkennels@gmail.com.

In other random kennel news, I took Ruth in for her OFA hip x-rays and the vet said everything looked good, so now it is just a matter of getting the certificate back from OFA to see what rating they give her hips.

Sandhills Upland Opener

Our usual luxury accommodations in town are currently occupied by other family members, so we decided to camp at the lake over the weekend.  With all of the moisture this year we were happy that the sandburrs were still pretty moist, but the mosquitos were sure thick.  The boys and I focused on things like swimming, shooting 22 rifle, kayaking, making s’mores (and just making meals in general), and my favorite part — stargazing.

Brenda Allison - Sandhills Stars

The night sky of the Nebraska Sandhills, photo by Brenda Allison

 

20190831_204823

Sunset over the lake, no filter.  By Charity Upchurch

20190901_180005

Not listed on AirBnB!

20190902_101659

Fifteen year-old Conrad has become a good kayaker,

 

20190901_095903

Ten year-old Caleb had fun with the .22.  Both of the boys did, we ran out of ammo.

You can see in the background of the picture of Caleb that some unknown soul added an “amenity” to our shared primitive campsite.  They turned a five gallon bucket into a pit toilet by cutting the bottom off of it, creating “teeth” so that you can stick it in the sand, then screwed a toilet seat to the top!.  So all you needed to do was to dig a hole to put it on top of, then you use your shovel to “flush” with the sand pile.  Thank you creative redneck!!

Oh but you wanted to hear about hunting, right?

So after every upland magazine has published an article about the Nebraska Sandhills, every yahoo in the country is out there trying to chase sharptailed grouse and prairie chickens.  Which I am happy for honestly, there was a span of about five years where it looked like we were the only ones out there.  The non-natives stay pretty close to the highway because unless you know the dunes, it is a scary place.  And even for those of us who know it, it can play tricks on you sometimes.  This year the biggest hazard is water on the roads, so even if you have maps and GPS that say that a road is there, it may be closed or flooded.

Charles took Zoro out the first day and ended up with a dove and a sharpie in the bag.

20190901_171046

Charles and Stonyridge Zoro with a sharptailed grouse and a dove

On Monday he took Ruth out and got a limit of three.

20190902_125250

Bluestem Peaches En Regalia, NA I “Ruth” and Charles with a limit of grouse.

The Sunday grouse went in the pot with some marinated chicken and canned vegetables for supper that night.

20190901_172745 (1)

Cutting up grouse for the pot.

20190901_181547

Camp food (the grouse is the dark meat)

20190901_175805

Coleman camp kitchen

The three sharpies that came home with us went right on the griddle with some chimichurri sauce on the plate (I forgot to take pictures).  Give them a good marinade and cook them like a medium rare steak for the best flavor.  When I’m at camp, I cook it as stew meat all the way through just to make sure that I’m avoiding food poisoning, since our sanitiation is as good as we can get it, but not up to normal “hot-water-from-the-tap” standards.

Up Next

I am really sucked into youth football right now, but it will be over in time for pheasant and quail season.  I console myself with the fact that I’ve shot plenty of grouse and prairie chickens, and that youth football is only this year and next.

Charles has his sights set on some early teal duck action here locally.  He is going to skip North Dakota again this year until things improve habitat and bird number-wise up there.  He did draw a Sandhills antelope tag, so he’ll be back out there for that and some more birds and ducks hopefully.

Continued success in the fields for everyone and good luck to all of those who are running in fall hunt tests!

So much to be thankful for…

Leave a comment

I really should not be blogging, but I know how much y’all have been missing me.  Well, not so much me these days as these fab updates from our owners.  But that comes later.  First of all, I wanted to say that I had no idea how much work it takes to run an AKC breed parent club.  Boards, committees, and lots of blood, sweat, and tears from dedicated volunteers.  I am really stressing about my first issue at the helm of the Griffonnier, but it looks like it is coming together well.  “How do I get this Griffonnier,” you say?  You have to join the AWPGA: http://awpga.com/

Another awesome must-have magazine is Versatile Hunting Dog from NAVHDA.  I’m excited/embarrassed to be in the November 2014 issue.  Guess how you get Versatile Hunting Dog: you have to join NAVHDA.http://www.navhda.org/.  I went ahead and scanned a copy of the article so that the non-members can check it out.

VHD Article

VHD Article2

Thanks again to New Englander Jason Wade for coming all the way out to Nebraska/Iowa to put it on, and to Tracey Nelson for being a great hostess.  Also thanks to the people who let me ask about their recent Handler’s Clinic experiences: Susan Davy, Dan Dorfschmidt, and Matt Heard.

I was also recently published in Tufts University Seabird Ecological Assessment Network’s publication Field Guide to Beached Birds of the Southeastern United States.  The field guide will be used to help citizen scientists to identify bird carcasses.  They needed a photo of a female canvasback carcass and found it here on the blog.  Here is the link to the guide, my photo is on the bottom left hand corner of page 72: https://app.box.com/s/k01qk2eic0ojc0h0tjv7.  I’m always happy to donate my work in the name of science and conservation.

