Thursday, April 30, 2009

Fence and more fence

Worked on more fence yesterday. This is getting old. It is a pretty big area, and partially wooded, so you can't hear when someone is stopped. Stopped, you ask? What do I mean by that?

Well, we are working with high tensile wire. That's the perimeter fence. We have to start at the home gate side, and pull the wire all along the perimeter. By the last several yards, it is REALLY hard to pull. So heavy in fact, I don't do it ;) Apparently, they make something called a "Jenny wheel", on to which you put your spool of wire. This fence didn't come with this. My brother rigged one up though, and it works a charm. I call her "Ginny" because she's a rigged "Jenny". So, my job is to keep that wheel going- I feel like Vanna White with all that spinning...

We so far have five strands pulled, and four stapled. I think my brother can do the stapling of the last without me there. But, that's not all folks. We didn't do the whole perimeter. We stopped at the far gate. But, still, the other side that is not done is not a long as what we have already done. Still, a few days of work- nonetheless.

While my brother stopped to chat with some construction workers, I took a small tour of the property. The pond, which is huge had a bunch of Sunnies come up to me- and something quite large jumped into the water- probably a muskrat... Gosh how I would like to get Ducks- but there are snappers there, and bye bye ducks if I do... Then I went into the barn- where the stock will be allowed to come in- it has all been cleaned out!!!!!!!! YEAH!!!! This barn was once a partial sheep and cow dairy barn. The sheep area is just fine. We have work to do to get the other side cleaned out, but I would like to, because that's where the small pens that can be used as jugs for lambing are.....

We still have so much to do. It's scary. I may find some folks to help us over the next few days/weekend, and pay them myself to get everything done. The day laborer my brother has, well, shall we say, just isn't a go getter, and my nephew could do the work faster, and probably better ;)

So, hopefully by this time next week, there will be the pitter patter of yearling Angus strolling through the fields. Then, come the sheep :)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What a morning

Woke up this morning really tired. Not sure why. I slept many hours last night- oh, before I forget- I am reading a new book by Earlene Fowler (of the quilting mystery series), called "Love Mercy", and it's a non-murder mystery- more a novel, with some overlapping characters. I recommend it.

Okay, so back to this morning. I let the adult dogs out as usual (I let Danny out after they are all out to avoid herding misbehavior). So, anyway, Lucy disappeared around the house, and then I let Danny out then back in (with the other girls). Lucy was not coming, so I left her and Tucker out. That should have been my first clue...

So, done with my shower, and dressed, I look out in the back yard and I see Tucker standing looking at the driveway, Lucy sitting in the middle of the yard not looking at much of anything- well, she was, but it was like she was waiting for me... Then, I look diagonally behind her along the fence, and there it was- a bunny. Another freakin' bunny, who, apparently, like the others committed suicide by dog. Lucy was sitting there, looking very proud. I went and got the snow shovel, that doubles as a bunny thrower, and chucked it into the woods. Lordy. This is what, number three? She is getting quite adept at killing these things.... I did hear barking by Kylie while in the shower- that must have been when the action was happening...

So, okay, now that that is done. I was ready to leave- brought both coffee containers to my car, and went to start it. Dead- dead as a doornail, not unlike the bunny. Last night when I got home, I pulled my key out of the ignition, but it was still ding ding dinging. Odd, I thought. I for some reason thought it would not be a problem. So, I called my sister, and my brother in law came right over, and jumped the battery. I get to work, and the same thing happens- kept dinging after I pulled the key out of the ignition. Well, this time I figured it out. THE LIGHTS were off automatic and on manual- the ON position. What DUMMY with a capital D. Lord.

So, let's hope my car starts later.

On to see what else will happen today...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

She tries me

Lucy went at Danny today- in the same place as last time- on the deck as they passed. She seems to have this issue with tight spaces, and dogs that aren't subservient enough- or perhaps dogs she thinks she can be rid of. I dealt with it fast. I am getting very good at this. Danny at first yelped, but then he got mad. I can't say as I blame him. I was fast enough, that he saw that I handled it. I chastised him too (gently) as I don't want him learning that fighting, no matter what, is okay. Just a bit ago, I put Lucy and Tucker outside, and left Kylie and Danny in. They played BIG TIME, for the first time. Kylie kept flipping on her back and all around and it was very nice. They are friends now :) That' s so nice. Lucy will miss out on that. It really stinks that she is such a pain about dog/dog interaction.

And, bad news. Mr. Chips now has Momma's cold. Let's hope he fights it off well. I wish I knew how it got brought in to the house. There hasn't been new stress, but there are loads of strange cats all over... Please think good thoughts for my MEE -OOOWWW.

Momma's better, and thinking...

Thanks to all those who wrote me about my Momma kitty. Ginger is just about back to normal now. I am glad that it was a short lived illness.

Okay, well, for a long time now, I have been considering my plans for Lucy and I this year. Lucy is a good sheepdog- there is no question in my mind. But, one area where I would knock her, and yes, there are those knocky areas in each dog, is that she gets nervous- and so do I. I think I have created that in her- in fact, it was observed and relayed to me recently. Anyway, I have thought, and I am serious about this! of getting hypnotized, to see if I can get my nerves under control when I work Lucy, no matter where I work her. Either that, or some self help program where I can attack this issue for once and for all. It simply is not RIGHT that I get upset/nervous, and make my dog this way, and then when she should be able to shine, she doesn't. It galls me to no end.

I don't really like trialing- I have to say, I don't get a whole lotta pleasure out there, being nervous, and always feeling like Lucy and I have to do better because we are not a BC team. Even when we did quite well at a trial last year, it didn't really matter- isn't that weird? I guess because on that run, she worked like she always does (when I haven't wound her up) - it was no surprise to me.

So, what we will do this year? Well, financially, I can't afford diddly, and since I don't really enjoy trialing, I may do very little, if not, none. I will see. You have no idea how I wish someone who knows what they are doing and is confident, could run her- NO IDEA.

So, who knows. I know the most fun I have working my dog is just that- there needn't be a judge or audience.

Phew.

Well, even though I did almost, exactly nothing at the Old Chatham trial this past weekend, I was still tired from that, because, mainly, I think... of the HEAT. It was in the 90's. We are all just not ready for that.

