Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Daylight Savings

March 16, 2011
Sandy Creek Park, GA

Finally, Daylight Savings Time has arrived which means after-work excursions to the park, until the heat hits in June.


March 13, 2011 Athens, GA


February 27, 2011
Sandy Creek Park, GA

She is not always this polite, although we try our hardest to curb her bad manners. Maybe she was showing off for the puppy...

Stand Still ... No Matter What

March 13, 2011
Sandy Creek Park, GA

Practicing the "stand still" command. Actually, she's still on the check cord for that, and this was more an impromptu session, but it worked. She did well, despite the distractions. First came the puppy, then all left to walk up to the cookie dispension, but Tessa held steady.

The Face

March 9, 2011
[at home]

This is what I see every time I open my bathroom door. She can be fast asleep when I get up to brush my teeth or wash my hands but when I exit, she's there, watching the door, quietly waiting.

Evening Light

March 2, 2011
Sandy Creek Park, GA

Tessa On The Run

March 1, 2011
Sandy Creek Park, GA

Let me tell you a secret

February 27, 2011
Sandy Creek Park, GA

And Then There Were Three...

February 27, 2011
Sandy Creek Park, GA

We are three now in the park - Tessa, Shane and little Rhys. All three know where the cookies are and ask for them shamelessly. If given a choice, though, Tessa is more interested in a good run, after a frisbee or tennis ball.

Take Off

February 25, 2011
Athens, GA

All Americana Girl

February 20, 2011
Monroe, GA

After the 3-hour hunt, we took a detour through Monroe, GA to take a few photos. We parked the car and my friend said "Tessa can rest in the car". When really, Tessa was now ready for her walk! We walked around town for anouther hour or so, Tessa playing the role of canine tourist model.

Hunt No. 5

February 20, 2011
Jersey, GA

Last hunt of the season.

Today we had two more friends join us, Kim and Canton, making a party of 5 humans and 2 dogs. Our gunners were Chris and Canton. Kim was in charge of video and photography while Paul and I tried to keep track of our dogs.

After last week's terrible presentation at Mo's, I feared for the worst, but actually, Tessa did very well, in fact, she put on her most consistent and best performance so far. Although she crept quite a bit, she did not chase or jump any birds today. I was also able to whoa her into an honor several times, and do so from afar - her cooperation was very good.

There is always a moment in those 3 hours that is a little brighter than the others, and today it came towards the end, when she pointed a quail sitting maybe 6 feet in front of her, clearly visible to all of us. As Chris was trying to flush it, another quail flew up from behind Tessa and Chris turned and took his shot. Tessa didn't move an inch, and didn't even turn her head. She kept a close eye on the one in front of her. This is expected of a finished bird dog, but she is not finished, so I was delighted to see it. Canton, who has been hunting bird dogs for 40 years, recalled that moment later over our burgers at Checkers, and praised her for it.

These are just small steps though towards the end result, a finished dog at some point. Not much to brag about really! In fact, we've been doing things backwards a bit which will ultimately create more work for me but I can live with that. I think. Ask me again in two months!

I Got Skillz!

February 19, 2011
Sandy Creek Park, GA

Pudgie Ball

February 16, 2011
[at home]

Treat courtesy of Oscar Bites.

German Shorthaired Snuggie ™

February 7, 2011

Hunt No. 4

February 6, 2011
Jersey, GA

15 quail for Zone 4. Got there at 12 pm, left at 3 pm. Bagged 11 quail and 1 chukar which was a bonus bird.

Tessa started things off by taking a dump and then transitioning smoothly from the squat into a point because the first bird was right...there! We were then entertained by a quail that huddled by a tree, pointed by Shane, but played some sort of "Ring Around The Rosies" game with Chris who tried to flush it. Round and round the tree they went in both directions, the quail predicting Chris' moves and always remaining on the opposite side of the tree, while Shane held his point, watching.

Tessa was the one who found the chukar. We didn't know what she was pointing until we flushed it and were a little startled at the size of that bird, expecting a much smaller quail.

