28 February 2013


There is a philosophy to which I subscribe and that is we all get our turn in the barrel. What that means is no one gets through this life without heartache. I live a truly blessed life here in a remote area of Montana. I have known more bliss in this place than any one individual deserves. So, now, it seems it's my turn in the barrel.

Within in three weeks Lakota, my closest friend, is dead. My little kitty,  Timmy, whom I grew to love even though our time together was short, is lost.  I do not believe he will be found. My guts are dripping from my chest. My sorrow is crushing.

Then there is little Miss Molly Montana who must be cherished and given the best life I can provide. I must pull myself up by my bootstraps and make certain she does not suffer from my pain. It's hard. It's very, very hard.

Kinsey Barnard

27 February 2013


Today Molly and I went to the Flathead to get her final shots including rabies. She weighed 19.6 pounds, a gain of over a pound in a week. All systems are go. Now that she has her documents in order we may have to sneak up to Fernie in British Columbia to see what their snow is like. It’s usually very impressive.

The trip down the mountain was a real thrill. Slid half the way. I admit it scares the poop out of me. I bot a new Expedition last Fall because my 1999 Explorer was getting a bit long in the tooth. I really didn’t want an Expedition. They are like driving a Texaco tanker. I soon learned they don’t make the traditional Explorer anymore. The “new” Explorer is a crossover thing that caters to suburbanites. I looked at all the other SUVs. GM’s were the closest but their SUVs are all designed for passengers not cargo. You’d have to physically remove the third row seats for the cargo space. The Expedition was the only SUV that gave me good flat cargo space with press button folding seats. I had had very good luck with my Explorer so I went with Ford. I must admit the thing is like driving on a cloud on the highway. I do feel safer driving Slaughter Alley which is the two lane highway to the Flathead.

I was worried about how the Expedition would perform on the luge. The luge is  a hill on the unmaintained forest service road I live on. I was afraid that it’s weight would be a problem descending the mountain in winter.  Turns out I was right about that. It does fine on the snow but when we start thawing and freezing the road is like glass. The Expedition’s weight just won’t allow the studs to get any kind of grab. I just slide and hope for the best. Oh, and to make it an even more fun challenge the hill is an “S” curve. Going up, on the other hand, is a snap. The weight works in my favor.

After the vet we went to MURDOCH'S, a wonderful western states, ranch store. I could live in Murdoch’s. As it turned out Murdoch’s has the best price for the dog food the breeder recommended, CANIDAE ALL STAGES OF LIFE . This is some very good dog food and I was very impressed that a breeder would feed it. Usually, they go for a less expensive, brand like Nutra Nuggets. Understandably so. They have many mouths to feed. We really lucked out in that the Canidae was on sale! Around $13.00 a bag savings. Woo Hoo!

Another great thing about Murdoch’s is it’s pet friendly so Molly got her first in store outing. Koty used to love going to Murdoch’s for all the wonderful smells and all the wonderful attention. Molly’s experience was equal on both counts. Everyone was all over the adorable puppy. Sadly, I have no photos because people photos have never been my forte. I just never think of it. I’m going to have start training myself to think differently about what I shoot. People love people pictures especially people with adorable puppies.

I had read in my training research that you might want to present your dog with a variety of treats on a plate and let it choose it’s favorite. At Murdoch’s they have a treat display Molly could walk right up to. I thought great she can choose her favorite. I am ready to conclude Molly hasn’t met a treat she doesn’t like. A different experience for me because Koty could have cared less. If there were live animals in the store, like chicks, he’d be all over that scent and drag me to their location in a Minnesota minute.

It was a fun day with the pooch! We both enjoyed ourselves greatly.

Still no sign of Timmy. I am not at all hopeful I will ever see him again.

©Kinsey Barnard

26 February 2013


Last night Timmy didn’t come in at bedtime. He usually hangs out on the deck at night and comes when I call. Last night he didn’t come. That wasn’t entirely unusual. Sometimes he misses the call but I get up later in the night and he’s there at the door waiting to come in.

