Saturday, December 31, 2011

So, the headache, I realized is from a very busy week at work and too much upper body work. It happens each time, I should know this by now.... I wanted to go see "War Horse" last night, but given the state of my neck and upper back, absolutely no way that was happening, so I took a hot shower and got to bed early. It was good. Such nice weather yesterday, I was able to leave the dogs outside for a long time.

If my neck is better, I may catch the movie this afternoon. Need some time out. But, I may not. I feel like I need a few days of rest. Holidays wear everyone out I guess.

Today just have to hit the feed store, etc., and do the normal stuff. I have to get rid of my big old tv.. .Best Buy will give you $10.00 for them, I am told.........

Supposed to get very cold next week (I saw the forecast for high of 23 degrees on Tues). I dread that. I will have to wear all my warm packs just to handle it. But, the four laps which I am now doing in one shot, tend to warm me up well, and I don't suffer from the cold so much. Feet? We will see about that. I think the exercise has improved my circulation too. It has certainly improved my demeanor and my attitude. That's very good.

I would like to get out other places to work Dan, but need to save my pennies for now. I have to get a delivery of oil... Joy. So, here we are, just about to 2012, and what have you planned for next year? I just plan to LIVE! Maybe a few goals here and there, but get in better shape, keep good care of my animals, and keep my family close!

Well, have a nice New Year's Eve everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, December 30, 2011


I got this picture, and all credit due to keep em going website. This is Dan's dad Glen who passed away a couple years ago. Glen is the dog who turned me on to Border Collies, and indeed if I did not see him work with Warren I probably would still not have one, so I do owe both Glen and Warren a big debt of gratitude. He was a wonderful dog, and I remember, one time I mentioned to Warren how much I liked him, and he replied "I'd take another" which from Warren is high praise indeed. I see lots of Glen in Dan. Just what I wanted.

Back to waking up at 3:30 am. This stinks. Need more sleep. Maybe tonight...
I did get the new cable box hooked up and the sound and picture are better. That's nice.

Even though it was darn cold yesterday, I stuck with my 4 laps around the field. Danny will from now on be walking behind me like Lucy on my walks. I have had it with him getting in front of me, running ahead, running back to me and turning back ad nauseum. It's a stupid habit and just irritating! Lucy walks nicely behind me, so can he.

I did work Dan yesterday. I used two of the old girls and two yearlings. One of the old girls did not want to stay with the others, and and yearling hung back with her, do Dan got practice on dealing with keeping everyone together. He was not a bit mentally tired after that work though. Maybe I need to feed him poor food, maybe Beneful? Just kidding!

I have a mondo headache this morning- the residual from the start of a migraine when I got up this morning. Too much going on at work. I will be so happy when work calms down.

Today I will just do basic things, and try and just take a rest at some point....

That's it for now!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Up and at em early again today. Need to drop the cable box off and trade for a high def box- as I got a new lcd tv for Christmas, and apparently, it's much better if you have high def signal coming in... So far, the image is not great, so let's hope it improves. I love that the new tvs are so much smaller.... All that bulk with the old ones, just leaves lots of space for dust to collect.... I have oft times considered not having a tv to save the expense, but I get so much out of the nature shows I watch, as well as others, like " The Closer" that I just don't want to give it up....

I am happy with how our weather is so far this winter. Not bad at all. Am feeding a small amount of grain and a bale of hay, which is less hay than I planned for. Still, I wonder if my hay supply will get me through... I wonder. There is just a smidgen of hay left each day, which is exactly how I want it to be. I don't want to leave them wanting.

One thing that is remarkable, is how much more water these girls are drinking this year, I think that is due to no snow on the ground. I use a hose to fill it up, but the girls seem to knock the hose down every time... I think they are hanging out in the little room or something. I know the Border Leicester ewes go in the barn looking for food.

On the news front, several people were killed in a Christmas day fire, caused by a man leaving embers from the fireplace too near the house. Killed three girls, and the two grandparents. The mother of the girls and her contractor (who left the embers there) survived. I can't stress enough to be CAREFUL with embers/fire. I am so cognizant of that. I found an old night light, that has been in the house since before I bought it, and I am afraid to use it for fear it will short out and cause a fire.

On the fire front, I know people find wood burning stoves romantic and "hearty" but you know, I have no interest in that. I have kept them going, I have cleaned them out and I know the work, plus the smell, and constant up keep associated with it. What I would much prefer would be an outside wood burning furnace, like John, and my friend Barbara has. Heats the house hot water/air and no mess inside, PLUS they take a LOT more wood and are self regulating. My house is so small, nothing like that would be sensible. My house would over heat with just about any small stove....

Hoses. Hoses are another thing. Hauling water in buckets S.U.C.K.S. I did it for years when working with horses, and it ruined my shoulder. If I had to haul water every day for the masses, I would starve so I could get a plumber in to "hook me up". I would rather use a hose, drain it every day, then bucket water.

Well, that's it for now. Another day on the horizon. I better work Danny, he has been itching to work lately.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Here is a short video of Dan helping me. I shall, one of these days get video of doing this without his help. That should be very interesting. He's a useful dog, and the hungrier the sheep get the more he's needed.

Today I did my four laps again, cleaned out the barn a bit and also pulled some grass like weed that my sheep will not eat in the other field. Very short roots so it was easy.

I also hit the store and got some Fancy Feast cat food cheap on sale and a scratcher for boy kitty, and had a $10.00 coupon if I spent $50.00, and bill came to $50.49. Not bad eh? My sister and I met for lunch and used our Applebee's gift certificates. Had a nice steak with mashed potatoes and squash.... mmmmm. Tonight just some scrambled eggs.

I am sitting here in my new deer foam slippers that my sister gave me for Christmas. LOVE them; they keep my feet, and thusly ME warm.

Been a good day, I would say!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Four laps today!

Did four laps around the field. After talking with my brother, I learned that one lap is close to half a mile, so that means... almost two miles! I did three and then took care of sheep and did one more. Dogs would go all day long with those. I am definitely feeling A LOT more energetic and just in general "better" and healthier. I am getting a lot done and tackling onerous tasks that I probably would never get to, if I didn't feel this energetic.

Sheep were so happy today, don't know what got into them, but all the Cheviots just galloped around the field today, and the ram stotted a long way as he ran by me. Then, when they stopped two Cheviots head butted each other just as an exclamation point I guess. Makes me happy to see them so happy.

The rest of this week- need to get some stuff at the feed store, and perhaps finally get that barn room raked out, and hay laid down in there.

So, that's it, just wanted to share my happy exercise news :)

Everyone have a good one??!!

Well, another Christmas in the books. It was very nice- both Christmas eve, and Christmas day. Spent it with the family. Watched some football Christmas eve, and ate way too much food. The egg nog... That's what did me in. Christmas day half of it I spent in bed recovering from my over indulgence!

Christmas eve day was nice, as I did my laps and worked Dan. Christmas day, I got there late, but I did take a video of my tiny flock enjoying their hay- which got to them late (remember I was in bed for half the day!). I think they look good.

I think they are definitely better than last year. I am finally getting to the point where I know what I want them to look and feel like.

Oh, and my ear? All better, thanks to a good Dr, and a simple treatment. I can't believe how much louder everything sounds.

This week will be a normal week, trying to get Dan worked a bit, and get out to E's place. Gotta do that.

Well, that's it for now, hopefully everyone had a great Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Almost done........

Christmas shopping that is. Still have to get a few more things. Just could not decide what to get for a few people. I did enjoy the complete turmoil I saw in the guys buying for their girls- at Jewelry stores. I bet the Jewelry stores LOVE it right about now, when guys give up and just throw a lot of money at something shiny and expensive....... Gotta love Christmas ;)

I have another appt for my ear today, and I hope we can get this resolved. If the same thing happens in my other ear, I will need hearing aids...

Did my three laps yesterday. Didn't work Dan, but plan to later today.

Oh, one thing that happened the other day that I wanted to share- I sent Dan to get the sheep, blew into my whistle and NOTHING no noise at ALL. It was clogged with what I think was a piece of hay. I could not get it to work at all, until I washed it. So, word to the wise, make sure your whistle works before you step to the post!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Best laid plans

No dog work for Dan at E's place to day, have to work. Extreme bummer. One other thing is that I have this ear thing. At first it was just a feeling of a muffled ear, like water in the ear. It has gotten worse and now my ear hurts. Went to ENT office, they cleaned my ears, which did not fix it. I then went back, had a hearing test and they found reduced hearing in my right ear. Great. I still think it's just an issue of an inflammation some where. But the test showed no pressure in Eustachian tube. Great again.

This morning lots of pressure in the ear and I cannot hear out of my right ear (the tv). This is not good. Have an appointment with my allergist tomorrow. He's a sage older guy who knows his stuff, let's hope this gets dealt with. I am also a little dizzy.

Today, since I am around I will get my Christmas shopping done. That will be good. Will work Dan a bit and exercise (did not do that yesterday).

So, the countdown until Christmas pretty much starts today for me. Looking forward to some good meals with my family, and then, next week getting back to usual. Can't wait to just be able to sleep in!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Twas a good day yesterday. Although I was more tired than I thought I would be at the end of the day, that just meant earlier to bed. I do like living alone sometimes!