Birthday Hunt

Hunt

I bagged my first official shot-it-all-by-myself Nebraska rooster on my 40th birthday.  That’s about the best present I could get.  I’ve been attributed to some Nebraska roosters in the past, but it was always up for debate since others had also put pellets in it.  But not this time.

I love chocolate cake, but I love birthday roosters more.

I love chocolate cake, but I love birthday roosters more.

So that was the high point of the hunt.  The low point of the hunt was at the end where we had to cross this shallow creek into a fallow field that was all plowed up and uneven.  I tripped on a giant dried up dirt clod and didn’t even catch myself.  It was a full-on face plant into the dirt.  I may not be known for my gracefulness, but I have become an expert in totally wiping out safely while holding a firearm.

Oh yeah, and Charles got a rooster too.  But you expected that.

That is my poor photography skills with the glare, not evidence of any supernatural forces.

That is my poor photography skill with the glare, not evidence of any supernatural forces.

Pupdates

Bob and Ed, who hail from Minnesota (and from our “E” Litter 2013 between Sam and Sue), had a great hunt up in North Dakota this year:

What a fantastic trip to North Dakota for Ed again this year!  5 guys hunting and we brought home our limits even with the tough wind we had.  Ed’s performance was fantastic and I could not ask for anything else from him.  He is a solid pointer and retrieves to hand with no hesitation.  He proved his worth when he found a bird we knocked down which ran into a cattail slough.  I am once again very happy for having found you while researching the breed. I can’t wait for our trip in 2015! Bob

Ed, Bob, and the birds in ND.

Ed, Bob, and the birds in ND.

Trucks, dogs, and birds is where it's at!

Trucks, dogs, and birds is where it’s at!

Jealous!  In more news from North Dakota, Susan and TracHer (2012 “C” Litter between Sam and Mae)  took out some roosters in the western part of the state:

A good friend got permission from an old high school classmate who farms in western ND, but north of I-94 (where the famed pheasant hunting area is) yesterday.  I experienced an all time first in my hunting life.  I shot a double, and was the first in our party of 3 to get birds.  I end up in that category of, I GOT ONE! only to be told by the guy hunting to either side of me, that no, they got it.  I’m a little slower to shoot so do better when I can get away from the others enough to get a bird on my own time, and it happened in spades yesterday!!   TracHer did great again…in the pics she is bring my bird back to me, with our friend Don Winden in the pic as well.  There were, indeed, a huge number of pheasants out amongst the oil drilling rigs and wells…The birds seem to have adjusted alright for now.

TracHer on retrieve with Don looking on.

TracHer on retrieve with Don looking on.

Closeup of TracHer and the pheasant.

Closeup of TracHer and the pheasant.

TracHer and the cows

TracHer and the cows

I love how she manages to shoot with a gun and a camera!  I need to work on that.  Staying in the North Dakota theme, Ernie put together this cool video with footage from his GoPro and some tunes, “Country Boy” by Aaron Lewis and “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynard.

Here’s a photo of Ernie and Duncan (from our “H” Litter 2014 of Sam and Mae)

Duncan, Ernie and a North Dakota pheasant limit.

Duncan, Ernie and a North Dakota pheasant limit.

A bit closer to home, it looks like Rob and Maggie of Omaha (from our 2013 “E” Litter between Sam and Sue) had a great trip to South Dakota:

Maggie did fantastic for the start of her second season. She works perfectly in my opinion. She stays close, her drive is fantastic, she is very methodical and thorough yet not too slow and her nose is awesome. She points solid and does a great job at retrieving, especially the sneaky ones that are hard to find. When I turn her loose I almost never even have to direct her. Just when I think that she might be nearing a range that I would consider being too far out she puts her head up to check where I am at and readjusts to stay in the working distance that I prefer. Sometimes it’s like she can read my mind. I’m sure I am biased but I just can’t say enough about how well I think she hunts. I love this dog! Take care. Rob

Rob, Maggie, and roosters.

Rob, Maggie, and roosters.

Taking it way down south, I got an update from Charbel in Mexico with Freyja from our 2014 litter of Sam and BB.

I’ve been off the grid lately with lots of work but finally manage to find some time for R&R. Sorry I couldn’t send you pictures sooner but here are a couple. This is Freyja´s first hunting trip in the beginning of November, we went Dove hunting, it wasn’t a good weekend because of the climate but we manage to get a few doves and the dogs had a lot of fun.

I have her leashed to me or to a long check leash since she still need to learn that there is no point in chasing flying birds, she will run all the way trying to follow a bird that fly’s by specially falcons when they are kiting the area and she tends to draw out thorns like a magnet, specially one I hate don’t know how its called but its a round seed fool of thorns that acts like Velcro. Took me more than an hour to remove all the thons from her, the bright side is that the thorn never actually gets it the skin but it does tangle in the hair.  But I would let Freyja run free after every hunting morning.

