Wednesday, September 29, 2010


I stoppped by the farm where I will be getting the Cheviot ewe lambs, yes, I will. I spoke to the farmer, who I am quickly becoming friends with, and he made a good offer, as these are a bit small for meat purposes, but heck, they will be fine for me. So, God willing and the creek don't rise, they come home this weekend.

I worked Danny just a few minutes just on his left side, and we are almost consistently there- he is getting that he needs to relax and turn out before I will allow him to go. Lucy, I worked her for almost no time- wasn't really into it, PLUS it was quite warm for this time of year, and the sheep were getting hot. I took a few shots.

A very handsome Dan.

Look closely at that fleece, it's GORGEOUS.

Here is my brand spanking new custom made hay manger- nice eh? Holds two full bales of hay. Double sided.

Sleep, sheep

We got about an inch and a half of rain yesterday. That is more than greatly appreciated. I was ready to call it a day after work yesterday, because the night before I didn't sleep, but Heaven forbid Danny doesn't get his work in ;)

So, I headed up to the farm, and when I walked up to the pasture, I see my sheep spread out grazing, which is a great sight. I hope all this rain continues to help bring life out of the ashes, as it were. We are fore casted to get more rain tomorrow, so maybe the deficit will be made up :)

I worked Danny on his left flank/outrun, and I think we are getting it. He needs to be behind me, and I need to take pressure off him, these things are what I did with Lucy, and it worked. Why I never tried with Danny, is beyond me... Anyway, we never work for very long, but the work we do is high expectations, so we get something out of it each session.

Before I left, I dumped the water trough and refilled, and as I waited for it to refill, I noted that the sheep did not come down looking for grain. They prefer good grass to hay and grain. That's great. I have been calculating what it will cost me to keep these guys in hay over the winter, and it won't be cheap.

So, that leads me to my next topic. Sheep.

Basically, a big bale, 50 lbs, will feed one sheep a week. So, you figure between $3.00-$5.00 per bale, and then calculate, it is not chump change. I NEVER thought I would EVER be in the position to be turning down sheep!!! I will be going to look at Cheviots today, and then I have to make my decision. How many to over winter.

I have to be practical. PLUS I STILL need to get that fencing in near the barn....

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sleep, glorious sleep

I get cranky when I don't get enough sleep. Friday night I had nightmares, and had to get up at 0-dark-thirty. Then, that night I didn't sleep well, so by Sunday, not so happy. I spent most of Sunday watching the Finals. I hope they never think of NOT web streaming them again! It's just too great!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I worked the dogs, and hit on something to help Danny's left flank outrun- he's fine if I face him (not the sheep), but if I try to set up normally, he's back to being tight. Well, it was all just rushing on my part, so now I set him up and make him lay there a while, and then, he seems to just set up right, and I wait until he turns his head and is calm, then send him. Seems to work. We will keep doing this, until his left flank/outrun is better all the time. Bought the sheep come Blue Seal Course 16 grain, and gave them just a little yesterday, as it's new, and I want them slowly transitioning to it. I also put a bale of hay in the manger yesterday, so they have that option too. We are supposed to get a fair amount of rain in the next few days, so today I may put more seed out in the pasture...

Still waiting to see if I will get the rest of the flock that these came from... I need to know soon, otherwise, I will be getting other sheep. Met a person at the trial who doesn't live far from me, and have invited her to come and work sheep, so more sheep are in order for general purposes!

Today I will be going home early to work on my house, do some errands and put that seed down. I plan to take time off for the next few weeks just to get my life back in order. I may even make a real meal today....

One of the baby Parakeets stuck his/her head out of the nest box yesterday.....

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Lucy excels, almost 100%....

I went to an AHBA trial with Lucy. I had considered running Danny, but opted out, because he is still so mentally young, and after I saw the size of the area we would work in, I was glad I decided against it. We entered the HTAD top level- not sure what that is called. It was an HTAD III course. It consisted of a gather, turn at the post, a y chute, a turn a drive up/through panels with a left turn, and then back across arena to pen, and then, once out of pen, a ribbon pull, and then a re-pen.