Did my three laps and even considered a fourth, but figured I would do a few more days of the three, before adding on. I definitely feel more toned, but I would not say I have lost weight, just yet.....

Worked Dan yesterday, spent a lot of time getting the sheep in the barn; they just don't want to go, but it's good practice for us in penning because I do all the jumping and gyrating I will do some day at a trial and he has to stay calm ;) I then worked him on the Cheviot yearlings- BOY do they work nice- not too light, and require forethought on his part. All the sheep are in good nick, and so far, just one bail of hay and half a scoop of grain. I think it's cheaper to feed hay plus a bit of grain than just hay, due to the exorbitant prices of hay. I think this hay is decent too, because that is not a lot of grain for 11 sheep....

Ram took a couple runs at Dan yesterday in the barn, but Dan does not seem worried at all about it. I will have to watch that ram. He may just be fearful, but I won't have a pita animal around.

Got a little more house work done yesterday, and then tomorrow I take off to work dogs and then on Friday, yes, Friday, go Christmas shopping. I know, so late. I just could not do it earlier because of the lack of money. It will be gift card palooza anyway, so it won't be tough to do.

Well, that's it for now!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


That down time on Sunday did real wonders- I came home last night and started cleaning. I started in the spare room. I ended up pulling all the books off the book shelf, vacuuming the books, the shelf and moved it and vacuumed where it was. I put it in place of a dresser I had on the other wall. It looks much better there. Then I vacuumed some more- behind the computer, etc. I also dusted. Still not done, but a heck of a lot better.

I then went on to the bathroom. I went to town on that, and scrubbed everything (again, not quite done, but got areas that are missed a lot). Will continue on both rooms today. Thank goodness for that day of rest on Sunday!

Today it's nice and warm, and I think the rest of the week will not be cold. No white Christmas this year!

Sheep are good, may work Dan today, may not. I did do my three laps yesterday. I can't believe how much more energy I have. I stay up much later, and also sleep better.

Well, better get to it!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Down Time

Boy did I need it. I spent yesterday not doing much, save for watching football and some great Big Cat programs on Nat Geo. Lots of very interesting behaviors, and I realize now that I should have been an animal behaviorist........ Oh well. Would have, should have, could have, and if, as my mom would say :)

Dogs were remarkably calm for a day just chilling out. Today it will be a bit warmer so back on to normal schedule. Three laps today! Have to to that. I would like to keep increasing as much as time allows.

This week will consist of working Dan, getting Christmas shopping done, and who knows what else. More down time would be nice :))

I think one thing I am going to do is to help my mother make Krum kakker, which is a Norwegian butter cookie that is well, OUTSTANDING. Pretty much all Norwegian cookies are butter based- I read last week that there is a butter shortage in Norway- THE HORROR! This is when they need it the most!!!!!!!!! The cookies I want to make take a special iron to make them and a wooden rolling tool. So, I need to get up to speed on this, and I can't learn any younger!

Find myself wanting to spend more time at my parents' lately. Maybe because I just realize we are all aging, and I really want to enjoy them while I have them.

I think this year, I may actually put out the bird feeder...... I haven't done that in a few years, but I miss the birds..... BUT, there is a big Red Tailed Hawk that seems to hunt just behind my back yard.... Maybe I ought to re-think that.........

Well, that's it for now, I hope everyone has a good pre- holiday week!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Egads it's cold

Good Lord it's cold out. I went to the farm and even though I did do only one lap with the dogs, I had to go to the car to warm up before I fed the sheep. BRRRRR. I fed them, stopped at my parents' and then came home. I got up way to early today, and now I need some rest. I need a good long nap....

Big week ahead and I just want to put my head under the covers and wait for it to be over!!!

Pancakes and Coffee

This pairing has come to signify my day off. I make regular pancakes, and then put a bit of butter on them, a little strawberry jam and then roll them up. Could not be better. Coffee is a must, and always makes this breakfast perfect. Today will be a down time day. I am desperate for one of these. Yesterday was another productive day at the farm. I pulled a still loaded with leaves/branches tarp that I folded up into the ramp part of the barn (that was exhausting) and also set up the heater, and blocked off the ramp of the barn with some particle board and plywood. I then did three laps around the field, which is great. I am starting to feel a difference in my energy level and I am sleeping better. My hips are still just as frumpy though....... Maybe they are a tiny bit smaller, I don't know....

I stopped at my parents and helped dad get the tree off the top of the car, then I headed home and made a steak dinner. Haven't had that very often because the market is only selling bad cuts of meat... Anyway, the steak turned out awesome, and all the dogs got some left over with their dinnners.

Dan turned three years old yesterday, I cannot believe how time flies.

Today will be cleaning day at the house as well as usual sheep stuff. I have not even started Christmas shopping yet............

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Life is short

More and more these days, I deeply feel that life is short, and family is so very precious. Yes, we may not all get along all the time, but in the end, family is really all you've got- and sometimes, good long standing friends fall into that category, but not always... In any case, if you have persons you love, you need to show it. You need to show it by putting them before yourself.

Every holiday now for almost 30 years, I have worked all the holidays- Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Thanksgiving, Easter, well, maybe not every day, but 99% of them. Working with animals, you don't get holidays. They need to eat/be cleaned on schedule. However, I ALWAYS make sure that I am with my family on the holidays, thankfully we eat at normal dinner time. Anyway, I am usually beat, but I make it there. This year, I really could just skip it, but as I sit in the recliner watching all that goes on- nephews chatting, opening presents, mom talking to sister, dad chatting about the various work he's been doing, I sort of revel in it, at first, it was contrived- this revelling, but now, I truly see that this will not be forever. My parents just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and have been starting to show their age a bit, and things are going to wind down, I know it.

I made a post on FB on Thanksgiving that I was going to skip Thanksgiving (I was just venting, as it was an exhausting day at work) and my brother relayed that to my mother, who called me several times, very upset. I told her I wouldn't miss it, and I was just venting. She said "Thanksgiving wouldn't be Thanksgiving without you". See? Everyone in the family is cherished- even me, the sink (single no kids) person. Holidays are more than just us taking time away from our lives to celebrate a holiday, it's a chance to spend time with the ones you love, and realize just how important they are.

I know all about the difficulties of trying to take care of animals, and go away for holidays. I have always figured it out. If I had family that was say, 4-5 hours away, I would get to work early, get it done, stop home, get my stuff and head the heck out for the holidays - have a friend take care of my animals, and be home the next day. It's really not that hard. I cannot imagine what my family would think of me if I chose to stay home to take care of my animals. And I am ALL ABOUT animals, it's who I am, it's what I do; it's breathing to me. That said, my family comes first.

I am not here to judge anyone, but I do hope that people who read this take time this holiday season to remember that you going to holiday functions with family is more than about you, it's about the WHOLE family being together and SO MANY cannot do it, and wish every day they could.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

When it all goes horribly wrong............


Yesterday was a good day. When I got to the farm, first thing I did was a lap around the field. It's a little over a 1/4 mile per lap, I think. Anyway, I did that, then sorted sheep for Dan to work. Worked Dan just on driving; he did well, and then fed the sheep and then started on the projects I mentioned earlier. Got the water moved near the barn, found that my brother had turned the power back on- YES! Heat tape is plugged in and heater ready to be used. Just need another extension cord and we're set for water for winter. I also tackled a way to keep the door between two rooms open and at the same time closed to another room (lots of rooms for the sheep!). Finally settled on a nail and some baling twine. After many misplacements of the nail I finally got it right. Will be good, now I don't have to use gardening implements to keep door closed ;)

After I did that stuff, I did two more laps around the field. Was really feeling it after the third. This is good. Just what I need to do.

We then left and I stopped and picked up a few things I needed, and then home. It was a productive day- those I love.

Today it's raining. Hopefully not too hard later so I can do my walking.

Well, that's it for now!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Time has been flying. I still have to clean my house- did a little, but by God, it's been really hard to get to it. I almost want to hire someone at this point. Everything is good, paid the hay guy, so that's done. I have to get the heaters set up still, as brother turned the power off to the outlet I used last year. I plan to get that done today, bring more extension cords, and move the water closer to the barn. I could leave it by the spigot outside the fence, but I am afraid it will freeze (it did last year). So, I will have to figure that out.

Dan and I went to my friends on the weekend again. Getting lots of good training in. Dan is such a good boy. I would say we are a little over half way on the shedding part. I want him to come in behind me, but he is adverse to it... I need to get my Alasdair shedding dvd back so I can watch it...... Anyway, I am happy with his progress thus far- happy to come in, which is the most important.

This week had nothing special, but now each day has a little something extra in it. Time just seems to fill up. Still no Christmas shopping done. I guess I am just being a bad procrastinator in general lately!

Christmas is next weekend, so I best be getting it done....

Well, that's my update for now, I hope everyone is having a nice pre-holiday season!
Here is a video in which you miss the punch line..... We had left some sheep in the small pen and just wanted to work the loose group. I had a bear of a time getting Dan to leave those penned sheep. After I *finally* got him to leave them, the loose sheep ran back to the penned sheep and when Dan went to bring them to me, they busted down the front of the pen. You can hear me say at the end how I would now never get him to leave those pen sheep. Dan must have been very proud of his super powers!

