Sunday, May 31, 2009

A sheepy day :)

Today we worked sheep. Working on driving with Lucy, we are making some head way, but not as fast as I would like. But, just before we left today, she very nicely walked up, and pushed sheep off me, and drove them ahead of me comfortably, without commands, and pushed them further and further. It was really, I think the first time that she has been able to do this so well.

There were a bunch of other folks there all with dogs working at different levels- every single one was decent, in my eyes :)

Even Danny got to be on sheep. Danny is direct, shall we stay when he starts, and he's fast, but he settles in nice- for a 5.5 month old dog! We are just sort of exposing him to sheep, no commands, no corrections, just be on sheep. He's such a good lad. I think I'll keep him ;) Didn't get too many pics- and many were blurry, but here are a couple that work. At one point he even brought one that had split off from the others back.

It was a lovely day, and I am ready for bed!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Danny on the fetch

As you can see, the lad has come a long way. Handsome-ness helps too :)

Let's see...

After hitting the grocery store, and another errand, I came home, read my book, and proceeded to lay down and attempt a nap. Lucy was cuddled right next to me. I had the movie "Panic Room" on; not one of my favorites, but good for background sound.

Later, I got up and played with Lucy and then Danny. I decided to get updated video of his progress on fetch work. He covers pressure pretty well, and he seems very keen- for such a young dog... That video will be forthcoming.

Then, I cleaned- this was prompted by a dog, named Kylie, who got into the trash... Cleaned the Parakeet cage, vacuumed, and picked up. Vacuuming just about has to be done every single day. Oh, and laundry- Tucker wee'd in his crate- he is really getting worse about this...

Well, that's it for now. Tomorrow I will probably go to my brother's place and look at those kittens that were born on Mother's day, and who knows, help with sheep fence.... There are three red kittens (MY FAVORITE COLOUR!!!). Oh, and on the cat front, anyone want to tell me how a male cat, who was neutered at 8 weeks, or younger, can indeed still have the urge to hump another cat? Lordy. Yes, that's what Mr. Chips is doing to poor Ginger.

I will get that vid of Danny up soon :)

No weekend plans

This weekend, not sure what will happen- other than a square meal, and cleaning- and ball playing with Danny. FINALLY we have some semblance of play between us. I sit, or stand near him. I ask him/require him to down- which he is finally accepting, slowly, and then I either bounce, or lightly throw the ball to him, which he gleefully gets and brings back to me. I noticed yesterday, when I bounced the ball on the ground, as it came back up, Danny leaped up body level, straight into the air. My. My. He likes to get air- which I am not keen on, as he is so young. Gotta be careful about that.

Danny has had more freedom in the house of late, and he is doing well. Though he made a hole in Tucker's bed this morning, so no more bed for him in the crate.

Not sure if any sheep work will happen this weekend. But, Lucy has her Frisbee and Danny has his ball, so they will be happy.

Well, that's it for now- maybe tonight I will go to the drive in, and see the new Star Trek, and Terminator moviees....

Friday, May 29, 2009

Basset-hound ans sheeps

Okay, I couldn't stop watching this. Who is cuter? The Bassett Hound, or the lamb. The lamb's momma is trying to keep a distance, but that lamb loves that Bassett!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

An Ode to Lucy

I recently watched a very beautiful tribute on David Henry's "Holly" done by Denise Wall. In case you would like to see it, it's on search Border Collie, and you will see it.

It made me think of my young girl, and the journey we are on. Lucy came to me from Australia, after having seen many dvds of the parents, and talking with, and becoming friends with her breeder. Lucy's given name was "Blondie" referring to the almost white tan that she had. I got to watch the litter grow up. I had to pick a registered name for her, and it was "Red Sky at Morning", as she was a red bitch, and I liked a hint of trouble in there- yeah, little did I know... The name Lucy just fit her from day one. I had gotten Lucy with the idea of running her in agility. I had been running two dogs, and with Kylie especially, we zoomed through the classes, and I figured I was ready for another.

Well, when I got Lucy home, her joie de vivre was obvious. She was just a very happy dog. I did a small amount of contact training and little jumps, but I swear, Lucy would look at me as if to say "why are we doing this?" I also had become rather tired of agility- the sport had changed so much since I first became interested in it (in the mid 90's), and I had begun to resent the overt technicality of each run, and the dissections that came with it- I would actually send my dogs the wrong way just to see the faces on people ;) It was then, that I knew I needed a break. The other thing was having just learned about the arthritis in my knees- I needed something a bit less, shall we say, running oriented...

When Lucy hit six months, I took her to two clinics. The first one was with a trainer who used a rake, and bopped Lucy in the face one time- which I wasn't comfortable with. The second clinic was BC oriented, and Lucy was a lot of dog for the trainer- but she clearly had interest.

Then, at one of the last agility trials I was at, a fellow competitor suggested I go up to this guy's place for training- that he was the best around. So, with some trepidation, I made an appointment with him. When Lucy was brought into the training area, she immediately went into fast circling, with the occasional chasing after "the one that got away". I swear she had a smile on her face. Well, after that, as they say, the rest is history. She was only 8 months at that point, and that sealed our fate as sheepdog/shepherd partners.

Lucy opened my world up to what sheepdogs do. The innate instinct that screams to them, you must control these animals, and at all costs, bring them to your shepherd. That desire to work with me, that never quit attitude. That feeling of accomplishment after a long day of work. The bond that is created through all of this is not something I can describe. I know, that no matter where, no matter when, if I need something done with sheep, Lucy will do it. She has no choice- it's in her DNA.

I remember our first trial.. Oh my Lord was I nervous. She did get around the sheep, but that was it- well, the sheep were fetched to me, but we retired... Lucy is a slow to mature dog; I believe she is about a year slower than the Border Collies I know, in terms of maturity.