I was going to send Lucy away, because we were told there is a draw to the right of me, but Lucy set up left, so I sent her that way. She had a decent outrun, and a bit fast on her lift- like none- but the set out (grain) area was not very far from fence, so not much space to settle. Anyway, she got them to me, and was taking her stops!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We turned the post, and got to the Y chute. I had to really handle her, to put enough pressure, and cover on the sheep, so they would take it. So, we did that. Then, a turn and have her drive them through the panels. Dang it if she didn't take every single flank and stop. Seriously? I was so happy...

Then, we head over to the pen, got them in nicely, and then the ribbon pull. The sheep were two ewes and three lambs. I pulled the ribbon and was just walking on air when I went to let them sheep into the re-pen and then, STUPIDLY (smacks forehead) let Lucy into the re-pen where she caused a ruckus, and well, we were unceremoniously dq'd. That hurt, just a little, because all of her work was just very good. It was a lot of listening for my wee girl, and she seemed pretty happy to do it.

We got another kick at the can in the afternoon. This time, the sheep were not so happy to cooperate. They had been run in the morning and were "running" now.... So, we had a good gather, and turn and then the Y chute. There was one wether in there who apparently took issue with another dog at one point and thinks he's all that. He was at the end of the group. He was not moving. He was grazing, daring Lucy to try anything. You know that look, oh, I don't see you, but I am not scared of you, so go away look. So, I KNEW I could not flank Lucy off. She stood there and locked onto him and we had a stalemate for a second. Finally, that spit head went for Lucy and she nailed him and then back to her spot. Then, he was a little more nervous, but still not wanting to go into that chute. So, I gave Lucy a come and they moved a foot toward the chute opening. Then, an away, and another, and so forth. Lucy was literally taking one step. She never busted in, she never lost it. I was rather amazed at my dog, and proud, if I do say so myself. We finally got them through the Y chute, and I flanked her to cover, and she did not slice- that would be a given on a younger Lucy, after such an exchange....

I get to the pen, and there is NO way they are penning. Just nuts these sheep were. So, We finally got the- you can move on direction from the judge, and gratefully, we did. Then, onto the ribbon pull. The sheep did not want to be near me, and the Barbado mix wether really did not trust me... he was also the one wearing the ribbon. So, I used all my guile and ignored him until I got the ribbon pulled! HA! Take that!

Lucy was so beat after her endeavors, that after the pull, when the judge said two mins to me, I looked at Lucy and she had plopped down and was rolling on her back. Oh Lord Lucy, have some couth!

We then set them up for the re-pen and got it, and Lucy did not go in :)

This was a qualifying run, and even though the score was lower than the first trial, she worked her butt of for me, and I am so proud of her.

It was a very long day, we got home late, and Lucy slept like a rock. Today, watching the finals, and then sheep stuff- going to get hay in the manger, grain from Agway, and general check of their health. I worry since we lost that steer. I need to clean, but I may have to take a day off of work to get that done!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Yes, they do

Besides your comment Carolyn, I was told the same thing; that cattle do mourn the loss of their own. This puts the whole idea of mass slaughtering in a new light to me. I will wrestle with this for a long time.

Worked the dogs yesterday, better than the day before Danny was well in the pressure where he was going to bust, but I gave him a down and he took it. That's very good Danny! Sheep are a bit spooked still. When I fetch them to me, with either Danny or Lucy tied on a post well behind me, they snort like Deer responding to a predator. This whole dead Steer thing sent them for a loop, OR, maybe they have spotted Coyotes... I don't know. But, I want to get the barn yard set up soon. I want to be able to bring them close to the barn before it gets cold, and when I am feeding hay. Right now they are still eating grass, and I give them some corn at night - spoiling them, I know, but I want my sheep a good weight going into winter.

Am running Lucy and maybe Danny at an AHBA trial this weekend. Should be interesting. I have never run a dog in one of these. Danny will do a baby class, and Lucy, probably advanced. We will see... I will save my nerves for when we get there!

Steers seem happy in the barn, although they did get out somewhere and plop their plops in my sheep area, so I shored up some spots where they might have gotten out. Now, I know the meaning of s*it kickers- you step in it, and then spend a lot of time trying to kick it off!

That's it for now.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Mourning Steers?

