Thursday, February 25, 2010

News from Lake Wobegon

Well, not much going on these days. The weather is proving to be "interesting" to say the least. Every day this week, starting Tues, we have had forecasts of snow/rain, and LOTS of it. Yesterday, I awoke to a decent amount of VERY heavy snow. I swear it was about 40 lbs/sq inch. I had to break up the snow into pieces to be able to move it (just slide it, not lift it). As I was shoveling, the snow that fell from branches felt like snow balls pelting me.

I was able to play with the dogs yesterday late afternoon, but it wasn't so fun, because Danny kept losing the ball in the snow. This is one thing he is NOT so good at. I swear, he's the Helen Keller of search dogs... His nose is not so good either. I dare say that if HE were an avalanche rescue dog, I would not hang my hat on my hopes that he would find anyone!

I ordered a new bed for the dogs. Kylie usurped a cat bed, but it's really too small for her. I bought a snuggler bed, that has an egg crate "mattress", and it's the right size for her. Well, last night she slept in it, and it went over well, because her highness did not wake me up in the wee hours, and walk out to the living room. She actually stayed asleep until I turned on the light! That's big. Kylie has back arthritis, so I believe this is going to be a God send for her.

Today, they say we are going to be walloped with snow, all the way through tomorrow late afternoon. They may cancel my surgery, which I will be fine with. It's no biggy, just arthroscopic repairs of various broken down parts ;)

So, that's all the news from Lake Wobegon, as Garrison says!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

One room, pot roast, jabbing

I think my post titles leave a bit to be desired, but they do get the message across. Let's see, Sunday I stayed home- I toyed with going out to Barnes and Noble, but instead, I decided to do that cleaning I need to do. So, I cleaned one room very well, and the others pretty well. The kitchen got a real scrubbing. After that, I watched the Olympics and then headed up to my parents for a wonderful Pot Roast dinner. It was very very good.

On Monday, I worked, and then took some vacation time to be off because it was supposed to snow for basically the entire rest of the week. I ended up working the dogs. It was great. It was such a nice day that I spent some of it just watching the sheep, and getting into my "happy place" I think they call it. This time of year, I feel like a plant soaking up the sunlight makes me feel so much better.

Danny did well, although progress hasn't been what I would like, because this winter the work is just so seldom. He is great on his away outrun, but his come by is tight, and he has yet to understand my trick of stopping him, then I walk up, and chastise him, and he continues on wider. That did the trick for Lucy, so let's hope it does so for him. At one point when working him, the sheep got further away from me than I had hoped, and made it to the gate. Danny had already been sent. So, he ran up on his away side, and *almost* held it together, never crossing, but then he had to split one off, and then focused on another. But, then, Danny engaged his brain again, and just brought them all (gathering them first) and had them at my feet beautifully. He has the same sort of integral good sheep sense as Lucy, and THAT is what I was hoping for. Danny has a long way to go, but he's well liked by those that work him :)

So, then I worked Lucy. Actually, I worked her first to get the sheep calmer, for Danny. Anyway, Lucy did very well. She's just in the zone. Good outruns, downing when I ask, and she did some very nice driving. We are working on cross driving more and more, as she is good going to the right, but the left can be tricky (it's all because of the different pressures). Then, we did some shedding. She was a bit tight, but one correction fixed that. I shed off three sheep from a group, and then one from that group of three. Lucy did well, and held her. With Lucy, sheep learn in fast order that they can't beat her. Of course they try, but she reads them so well. Sometimes I will send her for the other group, or I will have her bring the single back, but the neat thing is, I can then call her "in here, this one", and even if they are within five feet of each other, she will single that one off. She just gets it.

After we worked sheep, I helped vaccinate sheep- I was the jabber. There are lots of sheep getting vax right now. I can't wait for lambs. Such a sense of renewed life after a long winter.

So, then it was time to head home. Was a very good day. I had a sandwich for dinner, and three glasses of milk! I am glad I drink skim... or I would be a whale.

