Abby Sunshine

Duck Toller

7-14-10 Palisade Head

Wow- if you are looking for a breathtaking view, check out Palisade Head along the North Shore of Lake Superior. We were nonchalantly recommended this spot by a local information booth volunteer. Let me sum it up by saying that I’m glad we left Abby in the car when we first explored the location.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Lake Superior - Rocky Shores - 7-14-10

Check out this picture! Palisade Head is a large rock formation on the North Shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota. It was formed from a rhyolitic lava flow which was extruded some 1.1 billion years ago. It created extremely hard volanic rock which resisted a billion years of erosion which cut down surrounding formations. This formed both Palisade Head and Shovel Point. Its high point is over 300 feet above the level of the lake; the lakeside cliffs stand up to several hundred feet above water level.

There is a small man-made wall along a part of this cliff, at the lookout.  As I mentioned SMALL, so it would be very easy to walk off a cliff. If you’ve been to the Grand Canyon, along some of those edges, you know what I mean. It’s absolutely beautiful and really takes your breath away.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Lake Superior - In the Car Carrier - 7-14-10

This is a better place for Pupper Wupper during explorations like this. Word to the wise, always check out the “lay of the land” before inviting your canine to accompany you. I shudder to think of her being curious of things along the cliff. . .

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7-13-10 Book Recommendation

Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie

by Peter and Connie Roop

pictures by Peter E. Hanson

I couldn’t help but recommend this story after having recently visited a lighthouse with my own Abby. Though their names aren’t spelled the same, there are things these two “Abbys” have in common. They are brave and they are smart! Take a journey back in time to the days of the lighthouses and feel the importance these great monuments once played in early America.

Keep the lights burning Abbie

Synopsis:

Based on a true story of an 1856 storm off the coast of Maine, Abbie’s tale is one of endurance and bravery. When her father, the lighthouse keeper, sails off for supplies, he leaves Abbie in charge of lighting the oil lamps in the twin towers of their lighthouse and making sure that they don’t go out. When a huge storm hits, preventing her father from returning for four weeks, Abbie keeps those lamps burning, getting up several times each night to climb the towers to check them, scraping ice from the windows so the lights can be seen at sea. In the course of the storm, she also rescues her chickens from a huge wave, thus saving the family’s only source of food. The Roops allow the natural drama of Abbie’s story to emerge in simple sentences that are sometimes cut up awkwardly, but for the most part they are clear and compelling. An author’s note gives the interesting historical basis of the story, but the tale stands alone as an exciting account of a young girl’s courage. The vivid watercolor paintings are highly effective in detailing Abbie’s job as well as creating atmosphere.

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7-12-10 Split Rock Lighthouse

Split Rock Lighthouse stands upon a cliff on the North Shore of Lake Superior. Completed in 1910, the lighthouse is celebrating its 100th birthday this summer. My how technology has changed since those times when ships depended on the beam of light and the sound of a fog horn to help them navigate.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Split Rock Lighthouse - Lake Superior 2 - July 12, 2010

Abby Sunshine sees the rocky shores as one more opportunity to dive into the fresh waters of a big lake. I’m not even sure that she noticed the lighthouse. She has different things on her radar.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Split Rock Lighthouse - Lake Superior 6 - July 12, 2010

The huge rocks add a challenge for Abby as she maneuvers her way out to the small stick. She doesn’t use a lighthouse, or any other modern technology to find her target. She uses her canine sense. A stick isn’t her preference, but if she doesn’t have a ball handy, she’s willing to retrieve whatever works.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Split Rock Lighthouse - Lake Superior 4 - July 12, 2010

She is remarkably sure footed on the rocks making her way without hesitation. It seems like she isn’t really conscious that she’s on big rocks with gaps. She just cruises along smoothly, no clumsy moves.

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She often looks down into the water. I wonder what catches her attention.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Split Rock Lighthouse - Lake Superior 5 - July 12, 2010

A little dog and a big lake- sounds like a story.

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7-11-10 Superior Fetching

Surely you didn’t think we’d be at the largest freshwater lake in the world (by surface area) with Abby Sunshine and NOT play a bit of fetch. Perhaps you are familiar with the fact that Lake Superior is very chilly. Maybe that would deter some dogs. Yes, it would.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Lake Superior - July 11, 2010

It does not, however, intimidate Abby. I found an interesting article put out by the Associated Press July 9, 2010, entitled “Lake Superior warms up earlier than usual, with July temps about 20 degrees above normal.” Maybe this is in part why Abby is so brave in the water. . . Check it out.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Lake Superior 2 - July 11, 2010

Normally frigid Lake Superior has warmed up faster than usual this summer due to a winter with little ice and a record-warm spring, according to researchers.

Surface temperatures are about 20 degrees higher than normal for this time of year and could be on their way to record highs, researchers at the University of Minnesota Duluth’s Large Lakes Observatory said.

That’s good news for people who want to swim in the typically bone-chilling waters, but the long-term implications aren’t clear.

