Bill Johnson has revamped our whelping room. He added two large windows for cross ventilation. John and the boys repaired the outside downspout with its subsequent leakage.
Bill, almost finished, will install a corner fan in the ceiling. The other corner will host a heating unit. He’s painted the wall with a kind of cement which will block moisture.
Dave Pritchard is building a whelping box. I can’t remember if he’s building two or Bill is also building one but the felicitous result is we will have a double whelping room.
Also, the floor will be more hospitable.
Bill and Dave have donated all their labor. This is more than generous.
The hounds know it and when Uncle Bill is in the whelping room, they come to the back window and try to peep in. Hounds know who their friends are. They don’t bark at Bill and Dave. They don’t bark at me or the whippers-in either but we often get a choral recital.
Sometimes up at the house at sunset I hear them sing. It’s not barking. It’s not giving tongue. It truly is singing, a time of recognized happiness and good fortune.
Stuart Jones works with the hounds in the mornings. Boy Scout begins his job tomorrow morning (August 15, Napoleon’s birthday 1769).
For much of the last twenty years we have worked together and staff consistency builds a good hunt. John, Toot, Stuart have been with hounds the longest. Next is Emily and the other whippers-in are beginning to log in years.
Oak Ridge is fortunate in this talent and dedication. We are also fortunate in Stuart’s abiding love for the hounds. (I am not telling his favorites. You ask him.)
Once again he has given us a big boost by purchasing new tracking collars out of his own pocket. Given what Stuart has dealt with in this last year, we are humbled by his consideration for the hounds despite his losses.
Hounds know it. They love Big Daddy as do I.
Emily Schilling is another true hound lover. This year she will whip-in to Stonewall on Saturdays, Oak Ridge on Sundays.
Lili Wykle, MFH and Huntsman of Stonewall, is more than pleased with this arrangement, as am I. It draws out hunts closer together and it gives Emily more opportunity to learn.
My secret dream is that someday Emily will become a foxhound judge. She has the eye and the more she works with different hounds, different huntsmen, the better.
Where she will get the time, I don’t know but Emily is ever resourceful.
GIVING US THE FINGER
Dee Phillips had her finger operated upon. The physician then lashed three fingers together. It’s now down to one in a splint but Dee is shooting the bird.
She also had her foot/toe operated on at the same time. What is this with digits?
As an aside, of all our whippers-in, Dee has served the greatest number of huntsmen. Maybe in her convalescence, we can goad her into writing what she learned from each one.
Then again, she is shooting the bird.
A MONTH AND A DAY
First day of cubbing. Are you and your horse legged up?
I hang my coats to air out then scotch guard them about ten days before the day. (September 13 this year.) Sometimes your coat is so muddy you really have to dry clean it but I wonder if that process doesn’t weaken fibers.
A Huntsman, Whipper-In, know a young hound is becoming seasoned when s/he overruns the line and self-corrects.