After work yesterday, I went to the farm. It was a darn sight warmer than it has been, and our sheep work was shorter, and not as good... But, some days are good, some not. Today better be good :)

When I got to the farm, my brother was over helping his friend chain up the dead steer. The hole was already dug. My brother told me that the other steers stayed with this one all night/day...

So, as they drug the dead steer to it's grave site, the other's started getting very agitated. They were running forth and back to the place where he had died, and one got up close to the back hoe. We had to shoo them away. At one point, the Hereford/Angus cross got very upset, and came up to the dirt pile and started ramming his head into it, and striking- like a very angry bull. It was a sight.

Finally, the job was done, and those two steers lay down right next to the grave site. Admittedly, I don't know Bovines that well, but this really sort of amazed me.

After that was done, I got the water tank moved to the barn, went to Agway for another mineral lick and some molasses for the steers, and came back, and then we set up a pen for the steers.

They had a very stressful day, so I was not sure how successful my brother would be at getting them in the barn, but he did. So, that is where they will stay for now. Either until they are butchered, or until we get grass back, whichever comes first.

I have to do most of the work at the farm because my brother can't do any lifting, but I hope he CAN get the post holes dug for the barnyard fencing.....

Today, work sheep again.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Finals, sheep, steers.....

I have been following the finals, and I have to say that the sheep are PRIMO for such an event. Nothing is given to the dogs (except the pen in some cases yesterday, from what Jenny Glen wrote). There is a lot of pressure, and the sheep scoff at wide flanking dogs. They just sit and watch them do their little soliloquy, and ignore them, until the dogs come right up and walk straight on. It's definitely a skill the winners will need. That, and very good handling- to cover pressures- in advance of the sheep getting there, because we all know, sheep that are galloping with the sight of relief in the horizon, aren't stopped all that easily, or cleanly....

I would like to have been able to go down, but I suppose I will have to wait for the web cast this weekend. Looking forward to that! I may even get some munchies, and invite some friends over to enjoy!

Was thinking of running Lucy in an AHBA trial, but I am going to sit it out. I am just sick of Lucy not listening to me. I have no doubt that since I have a dog that listens to me both at home and away now, that not having that makes it hard. Lucy has her own agenda a lot of the time, and it makes me tense. Other times, she is calm and listening well, so who the heck knows what goes on in her head.

Worked Danny on walk ups and his left flanks yesterday, we will keep working on those left flanks until the tension goes bye bye forever ;) My sheep are good for walk ups, flanks and driving, but outruns- fogetaboutit. Have to wait to get more sheep for that. They just come running too fast as soon as they know a dog is coming. Jerks.

I am hoping we can get the post holes dug this week/weekend for the barn yard... I want to get all that done asap. The sheep look good, but in time, they will need to start their hay eating and I also want them to be able to get in the barn when really bad weather hits, which it will. They are eating grass up there, though, I have no idea what kind...I don't think it's the fescue, but I see grass hanging out of their mouths.... I hear after the first frost, the fescue is okay to eat...

We are going to put the steers in the barn 24/7 now. The field is down to nothing, and it's time for them to gain weight. Also, there is something in that field that is poisonous, as we lost a steer the other day (found it dead). I was *really* upset.

So, today we put the steers in the barn, hopefully they will go willingly, or we may have to break out Lucy....

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Wonderful weather, nursery finals, etc.

What wonderful weather we are having. Let's see, I worked the dogs with my friend on Friday. It was great. Danny did very nice outruns, and even self corrected when he was a few steps short on his come by side. I am now starting to work on flanks on the fetch, so we can have actual steering, should we need it ;)

Lucy was back to happy, normal girl- which makes me VERY happy. I had Danny do the sorting and he was very good.

I didn't work the dogs yesterday, wanted one day off, but I did get the hay manger (with the help of my nephew) into the general vicinity I wanted it. It's very heavy, so I am glad that job is done.

Yesterday was good for one big reason- I got my copy of Tony Parson's "The Kelpie" in the mail from Australia!!! Over 600 pages. It is GREAT, and it will take me quite a long time to get through it. It has everything from the history of the breed, to training, to comparing BC/Kelpie, trialing, you name it.

This morning I awoke with a headache AGAIN. I almost didn't go work the dogs, but after some coffee, I was able to get out there.