In the spring, the sun warms the water fairly uniformly as deep and shallow water mix. Once it reaches about 39 degrees, however, the behavior of the water changes and warmer water starts to form a layer floating on the colder water below. The process, known as lake turnover, usually happens in mid-July on Lake Superior, but this year it happened in early to mid-June instead.

UMD researcher Jay Austin said data from three buoys in the lake show that the warm-up is on par with 1998, the fastest since records began being kept in 1979.

“We would normally just be getting to turnover, to 39 degrees, about this time in July,” Austin said. “But it happened so early this year that we’re already at 59 degrees (at a western Lake Superior buoy near the Apostle Islands). That’s 20 degrees warmer than we should be right now.”

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Lake Superior 3 - July 11, 2010

The surface temperature of Lake Superior could reach record highs by mid-August, the typical peak for water temperature, they said.

In 1998, a warm year, the lake peaked at 68 degrees, “and we’re well on our way to that, or higher,” Austin said. That compares with a high of just 54 degrees in August 1996, a cool year.

Climate change is responsible for the warming effect, the researchers said.

“Lake Superior is responding to global climate shifts as clearly as anywhere on Earth,” they said.

Scientists are just starting explore what effect the warmer water might have, but it could mean a more fertile lake with more organisms that thrive in warmer conditions. And it could cause “cascading biological effects to fish and other species that we can surmise but haven’t confirmed as yet,” said Steve Colman, director of the Large Lakes Observatory. For example, lake trout may have to move deeper or further offshore.

A 2007 study by Austin and Colman found that Lake Superior’s summer water temperatures were warming twice as fast as air temperatures over the past 30 years, based on buoy data. They considered it one of the most pronounced temperature increases on the planet.

They say there’s a self-perpetuating correlation: The warmer the air and water, the less ice forms. The less ice, the warmer the water gets. Then less ice forms next winter.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Lake Superior 4 - July 11, 2010

“There’s a climate momentum going on out there,” Colman said. “The traditional thought was that there really wasn’t any carry-over from one year to the next with this kind of system. But it looks like there is.”

The warmer water also means warmer breezes for people on shore. Now, even when winds are off the big lake, they’re more refreshingly cool than chillingly cold. Alex Lamers, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Duluth, said that’s meant narrower air temperature differences in the past from near the lake to farther inland.

Chris Chandler, 39, of Duluth, said Thursday he has been coming to the beach on Duluth’s Park Point all his life, and that the lake is “definitely warmer earlier.”

In past years, he said, there might be a day here and there when the water felt warm, but otherwise it would be cold. “We’d come here, but we’d be blue,” he said.

This year, “it’s cold at first, and once you’re in it for a minute it’s very nice.”

Austin said UMD researchers don’t track water temperatures in the other four Great Lakes.

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7-10-10 Lake Superior Camping

What kind of a vacation is dog friendly? Camping! That is for certain. Abby is living it up in the wilderness of the North Shore of Lake Superior. Well mannered dogs are welcomed warmly and get to enjoy living in paradise.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Camping - 7-10-10

Remembering basic rules of etiquette make life better and make it possible for dogs to continue to be embraced at such wonderful places. We often run into “NO DOGS ALLOWED,” but not everywhere. It’s crucial to demonstrate that dogs and dog owners can be respectful.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Camping 2 - 7-10-10

As you can see, on this trail Abby is on her leash. We also have dog baggies handy, so if she has some “business” to do, we will pick it up. Don’t you hate it when you are on a trail and you see that someone has not picked up after their dog? It gives dogs and owners a bad name, not to mention it is yucky.

Anyway . . .

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Lake Superior is the largest of the five Great Lakes in surface area and volume. It is the second largest lake in the world by volume. Lake Superior is the cleanest lake of the Great Lakes. It could contain all the other Great Lakes plus three more lakes the size of Lake Erie. Wow.

Great Lakes

The shoreline is breathtaking. There are cliffs and rocky shores.

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More to come. . .

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7-7-10 Abby Exploring

Who goes there, yonder? It looks like people and a canine, but hard to tell. . .

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - On a hike - July 7, 2010

Oh, I see some people, but is Abby near? We must look closely.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - On a hike 2 - July 7, 2010

There she is! Abby Sunshine is exploring by the shores of a slough. Her nose is down and her tail is up.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - On a hike 3 - July 7, 2010

Now what does she see? Is there a pheasant? Is there a duck? Maybe a bunny has been hopping nearby. Abby knows that there is a lot animal life going on right before our eyes. . .we just can’t see it. She can smell it.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - On a hike 4 - July 7, 2010

More exploring in the weeds. . . Abby doesn’t shy away from tall grass, and neither to parasitic insects. It’s a good thing Abby has on her flea and tick medicine. We apply Frontline regularly, and it pays off on occasions like this. Wood ticks and other pesky insects can definitely find good hiding in Abby’s long fur. We must brush her well after these escapades, too.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - On a hike 5 - July 7, 2010

Oh, did someone say fetch? Aunt Gert watches as Todd plays a game of fetch with Abby. I guess Abby is up for this game in almost any circumstance. Are you surprised?