PS: At the end we are working on shedding. Dan is still learning, and my LIE DOWN was to prevent him from circling the sheep back to me and the others! He's coming in nice now though.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

All day yesterday, I was worried. A small winter storm was due to come in, and I could not get to the farm until much later than I would like to have. As it was, I didn't even stop at the house on the way to the farm. I just hate when I break schedule for my animals. Anyway, I got there, and dropped down a bale of hay, and then got some grain. I had no dog, so getting the grain to the sheep consisted of me waving my arms frantically and running about crazy-like, to get the sheep to give me room.... Would have been funny, I bet if someone saw it ;)

Anyway, after that was done I opened up the small door for the sheep and as I came out with the hay, everyone was already in. Now, it had been raining ALL day and the previous night, so I wanted them to come in out of the rain if they chose... I got the bale divvied up and they dug in way faster than normal- an irritation at myself rose up. I just can't be doing that.... Anyway, I left them with their hay, and the barn available and they seemed quite content.

When I got home, the dogs were nuts. Everyone wanted to do something, well, not everyone- Danny and Lucy did, but it was raining so hard, it never happened. I fell asleep pretty early, wondering how much snow was actually going to come. As it turned out it was just a dusting. Thank goodness. I am going to move the water tank over and set up the extension cords for the heat tape and the water heater. It is supposed to get cold, but then I see next week, the highs will be in the upper 40s. That will be great!

Tomorrow I finally finish paying for the hay I bought and maybe just maybe get a little shopping done. Nephews are all getting gift cards, they are old enough that toys are not an option..... Oh, one cool thing, my oldest nephew appears to be in line for an internship at ESPN next summer. Is that cool or what? He's an excellent writer and has been writing for various newspapers for about a year now (he's 20). I hope he get something really great out of that experience, he is very talented.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

How a Kelpie saved our Christmas

How a Kelpie saved our Christmas
Copyright Julie Williams

Many years ago, I’d say about 1970, my family had a big farm. On that
farm we raised all sorts of animals- cows, sheep, goats, chickens,
ducks, you name it, at one time we had it. We got our eggs from the
chickens, meat from the cows, milk from the goats and cows, and my mom
spun sweaters from the wool we got from our sheep. We had a tv that
got one channel. We would play hide and seek in the barn, go on walks
in the woods, and sometimes stay up late telling ghost stories. Yep,
life for us kids was good then.

Mom would make us breakfast every morning before school- we always had
eggs and toast and cereal- this was the BEST breakfast, and we loved
it. Dad would always eat after he fed the animals, he always said
“animals get fed first, we eat after they are fed”. He got up real
early to feed the animals and clean their pens. He also milked the
cows and goats. Mom collected the eggs, and washed them, weighed them,
and put some in containers to sell, and kept some aside for us. When
we finished breakfast we high tailed it to school. We walked to the
bus stop, which really was a mile away. School was boring; we always
longed to get home and play our games. When we got home from school,
we had chores to do. Us kids had to feed the animals, which I loved. I
always loved taking care of animals. One time dad caught me walking on
the goat’s hay, and asked me if I would like him to walk on my food? I
said no, and never did that again. The goats were my favorite- they
all knew just when to come out of the pen to get milked, and they were
really cute babies. We had French Alpines. My brothers and sisters
and I had a ball playing with the babies. We even had big rocks
brought in so the goats could climb on them.

My parents always had dogs. I loved dogs since I could remember. I
used to play with them, teach them tricks, feed them, brush them. I
guess my love for them started when I grew up on that farm. Dad never
saw the need for a herding dog- like one of them Border Collies- he
didn’t understand why you would need one when a bucket of feed could
get the work done just as fast. Well, in time we all learned.

Round about September, my parents and me were in town, we had just left
church, and dad was talking with a friend named Mr. Wilkerson. Mr.
Wilkerson had a farm not far away from us, and he had dogs. He had a
kind of dog I only saw once at his place, but I always remembered it.
It had big ears, and a short coat and was red and brown. Dog’s name
was Coot. Coot was what Mr. Wilkerson called a workin’ dog. Mr.
Wilkerson used Coot to bring in the cattle and sheep at night. I
remember my dad smiling when he heard this, and telling me he thought
it was “interesting” with a little snicker. On that day after church
though, Mr. Wilkerson asked my dad to come by after church and see his
dog work the cattle and sheep. My dad checked with mom, and off we
went on our adventure. Gosh it was fun. We even got to have lunch
there! Well, when it was time to see Coot work, Mr. Wilkerson showed
my dad where the cows were. These were beef cattle- Herefords, and
some Angus. All Mr. Wilkerson had to say to Coot was “Coot, bring
‘em”. We watched, my dad with a smile, thinking I guess that this was
going to end up bad. Well, Coot ran out, and brought those cows down
at a steady clip, and once they got to Mr. Wilkerson, Mr. Wilkerson
offered to show dad how Coot could single one off that needed foot
trimming. Mr. Wilkerson said “Coot, that one” and pointed at one of
the cows. Coot came up smooth as day and cut that cow off, and held
him off. Dad wasn’t smiling anymore. Dad asked to see Coot work the
sheep. Coot did a real nice job with the sheep too. Dad liked that he
could get the sheep and cows in without having to go out in the field,
and the dog was a willing partner. This got dad to thinking. When we
were ready to leave, my dad told Mr Wilkerson to let him know if he
might sell that dog to him.

Some weeks later, we saw Mr Wilkerson out in town again, and he told my
dad that he knew of a Kelpie not far from our place. This was a
purebred Kelpie who had experience on cattle and sheep. Dad and mom
talked a long time, and much to my delight, they decided to take a look
at this dog. We all went out to the farm. Out came this little red
and brown female Kelpie. She was small with ears way to big for her
body, and moved quick, real quick. Dad was not impressed- didn’t
believe she had the size to do the work. We kids begged that we be
allowed to try her- she had what Mr. Wilkerson called “good breeding”
and had already been working stock. Dad decided to buy her, on one
condition- she worked as well as Coot.

When we got her home, we had to name her- she came with the name “Amy”,
but we thought she should have a more fitting name. We decided to name
her Risk- my dad liked the name because that is what she was, and I
like the name because we could call her Risky, which rhymed with Nifty.
I thought she was really nifty. The first few days at our place dad
was the only one to spend time with her- Mr. Wilkerson told him that he
should get to know her, and so-call “bond” with her. So, dad took her
with him on chores, and tied her up, while he worked. She always laid
there calm as can be, and always watching dad’s every move. When the
day finally came to try Risk out on the sheep, it was a cold, rainy
day, and dad decided today was as good as any to try the dog, because
maybe he could stay dry, and let the dog do the work. So, dad brought
Risk to the pasture. He said “Go get ‘em Risk”. Risk looked up to
him, quizzically, and sat down. Dad repeated “Go get ‘em Risk”. Risk
stayed there, glued to my dad’s side. Dad started to lose his temper.
I said “Dad, maybe she doesn’t know what you mean” Dad replied “ she
should know what I want anyway. Dad called the guy he bought Risk from
and asked what commands he used with the dog. “Weeeelll, let’s see”
the guy said. When I want her to fetch the sheep I tell her “Sheep”,
when I want her to get the cattle, I tell her “Cows”. When I need her
to find whatever is in the field I just say “Go” “Okay, sounds easy
enough” dad said, and hung up the phone. Dad went back out with Risk.
Dad said “Sheep!” Risk shot out into the pasture, going real wide,
and met up with the sheep. These sheep had never been worked with a
dog before, so they got real upset. As one sheep tried to bolt off,
she brought it back to the flock. As another sheep tried to butt her,
she darted out of the way, and stood her ground. Soon, all the sheep
were together and calmly coming toward my dad. I will never forget
dad’s face that day. It was a mix of utter astonishment, and pride. I
think I may have even seen a tear in his eye.

Over the next few weeks dad and Risky as he called her did everything
together. Risky was always there, ready to help, even with the bull.
When dad went off the farm without Risky, she stayed on her rug in the
barn, waiting for his return.

Soon the holidays were coming, and we had lots to do. Every winter we
sold off a few head of cattle to pay winter feed bills, and I think,
though mom never admitted it, to try and get some Christmas presents
for us kids. Everything was going as planned, and Risky and dad had
separated off a few cows to go to market. These were our best Angus.
Angus meat dad told us was the best, and people paid the most for it.
We had four to go that year. Dad was guaranteed a good price when the
butcher came and took a look at them. Three days before the butcher
was coming to pick up the cows, we went out in the morning, and the
fence of the pen was down. The cows had some how either spooked, or
just wanted out. They were gone. Dad was beside himself. We had no
other Angus cows to sell (the others were pregnant, and we needed those
calves, and we couldn’t sell our prize bull). All of us kids went
looking. We saw tracks, but no cows. Dad looked all over and even
told Risky “Cows”, and she went all over the pastures looking. After
a full day of looking dad said “Kids, I think those cows are gone, and
maybe dead by now, I am not sure we can afford much of a Christmas this
year” To us kids that was a big blow- every Christmas we look forward
to opening few small presents, eating lots of food, and dad and mom
being so proud of their kids and their farm. It seemed this year, we
wouldn’t have that.

