11 weeks

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Dagr has been doing well in his puppy kindergarten class. All with varying levels of success he knows come, sit, down, climb, go potty, go poop, go to bed and when walking sits next to you when you stop. We continue to work on these and increased leash time.

We had our first walk in the woods today. He seemed to really enjoy it. We found a dead deer, climbed through briars, and walked on new surfaces. I believe he is at the end of his first fear period, gaining back his confidence daily.

Last week we noticed his right ear standing more and more. By Friday morning the right ear was up and hasn’t dropped again since. We have also noticed him “Radar” sounds by turning his left ear a couple of times. He is slowly gaining control of them.

Dagr @ 10 weeks

10 weeks

Dagr @ 11 weeks

11 weeks

We are ready to get Dagr registered for beginners puppy classes. As this is my last day off work for a while, we decided to pay the trainers a visit. Well it seems that the training facility is closed during the middle of the day from 11am-3pm. So since the truck needed inspected we visited our local garage. We have known the owners for 20 years so we took Dagr in and of course they fell in love with him. While we waited for the inspection we took the opportunity to take a walk for a couple of blocks in our old downtown area.

Dagr walked on brick, metal grates, crushed brick. He checked out every store front, looking in windows, trying to pull plants out of the pots….. We did a little climb on a brick stoop in front of one store and played with a store owner through the window while she was cleaning up inside. New smells, sounds, textures, and people. I started rewarding Dagr with treats in the car when he was calm and quiet. He was not nearly as boisterous today. Did it work or was it my imagination?

Dagr has also been crate training at night when we sleep and during the day when I am in the shower and can’t keep an eye on him. He fussed just a little last night. It wasn’t really a crying this time, more like a little whining. He is quite vocal. Today while I showered, he didn’t make a peep. After I got my socks on which is always a challenge these days, I opened the crate door and he actually stayed in there another 5-10 minutes. He is such a good boy so far. I hope this continues and I’m sure it will.

The garage owners, like everyone commented on the size of his paws. I have yet to be able to capture a good representative of how big his paws are. I tried the following today and photographed his paw against my hand, while he was chewing on my thumb, I might add. Take note that I have large hands. Size 12 ring finger and wear an extra large glove. The image is terrible but it’s not easy taking a cell phone shot with one hand while holding a puppy paw and having your thumb chewed by needle teeth with the other. Also take note that he is only 8.5 weeks old.

Yesterday was huge for Dagr. A day of firsts. We did so many new things and met a lot of new people. After lunch we took a ride to town. Dagr sat in the back seat by himself like a big boy. He cried a little bit at first then laid down and fell asleep…. First stop was Tractor Supply to get dog food. He rode in a shopping cart for the first time. Everyone we met made over him of course, who doesn’t like a puppy. The cashier gave him a treat but he wasn’t too sure what to do with it. On the way back to the truck he stood up in the cart, put his paws over the edge and rode cowboy style!

Next stop the drug store to pick up Grandma’s prescriptions. Dagr and Dad sat in the truck while Mom fetched the meds for Grandma. Then off to grandma’s house we went. Grandma lives in an apartment designed for Seniors. The two automatic doors at the entrance almost got him. He didn’t know doors could open by themselves. Grandma lives on the 2nd floor. That means we had to ride the elevator. It was scary going into the elevator but once he was in, he was ok. Grandma and his Aunt made over him and he played with April (Shih Tzu) until they were both exhausted. Potty break!! He almost peed in the lobby, I told him NO!!! snatched him up and got some on me…. on the way out the door we were greeted by the building manager who wanted to met him but we told her she had to wait until after the potty break. She follows us outside, distracting Dagr but he finally went, whew!

A couple more potty breaks, another trip to the drug store and we were finally on our way home. Dagr slept like a rock the entire 45 minute ride home. Of course when we arrived he was well rested and raring to go again….

Last night, the third night in the crate Dagr let us sleep all night long and let us sleep in until about 7:30. No accidents in the crate so far. Amazing.

Today we have a smaller adventure planned but we want to keep getting out meeting people and riding in the car as much as possible. We also have to be very careful because he hasn’t had all his shots yet. Parvo is a major concern and a nasty virus. His first vet visit is next week for round 2 of his shots. By the third round I will feel a little more comfortable and can expand our adventures a little. First stop was a visit to a friends house, husband, wife, and 3 kids ranging from 5-15. Again, Dagr was a complete gentleman. He did well with the youngest. Next stop we visited the gun shop. It was very busy on a Saturday. The owner and his wife were very accommodating especially considering how busy they were. Again, we met many new people, heard a few good stories and received many compliments.

I am really going to start trying to get pictures of his adventures but I get caught up in the moment and forget.

My wife and I finally, many months after loosing our Mia, got another German Shepherd. We found a wonderful breeder about 2 hours away and couldn’t have asked for a better breeder, litter and pup. I think all the stars aligned on this one but time will tell.

