A Vacation from Vacation? Nah... It's All Good.

Phew... are we tired.

Since Friday afternoon, we...
 - went ice skating
 - nearly set a new record for a grocery bill
 - went to two holiday parties on Saturday night
 - hosted 7 of Chloe's friends for a "pizza and movie" event
 - got a couple of bike rides in (K)
 - went caroling
 - went to Christmas Pageant rehearsal (C)
 - baked cookies (well, Peggy did that)
 - went to a Christmas Tea (an annual tradition for PnC)
 - did a monster cleaning of the home
 - did some shoveling (it's snowing as I type... could get 5-10")
 - got a couple of gym workouts in (KnP)

And coming up, we...
 - will be picking up my sister and her family at the airport tonight (awesome!)
 - will go bowling tomorrow (of course)
 - go skiing for 3 days (VERY awesome)
 - visit the Denver aquarium (probably)
 - have a beer and burger at Mountain Sun (hopefully)

But, you know what?  It's a good tired.


Season Kick-Off on the Planks of Questionable Judgment

A lot of the ski areas in Colorado have been open for a couple of weeks -- a few since mid-October -- but we haven't been able to join our skiing brethren on the slopes.  Well, that is, until this (past) weekend.

After dropping Chamberlain off at his home away from home and picking Chloe up from school, we began our 2 hour, weekend-away drive to Breckenridge, CO.  Nestled in the Rockies West of the Continental Divide,"Breck" sits at about 9,600 feet and averages about 300 inches of snow a year.  We got to our hotel around 5:30p, dropped off our boots and skis at the on-site valet, and made our way to our room.  We unpacked and chilaxed, then walked to town to get some dinner.  We would have loved to explore town more, but it was getting late, and cold, and we had a healthy dose of skiing ahead of us so we called it a night.

Peggy and I awoke to whispers of "Is it time to go skiing yet?" at 7:00a Saturday morning.  To Chloe's mild disappointment, there was still another 2 hours until the lifts started running.  What made matters worse, at least in the short-term, was that she could see a lift, because it was only 100 yards from our hotel.  That proximity, though, was nice later on when it was actually time to don our gear and walk over to the lift to get on.

Shortly after 9:00a, after retrieving and putting on our ski gear, making our way over to the lift, and getting an updated trail status map, we got on the Quicksilver lift to kick off our 2009-10 ski season.  Peggy and I were curious during the first run to see how much Chloe retained from last season, her first on skis.  And to our surprise and joy, it appeared as if she pretty continued where she left off.  We spent the first couple of runs on the greens just to get a feel for things again, and then, on Chloe's prodding, made our way to some blue (intermediate) runs.  Though being open several weeks, Breck was only at about 20% of capacity, in terms of trails being open.  Lucky for us, those that were were mostly beginner and intermediate, with a few advance intermediate ones sprinkled in.

Later in the morning, as some snow flurries were coming down, we began to hear some loud, thundering booms.  I thought it was thundersnow happening somewhere in the nearby mountains, but came to learn from a lift operator that it was explosives being set off to initiate avalanches in the back bowls.

After a timely lunch break -- both in terms of hunger and warmth -- we began exploring trails on another peak.  By this time, thankfully, the skies began to clear some and we were able to get some glimpses of the peaks of the Continental Divide to the East.  It was shortly after this time that Chloe's legs started getting tired (and/or her brain remembered that there was a pool and hot tub at the hotel), so she and Peggy went back to the hotel, and I stayed out for about another hour and an half. 

Saturday night was another night in town at a restaurant, as coincidence would have it, I ate at back in June 2007 while out here to do the Ride the Rockies bike ride.  (A little tip:  if you ever eat at the Salt Creek Steak House, try the Elk London Broil... it's de-lish!).

A snow storm visited the area on Sunday, and so our skiing this morning was similar to Saturday's start:  cold, with blowing snow.  But unlike Saturday, the skies showed no chance of clearing.  We got to explore Peak 7 and Chloe had her first experience using poles, but even those fun experiences couldn't ward off the effects of the cold.  Around 11:00a, we made our way to a restaurant at the base of Peak 8, where Peggy and Chloe stayed to warm up. I left in order to make my way back to the hotel to get the car and our belongings.  Because there was no skier drop-off at this base, they had to take the gondola into town, where I met them.