This morning Molly and I went out for an hour and walked all over. I told Molly to find Timmy and she looked like she was looking. I called and Mollie sniffed and nothing. I went around and opened every outside door looking but no dice. I am very concerned for him because this country is full of predators; mountain lions, bob cats, wolves, coyotes. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. How I would hate to loose our little prince. I keep hoping I’ll look out on the deck and he’ll be there.

Whilst we were out looking for Timmy Molly did something pretty impressive. We came over a little rise and ran into a half dozen blacktail deer. They started to run. Naturally, Molly's instinct was to chase. She started after them but as soon as I said "NO!" she stopped dead in her tracks and looked back at me. I called her and she came. I attribute this amazing feat to focusing on the positive rather than the negative in my training method. I try to set her up for praise as opposed to punishment. Molly doesn't hear the word no all that often.  When she does it's usually a soft "no". I reckon the hard "no" was startling to her and got her attention. Once I've got her attention I've got her. 

Molly got her first ride in the Polaris Ranger 6X6. The Ranger is my main ranch vehicle and the one I put my snowplow on. She sat right beside me and took it all in like it was a carnival fun ride. Actually, I call the vehicle Mr. Toad after the Disneyland ride. What a little doll she is.

Molly is doing much better in the crate at night. Probably because she is now getting crate time during the day as well and her lungs are probably getting a little tired too. I think the reason she has been such a hand full is because at the trainers house she had no discipline at all and she was nearly the last to find a home at 12 weeks. That’s a long time to indulge a free spirit. She went directly from the house, via a doggy door, out into an enclosure to do her business. She was mostly tagging along with the adult dogs. It was just something she did on instinct. Then she got here and some stranger was trying to tell her when and where to do her business. Molly is not a shrinking violet. She dug in her heels. She is an extremely easy going puppy but she's nobody's pushover.

It’s been two weeks now and I think we are both starting to get a better handle on things. Puppy raising isn't for sissies.

©Kinsey Barnard


Molly looks for Timmy

Molly get her first ride in the Ranger

25 February 2013


A good friend of mine from Texas sent me this bit of pet and retired people humor. Very funny.

"Yesterday I was at my local Wal-Mart buying a large bag of Purina dog chow for my loyal pet, Jake, the Wonder Dog and was in the check-out line when a woman behind me asked if I had a dog.

What did she think I had an elephant?

So because I'm retired and have little to do, on impulse I told her that no, I didn't have a dog, I was starting the Purina Diet again. I added that I probably shouldn't, because I ended up in the hospital last time, but that I'd lost 50 pounds before I awakened in an intensive care ward with tubes coming out of most of my orifices and IVs in both arms.

I told her that it was essentially a Perfect Diet and that the way that it works is, to load your pants pockets with Purina Nuggets and simply eat one or two every time you feel hungry. The food is nutritionally complete so it works well and I was going to try it again. (I have to mention here that practically everyone in line was now enthralled with my story.)

Horrified, she asked if I ended up in intensive care, because the dog food poisoned me. I told her no, I stopped to pee on a fire hydrant and a car hit me.

I thought the guy behind her was going to have a heart attack he was laughing so hard.

Wal-Mart won't let me shop there anymore. Better watch what you ask retired people. They have all the time in the world to think of crazy things to say."


This would be me after two weeks of crate and house training

22 February 2013


Molly and I have been having a wonderful time roaming the ranch together. At first it was a little difficult for me trust that she just wouldn't start running and never look back. That was Koty's trick. Most dogs, Molly included will give some body language before they take off. Usually, it's the sneak look back over the shoulder to see if anyone is paying attention. Not so Koty. The minute he was aware that he was unencumbered he took off at a dead run without hesitating or looking back. He was driven to run wild and free.

So, I need training just as much as Molly as regards trust issues. I have to learn not to panic when the little monster takes off like a rocket out of my sight. It takes some serious self control for me to keep the voice moderated and not screeching for her to come back.

The recall to a treat has been working very well for us. In fact it has been like magic. But, now the snow is melting and revealing heretofore unknown treasures like Koty's old elk and moose bones and Timmy's poop. Why is it that puppies are crazy for cat poop? When I got Koty I lived in a place with an avocado orchard. Every cat for miles around seemed to use that orchard for their litter box. Koty was obsessed with the stuff. I remember being beside myself with worry until his breeder told me it was just something that puppies do.