The second morning while we were lunching in the field she dash into a corn field, after a few minutes suddenly a entire covey of quail flush out and 2 seconds after that Freyja came out of the field with that smiley doggy face she makes. We were all shocked since no one was expecting that. It was amazing!!!

This weekend we are going to be flying to Mexicali Pheasant hunting I´ll send you pictures after we come back.

 Best Wishes, Charbel

Freyja ready to go.

Freyja ready to go.

Charbel and Freyja taking a break from dove hunting for a selfie.

Charbel and Freyja taking a break from dove hunting for a selfie.

Four labs and a griff cooling off.

Four labs and a griff cooling off.

Freyja coming back in.

Freyja coming back in.

Wow, thank you owners!  You force me to come back and blog even when I don’t think that I want to.  Then when I’m done, I see how much fun you have with your pups and it makes everything worth it.

The week of Thanksgiving is upon us, isn’t it?  So that means that we go hunting, right?  I hope so.  I’ve been stuck at home the last couple of weekend with deer season.  Charles didn’t see one big enough to shoot out in the Sandhills last weekend and went out yesterday for a doe along the Platte River and didn’t see anything.

We really should be thankful to God every day.  As my grandfather says, “You’ve got a roof over your head and food on the table”.  We take important things for granted, like clean water.  1 billion people on Earth don’t have access to clean water, and we’re lucky enough to be able to fuss over hunting dogs.

I am thankful for you, my readers, for hearing what I have to say and enjoying what my kind puppy owners are nice enough to share with me.

Field Trial Placement and on to Maine

Leave a comment

 

AKC Field Trial

Today we ran Bluestem’s Prairie Fire “Fire” in her first formal dog event.  She participated in the German Shorthaired Pointer Club of Nebraska’s Fall Field Trial in the Amateur Walking Puppy and Amateur Walking Derby stakes at the Branched Oak Field Trial Grounds near Raymond, Nebraska.  These grounds are famous and I noticed a new sign hanging in the lodge as I was getting breakfast this morning.  It is notes made this spring by Delmar Smith.

Comments from Delmar Smith about Branched Oak Field Trial Grounds, April 2014

Comments from Delmar Smith about Branched Oak Field Trial Grounds, April 2014

We met Delmar in Kansas City at Pheasant Fest a few years back and he is definitely a sage of the sport.

Sunrise over Branched Oak Field Trial Grounds

Sunrise over Branched Oak Field Trial Grounds

Horse barn and clubhouse of Branched Oak Field Trial Grounds

Horse barn and clubhouse of Branched Oak Field Trial Grounds

IMG_4523

A standard setup at Branched Oak

It was entirely English Pointers and German Shorthaired Pointers, but we had fun and Fire had a great experience.  Of course she was shown up with range in the field because of her young age (6 1/2 months) and the close-working nature of the breed, but due to the fact that there were only 4 dogs entered in the Amateur Walking Derby, we did walk away with a ribbon.  Although it was a “gimme” (which none of BB’s field trial placements were), it was still cool to represent griffons and be the only 6 month old griff ever to have placed in an AKC Field Trial.

Walking to the line

Walking to the line

At the line

At the line

Starting in the field

Starting in the field

Escapee

Escapee

Running Fire

Running Fire

Charles and Fire with their 4th place ribbon in the Amateur Walking Derby

Charles and Fire with their 4th place ribbon in the Amateur Walking Derby

We also had visitors from Matt and Carter, who live around Lincoln and will be getting a Sam/BB pup next year.

Matt and Carter saying hi to Fire.

Matt and Carter saying hi to Fire.

Fire and Carter

Fire and Carter

I really hate to cut this short, as there’s more to say, but I am still not packed for the AWPGA National Specialty Dog Show, Hunt Tests and Annual Meeting this week in Maine, and I have a 6 AM flight to catch in the morning.  I’m taking all of my equipment with me, so maybe there will be a blog post part 2 if I get the time this week, but I will probably be busy seeing all of my long lost dog friends.  If I don’t get to it, I’ll catch up with y’all next weekend.

Federacion Canofila Mexicana: Pointer Griffon de Pelo Duro

1 Comment

FCM Bluestem Freyja

I received an e-mail from Charbel in Mexico City that six month-old  Bluestem Freyja, sister to our pup Fire out of Sam and BB, is now officially the only registered Wirehaired Pointing Griffon in Mexico!  Viva Griffon!  I find the name that they use quite interesting, as it literally translates into “Pointer Griffon of Hard Hair”.  Here is the official pedigree from FCM, and thank you so much to Charbel for sending me a copy!

Federacion Canofila Mexicana Pedigree of Pointer Griffon de Pelo Duro, Bluestem Freyja

Federacion Canofila Mexicana Pedigree of Pointer Griffon de Pelo Duro, Bluestem Freyja

It is pretty cool that in 3 generations it goes from France (Cyr, the sire of BB), Canada (BB was born), US (where Freyja was born), and now to Mexico.  I know that she has a good life down there, and I can’t wait to get some pics of her chasing some of their crazy quail.