The snow was still coming down pretty hard, and we had heard horror stories about traffic in the mountains on Sunday afternoons during ski season, so instead of doing a sit down lunch at a local restaurant, we decided it was best to eat on the go and begin heading East sooner rather than later.  As we got on the Interstate, we realized that was a good call, as traffic was light but largely staying in one semi-cleared lane as we approached the Divide.

Three hours and a lot of windshield cleaner later, we were back in sunny-and-40-degrees Boulder, looking forward to our next skiing excursion (which is in less than 2 weeks!)

(Pictures, top to bottom: the view East as the weather cleared on Saturday; mid-hill view of the town of Breckenridge; view from the top of the Beaver Run chair [elev. about 11,300 ft.] and Torreys and Grays peaks in the background; Chloe wondering why she's not in the hot tub yet; the Apr├Ęs Ski Girls.)


The (Very Cold) Hunt for the Schrammel Christmas Tree

We joined our friends the Teagues for a trip up to northern Colorado for a weekend in the woods to both 1) spend some time in a rustic cabin just hanging out and 2) harvest a Christmas Tree for our homes.

We left Saturday morning and started heading towards the Red Feather Lakes area of the state, which is about a 2.5 hour drive NNW of here, stopping in Ft. Collins for brunch. It was a great drive for we not only got to see a new part of our home state, but got to see some pronghorn and big horn sheep along the way.  We arrived at the cabin early afternoon and promptly got the fireplace and gas furnace going, and got the cars unloaded.  The cabin lacked some modern touches (e.g. running water, indoor plumbing) but it made no difference, as we settled in and enjoyed watching the many whitetail deer running around the wood.

We've heard that this was another beautiful area of the state, and it appeared so during the drive.  Unfortunately, we weren't able to get many expansive views for the much of the visit as a cold front came in Saturday night.  A very, very cold front, bringing nearly constant flurries along with it. 

How cold?  We woke up Sunday morning -- the day of our Christmas tree hunt -- to -4 degrees.  After a hot breakfast and putting on every piece of warm clothing we could find, we drove to the place where we were going to get our Christmas trees. 

Now, this was no average Christmas Tree excursion.  It was, at least in theory, about as Rockwellian as one could get:  we would board a horse drawn sleigh, be taken into the forest to both get our trees as well as enjoy some hot chocolates and cookies in a cabin, and then have the horses pull us and our trees back to our cars.  Theory, though, has a freezing point of -1 degree, which was the temperature when we got out of car to begin the sleigh ride. 

Multiple layers of blankets and Christmas carols couldn't keep the spirits -- or hands, feet, or faces -- of Chloe and Evan warm very long.  And the driver took notice, for the 2 Belgian draft horses pulling our sleigh -- Zeus and Apollo -- picked up the pace noticeably.  Suffice it to say that we arrived at the cabin none too soon.  We went in, huddled around the wood stove, and enjoyed the hot chocolate.  John and I then headed out to find a tree for our families. 

Unlike Christmas tree farms that I was used to back East -- where there were neat rows of trees that one could easily walk in between, and the trees were somewhat evenly spaced mostly symmetrical -- we were hunting on a hillside in the forest, where few of the trees have the qualities just mentioned.  So, the hunt took a while (thankfully, the constant movement of walking up, down and across a snowy hillside staved off the effects of the cold.) 

After what I'm guessing was about 30 minutes of searching, I found our tree.  I cut it down, dragged it through the forest a little, rolled it down an embankment, body-slid down said embankment, and took it over to the cabin where it awaited to be tied on to the sleigh.  John's quest ended shortly after mine, and we both went in to warm up some before getting back on the sleigh.  Not only were we glad to have brought back trees for our families, but we were glad to see our kids were in much better spirits as well (whipped cream hot chocolate and cookies have a tendency to do that, it appears.)

It was then back on the sleigh for the ride back to the parking area.  A few carols and a few laughs later, we were there.  After tying down the trees to the top of the Explorer, we headed back to the cabin to pick up our dogs and belongings and begin the drive back to Boulder, where things were much warmer... it was 10 degrees here when we got home.

(Pictures, top to bottom:  Chloe and Evan watching deer around the cabin; Me holding a sleeping Dulce; Peggy hanging out with Zeus and Apollo; KnPnC.)


Please Allow Me to Introduce...

