Lettie and family on laundry day

Well, another Daybreak litter has arrived, Lettie’s second.  she had 5 boys and 3 girls, and all seem to be happy and thriving.  Gia brought mother and pups to my office for postpartum checkup yesterday, and all was well.  The pups arrived in a laundry basket, Lettie on foot.  However, Lettie decided she wanted in with her pups, and we got this picture:


Yeah, a tight fit but everybody was happy.

Cael continues to get along famously with his canine charge,Old Hemlock Boulder Over.  Boulder is a delightful little pup, and is taking well to early training.  We are now anxiously awaiting the birth of our first ever alpaca baby, or cria.  Not exactly sure when Sahara got pregnant, but we know we are close.  Stay tuned for updates…..JB

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Boulder rolls into our lives

Well, the much anticipated event has finally occurred.  Gia and I drove to  the St. Louis area last weekend and picked up “Old Hemlock Boulder Over”, call name Boulder.  He is a fine little setter pup, and we are enjoying him very much.  Cael, my 5 year old son, is his official owner, and is assisting me in his training.  They are joined at the hip.  So far, we are teaching the “one blast whistle” lesson from George Evans’ “Ten easy lessons” chapter from “Troubles with Bird Dogs”.  He is responding well, and Cael really likes his Roy Gonia whistle!  Here are a few pics:

Boulder and I

Boulder and I

IMG_8603 IMG_8602


So far, Cael is doing a great job as puppy owner, well beyond his 5 years in both responsibility and love for his pup.


Gia and I really enjoyed meeting the other new Old Hemlock owners; a real nice bunch of “setter people”.  We are making plans to attend the annual Old Hemlock reunion next year in West Virginia.

Now, in another story, our little friend Chewie, the Cairn Terrier, is the proud owner of a brand new pacemaker!  I noticed during a minor surgical procedure under anesthesia that he had an abnormally low heart rate, and upon further investigation, that his heart indeed stopped for 5-6 seconds every few beats.  I suspected some sort of heart block, and indeed that was the diagnosis at the internist’s office.  Medication did not help, so it was off to University of Georgia vet school for a pacemaker.   Here’s the poor little guy post surgically.chewie_pic_2


He is doing pretty well now, and his value has gone up remarkably.  About $3K, to be precise.

That just about brings us up to date.  Our setters are doing well, and there has been a high demand for them.  This is indeed a wonderful opportunity for me to segue into my retirement years, which will probably not start for a while seeing as I still have 10 kids to raise, and the youngest is Boulder’s owner!    Bye for now; the developing story of Boulder will continue in future installments…JB

pointing; or peeing, hard to tell.

pointing; or peeing, hard to tell.

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Wow, two posts in one day!  some kind of record for me.  Gia wanted me to post these two pics of the above mentioned hunting trip Flint and I attended.    Here they are; the guy with the gun is moi.


Flint on point.




walking in to flush a bobwhite.

Well, there you go.  The young dog, as well as the old, will hunt…………JB

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New blood!

Recently, Gia and I received with great celebration the news that we have passed muster to receive an Old Hemlock puppy!  These are from the very lines developed by George Bird Evans, the well known and much loved writer, illustrator, setter breeder, and upland hunter whose property near Bruceton Mills, WV, his beloved Old Hemlock, provides the name for this famous line.  A picture being worth, on average, a thousand words, especially if it involves a setter puppy, here you go!



The proud, if somewhat frazzled (understandably!) mother is Old Hemlock Sarah Vaughan, Sass for short.  Obviously her owner, Steve Hitsman, is a jazz fan, as well as a hunter and setter lover.  Below is a photo of the sire and dam together.  The sire is Old Hemlock Buckeye Casey, on the right, owned by Mr. Richard Baylor.  


All the new owners are to pick up their puppies on “Puppy Day”, which will be March 29th.  We have 3rd pick of 4 males, and we plan to use him in our breeding program.  The Old Hemlock owners are a close knit group of really fine folks, and I look forward to meeting them all.  They even have an annual get together in West Virginia, dogs optional but highly encouraged!  Hopefully we can make that next year.

Oh, by the way, I was invited on a quail hunt by a nice gentleman, Mr. Jim Hardee, who lives near my office.  He took me to a preserve /club he belongs to near Rome, GA, and we had a great time.  I took Flint, who thoroughly enjoyed himself but not necessarily hunting, which steeled all the more my resolve to get these guys further along in their field training.  I will probably join the club where I went with Jim, since it is within an hour’s drive and very nice, well organized, and pretty large at about 5000 acres.  I did discover, much to my delight, that I can still shoot, with very few misses and some quite challenging shots made.  I think that trip added about 5 years to my life!  Flint and I were tuckered out, but happy, upon our return home.  Also, I have made the acquaintance of a really nice fellow hunter and setter man in Mr. Hardee.  Not a bad day.

As things develop, with the new pup and training these furry foot warmers to hunt, I will be back.  Goodbye for now,   Jim



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No, I’m not dead yet!