We have continued to train, though a bit less of late, due to costs associated, and now that Lucy is the big THREE, she is really settling in, and drilling is not needed. It's a nice place to be.

There are so many good memories, already. Like the time that Lucy was trying to cover a flock of Scotties who were running pell mell for the exhaust. She stopped all but one, and that one made it to her intended destination. Lucy got her off that fence, and marched her back to me, past the rest of the flock. It was something amazing.

Another time, on those same Scotties, Lucy did a beautiful outrun and lift, only to be faced with the whole group of 7 or 8 staring her down, which, is not something a young dog comes across. There was silence by the onlookers- what would happen? Well, the next thing you see is the whole group turning, and beating feet. Just a 30 lb dog... But, with the heart of a lion.

Then, one time, I was at friend's place and the sheep were in the woods. I had Lucy fetch them to me, not knowing how many there were. She brought them to my feet, and then ran like heck off into the woods. I thought it was for a squirrel- until I see 3 sheep coming out of the woods, with Lucy moving them with purpose. You see, she knew she had missed some, and went back of her own volition to retrieve them.

One time I sent her up the hill to fetch sheep, and she went the wrong direction from how I sent her. That meant the sheep were behind a person and a garden cart- bottled up behind it. That little girl figured it out- how to make her own dog leg fetch and bring them to me.

You see what I mean by her having the need, by way of DNA to always bring me my sheep? And, she doesn't need direction in doing so. She just needs to know they are there. You cannot purchase that in a dog, anymore than you can purchase a dog's loyalty. You either have it or you don't.

Lucy has been the touchstone in my life, "An excellent quality or example that is used to test the excellence or genuineness of others"

Very few of us on this planet see the good things we have, before we lose them. Well, I am blessed to know that I don't believe that there will ever be a better sheepdog than what I have in Lucy. The courage under fire, the work ethic, and the loyalty is second to none. Sure, I may have a better trial dog some day, but you can bet your bippy, every single other dog will be measured against my Kelpie Lucy.

Who's your momma?

Here's Danny's mom. Just a wee prick eared bitch, who is quite talented on sheep, and who has a temperament we all want in a dog. Note the prick ears. Danny inherited his daddy's ears. I think Danny's face is more like his mom. Note her neat tan mottling. Danny didn't get that either, but he did get black mottling...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pat and Trim

This is Pat, and her dog "Trim". Pat and I met last year at a trial, and we bff! This is a very nice dog.

Barbara and Tot

Here's my friend Barb and her dog Tot. Tot is a strong, forward moving dog, a lot of dog, some would say. Note how far he is off the sheep. I believe they will be a team to beat, soon enough.

Warren and Glen

Here's Glen at almost 11 years of age, competing at the Cummington sheepdog trial. Glen likes to come in at heads for a shed, and so he waited. I believe, once you hit that age, you certainly can have some things your way. Glen will always be special to me. He is the dog who taught me what a sheepdog is, and he in a big way, taught Lucy.


I am very happy to report, that Lucy seems to be a much happier lass lately- she has come out of her funk. She is tolerating Mr. Chips near her. Was at the computer, and I snapped this pic. Now, notice how her leg is under his belly.... Last week or the week before, she would have not tolerated that. Mr. Chips is happy, because he does love her. Notice his big front paws, they are curled in, and look at that tail. He's really really happy :)

Danny the Explorer

So, after work last evening, I got home and determined that the grass needed cutting AGAIN. Lord, it is growing fast. I don't mind mowing, but it takes me away from other things I could be doing. Danny had to sit it out in the house, because he is way too interested in the mower. He's good in his crate though. Anyway, got the mowing done, and then tackled the shrubs/hedges. Got them trimmed. Then I dumped/cleaned/refilled the stock tank that the dogs drink from, and Lucy lolls in. Then, I had to make a trip under the deck....

See, Danny has been Ponce de Leone lately, and is bringing items out from, I believe the crawl space of my house. Now, that's bad because I just fixed that loose vent, and didn't do the tightest job of it, in addition, there's loads of insulation on the ground. So far he has brought out two heavy duty black pvc pipes (which are his favorite toys) and a broom- how the HECK he got that push broom out, I will never know. He is very proud of his found treasures... So, I got under the deck, received my traditional head bonk, and crawled up to the door- that was indeed on the ground. It's only tied up, normally. So, I had to crawl on my side, get it picked up, tied back up (let's hope no wild animals were in there) and then, for good measure, I took the old decrepit kiddie pool and jammed it in the vicinity of the door, to keep said pup away from there. I hate going under there, I really do. I need to get a better door system...

So, after doing that fun little job, I went inside and changed out winter/summer clothes. That's a job just a bit below the door job, in terms of fun. I hate doing it.

Today, I have to clean, and then, I may tackle my storage room. It's in a serious state of disarray- it has to be dealt with.

This morning, Danny ended up playing with Lucy- she came up to him tail straight up in the air, and then he play bowed, and then they played- I am really uncomfortable when they do, because I just don't know when she will lose it. Anyway, it was fine...

Well, that's it for now. Nothing very interesting, I am afraid!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Post post mortem

Last night I was just so tired. I had a major neck ache from all the driving and lack of sleep. I read my book, which I LOVE. The author is Earlene Fowler, and it's entitled "Love Mercy". I am going to be sad to finish it. It's unlike the rest of E.F.'s books, in that it isn't a mystery, it's more a short novel.

Danny thought it was time to get up again at some time around 4. No, no freakin' way young man. Even Mr Chips got up on the bed and meowed in my face. I was able to stay in bed until almost 5:30. That I needed. I had more chores to do this morning, since I didn't do diddly all weekend. For the first time in a long time, I let Danny out with the rest of the dogs, at the same time. Danny is all about herding- you know I what I mean- the other dogs. Well, he does this mainly with Kylie and Tucker. He's bad with Tucker- I don't like it, because he's a bit aggressive. When I tell Danny to "go pee" he takes that to mean, run up and bite Tucker. Not cool. He will have to have a come to Jesus meeting about that. Anyway, so, it went fine- he wasn't bad. Then, he just hung out when I was getting things done. I haven't had him loose a lot in the house, because of Lucy, but, I think he has learned to leave her be, and that's good. He hangs with Kylie mainly.