Mr. Chad Dillon Cooper.  He's a crowntail betta fish, and the most recent addition to the Schrammel household.  He'll be residing in his aquarium on Chloe's nightstand for what we hope is a long, long time.


Season Wrap-Up

(This post is about a week overdue, but as we've learned from our time here in Boulder, few things happen in a rushed manner around here.  Unless, that is, the issue involves medicinal marijuana access and dispensaries... then the pace, ironically enough, is pretty frenetic.  Who knew some many people in Boulder County had glaucoma?  But I digress.)

Another soccer season for the Banana Bees came to an end last weekend.  The record?  0-0-9 (wink, wink.)  I think it's fair to say all casual observers noticed some improvement in skills over the season.  Equally important, and perhaps a better measure of the season, is that everyone had fun, and, as far as I know, is interested in playing again in the Spring.

(Picture:  Chloe receiving her end-of-season trophy from Coach Brad.  Thanks to Megan Dawson for the picture!)


Give me an "H." Give me an "A." Give me an "L." Give me an "L." Give me an "O." (You get the idea.)

The snow melted in plenty of time for Chloe to have a wonderful time with her Halloween activities.  The party at her school as well as the Trick-or-Treating went very well...  she probably couldn't tell you what she learned at school today, but I'm fairly certain she could tell you how many pieces of candy she got tonight!


Snow Day, Take 2

Another several inches of snow. Another day off from school for Chloe.

About 22" of snow has fallen since Tuesday night... and it's flurrying again as I type this.

Below are some videos of our morning at Scott Carpenter Park.


In a Cycling Mecca, You Can ALWAYS Ride

Today, despite there being a boatload of snow on the ground — and more still to come as I type this — Chloe got a bike ride in. Inside.

Today, was her first CycleTykes class at Boulder Indoor Cycling (Boulder's indoor velodrome.) No, she's not riding on the track. Instead, they've set up an "obstacle" course in the track's infield to help kids of all ages practice in bike handling skills. She was clearly a little intimidate by it... there were a couple of things she clearly wasn't ready to do with her classmates. But, the most encouraging feedback was when we got back in the car to head home... she said she had a good time and would like to go back again next week.

(Pictures, top to bottom: Chloe [pink helmet] and her classmates getting ready to ride the boards, Boulder-style; a wide angle view of the velodrome track and infield.)

Snow Day

With 10" on the ground (so far!) and a day off from school, Chloe, Chamberlain and I spent some time this morning at the local sledding hill.


Parent-Teacher Conference Day

Peggy and I met with Chloe's teacher today and couldn't be more pleased and proud of the feedback we received.
- Chloe's doing very well with her reading and is on a good pace to be slightly beyond a 1st grade reading level by the end of the school year. Peggy and I weren't too surprised to hear this, as we have been noticing some tremendous improvements the last several weeks. Her daily reading assignment homework seems to be paying off quite well!
- As for spelling, she is pretty strong in that area, too. A little more work is need on capitalization and punctuation, but her teacher said that is not uncommon at this stage.
- She is doing very well in mathematics, so much so that her teacher is thinking about giving her some "advanced" problems to see how she does with them.

Chloe is doing well non-academically, too. She gets along with everyone in her class, is eager to participate in discussions and class activities (sometimes over eager, we learned!) and shows concern when someone is sick or can't find something.

It was a GREAT visit with her teacher. We hope there are many more like that to come.


It's Not Just Like Riding a (Road) Bike

This past weekend, I took some friends up on their invite for a weekend of mountain biking out in Fruita, CO (which is about 4.5 hours West of here, and just about 16 as-the-crow-flies miles from the Utah State Line.) I thought it would be a great opportunity to try something new, and do so with some friends who know what they are doing. Even though I've put several thousand miles behind me whilst in a bike saddle, the lion's share of those have been on a road bike. On a paved road. With relatively few obstacles in my path (save for the occasional squirrel darting out.) Though a novice, I knew enough about the sport of mountain biking that I shouldn't expect such conditions.

My friend Carl and I drove out Friday to an area called the Bookcliffs and met up with some other friends who had driven out the day before. When we arrived at the campsite, they had just returned from a ride, so Carl and I changed around and did a short "get my feet wet" ride before dinner. I quickly came to learn that except for there being a chain and a place to sit, there are very few similarities between a mountain and road bike. It is a completely different feel on a mountain bike and requires a different set of bike handling skills. For example, on a road bike, if you feel your back tire sliding out, you may tend to freak out a bit and may end up in a world of hurt; on a mountain bike, you just keep on pedaling.

