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About a Dog

Walkin'' Dog

Walkin’  Dog

Had it in my mind today not to even do a post because one of my rules is if you got nothin’ to say it may be best to just not say it. But then I got to thinkin’ if I didn’t post some of y’all might think I was layin’ beside a mesquite stump dead of heatstroke or maybe bit by a buzz tail; so I figured it best to check in.

Vela Von and I  just returned from our first walk of the day -3/4 mile and it will be repeated twice more before the day is over.  We do it every day and the mid day walk is a killer in this heat but we persevere.  A good dog shouldn’t be a couch puss and I need the exercise as well.  The summer heat in the Puckerbrush just is what it is and you deal with it or go home.  Simple. Vela Von gets a couple of ice cubes when we get back inside the NO Princess Palace.   I grab a Camelbak Eddy Bottle (1-Liter/33-Ounce) full of cold  Crystal Light On The Go Energy Grape water and suck it down pronto. I try to drink six bottles a day this time of year.  Some of the Crystal Lights have caffeine and some not.  One thing about it, they sure make this ol’ Puckerbrush water easier to swaller down.

Vela Von will be 9 months old next week and it has been a trip since I picked her up the day after Christmas.  I know now I was woefully unprepared to take responsibility for a dog the likes of which I have never known.   Working dogs are just different and I know now there are even different degrees of working within that definition.  Tuco the Dog was a Gordon Setter and she was a working dog but not like Vela Von – not even close.  This GSD is like a tight-coiled tempered spring that explodes in your face if you so much as look at it.  Took some gettin’ used to; let me tell ya.

Vela Von growin' up

Vela Von growin’ up

I went to the innerwebs to try and find some answers about how to deal with this supersonic buzz saw that was a dog and I landed on the German Shepherd Forum and started digging.   Now listen, I am no stranger to online forums since I started doing this type deal back in the late 80’s when USENET was as good as it got.  I have never,ever,no way, no how dealt with a group of folks that were so over the top full of they ownselves as these GSD forum folks.  Now I have gotten some good tips off the forum but if you was to listen to them, your GSD has to look just so and it must be fed in a certain fashion and you should never so much speak to the dog unless you talk total German at the animal.  Christ on a cracker, these folks are unbelievable!  It is so bad that I have never posted so much as a single word on there because I refuse to be subject to the ridicule and public embarrassment that is commonplace.  Vela Von’s mama and daddy don’t have a bunch of trophies and letters after their names and I highly doubt you could trace her lineage back to Hitler’s personal kennel so she is obviously a plainly inferior animal. As BFF Cait would say F that noise.”  My pup has no idea she is a vastly inferior animal (LOL; as if) and I refuse to accept the whole premise.  Let me tell ya somethin’ – Dogs ain’t much different from kids.  You pay attention to them, you make ’em behave and you love ’em and they will be the best they can possibly be.  It ain’t rocket science.

Checkin' out our world

Checkin’ out our world

BFF Cait’s GSD Stark is a talented animal and when she relates his latest accomplishment it always makes me a skosh bit jealous.  Vela Von started out behind the eight ball when her original purchasers did not make good on the deal and she spent another 30 days in puppy limbo at her breeders.  Hey pup, I got there as quick as I could, OK?  Vela Von has always been a bit behind because she started out behind.

I started The Pup out on an e-collar (Garmin Delta Sport XC Bundle – dog training device) at 6 months old and it was a sound decision.  A dog handler must be schooled up on training a dog using an e-collar.  Most folks will use them to punish the animal for somethin’ they do wrong.  Little Blondie did that with Tuco the Dog right out of the gate and it ruint her for e-collars. You could take the collar out and lay it on the counter and the dog would run and hide.  No bueno that – for damned sure.  An e-collar is used to reinforce a desired action and to use one to effectively train a high spirited animal, you gotta be smarter than the dog.  Sadly, some folks fail that test. Tuco the Dog would talk Chinese for a dog treat; Vela Von could care less. All dogs are different and that is a fact, Jack.

Vela Von

Vela Von

When I decided I was not going to train Vela Von in proper fashion nor teach her to speak German, we got down to business.  Every morning, that e-collar gets strapped on and then she makes every step I do until the day is done.  We do us some specific dog trainin’ and we do some trainin’ that basically amounts to simply tuning in to what is going on.  If she messes up, we work it out. Sometimes, she does something particularly heinous and I will cuss out loud pretty bad.  Seems like when I holler “shit” with evident  displeasure, she looks for the closest hidey hole.  Don’t happen often but dogs will be dogs.