I only worked each dog for like 10 mins. Danny is getting very good on his walk up, and starting to show some eye, and force, and I am liking that a lot. Sheep are very settled when Danny works them.

The field is looking better- growth, I think from the seed I sewed (is that how you say it?!) a couple weeks ago. Sheep look a bit fat even!

Been watching the nursery finals. Seems like tough sheep, but I would expect that at a national level competition. This isn't just your average every day trial. The sheep will sort out the dogs. Dogs who may look very shiny and spectacular, may not, and dogs who you didn't think had much special, will stand out, because they have the grit and determination to get it done. There is no telling where any dog will fall, because when it comes down to dog versus sheep in a fortitude contest, there is nothing the handler can do. It's up to the dog. Being over faced for most of the dogs is pretty much expected. So far, it appears that Alasdair is in the lead with Coll, his Nap son.

I would love to see an upset tomorrow, but I doubt we will... Here's hoping though....

Well, that's it for now, going to watch the results....

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mid week update

So, back to work, and some what normal. Worked the dogs again yesterday. Mainly worked on driving for both. My sheep will not afford me the ability to do outruns/fetching, so it sort of stinks. Need to get those new sheep soon. Danny's downs need tuning up, which we addressed yesterday. Takes them, but gets up. I make lots of little mistakes, and I need to remember what I was taught....

Was a peaceful night in the house last night. The birds are good, momma comes out of the box occasionally, and just sits on the perch looking at the male. Still haven't peeked to see how many.... Soon....

Have a massive headache today. The kind that makes you want to go back to bed. My brother had abdominal surgery yesterday, and we were told that it went well, so that is good.

Well, that's it for now. Hope you all are having a good week :)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Thanks to good friends and family

It has been a very nice couple of days for me. I think I earned it with all the work I have been doing! I went up for another two day lesson at my trainer's place, and it was just great. She has tons of different sheep- some heavy, some light, some not dog broke, you name it. That makes for some great training opportunities for me and my dogs!

Danny did well, though his outrun needs to be deeper- his left flank seems to have gotten less good, so that translates into less than optimal outrun/lift. I am going to have to send him, and then run up to the sheep to make my presence known. I don't want to raise my voice at the lift, because he is finally getting confident doing it, but he is sensitive enough that my presence and a little get out" as he gets to about 9:00-10:00 should help.

We worked on driving and I am better at doing/going where I need to, and Danny actually did a box!!! He is very responsive to my stops and my flank commands, but we will need to work on inside flanks for a long time, I suspect. He is walking up nicely on sheep, and has lost a little of the stop/stay there, so I will have to be careful to give him a steady versus a stand. and Require absolute obedience when I ask for a lie down.

Lucy got to work a few big groups, and that's really her forte- no losing sheep on the sides for her. Lucy didn't get a lot to do, but what she did, she enjoyed!

On the way home, we picked up a hay manger, and while there, we were invited to try Danny in a packed pen with some well dog broke, and not mean sheep. I had wanted to do this, but I didn't know if he was ready.... This person knows their stuff, so when they invited, I was all for it.

So, he takes Danny in, and at first, Danny indiscriminately bites some sheep. But, then, Danny started taking the flanks around. At first, he would meet resistance in the form of sheep's butts, but then he would gently try to bite the hocks. Then, he started pushing past against the wall. Then, it was my turn. I got in there, and Danny did as I asked, and I got some reminders of what to do and not to do. Well, that boy was so good. At one point he was literally faced with a sheep who did could not move, and faced him. So, I encouraged him to bite her face, and he *almost* got the courage, he hung in there long enough that she turned, and then, a few times he got in the faces of some other sheep, you could see it was a different dog. We will do this again, but I am stoked for how well it went.

On the way home, that was interesting. The hay manger was too big to allow the door to shut, so we tied the door down and Lucy was in the front seat, and Danny on a ledge that we made out of plywood for the space between back seat and front seat. Danny slept and did not move, until we pulled into the farm. He was soooo tired.

Got the hay manger unloaded, chatted with my brother for a bit, and then home. I got home to see my momma Parakeet was all puffed up- not good. I looked and saw one feeder was just about out of seed, and the other was 1/2 full. Well, apparently, momma will only go to one feeder (the empty) and thusly went a bit hungry. So, I immediately refilled "her" feeder, and left them be.