Another difference is not only looking at things that might impact your front or rear tires, but also what you might hit your pedals on. A lot of the trails we were on are "single track," meaning they're wide enough for only 1 biker to be going on (i.e. no 2-abreast riding). So, the trail is relatively narrow and usually lined with rocks, boulders, trees, tree stumps, roots, etc. I can't tell you how many times I banged my pedals on those kinds of things because, previously, I never really had to consider them when thinking about ground clearance for my pedals.

On Saturday, we biked near camp and made our way to the the Zippity Doo Daa trail. Despite the name, this was, I would find out, no kiddie ride at Disney. First clue: the "experts only" sign at the trailhead that my friends said I should not be freaked out by. And, by the early going, they were right. Relatively mild terrain, but nothing too extreme. I was still having my usual troubles of being in the right gear for the short, steep climbs, and whacking my pedals against things. And I did my fair share of "hike-a-bike." But all in all, not too bad.

Then we got ourselves to the section that this trail is known for... the "knife's edge" ridge riding and the "steeps." I've hiked on terrain like this before, but to have a bike trail traverse it was pretty spectacular and unlike anything I had ever done on a bike before. The ridge riding didn't bother me too much (despite the threat of one bad turn and I'd be tumbling down the side of a pretty long, steep hill.) The steep descents, though, were something else. They, too, usually involved a ridge of some kind, but because of their nature, usually involved much greater speed and hence even less room for error.

At the first steep decline, we all stopped at the top to check out the trail and to do a gut check. Experienced riders Carl and Neal went first and made it down safely. I was next. And nervous. I'm not sure why, but I didn't feel like thinking about it too long, so I just went. And picked up speed quickly despite feathering the back brake. The bike drifted right and almost went off the trail before finding its way down the center of the trail and to the bottom of the descent. Carl and Neal were stunned – they couldn't believe a) I attempted it and b) I kept the bike upright after nearly going off the trail.

And frankly, I was in complete agreement. I was so startled by what had just taken place that my legs were shaking for a couple of minutes afterward. Much like at the top of the hill, I had another "didn't feel like thinking about it too long moment" at the bottom, but this time it was: I don't want to do anything like THAT again soon. And even though opportunities presented themselves, I was more than glad to do the "hike a bike" down some of the remaining steeps.

(Here's a link to a video someone took while riding this trail. I don't know this person, but I found it on YouTube and it gives a pretty good idea of what the ridge riding is like at times. It doesn't do justice to the "steeps" though. At about 4:15 into the clip, you'll see the descent that got my legs shaking. Again, it's tough to discern from the video how steep the trail is at that point.) After the steeps and ridge riding were over, we made our way back to camp via a trail called Prime Cut. This one was much more "tame" as it was mostly a gradual climb up to the camp.

On Sunday, we loaded up the bikes and headed to the Kokopelli trail area about 30 minutes away. The first trail we got on was Mary's Loop and it was wonderful. It paralleled (at a pretty safe distance) the canyon cliffs along a stretch of the Colorado River, providing excellent views practically the entire time. After about 2 miles, we did a side trail called Horsethief Bench Loop. To get to it, though, required a hike-a-bike down a boulder-strewn trail. Once at the bottom, more fun was ready to be had as we got ourselves lower in the canyon and got some even better views of the river and canyon walls. It was still mostly single-track riding but it wasn't as treacherous as some of the stuff from Saturday. That said, though, it was on this trail that I happened to do my first "endo." Thankfully, it was a relatively slow event and one from which I came relatively unscathed. Another great feature of this trail was the return to the beginning of the loop... it followed a dry, twisty creekbed along some sandstone walls

After finishing the loop, we hiked back up to Mary's Loop. At this point, the guys who came Thursday had to head back to the Boulder area, so Carl and I continued on our way on Mary's Loop – again, riding the rim of the canyon and enjoying the scenery – and eventually did part of another side trail called Steve's Loop. This, too, was another great side trail with little risk and great reward.