I slept pretty well last night, and now this week, I've just got to see what the weather holds.

Oh, and Friday I am scheduled for my shoulder surgery. Yee haw. Not.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


After work, I drove home and picked up Lucy and Danny to take them on a walk on the "rail trail". It's part of the Appalachian trail that communities have all spruced up, and I figure I should start availing myself of it... So, I drove to where I knew it intersected with a road, but there was no where to park. Great. So, I drove up to some sort of mechanical station, and parked near it. Hoping that I wouldn't get towed. There were no "no parking" signs, so I figured we'd be okay.

We began our walk, and soon I saw a couple women and two yellow labs up ahead. They were very nice, as they saw that Danny got stupid, and they moved to the side saying something like "we only have one (each) and you have two". That was very nice, and the dogs behaved. It was then that I decided Danny would be worked on his leash manners. No more in front. Soon, a black mixed breed dog came up, and Danny was fine, pretty much, but I wondered if maybe he's only used to primarily black dogs... Who knows. I know that I spent the rest of the long work keeping the dogs behind me. Danny is not the bravest, and GOD KNOWS he doesn't need to lead the pack..

So, we got home, and I noticed that Nikke was straining to poo. Well, her tumor, or it's close kin was very obvious- meaning she could not poo. So, I make a vet appointment. We get in there, and the vet asks if he could take her in back so all the other vets could see it. So, I wait. Finally, they were ready for me. He tells me that it is basically almost like a GIANT hemorrhoid, even though dogs don't get them. They do NOT think it's the tumor returned. She's been straining, so that has helped it to inflame. Instructions are: Preparation H, and warm packs, also, re-check in a week. Oh, and while they were messing with her, they released things so she poo'd astronomically huge amounts. I bet she feels much better. If it is not better in a week, we have it removed- exteriorally, so the sphincters should not be in danger.

I then made myself an early dinner, and plan to warm pack Nikke, and then watch the Olympics and read. Nothing exciting. It was SO warm today, I was actually perspiring on my walk with the dogs. The sun is so bright in the sky, it's just great!

Tomorrow, dinner at my parents, and cleaning cleaning cleaning. The house really needs it.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Love is in the air

Yesterday, while I was outside, just before dawn, I heard a Hoot owl, aka a Barred owl, hooting in the woods near my house. Cool, I thought. I had had what I thought was a red squirrel get up into my attic, and I wanted him gone, but he seemed to leave of his own volition. The other day I saw a flattened area in the snow- maybe said owl got him. Double cool.

So, this morning, as I was out with Danny and Lucy, I heard the original hooter, and then, another one, with a higher pitch. They were calling back and forth to each other. The higher pitched one ended up flying closer (I could hear it louder). So, I am hoping that this is a possible love connection, right in my neck of the woods, so to speak :) Barred owls are just beautiful, and they serve a good purpose. They eat just about everything, including squirrels :)

Lucy has decided to come into heat a couple weeks early. That means a lot less free time for both Danny and Lucy, until things go back to normal.

No sheep work this weekend, but I am taking the dogs for some nice long walks this weekend, which will be just what the Dr. ordered.

Tomorrow a hike, and then dinner with an old friend. A quiet weekend, just how I like it!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

EXCELLENT Documentary

Today I Baled Some Hay to Feed the Sheep the Coyotes Eat from Will Zavala on Vimeo.

That's Better

I just was not in a good mood yesterday. It happens to all of us, I guess. When the day was drawing to a close, I had some Sleepy Time tea, and that seemed to really relax me, and drop my irritation off. That's better.

I awoke this morning feeling like I had finally rested well. It's been a long time. I think for me, a good night's sleep is required for me to be able to take life's irritations... So, I actually got up later than normal. It was good.

When I got dressed to go out with Danny and Lucy, I saw that it wasn't pitch black out, and that made me happier. I am SO OVER this winter. While I was outside with the dogs, I heard an owl hooting in the woods near me. As we went inside the sun was definitely rising, and that just cheered me even more.