On Monday, I really just wanted a good day at work, and to be back to regularly scheduled programming... But, I had told my brother that I would go to his place after work to help with the fence. When I got there, I counted posts, and then, we had to do corner and gate bracing with wire, and a tensioner. None of us had done that before. We (my brother, the helper and I) went into the house to watch the demo on youtube. That helped, like, not at all. My brother had watched it several times, so he had a general gist. We did one together, and then he had to leave. Okay, so me and the helper, and a friend of ours went down and started. By the, oh, 8th, we had it down pat. We had to put some cross posts in, and ended up putting them too high, so we had to move them. My brother notified us of that, and of one gate post brace that was put in wrong. Sure would have been nice if he had been there when we were doing it. It was the blind leading the blind. I am just glad I didn't have to turn that tension tool. I couldn't have.

So, by dark- that's after working all day, and then somewhere around 7-8, I had to go. All the braces had been done. My brother was starting on the insulators, and staples. LOTS of staples to go in. There are many many many posts, and each post needs 4 staples.

I plan to go back this week, but certainly not today as it will be extremely hot (again) and at one point yesterday, I got a bit peekid (sp?), and had to go in and cool down and eat something with salt.

The cattle (I've no idea what sex, but I think they are Angus) are coming on Sunday, so we have lots to do. Once we get them, then I have to clean out the barn, and get it ready. I think that the sheep will be happy there as well. I do think I will do some lambing, just so we can recover a bit of money put into these animals.

Danny this morning is wired for sound- he hasn't had a normal day in a while, and he just wants to play- but darn it, he will not fetch. He wants to guard his toys, and then, when I kick one he runs to it with another ball in his mouth. He needs exercise, so I guess just walks. I think walking around my brother's place would do him some real good. I think I saw some bear scat out there, so watch out Danny!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Old Chatham post mortem

This is what my dogs did at the trial. Danny hung out with me while I was announcing, and took the opportunity to garner as much lovin' as one pup could ask for. So many folks came up to him, it was not unlike a line at the bank teller. Danny is alone, someone comes up, fawns over him, then leaves. Next? Repeat action. He really loved everyone- and met kids and a couple of really little toddlers. No problems. Even one who was scratching his nails on a rubbermaid container... Danny definitely saw the sheep, and wanted to be part of the action- and, he had his very first initiation into the big boy tub, that the dogs use to cool off after their runs. He only got one full leg in, but STILL, that's a big deal ;) Lucy was not to be out done by Danny. Lucy has always loved kids. Loves people in general, but kids- they are her favorite. And, kids love Lucy- as you can see. Lucy had these kids eating out of her hand- so much so, in fact, that they told me where they lived...
Okay, so the rest of the trial. They pulled the big ewes out of the line up today, so the sheep were more forgiving if the dog ran them a bit- BUT they were still pushing hard to their left. Dogs who yielded to that pressure were out of fetch points. The runs were good today, some very high scores. Bev Lambert and Mirk took a 92, Amanda Milliken and Ethel took a 90, and I think Bev's Hemp got another 90- something... Danny's daddy Glen took the long way 'round on his outrun- he went right, and covered a lot of ground- a LOT when you consider, also, that he is almost 11. Then, at the top, he got a bit political, and asked these ladies to move. They didn't reply, and it took some doing to get them going. At the post, a good turn was gotten, but then there was a confrontation, in which one ewe butted Glen, but he dealt properly with her, and moved her along. Time ran out just after the shed. Rich Seaman and the dogs he ran Ki and Boo, both did well.
But, with scores at 90+ it was tough to beat B and A. It was hot again today, but a bit more overcast, so some what forgiving.
There was one INCREDIBLE shed. Forget who, but a guy- the sheep were glued to him- facing the handler. The guy made a 10" (I swear) hole, and pulled his dog through, and shed off like a clinician at a shedding clinic. Seriously incredible.
We didn't have any big wrecks today, but that's okay- we had very enjoyable runs to watch.
Everyone helped, and the weather cooperated. Warren Mick et al needs some serious kudos for the best trial in the North East, once again.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Old Chatham Trial One


Well, the first of two trials is done. It was not easy. Let me give those of you who are unfamiliar, the lay of the land. First, it's flat. Second, the field that you are sending out to, actually appears to be two fields. That is, about 1/2-1/3 way to the sheep on the outrun, the dog has to run through a partial tree line. This has wiped out a lot of dogs. If you click on the photo, you will see the image larger, and thusly, can read the scores. High score was Barb Levinson with Ryn with a 78. Then, once your dog handles the seemingly two fields, he/she must lift properly. Short, and you are dead. Short means the sheep can exit stage right- and that means they end up behind a stand of dense brush/trees. You cannot see anything if they are there. IF you are lucky, and your dog pulls them out of the bowels of heck, then, the sheep lean on the dog the entire.fetch.
So, if your dog was good, he lifts at the right place. Ah, but your dog cannot simply blithely walk up to the sheep and expect them to go. No. They will just stand there, wondering what you want. So, your dog needs to get them up, and moving. At which point all 4 sheep in concert head left, head right, head left- you get the picture. They don't know this field, and they don't know to go to a handler. They are only worked in large mobs, and are basically not dogged. So, your dog MUST take that stop whistle. EVEN THOUGH he has to work hard to keep them on any sort of a line. If the dog blows those whistles, you can FORGET your fetch panels, usually by a lot- AND, the remember that dense stand of trees/bushes? Well, the sheep do- they they immediately run HARD along that stand. Then, well, they get around it, and head BACK to the set out area. Oh boy. Okay, so say your dog took it's whistles, listened well, and the sheep are calm. You now have a chance in Hades to finish. So, you get them turned at the post. And drive them out, and around. Cool. Then, you have to shed two off the four and then pen.
These sheep simply will not take being run hard, and they will also question if a dog is too far off.
Since this field is not fenced, a couple of runs ended when the sheep got off the field and ran up the hill toward the campers.
Add to all of this that it was in the 90's today- can you imagine? It was sweltering. The dogs had a tank of water at the post to dip in, which several made use of. There was one very memorable run- Fiona Roberston and "Pat". They laid down the best run of the weekend so far. I don't know the score, but I tell you- it was nicely NICELY done.
We had lots of spectators, and everything seemed to run very smoothly. It was a very good first trial, and let's see tomorrow, when we finish trial two, if Fiona maintains, what I think, is the lead.
Danny had a great time- especially when the sheep ran past us up the hill. There were lots of very cute puppies there as well.
So, more pics and more info when the trial is done tomorrow. I had to put the a/c in the window today. I feel for the folks in their campers tonight....