Fire Training Day Epic Fail

Our poor raggedy chukar have been sitting in the holding pen for too long.  It isn’t a flight pen and most of them are big males and have pecked one another over quite a bit.  But we decided that Fire absolutely had to get out.  So yesterday morning, off we went to the dog training wildlife management area south of town with three chukars.

It has been raining so much that the grass was wet, and the birds were wet.  But Charles planted them anyway.  At that point, we hadn’t had Fire out working birds or even for a multi-hour walk for about a month.  The first thing that she did was take off like a bat out of hell right down the scent of Charles’s boots, with no care in the world for the whistle.  We finally found her about 150 yards away, up and over the hill with the last bird that he had planted in her mouth.

On the second bird, we got a point out of her that Charles was able to walk in on, but it barely flew and was almost an Arky shot (looks like I need to add Arky Shot to Urban Dictionary.  It is when a person shoots a bird on the ground or in a tree, which is extremely unsportsmanlike when not totally illegal).  But he wanted to make sure that he fired the shotgun and the bird was dead when she got ahold of it.  I think that the shotgun blast scared me more than it did the dog, so it looks like we’ve got the pup’s shotgun conditioning finalized.

Charles walking in on Fire's point

Charles walking in on Fire’s point

Fire showing off her prey drive on the flush

Fire showing off her prey drive on the flush

Charles going for the near-Arky

Charles going for the near-Arky

She retrieved that bird, but I was still too stunned from the blast to get a photo of it.  We got a decent point on the last bird, but it didn’t fly but about 6 inches off of the ground, right into Fire’s mouth.  Aw hell.  Although it makes for a funny story, and everyone who trains dogs has these days, it was still a big thumbs down.

Everybody Run

Remember that awesome song from Sesame Street in the 1970s?  Well, here it is:

Yet I digress.  This morning, we finally got everyone out for a run.  And it was fun.

The three dogs and Charles.

Sam, Fire, BB, and Charles.

Fire in the flowers

Fire in the flowers

Go Sam go

Go Sam go

BB on the move

BB on the move

Three dogs in the grass

Three dogs in the grass: Sam, Fire, BB

Here comes BB

Here comes BB

Happy Sam

Happy Sam

The people

The people

Upcoming trialing and hunting

This weekend, we will be running Fire in the Amateur Walking Derby and the Walking Puppy Stakes at the German Shorthaired Pointer Club of Nebraska’s Fall Trial at Branched Oak Lake Trial Grounds.  I’ll be sure to get something up about that at the end of next weekend before I get on the plane for Maine.  I’m hoping that the stakes prior to the Derby are large, because if it falls on Friday, I will have to handle.  It would be my first time.  I thought we’d be running again the following weekend, but once I went to fill out the premium for the Lincoln club, I realized that there are no walking stakes.  So we’ll have the first weekend of September off from dog activities and just plan on sitting for some doves on Monday the 1st.

AromatherapyP

Pointing Dog Journal: Nebraska Sandhills Prairie Chicken Mention

This month’s PDJ Pass Along E-mail Blast was about the Greater Prairie Chicken and my very own Nebraska Sandhills.  The following is the full text from the e-mail and I hope that I am re-printing it with permission.  Full credit goes to Pointing Dog Journal and the author listed below:

prairie grouse logo

Prairie Chickens
in the Nebraska Sandhills
by Greg Septon, STCP

Founded in 1961 to save the greater prairie-chicken (GPC) in Wisconsin, the Society of Tympanuchus Cupido Pinnatus, Ltd. (STCP) is working today to better understand the dynamics that maintain the nation’s largest viable population of GPC in the Nebraska Sandhills – the last best place to study the species in their natural grassland environment.

The goal in the Sandhills is to document productivity, habitat use, and movements of GPC and provide an understanding of how this is interwoven with human activities in the region. If GPC are to prosper as a species we need to better understand their needs and work to determine a scenario where compatible land uses will provide a secure future for them as well as humans so that both may coexist.

Our proactive approach at studying the dynamics of this large population now means that we can likely prevent the GPC from following in the wake of the lesser prairie-chicken – which is now listed as threatened, and the greater sage grouse, which may also be listed next year. If similar proactive research had been undertaken 20 years ago with these species, they might not be facing the uncertain futures they face today.

Gaining a thorough understanding of the life history of Nebraska’s large GPC population will also help provide a future for the isolated, remnant GPC populations in Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri and Iowa. For it is from the large populations that these states will need to translocate birds from to restore genetic health and increase numbers to maintain their “museum” or “zoo” populations as they are often referred to. Without a stable source population where birds can be drawn from for periodic translocations, these small, isolated populations will eventually fade away one by one.

For a more comprehensive history of STCP and an account of our research efforts including work with the endangered Attwater’s prairie-chicken, please visit our website at: www.prairiegrouse.org.

