Spring and Summer 2002

Fern Hill, Spring and Summer 2002

It was such a long winter, and though very mild the snow seemed to fall continuously. Much as we love cross country skiing with the dogs, it was with a sigh of relief that we welcomed the March calves and lambs.

Our Highland cattle which we have had since 1973 are a mix of reds, silver dun and dark duns. We no longer have the black Highlands that we brought in from British Columbia in 1980. Perhaps to compensate, our flock of Jacob and Rideau Arcott sheep have mixed into a delightful blend that seems to be predominantly black. Spring lambs came in a rush in March during some of the worst weather we had all winter.

So we headed for Louisville, Kentucky mid March to see some Spring blooms and compete in the SDCA supported entry. Torquil’s son Lehigh Yuill bred and owned by Paula Pascoe scooped up most of the majors and finished his championship in royal style. Our Fernhill’s Roslyn topped a supported entry of 21 bitches to take her first US major.

Because I was so excited about Roslyn’s win I forgot to get a photo so here is Lehigh Yuill instead, a stunning young male pictured below at 18 months. We think Torquil is siring some lovely puppies…..

Ch. Lehigh Yuill bred, owned and handled by Paula Pascoe above at 18 months.

In April we took our annual pilgrimage to the Deerhound Club Breed Show in the UK. This time Susan Trow and Barb went together, and after the show spent a week with Mary Girling (Pyefleet) with Susan photographing for us parts of the extensive image collection held in the Deerhound Club archives. The addition of new material from Dr. Poyner-Wall and Miss Noble made this a poignant and intensive time for us. Susan worked non stop while I (Barb) dithered about, engulfed in memories of Marjorie Bell (Enterkine), Agnes Linton (Geltsdale), Norah Hartley (Rotherwood), Anastasia Noble (Ardkinglas) and Dr. Poyner Wall (Melchior), who all had such an impact on the breed and were so kind to me over the years, tolerating my visits and endless questions. The volume of material collected for our forthcoming book on the Scottish Deerhound is enormous.

As well, Richard visited the AKC library in Manhattan in April on a research trip for additional historical information, particularly gaps in the history of the Deerhound in the US. He returned with a treasure trove of interesting data for the book thanks to wonderfully cooperative library staff. This included registrations, articles spanning the mid 1850’s to the present, photos, and negatives of the AKC’s Deerhound art which we have permission to use in our forthcoming book. Such as the superb “Highland Tod, Fox Hunter” by Richard Ansdell, 1859……

Spring also brought a litter of puppies. Not ours this time, but to Bodil Andersson in Sweden who bred her beautiful Ch. Manticorns Christa from imported frozen semen from our Am.Can.Ch. Fernhill’s Torquil. Christa produced on April 6, 2002, a dozen, yes, twelve puppies! (Of which nine survived.) This is, I think, a record for the breed as most frozen semen Deerhound litters never seem to be more than two or three puppies. We were delighted for Bodil and Torquil, but have to give a lot of credit to Liv Vogt Johansen who made the arrangements, the Norwegian veterinarian team that carried out the trans-cervical insemination, and Dr. Debbie Boyd of Owen Sound, Ontario who collected and shipped the pupsicles. Of course we couldn’t resist a pup from this litter and Manticorns Hugo arrived June 14th after a long flight from Göteburg via Frankfurt.

Hugo settled in immediately and found in Holly a perfect playmate.

Fern Hill’s welcome to Manticorns Hugo

Our “litter” this Spring consisted of two large eggs laid in an abandoned barn on the east side of the farm.

Eventually they hatched into two chicks that really only a turkey vulture hen could love…we watched fascinated as they grew..

As Paula Pascoe (Lehigh) said when we sent her and Grant pictures of our brood…they had to be Fern Hill chicks as they had absolutely no facial furnishings! We watched them learn to fly using the barn as their sheltered flight pen until they eventually soared off.

Holly’s delight in Hugo seems to be in compensation for the loss of brother Havoc. For after much arm twisting and the realization on our part that there is truth to the adage that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) always get their man, sometimes woman, horse (and occasionally the perfect dog), Havoc went off to live with Gail Secord Lamb and Andrew Lamb, both RCMP officers in Banff, probably one of the most beautiful parts of Canada.

Gail and Andrew were passionate in their desire for a Deerhound and it was hard to deny a dog like Havoc the glory of running free in the Rocky Mountains and coursing elk off the lawns of Banff.

So Havoc is much loved, and from the “Havoc Journals” that we receive every week, we can tell that Gail and Andrew and Havoc will some day be as famous as that brilliant RCMP officer Sergeant Renfrew and his Incredible Dog “Cuddles” who kept law and order in Canada for many years from his lonely log cabin on the 14th floor of Mountie Headquarters. “Cuddles” tales of daring-do were immortalized by the Royal Canadian Air Farce, but no tale compares to that of “Havoc and the Grizzly” a.k.a. “Gail the Gal with Buns and Nerves of Steel and that Incredible Hulk Havoc”.