We all went to bed that night very very sad. The next morning it was
raining very hard, and dad went to the butcher and told him what
happened. The butcher told him he still had a couple of days, and that
maybe they are hiding somewhere close. We went home and looked, still
no luck.

The last day before the butcher was going to come it was snowing- HARD.
You could barely see ten feet in front of your face, and it was very
cold. All the animals were huddling together, and their breath was
small puffs of tiny icicles. Dad wasn’t able to get a hold of the
butcher to tell him not to come. That night, dad went down to the barn
with Risky and stood in front of the cows that we still had. He then
walked past them and said one last “Cows, Risky”. Risky looked up at
him with the same look she did when he first worked her, and said
“bring em”. Dad was about to give up hope, but then thought to do one
more thing. He said “Risky, GO COWS”. Risky jumped up, and ran out
into the pasture. Dad waited, and waited. Finally an hour went by and
no Risky. He came in the house, and told us that now Risky was gone
too. I remember being so upset. How could he do that- send her out in
such bad weather. She could freeze. Dad sat at the kitchen table that
night, looking out the window at the barn for any sign of Risky or the
cows. Finally, I guess, he went to bed. The next morning can only be
described as surreal. We all got up and did our chores, and washed up
for breakfast. Dad was still in bed. Mom was at the kitchen sink
looking out the window as she washed up eggs and got our breakfast
ready, when she saw it. A COW. Yes, a COW walking by the window.
Mom screamed- which I remember clearly, because she never yelled or
screamed. She yelled for me to get dad, which I did, even though I
wanted to see what was happening. I ran in the bedroom and told dad to
get up- a cow was walking by the kitchen. Dad told me I must be
kidding. I told him no- go and look. He got dressed, and walked into
the kitchen. Mom pointed to the cows, and dad told us kids to stay put
as he hurried outside.

Dad threw open the door, and there they were, all four cows. They were
standing under the big maple tree next to our bench in the front yard.
Dad couldn’t believe his eyes. He thought they were gone forever.
“But”, he said, “Where is Risky?” Quickly, looked around and no dog.
But why would they stay near the house? Why not head for the pasture
where they know there will be hay? Then he thought he saw it- just a
small tinge of red hair. There was Risky- laying to the other side of
the big tree, keeping those cows to where she knew dad would be. Dad
wanted to rush out to praise her, but he wanted to make sure that these
cattle wouldn’t get away. He walked down to the barn, and opened the
door to the inside corral, and told Risky “Cows”. Risky moved those
cows into the barn, dad closed the door, fed the cattle, called Risky
over to him, tears in his eyes, and told her that SHE was his Christmas
miracle. Later that day the butcher came over to pick up the cows,
and dad told him what had happened. The butcher said, “somehow, I knew
with that little Kelpie of yours, if anyone could find them, she would”.

To this day, every time I see a Kelpie, I thank God for creating such a
wonderful dog, and for letting me share my life with so noble a creature.

Based loosely on a true story.
I have started doing an extra loop around the pasture. I have to. I am looking decidedly frumpy and I need to lose some poundage. What I do is walk around, then work Dan and do chores, and before we leave one more circuit. I can feel it, so it must be good, right? No real goals, just see where I end up...

Got the big room all cleaned out, pretty much yesterday. Still some small chocks of wood here and there, but mainly it just needs a good raking to look for any trash, etc., and then it's safe for sheep entry. I was keeping hay down there, but it got rained on, through the broken panes of window glass, so need to deal with that with plastic.

Got home last night and was a bit sore, and I felt like I had ticks on me so took a shower. I was pretty beat last night, and didn't get to watch NCIS, bummer. There is a 1 day clinic this weekend that I would like to take Dan to, but I am not sure I can go, it will depend. I have to get foot warmers, that I know, if I decide to stand out in the cold.

I couldn't believe how hard it was raining this morning. Instantly, I thought of the sheep. I have their entrance blocked off, but I keep thinking I should allow them in there, even if it isn't quite freezing rain.... I don't feed them in there, so they won't stay long....

I can't believe how different Ginger kitty is. Since being on the pro-biotics, she is normal with her gut, and more active. She even attempted to sharpen her claws on the carpet. It's just amazing. Fancy Feast, pro-biotics, and Hills ID as a filler seems to work for her. She's skinny as all get out, but I suspect that comes from her long duration of being ill.

I can't believe Christmas is around the corner. Have done no shopping. It's not really any big deal anyway, because it's all gift cards, but money has to be there to buy them :) It will get done, like it always does, some how....

Well, that's it for now, I hope everyone is well!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Thanks everyone for entering the give away!!!!

Last nice day for a while yesterday. Nice and warm. When I got to the farm, did the usual walk with the dogs, and then worked Dan on the lambs. They are moving away from the side I send him, so that does not help with his over running on the away ;) The only way to solve this is to just do outruns with someone holding sheep, and manage him until he pays attention. Perhaps have the hold out person move them toward the right as he comes in, something like that.......

We did enough work, that he actually jumped in the water tub... See, it was nice out! After I worked him I put some of the wasted hay into piles to deal with- I want to see what they are/are not eating from this new delivery- I am not that happy with it, but I have decreased grain enough that in a couple days it will just be hay, and then I will truly see how they are doing with it.

Got a bit more cleaning done in the big room in the barn, but still have more to go, and I have to get the extension cords to for the heat tape and the de-icer. Supposed to start getting really cold this weekend. I hate working in freezing weather. So, will get this stuff done tonight.

When I got home last night, I cleaned the gutters. They were filled with those helicopter seed pods- billions of them. I have never seen so many. After that, I had to take my nephew to the orthodontist and we got to see lots of really nice Christmas lights. I would like to thank everyone who does that, puts a smile on my face.

Well, that's it for now...

Monday, December 5, 2011

No Hables Ingles

That means "Don't speak English" in Spanish. Apparently, Dan lost either his hearing or his comprehension of my whistles, or both. I went to a friend's place to work him. First, we worked on shedding, he did well- once I remembered to look at the sheep I wanted to shed. I am really not good at remembering things....

Then, we went to another field with a small group of sheep and left the main flock next door, to my left as I stood at one end of the field. E held the sheep for me, and I sent Dan away. He was good on his outrun, but over ran, for some reason he does not pay attention on that away side like he should (working with the lambs is helping him, but my regular sheep ruin any form of lift). So, he over ran, and then came in at the over ran angle and moved the sheep way off line to the right side drive away panels. I whistled and I whistled, NO HABLES INGLES, Dan said. He ended up bringing them nicely through those drive panes. OY VEY.

I then went to the opposite side of the field, sent him come by and his lift was spot on, so freaking nice. He then got them going but had no pace, and just tailed them down on the fetch. I then decided to work on some flanks a bit closer on the fetch and he took them. Wow, nothing like going some where different and seeing what you weak spots are. Then, we worked on pulling the sheep off the fence, as they were just sticking there looking to be with the main flock. Dan starts his flanks nice, but zoomed through between them and fence, and I forgot I am supposed to lay him down on the fence once he gets them off. We repeated this action until he was tired, and then we got some good calm fence pulling.

We then worked on a Maltese cross and Dan didn't have much finesse at first (as in he lurched at them) but then we got it. Lots to work on. The pen stuff I can do with the barn. The fence I can do at home, but the appropriate lift/fetch flanks I have to work with someone who can hold sheep. We certainly have our work cut out for us.

So, that's that for now!

Doing the drawing right now

Meant to do it last night, but got home too late. I have all your names in a scoop on folded paper (happen to have an extra feed scoop). Scoop is sitting on my lap. Will pull a name out now, not peaking........

And, the winner is........

Diane! Congrats Diane can you leave me your email in the comments section? I will then contact you and get your snail mail. Thanks everyone for playing :)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Give away drawing later today

Am going to work dogs with a friend, will be back later today, and will then do the drawing- see you all then!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Friday, December 2, 2011

I got my check for the ewe I dropped off at the auction. She was LIGHT. Only 115 lbs. I knew she was too thin. Now, she was the smallest of the group to start with, but that's way too light. Healthy looking except for her weight. That money will come in handy as I need to get some more sheep supplies. I think one of the ewes may be looking for her. You know, it didn't really bother me, sending her on. I think because I knew she wasn't right and if I can't fix it, I don't her languishing. I take a lot of pride in good care.

Dan had a right good time yesterday. No, I did not work him, I pulled up the hose. OH..MY..GOD!!!!! he says. Every time she pulls it I can bite at it. And it KEEPS moving!!!!!!!!!! YEEEHAW!!!!!!!!! After I did that, I cleaned up in the hay drop area of the barn and he and Lucy ran around having a gay old time.

I still have the sheep room (where I will put jugs if lambs are produced) I say that because I don't know if this ram is actually creating lambs or just having a good time... He's certainly giving his all but everyone looks blue all the time, except that is for a couple of the Cheviot yearlings, who I WANT pregnant more than the others. The ewe lambs have not been touched. I have been told that most times Cheviot ewe lambs do not breed the first year, so I am not surprised.