Remember how I mentioned I planted Impatiens in planters? Well, Sat when I got home, I saw something had pulled one of the plants out, and dug in the planter. What the heck? I think it must be a skunk, because there were some worms in that soil. Jeez.

This week, just work, and maybe work Lucy- not sure. I do need to get my brakes looked at (and I am sure spend money on that). But, in general, just chillin', which I do need to do.

I hate the driving and interruption of routine that comes with sheepdog trialing, but I do love parts of it. I love seeing friends, and rooting for them, and I love doing things with my dogs, and well, it's always neat to be by dog people. For some reason, it was all (pretty much) good energy at this trial, and I think that is because I have grown, in terms of remaining on an even keel at the post, and realizing that all I want is solid work out of my dog, regardless of the score. I do so enjoy watching the open handlers do some seriously good work with their dogs too. It's all good.

Well, that's it for now folks. I have some videos of runs that I will post when I get a chance.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sheep dog trial post mortem

Well, another weekend spent at a dog trial is over. Phew. Getting up at 3:30 in the morning is tough. I am definitely getting a bit old for that...

Weather was good, threatened to rain on Sunday, but didn't (while I was there). Atmosphere was good- although, there is one person who I went out of my way to congratulate on their run, and they looked right at me, and ignored me. Nice eh? Well, perhaps they are deaf- but who cares. It was a good job, and if they can't accept a compliment... File under the heading "WHATEVER".

Okay, so on Saturday, Lucy and I were first up in novice. These sheep are ewes and yearlings, wherein, shall we say, the ewes KNOW this field and they KNOW it well. Anyway, when my sheep were being brought out to the set out, they split into one ewe with her head in the clouds, and a lamb and ewe a bit more calm. I set Lucy up properly and sent her. She did a very nice outrun, and came in nice at the top. Then, they ran. And ran and ran. I wanted to give Lucy a down on the fetch, but if I did, I would have lost them to the exhaust- these sheep had their running shoes on. Lucy got them to my feet, we made a nice turn at the post, and off we went. Well, it wasn't pretty, because it was a game of cover then down. Lucy listened pretty well- especially the whistle. We got them around, and penned them. It was not a run that consisted of lines, rather, one that consisted of banking turns ;)
We didn't have much to work with, and all things considered, it wasn't too bad. We took a 4th in that class, with a low score (but the outrun was full points.) This is especially nice, because remember last weekend?

Today, we had a very nice set of sheep, and because of it, I was more nervous. I really thought we had a chance to do well out there. Lucy did a good outrun/lift, but pushed them on the fetch. She did down where asked before the flank for the turn at the post. Then, we made it out to the panels and she crossed the course UGH. She took the wrong flank. Joy- say good bye to all your drive points my lass.

So, then we got them penned, and we got a bit of applause. Lucy ran right up to the judge (she has a habit of this) and got all googly with him. He petted her. I wonder- does she know he's the judge? Is she buttering him up? If she is, she should do that BEFORE we run....

So, all in all it was good. Lucy took another 4th place today with a bit better score. But, the best part by far was that I heard from multiple people (open handlers mainly) that we have really improved since last year; there's a huge difference in my handling and Lucy's work. That is gratifying to hear.

Some day we may just kick some butt officially, but until then, I hope that we continue to improve- it's all I can ask for.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Day One of Sheepdog Trial

Sheep 1 dogs 0. More to come on this later; I am extremely tired...

Friday, May 22, 2009


Every year I look forward to this concert. This is my favorite part. The honoring of the different services. The pride each person in the audience feels for the branch of service that has touched them, or that they served in is palpable.

Don't eat those pastries!!!!!!

Well, yesterday I didn't accomplish much of anything at all- other than work that is. I made some BLT's for dinner, but that's it. I spent time outside with the canines, and just generally chilled. I did eat pastries, and again, I felt like garbage after doing so- I just can't eat those refined sugars anymore- I get a hang over when I do.

I bought some cashews and bananas as energy food for this weekend. Lucy and I are running at a trial. I don't know how we will do. At the fun trial, though Lucy's at hand work was good, her outruns were terrible, and if she does that at this trial, it will be bad- the sheep know the field, and they will run to the exhaust, or worse yet, run to the holding area...

Would like to work her one more time before the trial, but I don't know if she really needs it- the field last weekend where her outruns tanked was downhill, and she has been at this field we are going to tomorrow. Oh, I don't know. I am also tired- from that horrible pastry eating yesterday, so I don't know if I can drive extra to work sheep today... As it is, I have to leave my house at 4:00 am. We are up first at 7:00. Yikes. I would like some time to chill before we run.... Oh, I don't know...

Whatever! I guess I am getting old. It will sure be nice to have sheep close to home to do a little prepping close by. When I do get my sheep, it will be payback time for all those who have been so completely and unbelievably generous to me. I plan to have standing invitations to those folks- come up and work when you like- and when lambs come along- if you want some, you got them.

Lucy actually went up to Danny in the crate today in a friendly manner- though, I think she wanted his bone... When Danny and I go out in the morning, Lucy wants to tag along, Danny doesn't get in her space, and that is good. Danny was up early (4:30) this morning, and playing with his bones. Loudly. Then he just sat and stared at me for the next hour until I got up. He's totally bored.

I blocked Mr. Chips' egress out of the backyard and now he isn't as keen to get out- boring, I guess, since he can't be Ponce de Leone...