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Friends in low places

Being that I am a music buff, I tend to spend my time after working my dog on sheep, listening to the radio, and applying the lyrics to how my dog works, or that sort of thing. Well, the song by Garth Brooks "Friends in low places" always makes me think of my Kelpie, with her tan legs (boots) showing up at a black tie affair (Border Collie), and well, kicking things on their butt. So, listen to this song- the first stanza, and I think you will agree, it is sort of apropos!

Momma

My Momma kitty, aka Ginger, is not well. She started sneezing a few days ago. She has been eating, but is clearly a bit apathetic. This morning she pooed on my bed, and lay right next to it. She has never done that. She just turned 16, so I know she is up there, but she is truly, in every sense, my family. If her sneezing gets worse, I will trundle her into the vet, but otherwise, I will wait, as she detests the car rides, and the stress will just be too horrid for her. Please think good thoughts, she is my heart.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Got beef?

Well, it looks like maybe, just maybe things will be looking up for us... Well, me and the sheepdogs, anyway...

My brother has about 100 acres in my home town. For a while we had been talking about getting it cleared, and fenced, and putting cattle (his idea) and sheep (mine) on it. Biggest issue was clearing the land and ordering/paying for the fence. Since I am on an austerity budget, I just don't have the funds to plunk down a few thou for fencing. I got my brother to call Premier, and he also looked into other companies, but he went with them..... There is hesitation, because I found out he went with them by talking with him, and having him say that the fence is being delivered tomorrow, and could I come by next week one day and join the fencing party? This is cool. THEN, I hear that the cattle (Angus) are coming the week AFTER! Wow. Okay, guess we are full steam ahead on this. He got high tensile, so that means no baby dogs working sheep there, and even adult dogs it will have to be turned off... But, no sheep just yet. Not rushing into this. BUT, it's cool because my brother lives just a long walk from my parent's and where I grew up, and where I long to spend my time. It could be very very nice.

We had Angus cattle on my grandparent's farm, and always had full freezers of meat. Anyway, good news that things are moving forward.

Monday, April 20, 2009

mpillardd├ęcembre08australe

Hopefully I can embed this video... Here is a rather boring (as in we have all seen this before) video of a Kelpie working sheep in a trial, somewhere in Europe. He seems to be doing well, but there is one sheep who takes exception to him and targets and chases and nails him HARD, broadside. What would you all have done if that happened to your dog? What makes it hard, is that it was a trial. I can tell you if that had been my dog, on my sheep, Lucy would have sorted this sheep out, and so would I. Sheep like that are plum dangerous.

Good programs

I did a lot of tv watching this weekend. Unfortunately, for some of the good stuff, I fell asleep, but didn't miss a lot.

The first show I want to mention was the one called "A Stranger among Bears". It's a story about a guy named Vandergar, who lives in a remote property in Alaska, and has habituated Bears to him. Yeah, if you are thinking T. Treadwell, basically the same. Anyway, the black bears that come into his property are quite used to him, totally unafraid. In this episode, there was a videographer that was there to get some good footage of the Vandergar and the bears. This idiot videographer decided a good shot would be him up a tree between a mother bear and her cub. He got soundly nailed on the ankle by the mother. You would THINK that this Vandergar character would have made clear to this guy not to do this. Anyway, it was interesting, but unsettling. Next week's program highlights Grizzly bears coming in to the property/house. Now, Grizzly bears EAT black bears. This is just not a good thing. Mr. Vandergar is not the pied piper, and is not able to will the animals to just get along. Someone is going to get hurt- if not on that episode, some time. I would have no problem if the bears were allowed to come up to the property, but Mr. Vandergar kept his distance- this would keep the bears a bit off balance, and they would not be so bold. Not only is he risking his life, but he is also doing the same to the Bears- very easy pickings for hunters. Why do people become so arrogant, that they think that they can rule predators- that is, because they THINK they understand them, feel safe. While I like to see video of Bears up close, I don't think that the cost is worth it. How do you feel?

Second program was called "World's Loneliest Animals". It was about some critically endangered animals that the human race are now trying to save. The Rafeous Turtle in China- is almost extinct. Breeding is difficult because the males will sometimes kill the females. In this program they did get a successful breeding, but none of the fertile eggs survived. A bigger problem is that the rivers in China where this animal lives are so polluted, there may not be a place for this species to go if they DO save it. They also did a story on the Lemurs in Madagascar. 80% of the forest in Madagascar is gone. I forget the #, but most of the original Lemur species are gone. Duke University has a facility for breeding/raising 20 different species of Lemur (I would love to work there!), but they too, don't know where the animals will be put, unless this removal of habitat stops.

There was a story about the Iberian Lynx. Now, I had fallen asleep in the beginning of this, so when I woke up and heard them talking about fighting between the cats, I thought they were talking about Fishing cats- breeding is troublesome, because just as often as the males/females breed- they fight- and kill each other. But, no, it was about the Iberian Lynx. The cubs fight as well, and will kill each other. So, at the facility where they rear these cats, they have to be ready to go in and break up fights, and try to keep the animals separate when fighting times begin (these fighting periods occur a specific times/year).

Then, they talked about the Black Footed Ferret, and the work being done to rear them. The facility was pretty cool, and they have done a good job getting these animals built back up- BUT they are all inter-related. Oh, one little side note- everyone thought the BF Ferret was extinct, but a sheepdog named "Shep" brought the carcass of one home to his owner, and thus began they search- and finding of the last known colony... Neat eh?

It was a great program, but ended with the statement that the future of these animals is bleak, because we, as a society just will not stop growing, and there just is no room for habitat for these animals...