I have to start weaning off the grain. Though, it is tempting to keep them on, because with the grain they are on, they are not even eating one whole bale of hay, and believe it or not, grain is cheaper than hay. But, no grain for now frees me up to be away a bit, and I would surely like to get away for a bit of training with Dan. Life's been a bit way too boring lately.

I may try and get a group of yearling/lamb Cheviots at John's and bring them up to the back field to break them. They need to be away from the barn, because at the sight of a dog they run pell mell for the barn, and there is no fence to stop them. Plus, the horses are there, and one is a stallion and one is a witchy mare who will stomp a dog. I hate mares :) Lucy would be doing the breaking because if they get crabby, and take a run at her, she just returns the volley, and I don't know what Dan would do- he may be fine, but don't want him getting creamed- and these sheep have demonstrated that ability. Maybe this weekend. Just gotta get them up there- maybe John's truck and the pen. Wish some of you guys lived closer, as I could use a bit of help. Some of the good experienced take no crap dogs.

I am so glad it's Friday. This week seemed to roll on forever. Well, that's it for now, I see we have a few comments on the give away, I will give it another day or two, but then will pick a winner. It appears that I have a lot of shy visitors.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Give Away starts now

I thought long and hard about the give away. It was hard to come up with something everyone might be interested in. Some may ask, why I am doing this? Well, simply put, because in the spirit of giving, and maybe that has a little bit to do with the Holiday coming, I wanted to share some thing with all my loyal readers. So, here's what's on offer, you pick either one. #1 Is a gift card for $25.00 to Tractor Supply or, #2 A $25.00 gift certificate to Border Collies in Action.

In order to be entered to win, you just need to comment in the comment section. Once I get at least 10 comments I will put your names in a hat, and will draw. Once the winner is selected, I will announce it on the blog and I will give you my email so you can give me your snail mail address. In your comment, please mention what is your fancy, # 1 or #2.

The comments are moderated because of spam, but all comments will be approved.

Of course more than 10 folks can comment, I just want to keep the minimum to 10.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Auctions and Give Aways

On Monday, John and I brought the ewe to the auction. It was initially just supposed to be me going alone, but when I called John to tell him I would be there, he said he would drive me. So, as I get to John's place, I don't see him or the truck. Hmmm. I have like two minutes on my cell phone and I call him. He tells me he is stuck in the back field, and to get the chain and bring the trail blazer. Okie dokie. I hop in the TB and drive ahead toward the field near the road, and then stop and think- I have no idea WHAT field he is in. So I call again, this time with like one minute left and he says the back field by Kathy's. That's on a whole different road and the big field I videotaped. I have never been there from the other road before.......... So, I take the road I think is it, and I finally get there.

John's truck was stuck in the wet area outside of the field. Evidently, the bull got out and John used his truck to chase him back in, but then got stuck... The fence is not on. Of all the Bovines to get out... And this was the second time this week...

So, John hooked up the chain and I drove the pick up and he pulled it out. Then, we loaded the pen on the truck and I followed him to the farm. I had Dan bring them up, I put a dog leash on the ewe (I am going to buy a halter or two so I don't have to do it that way), and led her up the hill to the truck. She wasn't bad at all. I had a hay bale to get her started and John and I got her in. She really was no trouble.

We got to the auction and a guy was unloading adorable Holstein calves. We waited, and then they took my girl. She hopped right off the truck and walked in to the building, absolutely calm, and I really appreciated that. This sort of stuff is stressful to me, as I identify with my animals, maybe too much. We did not stick around for the auction, so I will see what I get for her. Prices are down, and she is old, so probably not much.

The next day, yesterday, my neck and back hurt so much I could barely function. John's truck STINKS for seating- the seat leans way back and no support. I have several levels in my neck fused and that means a lot of torque is put on the lower vertebral junctions and it means pain and spasms. I could not do much yesterday at all. When I stopped at my parents to try on a nice suede jacket I was given, I could not put my arm in it. My father actually had to put it on.

I got home, ate lunch and took a hot shower, I mean hot. And just got in bed. I am better today. Not riding in that truck again without some serious back support.

Plan today is to work Dan, clean out the barn, and clean my house. It really needs it!

So, that's it. Oh, and I am going to announce the give away tomorrow. I think it will be something you could all appreciate :)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sheep move, that is going to wait until Spring. I have decided that given my sheep's needs being different from John's, in addition to all the hay I have stacked, moving them now would be well, folly. So, that will wait, but I am very excited about this.

Thanksgiving, let's see. It was a very very busy day at work and I was spent afterward. Nevertheless after going home chilling for about an hour, I headed up to my parents and set forth helping get dinner ready. It was a great meal as always. The Turkey was stupendous. The rest was also amazing. But, I simply cannot eat like I used to... Evidenced by the....

Most horrible indigestion I had on Friday. I ate Tums like they were candy. Friday we were taking my parents out for their 50th anniversary, and I really needed to be better by then. Tums worked! Anyway, I could see as my parents were getting ready that they were both very happy to be going out with their whole family and both my parents were dressed to the nines. I followed them to the restaurant and when we got there almost everyone was there. The place was gorgeous- it sits atop a hill over looking the town, and the view was wonderful. We had the big dining room to ourselves, which was great. The food and service were both top shelf. AMAZING salads, followed by excellent appetizers (I skipped this, but the crab cakes and Calamari looked excellent, and got rave reviews). Then, dinner, I ordered a T-bone, and it was succulent. Everyone loved their food. Great conversation, everything. Then we brought in the cake I had ordered at the Pastry Garden, which had their wedding picture printed on it. It was a chocolate layer with raspberry mousse as the filling and butter cream frosting. Quite likely the best cake I have ever eaten. Not heavy, not too sweet, just absolutely perfect.

When we finished eating we all went and had our pictures taken. My parents had a great time- I don't think we could have done better if we tried.

Yesterday, after work, I went up to the farm, and see my ram lamb being extra attentive to one of the Border Leicester ewes. And, sure enough, he got busy. I wonder if his first markings were just trial runs. She was clearly in heat. So, I guess I will have later lambs, if and when I do!

Tomorrow, I take the old ewe to the auction. I think I have a good place to back the truck up to- if I can get it in there.

Today, well, I made an nice breakfast, and all animals are taking their morning siestas. I will begin to function in a little bit!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Big News

Well, for me it is.... I am moving my flock over to John's place. TONS more grass and you have SEEN some of the fields. It's a win win- I will help John out and will have an excellent supply of new sheep to work with on a regular basis. I cannot wait. PLUS this place is half the distance from what I am driving now! Can't wait! May move them this weekend!
It poured all night. Jeez. I am so glad I got the leaves done. I hate doing leaves. Wish there was some sort of animal that would just eat them....

Today it's pretty dreary out. I may or may not work Dan today, maybe tomorrow. He's doing well, I think, so no rush. He helps me with feeding every day. Ginger kitty, my old one, is doing well. For the first time in several months, she sleeps just about all night, has normal output and well, you can tell she feels better. Those pro-biotics are worth their weight in Gold to me.

Tomorrow, Thanksgiving, we will eat dinner at normal dinner time. My sister and her sons will go to my parents to help prepare today, and then stay over night. It will be a great meal, as usual.

Friday, we take my parents out for their 50th anniversary dinner. I ordered a cake from a great bakery in town, and will pick it up after work on Friday. It is a chocolate (dad loves chocolate) with raspberry mousse (mom loves raspberry) with a white butter cream frosting that will have their wedding picture some how, printed on it.

Taking one of my ewes to the auction on Monday. She's one of the older Border Leicester ewes who just does not appear as fat as the rest, and I think I need to sell her now. I will borrow John's truck and take her in.

Well, that's it for now.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Here are a couple of shots of my sheep. They all appear to be doing well, and I am specifically pleased with the Cheviots.

Here is a video I took of Dan. His breeder wanted to see him work, so I just did this. He is so fun to work, I never have to lose my patience, and he's such a partner, and so keen.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

So, this year is quickly coming to a close. It's amazing how fast time goes these days. I feel like I am on a steep learning curve these days, and not terribly prone to quick learning... I plan to make next year, MY year. My year to do what I like- take a vacation, grow my sheep operation, and with that, get some help. I need help. I need someone close to the farm who can feed/health check for me, and give me some time off. I need someone who wants to learn how to raise livestock, and someone who will chose to go above and beyond, to ensure the animals are in good shape. I worry about that- a lot. It's in my blood. That one thin ewe again looks thin to me, although nothing is different from her, except for that, but I don't think I want to try to lamb her out. She was bred, according to her butt, but maybe she did not take. I thought last night I might have everyone checked for OPP, just in case. Of course, she may just be fine, but I think I will make the call. I may also give her away, even though she may be bred, to someone who will dote on her.

The rest of the sheep look great and are now looking longingly back at the other field. I believe that they just want access to both at the same time. This is something I plan to do, but I have to get the barnyard which will connect them, built. My brother knocked a big tree down so I can't do that right now. I may move them back soon, we will see. I also have to rebuild (and make bigger) the winter pen. Such fun.

I watched Dr. Pol and Pbs and Parolees last night. Both good shows. Wouldn't you know one of Dr. Pol's jobs was to test a flock of sheep for OPP! I stayed up late, and then didn't sleep that great.