Towards the end as we were tending to Paul's gun, Tessa ran out of range and I could no longer hear her bell. My fault for not keeping a closer eye on her and darn it, she was gone. Although she regularly drops out of bell range every so often, there is something extremely disheartening about standing on the top of a hill and scanning the land for your dog, to no avail. Not a sound, no movement anywhere, no orange collar flying by in the distance. I called once, I whistled once, nothing. We all agreed that more than likely she was on point somewhere but where? I started walking. We are talking many acres of high grass, shrubs and woods. Thankfully, I spotted her a few minutes later, on point in that last little field which we had not covered yet. I don't know how long she had stood there. 10 minutes? Turned out she had found herself 3 quail. Unfortunately, she jumped them just as I was approaching and they flew off in three different directions before my gunners could even get there. Argh! One of the birds took cover in the pole barn which Tessa continued to work until we left without success. Lesson learned (if only!): Do not jump birds. Wait for gunners. Or else, the birds are swallowed by the pole barn.

Overall I would say it was one of her better days. Her cooperation was excellent, and she searched methodically and tirelessly. Not as steady as she should be, and still flagging though.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Feed Me

January 30, 2011

[at home]

Hunt No. 3

January 30, 2011
Jersey, GA

Another hunt, the fourth one this winter. As always, we ordered 15 quail for zone 4. We got there at 1 p.m. and to our surprise, nobody else was around. The manager pulled up and announced that zone 4 was set up, and that there was a left-over pheasant and two chukars in other fields, and that we were welcome to hunt the entire plantation if we like.

The weather was gorgeous - sunny with a very light breeze, 70 F. The warmer temperature actually posed a little problem to the dogs, especially old Shane. 70 F is not that hot but coming from two months of 45 F and below it was quite a change, and it felt hot to all of us.

Tessa was working it. Shane was good but much slower than usually; he showed some excellent backing but did not got that many points, mainly because Tessa grossly outran him on this warmer day. There were more water breaks for both of them, and after 90 minutes, Shane was done and Tessa was out there alone.

When we took a longer break around 3 p.m. Tessa kept glancing down to the other fields, then slowly got up and trotted down the hill, at a faster and faster pace, until she was back in hunting mode, making one big round through the fields, then trotting back and sitting down next to me.

We then decided to work the fields all the way down to the pond where I wanted Tessa to cool down. She found three quail but we weren't able to locate the pheasant and chukars. We sat by the edge of the pond and watched Tessa retrieve tennis balls (LOL). The water was quite cold so she only went in five times, then decided that was enough for January. We trekked back up to the cars, very slowly, but Tessa still searching, running wide, to the very last minute.

Paul and Chris bagged 11 quail. The other 8 or 9 escaped in the woods where it was too dense to hunt and safely shoot, or towards the duck pond which was off-limits. Basically, Tessa gets the job done and puts meat on the table, but she is still far from the Senior Hunter level - retrieving, honoring and staunchness are lacking. Lots of work to be done.

On the way home we stopped at Checkers for some burgers and fries. Because of Tessa's hard work, I was rewarded with a free meal - whereas poor Tessa had to wait for dinner until after her bath.

Life In The Fast Lane

January 29, 2011
Lavonia, GA

We went on a little road trip today which led us to Royston and Lavonia in Franklin County. Upon leaving Lavonia, I let myself be guided by the GPS system to small communities in the area when we passed the abandoned (in-between seasons) Lavonia Speedway. I thought it would make for a good photo op, pulled in, got out of the car only to run into two photographers from Athens GA. We didn't know each other but it turned out that when I got my "prop" the dog they recognized her immediately from flickr!

My Prrrecious

January 19, 2011
[at home]

True Temper

January 15, 2011
Athens, GA

Hard at work, hardly working.

Everlasting Snow

January 15, 2011
Sandy Creek Park, GA

The snow lingers - this was taken on day 6. Temperatures keep dropping into the 20s at night so whatever thaws refreezes and the snow that is left keeps getting crusted with ice.

Snow! [Day 3]

January 12, 2011
Athens, GA

On the third day, the sun finally came out and while this started the thaw, things still looked pretty much like a winter wonderland. UGA continued to be closed with maintenance crews working all day to clear all sidewalks, stairs and entrances of the ice and snow. My car was sitting on a big patch of solid ice that would not thaw so we couldn't drive anywhere exciting. Instead, Tessa and I went for a 2-hour walk around campus, to check on the state of things and to inspect various snowmen around campus.

Tessa in the snow fort on Myers Quad. She ended up swallowing the snowman's nose - pretty much whole. I wasn't sure what a frozen carrot - whole - would do in her stomach but it was handled well. Except for a bout of really bad gas that evening, there were no ill effects.