Then, Danny, who had an eye irritation earlier, showed up with a very painful/squinty eye. Off to the vet we rush. No corneal scratch, and basically chalked up to an allergic/irritation reaction.

THEN, we finally get home. LONG day, but in general a great one!!!!!!!!!!!

PS: Momma Parakeet is back to normal this morning :)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Danny bored boy

So, day off today, and what am I doing? Well, besides having some coffee, and multi grain toast, cleaning. Lots of cleaning. Finally, I am caught up on other things enough to address the house. Plans are to do the whole house (I have a small house), and then, maybe find something healthy for dinner. I have decided I need to lose some weight (bought some new clothes yesterday) and need to lower my cholesterol. I think I can make serious head way if I just remove fried food and candy- I eat some of each every week. I am on a B12 supplement every day, along with drinking more water, and that has helped a bit in terms of feeling less hungry.

But, once you are well past 40, your body changes, I have seen, a LOT. It's not generally for the better. So, I have to really make a concerted effort to routinely eat healthier. Of course I will still partake of junk once in a great while, but no more regular intake.

I played with Danny and Lucy this morning, and they enjoyed it, but Danny is rather bored now. He just collapsed into his crate, depressed, I am sure that we are not doing anything. It feels good to just be home today. The Parakeets are busy now. They have several babies, and it takes work by momma to keep them fed. So far, I haven't seen dad feeding them, but that should come soon. She just won't be able to keep up.

For some reason, my neck is tight/sore today. Don't know why, but I can't really look to the right. I hope I didn't tweak it when I was pounding the fence posts in (or attempting to).

That's it for now.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9/11, a NY view

I have never gotten over 9/11. I still cry when I hear the song "Where were you when the world stopped turning", or "NY state of mind". Or, any myriad of songs.

That day, I was at work, and had walked into the main office, and the secretary told me that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. I was shocked, and couldn't believe it. I was instantly worried about my brother, who is a PO in the city. I didn't know if he was at work or not. Then, we heard another plane hit the other tower. We were told that there were televisions set up in the Faculty Commons, so we could keep informed. I got there, and like the song says, I DID feel alone in a crowded room. I was in shock, I think. Then we heard about the other planes.

I remember driving to a friend's house that night, and seeing a woman crying hysterically as she drove by. We were all crying- for weeks. I had nightmares about Bin Laden. I was afraid of planes flying over head.

The magnitude of this tragedy is not something our country has ever had to deal with (Pearl Harbor came close). We were not at war. These people went to their jobs that day, and boarded the planes, with absolutely no clue that they were in the last minutes of their lives.

I met one of the people who died, just about a week before- a guy who worked in the towers, in the finance field. He gave me his card. I still have it.

All those firemen, and rescue people, just gone. Gone for what?

Today as I was driving to to work, the song "Where were you..." came on the radio, JUST as a guy came riding his bike past me with a GIANT American flag. I was instantly proud. Today is Patriot's day. I have seen some flags, but I have seen a LOT of head lights on, as were mine.

WE MUST NEVER FORGET, and we must cherish the memories, and be faithful to them. These people were innocents. I am so sorry, I know you wanted to have your lives. We will NEVER forget that they were taken from you.

International Shed

Someone brought up the topic of the International Shed in the Finals, and what is the purpose. Well, the purpose is to challenge handler and dog. The Finals is not just about the dog, it's about the team. This video shows that team work. This video shows a very good dog, and a very good handler making it look rather basic- even if the sheep broke back on the first try. My desire is to be this good. To be this calm, and have this steady and calm and strong when needed dog.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Getting better

I have worked the dogs every day since Sunday. It has been great. Yesterday's work was just a little of this and that, since the day before I spent a bit more time trying to get off pressure flanks from Danny, and in my field, that is not easy!

I moved some cut up trees/limbs from the lane-way that had been sitting there since the fence was in, which looks a lot better now. Still have the job of getting the upper barnyard fenced, which, I thought was just going to be a chute, but my brother has informed me that I was mis-informed. Just means a heck of a lot more work for me. The area is almost pure shale, and I will need heavy equipment to get the posts in. Lord. I tried pounding in posts in many places last night, but just could not get anything in.

