Briar Glen Farms

Breeders of Ragalong Ragdoll Kittens and Cats
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Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Show's Over

We just finished our Christmas Edition of the Garden City Cat Show and it went really well. Ragalong Burgundy got his Supreme Championship with 3 Best Cat In Show Awards!!! Ragalong Yukon Gold who is already a Supreme, got his share of finals along with 2 Best Cat in Show awards, so Corky and I are very pleased. We had a great show with lots of wonderful spectators and a great raffle and spectators Choice award. Everyone went home happy. We pride ourselves on having a really fun, laid back show and everyone has a good time. Our Judges always love Victoria, so all in all it was a good weekend. The only thing is, I don't know yet, who won the Grey Cup!!!! Sure hope it was the West. So, we will spend a day getting caught up and then back to the usual farm routine. As usual, our Grand sons did Stewarding at the show and my daughter Serena and hubby Donnie put up and took down our signs. Thank God for a great family.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Garden City Cat Club show, Nov. 27 and 28

Everyone is poised and ready for our November show at the Mary Winspear Center in Sidney. Corky and I are show managers, so will be very busy this weekend making sure that everything goes as planned. A daunting task, given our recent snow storm. We are told that things are warming up just in time for our exhibitors to hit the highways and planes tomorrow for the show. Vicky Shields and Adrianna Kajon, our judges from Albuquerque arrived yesterday and are snugly ensconsed in the Sidney Waterfront Hotel, getting much needed rest before Saturday's opening. Pam Barrett will be flying in from Portland tomorrow and our wonderful judge Yvonne Patrick who was brought low by a flu bug is being ably represented by Lynn Judge who stepped in at the last minute. Elaine Weitz is driving in from seattle and will be doing a mini clerking seminar Friday at 4:00. I think we have things in hand thanks to our devoted club members who work so hard to bring the public a class event. So, let's see how the cats do and we will provide updates after the show. Hope to see everyone there to enjoy the free cake and Starbuck's coffee, fabulous vendors and wonderful cats on exhibit being judged by highly respected international judges.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Bad news, good news,