The upshot of these treasures turning up is that I am losing Molly's attention. There is no treat made that can compete with cat poop. Game bones are pretty tough competition too.

Speaking of bones, Molly is an passionate bone hider. Shortly after she digs them out of the snow she slinks off and tries to bury them. It's really interesting to watch because the ground is still frozen so digging a hole isn't an option yet. She seems to favor the grass growing around tree trunks. After a little fruitless scratching at the dirt she places the bone close to the trunk and, with her nose, very carefully folds the grass down to cover it. Koty never buried a bone in his life as far as I know.

We are starting to work with a pet training clicker with some good results. The clicker seems to be able to do a better job of breaking through the poop obsession than my calling to her.

©Kinsey Barnard


Checking out the woodshed

Snow on her nose

Spoiled? Not my dog!

21 February 2013


In puppy raising, as well as life, you have to take your victories whenever and wherever the gods deem to gift you. Last night Molly and I had a small victory. We still had intermittent whining but we made it though the night with one outing at three. At six we went out and Molly did her business like a pro. No messing in the crate. The ultimate victory will be all of the above without any whining.

No doubt about it, raising a puppy is not for the faint of heart. So far life with Molly has been pretty challenging. There must be a reason 64 year old women can't have children. The good news about puppies; they grow up pretty fast and before long all the puppy problems and challenges are forgotten.

Before Molly goes to meet Koty across that Rainbow Bridge, I could well be 80 years old. I think it's safe to say this will be my last puppy.  At that point I will adopt a more mature dog. I don't see myself without a dog as long as I am capable of being a reliable guardian. Damn, I am one puppy away from old age.

I actually thought I would adopt this time. There are so many good and loving dogs that need a home. In the end I just couldn't resist the puppy challenge. Man am I a glutton for punishment. :)

I have been doing a lot of research on the internet looking for a training program that resonated with me. I think I've found it. It's called The Dog Training Secret. It's a hands off approach based on positive reinforcement. 

Oops! I didn't notice Molly was awake. She made a mistake. She still isn't asking to be let out. She needs to go out whenever she wakes. Molly is like smoke. One minute she's there and the next she has simply disappeared.

Todays' Photos

20 February 2013


I really thought I had things working in the crate department apparently I was only kidding myself.  After my one successful night it has been all down hill. Molly started whining again so loudly that I moved out to the living room couch. Every time she stopped I went back to my bed and every time she started up again I left. All to no avail.

She would stop for and hour and a half or so and start up again. I was afraid she needed to go out, so I would take her. Sometimes she would go, sometimes she would not. I didn't know which was which so I was taking her out four times a night. Soon I was spending most of the night on the couch so I could get a little sleep. Molly just kept yelping her little head off.

Yesterday, I decided I should reclaim my bedroom and put Molly and her crate in the guest room. I needed sleep. I also concluded that I was just aiding and abetting bad behavior by letting her out so often when she cried for it. I discussed it with Kelly, the breeder. We agreed I was being played. I needed to leave Molly in the crate for at least four hours no matter how much she complained. Which is exactly what I did.

I got up at two thirty and took her out. She made three water spots and we came back in. I never dreamed she might have some pooping to do. I also might have been a little quick on the draw because it was 28 and snowing. Her dinner is at 4:00pm. At 5:00pm we had romped in the woods. At 10:00, my bedtime, we had gone out on call. How could she possibly have any poop left in her? By 2:45am I was back in bed and Molly was tuning up her vocal cords. But, I was tough. I just let he whine.

At 6:30am I got up and went to Molly's room. I was nearly knocked over by the nasty smell. Molly had pooped and peed in the crate. Normally, dogs won't do this because their instinct is not to soil their den. Not so my little girl. I've been doing a lot of research on puppy raising and they say some puppies poop less than thirty minutes after eating. Again, not so my Molly. I'm starting to think that for Molly it's more like three hours. Anyway, I took her out but, of course by now there wasn't anything to do. She looked at me as though I were a leper and should stay the heck away. I put down her breakfast and she walked away from that too.

