September 23rd, 2007: I am writing this from Sandy and Blaine’s home. We came out here last Tuesday and will be leaving for home in a few days.
Sandy and Blaine live about halfway between Carstairs and Didsbury and five miles west. It is very rolling land and on a clear day they have an impressive view of the mountains. There is a lot of crop still out, and from the look of the swaths it isn’t a particularly heavy crop. Of course, in a land where they dig a hole in the ground and pump out money, who needs crops?
Weather has been cool, and a couple of rains since we got here means there is no harvesting taking place at all. I suspect the same applies at home.
Sandy and Blaine have a number of little dogs, one of which is a very pregnant miniature dachshund named Cricket. She has the sweetest face you have ever seen, and a loving nature. She is still surprisingly active, though her belly just about drags on the ground. She was bred by a Yorkie/Havanese dog named Mojo, who has featured in the report before. The puppies are called Dorkies. We can hardly wait to see what they look like.
Since writing the above, Cricket had her litter – five little squeakers. One of the other dogs whined as every one was born and there was quite a ruckus for awhile until Sandy went down and sorted them out. She wound up sleeping on the floor in front of the dog’s pen.
You wouldn’t have to be a dog whisperer to know something was going on at the Cisna’s place – the inside dogs were restless and bratty, and the outside dogs kicked up a real row for the first part of the night. Maybe a whelping is a big event in dogdom.
House prices are wild out here. In the small towns of Carstairs and Didsbury, people are asking over $300,000 for plain, ordinary houses built fifty to eighty years ago. From the pictures, they look to be well maintained, but still they seem like pretty rich prices. Those towns are growing like crazy, about mid-way between Calgary and Red Deer, what people consider an easy commute these days.
Sandy and Blaine have satellite high-speed Internet and is it ever wonderful.
We heard an owl hunting one evening; we had seen a great horned owl in a tree, but it definitely wasn’t what was doing the calling. We looked up “owls” on Google and were able to find information and sound bites on pretty well every variety that could possibly be in Alberta, but nothing that sounded like what we had heard. Finally, we looked up “barn owl” and there it was – the exact call we had heard and unlike any other variety. A few hundred miles north of its normal range, but that isn’t uncommon. Now, if we could only get a look at the little rascal.
The view from their living room window is of a cow pasture with a dam meandering through it. Cows will graze right up to their fence, not six feet from the house, totally ignoring the yapping of eight or ten tiny dogs. The dam is usually covered with ducks, and often muskrats and a great blue heron may be seen. The great horned owl I mentioned above was perched on a limb overlooking the dam.