Category Archives: Our Story

A Fish Tale

There are some things in life that one just does not do.  I think that there is a country song written about that.  I want to just mention a couple.

First, you never show up late for a fishing trip.  You may show up late for dinner from time to time, you may occasionally be late to school and community functions, but you never, ever show up late to go fishing.

Do you remember the movie, “A River Runs Through it?”  They guess correctly that the boyfriend would not only show up late but also that he would bring worms…they even named the brand of coffee can the worms would be in.    To quote the movie, “In Montana, three things we’re never late for: church, work and fishing.”

I know that it is difficult to imagine something more grievous than showing up late for a fishing trip, but I discovered something just this last weekend.

Now, for you to really understand the seriousness of this crime, you must first have a picture of the perpetrator.   There is no better man than Colt.  He truly is the salt of the earth.  He will give you the shirt off his back.  He will help you put in sprinklers or dig your garden.  If you need help with anything, anything at all, just let Colt know it and he will be there elbow deep working alongside of you.  Furthermore, he is an honorable man.  If he says it, you can count on it!

You may ask how a person so near perfection could ever commit any heinous act.  Unfortunately, like everybody, Colt has his weaknesses.  You see, Colt loves fly fishing.  I don’t mean that he likes fishing and goes frequently.   No, Colt really loves fly fishing, with the kind of deep passion that has the potential to get somebody into trouble…. And so it was this weekend.

We had a family reunion up on Cedar Mountain.  Camp just happened to be a short distance from Panguich Lake.  Colt and I made arrangements to sneak away from the family reunion for a few hours.  I had gone up on Friday night and Colt was to swing by and pick me up at the crack of dawn Saturday.  I knew Colt well, so I was up long before the sun.  I knew that he would never let me live it down if I was not ready when he showed up.  Who wants to start the day off on the wrong foot and miss the best fishing hour of the day?  I sure didn’t and I knew that Colt was not even capable of imagining such a thing.

When mid-morning had come and gone, and Colt had not yet shown up, I knew something was dreadfully wrong.  As I began to prepare to drive down off the mountain, and search for his wrecked truck, lo and behold, here came Colt.   Before I could ask a thing, his huge grin betrayed him.  He had done something far more grievous that show up late for a fishing trip.  He had forsaken his fishing buddy and gone straight to the lake alone.  I don’t know which was worse: my sorrow at missing out on what he described as one of the best fishing mornings of all time, or my befuddlement that such a man could fall so far, so fast, as to break one of the cardinal rules of fishing and desert a buddy.

The stories that he told of that morning would have been classified as ‘fish tales’ anywhere by anybody.   However, the photographic evidence on his phone was quite convincing.   Trying to regain some grace, he quickly offered to go back out to the lake, as soon as lunch was over.

After a quick lunch, we were off to the lake.  As we drove, the morning’s catch grew in size and quantity.  The stories were told and retold, of the glassy water only being disturbed by giant trout sipping his flies and then dancing across the lake as pitted their strength against his experience.

Upon arriving at the lake, I learned the sad truth that the Colt’s addiction had progressed much farther than I could have ever imagined.

The fish tales that he had been telling us appeared to be just that: tales!  As I pushed myself through the frigid wind, making my way down to the shore, I could see the white caps that covered the lake.

We waded out thigh deep and began fishing.   We flailed at the water.  We fought the wind.  We hooked ourselves. We froze to death.  We did just about anything a person might do at the lake, other than get a bite.

Suddenly, Colt reported a take… Dang! He missed it.

Then… a lady in a boat in front of us hooked up and started reeling in a fish.  Perhaps there is hope.  Perhaps we will catch something…

Colt had another hit it and again he could not set the hook.

(I still hadn’t experienced any evidence that fish even lived there)

Finally Colt connected and the fight was on.  As I watched from a distance, I noticed that things looked a little ‘off.’  I waded out of the cold water and approached Colt as he was unhooking the fish.  To my utter horror, I noticed that Colt was unhooking the fish, but not from his line.  Rather from another line, that he must have planted earlier.