We're just back from the Richmond show and it was, for me a rather interesting and enlightening show. I think just about all of my blogs have been very positive and reflect the way we like to look at life. Thank the Good Lord, we have never had to start with a "bad news" segment. It was obvious to many people at the show that there was "something" going on and I was asked by several people, just what "it" was. So, for those who want to follow up on the drama, here it is. I had presold a lovely blue mitted female kitten to a lady in Vancouver. We had communicated for quite some time and agreed that she could pick her kitten up after the Litter Match, that the kitten was entered in to on Sat. afternoon.
I guess a lot of people are aware of the "other" drama that occured with the Cat Fanciers of BC Club where two members were recently expelled from the Club. One was Becky Player of Izzadorable Ragdolls, for disruptive and basically, in my opinion, nasty behaviour. Prior to the recent expulsions I had asked the CF of BC show manager for a reference on a party who had asked to join our Garden City Club. The Show Manager stated that though she had had trouble with this party at her shows, the party in question worked hard and she thought Garden City should give her a chance. (which we did) and which also elevated the CF of BC show manager in my eyes for being able to put her differences aside and give someone a fair chance.
The situation, however had caused a lot of pain for many people, some seniors who had worked for decades in the Club and the whole thing was really getting out of hand. I am not a CF of BC club member, and basically, it was none of my business, but I felt moved to try and get everyone, including the CF of BC Club members to just take a step back, take a deep breath and let things settle down a bit. At a show in Tukwilla, I approached the members who were causing the problems and gave them all a hug and asked what the problems were. In my opinion, it seemed that the new members really had no idea how one of the oldest and most respected Clubs in TICA got that way from the hard work of its pioneers. Yes, changes were always required and welcomed, but they needed to be done with time and respect for the older founding members. If they were not able to do the changes they wanted slowly and in a timely, respectful manner, then they should start their own Club and could do what ever they wanted and I would be one of the first to enter their show. Becky listed off a group of complaints which any Show Manager has heard dozens of times over. While we may look like we are standing around doing nothing, there are forest fires all over the hall being put out, while we are smiling pleasantly and looking like everything is going wonderfully. So, I advised Becky that they might want to reconsider their course and just let things cool off a bit. Unfortunately, everyone kept headlong into their course and resulted in the aformentioned expulsions, finally. Very sad and very unescessary for everyone.
So.......where does this leave me????? Back to the dear lady who was so excited and enthusiastic about meeting her kitten at the show and being able to come back and pick it up following the Kitten Match. Our kittens did very well in the kitten match, they had been previously spayed, microchipped and still had their ID collars on for the match. Our nice lady did not come back and I did not think much about it, but at the end of the show decided to call her to ask when she was coming in. She then, in tears, launched into the following scenario. She had had a good time at the show on Friday, watched the judging, looked at all the cats and the vendors and was happily looking forward to getting her kitten the next day, when, as she left the show hall, a lady came up behind her and said, "you should not buy a kitten from Marilyn. They are all diseased, live in cages and are not socialized", and then walked off leaving our poor lady very distraught and torn about what to do. We all agreed, that she should have come back in right then and asked the questions, but was so upset that she left the hall and was going to forfit her deposit and did not want to support a "bad" cattery. I spoke at length with her and convinced her that she needed to come back the next day and firstly identify the party and also talk to our Regional Director Ellen Crockett, the Can Am show manager and nearly the rest of the show hall about our reputation etc. She chose to drive the 45 minutes back to the show hotel where I met her. I had told several people of the incident and thank goodness for good friends who, though I told them not to upset their evening plans, came back to my room and sat with the lady for over an hour and counselled her and calmed her fears. Even an innocent by stander who had heard me talking in the hall way, turned around and said that she had sent two people to my place to buy kittens and both of them had come back and bought two more. This party works in the veterinary field and was very indignant (thank you for that, I needed it about then). The 3 other parties who counselled the lady also had cats of mine and vouched for them and me 100% and also explained about how no one did the testing on their cats that we have done. We work with 3 lines and before the DNA test was developed we kept whole litters of kittens until they were 9 months old, so we could ultrasound them and select the ones we wanted to keep for breeders.