But Havoc is really Andrew’s birthday present……now if he would only stop chasing the Warden’s horse and behave well enough to be invited to join the RCMP Musical Ride.

Meanwhile, Havoc’s brother High Glamour, who lives in Switzerland with Petra and Rolf Pfenninger, not to be outdone, rises to the occasion and sends greetings from Spain where he holidays in the summer with his two lady Deerhound companions.

At a year, a young male Deerhound is all legs – perhaps that is why currently Glam is registering times of 34.9 seconds over 480 metres on the race track in Switzerland.

Below is another brother Hawkeye Pierce at a coursing meet with his owner Alan Ryder and reclining on a well nibbled leather couch at the Lazin-Ryder home in British Columbia.

One of our most exciting events this summer was an ultralight flight by Richard with Bill Lishmann. Bill, an inventor-sculptor, dreamed some thirty years ago of flying with Canada geese on their migration route.

This idea evolved into “Operation Migration” http://www.operationmigration.org. After practicing with Sandhill cranes, Bill recently completed a reintroduction of endangered Whooping cranes into eastern North America by taking a small group on a new fall migration route from Wisconsin to Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. He successfully established a new eastern wintering site for these birds which reduces the risk associated with wintering in only one location which is their current pattern. The flight with Bill in his ultralight brought Richard, as the turkey vulture flies, for a view of Fern Hill on a spectacular summer evening…

To the left of the laneway, running up to the house in the foreground of this picture, are our two long “dog runs” lined with lilacs and shade trees where we put everyone if we both have to leave the farm for the day. Over the hills you can see meandering across the fields, top right, the paths that we have worn on our walks. Richard mows these so visitors don’t get lost – and we notice that not just ourselves and the dogs, but also the deer, hare, coyotes, foxes, wolves and skunks all seem to use these trails as well.

Our one major Canadian show every year is the Ontario Sighthound Specialty held in June (very, very hot) and always attracting Canada’s biggest Deerhound entry. This year Fernhill’s Roslyn, still a baby at only 20 months, won Best of Breed from the classes over 5 champions. Best of Opposite was Am. Can.Ch. Pyefleet Nonesuch our UK import co-owned with Judith Bownan, whom Judith has been campaigning very successfully.

Fernhill’s Roslyn …BOB at the Ontario Sighthound Specialty, June 30, 2002

At the end of July, Barb and Roslyn flew out to British Columbia to join Sharlene Lazin, Hawkeye Pierce and Fernhill’s Gabriola on a trip down the west coast to the SDCA Specialty at Lompoc, California. Pierce won his class, Roslyn came 2nd in a tough Bred By class and Pierce and Gabby came 2nd and 4th respectively in the ASFA coursing (in an entry of about 20 Deerhounds), winning for Sharlene the Kennel Stake. It was great fun camping, and the trip included as well a visit with Allyn and Dan Babitch in San Jose, CA. Here we picked up Sindar Salix born 13 days after Hugo on April 19, 2002. She is co-owned with Sharlene Lazin, sired by Ch. Jaraluv Kempthorne out of Ch. Windshift Bramble and for the next year will make the perfect companion for Hugo.

Salix in the foreground doing the usual puppy “ear thingy” if you are lucky enough to have such gorgeous itty bitty perfect ones. This is their puppy room where Hugo and Salix are learning to destroy shoes thanks to fancy equipment provided by their good pals Marion and Mike Langford who spoil them with toys. They can also do “show time” for the camera…

Sindar Salix at 4 months

and now here is Hugo being set up for the first time…drum roll please!

Manticorns Hugo first “show stack” at almost 5 months of age

That pretty well brings us up to date…we now await two major events. The Fern Hill International Annual Walking Stick Contest (FHIAWSCo) which is planned for October 19th . Gerry Anderson, our neighbour was the first judge of this event fifteen years ago. From the 1987 Archives we have Gerry and Bruce Matheson reading a long involved explanation as to why what assuredly deserved to be the Supreme Grand Champion stick wasn’t there to be chosen at the contest (some dastardly knave had stolen it the previous evening) and this poor substitute was there in its place…..

Quality sticks are now the norm and actually make it to this event from all corners of the globe without getting stolen enroute. Fifteen years later here is Gerry trying out a stick entered by Judy Wozniak last year…a leopard frog carved onto the head of a painted shaft. A stunning stick, but alas not a winner in the eyes of Joan Giles the judge.

The other Fall Event that will keep us busy is a litter from Simone and David Ross’s Fernhill’s Dulcinea (of Havoc, Holly, Pierce, Glam fame) by Ch. Fernhill’s Turbulent Indigo due at the end of September. We will try and be a bit more communicative with our next update by the end of October when Roslyn and Reiba turn two, and the puppies are at the really cute four weeks-and-we’re-out-of-the-box stage. That’s geriatric love for you…Indy (left) and Dulcie (right)…isn’t it grand!