How could he have fallen this far.  I had previously heard stories of addiction.   I knew that one’s tolerance would increase over time and then everything would come crashing down.   This was, however, the first time that I had ever witnessed it myself.  Right before my eyes, was a man transformed.  He had sunken so low in the addiction of fly fishing that not only would he abandon his fishing buddy and tell him tall tales of the morning’s fishing trip, but also he had to secure fish before taking another fishing, for fear that they might learn the truth.

When we arrived back to the parking lot, things didn’t get better.  I saw the lady that had caught the fish in front of Colt and when over to see how their day had been.  To my amazement, the only fish that she had caught was the one directly in front of Colt.  Furthermore, it hadn’t taken her bait.  Rather she had snagged something and pulled it out.  Her fish too was on the end of somebody else’s hook!

Colt HAD had a busy morning after all.


Editor’s (me) notes:  The only things in the story that are not true are: I was never worried about Colt nor preparing to look for him nor did he plant the fish that he caught.  He just snagged some poor suckers line that had broken off that day.  Also the lady that had snagged a rod with a fish on it hadn’t done so in front of Colt and he did not plant it either.  However, both she and Colt did snag lines with live fish on them….

Panguitch Lake

The lake that Colt described, not the one we ended up fishing.

Catch up Time

It has been way too long since I last posted here.  Many things happened, both good and bad (mostly good).  I will be adding some entries over the next couple days and try to “catch up.”

Caleb graduated from high school in December and joined Shakira at BYUI in January.   He recently received his mission call and will be serving in the Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh Mission.  He reports to the missionary training center on May 7th.

Shakira took a job in Alaska for the summer.  She has to be in Anchorage on May 4th.

Needless to say, we will likely celebrate Mother’s Day a week or two early this year.

Cazadora is now 11 months and a week old.  We had a great first hunting season.   VJP is right around the corner (She runs in Boise 1 month from today).  …And just to make things interesting Caza turned into a teenager about 3 weeks ago (I am sure that I will elaborate later).

Mid to late summer, Caza broke her back right foot.  That brought training/exposure to a standstill for some time.  I must say, though, that she met all the steps along the path of recovery about twice as fast as the vet predicted she would.  Even though she is all love, she is very tough and does not want to miss out on the fun.

In August I was asked to teach part time at the local high school.  I made arrangements to quit one job but ended up working 3 jobs for most of the fall/winter.  Unfortunately, that cut into my hunting time and didn’t leave much time for blogging either.

Now that life has settled down to a dull roar, and we are no more crazy than Cluffs usually are, I again pick of the pen, figuratively speaking.

Caleb Mission Call

Caleb just opened mission call.

Caleb with diploma

Caleb with diploma

Caza foot

Brennen comforting Caza when she broke her foot.

Summer Fun

I love the summer time.  There are so many fun things to do.

Fun at the creek

Caleb is going to be a warrior in a parade this week.   Tam helped him make most of his outfit a couple weeks ago.  I scraped a cowhide and helped him make a rawhide shield.  He is pretty much set except for making a spear.  Friday we went to the creek to find him a spear shaft.  I think that Brennen and Caza had the most fun there; running through the water, climbing the banks, making sand castles, etc.

Let's Play!

Brennen and Caza building sand castles

I'll help carry it.

Can I help carry it?

Fun at the lake

We have had some pretty warm weather this summer (we always do.)  Cazadora doesn’t seem to mind at all, especially when she gets to play in the water.  As you can see in the following pictures, she is just terrified of the water!. lol

I'll get it.

I’ll get it.

It may be fun chasing dummies, but there is nothing like the real thing.  This is Caza on her first duck retrieve from the lake.

My first duck!

My first duck!

I got it!

I got it!

Protecting the Garden

One of the drawbacks to living in the country is that the wildlife loves to eat your garden as much as you do.  I really don’t like the rabbits eating my plants, especially before I get to harvest from them.  Caza doesn’t seem to mind though, as she gets to retrieve them after they get caught red handed.  She is great at finding them and loves picking them up and carrying them.  We do need to work on her delivery though.  She seems to think that if she goes and gets it then it is hers. We are working on it!

Unfortunately, I don’t have any pics of her bunny retrieves.  I am sure I will before summer is over.

This coming week

Hopefully, we are going to get out of town this weekend and get into some wild birds.

Other than that, we will do the same old things…hikes, tracking, some basic obedience, and most of all….have fun.