I think I will be working the dogs this weekend, not sure, but the plan is to do so. This will be at a new place, so it should be interesting. Danny is still so mentally young, that I bet he will do young dog stuff. Lucy should be good- I am counting on her to be :)

I heard on the radio last night that USA earned 3 Gold medals in the Olympics yesterday- GO USA!

Well, that's it for now.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


This is one of those posts, wherein I just have to post my opinion, even if it is unpopular. I will preface this post, by saying that I am someone who believes in this country, all things are possible, with hard work, support of a loved one/family, and that you alone are responsible for your happiness and success. Entitlement mentality really irks me, and that's putting it mildly.

Like many folks, I work hard, so that I can pay my bills. It isn't easy these days- not for anyone, and luxuries are just that, luxuries. I tend to spend as little as possible and pay down bills as much as possible. I have had to my whole life. I haven't been given much. A car, my first car, yes, but I have been working since I was 16, and have never stopped. I purchased a home, with no help from anyone. Yes, I got a great deal, but the bills are all mine.

Many of my friends have much nicer homes, drive nice cars, go on vacations, and many also have good sized farms/acreage. I don't begrudge anyone what they have. Unless... they don't work hard for it. Then, I start to get a bit, well, testy.

Case in point. There is a person who rents a small house, with a small lot. She has a few different farm animals, and loves her small holding. I think it's really cool.
But, then... She has a button on her blog that asks for donations. No, not donations for Haiti, Animal Shelters, Homeless, but rather, for her own life. You know, so she can get her own farm some day. This *really* irks me. People have donated $$ to her, for her dream. No, not to help cover a disaster in her life, but something she really wants, but does not need. Some of these people can barely afford to pay their own bills, yet, they come up with money for this person. It just galls me. I wonder, am I jealous? Would I like to have the temerity to beg for money to help me pay off my bills? Would you all mind? Would it be okay for me to put up a donate button? I wonder. No, no way. I would not accept charity, when working will achieve the same goal. Oh, and this person has a good paying job, and she does other wage earning activities too.

I suppose that this person who has received generous donations will some day purchase a nice farm, and regale us all of her wonderful life, that others paid for. Sweet isn't it?

My grandfather was a share cropper, and carpenter. He and my grandmother bought land in Sullivan county, and he built their house. They also had farm animals. He worked until just before Cancer took over his life- well into his late 80s. He taught me that some animals are a luxury, and that hard work was part of life, AND that people don't' give you $$ because you want it, you have to earn it.

Anyway, that's my beef. So, you think I should put up a donate button?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

More snow

So, we have more snow coming down now. I don't think it will amount to much, but, we'll see. This morning it was snowing giant cotton ball sized flakes. It stopped in time for me to take the dogs out. It wasn't too cold either, and MAN do I appreciate that!

I bought a new dog bed. Problem is, Mr. Chips thinks it is for him. He hogs the whole thing. Kylie went to lay in it, and even started to lay on him, and he shifted to block her. They eventually compromised. Lucy slept in the cat bed the other night- that's a shocker, she NEVER does that. But, I enjoyed more room for me in the bed.

I watched more Olympics last night- caught some down hill skiing, and skating. Wish I could stay up later to watch more, but there is just no way.

Lucy is due to come into heat in a few weeks, and I think Danny will be shipped off some where, as there is no way I want to deal with his pitiful whining. I had considered spaying her, but have had a couple people contact me, interested in pups, so I am holding off. It may never happen, but once she is sterile, she's sterile.

Ginger my old kitty poo'd on my bed again yesterday. I am going to make a vet appt for her.

Well, that's it for now.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The birth of a cat

UH-OH, the dread breach presentation. Will have to do some re-positioning

Okay, got it, I see the head...

He's trying to help the process, look at him pushing through!

Okay, head's in the right place, chin posterior, we are almost there

I can see the shoulders!!!

Uh oh, I think he notices me taking shots of him...

Great, now he's just going to stay there to be difficult!

Working working working...