I am always bad about updating my blog but I am really going to try hard to document the life of Dagr “Dag” here. We brought Dagr home on New Years day. This was the holiday that just kept on giving. Mom went into the hospital, I got sick as a dog… with a head cold and couldn’t even visit her, then we got Dagr and last night our heat pump died.

Dagr is a mix of Czech and Belgian (German working lines). The stability and temperament of his parents are outstanding and so far Dagr is falling right in line with Mom and Dad. He hasn’t showed and “fear” and is pretty open to most all situations and noises. He gets startled but then investigates the noise or situation. This is how you want a German Shepherd to act. A Shepherd should be cautious but courageous, brave and inquisitive. We will get into obedient and protective of his pack later…

We have owned German Shepherds for over 20 years. I have been around them all my life. Dagr is our first Male GSD (German Shepherd Dog). Yet we still don’t claim to be experts. We just try to do right by our dogs and expect the same in return. We have had some wonderful dogs over the years and have very high hopes for Dagr. He will begin formal training in a few weeks.

Without further adieu, Dagr! The pictures don’t really do him justice. The sheer size of his paws at 8 weeks old is almost terrifying. Oh, and he is a grunter. Freaking hilarious.

It has been a long time since my last update. I have been working on building a koi pond and thought I would post our progress here. No outstanding photography, in fact most were taken with my cell phone.

We had a nice little pond and never intended on raising Koi. We purchased a few 38 cent goldfish on a whim just to see if they would survive. Not long after, we purchased our first Koi from Walmart… This must have been around 2008. In 2009 we built an additional pond and had one flowing into the other. At this time I added real filtration. We picked up a couple more Koi from a trusted breeder about 2 hours away. Then they started to grow…

We started enjoying them so much. When I came home from work, we would have a beer on the back porch and feed the fish. It is so peaceful and relaxing to watch their simple grace. It turned into a real stress relief. My wife loves the pretty back yard, the lights, water, fish etc. I enjoy the engineering behind it all. What it takes to make the water “gin” clear and supply the best possible water quality for our Koi. I like coming up with innovative ways to remove waste and improve their environment. We started observing that they all had different personalities. I would never have thought…..

One Friday night after work, we had more than a couple of beers while enjoying the fish. We came to the conclusion that these small ponds were just not going to satisfy what was becoming a growing fascination with raising Koi. My wife looked at me and said “Go big or go home” that is when it all began….. I started designing our pond. With the helpful folks over at Koiphen I came up with what we thought would fit our purpose and space. Many discussions on the forum and over the phone we hashed out our plan, made corrections, changes etc. until we got something on paper that looked like it fit the bill. Then when it came time to start construction, it all changed again….

Our first contractor we hired to dig the hole. I told my wife I was not hand digging in that hard red clay anymore. This is the job he did. 10’Wx20’Lx6’D at approximately 9000 gallons. He started talking about pouring forms and cost. We discussed it and decided it would sure save us a lot of time to build forms and pour concrete. He said he could start right away. We came up with the money and were excited to get started. He unfortunately put us off for over a month. Finally we had enough and started exploring additional options.

One day I was at the gas station that I always fill up at and asked the attendant I see every week if she knew a concrete contractor. She seemed excited about the question for some reason and said she would have a business card for me when I came next week. Enter Bernie owner of Above and Below construction. He stopped by the house to meet us and talk about what we wanted. We were skeptical from our previous contractor experience but heard him out as he seemed very down to earth. After the work talk was over he hung out for a little while and just talked to us. His price was much higher than what the previous guy quoted us. He said there was no way the other contractor could do it for that price, it just doesn’t make sense. We discussed it, asked him when he could start and decided to go with it.

Bernie is great and has become a good friend. He did what he said he was going to do aside from rain delays and sometimes that didn’t matter.

Oh the mason crew and the contractor were hilarious. Our sides hurt by the time they left. These guys worked very hard. It took them about 12 hours to lay all the block. Four guys laying block and one mixing and moving blocks. They were all Mexican’s and the only English speaking guy was the foreman. My wife cooked a feast that day and we fed them lunch. They sat down, ate lunch and inside 30 minutes were back at work. When they left, the foreman “Kildare” stopped and thanked us saying they had never been treated so well on a job site.

Our contractor overseeing the final project. You can see an arm inside the hole. That is Kildare cleaning up the mortar that got slung on the inside so we didn’t have any lumps behind the liner.

Our Supervisor of Construction.

Now it is time to start the filter pit. This is where all the filtration for the pond will go. I have it all laid out in my head. I called Bernie and asked what it would cost to pour a concrete pad for my pit. He quoted us a price and we had just enough money to do it.

Once the form was laid out. I had to leave town on business and left my wife to oversee this part of the project. I called home to check on things and she told me the concrete had been poured that day. I asked her if we barricaded the concrete so the “supervisor” couldn’t run over top of it. My wife’s response was “Nah, she won’t go near it”. I asked her to keep an eye on the dog to make sure. She agreed. I told her I still thought it was a good idea if she put some string around it or something to deter the dog. She insisted it would be ok.