Crazy Summer Days

It has been way too long since I have updated the blog.  I’ll skip the excuses and go straight to the good stuff.


Cazadora vom Coldwater Canyon: 15 weeks old.

Isn’t she just adorable!

What we have been doing:

Caza has been learning how to stay in one place (when told to) in our house.


Do I really have to stay here?

She is getting  better at staying in the down position until released.


How long do I have to stay down?

Her retrieving experiences have been expanded.  Not just dummies but birds and bunnies too.


I love ducks!


I’ll get it.

Our schedule

We have been taking things slowly.  We have been working hard to have lots of exposure and lots of fun. We are both new to this and many of the more experienced dog people that I know warn that it is better to go too slowly than too quickly.

We usually go out exploring around 6:00 each morning.  We have seen lots of bunnies, a few wild quail, one rattlesnake, and various other critters.  We have explored sage brush flats and canyons, muddy creek bottoms, grass fields, lake edges, and mountain forests.

We are working on simple obedience.  Caza continues to learn that it is fun to come when called.  She is doing better about not chewing on kids toys and shoes.  Although she does not always like it, she does know what ‘leave it’ means.   She knows that she is not allowed out of the kennel until released, even when it is opened.   She stays in the down position longer with more distractions than before.  She is learning to say on her ‘bed’ in the house.

Drags are way too easy.  Simple blood tracks are getting there too.  It is time to make them longer, older, and more difficult.  We try to do at least one blood track a week, with some other tracking practice thrown in there to mix things up.

Caza has learned that gun shots are wonderful noises that signal more fun is close at hand.  She knows that if I have a gun with me, we are headed to the hills.  Even if I don’t have a gun, she thinks she needs to ‘load up’ every time I get in the truck.

We have plans for some good fun in the near future.   In addition to our normal activities, we are looking at participating in some training days and heading out for some bird ‘hunting’ trips.  They say that nothing teaches pups better than wild birds.  We are going traveling to find some of those elusive creatures.

See you again soon!


Come on back. I will make sure my boss does better keeping things up to date.

Is it training? Or is it just Playing?

It was a busy week!  (and will likely be a busy post!)

I guess every week is.  I remember working with teenagers that would say that they were so bored.   I remember asking myself, “When have I ever had enough time to be bored?”  Work…school… family…chores…animals…fun…sleep (if there is time left)… and the list goes on and on.

I think that it would be impossible for me to be bored with a beautiful family (Wonderful wife and six great children, the youngest being only 6 months) and a 10 week old draht puppy.

More Socialization

I don’t think it is possible to have too much socialization or exposure for a puppy.   This week, Caza was able to meet more people at work.  She met more dogs and had more formal (bum sniffing) introductions to some she saw last week.  She was bolder on walks through the neighborhood.  She ventured farther out and didn’t retreat as quickly when dogs barked.

Thanks for the petting, but I'm more interested in him.

Thanks for the petting, but I’m more interested in him.

Hey, I'm Cazadora.  What is your name?

Hey, I’m Cazadora. What is your name?

Would you like to play with me?

Sambo, ya wanna stay and play with me?

The only cat encounters that we are allowing are with our Smokey.  I don’t know if she and Smokey will ever become friends.  I do think that it would behoove Smokey to put some effort into the relationship.   They both behave, somewhat, during supervised visitations.  Caza is still playful and Smokey is still ornery.

In addition to new places, people, and animals Caza also learned more about manners.  She learned that she is supposed to be quite and well behaved not only in her crate but also if she is in an outside kennel or staked out.  She has learned that being noisy does not buy freedom.  She has also learned that good manners are often rewarded with fun and games.   Tammy, is trying to teach these same ideas to our baby.  Caza is bit faster learning than is Logan in such matters.   I think that it is also more difficult for Tam to let Logan cry in bed than it is for me to let Caza cry in her kennel.

There are so many similar principles in teaching babies/children and teaching puppies.  There is always teaching going on and everybody is always learning.  We can teach them the skills and behaviors needed to be successful in life.  Or we can teach them that they can control and manipulate situations with their behaviors.  Children learn very quickly that whining and other negative behaviors can often have positive rewards.  Puppies too are quick studies on such matters.