Well, it's a holiday weekend; I hope you all have fun things planned. Eat well, rest a bit, and enjoy the dogs!!!!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Just doodlin'

In this photo, we have Lucy, and "her point of view"

In this photo we have Lucy's foot- isn't it cute?!!

In this photo we have ne'er seen Kylie with stick

Lucy with same stick

Kylie rolling in something...

Danny looking very hairy at the ears

The whole Danny :)

"Just a Dog" - Baxter loses a friend."

This is for my friend Sue, who just lost Bute. It is timely that I should come across this. I think Baxter says it best.

Dang, that's a change!

Pretty much all winter, I felt bad. My legs ached, my toes froze, I got no exercise (because of fear of frostbite) and I just generally felt bad. Even went to the Dr.

Well, fast forward to present day. I am a new person. One of the changes I made was to cut way back on carbs (refined- as I still need my potatoes). I have a banana every morning, and eat basic foods. Well, no more leg cramps, no more general feeling badly, and a new outlook. It's actually pretty remarkable.

So, yesterday after work, I stopped at Home Depot and picked up some landscaping needs.
Not much, just some Impatiens, mulch, string for the string trimmer.

Got home and got the string on the machine, string trimmed the whole yard (which is seriously a lot of work, and my arms barely hold up to it). Then, I weeded the front beds, and planted the Impatiens in the planters. Then, I mulched the front beds. That last touch makes all the difference. Then, I went inside and looked at the state of the floor- dog hair galore. I *really* didn't want to have to deal with it, but I forced myself to vacuum. Glad I did, because I couldn't take one more day of that.

There is no way a few months ago I could have done all this. Could it be as simple as a diet change? Really? Well, if so, YEE HAW.

I have also been getting up earlier- as my clock says 5:00 it's time to rise. That means more time with Danny outside, and general chores can be done sooner, rather that later.

My brother found some fencing on craigslist and left me a voice mail about it- I emailed the lady, but didn't hear back- my brother called her and put a deposit down on it. So, I guess we are officially fencing in that other part of the farm. I really want to clear out a fair bit of it, so I can have big spaces to work the dogs. At this rate, sheep might not come until next year. I just don't want to rush it. Oh, and by the way, apparently, Turkeys will be with the sheep...

Well, that's it for now. Not sure what today will hold, but it's beautiful outside....

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Work work all week long...

The fun weekend is over. It's a big let down when real life barges into your fun. Oh well. Yesterday, when I got home, I immediately set out to mow the lawn, which was so high in places, I couldn't clean the yard. We got about 3" of rain in the last few days, so part of my yard was still wet, but I had no choice- had to do this.

So, I left Lucy outside, along with Tucker, and left Kylie and Danny inside. Now, Danny focuses on me outside, but he also will investigate the house... But, Kylie is a good babysitter, so generally there are no disasters. I just don't want to crate him more than I have to, so I takes my chances ;)

Anyway, after I finished the back yard, I decided to let Danny out with Kylie and leave Lucy in. The only thing awry was the cat bed on my bed was on the floor.

As I mowed the lawn, Danny barked at the mower a little, and I told him sternly "no" as that isn't a behaviour I want in an adult. When I finished mowing, I drove the mower in (with the mow assembly dis-engaged) and Danny left it alone. Good boy.

I have TONS of weed whacking to do, but I need to get more string. Have to do that today.

My house looks like a hair bomb blew up, so I have to deal with that too. Joy.

Danny is growing up, and it was evidenced by the humping he began with Kylie. Great. He's pretty young for this. Let's hope it was a fluke...

So, this week is boring, work, clean, yard work. But, I need a bit of calmness interspersed with the fun....

On a really nice note, Lucy seems to be coming out of her snark funk. I spied her acting like her normal happy self, and not so worried about the other dogs. That's a huge relief. I think from now on, if this happens, I will just allow her to be alone more, and not push her to be nicer. I did see that Kylie sort of pushes her, so I will watch Kylie and not allow that anymore.

Well, folks, that's it for now!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

What an excellent weekend!!!

It was a great weekend- I eschewed all things domestic and just worked my dog. That's very cool indeed. On Friday I worked Lucy with a couple of friends and their dogs. When I got home around 7 that night, I called Mary Brighoff, to see if there was still room in the fun trial. I really wanted to get Lucy on new sheep, and a new field. To my delight, there was!

So, I left the house at 5:30 on Sat morning, and arrived to Mary's at 7:45. It was an easy drive, no problems getting there. First thing I noticed was what a beautiful place Mary has. The fencing alone... just beautiful. The whole place.... I could live there for suuuuure.

So, we were given the option of running our dogs non-compete, with, or without a score, or compete, or just spend your mins out there working on what you needed. These are the most colourful Kathadin sheep I have ever seen. The field was set up, so that the post was at the top, the pen at the your left, and the exhaust to your right. It was a tiered hill, and for our novice run, the sheep were set up amongst the bottom tier.

I watched a bunch of other runs, and then it was our turn. I made the decision to go non-compete, but with a score. My goal at this fun trial was to work on me. My staying calm out there, and being the steady one for both of us. I had already decided no more stick when I trial her, because all I do is wave it around looking like a monster. Not the picture I want to present- and it makes Lucy that much more tense.

So, we walked out to the post. The sheep were being expertly held by the set out person. I sent Lucy to the left. She was tight- her ears were pinned back- which means SHE knows she's tight and just goes faster. Anyhow, she got around them in a huge over flank past them, and then back and then she settled in. I asked for and got (what do you know?!) a down on the fetch, and allowed the sheep to drift in a straight line toward the post. As they hit the plane of the post, I gave Lucy a come by flank, and she flanked beautifully, and she turned them tightly at the post. On we started with the assisted drive. Lucy was on the throttle, but listening for the most part. When we went got to the drive away gate, one squirted out, but we got them turned. Then we headed up for the pen. I downed her, and got there, just in time to get two in, but one squirted off the side, but Lucy handled that well, and we got her penned.

