The life and work of artist, farmer, Golden Retriever breeder,etc.... Lisa Head Harbidge

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

New Day!

Its a new day again. Change is inevitable in our lives and how we accept it is up to us. When on the edge of a cliff, do we choose to fall or learn to fly?
The change of sky this morning was a welcome change from yesterday's photo of the morning. Other things have not changed...still cold and I still need to fill the bird feeder!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Spring In Winter!

This was the morning I greeted! Cold but beautiful! Then I walked out to the sheep pen...and this is what greeted me!

This is of course after I settled the boys into the barn with their Mom and put their new wool warming coats on. These lambs are from our herd of St. Croix and Dorper cross sheep. These sheep shed their hair fleece in the spring (NO SHEARING :)) This flock was supposed to be lambing earlier in the year according to the man we purchased them from...This girl is only the beginning of our first winter lambing...and I mean winter...-17C this morning. So I had these real wool pillowcases that I really didn't like as pillowcases, and fashioned some real wool coats for my wool-less lambs...ironic. Actually the lambs were fairing pretty well when I found them and and a good deal of hair coat to them..but this will boost their ability to withstand the cold. And lambs are still just as charming in November as May! Can hardly wait to see them springing around the pen...

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Spirit knows what we need and when if we are open to it.
Today I met a very kind 75 year old man who had the table beside me at the annual arts and crafts guild sale. It was both our first time for doing this sale, so we put our chairs side by side and chatted when we could. He was a horseman and made stunning, highly crafted horsehair belts, hat bands etc. He had to press the base of his neck to talk as the doctors had removed his voicebox in a 9 hour operation. He is now 2 years cancer free, that was at stage 4. Over the course of the day he and his 20ish granddaughter told me of his experience with the doctors and procedures at the U of A and the Cross Hospital in Edmonton, where Mom will be going for treatment of pancreatic cancer that was confirmed yesterday.They offered comfort and reassurance of the quality of care and support he received. He now walks a mile a day, rides and is planning next years sales where he can sell his work. He was inspiring.Any success of the sale, whether sales or promotion didn't matter one bit by the end of the sale. My day was important for many other reasons. Thank you Spirit.

Gibson's Good Looks Payoff!

Gibson was a handsome puppy from our Loma/Falco litter two years ago. He was adopted by Carrie Bottomley and her family and thanks to Carrie's skills as a photographer, Gibson has been earning his keep as model! This is a picture of him as a puppy, but if you check this week's Zeller's flyer, Gibson is pictured on the front page with Carrie's daughter as a TV picture insert! Great photo!Very cool!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Tim Brothers

So I received 2 wonderful emails today from families who adopted from our amazing Tim/Kiss litter of 13 pups in 2009. It is always so nice to hear what they are up to and I am so proud of both these boys. However they both experienced very different weekends and just thought this was interesting to share.
Spiritrider's Hot Stuff McDuff (McDuff) had an amazing weekend, when he passed with flying colours the testing for therapy dog through the PALS association-(Pet Access League Society) This is exceptional as Mc Duff is only 13 months old! Very young to be calm and well mannered enough to pass their strict guidelines for doing this very special work. PALS dogs are allowed access to hospitals, nursing homes, etc. to give the gift of hope and comfort to those in need. Mary Lou, his owner, is an exceptional lady who will make great contributions to others lives by doing this work with him.
Meanwhile, this weekend, McDuff's brother, Spiritrider's Smoken Hot Duke (Duke) had a very different life experience. Here is how his owner Gina relayed the story.