I am sure that I will make my fair share of mistakes, but my hope is to help Caza understand that we are both happiest when we work together on the same team….and that I am the captain of the team… and the coach.  Key to success is patience and looking for the learning opportunities.   If I can have that same patience and properly apply it in the lives of my kids then I will truly have become successful.

Potty Training Continues

Well, we are all kind of new to this and don’t have it down perfectly yet, but I think we are headed down the right road.  Caza will almost always pee on command.  Pooping takes a bit longer.  We have to be sure to take her out to pee every time she gets out of crate or kennel, or after every drink she takes.  If she is not taken out to pee she will squat when she gets the urge and somebody better be close to avoid an accident.  She has gotten to the point though, that she will go to the door whenever she needs to poop.  I haven’t tested (nor am I likely to) to see how long she will wait around for us to open the door.

Play Fetch

Although Caza has never heard the word,”Fetch”  she has been doing it all week.  Two or three tosses is all that she gets because she sometimes thinks that, “get it” means grab it and run.  Unfortunately, dad is no fun and wont play the wonderful game of keep away. She is learning though,  that nicely surrendering the dummy is often rewarded with another toss.

Please, please throw it.

Please, please throw it.

I'll get it!

I’ll get it!

Here I come.

Here I come.


Every week we need to do nose awakening exercises.   Caza loves to hunt down scraps of meat or hot dogs.  The 90º – 100º + temps have not made it easy but she has been doing great!  Next week, we will likely do our first blood track.

(Click to enlarge pics)


This week Caza started to learn about the down command.  I remember teaching it to Chester so long ago.  He didn’t like it at all.  It was frustrating to both of us.  A couple days ago, I gently put Caza into the down position and stroked her back while complimenting her.  We have done it once or twice a day since.  She is doing great.  She has never fought it, not once.  She will hold a little bit longer every time.  I doubt that I will command her, “Down!” for quite some time yet, but when I do I bet that she knows what I am talking about.

"All I have to do is lay here and he praises me. Go figure."

“All I have to do is lay here and he praises me. Go figure.”

Camping at Lake Powell

Lake Powell was the crowning event of the week.

Everybody went except for Caleb (who had obligations out of town), Mom, and Logan. Kira brought her friend Jenny, and cousin Bronwen came too.

We camped out Friday night and played most of Saturday.

Our 'private' beach, just east of Lone Rock.

Our ‘private’ beach, just east of Lone Rock.

(Click to enlarge pics)


Saturday was a first for both Caza and Brennen.  Neither one had ever experienced deep water before. Both learned to kick their way right through it.

"Come on Brennen, let's swim to shore."

“Come on Brennen, let’s swim to shore.”

Fun at the lake

Just a few pics of the fun we had:

(Click to enlarge pics)

First week home.

Parenting and Dog Training

Long before Cazadora came home, I encouraged my wife to read some of my dog books.  She was amazed at the many similarities between teaching puppies and teaching children.  I had told her that raising the pup would be, in many ways, like raising one of our children and that becoming a good dog trainer would help somebody become a better parent.

This first week illustrated some of the above principle.

This was the first week of summer vacation. Everybody wanted to play and nobody wanted to do chores.   Everybody wanted to stay up all night and sleep all day.  But….one little problem:  Dad is too mean and ornery for that!  You can stay up late, but you still have to get up in the morning.   Furthermore, chores need done year round even during summer vacation.

In The House

Well, Caza is a puppy and what do puppies do?  They eat, they play, they sleep, they explore, they pee, they poop, and they chew.    What do they chew?  Sandals, shoes, socks, towels, baby toys, books, papers….well basically they chew anything and everything that they can get to.

So Caza and kids had the wonderful opportunity of learning together this week.  Caza began to learn what she is and is not allowed to chew on.   Kids learned that if chores are done and things are put away, that there is very little left out for Caza to chew on and that their shoes and toys  don’t get damaged.  It was important for the kids to learn this now.   Baby Logan will be big enough to navigate the floors and put everything in his mouth any time now.

I'm too pretty to do anything wrong.

I’m too pretty to do anything wrong.