All in all it was a decent run- even if she had a bit of a windshield washer effect at the top. Best part was though, someone told me that I looked like a whole different person out there :)) What I found was that if I gripped that post when I was getting concerned on the fetch, it helped dissipate my nerves ;)

Okay, so then we had a nice lunch break. Good food and chat.

My second run I decided would be compete. So, we went out there, and I decided to send her away. Well, that was a mistake. She was so freakin tight- I think partially it was because I sent her on the pressure side and she figured she had to not only outrun, but not let them leave... Anyway, it was tight, and then when she saw the sheep, she got around behind them, and brought them up. Ugly Lucy.. But, by the time they got to the post, they were more settled. Turned TIGHT at the post, and off we went. One of the sheep clearly was jiggered because she kept stotting. I actually sort of chuckled as I walked, because the other two were no where near that nervous, and she was looking to create a riot- to no avail. Anyway, we got done with the drive and to the pen. This time the pen didn't go as well. The highlights were that when sent Lucy to cover as they squirted away, she went out wide enough to cover well, and stopped them in just the right spot that they would feel my and her pressure, and then, they started in- but one (the stotter) turned to look. At that point I took the pen rope and twirled it in front of her- worked like a charm. Penned those suckers, even though we had two misses- usually, that doesn't happen...

Anyway, I was really pretty pleased with Lucy. All her at hand work was good- but clearly we need remedial on the out runs- which have always been solid with her.

So, then, today, I decided I best work my lass on outruns. So, I made another long drive, and was able to revert back to 1+ year ago on widening her out. It worked well, but who knows. I know that it is important that I set her up right, and I don't think I did that at the trial. She will take a "get out" command on the fly, so I will probably employ that at our next trial should she decide to cut corners.

Then, Mr Danny got to be on sheep for the very first time. As we were heading to the round pen, and another dog was moving them for us, they stopped to look at Danny and he confidently stared and walked up on them- he would have gotten right to them if they hadn't bailed ;)

Anyway, into the pen he went. Immediately went into circle mode. He seemed to like away better, but we could change his direction. His tail was down, and he was engaged the whole time. He was fast, but from what I hear he was not just circling, he was keeping tabs on the sheep as he did. It was just a teeny exposure, but it was definitely positive for him.

When we got home, I made a wonderful steak dinner. It was okay- but not the best- lost of gristle. So, the dogs got some of the drippings and left over steak. It was yummy- I am sure. Danny- what a red letter day for you- your first sheep AND your first steak.

Lucy has been acting oddly- as I mentioned, and it is really weird. She is so against any other dog coming near her- she snapped at mr chips last night. She is so bad I videotaped it. If anyone wants to see it, let me know- you can tell me what you think. What I got on camera isn't the worst, but it shows some of it. I feel so bad for her. I think it's got to be hormones. She was in heat in March, and she would be having pups about now. Either that, or she has lost her marbles. Please think good thoughts for my lass.

Anyway, this week will be down time- no real sheep work, so maybe I can get that carpet pulled up....

Saturday, May 16, 2009

John Denver - Country Roads

Darci, this one's for you. I thought of you today, as I came down the mountains into the valley, glad that I was going home. Here's to you!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Bluegrass

Been keeping tabs on the scores of the Bluegrass trial. Wow. Looks like work out there. Alisdair's Nap snapped up a good score of 94. That is seriously decent. Must be nice ;) He is amazing to watch run a dog. So calm, just doing his job. Not unlike Tiger Woods. All the good handlers get to keep just one name as their reference: Bev, Alisdair, Scott, you know, the ones who always seem to be at the top. It surely ain't a coinkydink. It's hard work, and learning, and knowing your dog. HANDLING that's just it. You need a VERY GOOD dog, and you need a VERY GOOD handler. THEN, you can really shoot high. Me? I aim high, end up shooting low, but it gets a wee bit higher, that trajectory, as we go. Some day, mark my words, some day, I will walk to the post at the Bluegrass with a Kelpie. Someone has to do this, and well, it may just as well be me... Of course, if someone else wants to do it- go ahead :)

Regarding scores, I still don't know for instance, on the lift how you would score things. If the sheep were hard to lift, but then, did, and subsequently took off, all in about a second- and the dog had to regather to get them on line- is that points off the lift, or the fetch? I really don't know. I love the lift, I think it's my most favorite part of the runs. At the distance in trials the caliber of Old Chatham and the Bluegrass (yes, I purposely put them on the same level, because I believe that they are similarly difficult, even if Chatham doesn't garner the same hoopla) your dog simply must have dominion over the sheep. You separate the real sheepdogs from the wanna be's. They have to figure out how to move up and control unknown sheep on fields that they don't know- and do it so as to calm the sheep, not upset them.

I applaud everyone who is running at the BG this year, and I am rooting for our northeast compatriots. I sure hope someone is shooting lots of pics.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Well, we have been having some very nice weather this week. Not much going on, except work, and usual stuff. My brother's barn kitty Callie (can you guess her colour?) had kittens on mother's day. She is such a wee thing. She can't be more than less than a year herself. The steers are apparently still good.

I am thinking of starting to buy the fence for the sheep- a few rolls at a time, and then, when I have it all, just start putting it up. My brother's place should yield all the posts we need, and he has an auger, so this should be real good. I certainly would like to get large rolls. Not sure what to get. TS has what they call "field fence"- no climb stuff. Now, TS doesn't have the best quality, but if they are decent quality fences, and more affordable- that works for me. Anyone have any ideas? I am used to the fence that has large squares where a dog can stick their head through, but this field fence has small 4" x 4" squares. Again, any suggestions welcome!