Okay, this is getting long, but this was really good. It was about a woman named Irena Sandler. Irena Sandler was responsible for saving 2500 children during the Nazi occupation of Poland. She worked with others, and moved them out of the ghettos to Polish families who raised the children as their own. Ms. Sandler died in 2008, at the age of 98. She spoke at the end of the program, and asked that on this mother's day, we reflect on those mothers who had to give up their children, to save them. It was a good show, and it always stuns me how NOT long ago this was. 1941, is really not that long ago, for these horrid ways of treating fellow humans to happen. I think kids these days are probably not taught a lot about WW2, and especially the Nazi occupation and killings. I think that is a mistake. Too easily people get sucked in, and follow leaders even when what they do is completely wrong. We need to realize that we are only as good as our deeds.


So, yeah, lots of good TV, glad I was able to see it all :)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday

Here is a shot of Danny- it gives you a good view of his ears. They look remarkably similar to his daddy's. He looks big in this photo, but he is still a small guy. Here he is looking rather regal. It is difficult getting shots of him standing up, and still. He usually is otherwise indisposed.
I just HAD to get this shot. Mr Chips has a BIG butt. Wow. Methinks he needs weight watchers...



Here he is looking decidedly feline on the prowl.



Notice all the wetness on his head/neck/ears? Danny does that to him. He was positively drenched this morning when I let him in from outside. I had to put an end to the slobber fest when I saw Danny actually pulling the poor cat by his ear!!!!!!!



Today I stayed home and did some heavy duty cleaning. Word to the wise. If you have vertical blinds, and they have that piece that runs horizontally in front of the top of them- take a look once in a while. The DIRT was incredible. OH MY. YICK. I also washed walls, all the curtains/drapes/cafes, and baseboards- all sorts of cleaning. Just needed to get that living room back to presentability.
I had a friend come and take my agility teeter and table. I wasn't using them, and she could, so it works out well. As we lifted the teeter, there must have been a dead mouse under there. Danny grabbed it and was going to swallow it. I ran from him and called him- as I knew he would down it if I went toward him. So, as he made it to me, I grabbed him, and had to stick my hand half way down his gullet to pull out the thing. Gross, seriously.
Something happened in the woods near me- a Hawk was screeing like crazy and Blue Jays were cawing. Something must have been gotten...
So, no sheep work today, but I am happy that I took the time today to clean- it's gotta happen once in a while....




Saturday, April 18, 2009

Good girl, Dopey Dan?

Worked Lucy again- Danny came along for the ride. I have GOT to get a pic of him laying in his crate on his back with all 4 legs up in the air- he does this on the way home. He is so relaxed!

Anyway, I didn't work Luce much- not a lot of time. I had her on a long line this time again, but a heavier one, and it seemed to slow her/make her work more tentatively than I liked. So, after I took the line off, we worked more driving, and she seemed much happier. The sheep are heavy as heck- I saw this even with well trained dogs. They just need the dog up their butts to move them. There was also one in the group oblivious- she would just stop and graze, and Lucy had to get very close to her to move her. It was suggested I not use her for now- to keep Lucy successful- Roger that- but I didn't mark her, so I suppose we will see her again...

One neat thing, was that as Lucy was driving the sheep, and it was slow, because of how they were, I was able to get her to move them faster by snapping my fingers- funny. Snap snap! I would say when I needed something fast... Anyway, it's neat that she understood what I wanted, and could do it. I think she liked the power, that she could indeed speed them up. We need loads more of this practice. Fetching is Lucy's strong suit. She will get it done no matter what- she has that drive to get those sheep to me, and will pull out every trick in her book. Driving heavy sheep is a taste that must be acquired for my lass. Don't get me wrong, she can and has driven nice lighter sheep well, but the heavies? That's tough.

A lesson came by when I was there, and as I released the fresh group of sheep to go to the other pasture, I saw one got spit back by the trainer- apparently that sheep jumps fences. Hate it when they do that! So, of course that sheep when spit back to the adjoining field, ran the length of the fence, trying to get with her friends. She was looking mighty frantic- no doubt wondering which fence to jump? I sent Lucy to fetch her. There were people/sheep/dogs on the other side, within sight, but I figured Lucy could do it. Lucy came around well off the sheep and went into cover mode- stayed off and calm, as if she could tell that this sheep had a screw loose- I could see the sheep looking left right up and down... So, Lucy brought me that sheep, a few times covering when the ewe doubled back- that stuff doesn't excite Lucy at all, from what I could see. I put that sheep up, and made a mental note about her for next time...

Danny got to meet a 10 year old boy. Now, this is great, because there aren't many kids for him to meet, and the one little guy he did meet scared the b-jeepers out of him the first time. Anyway, this boy was great. Danny LOVED him. Seriously. Danny would have gone home with him. The boy lay down and Danny lay next to him, and gave him kisses. It was just so great.
Then, my friend came up and called Danny "Dopey Danny, and Diaper Danny". That little boy thought that was the FUNNIEST thing he EVER heard. I hope that moniker doesn't stick. I had left Danny tied out at his normal place, where he behaves well. He was so well behaved my friend decided he needed to visit. Danny is turning out to be such a good boy. No, he isn't perfect, but he is definitely able to go out places and be expected to behave.

Oh, and on the way home I got a sandwich at a Mr. Subb- see? healthy choice!!!! It was great!

Never did get that Rx for Zyrtex. Sneeze, sneeze, sneeze. Today is going to be 75 degrees! My dad's coming over to cut up a log that my neighbor dumped in my yard- then I can plant my shrubs. I hope we get some rain, because if it stays like this, it won't be good planting weather.

My parents are going to go see Ronin Tynan tomorrow- I am jealous. He is an incredible person, as well as singer.

Next week is the Old Chatham sheepdog trial- can't wait. I plan to video tape runs (need to get that tripod for the camera), and help out if needed. Some of us are taking lessons with Norm before the trial- I can't wait for that either. Should be good. I am going to ask for help with driving, since basically Lucy has what she has from just me, and I think we have some holes in that training.

Not sure if we will work sheep again this weekend- depends. I have some errands to get done, and if I do, maybe we will. I hope you all have a great weekend!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Pat Benatar - Heartbreaker

She rocks!!

Help!

Something is funky with my computer, or youtube. I cannot copy the embed line onto my blog- if I want to put a video up. Ever since they added customize to the embedding, my computer will only allow one small line- not the rest, even though the whole thing is highlighted. Help is needed!

I give to thee, my brush...