This was a big week for Caza.  I believe that puppies need lots of exposure.  Little if any formal training should be done at this age but pup needs lots of introductions to the wonderful world around.  There are so many new smells to explore, other dogs to meet, people, cars, town, fields, lakes, streams, birds, animals, etc.

This week Caza got to meet many people at home, at grandpa’s house, and at work.   She met several dogs in the neighborhood and a few cats.  She discovered chickens, pigeons, horses, cows, and various bugs and lizards.  She got to do some tracking and eat some hot dog rewards at the end.  She was able to smell some birds hiding in the brush.  They pulled up feelings of excitement from deep within her and she wasn’t quite sure how to handle that.

She still remembered how to wait quietly while in a crate.  She learned what a leash is and that she must follow it.  She really knows her name and how to come running when called.  She will go ‘potty’ on command and still sometimes when not commanded.  She is learning that loud noises are wonderful and signal that food or some other treat is around.
She learned that if she runs up to Smokey  (our cat, about twice the size of Caza) and tries to tackle her, that Smokey gets mean and nasty.   What does any self respecting drahthaar puppy do when repeatedly slapped by a cat?  Get scared?  Get cat wise and leave it alone?  No, no, no….

I'll catch that cat this time!

I’ll catch that cat this time!

She learns to put on the sneak and stalk slowly in…

Even though a pretty lady, she does not want anybody to forget that she is a hunting dog.

I'm a hunting dog!

I’m a hunting dog!

Friday we took Caza along with us on her first fishing trip.  Only a few of us went:  Caza, Brennen, Shakira, dad (me), and grandpa.  We all had fun.  Here are some photos from the trip.

(click on a photo to see full size)

Well, today (Sunday, when I started writing this)  Cazadora turned 9 weeks old.   It was a fun week. More adventures are sure to follow.  Pup, kids, mom and dad all have many lessons to learn together.



Well worth the wait!

It seemed to take forever, but the day finally arrived.  Thursday morning, I headed north with my brother.  He was on an important business trip.  I was on a much more important trip.  I was on my way to pick up Caza.

I arrived in Corinne, Utah, mid afternoon.  As we were going over everything and Matt was adding names and addresses to the ahnentafel, we watched Cazadora explore the yard and kennels.  My wife and children had wanted to go north with me, but it had not worked out for this trip.  I promised to take lots of pictures and send them home that night.  (I would be staying the night at my brother’s house in Alpine.)  Tam (my sweet wife…who let me get another dog) said that wasn’t good enough.  I had to take pictures and send them home before leaving Corinne.

This was my favorite of them.  I know that those eyes are trying to say something!



You know when you want something really, really bad, and it seems to take forever to get it.  So often, it seems that it has become so big that reality can not live up to one’s expectations.

Well… That is definitely NOT what happened this week.  Caza is all that we had dreamed of…and then some.

My nephews all got to meet Caza before my own kids. They have a 4 month old German shepherd and an older Australian shepherd.  The Aussie was mostly polite and only wanted to do the obligatory bum sniffing introductions and then to be left alone.  Caza didn’t mind the sniffing but thought that it would be much more fun to grab and pull on the Aussie than to leave him alone.   Now the shepherd puppy was a different story.  He was proud of the fact that we were in his house and that he is a future super protection dog…  I don’t think that he would have eaten Caza if we had let him, but I was worried that he might under estimate his own super puppy strength and exuberance.   I would rather be safe than sorry, so they only had very supervised visitations.

Around 10:30 that night, Caza found out what a kennel is.  She whined, and howled for 18 minutes and then was quite and soon fast asleep.  She slept until 5:00 am.  I quickly got her up and outside.  (I wanted to get her out before she started to whine and perhaps think that she had convinced me to open the crate.)  Potty, breakfast, and exercise and then potty some more.  We had a big day ahead of us.  There were only about 4 1/2 hours more to drive, but then we would be home and puppy and kids were sure to exhaust each other.

I got home around 1:00 pm today (As I write this, it is almost 2am Sat, but it is still Friday for me until I go to bed.) and had to immediately run off to work for a couple hours.   My kids didn’t seem to mind ‘babysitting’ Caza.

Here a just a few pictures.  More are sure to follow.