I have been playing Frisbee with Lucy when I come home at night- this seems to make her a happier lass. She still gets shivery when other dogs come in, and really upset when I am trying to love on her and they come in, but I tried something different last night- when Kylie came in and she shivered, I told Kylie to lie down, and that calmed Lucy enough to stop shivering. I think she has trust issues with the other dogs- that is, she doesn't trust them... Someone on a board suggested I spend 10 mins a day with the door closed with just Lucy and I, to see if that helps- I am going to try that next. Lucy sure loves that Frisbee- maybe we will put together a half time show at the fair this year....

Danny is doing well, he has learned to fetch the ball, but I don't think we will do that much. He goes for that ball 110% and yesterday, he flipped end over end. Not good.. So, counting the days until he is old enough to do safer things....

My knees are BAD lately. Just so terrible. Since I am cleared for RA, I suppose they are just poor quality knees, that just don't hold up well. I am not really over weight, and I am active, so I don't know why. It's a real hassle though, when you have to bend down for something... Well, the joys of getting old. I guess it beats the alternative though!

I deleted that airing out post- let's hope the person whom it is about got the word, and will move on. If not, I can't do anything about it.

Well, that's about it for now. Not much happening.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Danny is five months

First, I had to put up this shot of Mr. Chips. He so loves to be outside, and take it all in. He also gives me nice photo ops. Isn't he handsome? One worry though, the little guy found a way out of the fence, and when he finally came, he came down the ROAD!!! YIKES. No more of that Mr Chips!

In this photo, you can see that one ear would like to come up, but I think it will be just a halvsies, like his dad.

This is the look I always get from Danny. You can see his sweet personality in this one.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Moving things a bit

Excuse the darkness of the shot, but I didn't want to fool with things too much, as these guys are still a bit spooky of strangers. Just after this was taken, the one on the left instigated a mini-stampede away into deeper brush. I noticed that they have indeed checked out the perimeter, so that's good.

Here's a shot at the area I think will be good for sheep. I have thought about the high tensile, and I just don't like it for sheep. Anyway, the property goes way further than you can see, and it goes up the hill through the stand of various trees, to a mesa of relatively cleared area.

Here's another shot of the area above. Look at the size of that tree- hundreds of years old.

Here's that clearing/mesa area. It should work well, once we clean out the scrub trees. It's all very good grass as you can see. So, maybe we have a good area.

This area meets the barn as well, and this way, if I want to put the sheep in with the steers, I can move them through the barn, and separate if I like. Should work well.

It is absolutely gorgeous right now

I woke up this morning and let the dogs out- and felt the cool air, and a breeze. It was just great. We don't get a lot of that- either cold, or really humid and hot, it seems.

So, I went out in my bright pink fluffy robe, winter boots, and cleaned up the yard, as Danny did laps around the yard. Poor guy. Wish we could play, but he will not fetch. He plays with a blue plastic bowl on the deck outside by himself (I hear that now).

Lucy has been doing something that is worrying me lately- she quivers when she is needing to go out- that she has done for a long time, but now, in almost any circumstance the shivering starts. It's odd. I wonder if anyone else's dogs do this?

Today I am heading up to my parents to see my mom, and then maybe help my brother with the last of the work on the fence- maybe I will see if he will help me string that last line so we CAN get sheep in there. Will have to see.

I woke up feeling cruddy this morning, but that is going away- I think it's allergies. Well, here's to a great start to a nice day!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Lucy Looooooo

Got to work Lucy again. I stayed true to my plan to just not get excited or yell when she doesn't do exactly what I ask. It didn't take long to test that... I had pulled out 4 ewes from the pen to work, and she decided to cover them as they ran toward the other sheep on the other side of the fence (even though I distinctly remember telling her to lie down). So, I stayed calm, and then we went on to work. It was good, because she was calm. We did a few fetches, and I was able give her, and have her take downs, calmly, and with a quiet voice, and when whistling with just a teeny barely perceptible toot. It was very nice. I was also able to have her fetch and do some nice inside flanks, without her having to come toward me so much. The few times (always on fetch) when she didn't down when told, I calmly walked back to her and she went back where I wanted that down. Big difference really. None of that stress stuff that happens either. This is good. It will be especially good in a trial setting- for both of us.

Later, I had her fetch some sheep from the pen door area, and into the pasture I was in (like she has done 1000 times). This time, however, there was e-net halfway into the field running the length- so basically a wall. There was just a few sections moved to allow thoroughfare. Lucy downed when I asked, and then of course the sheep bolted to alongside the e-net to be with their long lost friends.

At this point, I wasn't sure what to do, because I didn't want the e-net damaged. So, I sent her come by, so she would be coming around to head them opposite the fence. Of course they hugged the e-net on the way toward me. I asked for and got a few come byes to keep them coming toward the opening (the comes meant Lucy flanked more toward the fence, and thusly pushed them away from stopping near their friends, who were running alongside.) So, then we got them in the e-net, and all was fine.

I watched a young pup officially turn on today, and man was it as cool as it ever is. This particular pup looks to my novice, but not un-learned eyes, that she will be quite nice. Already sees the group, not just one, and even stopped and walked in. She has maturity in her eyes. It will be great to watch her develop.

Danny still has another month. I can see he really needs it, physically. No way his short little legs can catch those Katahdins!

I really can't wait to start working another dog. It will be great!

I hate my self for loving you - Joan Jett

This came on the radio today. Quite apropos. Lucy just is not good with other dogs getting into her space. I just have to accept that she will not change, and manage it better. When this song came on, it struck a chord. I do love you Lucy, but you make me maaaaaaaaad some times!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Beautiful time of year, steer update

This first shot is from the end of the driveway. Those are Burning Bushes and Willow shrubs on the right (two).

This shot is from the higher part of my back yard, looking down- it is the prettiest here because it gets lots of shade, and is surrounded by woods.

Here is looking toward the higher end of my property. I love that apple tree. I have good neighbors up the hill from me (red house).