BFF Cait told me that when these dogs get to be about 8 months old, they wake up one morning and decide they are going to be a different dog – a more better dog.  Vela Von woke up that way about 3 weeks ago and I decided it was time for her to start Big Dog School.  From the day Vela got to the NO Princess Palace, she had never gone outside without being on her  Flexi Leash.   Hell, we are right here 40 yds off a busy highway and there is a 1000 acres on the backside she could disappear into. No way, no how was I going to let her just run helter skelter.  I rarely leashed Tuco the Dog back in the day but then again, she was years older and knew the routine inside out.  I never fretted her being off leash.  I just did not have that level of comfort with the new pup but I also  knew she could not work on a leash her entire life and be a real dog.

Selfie- Me and The Pup

Selfie- Me and The Pup

So when Vela Von woke up a different dog a few weeks back I decided now was as good a time as any to leave that leash behind.  It wasn’t an easy decision let me tell ya.  I had visions of her runnin’ out on to the highway and getting splattered or chasin’ a bunny off into the Puckerbrush; never to be seen again. Sometimes you just gotta take that leap of faith and do it or a dog is never goin’ to be a real dog. Me and The Pup have been workin’ off leash for almost 3 weeks now and it has been a huge success.  Seems to me she pays even more attention to me now since she has no leash on to provide guidance.

Funny thing; we are just eat up with sticky burrs here.  It used to hobble Tuco the Dog so bad she would just set down until I came to her rescue.  With Vela Von off leash, she runs willy nilly amongst the stickers and I cannot tell you the last time I had to pick one off her feet.  She just deals with it. Of course, this is the only world she has ever known so she has no idea she is an exceptional animal.  I would like to see some of those star dogs off that forum come down here and do their stuff.  Yeah, I would like to see me some of that.

Late in the day when both of us is pretty much give out about the best I can manage is to sit here at the dinette and watch some DISH TV.  Somehow, Vela Von finds the energy to crawl up on the seat beside me.  She will let out a long breath and put her head in my lap and there she will be till bedtime.  I know then everything is good in dog world.  Ain’t too shabby in my world either.


End Note: Feelin’ Alright by Joe Cocker from the album With a Little Help From My Friends

Youtube from his live performance at Woodstock. Hard to imagine it was almost 50 years ago and those that were there are mostly collecting Social Security – or dead.  Joe Cocker died in 2014.  I just don’t feel that old myself.




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Deceit by Omission

A motley assortment of Fiestaware

A motley assortment of Fiestaware

Little Blondie collected Fiestaware  among other things.  She had hundreds of pieces in rainbow colors stashed here and there. What little bit I saw her sell did not prove profitable if I am remembering right.  When she blew out of here,  kitchen goods took a particular hard hit.  No silverware, no cuttin’ knives and a paltry selection of dinnerware was what I ended up with when the dust settled.  The dinnerware situation amounted to 2 plates, 4 bowls, a few saucers and a medium size bowl -all Fiestaware.  Now considering she had Fiestaware bulgin’ out the doors on just about every storage space we had,  I thought what she left was just pure trifling. I even went so far as to strike a deal some weeks later for some additional pieces.  That would at least give me a decent assortment to eat off of and provide her some income.  I sent the money and I am still waiting on my additional pieces of Fiestaware.  Some folks are just like that I reckon.

Dog time-out

Dog time-out

Well sir, the other day Vela Von broke half my plates( which is one ).  She eats twice a day – morning and evening and when it gets swelterin’ outside I just eat lunch and nada mas.  Dogs are pack animals and especially the German Shepherd dog.  For the first two months I had the pup I fed her out of my hand 3x a day.  That is a dog pack thing and I was just lettin’ her know I was the alpha leader.   So generally what happens is I eat my lunch and leave a few bits on the plate for a dog.  She was wrasslin’ that plate around in the floor and just broke it right in half.  I wasn’t mad at her in the least – but something did fly all over me when it happened.

I realized that every time I looked at one of them plates,  it made me mad.  You can figure out why and when that plate broke I hit my tipping point.

I had it in the back of my mind for quite some time now that some enamelware might be the ticket for a life in the Puckerbrush.  Enamelware is just a tin plate with powdered glass baked on to it. It is s’posed to near indestructible.   Hell, it ain’t like I am going to be askin’ George W. or  Shania Twain to a dinner party now is it?  I figure enamelware will suit me just fine. Of course the first place I went was Amazon but most of their offerings looked to be Made in China and you know my opinion on that.  I did some more poking around the innerwebs to figure out which enamelware was the most highly thought of and finally settled on Falcon Enamelware out of England.  Looks like those folks have been in the business since the 1920’s and I liked what I saw.  Let me tell ya it wasn’t cheap but I was hoping this was one of them cases were you get what you pay for. Only downside to enamelware is you can’t pop it in the microwave. I can live with that.

