Thursday, April 3, 2008

Ginny passes a test and I find more treasures

Ginny has graduated from agility level one. She had her tests tonight and got her official Dog On It Club certificate. She did great: even did the tunnels correctly and held the sit and down /stays for the correct times. Danny was happy. He didn't fall down this week, either. Level two begins next week, barring horrible weather.

When all the dogs were on the field and about a third of the way through the tests, a Border Collie/Husky mix on lead and owner unknown to all the other dogs entered through the gate. The Border Collie began lunging and barking and showing an aggressive posture. Every dog on the field, without exception, stopped their exercises cold to hurl swear barks at the newcomer. "Wait a cotton pickin minute," they seemed to say, "you're not a member of our agility pack, and we certainly didn't invite you in." The dogs were used to ignoring each other for the past six weeks during training. All bets were off with a 'rude' newcomer.

Since dogs are worked on lead during level one, there were no individual nose to nose confrontations. Had the dogs been off lead though, about twenty five dogs would have instantly surrounded the stranger at the gate. He then would have realized he'd better mind his manners. And he would have. Leashes keep dogs from being able to show and read proper canine body language. As it was, the new dog continued to bother everybody for awhile until the other dogs got bored with him, interested in their liver and chicken bait rewards, and ignored him. The interesting thing to me was that the owner seemed to be oblivious of the chaos she caused bringing him into the middle of a training class. She never corrected him. Dunno who she was. Nobody ever said. For all I know she was a 'ringer' sent by the trainers to distract everybody. If so, it worked. At least briefly.

I'm still clearing out and packing up Mother's house. I had an unhappy find today. At the top of a closet, I found an old suitcase that was crumbling. Inside, it was full of old photographs, newspapers, letters, and journals. All water damaged and unreadable. Flaking into moldy piles. I was able to tell (barely) that several of the letters, bound in string were from Arizona territory in the 1870s. A crumbling journal belonged to James H Miller. Either his Civil War journal or the original from Ft Defiance. At the bottom of the suitcase were some Indian made items. Looked like the bags medicine men wore. Beadwork. Once beautiful. Now ruined. I couldn't save any of it. It was beyond repair. I will always wonder whose face once looked out of the ruined Dagerrotype photograph. I'll never know now. I was able to save a dagger also in the suitcase, lying next to the Indian bags. The sheath is bedragged, but the knife is still shinning steel and very sharp. Engraved on it are these words: "Never draw me without reason nor sheath me without honour."

I must presume the knife belonged to James Miller or his son, William. So, it was either my great great or my great grandfather's. Anywhere from 150 to 100 years old probably. In any case it belonged to a man of honour. James, who fought to preserve his country in The Civil War and attempted to better the lives of his Navajo friends in the West or William who volunteered in middle age to serve in the trenches in France as a doctor during World War One.

I have only one more closet to clear out in the 'bonus' room and then must tackle the storage room off the carport. More interesting finds perhaps. Or not. I just hope there aren't spiders! Then, at last, I'll be done. Move the rest of the furniture to storage and find homes for the giveaway stuff. Three more weeks to the deadline. I'm taking some time off tomorrow for lunch with a friend and an hour's shopping.

That's all for now. Ta.

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