Even though I showed up to help, the wife of the farmer decided me moving through the fields to go help would upset the "cows too much". ?? Whatever- I just sat and waited. Then, I met my brother at the farm. The guy who trailered them for my brother opened the back, and they came out rather quickly, and rather spookedly and headed for the back, down the hill out of sight. They did calm down, and I headed on my way. They are about 700 lbs each, two pure Angus, one Angus/Hereford (a bald headed thing, which seems pretty calm).

I shall give my brother a ring later, and see how things are going. Oh, I learned they are not black locust, they are black walnut trees.

Lucy is not for sale

I put an ad up for a Kelpie for sale. This is not Lucy- everyone! I met a guy in my home town who hails from Oregon and has a bitch that he needs to sell, as she is a working dog, and needs work- she seems a real treat to be around, and works sheep, so if anyone is interested, let me know.

Went to TS yesterday (again). I returned the useless wheel they sold us, instead of what we needed (we needed a spinning jenny that they did not have...). Well, I went to return it and made a comment about them not having the SJ, and guess what? Yes they did. Crud. What is WRONG with the staff there. It's sort of a big thing to omit...

Well, then I went and looked at adjustable gate pins- which they don't have many of the size I need. So, I got some different sizes, and now have to go back and get the correct size (after speaking with my brother). I bought a sheep mag, wherein it mentioned that black locust are poisonous to sheep. Great, freakin' great. That's the stand of trees we have in that paddock. Well, isn't that some how do you do? Not sure if I will get sheep in there.

As I was in line, a guy came up behind me. He put on the counter, three heavy looking bolt things- and for some reason, I knew what they were. Visual memory for me is very strong I guess. I haven't driven a tractor in decades, but some how I knew they were PTO pins. I was impressed with myself ;)

Got a call this morning that my brother is going to try and get the steers today. I will be there with Lucy, just in case we need a bit of assistance. I just want to get them there and be done with it.

Hope to work sheep soon- it's been too long.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

New pics of Danny

Here are some new shots of Danny. He is growing- but not big. He is not quite 5months old in these pics. He is serious about a lot of things- that's a difference I see in pups between Kelpies and Border Collies. Lucy had a joie de vivre when in the back yard and playing, and still retains that happy/loosey goosey attitude off sheep. Danny seems to look at everything as a means to something- except I did see him playing with a bug today, just to play- but when I am around, he is very task oriented. He is a handsome boy- his darker coat is coming in on his back. His ears will definitely be unto themselves- that is, original. I think he will be very handsome as an adult.

We'll see how big he gets- I think maybe 18-19" tops.

More cleaning, and steers 1, humans 0

After work last night I went on another cleaning tear. I had to. I actually stood on the counters, and cleaned the tops of my upper cabinets, which, for some reason do not meet the ceiling. This means LOTS of dust, LOTS. Disgusting. I also cleaned out the drawer of the oven, another dust collector, and also my frig. Smelled like bleach, and I loved it. But, I still have not located the origin of the dirt smell. I think I may have though, this morning. Where one of my counters meets the wall, it was separate (which I hope to heck means I don't have to jack up the house...) If that is the case, there would be dust from the foundation coming up.... I may try and seal that and see if that works. I do know one thing- this house is getting cleaned like never before.

I also did the bedroom, and vac'd the whole house. So, things are better.

On the steer front- they did not arrive to my brother's place, as they could not catch them.... That's a long story, and I hope we can get out there this week and accomplish this.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I am humbled

In searching through the web I came across some old Nebca newsletters. Old, I mean 1990's. In this read, I saw names that I see at all the trials. I see writings by my mentor and trainers that I 100% respect. And, then there's me. Wet behind the ears, know nothing me. I can't believe that I am even allowed to share the same ground as these people. I wonder- am I respectful enough? Am I too irreverent? What makes me think that I will ever rise to the caliber of these folks? Why do they spend time with me? Oh boy, are my eyes opened.

To all of you who are in that league- the folks who have truly walked the walk, and sit and listen to us blindly blah blahing what we really don't know diddly about, I apologise now, and I will simply watch and learn. And, please know, that there are those of us who wish we had 1/10 of the knowledge that you retain in the cuticle of your pinkie.


Last night I slept like a rock. I think it finally hit me how hard we worked on Sunday. I guess it's true- I am getting old. Joy.

I am not sure, but I think I got bitten by a spider on Sunday. There are two what look like fang marks on my lower leg. Not too itchy, but definitely inflamed. I never felt a thing- guess it could be those horrible gnats.

I don't know if the steers arrived yesterday. Shall have to call my brother today to find out. I don't know when I will get up there again- busy week at work.

I think this will be the week that I rip out the carpeting in my bedroom- if I can get one of my friends to help me. It is just too old and decrepit to keep around.

I am hoping to enter a trial, but money is so tight- I don't know if I can (and still afford to live for the next few weeks). The credit situation in this country is so bad- and we all are culpable. Stupid, but culpable. I have lots of bills to pay off and then, and only then will I feel like I can breathe.

It would be nice to have a looking glass to see just where you would be in 10 years. I hope that wherever I am, I am solvent and happy- and it doesn't matter one whit where I am, just that I am happy- not unlike I am now.

My yard is looking extra wonderful lately- with all the rain. The plants have taken off, and it's just great to come home to such nice landscaping.

I found out yesterday that I have almost $300.00 balance (credit) with my oil company- that is extremely great! I will keep that for oil for next year, and I may fill up now when the prices are low.

Danny is doing well. He is spending more time loose in the house, and getting more comfy with the rules. Lucy has decided she doesn't like him, so she is learning that life can stink, and if you touch him in a negative way, that your world will be rocked. Lucy is a spoiled little brat. Yep, I said it.