Danny has been looking rather raggedy lately. His puppy coat is starting to disappear, but his adult coat isn't fully in. I actually have no idea how his coat will look as an adult. Right now, though, it needs work. Being that I have no dogs who need actual brushing (I use a mitt on the others) I had to find a brush that was easy on a wee lad, as it was his introduction to brushing. Therefore, I did not want to use a slicker brush, which I think will be the ticket when he's grown.

So, I looked and looked, and the only thing I found was my 2nd hair brush- the one I carry in my purse... It has soft ends on the tines, and should be okay.... So, it has now become a dog brush- it's okay, I never really liked it anyway... So, I sat Danny down, and proceeded. He really needed brushing on the back of his back legs area. I started in a more innocuous area, and he liked it. Gradually we moved on. He was wiggly, but we got through it. He likes attention, so that helps. I got some undercoat/puppy coat out, but there is more to go. So, Danny, there you go- for now. It's so odd having to brush a coat...

On a sadder front. The big red ball is off the rotation for Danny. He has become increasingly attached to it, in that he now will cry/whine/irritate all of us, because he can't pick it up. So, big red ball is put away. Let's see what's next... Like I said, Danny needs a job.

This weekend will be clean house/plant shrub/maybe work sheep. Who knows. All I know is that it will be nice out, and I really want to enjoy it!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Hey Yo! Whassup???

Here's a shot of Mr Chips hiding under the landscape cloth I used as partial fencing to keep the dogs from a certain area. It has fallen down, because a certain Border Collie pup decided to chew on it, and likes to put his toys in there. Mr Chips thinks himself oh so wily when he's outside. Slinks along and "hides" in plain sight. He's a pip. If he doesn't stop waking me up at 4:00 in the morning, he will be a splat... (no, I could never hurt him, but MAN is that annoying).

Danny came into the office today. I sat down, I told him to lay down. He did. Then, he went to sleep. Okay, now I think he is very sick. What on earth? He should be a bit more "hyper" right? Well, brought him home and boom- back to normal. Is he just well behaved? Could that be it? I do think he is going through a fear period, because odd things made him bark today- one lady in a ball cap- he has seen scads of them. Then, he got a bit worried when about 10 people went up to pet him- but I couldn't blame him. He took it in stride, but I could tell he was a bit over whelmed.

Supposed to be great weather this weekend :) I have to get some Zyrtec in me, or I won't be out in that nice weather...

Well, that's it for now.

If you are interested in sheepdogs

You must watch this:
(be sure to watch all three parts!)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I'm different.

STOP your laughing- you know who you are!!! What I mean, is now that Danny has come along, I actually am taking time in the morning to play a bit with the lad. I am also not getting up quite so early, but I think that is due to my age... So, this morning, I trundled out twice, both to clean up the yard, and also play a bit of kick ball with the Dan-meister. How can I resist, when he goes to his pile of balls and sits there, oh so calmly? He is good about not jumping up (for the most part) so I remain clean- that's a biggy.

I would love to leave him out when I go, but I just can't risk the myriad of things that could go wrong, so he stays safely in his crate, along with various chew toys.

I hope that I don't become a perfectionist now, you know, like the Border Collies themselves... Oh goodness NO! Thankfully, I have Lucy to loosen me up :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Never thought I'd be happy to hear I was old.

Yeah, can't believe it, but it's true. Went for a second opinion on the RA diagnosis I got a few years back. Dr says, "no" your just 40. HAHAHAHA!!! Good news! I was downright giddy after hearing that! So, the depression has lifted. I can look at doing the things that I have been thinking about now. It's like being told you don't have cancer- to me anyway.

I worked Lucy again. This time I put a line on her when we were driving. She had gotten bad in flanking back and forth- these are heavier sheep. As soon as the line was on, she fell right into the correct position. It was good.

I was lamenting about trials to a friend of mine, and one who I greatly respect, and admire. They said that we all have to pay our dues- "I know", I said, as I kicked some dirt. Then, they went on to say that Lucy has the best outrun and lift in the novice classes. That was very nice to hear. Yeah, I know just novice, but still, a compliment is a compliment and I will take it. Then, they said (and I said this before, but to hear someone who knows what they are talking about, say it was, shall we say- extremely awesome) " She will never quit, will never back down and always brings her sheep". I still get a bit wispy when I hear/read this. Is there any better compliment for a sheepdog? Seriously? I have, in Lucy, the definition of sheepdog. Yeah, I said that.

Lucy may not be real flashy, though sometimes she is, and she may not be the most stylish, though sometimes she is, and she certainly may not be of royal blood (though some of it is), but she is a sheepdog who will do my bidding wherever, whenever, and will never fail me. I don't think I can say much more than that.

Danny is still coveting his balls- GET YOUR MIND OUT OF THE GUTTER! I am looking at getting some ducks this week. To heck with the mess- my dogs need work! Maybe we will have the ducks do agility...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!!!!

I hope everyone has a great Easter. We are having just lovely weather in my neck of the woods. I will head out later to my parents' for Easter fun and dinner. Looking forward to getting together with everyone.

I took some shots of Danny today. When you have weather this nice, you just gotta....
I think he is ready to work something- anything. He is so serious about his ball activity. He found another ball today. It was his own private HE double tooth picks today, when all three were lined up just out of reach of eachother... He uses his head a lot, no willy nilly stuff for him.
I think I should get some ducks - I am totally serious. He needs a job. I feel GUILTY that he doesn't have one...

In this photo, you can just make out his side burns. You will note that he has another ball- that he found. He has his very own flock of balls now. It's much more proper, than just two.


Awww, look- his tail has a little plume to it! If you look closely, you will see he has just wonderful eye lashes too!





Here's the boy showing off that he is finally getting some legs. Phew. I thought I was going to have to get him platform shoes.

Here, Danny is spying the ball that sits just out of the picture frame. Isn't he handsome? I think I am changing his name to Elvis, or Grandpa Munster. He has big side burns of the late Elvis era- look cloesly, and he has the look of grandpa munster with his gray hair on his ears... Go look up g-pa Munster, you will see what I mean...


