I was racked with guilt. I took her out for a walk and she wouldn't come back to me. It scared me a little so I headed back to the house. Once in the house she started retching great brown puddles. And what a foul odor they had. Turns out she had eaten her poop so as not to have to sleep in it. Mama Mia!

Am I ever glad I have a carpet that was in dire need of replacing before I got Molly because it is beyond awful now.

It is evening. Molly and I have made peace. All is well with our relationship. She is asleep at my feet. Tonight, I will give her more time to see if a poop is required. And, I will ignore her whining once again. I am confident we will get this right one of these days. But, good grief, I hope that day is soon.

BTW, last night we had the biggest snow we have had this winter. Raising a puppy in a Montana winter is so ..... refreshing. :)

How could such an adorable darling be such a handful?

This afternoon we were back to normal

Checking out the teepee

©Kinsey Barnard

19 February 2013


Molly and Timmie are still trying to work out some kind of an arrangement. So far, Molly chases and Timmie runs. It looks to me as though Molly just wants to play but Timmie is not yet convinced. They are very amusing to watch.

Took Molly into to town to collect the mail and meet some fellas. She enjoys riding around in her crate. She's also quite flirtatious around men. The little hussy.

I found my first puppy chew casualty today. I had put my iPad next to Molly's crate in the house so I could play Pandora for her.  She chewed right through the charging cord, clean as a whistle. She won't be getting anymore Yanni for awhile. Maybe that was the idea?

©Kinsey Barnard

17 February 2013


The passing of Lakota Sunrise was the end of an era. The best era of my life so far to be sure. But, now there is Molly Montana and a new chapter begins. This blog will be turning into a journal chronicling Molly Montana and our life together. From a puppy to wherever and whatever life leads us.  Oh, I won't be able not to throw in a rant every now and again but this blog will mostly be stories about Molly Montana and the roads and trails we travel together.

I'm finding that I can't remember a lot of things about Koty's puppy days it was so long ago, either that or I've got early onset. I can't recall things like crate training and house training. My memory is that Koty didn't require any of that which I doubt is correct.

First let me just say, egads, I also forgot what a life changer having a puppy is.  She will require house training as well as crate training. Molly is a blank slate and the responsibility of raising her properly weighs. If a dog doesn't turn out right it isn't the dog's fault ninety-nine percent of the time.

It's hard to imagine but Molly has only been here four days and five nights. It's seems a lot longer. Especially, the nights. I've set up Koty's crate in the bedroom and Molly is barely a fly speck in the thing. Too big a crate is not productive for training as puppies are loathe to sleep in their own excrement. If the crate is too big the puppy can just move to the back to do it's thing and have room left with clean bedding. Molly certainly agrees with that theory.

The first night Molly went right in the crate. Once I closed the gate. She started howling and never stopped until I let her out the next morning. I am not a person that does well without at least eight hours of sleep. I hadn't slept Friday night because of the impending trip to Three Forks. Saturday night was spent in a strange place, no sleep there. Sunday night I spent with a howling banshee in my bedroom, no sleep there. I was wandering around in a fog. Have you ever been so tired you couldn't sleep? That's where I was. I tried taking my usual naps and nothing.

Koty's crate clearly needed a partition and I didn't get it in the crate until Tuesday. I cut a piece of plywood to size, drilled holes in the top corners and lashed it to the side of the crate. I used those zip tie things. I stuffed pillows behind the board to keep it stable. It worked like a charm as far as the soiling was concerned but the howling continued unabated. I read an internet article on crate training that suggested one salt the crate with treats and sure enough Molly went right in for those treats and she howled her head off as soon as the gate closed. Mama Mia that girl has lungs!

One thing is apparent, Molly and I had one thing in in common, we are food motivated. As far as I can tell Molly has never meet a treat she didn't like, me either! I began to think Molly was playing for treats. She wasn't focusing on the message.