I love my Dog but….
Duke barked at the back door..perhaps it was a little more of an aggressive bark, but a bark none the less..I opened the door thinking that the neighbor’s cat was once again in our garden. Duke ran to the patio and was accosted and Assaulted by a SKUNK!!!!!
I screamed, the kids screamed….Duke continued to bark and Kelly started throwing things at the skunk, he stared with a milk jug and then picked up the heavy artillery, the wine bottle. The skunk stood its ground. Duke ran into the house when he could safely make a break for it and I hustled him downstairs to the shower…we started with all the V8 we had in the house, moved onto strawberry shampoo and decided that we needed more tomato juice.
Kelly and Logan dashed to the store and came home with 6 litres of tomato juice, that we then bathed Duke in. I rinsed him off only to find that, not only does tomato juice turn to cement on a dog, but it doesn’t do much to eliminated the smell. We continued with shampoo moving from strawberry to oatmeal and then to baby shampoo.
Kelly’s Dad arrived to save the rest of the day. He was dressed in his painting overalls and had his hunting hat on he was ready for business…he was also carrying the box of ‘fix the skunk smell’…also known as Semi Permanent hair curling solution…yup, Duke was going to get a perm. As Bill read the hair styling directions I started to laugh and laugh and laugh…to the point I couldn’t see or breathe. Here was my father in law, outdoorsman extraordinaire about to style Duke with a Perm. Apparently he has used this technique before as he has hunted with his doges since the beginning of time and this has always done the trick.
Well... low and behold it worked.

Duke is now in the garage for the night and we are airing the house out and praying for a BIG rain tonight to freshen the air in the back yard.
Damn skunk...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Gallery & Studio Grand Opening

Well, the time has come finally in my life to make some exciting changes! This weekend as part of the annual Rocky Studio Tour, I will be launching Spirit Rider Gallery & Studio! One room is dedicated to gallery space for my glass work and paintings. One room is my studio working space.And one room for a teaching studio and glass supply store area! Tall ceilings, big windows, and space to create!!! I have been working on the class list of the glass classes I will be offering in October and Nov. and will post them tomorrow. I am so looking forward to finally just being able to create and share knowledge and inspire others to follow their creative head bliss!!
The studio tour is Sept 17,18 & 19 from 10 am-6pm. For a map please go to There are 16 studios participating this year and it is also Alberta Arts Days! So come take a drive and enjoy the fall colours and see something new!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Beautiful West Country!

This is a some of the spectacular scenery we saw on a rare day away from the farm. We were on a little road trip out with our visiting WWoofer from Belgium who has been working so hard here. We also got caught head on in a cattle drive and I managed to get some pics through the sunroof as they moved past us. Sometimes the Canadian pride swells as we get to show off what a beautiful country we live in!

New Curly Filly!

Sugar has had her foal! I little late in the season, but she is beautiful and Sugar is a wonderful mother!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Summer Bliss!

This is the Nordegg River, which Calum & I came across on a afternoon roadtrip out with the dogs on our way to the Brazeau Dam. This is one of my favorite things to do with the dogs during the summer. They love their trip and swim time. Calum used his life guarding skills yesterday, and made his first save, (although not human)as Beamer did get caught at one point in a some dead wood hanging in the water. Hopefully next trip out we will be able to take our new family addition from our Kiss & Tim litter.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Summer lamb!

Our first lamb from our new St. Croix flock of sheep was born late this afternoon and then endured a marble size hail storm!! He looks like he will be the first of many late summer early fall lambs to start arriving!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Blissful Sleep

Sleep should never be taken for granted! Because when you don't get enough, it can effect your whole outlook on things. One of my litters of pups has had 3 rowdy nights in a row and it is wearing on us. Tonight I will be taking them for a long vigourous hike before bed to help tire them out to try and make it through the night.I was reminded today by a stranger that this too shall pass and they will grow out of this stage, but at 3 in the morning, with pillows over our heads, patience is challenging. Come morning (at a decent hour)their adorable faces melt away the thoughts of frustration from a disturbed sleep and we move on with the day...while they experience blissful sleep positions like this one!!

Nature up close!

A beautiful summer day brought out this very easy going butterfly who allowed me to spend a good deal of time watching and taking photos up close. What beautiful markings it had.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Another Best In Show!