Well, I watched a lot of the opening ceremony of the Olympics. I enjoyed it, but I fell asleep before the lighting of the torch by none other than Wayne Gretsky. I have to say, that the death of the Georgian Luger still ways on my mind. So senseless. If they had just put a plexi glass wall up along that stretch, like the stuff they use in Hockey... Horrible, just horrible.

After work yesterday, I worked dogs. Lots of work eh? :) Anyway, I worked Lucy first, and I made sure I stayed calm, and I also lowered the tone of my stop whistle. Well, it worked. Lucy was calm, and taking her stops. We did a small open type course, and we were successful. I guess you wonder what that means? Well, good outrun, took her stop on the fetch, turned them nice around me, and all drive legs pretty good. Had a good shed too.

Then, I worked Danny. Danny was good, albeit a bit tight on his outruns, so I did some work with him on that. When Danny's got the right distance on the outrun, so that also means lift, he is very nice, and doesn't push the sheep hard, and gives them room when they near me. I also worked a bit on fence pulling, and we will continue with that as we go. I also did a bit of work on his driving. He really likes this. No flanks yet, but I am really just using it so we can fetch again ;)

I got home last night just too tired to make stew, so I made a Sirloin steak, and left 1/2 for the dogs. Which, I might add, they LOVED. I then got in bed, read my book, and watched a little bit of the Olympics, before just falling into dream land.

I have to work again today, and then I want to hit Target for some dog beds. Then, my Target will be home, make some chocolate chip cookies and nighty night!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Olympics, and stew

Tonight the Olympics begin. I am looking forward to something breaking up the monotony of this winter. We shall see how late I can stay up...

This morning it was very cold. Ten degrees when I went out with Lucy and Danny. Brrrr. My hands got cold even with my gloves on. I am always amazed that this weather does not seem to bother the dogs when they are playing.

Yesterday when I got home, it was just gorgeous out- 44 degrees. Kylie ended up plowing her head/body into some snow piles- she loves the snow. I was able to leave everyone out for a bit. Hey, now that I think about it, Danny came home last year around this time.... It was very cold...

I am making a concerted effort to drink more water. When I drink lots of water, I feel so much better. It doesn't take much to put me back on track... Still need to lose a bit of weight. But, I guess I am similar to lots of women my age. I still want to watch it, because it creeps up on you....

Ginger, my old kitty poo'd on the bed again. I don't know what's up, perhaps a cognition problem? I don't know. I dread losing her too.

This weekend I would like to see that movie with Jeff Bridges "Crazy Heart". I seldom go to the movies, but this one seems to be getting good reviews, and is right up my alley. Other than that, the usual stuff. I would like to make a beef stew... Think I will go ahead and do that, and invite some friends for some good eats...

Well, that's it for now.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Dud

The storm that is. We got a total of around 3-5". That's NOTHING in our neck of the woods. For a lot of the afternoon yesterday, it quit snowing. The wind picked up later in the day.

This morning, I was very pleased to see that the wind had cleared my car, almost completely of snow :) I shoveled the usual places, and I did the back deck this morning too- I didn't want to have to do it later. It's good to get snow, in terms of precipitation for spring, etc., but this amount is nice, as it won't stick around too long.

I was very sad to learn of Captain Phil Harris' (of the Cornelia Marie, Deadliest Catch) passing. He had had a stroke, had started getting better, but then, sadly, he succumbed. He was my favorite Skipper.

Dogs are doing well. It's nice that Danny has grown up a bit, and is so far, trustable in the house- as long as there are no socks on the floor ;)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Getting socked

We are getting serious snow. I headed in to work early, so I could leave early, as the roads are just going to be terrible. As it was, a *barely* made it up my hill.

I have already shoveled out back/front/around car. It's the usual stuff for us north easterners. My town plows my road around 4 am, and then, usually maybe one more time for the day, so I am glad I can walk to the deli down the road, to get a sandwich, if I so chose.

It's SO weird being home in the morning. I am always gone. Don't think I will do too much today, save for periodic shoveling.

