Archive for nature

Hiking the La Luz Trail

Posted in life with a working dog, pets with tags , , , on September 18, 2012 by rattlerjen

The trail of light climbs 3,000 feet to the top of Sandia Peak

We decided to hike about a third of the trail for the view.  Boy, were there views!

At the bottom of the trail, the peak looked very far away

Looking back down after about an hour of climbing showed endless switchbacks

Aaron remembered to stop and give Grom lots of water.  Good handler!

The jumping cholla (Choy-Yah) cactus were blooming.  Grom learned not to pee on them.

Grom learned that pulling on the leash while hiking makes Jen fall down.

Much better!

We found out it was best for the dog to walk behind us.  It made it much easier for hikers to pass us.

Half way point equals a nice relaxing nap in the shade.

Aaron enjoyed the view of the city from a pine tree.

The view of the top was not bad either.

Group photo!

A tired dog is a cute dog.

New Mexico Trip – Sandia Search Dogs on the Lake

Posted in dog training, pets, Search and Rescue with tags , , , , , on September 13, 2011 by rattlerjen

The three of us got up bright and early to train with another search and rescue group: Sandia Search Dogs

What a beautiful morning sunrise on the way to training.

New Mexico sunrise espanola

All three of us were pretty wrecked from the day before.  We spend most of the day packing for the trip, then hopped on a plane in the afternoon.  Not one of us got to sleep until well past midnight.

grom at albuquerque airport

My wonderful In-laws made us plenty of coffee and breakfast burritos for the trip up to the lake. Nothing wakes me up in the morning better than New Mexico Chile. YUM!

The lake in question is that of Lake Abiquiu. (pronounced Ab-ee-que)

A gorgeous little lake in the middle of the desert mountains. The deep blue water matches the color of the desert sky. Perfect for fishing, water skiing, and dog training.

lake abiquiu

We arrive early and enjoy the view.  Very few people were on the lake despite the amazing weather and holiday weekend.  Only a few minutes pass before the search team shows up to great us.

Diego the search dog is ready to go.  Just look at that smile.

I went down to the boat to learn about what this team uses for water training.  They had some pretty nifty equipment to put the scent source in.  Check out the rope going through this minnow trap.  Cool!  The team found that black equipment was much harder to see in the water.  A good thing to have in order to prevent the dogs from cheating by alerting when they saw the equipment.

The team set up one volunteer on the shore to work a pulley system that raises and dunks the float and attached scent cage.

While we waited for the team to set up everything in the water,  Diego did some shoreline work.

Here he is looking for a boot with a scent source tucked inside.  Can you tell where it is? What!  You don’t have smell-o-vision?

You will just have to see where Diego finds it.

search dog searches bush in abiquiu

Diego normally works off lead, but had a chance to practice with it on at the lake.

Sniff Sniff Sniff

Diego search dog barks

Woof! Woof!  Woof!

It’s in that bush right there!

Diego makes quick work in finding the smell.  What a good dog.

I get ready to hop into the boat with Diego to see him work from a boat.  Aaron and Grom decided to check out the boot in the bush while I was gone.  Grom the search dog is not trained in finding scent sources like that one.  So, Aaron just let him sniff around and gave him treats whenever he got close to it.  It’s all play and treats for that little fuzzball.

Lucky dog.

Diego is ready with his life preserver on, just like the rest of us.  It was not long before he was at the bow of the boat sniffing away for a scent.

diego port on the water

I think I might be picking something up on this side of the boat.  Sniff sniff sniff.

We gridded back and forth in the boat attempting to bring it across the scent.  Diego diligently sniffed on one side of the boat, then the other.

diego search dog lick nose

The gorgeous search dog started to become excited, licking his nose and wagging his tail, telling us we were on the right track.  Then, he started barking.

It’s right around here!

Told ya so!

Boing!  The float raised above the surface confirming the location of the scent source.  Diego was rewarded with a nice game of tug.  We headed back to the dock with the sound of a big dog happily squishing a ball in his jaws.

Aaron went out on the boat with the next group while I visited with the members of the search team over a bag of dill flavored sunflower seeds. I had so many questions and happily talked everyone’s poor ears off.  We watched as the lake began to fill with hundreds of people and boats. The silence of the morning shifted into a very busy and noisy boat loading area.  Much of the state had been on fire due to dry lightning storms and drought.  Abiquiu was one of the few natural areas open for the holiday weekend and more than a few folks had the same idea. Yikes!

abiquiu rain

Training was cut short by the impending doom of a dangerous desert thunderstorm.  A metal boat on the water did not seem like the right place to be with the lightning flashing across the sky. So, we decided it was a good time to pack up and grab some of that good New Mexican grub.

Chile rellenos, here I come.

Ahhh Vacation

Posted in Dog diary, life with a working dog, pets with tags , , on April 13, 2011 by rattlerjen

Hound and the Found has not had a post in a while, what is going on here?