Now what was left, was to identify this "party" who had stalked the lady out of the show hall. We were able to identify the party as Becky Player who also had told the lady that we had rows of trailers and rows of cages. First as to cages, we had won the "Kitten Play Pen" in the raffle held for the Long Family. I had never heard of a kitten play pen, but it did sound cute and was touted by many to be an absolute necessity when training kittens to use the litter boxes etc. Imagine my surprise when Corky put it together and it was a "cage". 3 feet by 3 feet by about 18 inches high and on wheels. I told Corky that we could not use that here. Our kitten room consists of "portable" expandable panels that go from floor to ceiling that allow Mum to use the verticle space up to the ceiling while allowing the kittens to explore and learn how to move, safely around in the horizontal space. Our Regional Director indicated that the "play pen" worked well for this kitten transition phase and I suppose it might, but our set up allows us to have tall cat trees for mum to climb on while babies are learning the ropes. We do not, nor will we ever use cages. Expandable pens that have tall cat trees and a lounge chairs do not qualify in my book as a "cage"
As for the "rows of trailers". We run AGFOR (Agroforestry Supply and Services) C0mpany which, until the Govt. ran out of funds, did biological brushing and weeding on BC clearcuts using 9000 sheep on 9 contracts all over BC. For our portable corral system and sorting races we use sets of aluminum Prattley Yards (anyone coming to our home would recognize some of them on our gates and try to figure out how the heck to open them) that come from New Zealand at a cost of $60,000 each set. Our head shepherds come from New Zealand and train Canadians how to safely and effectively move 1500 sheep over a BC clearcut and effectively eat the competing vegetation from around the new planted seedlings, releasing them from the danger of snow press and letting in sunlight and providing fertilizer at the same time. Our shepherds which included both Corky and I, have 24 foot RV trailers with a double bed in front for the head shepherd and two bunks in the back for the two assistant trainees. Each trailer has a generator and heat, kitchens and each shepherd is given a king sized wool quilt before the season as I wanted to be sure they did not get cold. The sheep are leased for $15 each from Alberta farmers and each sheep is Federally inspected and ear tagged so it can not transfer any disease to native wild life. The sheep gain 20 pounds over the Summer while on the blocks, the farmer can use his home fields for hay and the sheep come home and are bred and have their lambs and the cycle starts again the next Spring. Each Shepherd has a team of 3 working dogs, one heading dog and two New Zealand Huntaways. Each contract would have 5 working Pyrenees to guard the sheep. In 10 years of contracting we never had 1 predator interaction which would result in the sheep having to leave, not the predator. When the Huntaways were not required, we donated them to the Canadian Guide Dog Service, where they proved very good at that task. The Pyrenees went home to the farm where the sheep stayed over Winter and when we did not require Pyrenees for forestry work, we decided to show them and we received many American and Canadian Championships. So, this long story, explains our rows of crew trailers, Prattley Yard trailers, stock trailers, our 30 foot Garden City cat show trailer and assorted flat decks. So, whoever was spying for Becky did not get all their facts straight, hence the caution, that Karma will always catch up with you when you are being spiteful and nasty.
Our Regional Director, the Can Am show manager and many other judges and concerned parties all advised this poor lady that they had never dealt with a sick cat from our cattery. Everyone knows that no one can escape all incidents or illnesses, but we have been truly fortunate in all our years of breeding to have only a small handful of problems that were dealt with as professionally and quickly as we could. So, the bad news here is that the poor woman's happy day was turned in to a nightmare, as was mine. The worst news is that with all the repercussions of Becky's nasty behaviour, she does not seem to have learned anything. We have all done dumb things, me more than most, but as long as we are learning from it and moving forward, then it is not wasted. Continuing on, just being mean and spiteful is a very destructive course and no one wins, including affected Clubs.
The Good News is that we echo Dana's comments that the Can Am show was a delight, the show was well run, the hotel was fabulous and you can't beat most of the kind, caring people in the show hall. Our cats got lots of finals by well respected judges and my Grand Kids Jaden (10) and Dusty (6) who got to "finally" come to a cat show with Grandma, had a ball as did I except for the above pettiness. Please Lord, let this be the last "bad news" blog for a long long time.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Post Calgary Show

Back from the Southern Alberta Cat Fanciers Show and both SGC Ragalong Yukon Gold and QGC Ragalong Burgundy did very well. Yukon got 4 Best in Show and Burgundy received 2 Best In Show, so we are very pleased. Burgundy just needs one more Best in Show to get his Supreme. On a more important note, I got to hang out with my Grandchildren both in Calgary and then we all headed to Lethbridge to do the Trick or Treat. One house was so well done, it literally scared the bejezuz out of me. Had the owner grabbing the kids legs from behind a cell and included chain saws etc. Some people sure do go all out for the kids. It was great. So back in Sooke, tired, but happy.
Daisy is being a wonderful mum to her litter of Pyrs and it looks like Tara is thinking of maybe being a Mum again.
Getting ready for our show at the end of Nov. We have tons of super vendors, fabulous raffle table and of course wonderful exhibitors with cats and world reknown and respected TICA judges. Make sure you head to the Mary Winspear Center on Nov. 27 and 28th for our great cake Purrrrrrrade, Starbucks coffee and a wonderful Christmas theme to get you in the mood for the holidays. Purrrrrrfect time to pick up gifts for everyone. Marilyn