Today is picking up leaves I put in a huge pile yesterday, and then I may be done with the laves. I also may mow the lawn one last time. Thank God. Mainly, I am doing that just to use up the gas.

Hunting season has begun (shotgun) and my brother has friends who come up to hunt. This means that the dogs and I stay away from our normal walking area. My brother got an 8 pointer yesterday. Needless to say, Dan and Lucy, especially Dan are just a bit hyped... Well, better safe than sorry.

I think there was one new sighting of Hattie the other day. I hope this next week brings good news. We are going into the third week of her missing.

Well, I think that's all for now, I hope everyone has had a good weekend, and you are getting prepared for the big feast on Thursday!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Something here does not belong...

I feel like I am back. I am finally ready to take the blog to a new level. For a while there, I just sort of lost who I was, and what it was that made this thing tick. I love to share the good stuff, the weird stuff and the not so good stuff. I think my life is probably like a LOT of other folks out there, and for once I sort of feel in charge of my life. It's sort of a nice thing.

So, to that end, I am going to start some details to the blog. One will be a give away, probably going to end up being something a) dog related, b) sheep related, or c) farm related. To enter, all you will need to do is comment on the blog, and of course there will be lots of notice. I am an equal oppportunity chick, so no matter who you are, should you comment and get picked- which will by a multiply system- which means I don't pick and chose, you will get your package.

Now, I would like to do the first give away, but not sure as to what to start with?

Feel free to suggest.

Today no dog work, I simply went to the farm after work, fed the sheep and watched them eat- it's something I really like doing. Both to make sure everyone is fine and also just to well enjoy their company. Two lambs were head butting eachother for fun and at one point they were on opposite sides of a trail and I thought they were going to take a run at eachother, but they wimped out ;) One of the Cheviot yearlings is being quite hoggish over the food. The ram seems to enjoy the Border Leicesters more than the Cheviots. Let's hope he did his work on everyone. No favorites. He's a nice ram. So far. Hunting season starts on Sat (gun) and a friend of my brother's is going to be hunting, so we will stay off our normal lane way walk. Why he bothers hunting there when my dogs and I are there every day of the year is beyond me. Oh, just about 20 feet from the deer stand on the lane way that we walk on was Coyote scat- complete with some ground that was disturbed- like marking. Great. I hope the gun shots scare them away.
I am so happy. The littlest things make me so. I mentioned my old kitty was not well. Well, last night, I believe she turned a corner. She did not get up at all- not until 4:30, which also means I slept all night, the first time in a long time!!!!!! And, when she did get up, she went and ate, the litter box was not on her plans. I can't tell you how elated I was about that. She seems brighter too.

Hattie was seen TWICE yesterday!!!!!!!!!! Once in the morning feeding on road kill and once last night around 8:00 pm, only about a half mile from the morning sighting. Plan now is to get some traps together- one gentleman does trapping and has offered his help. She is one wily canine.

My sheep are good, the thin older Border Leicester has gained weight and looks just like the others. When I scored her yesterday I was rather shocked. Now, all twelve sheep are just getting one 2 quart scoop of grain each day, along with hay.

I am glad this weekend is coming. AND, next week is a short week. Looking forward to a little bit of down time.

Well, that's it for now!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I have a new t-shirt that I plan to sell in remembrance of the um, slobs who um, relieve themselves at the Occupiers in Zucotti Park:
"Zucotti Occupotty" A place where we can all go to force change and fertilize the earth.
Hattie was sighted yesterday morning! She's not that far from where she started. Gives everyone renewed faith that she will eventually be found.

Every night my old kitty Ginger gets up, runs to the litter box, vomits and then has diarrhea, and NOT in her box. Of course this wakes me up and I clean everything up right away. It is getting old. I have some pro biotics and I started giving them to her and as of last night no vomiting, but yes on the other. I am crabby today, because I did not get much sleep. I am going to try some canned pumpkin in her food next.

Last night I watched Dirty Jobs, and one of the stories was Mike being trailed by Bloodhounds- talk about timely. Mike is so freaking funny. He meets my criteria in myriad ways.

Did not work Dan yesterday, but maybe tomorrow. Today it is supposed to rain a lot and I doubt I will get to it. I may move the sheep back to the other pasture closer to the barn as getting the hay to them is a royal pain in the butt. I have to cross running water/mud and I ruined my sneakers yesterday when I slid across it.

No plans really, probably for the rest of the year... Money is tight and I need to get Christmas presents and any extra money I have has to go to bills, and toward my parent's 50th anniversary gift.

Well, that's it for now.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Missing BC Hattie

A friend of mine's Border Collie, newly imported from the UK has gone missing. She's been gone since the 6th of November. I truly believed she would be back by this Saturday and when she wasn't, I went into do something mode. I remember an ad I saw a few years back about this woman pet detective, but could not remember her name. I did a bit of web surfing and found her name- Karin Tarqin. She's a retired PO and did SAR while in that capacity. Anyway, after looking at her website and all the good information on it, I called her. Last night I got a call from Karin. I was almost asleep, but she got me wide awake. This woman does not fool around. Within a minute she was asking where previous sightings were, telling me things about this dog that I did not know, and pegging her roaming behavior based on her breed. It was well, incredible.

I called a friend of mine who has been searching along with Hattie's owner and for a time was talking on two phones. I then had bowed out since most of conversation was about locations the dog was seen and I don't know the area. Later, my friend called and told me that she was duly impressed with how this woman knew her stuff, and Karin told her that Border Collies are very savvy when it comes to going "roaming" as she calls it, and to not give up hope. I was so stoked after that phone call, it was hard to go to sleep. We believe based on the map of the sightings, and that dogs in the first few days circle, but then spiral, that she is moving eastward, and the sightings will become less frequent, but she will spiral back to her hub, which seemed to be near Rt 80. Other tips like driving around in cars is generally fruitless, but plastering predicted sighting areas with laminated signs is very helpful. Karin has tracking dogs at her disposal too. When we first talked, I asked her if she had heard of the author Virgina Lanier- this woman wrote mysteries based on a handler who trained Bloodhounds for man trailing. These were EXCELLENT books and really whetted my appetite for this kind of work. You know what Karin said? "Yes, I modeled my business after her". It was at this point I knew that Karin had her stuff together and I told her I would love to get involved in this work. I am going to follow up. Who knows, maybe a new sideline for me....

So, fingers crossed we can get somewhere in our search!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Here are some shots of the field for the trial- and hopefully for my sheep to graze. It's just beautiful back here. Isn't it just beautiful?

Ginger woke me up with her stomach distresst this morning (I had to clean the carpet) at oh, I don't know, middle of the night some time. But, I was able to sleep in unti AFTER 6:00! That NEVER happens. It was so nice. I love that it was light out too. I made a nice pancake breakfast accompanied by wonderful coffee, and now the cats are sacked out in the cat bed on my bed, the dogs are either asleep or chewing their new bones, and I am just taking this morning slow. Plan today will be the usual, and since I didn't work Dan yesterday (I spent all my time doing chores around the farm) I will work him today- I better!

There is another blogger who seems to be bent on asserting that she IS a farmer. Well, I have yet to meet one farmer who says that. I real deal farmer doesn't give a rat's behind what people call them. My grandparents were farmers, I worked on farms most of my life and I never heard any of these people argue this fact. They were solid in their knowledge that they did what they did, and who cares about what anyone thinks. Maybe it's the young age, but if say, someone thinks I am podunk with my tiny flock of sheep, I smile and say to myself, well, they don't see the rest of my life. You are what you are, no excuses need to be made about it. I plan to grow my flock- not so I can reach some sort of benchmark to get some street cred, but simply because I want to get some money back on these sheep. Cripes, I could go and get all sorts of animals just to look really farmerish, but in the end, who takes care of them? Me. The moral to this story is, do what you want, and don't make and arguments about it.

Now that I am at the statistical half way point in my life, I feel like I had better do the things I want to now. There will be a time when I can't. So, spend a bit of money, enjoy my hobbies, and just seize the day! I would rather die in debt, then die with never having lived.

So, that's my Sunday sermon. Amen.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Trailing of the sheep, Oriole Hill style

So, with seeing everyone doing their sheep trailing lately, I thought I would record for posterity, our sheep trailing. It got a bit hairy at times, and I wasn't sure I could finish, but we did. We made it. Here's the video evidence to prove it.

So... yesterday when I got to the farm, I see that my sheep are near the barn grazing, which is not that unusual for them, but not that common either. I was late getting there, so I assumed they were getting itchy for their one scoop of grain. So, I didn't even run the dogs first, just set right out with Dan to get the hay and grain. When Dan and I walked into the barn, I right away noticed that it was a mess. The hay had been spread about (there were a few piles of old hay I had not removed), the almost empty mineral bag had been transported to near the hay stack and then, the smoking gun, the thing that ALWAYS rats on sheep- the droppings. The thing is, the door was shut! So, I fed them, and then went to work on cleaning up the mess. They hung out by the paddock gate, the whole time, and then when I was done they took off for the back wooded area of the field. The one Border Leicester ewe keeps looking up at the hill field every day, I know she wants to migrate up there.