We definitely have more baby Parakeets. They make the absolutely cutest noises. Mother is even more protective of these guys. Every time I have to reach in the cage to pull out the feeder, or what have you, I am greeted by a very loud "TACK TACK TACK!!!!!" from inside the box.

Danny is on Panacur, as he started having the same symptoms as he did last fall when he came down with a case of Giardia. Hopefully, after treatment, all will be well.

Lucy is very much VERY MUCH enjoying working at the farm and hanging out with me. Danny is getting more pushy, and even keener to work the sheep. He's also developing more confidence, evidenced by him always wanting to walk up on the sheep, and when they turn to face him now, he instantly starts to give them the eye and walk up. I like that. It means he feels like he is in control, and for a long time, with how he started, I had to be in control almost too much.

We go for another two day lesson next week, and then Danny stays over. Will really miss his sunny disposition. He's such a good boy.

Well, that's it for now.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Aaaahh, more normal

Slowly, things are creeping back to normal. That's what a normal time at work, and sleep get you :)

I have been working the dogs every day as I had said I would, and am finding myself flailing teaching Danny inside flanks. I am trying to get him to come to my side, or near me, and then flank, but he's stuck thinking we are done. So, I am really happy that we have another two day lesson and having Danny stay for sheep camp next week. My field is too uneven to teach all the driving nuances. But, we are working corners, and he's getting more comfy going in on the left.

Lucy worked very nicely yesterday. I had her driving and we had to work on inside flanks because the darn sheep always want to fetch to me. She likes heading, so inside flanks on fetchy sheep are right up her alley.

On the way home from working the sheep yesterday, I stopped by the farm of a guy I know. He's got 80 or so un-dogged Border Cheviots. I had only stopped by to say hello, but then he started walking to the pasture, and I followed, with Lucy.... Now, he only has three stand electric fence and the bottom of the large hill is right on a busy road. Scary.... So, I send Lucy to the left. As she came around the top, they all got together, and turned to face her and walked up on her. These are moments when you are absolutely helpless to do much, except for maybe words of encouragement. So, I said "get them up Lucy". There was a couple seconds of me just seeing sheep's butts, but then, they all turned. Of course, then they ran, so Lucy had to head them after they ran by me. Lucy did not want to call off for some reason, but I finally got her to.

After that, we sat and talked a bit, and then the farmer showed me his big hay fields in the back. I thought that they would be a nice place for a trial... on these sheep....

Before I left, we arranged that I would buy some ewe lambs from him. Am excited about that. These are not people, or dog broke, so it will be interesting working them.

Got home, and chilled a bit, and was actually able to watch Little People Big World, and a bit of the Closer before drifting off to sleep, with Lucy, quite content, right next to me.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Stick a fork in me

I have worked so much that past more than week, I have been just unable to do much other than the basics at home. Today, I finally had a day off. I was able to get to the grocery store, and then head up to the farm to work dogs. It was an astoundingly beautiful day (still is). I worked Danny first, and we did lots of come bys, and also some corner work. Danny doesn't love corner work, but this time he liked it more, because as I sent him in, the sheep would bolt out-straight up the hill, so he had to have more on his mind than the corner- covering was on his mind. It was a good exercise.

We didn't do lots of driving, but we did do some walk ups, just getting him comfy with that. While I worked him, I stopped periodically and picked up branches, and I think I will continue doing that.

I then worked Lucy and she was happy/no stress again. Maybe she just doesn't like that other place, now that she has her OWN place, with just me. I have no idea. I had her drive the sheep up, and then cross drive, and then inside flanks, and then, as they went up, to the other side of a hill, I let her fetch them. She loved that.

I then came home and tried to nap, but couldn't, and just finished eating a meal that just did not hit the spot. Just too tired.

I plan to work the dogs every day this week :) Maybe even get them in the cow field.