One word folks: Vacation!

-sunset over the rain forest

Please allow a day or two for a new posting, then back on schedule.

It’s gonna have to wait one more day

Posted in Dog diary with tags , on February 15, 2011 by rattlerjen

Sorry folks, but I am completely spent.  The blog will have to wait for tomorrow.  To tide you over, I have included a nice picture of the moon.

The ring around the Moon is caused by the refraction of moonlight (which is reflected sunlight) from ice crystals in the upper atmosphere.

Rainy Day with the Eagles

Posted in dog training, life with a working dog, Search and Rescue with tags , , , , , , on December 12, 2010 by rattlerjen

What a gorgeous day to sit out in the woods near the swamp.  It rained all night last night.  The ground is covered in wet amber leaves, colors refreshed from the new moisture.  Fallen trees with soaked black skin lay like long seals snoozing in gentle waves of dark orange and tan.  I snuggled up against the cold wet bark of a larger branchless tree pointed down the hill at the ice covered swamp below us.  A few minutes before a small bald headed eagle startled out of a tree with a short high pitched squawk and glided above the swamp. The tail was missing two feathers from his last molt.

The eagle might be having a good time in this, but without all of my gear I would be very cold!  So, I wrapped myself up like a burrito.  First with my Quiggly Down Under rain duster and then my waterproof stadium blanket complete with fuzzy red flannel inside.  The trampoline stretched mesh on the back of my SAR pack became a lovely pillow.  I promptly took a nice long nap.  My intentions of playing Angry Birds on my phone, a distant memory.

I was startled awake by the sound of my name being called out.  An hour and a half had passed since I lost consciousness; body burritos sure do make me comfy! I could just hear the sound of bells tinkling down the hill from me.  Someone was out there looking for me.  I raised myself up onto one elbow and attempted to extract the cell phone from my duster pocket.  I sure was wrapped up in these blankets tight!

Fumbling with my phone, I was able to get a short video of the dog team searching for me.

I had to cut the video short as this pup was going to come back very fast!

So, you thought it was safe

Posted in pets, Search and Rescue, Survival Gear with tags , , , on December 7, 2010 by rattlerjen

I am afraid you are still going to have to squeeze that tube of goo in between the shoulder blades of your pups this month.  I found this lovely creature on the dog bed in my living room this fine evening.

Actual Size!

She looks a bit like I did after my thanksgiving meal last week, but this girl did not dine on turkey.  She dined on blood, puppy blood.

Shouldn’t these guys be sleeping this time of year or frozen to death?

According to the American Lyme Disease Foundation, ticks can be active anytime the temperature is above 45 degrees Farenheit.  In many places, ticks can be active all year round.  So, even if the temperature drops below freezing at night, you just need a nice warm day to bring them back out and on to your dog.

The tick pictured above is the commonly found American Dog Tick. Only the tiny deer tick and western black-legged tick are known to transmit Lyme Disease.  Ticks of any species are not good for dogs as they can carry other diseases both transmittable to dogs and humans.

I found this great little tool perfect for removing ticks from either myself or my dog.  It is called a tick key, and it can be found at pet stores and most outdoor equipment stores.

The best thing to do is of course prevention.  Lesson Learned:

My topical doggie flea and tick goo will be coming out of the tube on a few furry doggie shoulders at the beginning of every month from now on.

Lyme Disease?

Posted in Search and Rescue with tags , , , , , on July 13, 2010 by rattlerjen

I have been a bit slow on posting this week as I have come down with something.  Needless to say, I went to the doctor yesterday for a Lyme Disease blood test and some antibiotics.  I will have to go back again in two weeks to get retested as the tests are not reliable this early in the infection.  Has it been 3 or 4 weeks since I pulled that tiny engorged tick from between my toes?

In honor of the millions of bacteria that are systematically being marked and executed by giant globulous blobs patrolling my veins, I bring you:

Pictures of the accused:

Lyme bacteria (Borrelia burgdorferi)

That tiny little Deer tick

The havoc those tiny little things often (but not always) cause:

  • fatigue
  • fever
  • chills
  • headache
  • muscle and joint aches
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • a rash that may not appear until 30 days after the bite (can be seen as early as 3 days)

You got it folks, the same list of symptoms for nearly anything else a person can think of.  Lesson is to go to the doctor ASAP.  These little corkscrews can permanently damage your nervous system, heart, and even eat holes in your brain if left untreated long enough.  I will keep ya all updated on the results.

How to make a One Match Fire

Posted in how to, howto, Search and Rescue, Survival Gear with tags , , , , , , on June 22, 2010 by rattlerjen

Fire is an important thing to have in a survival situation.  It allows you to stay warm, boosts morale, cook food, and purify water.  It is not as easy to make as you might think.  In a survival situation, or even when backpacking in the woods, one match is all it should take.