Multi BISS CanCH Auburnmist Special Blend WC, AGNJ, AGN, RA "Tim" has added his third Best In Show to his outstanding performance record at the Edmonton show on the weekend. Tim is the sire of Kiss's litter born last week and the sire of our amazing 13 puppies we had last year that resulted in my upcoming show girl "Ember"! These are tremendous puppies that are a wonderful to live with! He is also a half brother to my girl "Faith". Congrats Wendy! This is the link to his k9data page...

Pigs Are Smart!!

Last week I watched an excellent documentary on pigs done by National Geographic. I learned so much about these animals and while I knew they are said to be very intelligent, I was surprised by the research and testing that shows just how smart they are. These animals are capable of lateral thinking (I know many teenagers who are not capable of this!), the piglets always nurse from the same teat on the mother, and the skull of the animal actually changes depending on wether living in captivity or the wild! Just to mention a few facts. Nature is truly wonderous and mysterious and never to be underestimated! These are pictures of "Socks" & "Speckle", our 2 piglets we are raising this year. This is the second time we have raised pigs, and I think of all the animals I have worked with, pigs are the most interesting, entertaining, funny creatures. Everyone always says you shouldn't name something you will eat, however, I believe they deserve a name. It is respectful of them and a reminder of respecting all life, no matter what the purpose.

Loma's Wait is Over

Well,Loma has delivered 7 girls and 2 boys (& 1 angel puppy) after a troubled labor that resulted in a c-section. Of course this always happens in the wee hours of the morning at the emergency clinic. A cheerful vet and vet tech helped make everything go well though. Thanks Dr. Epp! & assistant! All is well and Loma is sooo happy to have her own pups finally!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


While Kiss was taking abreak from her pups thiis afternoon, Loma moved in to sit by the litter. She has been hovering over the pups since they were born. She is due next week to have her own pups but can hardly wait...

St.Croix Sheep

Took a few pictures of our flock of St. Croix & St.Croix/Dorper sheep. The St. Croix are a breed of sheep that are known for multiple births, their excellent maternal abilities and the ability to lamb twice in a year. The carcass quality is very lean and the studies shown on the Katahdan sheep which is the breed derived from St. Croix, have an extremely low cholesterol rate. Well below beef, chicken etc. This flock is very quiet and very interesting to watch. The Dorper sheep genes are introduced into the mix for their body size and build. This flock is due to lamb in Aug. Sept. so we are anxious to see new lambs at an unusual time of year for us.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Nature's Wonder!

The eggs we have been incubating have finally hatched. Unfortunately only 1 Americuana (they lay the blue/green eggs) hatched and now we have 3 bantam yellow silkie chicks as well. Huge size difference, but they seem to be getting along.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Puppies Arrived

Well, a bit early, but Kiss has delivered her pups! 4 boys & 3 girls. It is always amazing to see Mother Nature at work and the natural instinct as the pups wiggle towards nourishment.Kiss is such a great attentive mother and I look forward to raising this litter. It is a repeat breeding and last year's litter of 13 was one of the easiest I ever raised because of their temperament!The development of this litter can be followed on my website at

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Loss of a Friend

Grand-daughter Kiss, Teka, Great Grand Daughter Carbo

It is with a heavy heart I pass along the news that Teka has peacefully crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Teka was not just my first Golden Retriever, but so many other things as well. She was my first purebred dog. A dog that led me into showing and became my first champion! It was through her I got involved in the sport, life and passion of purebred dogs where I've met wonderful people and dogs, and learned not only what it is to be an ethical, responsible breeder, but also to pursue the preservation of a breed type. I even started my boarding kennel business because there was no where in the community where I could leave a dog comfortably. Her temperament was true Golden Retriever and the foundation for my breeding program that continues to shine in her daughters, grand-daughters and great grand daughters now.
In order to continue a breeding program reality means sometimes placing my retired girls so I can focus on the upcoming generation.I was fortunate to be able to share her with my sister's family for the past 9 years and will always be grateful for the wonderful care and love she was given. She touched so many lives and lived a wonderful 16 years and 2 months! A wonderful accomplishment and a blessing!
Run along and play now my girl! We won't forget you...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


We had two bottle lambs this year and they bonded with our Golden Retrievers to the point that they would nap together and when they would go running off after something in the yard off the lambs would run too. Wish I'd had a video of that. This is Ember sleeping with the little one. I found a home for both on Sunday where they get a whole pasture to eat down on their own.