Saturday, April 11, 2009

It's a Wonderment

Since there will be no sheep work this weekend, today I elected to do very little. Just a little grocery shopping, and then home. No cleaning, no nothing, sort of a boo hiss day. Anyway, I decided at about 1:30 to lay down with my book (mystery) and read. Then, I decided to try and close my eyes. Danny was in his Tucker's crate, and seemed quite happy to nap. This is a first- I never really wanted to ask him when it was decent outside. So, I watched oh, I don't know, something on Animal Planet. Then, the wonderment. I fell asleep HARD. I had several dreams. I couldn't believe it. I think I slept for almost two hours. When I woke up, Danny was just sitting there. How great is he to let me sleep? Well, I can't thank him enough. I have been exhausted since Friday, but didn't think I would ever get a nap in this weekend. Tomorrow I have to work, and then Easter dinner at my parents, so will be busy. I am just so happy I got that sleep. AHHH.

On the food front, yesterday was a hard one for wanting chocolate. But, I stayed strong. Today, not so bad. Maybe it will all be easier as time goes on... Clothing is a little bit looser... But, it may just be washing machine stretch....

So, tonight I am going to watch Groomer Has It- sorry Darcy-just so you know, I know that the show is not representative of the groomer demographics, but anything to do with dogs...
Last night was Chimp Eden- anyone watch it? Poor Tony really kept getting whooped. I think he sprained his wrist- in a few shots it looked swollen. That would be a hard job for me- working there- and dealing with all the angst in the groups. I watched Dog Town too. The Bloodhound- he is a cool dog.

Well, that's it for my exciting life.

How much is too much?

So, one of my faithful readers recently brought up a good question about working a young sheepdog. Now, I am novice too, but I have learned so much, I do feel like I can maybe add a bit. By the way, too many people feel intimidated on boards to say anything- but they should not. Discussion is a good thing- and it's like a lab group- everyone can help others to see things different ways. Anyway, back to what my southern friend asked- basically- can you do too much wearing and circling? Yeah, I think so. I did too much of that with Lucy- because, in my situation, I didn't know anything else ;) AND these FREAKIN' sheep always ran by me, so that meant my dog had to cover. OY VEY.

Anyway, here's my noob advice... for what it's worth. If the dog is keen, and he is, then take every advantage you can think of to allow him to have to use what he was born with, to cover, and intersperse that with good flank work. Lucy really excelled when I would allow the sheep to drift up toward the draw, and send her to fetch. She took a "get out" command really well- took it on the fly. And, if there was a mess- as in she didn't cover, we used that scenario to show her that she had to bring every single sheep- even if it meant facing up sheep on the fence. Basically, a "you made the mess, you clean it up" scenario. It didn't take more than once or twice for her to realize that she really did want them together.

I think it's really important for lessons on sheepdogs, that the dogs are trained almost without knowing it. Be evident to correct the dog, but fade away when the dog is right. Encourage when you can see they are worried, and don't over drill anything. Dogs who have to repeatedly do the same thing over and over, will often times think up new, and interesting ways to do the same thing...

A big thing is to trust your dog. Remember- they are born with that innate need to keep sheep together and bring them. Don't put them in over their heads, and keep the lessons short. Go out there with a positive attitude, with no pre-conceived notions about what will go wrong. Each dog has strengths and weaknesses. It's our job to encourage those strengths and fade out the weaknesses. Fade out is good way of saying it. You can't fix issues in one day or week, you have to work to see them less and less.

This is not meant to be a tutorial, or preachy post, it's just the methodology that has worked for Lucy and I. Too many of us forget that these dogs can do a whole lot on their own, and if we allow them to see what happens if they screw up (as in scattered sheep), they will GET that they have to do things certain ways. If we micro manage everything they do, how will they ever know that not listening can result in deleterious results?

So, that's my feeling on the matter. Take it for what it's worth.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Big Red Balloon...

Have you all seen this movie? I have. Had to. Had to watch it in French class. Booooring. All I remember is a kid and a big red balloon.

Well, today Danny is the big FOUR months old. To comemorate, I took some video of him and the big red ball (oon). The parallels are amazing.... You have to watch the movie!

Danny is quite serious about keeping the balls together.


How did that get in here?

This morning, I went out when I had the dogs out to clean up the morning deposits. I don't want that left out there with a pup for obvious reasons. So, Danny immediately thought HECK YEAH! we are going to PLAY! No, not right now Danny...

So, I go to the usual place my old boy makes his transaction, and there is the bunny tail that remained from the bunny massacre weeks ago. Oh gross. Was there ANOTHER bunny massacre? Lordy, this is too much. There have been tons of Bunnies around, so I don't know.

Lucy has decided she doesn't like Danny. The only time she will play now is if she can bite, and tumble him- just bully disguised as play. So, she pretends he doesn't exist. Danny gets the message, most of the time. Too bad Lucy, your loss. Kylie and Danny played this morning, which irked Lucy- too bad so sad, girly.

Danny's coat looks like a combination waif, and Cheetah cub. Cheetah cubs have those long hairs along the top of the back and the rest is short. That's what Danny has. It's just weird. He is on a good food, but maybe he needs something for that coat, I don't know...

I have been having dizzy spells lately. Not a lot, but some. Also had a wiz banger of an episode of palpitations- enough that I had a hard time breathing- and almost called 911. Went away, but it wasn't like those harmless flutters you get. I suppose I am drinking too much coffee. Nothing, just NOTHING is sacred, is it? First, I have to stop eating Reeses' peanut butter eggs, then I have to lay off all fried food, and now, COFFEE? It isn't fair.

Today, I am going to eat something decent. That McD's food was just so gross yesterday, seriously disgusting. What is wrong with the public, eating that? We are all collectively nuts.

This weekend is Easter, so that means a nice ham at my parent's place. Can't wait....

Thursday, April 9, 2009

R E S P E C T

Find out what it means to me, RESPECT...

The last time Lucy and I worked sheep, I decided to yet more odd things. I have to keep it interesting you know. Anyway, I had her move some sheep through a gate we haven't gone through before, but it was like a dog leg. Okay, check that off, done. Then, after through the gate, I had her fetch them to me when I sat on a bench- again, with the sniffing- those sheep must think I am the food lady. They are so calm when Lucy fetches them to me while I sit. It's like a little tea party. Then, I had Lucy fetch to me with me unseen. The sheep really are pretty heavy when there is no human in sight- so I gave Lucy encouragement, and she got it done. As usual.