Our two youngest (Logan and Cazadora)

Our two youngest
(Logan and Cazadora)

Logan is almost 6 months old.  Cazadora is almost 8 weeks old.  Logan is a wonderful and cheerful baby.  He is almost always happy.  I have never, however, in all of his life heard him laugh as much as he did when Caza was playing in front of him.  (I may upload a video clip of it later.)

Our 2nd youngest, Brennen, wanted me take some pictures of him with Caza.  Every time I stepped back to take the shot, Caza would follow me.  I finally just stood there and let Caza wander about for a couple minutes.   She walked into our yard and past one of my pigeon coops. As she did the wind blew and she whirled around and locked up.

First sniff of pigeon

First sniff of pigeon

I think I like this!

I think I like this!

She was sight pointing, but it was that breeze that started it all.  I thought it was neat anyhow.

Later, we went for a short walk, and Brennen was finally able to get his pictures with Caza.

The kids out for a walk

The kids out for a walk

Buddies resting

Buddies resting

Like all puppies, Cazadora likes to lay down and rest, especially after a nice walk.  She just does it with her own style.

Spread eagle

Spread eagle

I have never seen the like.  She will be running along and all of the sudden decide to lay down and almost always it is just like in the photo above: spread eagle.

Before heading to the crate Caza thought that she might just join a couple of the older kids in their campout.

I like camping with the big kids.

I like camping with the big kids.

As you can tell, it was a big day at our house.  There are lots of tired people here tonight.

In addition to the above, Caza got to track down a wounded hotdog and also had her first cat chase today.

While cleaning up some things in the kitchen, I noticed a hotdog that one of the kids had not finished.   I broke of a small piece and rubbed it along the floor for about 4 feet and hit it behind a table leg.  I whistled and Caza came barreling out of the movie room.  She licked my hot doggy finger and wanted more.  I had to switch to my ‘clean’ hand to get here to sniff the floor.  She was then off, nose to the floor.  I guess that was too simple, even for a first time. At least she acted like it was.

Our cat Smokey decided that she would rather avoid proper introductions and took off running when she and Caza first met.  Caza thought that was loads of fun and took off after her.  The kids were not far behind.  They had to hold Caza for some time.  Every time they put her down she would run around the corner of the house and try to find that cat again.

Well, it wont be many hours until the sun is up and duties will call.  It has been a fun couple of days and more are sure to come.   I will keep relating our learning experiences as we wander down this trail.

Last week of waiting.

These are probably the last pics until we pick up Cazadora.

She gets to visit the tattoo artist Monday.  I have been setting up work schedule so that I can squeeze in an extra 13 hours of driving next week and a couple more for visiting people while up north.

Who doesn't like a good morning stretch!

Who doesn’t like a good morning stretch!

I'm a hunting dog!

I’m a hunting dog!




I love all of the seasons of the year.  Each is unique and offers us its special gifts.

Right now, springtime is my favorite. (summer likely will be soon, but spring is now.)  There are so many exciting things that happen each spring.  Yes, picking up my puppy in two weeks is one of the most exciting.   There is, however, much more going on than just that.

I thought I would share some of the miracles of spring that we have been enjoying lately.

Farmer Logan (5 months old)

Farmer Logan (5 months old)

Brennen and Shayla looking for Easter eggs

Brennen and Shayla looking for Easter eggs

Our first chick to hatch this year.

Our first chick to hatch this year.

Thirsty chicks getting first drink

Thirsty chicks getting first drink



Our first heifer calf of the year

Our first heifer calf of the year

This has been a good week!

We had our first (and probably only) spring rain shower Tuesday and today was our first day to hit 80 degrees.  We started planting the garden this week (and should have gotten more of it in.)

In the next two weeks, the garden will all be in, the kids will finish up the school year, and we will head north and pick up Cazadora.   Somewhere in there we still need to finish a fence and go fishing.


A few more puppy pictures.

Here are just a couple more pictures. Three weeks left, and counting.

4 1/2 week old puppies

We love this spring weather!


puppies eating

Are these drahthaars or chowhounds?

The Queen on her throne.

The Queen on her throne.

Cazadora napping.

Cazadora napping.


Where did those hotdogs go?

Cazadora vom Coldwater Canyon

Cazadora vom Coldwater Canyon