Until next weekend

I need to go and get the kids ready for school tomorrow.  It is very much unlike me to do a Sunday night post, but I desperately need to save my writing time in the morning for my paid writing gig.  Oh, I also wanted to give a special shout out to the late night internet lurkers on my blog.  I am also one of those people who gets up almost every night for 15 minutes or so between midnight and 4 AM and gets online.  I know it is neurotic and a bad habit, but I always check my stats and see there are folks out there reading my blog at that time.  I also see that there are people reading my archived posts from several years back.  How embarrassing, it is a real cesspool in places.  But that is just part of keeping an online diary.  I’m glad that you enjoy it.

 

NAVHDA Handler’s Clinic, our first Best of Breed, and other news…

Leave a comment

The Countdown Begins

It was only in the 50s when the sun was coming up this morning and it set Sam a-howling, which seemed appropriate to me because my first thought when I woke up was, “only two months left and it will be hunting season again”.  Although I’m very excited, I’m also a bit nervous since we’ve retired all of our older females at this point and I’ll be hunting with Sam.  It will be my first time hunting by myself with a male dog, and Sam and I have our moments where he thinks there is room for debate as to who is the dominate player in our relationship.  But I’m sure we’ll get it sorted out and have a grand time as we always do.

Opening weekend 2011: Charity, Ryan Tompkins, Chas, then Sue, Sam, and BB.

Opening weekend 2011: Charity, Ryan Tompkins, Charles, then Sue, Sam, and BB.

Best of Breed

I am just beside myself at the success of Bluestem Big Sky Rendezvous NA I “Midge” in both the field and the show ring.  She is from our 2013 “F” litter from Sam and Mae.  Only a couple of weeks after her Prize I NAVHDA Natural Ability test with a score of 112, she took Best of Breed on June 20th at the Electric City Kennel Club Dog Show in Great Falls, Montana.  The competition in Montana is tough and I am just thrilled.  Infinite thanks to owners/handlers Lou and Lindsay Volpe.

Midge has a stretch after her BOB win at Montana Expo Park

Midge has a stretch after her BOB win at Montana Expo Park

NAVHDA Handler’s Clinic

The first and most important thing I have to say about NAVHDA Handler’s Clinics is: GO.  I wish that we had gone 10 years ago, as it would have saved us numerous hours of time in both research and training.  We were lucky to have 3 judges with us over the weekend: our own Tracey Nelson and Chuck Casanova, and our instructor, Jason Wade from the Sebasticook and Yankee Chapters in Maine.  The first day was devoted to going over the Aims, Programs and Test booklet that covers the elements of the Natural Ability, Utility Preparatory, Utility, and Invitational Tests.  We then scored two dogs at the Natural Ability level.  The second day we scored a UPT and a UT dog, then finalized any remaining questions.  It was a great combination of direct instruction, guided practice, then finished with independent practice.  Kudos to Tracey and her family at Skyline Sportsmen’s Club in Thurman, Iowa for being gracious hosts to the Heartland Chapter yet again.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Pupdates

Speaking of the NAVHDA Chapters in Maine, Tyson out in Bangor sent me a pic of Moose doing some work at a recent training day.  Moose is from our 2014 “H” litter from Sam and Mae and is 12 weeks old in the picture.

Moose retrieving a chukar

Moose retrieving a chukar

Kaylee down in Missouri shared this cute pic recently of my pup Fire’s sister, Willow, working on the water retrieve.  Willow is from our 2014 “G” litter of Sam and BB.  I love the confident look in her eyes, like, “I’ve got this!”

Willow is proud of her duck dummy

Willow is proud of her duck dummy

I just love all of the pics that Susan and Tom up in North Dakota get of TracHer and the pretty flowers.  Here is Susan and TracHer, who is from our 2011 “C” litter from Sam and Mae.  Don’t be fooled by her show dog looks, she’s tearing up the sloughs, ponds, and prairies up there.

Susan and TracHer in the summer flowers

Susan and TracHer in the summer flowers

As always, many thanks to all of my owners for sharing photos with me and giving great homes to our pups.

Mae’s Retirement  

We spent the solstice/wedding anniversary weekend up in the Nebraska Sandhills, enjoying time in the outdoors with family and friends.

Caleb, Fire, Charles, BB, Cordelia, Conrad, Mae, and Sam at our special swimming spot

Caleb, Fire, Charles, BB, Cordelia, Conrad, Mae, and Sam at our special swimming spot

Mae has been officially retired to Valentine, Nebraska to live with my brother, Ron, and his 1 1/2 year old Siberian Husky, Whisper.  The initial introduction of the two dogs was a bit dicey, but they settled in with each other quickly and are good friends.

Mae and Whisper chilling in my brother's yard

Mae and Whisper chilling in my brother’s yard

Burr season is here

As I was writing this, I received a panicked phone call from a griff owner asking about how to deal with burr mats in the coat.  If we run the dogs in burrs, I try to brush them the same or the next day to prevent matting.  Should I forget to do this and a mat develops, I try to brush it out with a wide toothed comb or burr puller.  I make sure to grab the fur close to the skin before I start yanking on it with the comb.  There are spray-on liquid detanglers that you can buy at the pet store to help with this.  If it will not come out and the dog is crying and/or trying to grab your hand with its mouth, it is okay to cut the mat out with scissors if you have to.