Danny was at work with me during a meeting the other day, and while in the office, he found tennis balls, three of them in fact. That kept him occupied for a long time- you know, keeping them all together, trying to figure out how to keep all of them in his mouth... He is a big hit with everyone. His tail looks to be one big time fluffy thing. He is growing slowly. He will be 5 months on the 11th, so soon he may get to start with sheep. Of course we will see how he does, and not rush him, but I think he is more than ready now!

Well, that's it for now.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Nice video

Here's a nicely done video. Good message, and such nice fields!!!!!!

On the horizon

Yesterday was a full 10 hours working on fence. We are done for now. I say for now, because if I plan to get sheep in that pasture, I need to get another wire strung that is 6" from the ground. Also, if I plan to lamb, the folks at Premier suggest a line of barbed wire at the base... I hate barbed wire, so I am not sold on that yet.

I have some pics, but will have to re size- too small. Anyway, all the 5 wires are up and set including an extra small section. We got one gate set. There are two more gates to set, and of course electrifying the whole thing.

There were some screw ups yesterday, which I can say honestly, were not my fault. Let's just say that when you are stringing wire, you really ought to string and staple, and not string a bunch, lest they get tangled. It is no fun fixing that morass.

The steers are supposed to come today, and I got a call this morning saying that the meat chicks he ordered are in. They will go in the cleaned out part of the barn (gross). I work with poultry, I KNOW the mess they make. Apparently, my brother is really trying to make a go of this- which I 100% support. We are talking about me moving onto the property. We shall see. I would like to, but I would prefer to live away from the main house. My dogs need room to run.

Anyway, it sure has been a lot of work (this fence), but it will have been WAY worth it, if we can get this once working farm back in fighting form.

Will get more pics, and of course, pics of the steers and the chicks.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Pay it Forward

A few days ago in the local paper, there was a small piece about doing a good thing for someone. One of the suggestions was to pay for the person behind you at the toll booth. My brain is fried lately, so I was thinking that I would like to do that, but HOW on the thruway would you know what they owed?? Okay, will get back to that.

This last time I worked Lucy, I employed my calmness. Lucy is hyped enough for both of us. I sorted the sheep without problem. She stayed where I put her, and didn't push sheep over me. It was so nice. We drove and she was comfortable. I barely peeped a down on my whistle and she took it. Then, the best part. I sent her on a fetch. She came up beautifully, started them toward me, and then, in just the right place, downed on her own. Just calmly lay there waiting for the next command. It was truly a thing of beauty. If these sheep were no so fetchy, she would have had to stay on them, but they have become rather dogged at times.. It was so absolutely great. Even later, when she did get pushy, I stayed calm, and reminded her what she was doing. She was much more smooth, and so was I.

Okay, back to pay it forward. I was coming over the bridge, which is a $1.00 toll. I pulled up to pay the toll, and the guy said "The person before you paid for you". I had my $1.00 in my hand already- so I said "here, I'll pay for the person behind me". It really sort of made my day. People can be "good".

Later, in the grocery store, there were some folks at the produce section checking out the green bananas- they were lamenting how green they were. I happened to pick up the last ripish bunch- and the man was looking longingly at them. I said "you should go for the green, they ripen too fast". He said "I have six kids". I handed him the bananas. No big deal for me- but he was super thankful.

Almost there

Last night after work, I met my brother and we got three more strands pulled, and stapled. I figure it is about 1 hour per strand on this short end. My brother also had to cut down more dead trees/brush. The black flies were horrendous. Reminded me of New Hampshire last June.

We still have to put in the wooden fence near the barn, and gates, and electrify everything. Tomorrow will be a full day indeed.

Woke up this morning feeling SICK. Let the dogs out, fed them, and back into bed. Maybe just too much good old fashioned work and sun....

Well, that's it for now. We'll see what the weekend brings.

Friday, May 1, 2009


Hi readers :) Thanks for bearing with me while I had a minnie woe is me moment.... You know, the thing about trialing, etc... Well, I suppose in our blogs, we have to let off a little steam. Carolyn, I read your blog and took heart- thanks buddy.

So, didn't do fence yesterday- but should have. It's fixing to rain all weekend... Worked sheep again. As I was sorting, Lucy was pushing sheep over me. I had had it with that. I could get hurt. So, I went out to her and basically chased her off the sheep. Then, I worked her. For whatever reason she listened VERY well. She was a bit hesitant on the drive, but that's because, I think, she was thinking.

Then, I had another epiphany. Lucy does most things at break neck speed. She can lie down on a dime when it suits her, turn to stop sheep when it suits her. Why can't she lie down like that when I ask? Answer? Because she doesn't want to. Later as I was working her, I was giving down commands and she was hitting the ground so fast- like a kid at the last seat in musical chairs. And, she didn't get up again. So, what I did then was to reward her by allowing her to walk up on the sheep, and push them off me. I made sure I didn't look at her, so that the pressure was instantly released. So, that's my plan. From now on, if I do not have a down on a dime, we are done- at a trial, I leave, and if we are working, then I calmly go up and correct her (by bringing her back to where I asked for it). I was just so mad yesterday, my friend could see that. He was duly impressed with her about face in listening. Why am I mad? Because this goll darn dog is a good sheep dog- and this is the one thing that just bungs every single thing up. Also, she gets nervous because I do, because I feel like she won't listen. My whole way of operating will change- I simply will not repeat a down, when I know she has heard it- I will follow up, that's it and say nothing.

Danny had fun playing with his puppy friend yesterday. He really needed that. At one point I had the sheep near the gate, and Danny came up very interested. The sheep and he were nose to nose- they just wanted out of the paddock, and Danny just wanted in ;) He seems to have no fear at this point. He is getting more antsy to work these guys- as is evidenced by his mouth.

I have a first communion this weekend, and then fencing, that's about it. Busy again, but HEY- I am losing weight with all this exercise, and life is meant to be lived when you're living!