So, today, I will grant her wish. I will work Dan a bit first, and then, move the girls up there. I walked that field yesterday, and there is a bit of grass in there. So, they can have at it. They won't be staying there once the snow flies, as I need them closer to the barn to feed them, but for now, they can go clean it up in there.

Slept pretty well again last night. Maybe this time change is actually good for me? Could it be?? I had pretty much given up on sleeping all night. But, this morning I actually over slept.

Boy Kitty is doing well, but Ginger has stomach issues now. She's lost so much muscle recently, that I don't think I will have my girl much longer. We spend a fair amount of time with me scratching, and petting her, whenever she asks for it.

Been thinking that I sure would love to move to the farm. Would make things so much easier.... I doubt that will happen unless one of us (my brother or I) win the lotto.
For now, it's okay, but once lambing starts, I will probably be staying over at my parents up the road some nights. We shall see.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I am so busy latey...........

Kitty is almost completely better. He's still quiet, but coming along. Is eating and wants to cuddle. Last night he didn't get up much, which is normal, and this morning, he woke me up. That's normal too :) The Pancreatic enzyme levels were wnl (within normal limits) so that's negative. It appears to me that he had a whopping intestinal bug which cost me $547.00... Truth be told, I would pay twice that, or just about anything, as I am extremely attached to my boy.

I didn't get much done yesterday, but I did drop by the junk yard on the way home to return that part I got for Mark- they have him the wrong one. Today, I have to stop by there again on the way to the farm to get the right one. Last time I was there, fisticuffs almost broke out between two customers- apparently, some guy bad mouthed the other on Craigslist.... I have to run out and get sheep supplies today and grocery shop, that's one thing. Been really poor and am out of everything. That hay buying really just tanked me- and right after my school tax bill.

Didn't work Dan yesterday, but maybe today or tomorrow. May go down to my friend's place this weekend to work the dogs. IF I have enough money I will. Also want to get back up my friend's place to work on shedding more.

I got shots of the trial field, which I put up on facebook. The fields are awesome and quite like that which you would see across the pond. I am going to see if John will let me bring my flock out there for grazing in the summer, because it is such nice grass, it would prevent him having to mow, and my dogs could really stretch out their working scope, PLUS I would save my grass. The possibilities are endless, really.

Today will be working on cleaning out the barn some more. Ick. The steer manure is packed tighter than a .............. I don't have the words. But, I want that place cleaned out so I can use it if need be.

So, that's it for now. Here's a saying I recently read, and I love it:
"I am so busy lately, I don't know if I found a piece of rope, or lost my horse".

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

So, boy kitty, officially named "Lad" was not well on Sunday. He had several trips to the litter box, and didn't eat much. On Monday he seemed a little better- ate a little. But, Sunday night he was much worse. He had vomiting and diarrhea, and by Monday morning was definitely punk. He was clearly sick. So, I called the vet and said to a member of the staff, that my cat was sick and he needed to be seen. Surprisingly enough she said to bring him in. Usually it's a rigmarole just to get an animal in without an appointment. I loaded him in the big cat carrier and along with Danny and Lucy we headed to the vet. Vet looked at him while my boy just purred. He was so good. Vet was concerned. He was dehydrated. Could be lots of things- Diabetes, Inflammatory Bowel disease, Pancreatitis, who knows, but in any case he wanted me to leave him there. So, I did that.

I then went to the farm, ran the dogs, and then worked in the hill pasture picking up downed limbs from the snow storm. I find that when I am stressed about something I just get to working on things. Then, I went to my parents who live near the farm. I hung out with my mom and dad, and killed time. The vet called, said Lad had gotten b-work drawn, an xray, and they wanted to do another xray with a barium swallow later in the day as 1) barium soothes the GI tract, and 2) there was something funky in his stomach. I was finally able to pick my boy up at 6:00. The last xray did not show anything wrong, and I was sent off with Metronidazole tablets and information about what vet thought it was. He believed it to be a combo of Pancreatitis and Inflammatory Bowel disease. He said try to get him to eat, if he would not, then to force feed him.

When we got home I fed the dogs, and momma kitty, and gave my boy some canned food- which he ate :) I did get the 1/2 tablet in him, but let me tell you, I really worried that he would bite down on my finger... We need another method.... So, anyway, he slept pretty well, got up once to use the litter box, and this morning he ate his breakfast. And he wanted the Pounce treats I have, but vet said ixnay on them, so he got just one.

I am so glad he is better, but will have to wait for the final blood work results to see if it was his Pancreas or what.

What a day it was yesterday. Today is just brighter for me.


If there is one thing that gets my goat, it's selfishness. Everyone has it to some degree- it's part of how we humans survive, but then there are those who are bestowed, it appears, with an extra dose of "gimmee gimmee gimmee". I can tell you there are myriad of things I would like and many things I need, but I would not ask for people to give me money to do these things. The sheep thing, I love what I am doing, but it costs a boat load of money, and it is tough. Owning a house is tough. Owing money is part and parcel of living in the USA, and it really stinks.

Besides those who deign to solicit funds, there are those who cannot seem to wrap their heads around thinking about others, and maybe once a year, others who are in need come to their mind and maybe then, they may write about it, but that's really just a wee break from the "me me me me" disease.

Isn't what I do cool? Isn't my place cool? Isn't what I did cool? Do you think? If you give me money, I could do more and I could be cooler! Just hit this little button, and you can be part of my success. Not that you really are, of course, but you can feel like you are! Egads, it's like a bad scene of a tv evangelist preaching for money from you so you can get to the promised land. How people who do this solicitation for money and constantly go on and on about themselves, sleep at night is beyond me.

One thing you will not see from me is 1) a donate button 2) Speeches about how cool my life is and doncha want to be part of it- if so, go back to #1. I hope that what I write is a little more than that, a little less commercial and a bit more real. A romantic I am not. Once you hit the far side of 40, that happens.

Okay, rant done!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

We have been having just beautiful weather lately- just had to say that.. Yesterday, when I got up I knew I had things on my plate- first, work, and then grocery store, then to the farm and meet with Mark to go get hay. It was pretty late when we ended up meeting. When I called the hay folks, I characterized him, rather unfairly (maybe) as "lazy slow pants". I sort of chuckled when I said that, because it's cute, and not as offensive as other things I could say. In truth, I owe Mark a lot- because all he gets in return for using his truck, and he loads the hay and helps me unload, is a meal at the local diner- and he always gets a meat lovers omelet, and yesterday, I just got a burger.

We did not get as many bales as I wanted, as we ended up doing one less level and so I have to go back at least one more time with the Ranger, myself. I ended up being on the stack, rather high and even at that, throwing bales way up over my head to stack. Take THAT arm flab! After that, I fed the sheep, and then, on the way home stopped and saw John. This woman who gets sheep from John was picking up two old ewes to butcher today, for a party- this woman is just plain odd. Most times questions are answered by her with a silent smile. Anyway, her son and her get them in the back of her Explorer and left. These particular ewes had no teeth left, so it was time for them to go, but still.... She gives me the heeby jeebies.

My sheep are good- I am cutting back on the grain, Favey, my favorite ewe (original, I know), is fat. She's at a 4 and well, now that they are getting hay/grain they just don't need all that grain.

Today I woke up early, as the time change takes me 6 months to adjust to, and have made some pancakes and excellent coffee, and now I am just chilling, writing here and will be going to the livestock swap meet at the local Tractor Supply. I want to meet one guy in particular there, who I may get pigs from. After that, I head up to the farm, walk the dogs, and maybe work Dan. Will see.

Then, it will be home to relax (this is my one day off a week) and watch football.

Friday, November 4, 2011

What I Love

What I Love

I love that my sister is always there for me, any time, any place

I love that when I come home at night, I feel at home and at peace

I love settling in at night surrounded by a couple of cats and a dog or two

I love that look in my old kitty's eyes when she wakes up from a deep slumber, sees I am there realizes all is well with her world

I love that look in my Lucy's eyes when I ask her to come over for a cuddle, and to, the look she gives me when she gets that cuddle

I love that look that Dan gives me when we have finished working and he is bursting with pride for having done his best for me

I love that look my sheep give me when they have finished eating and are sated and happy to be in a good place

I love red skies in the morning, even if they are a warning

I love that no matter what stress, or negative issue comes up during the day, that I can leave that issue in that day and awake to a new day the next day

I love that I have found my calling in life, and am happy not only with what I do, but how I live

There are a ton more things I love, but that's a good start

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I keep meaning to post more often, but......... Anyway, I am trying to remember what's been happening for the past week. Not too much. Been working the dogs, and handling stuff at the house. This Saturday night we got a big storm. We got about 12" at the farm. The day before I set up the barn room so that they could go in through the sheep door (it's basically a BIG dog door) if they so chose during the storm. Saturday night I was psyched, as the new show "The Amazing Dr. Pol" was on at 9:00. It's about an older large animal vet and his cases... Well, we lost power at about 4:00. Power did not come back on until 24 hours later. That night it was cold in the house, but survivable. I drove up to my parents in the morning to get coffee and a shower. After that, I headed to the farm just up the road, and I did not see the sheep. They were in the back 40 - Dan flushed them out- what a good boy. I checked the barn- yes, they had been in there. I fed everyone and we headed home.