I started looking for a new strategy and found it. This one played to her mind and emotion instead of her tummy. It made a lot of sense to me. I decided to give it a go. I put Molly in the crate and myself to bed. She immediately started whining. I let her go on for a few minutes. Then I told her "Enough!". When she kept on I got up and left the room soundly closing the door. I went to the living room couch and waited for her to stop.  When she did I slipped back into my bed. No sooner did my head meet the pillow than Molly began flexing her vocal chords. This went on half the night and finally I got up from the bed, and with no thought to puppy training experts who say use a stern voice, I simply said as sincerely as I knew how "Molly, I'm leaving this room and if I do I'm not coming back".  She immediately stopped. I slipped back into bed and we both slept until it was time to let her out. Crazy as it may sound that is exactly what happened.

Uh Oh! Busted!

©Kinsey Barnard

12 February 2013


For the past several months, well meaning friends have suggested that I get a puppy before Lakota passed so that I wouldn’t have to spend any time alone. Whilst I appreciated the thought it just didn’t feel right to me. I had been the center of Koty's universe for over thirteen years. I couldn’t do anything that had any chance of diminishing his quality of life.

In retrospect I think if I had been going to get another husky puppy it would probably have been OK. Koty always seemed to respond to other huskies as though they were long lost pals whilst encounters with other breeds were generally met with indifference. Long ago I knew Koty would be my one and only husky. No other husky could ever take his place.

Though I wasn’t prepared to get a puppy whilst Koty was still with me, I did do internet research on the different dog breeds. I decided the Australian Shepard would be a good fit for me and my lifestyle. I knew a little about Aussie’s. When I was a kid I had an Aussie. I hunted around on the internet bookmarking different breeder and puppy sale sites but took it no further. I felt a little guilty doing that much.

Even though I knew Koty wouldn’t be with me much longer, that even if the Cushing’s Disease didn’t get him old age would. It still came as a painful shock to my system when he died. It really took the wind from beneath my wings. I didn’t really want to think about another dog. Learning of Koty’s passing, my sister Jane Ann wrote, “ Find your new Pookie as soon as possible. It really helps.” Pookie was my childhood Aussie’s nick name. It came from the Soupy Sales Show. Pookie was Soupy's lion puppet. My sister’s words gave me the push I needed. Or maybe it was the permission I needed.

Horses were my life growing up. I was taught that when your horse throws you, as they invariably will, you must dust yourself off and get right back in the saddle. I have found over the years that philosophy works on just about anything life throws at you. With that ingrained philosophy, and a push from my sister, I started looking in earnest for my new “Pookie”.

First I visited the puppy for sale directories. There were so many puppies all over the country. It was overwhelming. What I was able to determine from looking at these puppy photos was that I especially liked what they call a Black Tri-Color. My childhood dog had been a blue merle with blue eyes.

I talked to a number of breeders from various states. They were all kind and helpful. Their puppies adorable.  I know that puppies are shipped all over the world all the time with no apparent ill-effects. But, I wanted to be able to choose my puppy in real time not just from a photo. I found a breeder in Washington State with nice looking puppies that I could have driven to and very nearly did. I went so far as to tell the Washington breeder I would call her back to make arrangements to visit. But, something made me want to a little more looking. I ended up calling the Washington breeder to say I wouldn't be able to make it.

I couldn't get the idea of a Montana dog out of my mind. On Thursday I found Out West Aussie’s in Three Forks, Montana. On the Out West website was the photo an adorable, black tri-color girl.  Her markings were striking. The look in her eyes showed presence and poise. So bright and attentive. She looked like a keeper. I spoke with Kelly Cooke, the owner, and made plans to drive down to take a look on Saturday.  That same afternoon, whilst I was taking my regular afternoon nap, suddenly my eye lids flew open and the name Molly popped into my head. I have never known a Molly. I have absolutely no idea where the name came from. I did know that if the pup in Three Forks turned out to be “the one” her name was going to be Molly.

I asked my friend Faith to drive down to Three Forks with me. Faith is also the tried and true friend who came to help me pick Koty up off the side of the road and take him to the Flathead for cremation. As luck would have it Koty’s remains were ready Saturday morning so we picked him up and took him with us. Silly as it sounds, I think he liked being included. I know I liked that he was along.