My new Falcon Enamelware

My new Falcon Enamelware

I ordered up a good assortment and pretty quick DHL had it here from across the water.   I liked what I saw as I was unpacking it.  The coffee cups had a hang tag on the handle and when I read it down at the very bottom it said “Made in China”.   WTF?  This stuff was made in England – since the 1920’s. It was shipped from England.  I thought maybe the cups was the only thing made in China so I searched the bottom of the other stuff, I looked at the boxes, I went back to the website and searched — nowhere was any specific reference made as to country of origin.

I fired off an email to those Falcon folks….

“Thank you for a well packed order that was received over the weekend.
I was greatly disappointed to see a MADE IN CHINA tag on the mugs.  I was just assuming all the products were made at you factory in England esp. since a premium price is being charged.

What other items in my order were MADE IN CHINA???????


Andy Jones”

I got a reply back in short order:

Hi Andy,

thank you for your email.

The Falcon company has been producing enamelware since the 1920’s. The company was established in England before moving the production over to the far east over 70 years ago, a progressive move for the time. The products are still made using the vintage British tooling.

All our fabricware products are manufactured in the UK.

Please let me know if you would like any further information.
Kind regards,

Well crap.  I was SO disappointed!  I did some research and discovered this Made in China concern with Falcon Enamelware had been voiced quite often over the years.  The sticking point being the seemingly intentional omission of where it was made.  Another email from me……..

“I honestly think you should make the origin of your product crystal clear on your website.

I would not have made the purchase otherwise.

Since the 1920s Falcon Enamelware has been an icon of British home life.”

I believe this is deceit by omission as the country of origin is not explicitly revealed ANYWHERE on your website.   You allow us to believe it is still manufactured in England and it is very complicit and subtle.  A quick search of the web after my disappointing purchase reveals I am not the only one who feels duped.

I have a longstanding blog (10 years now) with several thousand visitors daily.  I will join those who feel as I do that you are engaging in disingenuous practices and voice my feelings on my blog.


Andy Jones”

Giovanna with Falcon replied back……

“Hi Andy,

thank you for your email.
Thank you for your feedback,  I would like to clarify that we regularly and personally visit the factory where the Falcon products are made and all the environment and employers rights are respected in full.
if you are not happy with the products you have received please let me know and I will start the returning process.
Please let me know if you need any further information.
kind regards,

Well, it doesn’t make me feel a bit better that they regularly visit their factory in China.  Not even a little.   Of course, she never did address the fact the website is not crystal clear on the origin of their products. Returning the items is not an option for me mainly because of the logistics involved.  I am not about to pay somebody $15/hr so I can go to the post office.

I told her I was going to voice my displeasure on the blog, and well, here ya go.

BTW,  all that Fiestaware went out the gate the other day in the back of a workover rig trash trailer.


End Note:  Jump into the Fire by Harry Nilsson from Nilsson Schmilsson.

Awesome bass line and drum solo.

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Red or Blue?

Little Blue hidin' out in the cargo bay of the Big Ass Suburban.  Notice the cardboard "diaper" underneath the oil pukin' bitch.

Hamilton Beach Brew Station

It was time to update the coffee pot onboard the NO Princess Palace. The old Hamilton Beach single cup brewer had been a good solid workhorse but everything mechanical wears down sooner or later. I had begun to resent the effort to brew a single cup, clean up and recharge the pot and do it all over again for another cup.  When it started pukin’ and burpin’ water out on the cabinet a  little bit, I figured it was time to move along.

Of course, I went to Amazon and picked out the Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Brewstation

Continue reading Red or Blue?

Flat Frogs

Naked door guts

Vela Von @ 8 months

That Vela Von is workin’ on my last nerve.  When it rains down here in the Puckerbrush, nature kicks in a turbo charger or somethin’.  Overnight it seems the air is full of gnats and skeeters and other insect UFOs and go outside about dark thirty and the gnats are so thick you can’t hardly catch a breath.  And mucho frogs.  You never see frogs around a parking pad unless there is water near by; just ain’t happening.

At some point in days past,  one of my gaugers ran over a frog right here in front

Continue reading Flat Frogs

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