I had better move on with my day, even though it seems like there is always more to write, but the littlest one is asking for me to fix him a hot breakfast.  So everyone have a safe and Happy 4th of July!  Keep the dogs inside or kenneled a safe distance from fireworks so they don’t try to eat them like my little cocker spaniel did when I was a child:)

“H” litter 4.5 weeks and Big Wins

Leave a comment

We have had lots of rain, which you are never allowed to complain about in Nebraska, but it has made getting photos and video a bit challenging over the last week.  The puppies are really getting up and around.  They are taking their first few steps outside of the kennel when the door is open, but would rather just play around in the safety of the fence at this point.  I have weaned them from soft canned food and they are totally on hard puppy kibble now.

Charles took Fire, our 11 week old female from the “H” litter, out for her first introduction to flying game birds (no gun).  I had too much to do at home, but the oldest boy went and I should have enlisted him to take some pictures.  Oh well, you can’t catch it all.

BB and Sam are ready for training season too and are really needing extra exercise these days to burn off their energy.  BB was a bonebag when the pups were here, but she filled back out nicely.  Charles is talking about working on AKC Master Hunter training with BB and going through that process over the next few years.  He’d like to do more walking field trials with her too.  We’ll see, he stays pretty busy at work.

We are 4 months away from sharptailed grouse opener in the Sandhills, so I’ve got the health kick going on so that I don’t die out there.  I should probably get out to the skeet range one of these days too.

But back to the puppies!  Here are their individual photos updated:

Girl: Hope

Girl: Hope

Girl: Hope

Girl: Hope

Girl: Harriet

Girl: Harriet

Girl: Harriet

Girl: Harriet

Boy: Hez

Boy: Hez

Boy: Hez

Boy: Hez

Boy: Harold

Boy: Harold

Boy: Harold

Boy: Harold (front)

Boy: Herbert

Boy: Herbert

Boy: Herbert

Boy: Herbert

And this week’s YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWnqToBOngc&feature=youtu.be

Pupdates

We’ve had some great showings out of Sam and Mae’s pups from the past couple of years recently.  Bluestem Big Sky Rendezvous CGC “Midge” from our 2013 “F” Litter won Winners Bitch both days against some big name competition at the Peninsula Dog Fanciers Club show in Bremerton, WA in March. She also just completed her AKC Canine Good Citizen title a couple of weeks ago.  Memorial Day weekend will be her NAVHDA Natural Ability Test and we wish them the best of luck!  Great job owner-handler Lindsay Volpe at the show!  Go Lou and Midge at the test!

Lindsay and Midge striking a pose with Gabe and Frannie in the background

Lindsay and Midge striking a pose with Gabe and Frannie in the background

We also just received word that Bluestem Winchester NA II “Chester” from our 2012 “C” Litter passed the first two legs of his AKC Senior Hunter title over the weekend at the Long Island, NY German Shorthaired Pointer Club.  He will continue working towards the rest of his SH title this spring and begin working on NAVHDA UT as well.  The East Coast might have a new stud dog in the making here!  Congratulations Sal and Chester!

Chester showing off his bling with owner Sal

Chester showing off his bling with owner Sal

Well, that’s the update for the week, thank you as always to my owners for giving me such great brags!  We wouldn’t be able to do this without you!

Hard to believe that the puppies will be 5 weeks old tomorrow, so the final countdown begins with 3 weeks to go for homegoing.  This is the most fun of having the litter when we get to do more outside with them, but the paperwork and vetting all starts to kick in too, so it keeps it busy.  So stay springy until next week.

Preparing to say goodbye to “G” Litter (plus “H” Litter at 1 1/2 weeks)

Leave a comment

This week’s post is going to be long on photos and video and short on words.  This weekend is homegoing for most of “G” Litter, so I have tons of paperwork and housework to do.  But I wanted to give you all one more dose of their cuteness before they go.  I am very pleased with how well this litter has turned out.  They have all cleared their health checks, are full of energy, show natural point, retrieve and good noses, listen well and are super affectionate.  BB has done a great job.

 

 

Tarp terrorist

Tarp terrorist

Front-wheel drive

Front-wheel drive

Brush pile explorer

Brush pile explorer

Play fight

Play fight

Playing with a wayward food can

Playing with a wayward food can

Big smile!

Big smile!

Plus the final “G” Litter YouTube video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NoZSMBeiak&feature=youtu.be

Now on to the “H” Litter.  Not much action there, just sleeping and eating at a week and a half old.

H Litter taking a nap

H Litter taking a nap

And the “H” litter YouTube video for the week:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMEdULMtogE&feature=youtu.be

Well it is time for me to head down to the veterinarian’s office to pick up the health certificates for those puppies who are going on the road and on airplanes this weekend.  I’ll catch up with you again sometime during the week.