To the faithful few who have asked, “when are you going to blog again?”, my apologies.  I met a very distinguished gentleman this past weekend, a farmer from North Georgia, who is buying one of our puppies (both for hunting and for companionship).  We hit it off, and in our conversation, I told him that we were shipping a pup to Nova Scotia, and that we indeed already had one up there.  Turns out, he (Mr. Bennett) has a farm of approx. 900 ac. in Nova Scotia, full of grouse, pheasant, and woodcock in season.  Yes, I was invited up (Mr. Bennett, I hope you really meant it!).  He also told me that he enjoyed my musings, and asked when I was going to post again.  This chance meeting has encouraged me to do two things; 1) post on my blog, and 2) start back training my setters!  Unfortunately, I was a bit over-committed this fall and training slipped way down the list.  I needed some form of motivation.

It came in the form of a book my wife purchased for me (a signed copy, yet!).   Here it is:


The author, Craig Kulchak, is a hunter in Idaho who has a fondness for Ryman type setters, and uses them to good effect on the local game bird population.  Also a bow hunter, (which I have been and have vowed to return to), and father of 3 sons (I have 5, along with 7 daughters), we have some things in common.  Thus, his writings have served to blow upon the embers of that fire that burns deep inside me to come full circle to my childhood, only this time I will be the father and the grandfather teaching eager young minds the ways of the woods.  I dusted off the Huntsmith training videos I ordered a few months ago and and am working my way through them.  Leah, my orange Belton bitch, is heavy with puppies and of late has been my constant companion at home and at work.  She attended the Huntsmith seminar with me this past spring, and put in a admirable performance.  I am chomping at the bit to get back into training, and will keep you appraised of our progress.

Well, nothing too exciting to most of you , I’m sure, but a start back into the blogging business, and a vow to get back in the field with my setter charges.  I am going to have to spend some time at the gun club on the trap, skeet, and clays courses, to make sure I am up to the challenge when the dogs complete their part of the bargain and hand the pointed bird off to me.  Heavy responsibilities, no doubt, but someone has to do it!  I am excited.

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Hello, readers, long time no post. Very busy

Hello, readers, long time no post.  Very busy around the Barger house, with 2 litters of setters this spring and lots of other animal and people goings on.  We will be taking the alpacas to north Ga. this week for shearing and other maintenance, and possible breeding of Sahara if she is not already pregnant (which an ultrasound will hopefully reveal).

I know what you are used to seeing on this blog, and many topics I have covered are interesting and important:


Puppies are still cute, and provide the gun dogs and family pets of the future.  Little boys with puppies are just adorable, and in their hands lie the future of our great country.


Chewy is still at it, this time a torn nail (to the quick- ouch!); he would not disengage from the whatever he was after and when Dad pulled him away, the nail was the weak link.  Terrier and terror start with the same four letters, you know.  He will live to fight another day.


.308 Win. caliber, Savage Model 10-FCP K, 6-24 mil dot scope.  Capable of < 1/2 moa out to 600 yards at least.  Awesome!

,Wild Blaze azaleas, God’s handiwork and harbinger of spring.  Beautiful.


But, today, this is what I want to comment about.  In all of creation, certainly above all worldly affairs and political concerns, there is nothing save out Creator and Savior who trumps the importance of mothers, and motherhood.


This is my beautiful wife of 29 years, Gia, surrounded by 9 of her loving children and one of 2 grandchildren.  We have 12 kids altogether, but getting them all in a photo together at once is crowd control beyond my capability.  But you get the idea.  Good, wise and , above all, loving, mothers are the bedrock upon which a family is built, the source of love upon which the children feed and grow into loving adults.  Few are perfect, mind you, (actually, none!), but who can learn from perfect?  A humble spirit, willing to admit when she is wrong, is a hallmark of a great mother.  Making a house more than a structure; making it a place of refuge and rest, of safety and love, to which all are attracted and none want to leave.  Seeing the shape of the scaffolding her kids are made of, so as to know how to direct them and teach them, to fill in the gaps.  And, how to impart these qualities to her daughters, and give good example to her sons, so that this family, this building block of God’s economy, can be continued in perpetuity.  Making this world a better place for all future generations.

MOM-the most important job title in the world,  BAR NONE!  I am thankful that my kids have a great one, and that I have a great partner in this all to short leg of our journey through eternity….JB

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Sorry, long time no post!  Gia and I have been busy with a litter of 8 Eng. Setter pups from Judy, our tricolor, by Flint.  What a handsome bunch!  As I type, we are resting in a hotel in Emporia, VA, after driving all day to deliver 2 pups to 2 different folks from up north.  Sounds crazy, but it is a good excuse for a road trip, and we really like to see the new owners’ faces when they first get their pups.  So, haven’t worked up the photos I need for the woa post blog yet.  Bear with me.

Instead, how about another Chewy story?  He was back on again Friday 4/5, somewhat bloated (looked like a furry, over inflated rugby ball), pooping about 4x normal (volume and frequency, per owner), and feeling just a bit distressed.  You see, he had found, acquired, and consumed 2 large bags of treats, one of which was dried sweet potatoes, which we assume was responsible for the orange colored stools.  One would think that little Chewy would have had enough, and would have been swearing off food like a reformed alcoholic a bottle of cheap wine, but, no!  When the owner handed me the evidence (empty treat bags), the turgid little terrier went from hang dog depressed to this:



Give the man a tube of laxative for his canine eating machine and send him home.  I think he’ll live…JB

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