Here, we learn how to make a one match fire from our favorite outdoor guru, Rob Speiden.

First, you must gather kindling and tinder.  tinder and kindling

Tinder should be light and fluffy.  This is what the match will light on fire.  People who get good at making fire are able to get tinder to alight in flame with a single spark.  This takes lots of practice, but can be done.  We shall be prepared, so no firebowes mate.

Bark that peels like paper from a tree such as cedar or birch, cotton dipped in Vasoline, char cloth, and lint from the dryer work well.  Unfortunately,  leaves do not work very well because they burn at such a low temperature it takes an enormous amount to light the kindling.  Gather far more tinder than you think you need.

Kindling are dry branches and twigs as big around as your thumb or smaller.  Only gather these from the dead lower branches of trees, not from the ground or they are likely to be wet.

If it snaps it is dry if it is green or wet it will bend.

Gather several armloads.  Then go back and gather more.  No one ever gets enough of this stuff.  Break the kindling into 6 inch lengths.

Find two forked sticks and break them off about 6 inches from the fork.  Shove these guys in the ground about a foot away from one another.  Now, break a twig off of a green branch and lay it across the two forks.  You want the branch to be green as you want it to resist burning for a long time. It will look like you are about to rotisserie a chipmunk.  (I heard they are quite tasty.)  Don’t jump the gun folks!  You are going to need this little frame to build your fire on, so put that rodent away.

Start building a little a frame house with the six inch lengths of kindling.  Make sure you have provided for airflow and enough room in the structure for your hand.  Pile it on. Remember, there’s not really any such thing as too much kindling.

The most important part of fire making:  Sit back and watch all of your hard work BURN!

Hiding in a hammock

Posted in dog training, pets, Search and Rescue with tags , , , , , on June 14, 2010 by rattlerjen

I am just lying here in a hammock.  A nice, cozy cool hammock in the middle of the woods.  I think I might even go to sleep.  Yawn.  Training day rocks!
A giant piliated woodpecker is cackling at me from a nearby tree. His deep red crest flashes in the dappled sunlight as he flicks it up and down. He hops up the tree in short bobbing jumps testing a spot here and there with his beak.  How in the world do they find the insects burrowed under that thick bark?  Could it be xray vision?  The sound of a hollow spot?  The great bird keeps the secret as he turns a shiny black eye to peer at me through the leaves.  Unconcerned, he tries a few more pecks at the tree and glides away.

I fall asleep for a little while.  Woken up occasionally by radio traffic.

What’s this!?

Rewarding a search dog after they have found a person sounds hilarious.

Survival weekend training fun

Posted in life with a working dog, pets, Search and Rescue, Survival Gear with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 11, 2010 by rattlerjen

Every year our team has a survival training weekend. This was my first time participating.
We had the great pleasure of Rob Spieden to teach the class for the entire day.

A flurry of emails before the weekend quickly spoiled any hope of me losing any weight during the weekend and dashed my hopes of eating beetle stew.  A great pot luck feast was brewing amongst the team.  My husband and I brought two dozen donuts.  I sat them on the classroom table near enough food to feed three times the class’s partipating number.

We had just enough time to finish our coffee and donuts before Rob decided classrooms are boring.  After a wonderful introduction to the use of maps and compass, most of us already had one or two classes under our belts on the subject, we staggered outside.  Under the weight of our packs and maps in hand, we staggered into the woods to find our first orienteering marker.learning to navigate

This marker is a four foot tall wooden post with the top painted orange and a white number carved into the side.  We had to bushwack by a route through the woods to find it.  Our small group of troublemakers walked straight down the road where it comes to a stop at another road crossing it.  We then cut into the woods and down a drainage nearly straight to the marker.  It was the easy route.

With a simple walk upstream we walked nearly right into the marker.

On a lovely carpet of bright green moss we sat and waited for the other groups to catch up. They had taken more challenging routes and found the marker soon after we did.  On the perfect area for maximum relaxation, we learned about the Rule of Threes.  A simple list of things to remember in order for a human to survive.

Then, we whipped out the knives.  Big ones, little ones, pink ones, serrated ones, ones with scissors, ones with saws.  Some people had multiple knives. Some had enough knives to belong to the circus.  A few had knives that belonged on the set of Crocodile Dundee.  We like the knives.  A good thing too.  A decent knife is an important item on the list of 10 Essential Survival Items.

box turtleEveryone was instructed to find the next marker on the side of a steep hill.  I joined a group that decided to walk upstream counting drainages in order to find our marker.  A slow turtle and gorgeous warty little red toad later, we aimed ourselves up a steep drainage.  red toad

God, I am out of shape.orienting the map with no compass

At that marker we learned how to relate what can be seen on a topo map to true life.  Some people can do this crazy runnin around in the woods without a compass.  Now, that is quite cool!

It was then decided by unanimous vote that it was time for LUNCH!

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