Friday, July 31, 2009


Puppy Terra is growing. She is still a puppy, just turned six months old, but a lot of people seem to doubt that. When we are walking her with Miss Hayley, we often now hear the refrain: "Are they twins?" Of course, Hayley doesn't understand that, but I'm sure she would be flattered if she could

Terra is a big girl. She is actually right now a little bit taller than Hayley and weighs about 36 pounds, that's ten pounds lighter than the old girl. And Terra is far from done from growing, I imagine. How big she's going to get, I can't really say. Hayley is a small border collie, even for a female, but Terra seems to be on track to be, physically, some kind of uber collie. Perhaps something primeval, out of the misty jungles of Scotland (OK, I know there are no jungles in Scotland, bear with me here, I'm waxing poetic), a great fierce, giant herding machine ... the Border Collie of the Baskervilles.

No prey is safe from the Border Collie of the Baskervilles

The relationship between Hayley and Terra is improving. Slowly, perhaps, but definitely coming along. Hayley is actually pretty submissive, she will regularly give up water, toys, even food to other dogs. so she is doing that with Terra. In the parks, however, if a dog comes into Hayley's personal space .. like her butt .. she will assert herself. A few years a go she pinned a 90 pound male Doberman who was getting a little too free and easy with his nose. I would like to see her use that kind of dominance with Terra. She is giving up her bed (that being our bed) to the puppy. In the park, if Terra charges her, trying to initiate play, Hayley will put up a pretty weak defense, she waits for me to put the pup in her place. Here at the house, Terra can fall asleep with her head on Hayley's butt, but if Terra looks at her from several feet away, Hayley gives her the snarl. I think it's all about approach. Eye to eye contact. It's a border collie thing.

They are walking very well together, we get many compliments about them and as always, especially in this city which is not always dog friendly, if your dogs are well behaved, sociallized and calm, people will take time to notice them in a positive way.

I know Hayley has been affording a luxury of behaviour that she grants to all puppies. Now that Terra is getting older, I would expect Hayley will become more adamant with her dominance. But it's certainly obvious that Terra loves her "big sister" All of her behaviour is an attempt to illicit play, or snuggle in, dog pack style. Hayley is not wrestling with Terra, she really hasn't done that in the last few years, but she will do her herding/heeling behaviour when Terra fetches. And yes, she has gotten much better at sharing the couch.

Even though, there are times, Hayley is cuddling under protest. I'm sure, in the pic below, she is asking me "C'mon, one little nip, she's right here, it would only take me a second .."

So, this weekend will be a new adventure. Terra's first sojourn to the beach. Blogs, pics and video to follow.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


My puppy is insane. I have proof.

She seems to have a particular psychosis related to all things aquatic. Again, I have proof. Below, is a pic of Terra punishing her pet fish. I'm not exactly sure what transgression the fish is guilty of. But this may be extreme and unusual punishment.

In the High Court of Boder Collie justice, there seems to be no leniency, or no reprieve. Terra is quite steadfast in her treatment of the guilty fish and really, expresses no guilt whatsoever.

In the video below, you will see Terra's disdain for seafood extends beyond mere fish. Apparently her stuffed squid (know as Calamari) is also in need of a good need of discipline.

Then there is her pool. As seen in previous posts, Terra loves her pool. Perhaps too much. Lately she has taken to splashing around in the pool and barking incessantly. Quite frankly, my puppy loses her mind in that pool. That pool is, indeed, border collie crack To the point, we decided to empty the pool of water, since that seems to be a trigger for her to go totally berserk out in the yard; amusing at my birthday party, but not so fun for us and the neighbours at 7 in the morning.

Of course, like any addict, Terra does not take too well to going cold turkey. Detox can be an ugly experience.

I guess we have Terra well enough trained that she won't vent her anger on us. So the pool bears the full brunt of her fury. Why something just six months old has so much pent up rage I'm not sure. Maybe it stems from the lack of free running sheep in North York. At any rate, if you thought the poor fish had it rough, the pool may now qualify for workman's comp.

As you will see in the video, Terra's little discipline session with the pool went on for a good length of time. But, Terra is still a female after all. And part way through, she suddenly realized that the pool could be used as a lovely hat.

After her brief fashion foray, Terra remembered her mission and, even angrier that the pool tried to distract her with haute couteur, went at it with even more ire.

I should be careful posting these pics. I'm expecting a phone call from Amnesty International any minute now. So I will move on to the video. I have to put a Viewer Advisory on this one. Some of these scenes may be inappropriate for smaller above ground pools.