There was no time to ride on Sunday, so Carl and I decided to drive through Colorado National Monument on our way back home. And what a wonderful side trip this was. The canyon walls and rock formations were incredible and the road through the monument skirted the rim, yielding sights and views practically the entire way.

For pictures, follow this link.


A Night at Nature's Drive-In

Our original plan for tonight was to do a one-night camping trip with our friends the Teagues. But after seeing the forecasted lows (upper 30s), we thought that might be a bit too extreme for our 6 year olds. So after kicking around some alternative ideas, we decided to address the need to do something outdoorsy. And the outdoorsy thing we decided to do was this: drive up to Rocky Mountain National Park in the afternoon to first do a kid-friendly hike somewhere, and then follow that up by spreading out a blanket along side a large meadow to have a picnic dinner during the annual elk rut to watch the drama play out.

"What is the elk rut?" you may ask. Well, check out this video to hear it described by a RMNP spokeswoman. And if you're like us, you, too, will find it hard to believe a large animal like a bull elk is making that kind of high-pitched sound.

Having read a little bit about it prior to heading up there, we knew that dawn and dusk were the times of day with the most elk activity. So we planned accordingly and set out on a hike with the Teagues around 4:00p. Even then, though there weren't any elk in sight, we could here some of the bugling throughout the valley. We strolled around for about 90 minutes, and then headed back to the car in order to find a good spot to set up our picnic and watch the feature presentation.

Thankfully, we only had to drive about 1 mile from where we were hiking to get a good seat for Nature's show... out in the meadow were about 35 cows (female elk) with several bulls (males) doing their best to attract some of the females away from the bull who had herded them together and is now trying to keep them his. And what a show Nature put on. Several bulls in the area were bugling, and we saw one make its way about 400 yards across the meadow to try and entice some cows out of the group. The "harem owner" bull was indeed a busy fellow, for not only did he have to chase off other bulls that got too close, he also had to recollect any cow that was getting wooed away by another bull. There was also the coyote near the herd, checking things out and probably looking for an opportunity to get a meal.

Now you may think us strange for actually wanting to go see such a thing. That is, perhaps, true. But you must also know that we were far from alone, for the park roads were packed with onlookers! And we were just one of several groups of spectators that decided to make it into a "dinner theater" show. This is actually a pretty popular annual attraction in the area; for example, the nearby town of Estes Park was holding its "Elk Fest" this weekend.

(Pictures, top to bottom: the herd we were watching during our picnic dinner; a bull elk corralling some of his lady friends; a bull elk running off some unwanted competition; the first heard we saw after entering the park; a bull elk on the outside looking in; a bull elk bugling; Steelers Nation... gotta love it.)


Grand and Green Hiking

First the "Grand" portion, and a write-up from guest poster Peggy:

Many of you may know that Kurt got me a 4-day backpacking trip through REI to the Grand Canyon as a Christmas gift. It was either an incredible gesture of love or a flagrant attempt to rub me out and collect the insurance money...I haven't quite decided.

Anywho, I trained hard and it was the experience of a lifetime! I hiked 20.8 miles in desert heat with a 32-lbs. pack on my back that contained everything I needed to survive for three days in the remote backcountry. Our guides were great and though I was the only chick on the trip, I am happy to report that I hung with the guys the whole way and did NOT cry...not even once.
I now feel like Wonder Woman and am pretty sure that I could overturn parked cars with my bare hands. It was SUCH a confidence booster.


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View of the Indian Peaks and Continental Divide

And now the Green portion (by yours truly)...

Perhaps inspired by Peg's trip, or by PBS' current showing of Ken Burns' documentary on the National Parks, or just addressing need to put on the trail shoes, I got away for a couple of hours this morning for a local hike to Green Mountain (elev. 8,144 ft.) here in Boulder. It was a perfect day for hike, too... sunny, clear-blue skies, and temperature right around 50. Save for the occasional woodpecker, chipmunk or squirrel, there wasn't much wildlife to speak of. The views, though, were awesome, and came with relatively little effort.

Barely visible but there,
Mts. Evans & Bierstadt

Mt. Audubon

Fall's colors beginning to show



Longs Peak


A New Season

A new season for the Banana Bees is underway. It actually began last week, but I just didn't get around to doing a write-up on it. In short: the BBs did really well (an "agreeable" defense by the other team helped) and Chloe tallied a goal for herself.