Arucana Hatching

A lady I met provided me with Arucana eggs, but unfortunately my hens were not broody enough, so we had to build an incubator. We used a filing cabinet and other than not really being able to keep the humidity up enough it works pretty good. All the eggs are various shades of robins egg blue. Isn't nature beautiful! Now we are just waiting and of course checking the temp and humidity all the time (which is a family project, since we put the incubator in the bathroom!) and turning the eggs several times a day too!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Up & Moving

Well after an unusual painful illness wiped me out in March, I am finally up & running and just about back up to speed. Never ever take your health for granted. Without good health you are nowhere and can be really miserable ;)
I am pleased to say we have managed to breed our two Golden Retriever girls, Kiss & Loma & are looking forward to confirmation of pregnancy! I have been working on the website and trying to round up previous buyers of our pups to get updates and pictures to keep us informed on the performance of our breeding program.
I wish spring would come! It has been bitterly cold and hard to get enthused about anthing outdoors, so I have started seeds this week to try and bring hope to my green thumb that is very blue right now!
I also need to get back to the studio, I am quite behind. I am also in the midst of finishing up a show jump to sell.
Lots of other things on the go...never dull around here, that's for sure.

Friday, March 12, 2010


Well, I was fortunate to be able to see the new exhibition of Degas sculpture, drawings and paintings at the new Art Gallery of Alberta. Amazing! While the sculpture Little Dancer was the only piece he ever exhibited in public in his life (and it was there) also in this exhibit was work he had in his studio when he died, and they were cast as is in bronze. These were the most intriguing to me. The artist's touch is present and so alive that they capture the essence of sculpting with passion. His drawings on tracing paper were beautiful and full of expression and it is funny to think that someday someone could come into your studio when your gone and what you would otherwise toss as a study, or uncompleted could end up touring the world surrounded by security guards.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Well Finally!! Spring has officially arrived here. Faith has come into season so we can finally get our puppy planning underway. Perfect timing to raise puppies for us and pefect timing for those wanting a new puppy to raise this summer!
Spring has also arrived in many other ways here too, with lots of bookings for dog grooming and we are starting to build some of our popular show jumps for horses. I have also been painting more and will post some pics of my work when they are ready. The incredible power of the extended day length and warmth of the sun has made a huge difference in the strength I have now and hope you are all able to make the most of it too!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Hey! I have my first follower! Welcome! I promise to try and get better with my commnications this year with everyone and I hope this will help me keep in touch...


So here we sit waiting for Mother Nature to kick in so I can do the breedings I have planned for my golden girls. The weather is certainly warming...all the dogs are starting the spring shed and with 6 of them in the house right now it appears like we are starting a new decorating trend...I'm calling it "Plush"!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ember in snow

So I couldn't resist posting this picture I took of Ember, my youngest pup yesterday. Her great grandmother celebrated her 16th birthday yesterday! She was my first golden retriever and a real testament to the breed. Don't forget to hug a senior! Dog or will lift their spirits!

Monday, February 22, 2010


Sometimes, we have days where we just need to sit and contemplate where we are at in life. With the passing of another aunt of mine in a one month period, a moment of thought is only natural.I think about finding small things to appreciate in a day that seems negative. Appreciation for the breath of life and the ability to create.What I create tomorrow is yet to be born. How cool is that! To wake each day and create something that was not on the earth the day before. That is art.