I think we are supposed to get in the double digits of accumulation. Oh well.

Well, not much to report at this point, just hanging out.

Monday, February 8, 2010

I think he's in love....

Levis, my male Parakeet appears to be swooning over his girl friend, who's name I haven't determined yet. Perhaps I will call her some other jeans brand name...

Anyway, he's doing a little Parakeet jig- bopping up and down, vocalizing like crazy. She's doing her best to ignore him, and he just keeps on. I am so happy to have two Parakeets again- they really shouldn't be alone.

Last night, the Super bowl was great- I wanted the Saints to win. Slept a bit better last night- awoke again, at between 3 and 4, but quickly went back to sleep.

Beautiful day here today, upper 30s. There may be snow coming this way on Weds, I hope it tracks south...

Not much to report, ho hum...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Dirty Jobs' Mike Rowe on Lamb Castration, PETA, and American Labor

Mike Rowe, my hero

Danny and the ball

Be sure to read the description I usurped from ancient chinese proverb...

Working dogs, chilling

I worked yesterday, and afterward packed up Lucy and Danny to work sheep. Lucy got to work on driving a ewe down a hill where she kept trying to trick Lucy and evade her. Lucy made a couple notable stops. One, in particular reminded me of a cow dog. It took off back toward me (we were trying to drive...) Lucy ran back with it, shoulder to shoulder, and jumped/twisted in front, gripped her nose, and turned her butt back. Not a mark on the sheep, and Lucy was fine... Kelpies just significantly rock in terms of just basic sheep instinct, and athleticism. We did a few outruns, but no sheds, as when we do too much shedding Lucy gets a wee bit amped...

Then, I worked Danny. My goodness the lad is getting his boot straps on. He's just something else. Yes, this is my first BC to train, so maybe what he is doing is just average- I don't know. But, I do know he has a great attitude- takes correction in stride, runs his outruns with as much speed as he has in him. Covers his sheep reasonably well for a pup his age, and is calm in the face of possible explosions- like when he is walking up on sheep, and they jump- he stays calm.

I saw him work for my trainer the other day. Danny used to not be able to handle that. Well, the only way to describe it was a ballet dance. My trainer can soft peddle Danny- geting the smallest changes, to the biggest changes with such little effort. I mean, a raise of the finger kind of things. It was truly awe inspiring.

Danny is the son of my trainer's dog Glen, who passed away last August. I loved Glen. Glen was the old style BC, one you would see in "One man and his dog". A "no trouble boy" who "had it covered". He could read sheep very well, he listened no matter what, and he had great innnate ability. Pretty hard to beat that. Glen started to slow down a lot last summer, and I believe he was probably sick at that point. But, he still tried to please his master, in fact, on the day he died, he helped with some farm work. You can see, that to me, if we have another Glen, or almost Glen, on our hands, it will be something I dared not dream for.

When I work my dogs, I try and remember that these dogs are doing what they were bred for, despite my failings as a trainer. All they want is to do for me. What an honor, really. I think we would all do well to remember that.

So, when we were finished working, I headed home, stopping at MacDonald's for food- I know I shouldn't, but I was famished, and thirsty. Got home, did the chores, and then to bed- and a long telephone conversation with a friend, and drifted off to sleep. In the normal fashion, for me, of late, I awoke at 3:00. I don't know WHAT is going on, but my KINGDOM for a FULL NIGHT sleep!!!

This morning I got up a bit later than normal, and now I sit here, pondering a trip to the grocery store, and then back to CLEAN my house.

That's it for now.

Friday, February 5, 2010

February made me shiver...

Well, yes, it does... But, that's not the reason for the title. The reason for the title is I heard this song two times yesterday on the way to work sheep. I love this song. I wish more bands would play it, because I surely would sing along!

I haven't worked the dogs in two weeks. Mainly issues of time, weather, and well, umph. Just haven't much of it... So...