Aqua Terra from Victor Kellar on Vimeo.

Monday, July 27, 2009


Yeh, yeh, I'm a year older. Greyer, crankier, wiser .. OK, only two of those assertions are accurate. I'll let you decide.

Not sure I get the whole point of this "birthday" celebration thing. Sure, another year has gone by. I suppose that means physical changes, more notable once you crank past that half century mark. The only changes I'm aware of at the moment are some new calluses on the palms of my hands. That's from hanging on to the handles of two flexi leashes as two border collies take me for a walk .. no, I mean as I take two border collies for a walk .. I mean .. a run .. I mean .. well, I mean I have two dogs that really like to go out.

But these physical changes are not really anything that one should throw a party to celebrate. It's not like I've grown a third eye, or devil horns, or a leathery lizard crest on the top of my head that flares up whenever I get excited. Now for that, I would throw a party.

So what about the mental aspects of getting a year older. Well, I'm sure in some aspects, the old mental acuity has dissipated. My memory is for sure unravelling like a cheap sweater in a rain storm. I'm having difficulty remembering all the stuff I've forgotten. I suppose I'm somewhat wiser. Not many years go by in which I haven't learned something .. even if it's stuff like: Don't use a really good T shirt to open a stubborn beer twist cap. it creates a hole and pisses off the spouse.

Still, again, nothing to really celebrate. Not like I woke up one day this year and solved the perpetual motion dilemma or figured out how to keep boxer shorts from riding up my private business. And yet, I did indeed have a party. Why? Well, it's summer, there's beer, I get to invite my friends and family, there's beer, I can BBQ, there's beer .. yeh, you get it.

So, one of the real reasons I throw a birthday party here is because my sacred event occurs in the middle of July. When it's hot, and sunny and you can stay outside at night, and you make fun of people's tan lines. In other words, my birthday is a great excuse for a summer party ... but that seems a rare thing in Ontario these days. Not parties. Summer. I do believe that, without anyone telling me, Ontario has moved to the tropics. Because we sure as fuck seem to be getting a rainy season.

My birthday weekend was no exception. Thursday I cut the lawn in the rain. A bad omen. I swear I could feel mushrooms growing around my ankles as I mowed .. and that may make you ask what kind of mushrooms, but I ain't gonna tell you. Friday night my sister Tyna came down. I walked Terra in the rain. Omens, people, omens. I believe in them, but I ignore them. See where that gets me.

So you guessed it. Saturday, day of the party, it rained. No, it didn't rain. It deluged .. I know, it's not a word, but it should be. It deluged all over the fucking place. We had a puddle in the yard that Jacques Cousteau would have made a documentary to film. At one point Collette was bailing water out of it. Yes, my wife was bailing the yard. When I started the BBQ I was standing ankle deep in water. Only time I was at the grille that I needed an apron, a set on tongs and a snorkel.

It was wet. This is the point I'm making.

But I intended to party on. Stood out there at the BBQ in my dive mask and snorkel, border collies paddling by me, sipping beer, pondering whether or not I was in a major shipping lane. But, somehow, the rain stopped. The puddle was transformed into a mud pit big enough for a Woodstock II mosh pit, but the rain let up, guests wandered into the yard, pointing up at the sky and whispering "What's that big bright thing up there?"

More guests showed up, more dogs showed up, a couple of tons of animal flesh was seared and devoured, and empty beer bottles were made into a redoubt to keep any further floods at bay. I decided to pull out my metal fire place. What were once ashes in the bottom had been transformed into more mud. I swear, there were a bunch of half dressed teenagers sliding around in there, flashing the rock on devil horns ... Thanks to a valiant wood chopping effort by our friend Kevin, we did get the fire started.

So we spent the rest of the night, huddled around our fire, imbibing and eating and eating and imbibing and in between courses, working on an ark .. After all, from everything I understand, I'm going to have another of these parties next year.

Monday, July 6, 2009


The Renaissance Fair, that is. Go ahead, chuckle all you want but these events are cool, no matter what you think. There are swords, and falcons, and low cut bodices and men in tights (for Collette) and mead. And swords. Sorry, but that's cool.

This was a small Fair held on the grounds of Casa Loma here in Toronto. For those of you don't live in the GTA (and golly, why don't you? [could it because or our snotty Toronto attitude?]) Casa Loma is our city's castle, built by some eccentric robber baron in the 1900's and now owned and operated by the city. It's a pretty cool place, and there's lots to see, including the architecture and the gardens and it's a quick subway ride away from our house. If you ever come to Toronto (and gosh, why wouldn't you?) you should check out the Castle.