Going to sleep now. Oh, I think we have more Parakeet babies.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Lucy, Danny, and trials

Lucy was not herself again when I worked her at our old stomping grounds. First off, when we get there she pants, I used to think, with anticipation. Enough so that I have to cool her off. Then, when I worked her, we got a nice shed, but she would not down unless I really yelled. Then, when I was helping my friend with outruns and his dog, so Lucy did some too, she just moved slow again, she runs, but her heart ain't in it. It's just so starkly different from her normal, but, I am beginning to think that in my attempts to screw her down tight for the trial field, I have taken a bit away from her, a bit of her heart. Maybe she is playing me, maybe she doesn't feel well, but I see a difference. And, when she was bringing the sheep to me on the fetch, and doing very nicely, she still would not lay down. Also, when it was time to leave, she literally ran to the car and put her paws on the door- that is something she has never done- she really wanted to leave.

So, I think it's time to realize that Lucy was meant to be a sheepdog, not a *trial* dog. Not in the sense of snappy response to my commands. Oh, I've no doubt we could force the issue, but it ain't worth it to me. Because I see her when she helps me with chores, and retrieving loose sheep, that THAT is where her heart is. She has all the innate instinct and ability (and more) than say, Danny, and MANY other dogs, but she isn't cut out for the brass tacks of trial training. I got it Lucy, I do. You are still #1. Still have a place in my bed at night, will still be my chore, and demo dog, and you will always be my best dog, I just think I will focus on working Danny on the tight stuff we need, because Danny actually likes it. I don't believe in forcing something down the throat of a dog.

Danny is going away again to sheep camp later this month. He needs his left side flanks worked on, and I can't get my sheep to be useful for that. He has been there before, so I am sure he will be happy. I will miss him, but I think Danny has the potential to be a very good trial dog, maybe not a GREAT trial dog, but one that represents well, and I want to fix his issues before they are ingrained any more.

I have also decided to start looking for another dog to trial with. I always wanted two to trial, and well, it's time. It will be a BC, so, if anyone knows of anything that they think is the cat's meow, in terms of breeding, or the like, let me know.

Today I will seed the pasture, and maybe just maybe work the dogs a a bit. It depends on my energy level.

Well, that's it for now. I hope all who are trialing this weekend do well!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I give up!

Trying to watch anything past 9:00 on TV. It just ain't happening. I am just too tired. Work has been over the top busy this week, and I am barely making it through. Poor Danny, not even any ball to play. Next week will be better. Cooler, not so much work.

I hope to get the gates that we bought this weekend, and get a few installed. That means steer containment and better places to work sheep.

Also going to look at the sheep that I plan to buy. All of this is predicated on the fact that I will survive this week.....

I need to get a bigger cat bed. Both cats are trying to sleep in the one bed, and poor old Ginger is getting squished, so she yowls. Wakes me up at all hours.

Would love to have gone to Fetch Gate for the weekend, but, there is no way I could even drive that distance.

That's it for now!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Found sheep!

I have been searching for good, healthy wool sheep. I don't really like hair sheep, even though there is savings in not having to shear them. But, mainly I have found sheep that just didn't fit the bill for many reasons. Until now. I found a closed flock of mixed commercial sheep. Ile de France, Fresian, Dorset mixes. No hoof rot in flock and clear of nasties like sore mouth, etc.

I am going to go look at/get some on the weekend. I need something besides my runny, no challenge what so ever Border Leicester girls, who I do like (except for #23). I may breed them this fall, and see what I get. Besides getting more sheep, I plan to fence in the area around the barn, and make a chute up to it. Then, we are set. I can keep groups separate as needed, and if I need to have my sheep in the barn, I can.

It has been really hot here this week. I have been under the weather, and on antibiotics, in addition to just being wiped out from everything. I think slowly, once I get healthier, and rested, I will be much happier. Planning another two day lesson with Danny boy later this month too. That will be great.

I am so proud of how they both did at the demos, and especially Lucy, lifting those sheep off the fence, where they were plastered with such calm intent and steadiness. I think she is just great. I love Lucy, I truly do. Danny will be just as good some day, I hope. Right now, we are taking it slow and allowing him to grow a bit in confidence and steadiness. He is such a nice dog. I really am lucky.

I am happy that fall is arriving; I really need a change of season, as it renews my spirit. Time to make apple pies, go leaf peeping and maybe take a hay ride.

Maybe, just maybe schedule that fun day at the farm.....