As for this week's action, Chloe found herself (probably due to her lobbying) playing goalie quite a bit. And, man, she did a great job in net! For the longest time, it was a shooting gallery at her end of the field, and she hung right in there and made some really good stops. One girl on the other team had a pretty strong boot, and laid into one. Chloe took it off the arm and chest like a trooper, and kept it out of the goal.

The personal highlight of the game, though, took place when Chloe was out in the field. I'm not sure if she was on offense or defense (besides initial positioning, there's little difference at this stage of the game in these two once the ball starts rolling) but she was dribbling the ball down the near sideline, with 2 players from the other team right next to her, preventing her from going towards the goal. And then, without any prior experience or training in doing so, Chloe executed perfectly the "pull back" move whereby she stopped quickly, rolled the ball back towards her, and made a move towards the center of the field, leaving the defenders behind. It. Was. Beautiful. And right in front of where Peggy and I were sitting, too! We were joined by many others in stunned laughter when she did it. (Sadly, I didn't have the video camera with me to capture it.)

(Pictures, top to bottom: Chloe chasing down an opponent; Chloe mixing it up in The Bunch; Chamberlain sleeping it off after having "one too many" during halftime; Chamberlain eyeing-up the Coors Light guy.)


Faster. Higher. Stronger. Or something like that.

This afternoon was the Fall Fun Days at Chloe's school, which essentially translates into an afternoon of fun and games in the school yard. (You may recall there was something similar in the spring when she was in Kindergarten.)

Pictures will tell more of the story about what the event is about, and how Chloe enjoyed it, so without further ado...

Doing the "javelin" toss.

During the bouncy ball race.

At the bean bag toss game.

Pulling her way through the rope-pulley-wagon race.

Her hurdling still needs some work.


Doing a Little Catching Up...

Wow! I realized earlier today that it's been a while since I updated this thing, so I figured that since I had some free time now (and who doesn't at 11:20p on a Friday?), I'd put up a post about some things that took place over the last couple of weeks.

Aug. 28-30 - To the surprise of many, Chloe and I made a trip back to eastern PA to visit family and friends, and celebrate my mom's birthday. Peggy was already back there on a business trip, and had to stay in the area for the weekend due to some more business there on Monday. Rather than stay at a hotel for the weekend, she was going to stay with my parents. Once that was arranged and we realized Peg had some airline miles available, we did some quick planning and arranged some airfare for Chloe and I to fly out on Friday and fly back on Sunday. It was a quick visit, but the great time we had visiting with folks made the time-zone disruption well worth it.

Sept. 1 - Chloe got her 1st homework assignment of the school year. Beginning today and everyday hereafter for a while, Chloe will be bringing home a reading-level appropriate book for her to read out loud to Peggy and/or me, and then keep a log of the books she's read. In just these couple of weeks, we're beginning to notice some improvement in her reading skills. ( So, yes, for those of you in the know, my daughter will be more read than me by the time you finish reading this post.)

Sept. 6 - Peggy and I celebrated 12 years of marriage. How? By "grillin' and chillin'" on the patio with Chloe... it was a wonderful day.

Sept. 7 - It was a sunny and warm today, so we thought it was a great opportunity for a KnPnCnC walk somewhere. So we decided a walk around nearby Coot Lake was in order... it is close, and dogs are allowed to be off-leash. We made it about 80% of the way around and came to an area where it was easy for dogs to get in/out of the water. So, I thought I'd test Chamberlain's willingness to get wet by putting a tennis ball in the water tantalizingly close to him, but still far enough away from the shore that he'd have to go for a very short swim to get it. Well, did I ever tell you that Chamberlain can howl? He stood on a log, pawed at the water, looked at the ball, looked at us. And when that strategy got him nowhere...howl! This went on for a couple of minutes, but eventually the log got wet enough from him pawing the water that he eventually slipped in. He swam to the ball, and quickly returned to shore. But we think the cooling effect of the water made an impression on him.

Shortly after we left this area of lake, we came to another area where there was easy access. So we decided to throw in some sticks to see what he would do. Well, I won't say he went in with the reckless abandon one might see in a lab or retriever, but he showed considerably less hesitation in going for a swim to get the sticks then he did just a few short minutes prior for the tennis ball.

(Picture: Chamberlain, the Pennsylvania Water Beagle retrieving his wet quarry.)