The drive to Three Forks is a little over six hours from my place. When we got to the breeders the two pups I’d seen on the Out West Aussie site were freshly washed and frolicking in the house. When I first saw the puppy I thought “Cute dog. How nice.” I honestly didn’t feel anything. I was ambivalent, empty. After about ten minutes watching her puppy enthusiasm and reckless abandon, hallmark qualities of Lakota Sunrise, something inside of me shifted I was suddenly sure I had found my Molly.

Kelly graciously offered to put us up for the night. Molly slept with me on the bed. In the middle of the night the word Montana popped into my head.  Molly Montana. Eureka! The puppy's name was complete. Miss Montana was born November 12, 2012.

So that’s the story of how I found Molly Montana and a new beginning.

A few first day photos below. I think you will agree she is a beauty. I also think Koty would approve. I'm not alone and he hasn't been replaced.

©Kinsey Barnard

08 February 2013


As most everyone knows, even when the death of someone you love is no surprise it doesn't seem to help much when the actual event takes place. This is certainly so with the passing of Lakota. There are just so many memories that pop into ones head. That dog enriched my life beyond measure.

Tuesday I took my first walk in over thirteen years without Koty. I went down along the Tobacco River where we so often walked together. It felt so strange and solitary. Even Timmie, bless his little heart, seems at sea without him.

Yesterday I gathered up all of Lakota's leftover food and took it down to the Tobacco Valley Animal Shelter. What a wonderful bunch they are. I am a very big fan and supporter. For such a tiny place, by that I mean tiny town,  they do extraordinary work.
Whilst I was driving home I was listening to my iPod in the car and the piece "Autumn Leaves" performed by the fabulous pianist Roger Williams. And a great memory flooded my being. Koty came to me in December of 1999. I was living in California. When he was just shy of six months I moved to Durango, Colorado where we also hiked and hiked and hiked. One of my favorite places is Silverton, CO which is not far from Durango. Silverton is like a ghost town that is very much alive. In the Fall the tourists are gone and only diehard locals remain to weather winter at nearly 10,000 ft. It's a great time to be there.

I decided to take us to Silverton for a couple nights. When we set out it was a glorious, sunny Fall day. On the way up I took a detour down a forest service road that ran along the Animas. I opened the sun roof and cranked up "Autumn Leaves" on my CD player. I have always thought that Roger Williams' rendition is the best. With, the music playing golden aspen leaves fluttered down into the car as we traveled down the bumpy road. I was in seventh heaven. I will never forget the feelings of pure joy. I had so many of those with Koty. Share the moment ....

That night we stayed in a rickety little motel because it was the only one that would allow dogs in the room. The heater didn't work very well and it was colder than a well digger's butt. For Koty the temperature could not have been more perfect. He was a true snowdog. The colder the better. I made him get up on the bed and share the warmth. Koty and I shared a lot of warmth over the years.

©Kinsey Barnard

05 February 2013


As regular readers know, Koty has been battling age and Cushing's disease for nearly two years now. Yesterday he decided he had had enough and headed for the Rainbow Bridge.

Koty came to me on December 1st 1999. He was just eight weeks old. He was the cutest fur ball you have ever seen. In the past thirteen years and four months we have been constant companions. Frick and Frack. Mutt and Jeff. I was Mutt he was Jeff.

Koty was an independent cuss from the get go and ready to go at the drop of a hat. We traveled together in our motorhome for months on end and no one ever had a better traveling companion. In his prime Lakota was as beautiful a Siberian Husky as you will ever see. Wherever we went people wanted to touch him and take his photograph. It was like traveling with a celebrity. Through it all Koty conducted himself with grace an elegance.

Two years ago Koty started losing the hair around his neck. The local vet tested him for thyroid mal- function, but the tests were negative. I started my own diagnostic search and concluded he had Cushing's. That diagnosis was confirmed with the appropriate testing. I'm not a big fan of pharmaceuticals so, with my vets blessing, we went the homeopathic route.

Throughout his life going was all Koty wanted to do. We could have hiked 24/7 and he would still have begged for more. We walked thousands of miles together. Lately, Koty had been slowing down which was not unusual considering the life span of a husky, without Cushing's, is 12 to 15 years.