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - On a hike 6 - July 7, 2010

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7-5-10 The Wet Dog

There’s nothing that a little water won’t cure on a hot summer day. . . Todd is spraying Abby with the hose. Abby’s tail is wagging. As you will notice, she moves toward this water, not away from it!

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Abby sprayed by water - July 5, 2010

There is a stop in the water flow. Abby walks toward Todd, wondering why it stopped? She’s got her fast twitch muscles ready to run and play.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Abby sprayed by water 2 - July 5, 2010

Oh, Todd was adjusting the spray. Now it is a “jet” stream of water, aimed right at Abby. It often brings out a smile to watch Abby go toward this intense stream of water. It seems like she would want to run from it, but not Abby. . .

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Abby sprayed by water 3 - July 5, 2010

While Abby is busy getting wet, and next shaking off, Doug watches Abby and Eero has found something interesting to look at on the ground. . .

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Abby sprayed by water 4 - July 5, 2010

Ah, yes, Abby is back for more water. She prances around playfully.

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What is Eero so busy with while Abby is having her game with the water?

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Abby runs fast, doesn’t always shake off the water right away. She’s WET.

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Now Piper is in the picture. I think she knows Abby is very wet, so you can see her posture is tentative as she approaches Abby. People tend to avoid getting sprayed with water by a dog if they can help it.

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And she’s back again. . . I think Todd enjoys it, too.

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This looks like it could be an artful poster. What are these three thinking about?

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No more thinking time, back to the spray of water. I think Piper is getting splashed, too.

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Look at Abby watching that nozzle. She is attentive and ready to run and play. Though she’s wet, she’s also hot. It’s a hot day and she’s been running a lot.

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There it goes. Abby will catch some in her mouth.

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A good roll in the grass is another part of this game. It must feel so good.

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What next? More game or have you had enough?

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This is very wet dog, with an equally soggy tennis ball in her mouth.

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Game over for now. . . Abby will rest a bit. . . She is one hot, wet dog. . .

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Abby sprayed by water 17 - July 5, 2010

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7-4-10 Abby and the Big, Red Ball

Happy Independence Day!fireworks

Abby would much rather have a quiet day with this big, red ball than listen to fireworks. She doesn’t even want to fetch when she hears the pop of a firecracker. . .

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Abby with red ball 1 - July 1, 2010

There once was a fluffy red dog,

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Who panted right after her jog,

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She turned to her right,

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That red ball is “tight!”

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Abby with red ball 2 - July 1, 2010

Now a  limerick is here on the blog.

What kind of a limerick can you write about these pictures of Abby and the big, red ball?

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7-3-10 Vachel Lindsay

BabySnappingTurtle

The Little Turtle

by Vachel Lindsay

There was a little turtle.

He lived in a box.

He swam in a puddle.

He climbed on the rocks.

He snapped at a mosquito.

He snapped at a flea.

He snapped at a minnow.

And he snapped at me.

He caught the mosquito.

He caught the flea.

He caught the minnow.

But he didn’t catch me.

What would Abby Sunshine think about this little turtle? What would Abby think if the little turtle snapped at her??

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7-1-10 Abby Sunshine Overboard

We don’t always have a camera handy when the time is right. Sometimes we must create a picture with our words. Here is what happened.
Abby Sunshine accompanied us on a pontoon adventure!

pontoonWhat fun! A pontoon is a great way to cruise on a lake, wind in the hair, yet not so fast that a good conversation is still able to take place.

Abby Sunshine got a little bit nutty on this ride. We thought this would be an exciting new adventure for the little pupper wupper. Well, exciting it was. Abby was beside herself with extreme enthusiasm. She had been swimming earlier, fetching in the water (which she loves). We entered the boat, and almost immediately Abby began with the high pitched “Toller scream.” This is a shrill sound, less than pleasant to the human ear. When a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever gets super excited, this is what they do. I think she wanted to do more fetching from the boat, I’m not exactly sure. Todd was sitting with Abby way up front by the little gate, which was open (bad idea) watching ahead as we moved forward on Sugar Lake. Next thing I know Abby bolts forward and has jumped overboard! Yikes! We were all shocked and luckily the driver, our friend, Jon, used his catlike reflexes and immediately turned off the motor. It was a moment of anxiety for all of us- Where was Abby Sunshine? Would she know what to do to survive if she found herself underwater with a boat over her head? Renae didn’t realize that a pontoon floats on two large “pontoons” and the rest of the portion under the boat is actually above water. Not knowing this caused Renae to really worry about where little Abby would be able to swim up and out of the water. We looked all around. Then we saw an adorable little creature that looked just like sea otters swimming in the wake of ocean boats.

sea otter

It was Abby! She was swimming along, apparently unharmed. She swam to us at the back of the boat and we assisted her back into the boat. She immediately shook water off on all of us.

We thought this adventure might cool her jets for the remainder of the ride. It did not. She continued to squeal in ecstasy, loudly gazing off into all of that wonderful water. Upon return to shore, Todd tossed her overboard and let her swim in. That seemed to make her day.

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