Then, still later, I had Lucy bring the sheep up to the fence where Danny was on the other side. Now, this group is testy- they want to bust past the dog. Lucy is a veritable cuttin' horse. If someone tries to bust by, Lucy covers, and turns it. If someone tries to jump over her, same thing. Always thinking, always premeditating their thoughts. Just dares them to try it. Danny was keen keen, but I think he must be getting annoyed that he can't GET to them. Yes, he could- he can get through the fence, but ssshhh- don't remind him.

Lucy is good with her walk ups. Lucy just goes forward- how else to describe? A few times, Lucy backed one or two right up- as in they just walked backward- and didn't end it with a grip, or zip. I do believe her favorite things are 1) outruns 2) covering, preventing from going where they want, and 3) walking into their space. The rest of it is just fluff to her.

Sheep respect Lucy, and she's finally starting to respect me...

Oh, and we left the pasture, and walked around the pond. I just opened the fence, had her fetch them out and away we went. Cool. She knew where she needed to be so they wouldn't take off, but kept them to me nicely. That was another different, neat thing.

Then, I have learned, that McDonald's is very good for weight loss. As in you buy their food, and it' so gross you don't eat it. I just hate that food, so much.

Anyway, it was a good day.

Good video

Here's a nice video :)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

In Honor of Easter...

Gjetost mmmmmmmm


Gjetost means goat cheese in Norwegian. It is one of my favorite cheeses, hands down. We have relatives in Norway, who always supply us with some of this when they visit. It is hard to describe the taste- hearty is one way I would describe it. It is a dark brown. I just love it. They also have the most wonderful hot dog/sausage... Sweet, but not like you all think of sweet sausage. The fish, oh MY the fish is great. Potatoes? I LOVE potatoes. I could live very happily on all Norwegian food.

My family in Norway own an island off the coast of Molde. Above is a small picture of the vicinity. The last time we were there, my brother and I went fishing. The Fjords are so deep in some places, that they have not measured the depth. I remember I caught 13 fish in one hour, and not small fish. My brother was getting annoyed, because he had to take the fish off the hook for me. So, I stopped- I put my pole down, and let it dangle in the water, with no bait. A fish latched on to it. That was pretty funny. After we had come back with our fish, my great uncle showed us how he would dry the fish. The name of the fish was Torsk. A cod specie. Then, my great aunt made Lutefisk for us all- with, of course, potatoes.

Norway is just such a wonderful place- the scenery, the people, the food. I really felt at home there. When my sister and I were just three years old, we went over on a steamer- that's how all travel commenced for the first 1/2 + of the last century. It was how my grandmother traveled forth and back to Norway every six months.

I have so many memories of Norway, I can't even begin to relate them all. I do remember lots of Moose skulls and myriad sheep getting in our way in the road as we drove along country roads.

I would love to go back there, I would even live there. But, emigrating to Norway is no simple feat. But, at least I have my memories.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Be veeeewy quiet, I'm huntin' balls...

First, I had to put this pic of my boy up. One day, I shall get a good shot of his schnoz. He has the most wonderful leonine nose I have ever seen. It's really striking. This photo is the best I could do for now... In this photo, Danny has already nabbed his smaller ball, and is trying to keep the other one under control, just by looking at it...
Oh, how did this get in here? Well, Mr Chips has beautiful coloring, why not show it off?


Here, Danny is very handsome schmandsome with his ball (again).



Here, Danny is being veeeewy quiet... huntin' rabbits....






On sheepdogs, food, and others...

I worked Lucy the other day. We were there for a while working on different things. Lucy listened very well. I think that may have something to do with the fact that I am not allowing her so much freedom in her every day life. She has gotten overly obnoxious about guarding me, and I have put an end to it. Imagine my surprise when I sent her, and she downed where I asked, each time. Imagine that. Imagine if it were really that simple- that I could have a good dog on sheep, by simply requiring one off sheep. It's really a no brainer, but sometimes, it takes things a little longer to sink in for me...

I wanted to change things up a bit, so a couple of times, I sent her, while I was crouched (as in hiding) from the sheep, so she really had to lean on them- they had no draw to me, and well, she had to do it all on her own. The first time I was behind a tree, and Lucy got them to me decently. Then, I went far down the field and sat on a rock in a swale. That was cool. I stayed sitting on that rock, as I had her turn them around me. It was funny- the sheep were sniffing me as they went around, wondering what was wrong with this human sitting on the ground. It made things interesting for my girl, and the sheep :)

I am really happy with her penning now. It's good to be able to teach a dog things before you require them in a trial :)

Lucy was holding sheep again, and she is getting better at that. Basically we are working on lots of the same, differently. Lucy is getting fitter, and listening, so that's all good.

Danny got to watch again- poor boy. He would like to be in there, but I am waiting. I know he is keen to work the sheep, but I am waiting until his brain is fully engageable, before we let him loose ;) He is still short. He is growing, but seems so small....

He will be the big FOUR months on Friday. He is all about going to get his ball when we go outside. It doesn't take these herding dogs long to learn to find some way to engage the humans. I don't play when he asks, it's always my idea. He is also getting much better about sitting at door ways before I let him through.

On the nutrition front, I almost wavered again yesterday. I had a late lunch out with a colleague, and oh how I wanted some desert. No, I stayed strong, and ate a Pear when I got home. It was good, but I still want that desert... I got myself some Cheerios, and had my first bowl last night- not bad. Jeans are a little bit looser. Nothing major, but I feel it. I hope I can stay strong...

The weather has been wet of late, and it looks like at this rate, by the end of next week, I will have to mow the lawn. Oh great. I priced spruce trees- no way I can afford them- we are talking hundreds of dollars for one. Seriously out of my price range.

Well, that's it for now, wish me strength on my quest for better nutrition and looser clothes....

Sunday, April 5, 2009

On the way home...

I took these shots on the way home yesterday from checking out the sheep property. These sheep and horses (and the Scottish Highland cattle) are owned by a local farmer. He used a new ram last fall, and it appears he did a bang up job. These are North Country Cheviots.

The farmer has a soft spot for Draught horses; specifically Belgians. He has a Belgian stallion, and a gelding.

Here is a neat pic of tall horse, short, squat, needing a shearing, sheep.





Saturday, April 4, 2009

Sheep property?

