Sunday, September 17, 2006

Snow already?

We got home from our vacation to Yellowstone on Sept 15th. It was raining a bit and cool. As evening came, this wall of clouds came rolling in, blocking out any hopes of seeing the mountains, which are only about a mile away.

We wake in the morning to this view. We had about 3 inches of snow to start with. During the day another inch or two fell.

Of course, this creates all sorts of interesting problems for construction. They had just put down the insulating bubble foil that goes under the radiant heat. Great! It insulates the snow from the ground and then traps the water as the snow melts. Timing is everything!

Sunday morning we awaken to a gorgeous view. Seems too much like winter though.

Skiing anyone?

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Beauty Golfing

OK, the golf itself wasn't gorgeous, but the day was. Bruce Kahn and I played at the Wasatch Mountain course in Midway, Utah. It is a public course in a state park. The leaves are changing. The grass is green. The sky is blue. The mountains form a spectacular backdrop. All this for just over $30 with a cart. What more can you ask for?

Nice form Bruce!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Running of the Balls

One last thing from the Labor Day weekend. Park City does a fund raiser for the local cancer center. They do this with the Running of the Balls. People "sponsor" 2000 tennis balls for about $5 each. They set up a course down the hill on Main Street. The course is two long pipes of 3" PVC pipe. First, people dressed in white with red sashes start running down the street from the balls.

Then they release the 2000 balls. Some small set of them seem to get a good head start and come zipping down the hill.

Then more and more balls start rolling down.

Eventually jillions of them come rolling down.

Once the mass of balls comes down, they start catching along the side of the pipes. They let the kids get involved by letting them heard the slow balls down the hill.

The winner is the first ball across the finish line. Someone (not us) got two free tickets on Delta, anywhere in the U.S..

Perhaps the real winner was Jasper. Every morning he and I go up the hill behind our house and play fetch with a tennis ball. He went with us to the running of the balls and somehow managed to watch 2000 tennis balls roll by without stealing any. It was fun watching his head go back and forth as he kept watching them go past. We were astounded at how well he behaved. Add into this the fact that any event in Park City is always full of dogs. Jasper did well with the 1000+ people and 100+ dogs wandering around. One dog was a golden retriever with a captured tennis ball in his mouth. The guy described it as an unfortunate victim.

Local silliness, but quite fun. It was followed by a parade that was not worth the bits it would have required to take digital photographs.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Condo in the Fall

These little guys were purchased at the Portland Zoo on our last trip. They are two mountain gots who appear to have climbed our stone fireplace.

A little odd, but I like them.

It is hard to see that much of the color on such a small picture, but click to enlarge it and it may be more obvious. Even though it is just Labor Day, the trees are starting to change on the mountains. Give it another week or two and it should be quite pretty.

Last stop, the house. They are about halfway done building the forms for all the walls. It starts to take shape. They should pour at the end of the week.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Sheepdog Trials

We went to this competition two years ago. It is amazing to watch the Border Collies round up sheep, waltz them around the hillside, and then pen them up at the end. They are fast, focused, patient and smart.

The place where they are held is Soldier Hollow, over in beautiful Heber City. It is where the 2002 Olympic cross country skiing was held. It is a great venue because there are stands for watching, a nice flat area that was the finish, and then a huge hillside where they did most of the skiing. Great for sheep herding trials.

The dog has 13.5 minutes to complete a long series of things. The start is from way down the hill so as soon as the clock starts, the dog wastes no time.

You start to get some sense of how far he has to run. He is still at full speed in this picture.

You can now see him as the little black speck up above the six sheep.

You would think getting them running in the right direction might be good, but in general running is bad. They are too hard to control and at full speed the sheep are as fast as the dog. It is all about pace and control.

The very lasst step is to get them into the pen. The sheep aren't quite as stupid as you might think and they have no desire to get in. Here is a fairly common sight. All the sheep in a stare-down with the dog.

Some of the sheep went in, but one really has an attitude. You notice his head is turned down to give the dog a piece of his mind. In this case, the dog is allowed to bite the sheep on the nose to keep control.

Here is what you aren't allowed to do. This dog just got frustrated at how annoying the sheep were being. They were going every which way and then refusing to go anywhere. This one took off so he chased and gave it a nip on the butt. No can do. He was disqualified.

For practice in the early phases, the dogs get to herd ducks. As with the sheep, the ducks saw strength in numbers and tended to wander around as a mob.

I didn't get to see any of the duck herding demos, but this one dog was in the pen for a minute. He was supposed to move the ducks from one end of the pen to other other so they could fix the shade tent. He did a marvelous job. Actually, he looks pretty scarey.

If you get a chance to see one of these events you should. It is good for about two hours of entertainment, but then starts to get a bit repetitive unless you are really into it. Great show!

Flying dogs (sort of)

One of the demonstrations they had at the Sheepdog trials was a Flying Canine demo. This group of human and dogs have won awards, been on TV and such. I really wanted to bring Jasper so he could learn. Unfortunately, no guest dogs allowed.

Just as well. This was a big let down. The guy doing the throwing and chatting was lame. The dogs gave it a good try but it was only impressive to the young children. The dogs dropped a lot of discs and they almost never got a good "sky". When Jasper and I go play in the park, he creates a much better highlight reel.

This dog got the opportunity to hop over some kids.

The most embarrassing part we saw (we left after this) was when the guy came out dressed as Superman with a little dog dressed as Superdog. The dog was a fat little thing that got no more than a few inches of air. The guy looked silly. The dog looked silly. The frisbee was poor. Yuck.