For most of his life Koty had to be kept under control or he would take off for parts unknown. For the past several months he was allowed to roam. Age dictated he didn't go far.

I have a daily routine wherein I have my lunch, lie down on the couch to read and drop off for twenty to thirty minutes. I am usually rousted by Koty wanting to go for a walk. Even though he had the run of the ranch he wanted me to take him for a walk. Yesterday was no different. Off we went down the forest service road. He seemed to be a little more sluggish than usual and his breathing seemed a bit labored. Normally, he would turn himself around when he had had enough but not this day. He just wanted to keep going. I finally had to say no more we need to go home. About a quarter of a mile from our gate he step off the road into the deep snow and toppled over. He was gone in a matter of minutes. He died doing the thing he loved most in life.

Lakota Braveheart was Koty's father's name and he was his father's son.  A braver heart I have never known. Just know Lakota that you will live on in my heart until the day I too topple over in the deep snow.

Koty died the way he lived, with grace and elegance. There will be another dog but there will never be another Lakota Sunrise.

Some of my favorite photos of Lakota

©Kinsey Barnard

04 February 2013


I didn't watch the Super Bowl. I don't even have network television. Could care less about it in any event. The ads are available on You Tube. The above from Anheuser-Busch was so sweet. Their Clydesdale commercials are always heart string yankers. The one they run at Christmas with the Clydesdales pulling a sleigh and I'll Be Home For Christmas playing in the background really ripes my hear right out of my chest.

These commercials would get to anyone with a heart but they are special to me for several reasons. From the time I could walk, horses were my life up until I graduated from college.  When I was a county fairs were a very big deal where I lived and the Clydesdales always were in the parade and part of the rodeo. They were a little girls' dream. You could go to where they were being boarded, pet them and breathe in that incredibly beautiful horse scent. For this little girl it was like being able to stand in the shadow of gods.

Not much is the same for those of us born 60 years ago or more. The Clydesdales are a thing of extraordinary beauty that have survived. Thank you Budweiser for keeping this wonderful tradition alive for all to see.

©Kinsey Barnard

03 February 2013


Every time I see an ad for a cruise ship it makes me want to vomit.

Forty years ago, when I was a young traveler, cruising was a still a civilized undertaking.  Cruising was just that, you cruised. You embarked on a ship and between ports you walked the decks, sat on chaise lounges  reading a book and maybe did a little skeet shooting off the stern. Dinners were formal affairs. Entertainment consisted of stage shows, casino nights and dancing.

Today the largest cruise ships carry over 6,000 passengers, plus staffs of well over 1,000, that is 7 times the population of the nearest town to me. Royal Caribbean has the two largest ships which each can carry 6,296 passengers and is 1,187 feet long. That is four football fields!!!!!  Aboard these floating garbage dumps you can surf, rock climb, fly down a zip line, ice skate and play golf. People don't cruise on these things they just take their ADD selves on to the ocean and keep up like they were on land. The cruise lines know what it takes to keep their clientele engaged. I think it is a sad commentary.

Can you imagine the  amount of waste that is created by these floating cesspools? Oh, yes, there are rules and laws but surely you know how that goes. Corporates cheat all the time to increase the bottom line. It's almost a given. If you don't think these ships pollute, how convenient for you.

All the ocean pollution certainly doesn't come from cruise ships there are thousands of tankers and container ships out there too. But, they don't carry very many crew. And a lot of waste surely swirls out into the oceans from third world activity. But, you can't do much about that.

Take a look at this video the next time you want to take a cruise on one of these floating hotels for the brain dead.  MIDWAY FILM

If you want to surf try my nephew's Surfari Charters in Nicaragua. If you want to rock climb give El Capitan a go. If you want to ice skate go to a local rink or come to a winter wonderland like Montana. If you want to play golf there are almost 16,000 courses in the US. The only reason these monolithic, fuel guzzling cesspools are built is because people buy tickets. Think about it.

If you do use them, stuff your righteous indignation over the oil companies and their slicks. At least the oil companies are endeavoring to do something useful.

©Kinsey Barnard 

PS: Please share the video with other people who need to know. MIDWAY FILM