After work, I headed out to work the dogs. Lucy forgot again about the stop. I swear it's a nervous tick. She's so amped, that she doesn't mean to be "bad", she just can't help herself. I am to the point, just about that I am just going to lay off the stop, and just calm down, and work her hard, and just hope that she calms down. Granted, she's about 10 dogs in one dog's body, and she isn't worked enough. If all of this means I don't do a lot of trialing, but work her on the farm, well, so be it. She is one heck of a dog, and I could not ask for more. We are not perfect- none of us, and plus, on the trialing side of it, I don't LOVE trialing...

I also worked Danny. I started with some not too small outruns, and he over flanked on the away side- I swear, sometimes, when he gets up there, he thinks we are just working flanks. So, work to be done on that- I am getting up there and reminding him where he should be. His come by side is much better, stops on a dime, on his own and walks in so pretty. It's nice.

Danny got a bit vehement and instead of fetching, split them, and then we had 4 sheep all over. The little boy got the three together (the 4th split far away) and he brought them- he really had to think/cover/rate to keep them together. That was good. You can see that when he splits the sheep he says "uh oh, hmmm, got to get them together..." Thankfully the splitting isn't too often, and is less and less as we go.

I didn't get home until dark last night- and when I did, Ginger, my old kitty, I noticed had wet on the bed. She is starting, I think to lose a bit of control. I am usually home much earlier, and I make sure she goes to the litter box, but of course I couldn't do that yesterday.... So, I had to wash all the bed linens. Last thing I wanted to do.

I had a HORRIBLE night last night. Lots of night terrors, and couldn't sleep. I am surprised I am alive....

Glad, REALLY glad it's Friday. Lucy and Danny were just so amped up this morning. I don't think sheep work tires them out at all- it just charges them up.

I think this weekend would be a good time for a movie, and maybe I will work the dogs. I just don't know for sure. Can't wait for spring....

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


So, for some un- GODLY reason, I am waking up around 3 something at night. This morning it was 3:37 to be exact. Then, my shoulder kept me up. Then, at 4:00 Kylie and Lucy ran out to the living room, believing I would be getting up- how wrong they were. But, I didn't get back to sleep. My shoulder has taken on a life of itself. I now know what is wrong with it, but I will get to that later...

We had some snow fall last night. Just about 1/2 inch. Just enough to make it pretty outside, and enough for Mr. Chips to decide to fore go his morning jaunt outside with the dogs.

It's going to be a loooong day, I fear. I need some rest, desperately. Maybe tonight...

Okay, the deal with my shoulder, from the results of the MRI- it's a trifecta- tendinitis, bone spurs and the coup de gras- torn cartilage. One at a time, is bad enough. So, have an appt to meet with the Dr, and I have already been told, he will suggest surgery. Joy. I have popped that shoulder out on a few occasions. The last one was lifting a full 5 gallon bucket of water over a pasture fence. POP it went. It went back in, but... word to the wise, don't do that!

My sister told me that when I die, I should donate my body to science. Heck NO! I am going to SELL it!!!

Monday, February 1, 2010


So, I think I am already starting to feel more energetic/normal. It's a great thing not having to feel like I should be asleep all the time. I didn't get a blessed thing done in the house this weekend- the visit to the Pub blew my energy wad, but it was well worth it.

It was warmer this morning too, so I was able to bring Danny and Lucy out for their morning runs. It was good, and since I hadn't done this for two days in a row, Danny had an extra happy grin on his face afterward- no doubt he was worried that our morning run was in jeopardy ;)

We had standing rib roast last night. I cannot TELL you how good it was. Basically, it's prime rib. My mouth waters just thinking about it. What a grand dinner it was. That ranks right up there with the best beef I have ever had.

Came home from dinner last night and had mint chocolate chip ice cream, while I watched the Nature program "The Baltics". They had a Lord of the Rings bent to the show, and you can see the same backgrounds that they used in the movie. The wild life is amazing as well. I recommend you all try and catch it via re-run if you can.

This week I have no plans whatsoever. Pretty much like usual, but maybe something will pop up....