Okay, this is on the property. A little old farm stand shack. It could be useful for many things... This is the pond on the property- which has a stream as well, so water is available. Not sure how potable, but it's there.
Here's a view looking from the road. There is this tree off a bit to the left.

Here's looking from the rear of the property- that's the shack and my vehicle.


Here's another view from rear to road





This is road to rear view





Extra pic, that I can't figure out how to remove- ignore.






This is the neatest thing. It is an at least 8 foot high chain link garden plot. The fence is in good shape, and it would be PERFECT to put sheep in at night, or when I am not there. Good sized.






Here's another view of this fenced in area.







Here's the stream to the pond.
































Anyway, here are some pics.

Plans, news, whatever...

Sad news. My brother in law's aunt, who was living with he and my sister and their kids passed away. Now, truth be told, it wasn't unexpected- she was 102. But, what a wonderful lady, God fearing Irish lady, who always had impeccable manners, and was just a great role model.
The day before she died, she had told my sister that she was ready to "go be with Jesus". When my sister mentioned that, I told her that was completely legitimate, and basically, don't be surprised if she does. That next morning, she died, in her sleep. Thankfully, she did not have to be taken by emts to the Hospital, her physician signed off on her death warrant, and she has gone to the funeral home. Sad for the nephews, sad for everyone.

On a completely different front, I have eaten healthy for a whole (almost) week! No peanut butter eggs- no chocolate period! I have cut way back on the carbs, and yesterday I had a HUGE hankering for an ice cream sundae, but I FOUGHT it off. I had cereal when I got home. Phew, that was hard. I keep remembering how my clothes are fitting, and it's good incentive. I don't have a scale at home, never had. I never got into weighing myself- it's too depressing- I go by how I look.

In a little bit, I plan to go look at some property I saw for lease- just a few acres- but it is fenced!!! I am not sure if it's still available, but I want to see it- shall take some pics for you all.
It will not be big enough to do big outruns, but all that other stuff it will be fine for.

On the dog front, Danny is learning more every day- especially impulse control. Lots of stay at the door before I let you out, that sort of thing. Oh, and his wee eye has kicked in. I kick the ball for him, and he turned on his stalky eye for the first time as I would play with the ball. Cute to see that. He is getting hairier- YIKES. Oh, and BIG NEWS! I had my first Border Collie hair in my pancake batter today!!! It's official, I have a Border Collie!!!

Well, off to do all that I need to today, and will report back on the property.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Kelpie pup video

Here is a video of a 12 week old Kelpie pup on sheep. Not bad. Kelpies are keen as mustard on sheep- born that way! Love it.


Thursday, April 2, 2009

If it weren't for that one. little. thing....

Then, Lucy and I would be floating on air, and in the upper classes- or at least SHE would. Lucy can drive and put sheep where ever I like. Lucy can well, do what I ask, correctly most of the time with small correction if leaning toward the wrong... But, that is well, nice, but if you don't have a stop, reliably, you are really hamstrung.

Now, don't get me wrong, Lucy is coming along, but it's just an echoing irritation at times. It's our one problem. But, Lucy is so good in other ways, it's just a good carrot dangling thing for me.

Today I was sorting sheep. I was trying to get the hair sheep out of the way. I had one more, who kept planting herself in the middle of the woolies. So, I had to flank Lucy 'come', and as she did, she was met with a big fat woolie butt, and then another woolie was positioned in such a way, that she either could not see Lucy, or pretended so. Lucy walked up and was nose to nose, well, it was Lucy's nose near the side of the woolies' face. I was actually surprised that there wasn't an explosion. Then, I asked her to come in more, because we were a big fat cluster. Lucy gripped her fairly, and that got the cluster shifted.

Still later, I had Lucy block some sheep from coming out of one pasture to the other. Now, they *really* want back in their favorite pasture, so, Lucy has to do some plain, good old fashioned sheepdog work. She has to push them back in (they were already through the gate) and ALWAYS there is one who tries to break back. Lucy *loves* this- blocking, pushing back. Whatever- it's real work to her, and she lives for it.

Lucy's pen work was good today- getting better each time- she is understanding the concept. Good girl.

After we worked, we went to the pond, and there were two geese in the pond. Lucy was wanting to work them (as in move them away). So, she went around the pond, and I kept asking her to get in that water... She FINALLY did, and swam after them like a champ. They were gone, and I think she would have followed them for miles, if there wasn't field fence in her way. She does like her goose work.

Then, Danny. Well, Danny has just been watching. But, today my friend suggested I put the sheep in the small pen we have been practicing penning with (4 woolies), and see what he does. Well, my friend popped Danny into the field, and I was with Lucy near the pen. Danny was, ahem, quite interested in the sheep. He began RUNNING around it. Now, he had done this playing with another pup, so I thought maybe it was that memory. Then, he started to respond to the sheep moving- they were understandably worried about this little hellion running hell bent around them. At one point he stopped and one woolie mock charged/rammed toward him and it didn't' faze him in the least. Okay, good enough for now. I took Danny out of the pasture so I could move the sheep back to the other pasture, and sure enough, as I was worried, Danny made it through the combo panel (you know, those panels that are small rectangles at the bottom and squares further up.). YIKES. It wouldn't be so bad if Lucy wasn't such a fetching fool. So, I grabbed him up, and made a mental note to remember that Danny now KNOWS how to get in with the sheep....

On the way home, Danny got his last puppy shot. He will be 15 weeks tomorrow, and weighs 18 lbs. Slowly growing. I really don't think he will be very big. Lucy was 18 lbs at 13 weeks and is normal at about 33 lbs. But, he is a male, so maybe he will be about what she is + a few.

National Finals Video

Here's a very good video that Geri Byrne put together, as a primer for this years National Sheepdog Finals in Klamath Oregon. It's well worth the watch!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

More on Danny





Danny will be 15 weeks on Friday. He is growing, and his hair around his ears is down right Liberace quality- so much extra... He's playing well with Luce- even though she got on him the other day. He is earning more freedom in the house, and is well, growing mentally too. He is not a fetcher- he will chase a ball, but not bring it back, unless he forgets he has it ;)
So, I guess that's about it on the Danny front- nothing major to report, just that he's a nice little boy- with lots of facial hair!


Brought tears to my eyes

I admit it, I am Patriotic. This video touched me. Beautiful.

Awww

Kelpie and Deer- best buds