 

Welcome “H” Litter 2014

1 Comment

Sorry for the delay in announcement, but things are busy here!  We did not have to induce Mae because she and I got up Tuesday morning and walked 2 miles between 5 and 6 AM, then another 3 miles at midday.  Her first puppy was born at around 5:30 PM and her last live birth was around 11 PM.  She had 5 healthy live births, 3 boys and 2 girls.  There were two stillborns, the second puppy born which was small and malformed, then the last puppy born sometime in the night, which was about the size of a three week old puppy hence Mae’s misleadingly large size.  Mae did a wonderful job whelping her last litter.  She has been a terrific natural whelper and great mother to the three litters she has had with us.  I was very glad to have her go into labor on her own, as I am a big proponent of natural birth in all living things.  All three of my kids were born naturally with nurse midwives.  So I guess this makes me a dog midwife, huh?  With this being my eighth litter, I’m starting to feel like a pro.

Well, here they are!  I haven’t handled them much, so I can’t yet pick out the boys from the girls.  They had their tails and dew claws done on Wednesday, along with being inspected by the veterinarian.  Everyone checked out so we’ll hope for smooth sailing from here on out!

 

Four day old "H" Litter puppies

Four day old “H” Litter puppies

And a quick YouTube video:

Bluestem Kennels Wirehaired Pointing Griffons “H” Litter 4 days old

Today is my son Caleb’s 5th birthday and my mom is in town for the weekend for a visit, so I had better run.  I will get my last post up about “G” litter before they head to their new homes along with some pupdates sometime during the week.

 

“E” Litter Arrival…the rest of the story

Leave a comment

Our first clue as to the imminent arrival of the puppies came over the weekend, when Sue started quietly whining pretty much constantly.  I took her temperature on Sunday at it was normal, around 101F.  A funny aside about Sue’s personality is that when she’s with the people, she’s going to be retrieving you something…anything…(I swear that these are candid and not posed)

Sue on Saturday with a deer antler and a cow skull from our flower bed bone pile

Sue on Saturday with a deer antler and a cow skull from our flower bed bone pile

Sue picking up the kids dirty socks

Sue picking up the kids dirty socks

Sue brought me a "double retrieve" a kids pj shirt and an alligator puppet

Sue brought me a “double retrieve” a kids pj shirt and an alligator puppet

I took her temperature again three times on Monday, each time it was between 98-99F.  They say that when this happens, the puppies come within 24-48 hours (and since I’ve been doing it, it has been true).  I just use a human ear thermometer to take the temperature in her ear.  I am sworn to never do a rectal temp on anything, man nor beast.

Tuesday morning we started walking the yard and property quite a bit.  When I went to make lunch, Sue was hanging out next to me in the kitchen being her normal self: head up looking at me and tail wagging.  All of a sudden her head dropped and turned away from me, her tail stopped wagging, she let out a low groan and I saw the tightening of her puppy belly.  So we walked and walked and walked all afternoon.  About 3 PM she started going into the “poop pose” with nothing coming out pretty frequently.  She began nesting in the dog houses and in the leaf piles under the bushes.  But her water hadn’t broken yet and I had an early evening obligation, so I put her in the whelping area and was away until about 7.  When I got home, she had been asleep in the whelping box and nothing had happened.  So we walked some more and her contractions seemed to be getting stronger.  A black sort of mucus plug looking thing came out while squatting at one point, but still her water wasn’t broken yet.  It was time to put the kids to bed at 9, so I put her back out in the whelping area around 8:30.  The kids took awhile to get around for bed, so I didn’t get back out there until around 9:30 PM.

I was all dressed up to take her back out walking, but this time I had a towel and a flashlight in case she accidentally popped a puppy out on to the snow.  But as I was walking to the door of the room, I heard the distinct sound of a puppy squeak!  I threw down my stuff and tore off my outdoor gear.  She had made quick work of things because I could see where her water had broken while waiting for me at the door, but she was in the box with her first puppy.

Sue and her first puppy around 9:30 PM Monday

Sue and her first puppy around 9:30 PM Tuesday

Having given birth naturally to three children under the care and observation of a nurse midwife very much influences my practice as a puppy whelper.  I totally see myself in the role of the midwife: checking on the mother regularly, but assuming that our bodies know what to do and that mother nature will make things happen properly.  So I give my females plenty of space to do their work bringing life into the world.  I checked back with Sue around 11 PM and puppy number two had arrived.

Sue and two puppies around 11 PM Monday

Sue and two puppies around 11 PM Tuesday

I went and grabbed a couple more hours of shut eye, but Sue was hard at work between 11 PM Tuesday and 1:30 AM Wednesday, as by my check-in she was up to 6 puppies.

Sue with 6 puppies at 1:30 AM Tuesday (there is one under her front leg).

Sue with 6 puppies at 1:30 AM Wednesday (there is one under her front leg).

By the time I was up again at 4:30 AM, two more puppies had arrived on the scene, for a total of 8.  I was able to get Sue up to go outside to go potty and I checked her stomach and thought she was done.  I also went about cleaning out the whelping box and freshening up the chips, assuming everyone had arrived.