As I said, it wasn't a large fair, but it was pretty cool. Lots of folks walking around in costumes, lots of vendors selling "medival" goods. Did the Middle Ages have credit cards? Was the limit a sack of potatoes and a tankard of ale?

Out in the courtyard, there was a small encampment of knights who would stage duels from time to time. Well, I think they were knights. With the street crime in Toronto these days, they could have been some kind of new gang.

There were some good vendors. Collette was enamoured of the jewellry but ended up buying some really lovely hand thrown mugs. Anyone who knows us understands that when I say "coffee mug" I'm referring to something big enough for a full grown adult to bathe in. What can I tell you, we love our coffee. Collette refrained from buying the jewellry and I somehow, in an example of iron will, refrained from buying any swords or knives.

Wandering around the grounds was a belly dancer and a young lady holding a Harris Hawk. I wasn`t allowed to buy those, either.

Part of the fesitivities was a demonstration/show put on by the Barrie Swordfighting Association. I was born in Barrie. Trust me, in Barrie, you need to carry a big freaking knife.

The show was pretty entertaining. A few duels, some demonstrations of proper medieval sword technique, a little posturing. There was a nice audience interaction segment, a father and daughter called up to duel. The little girl was hilarious. They put her in armour, shield and sword. The first outfit was a tad large, so they found her something more appropriate.

She went after her knight with a a pitbull like tenacity. Clearly, this little girl has brothers. Watch the video, it's a Monty Pythonesque kind of duel.

There was an advertised "archery demo" that took us into a tunnel deep under the castle, under the road to the former stables. No horses there now, and really not an archery demo at all, but a place where you could pay to take lessons. The tunnel was pretty cool though, all damp and narrow and it took you by this huge bank of coal furnaces that once heated the castle. The way Toronto is gowing, we may be all reverting to coal.

Back outside, there were more hawks, more lords and ladies, more knights, and ice cold beer. I know, me finding beer, pretty shocking eh.

All in all, it was a great day, as you can see from Collette's pics. Check out the video, some of the swordfighting was fun and the castle itself is quite beautiful. Now it's time for me slip on a pair of green mull tights, adjust my jerkin and pour myself a big tankard of mead .. um, they do make calorie reduce mead, right?

Casa Loma Renaissance Fair from Victor Kellar on Vimeo.

Friday, July 3, 2009


When last we left Terra she was in her pool. Well, this new post features her new pool. And as you will see, I shouldn't leave the TV on the Home Improvement Channel, apparently Terra picked up a few tips ...

But the video starts with Terra and her new BFF, Major. Major is a gorgeous German Shepherd, about a month younger than Terra. This is their second meeting but they have since become a regular item, or maybe "going steady". Well, to be honest, this is more like some kind of Battle Royal grudge match or something. Terra pretty much taught Major how to wrestle. When they started, he would just sit on her but she used her long back legs to kick him into submission ... then Terra realized that a month younger or not, Major is a ... German Shepherd. Once he got his wrestling skills down, he was able to pretty easily out power her. So Terra discovered a border collie's secret weapon: Speed. And agility. You'll see some running in this video, but Terra has advanced far beyond that by this point. It's not just her speed, it's her ability to cut sharp corners and to change direction with dazzling speed. Well, to be honest, she is not yet always dazzling. I swear her legs grow an inch over night and it's difficult for her to keep up with the growth.

Then on to the new pool. The pool may be Terra's border collie crack. She goes a little nuts in there, herding the ripples and tossing the water up so she can catch the drops on the way down The problem with that is that it sends her into some kind of soccer-hooligan frenzy. You'll see in the video she has already pretty much chewed the rim off her new pool. We've actually had to put it up when we're not in the yard to supervise her. With water in the pool, instead of having a quiet afternoon in the yard, we get a canine version of Robin Williams on cocaine, just lots of frantic energy and noise.

Her other new fave obsession are squirrels. Birds too. In an open field, birds on the grass are as compelling to Terra as .. well .. beer is to me. Terra saw a squirrel in the back tree once. And she is now convinced that he's there every time she goes out. Maybe he is, but the way she attacks that tree, if he's still in there, he must have rent control.

So here's the little video, just a few random sequences strung together. A technical note: There's about 10 seconds of black at the beginning of the thing. Some day I need to hire myself an editor.

Terra & Major from Victor Kellar on Vimeo.

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