I hate to say I told you so but I told you so. Bernie was pissed!! “WTF, you let that damn dog run across my pretty concrete!!” ROFLMA, it adds character I guess. I hardly notice it with all the filtration in there anyway.

We ordered the liner. We decided on a product called BTL. It is a fiber reinforced PPL material used in commercial applications and chemical containment. As well as agricultural applications like large irrigation ponds. This stuff is hard core. It is think, rigid and tough as nails. However, it only weighs in at about 130 lbs or so. My wife and I were able to stretch it out in the yard, re-fold it, heave it over the side and stretch it out by ourselves. It’s amazing what we can accomplish together sometimes.

Skip forward by a couple of stages and this is where we currently stand on construction. We are getting pretty close now. Rock work to go.

Current Pond

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East Coast Koi Imports Fall 2010 Harvest

We attended this event today and it was very educational. Nice people, pretty fish, and good food. We didn’t buy anything today, miracles do happen :)


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We attended Lotus Land Koi Farm’s fall harvest sale today. There were a lot of fish tosai (1st year) and nisai (2nd year) and the turn out of people looked pretty well also. After we finally found the farm after our GPS landed us on a dead end road in between a bunch of fields, literally in the middle of nowhere. I was able to find my history from this past spring in the GPS and arrived about an hour later than we should have.

As usual Lotus land had some gorgeous fish. I’m sure most were out of our price range. We learned a lot as we do every time we visit Brady at Lotus land.

This little guy caught our eye. I was searching for a Goshiki, Hi Utsuri, Shiro Utsuri, or Tancho. Brady had all of these but as our eye is developing, what makes a good Koi and trying to determine what we think the Koi will look like as an adult, we decided on this little guy. I do mean little. He measures in at about 4-4.5 inches. It will be interesting to see how he develops.

Our others from Lotus land are doing great and growing like weeds. This fall we will re-home our Tosai to the other pond and I will take pictures of them for comparison so that we can see how they are developing and growing. Stay tuned…..


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We went to a koi breeder yesterday to finally pick up a couple of fish for our pond. My intent was to choose 2. I definitely wanted a Kohaku and see if the breeder had an Asagi. He did not but had some great Kohakus.

Well we came home with 4… It was so hard to decide. The breeder says that is why he has a fish farm, he could never decide.

Kohaku: White koi with red (hi, pronounced ‘he’ ) markings. The hi should be deep red with well defined edges (kiwa) where it meets the white which should be pure and bright.

Kujaku: Platinum koi with hi markings. The scales are overlaid with a matsuba pattern. (black centres to its scales, creating a pine cone effect)

Yamabuki Ogon: Yellow-gold metallic koi.

Chagoi: Light brown/olive koi. They have a reputation of being overly friendly and grow quite large.

Doitsu Asagi: is the term applied to a fully reticulated koi that exhibits a blue color above its lateral line, and accented by red markings on its underside.

The Pond: This shot was taken at our normal viewing perspective. The new Koi were added to the upper pond but we imagine they will find themselves in the lower pond like the others have on their own. This image was taken a month or so ago. There have been some subtle changes since that time. I’ve installed a skimmer in the lower pond, moved somethings around etc.

Jul 11, 2010

I contacted my hosting provider to help determine why the site was available for some and not others. I found a php error and opened a support ticket. After a few email exchanges the technical support desk was able to determine there was an attack on the server.

My provider is hostgator. I must say I have had a couple of problems but I can’t say it was anything within the control of the host. I must also say their support seems to be top notch. Just short of my own technical support desk :)

**Update: The saga continues. I still can’t load the site from work and my sister can not from her office either. The site is periodically slow as well, especially if I am interacting with the database. I think this is a routing issue. Let’s see if we can get this fixed before I move hosting.

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The Toney’s and us are planning a photoshoot with the Toney kids. Marsha and Cayce hit the thrift store and purchased props for the shoot yesterday. This image was me trying to dial in my lighting and exposure, a test shoot. This is probably the best of the test shots.

I have some work to do. I have another flash that will be used for hair light and/or background separation but I don’t have a good way to fire the flash yet. I either need another Pocket Wizard radio trigger or an optical sensor to trigger the 3rd flash.

Set up was a 580ex in a 32″ softbox camera right. An old 430ez in a 42″ umbrella camera right. Both lights are approximately 45 degrees from my miniature model Kat about 6 ft away. An overhead light in the room casting really bad shadows but I needed it for focus and so we could all see what we were doing.

My todo list includes doing something with the over head light. Maybe a lamp in the room so we can see. I need a way to trigger that 3rd flash without breaking the bank. Makeup artist and costume consultants (Marsha and Cayce) and a better backdrop maybe.

A special thanks to Alyx Toney for assisting me…..

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