Sue and the 8 puppies at 4:30 AM on Wednesday

Sue and the 8 puppies at 4:30 AM on Wednesday

I had an obligation Wednesday morning that I went ahead and attended to, as all of the puppies appeared healthy and Sue had everything under control.  When I went to check in at noon, I knew from past experience that I had better re-count the puppies.  Sure enough, a ninth one had arrived.  It was limp and cold, when I picked it up at first, I thought it was stillborn.  But it was alive, just barely.  It had a small, triangular head and was just odd looking, almost like a mole.  So, I called him “Mole”.

Sue and 9 pups at noon on Wednesday.  "Mole" is on the far left, turned away from the teats.

Sue and 9 pups at noon on Wednesday. “Mole” is on the far left, turned away from the teats.

From my first discovery of Mole, I tried to bring him around.  He was too weak to get to the teat and I had to force his mouth open to even take a bottle.  No matter how hard I tried he would never get warm, even if I sat right in front of the fireplace and rubbed him as much as I could.  Every time I went to the box, he was pushed over into a corner, cold and alone.  I really knew something was off when I finally did get him on the teat, as he was strong enough to suckle, Sue pushed him and my hand away.

I had made the appointment to get the pups tails docked and dew claws removed at the vet’s office on Thursday morning at 10:30 AM.  Before we made the transition out into the big world, we did a small one into the living room, just as something in the interim.  Plus a warm fire is always nice.

Puppies enjoying time by the fire before the vet's office.

Puppies enjoying time by the fire before the vet’s office.

9 puppies sleeping, "Mole" is on the left

9 puppies sleeping, 1 day old, “Mole” is at the top

I really adore my veterinarians, Drs. Andrew and Susan Kliewer of Heartland Animal Hospital.  Of course it is cool to work with another husband and wife team, but the best part is that I just feel like we share the same philosophy when it comes to animals and we really “get” each other.  So I showed Susan “Mole”, I talked about what had been going on, my concerns and interventions.  She told me that she had a friend who had recently nursed a pup like “Mole” back to (what was thought to be) health, only to have it get kidney failure at 6 months old.  The persistent coldness showed that he had poor circulation, he had a strangely shaped palate, an improperly shaped skull…there were just too many problems to overcome.  So we elected to humanely euthanize him.  I really appreciate all the support from my dog friends on Facebook when that happened, it helped me feel better.  I knew it was the right thing for the puppy and for the breed and for myself (I was spending the majority of my time, including getting up a night, fussing over him), but it was still sad.

But hey, we have 8 gorgeous healthy puppies and that is something to be so super excited about!!  Here is their debut on YouTube: 

And right afterwards, I took these still shots of them resting:

8 healthy puppies at 2 days old!

8 healthy puppies at 2 days old!

Sue making sure that everyone is having a good nap

Sue making sure that everyone is having a good nap

Sue's way of telling us to go away is when she sticks her head between us and the puppies

Sue’s way of telling us to go away is when she sticks her head between us and the puppies

So now everyone is good, Sue included.  She seems very relieved to have all of the puppies out of her belly.  She can go back to trying to catch the squirrels in the backyard when I let her out.

Sue looking svelte waiting to come back into the house after a run in the backyard.

Sue looking svelte waiting to come back into the house after a run in the backyard.

She even felt secure enough today to come upstairs and visit me while the puppies were taking a nap.  That made me happy, as the first day I always have to feed and water her in the whelping box because she doesn’t want to leave them.

Sue came up for a visit while I blog at the kitchen table.  She brought me one of the kids sweatshirts.

Sue came up for a visit while I blog at the kitchen table. She brought me one of the kids sweatshirts.

Well I need to get my rear in gear, the German Shorthaired Pointer Club of Lincoln’s cutoff for next weekend’s AKC hunt test is tomorrow at 6 PM, so I have to hustle to get our entries in.  BB and Sam are going to do some Senior Hunter runs.  I’m hoping that we can get Rick’s pup “Dottie” from Sue and Sam’s “D” litter last year signed up for Junior Hunter too.  Should be a great weekend reuniting with the local dog crazies at the first event of the year at Branched Oak Trial Grounds.  I’m excited that they are having a 100% walking stakes only (no horseback) AKC field trial that weekend too.  Love to see the foot hunting dogs get some respect.

Oh and I do have a pupdate, from TracHer in North Dakota from our “C” litter last year out of Mae and Sam.  Tom and Susan got a GoPro camera that Tom is wearing here on his chest while he’s cross country skiing with Susan and the dogs.  TracHer is almost a year old and looks like she’s having a great time snow diving!  That’s one of her griffy buddies Zephyr along with them.  

I’m in the process of getting e-mails out to everyone with reservations for puppies, so if you have a deposit down with us, please keep an eye on your inbox.  I should have a status for everyone written up by Sunday.  Oh gosh, I almost forgot the Mae update!  She is due sometime around March 18th, so I need to get ready to go through this all over again:)

Mae sporting a puppy belly as she chomps on an antler Saturday.

Mae sporting a puppy belly as she chomps on an antler Saturday.

Older Entries