On the way home, I stopped by John and the Scottish Highlanders had come down from their back field, just as he had predicted. So, we gave them a round bale, and I also fed the sheep another bale. Something about animals not having hay at all times in the winter or when no grass, bothers me.... So, anyway, that was done. I went home for a bit but could not relax. It was 46 degrees F in the house and I was just frozen. Went back to my parent's house for a nice roast chicken dinner (their power had been off, but they got it back) and as we watched football, my dad called my house and told me my machine came back on! I had to call myself to be SURE. So, I went home... On the way, my car antenna hit a branch and it flew off to God knows where. So, now I have to get a new antenna. Stopped by the junk yard the other day, and no Ford Escapes there, so will stop by a parts place today....

Sunday night when my house was warm, I slept like a baby. It was amazing. I worked Dan a bit yesterday, just to keep him fresh- for what I don't know- I don't think any surprise trials are coming up ;)

Last night I slept like a rock. The difference in my mood when I actually GET sleep, is incredible.

This week I head up to a friend's to work Danny on shedding and then, this weekend will get more hay. Time marches on, time marches on....

Here is video on Sunday morning on way to farm...

Here is video feeding the cattle - the last zoom in is of this year's first born bull calf.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Wow, time is flying. I seem to be running around a lot and just trying to schedule things, along with basics of keep up.

I had moved the sheep into the hill field, but have moved them back to the big field, as the grass was gone fast (it's young grass in there and I don't want it destroyed). My brother took down 4 big trees and they lay right in the path from hill field to big field. I noticed this after we got the sheep out of hill field. They went to where a tree limb blocked their way, turned into their winter pen which has been taken partway down for a deck that was built and was filled with construction debris (read dangerous). Then, since someone left a barn door open they went into the barn (the bigger section where the steers were) and then pushed through the broken panel from when the steers were there, and then back out and then up into the yard near the driveway. Dan got them back for me and we got them into the big field. Then I had to get them in the barn and there was a worker on a ladder hammering on the left side of the half open doorway. Well, I suggested he should move because if the sheep hit the ladder, he would go flying. He responded by telling me he was not worried he had all his weight on the ladder it would go no where.... Luckily for him Dan is very good at his job and he did no get knocked off. Men, you can't live with them and... well you know the rest.

This week I have to get the rest of the barn cleaned out and this weekend another load of hay is coming. It's quickly cooling off outside and they said the end of this week will struggle to hit the low 50s. I hope it warms up again!!!!

No other news, except I pulled Dan from the trial we entered next month. Dan's been working very well and lately, our focus has been on off balance flanks on the fetch. We have been making some progress. Dan's so fun to work. He is so amenable to being directed, it's extremely nice....

Ticks are back out in force. In addition to the Preventic collars, I am having to spray them with bug spray to discourage the ticks. It's really bad.

Ginger needs to get a bath- she smells of urine- and I don't know why. Maybe her kidneys are just extremely shot. I think though, it's more that she has a hard time getting in and out of the box. So, I will get the dry bath stuff and clean her up. The stress of a real bath would be very hard on her.

I slept pretty well last night. It's a bit of a miracle...........

Well, that's it for now!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Yesterday after work, checked/fed sheep, I see another Cheviot has been marked... This boy is smitten, however with the Border Leicester he bred. He lays right next to her and when she gets up and moves, so does he ;) I see markings on one of the lambs, which I really don't want to happen, because they are too young in my opinion, but it may just be from jostling to get out of the barn yesterday....

I got a fair amount of cleaning done at the house yesterday, and am slowly feeling like I can function again. It's amazing what sleep does for a person. My mother made her signature apple crisp yesterday, and made a pan for me, so I have to head up there to get it tonight :) I love apple crisp/pie/fritters, you name it.

Dan has been so extremely wired lately- he has so much energy working the sheep, and running between the fields when I am either walking or moving feed pans, or you name it. He's incredibly fit. Dan is not a dog who could ever be just a pet. No way no how.

Got an email asking about the Cheviot ewe lambs I posted for sale on craigslist, they want them in the spring, not now (I assume like me, they don't want to feed them over the winter). I already have whatever I have extra spoken for.... My plan is to increase my flock by 2 x each year, so I can actually get them to pay for themselves- at least pay for their hay.

It's raining today, so I doubt I will get any dog work in. Tomorrow is another day!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Well, it all came to a head yesterday. I was so over wrought worrying about money, that I was not sleeping (maybe 4 hours a night) not hungry, and my blood pressure was way up. I am finding that I am going to need to take more time to relax, and maybe do some yoga.......

So, anyway, I got up early yesterday, had an extremely busy day at work, and then home. I got the dogs, headed up to the farm, and checked the sheep. Favey, the Border Leicester ewe was blue ;) I wish I had a nice Border Leicester ram to breed her to, because she's a stunning girl, but these mules will be nice anyway...

I decided to move the flock to the other field, after I worked Dan. I find that if I want precise work, and also, for Dan to remember flanks, etc., I need to work him regularly. So, I am making that effort. I then went and marked the girls with a sort of ID with crayon, so I can tell who was bred and when, and wrote it down. Of course they may not actually settle, but at least I have some idea...

When I put them in the new field, they were extremely happy, and all just got to the business of eating. Sheep just LOVE new fields. It's like moving to a nice new house, for people....

When I got home yesterday, I was so tweaked, that I decided I needed a hot bath. So, I took one and then got in bed and relaxed, and later, I read my book and I slept all night. I have not slept all night in it seems like MONTHS. I woke up when the paper delivery came.... I was so happy.

I think we are due to get rain on Weds/Thurs this week, so my plans to go work dogs may be dashed. Oh well, this time of year you can't count on the weather........... This year, you can't count on the weather at all!

Oh, got my passport yesterday. That was quick!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

This morning I took it easy. I fell yesterday while walking through the barn carrying a bale of one of the 70 that I stacked. Landed right on my shin, and left a goose egg there. Anyway, this morning I made some pancakes and coffee and just chilled out. I was so tired. After my morning relaxation (which I so badly needed), I headed up to the farm, marked Mr. Ram and released he and his ewe pal out to the rest of the flock, which they were more than happy to be back with. After I let them out, I brought a bag of feed into the lower level of the barn, went back with a scoop of grain and one girl already had blue on her. I kid you not. Not sure if it was the one he was with or what, but he was certainly testing every girl he saw. I worked Dan before I let the ram out and he was pretty good, but doing some odd things in terms of directional commands I need to sort out.

I just finished an early dinner and am just going to relax the rest of the day.

A close up of "Favey" my favorite Border Leicester ewe. She is still good to work with the dogs, but she likes my company...

A very rare close up of a Cheviot, with ram looking on in the background

A happy couple...

This girl really likes the new boy... If you look close, she already has matching blue..

Friday, October 14, 2011

I was talking with my sister the other night, we chatted about my blog and how I am on the fence about keeping it going, or changing it, or what... My sister wants me to develop it, and keep going. I think I have gotten into a bit of a sad sack role lately- even though I am happy, and funny, happy things to happen! So, I think I will roll back my fb time and spend more here.

Let's see, so I put a ewe in with my ram lamb to keep him company. The next day I come back and see that the other sheep pushed the doors open, the ram/ewe pushed the pen open and they all exited stage left. It would not be a big deal, except it took going through five closed doors to do this. I kid you not.

I got the ram and a ewe to put with him and fortified the pen area. Next day, they were still in there... I have ordered raddle powder (behind on all this) and some good marking crayons (have had it with chalk) and am going to mark my sheep, since many lack/have lost ear tags. As soon as I get the raddle powder I will mark the boy and put him out with my ewes, but keep out the three ewe lambs. I don't want him breeding them- especially one who is really small.

I brought everyone in yesterday and wormed them. I had them come in through the small guillotine door. Danny helped me with that. Dan is very good at this, if a bit too exuberant to push them at times- but he has great cover if they break off.

Been graining everyone now, and will continue until ram is done. I brought some hay out and some were interested, but clearly, no one is starving.

Have to go get hay tomorrow, which puts a crink in my plans to go to the sheep and wool festival. I may go, but I may not, I detest the huge crowds. Sunday, is another day I could go, but then, I do like to have one day where I don't have to do anything.

I got some extra "stuff" done yesterday- a/c out of window and cleaned some mildew that was up near my attic door, been meaning to get to that for ages... I also washed a ton of laundry. It was very good to get that done.

Well, that's it for now. I hope that everyone has a great weekend. Will be back to update soon :)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Well, I finally have some down time. It's not coming around much lately. Been working a lot, and then working the dogs, and well, lots of other things.

John and I took ride up to the Cooperstown trial and I scribed for a couple of hours before I headed out to go look at ram lambs about 25 mins northwest of the trial. Why oh why are sheep farms so spread out! I really don't like being away from home for so long. Thankfully, my sister let the dogs out mid-day for me, or I could not have gone.

I thought I might be interested in a North Country Cheviot ram, but when I saw the father of the ram lambs for sale I almost passed out- well, maybe not passed out, but let me tell you.... his head was as tall as my chest, he was as wide as a table and he was just absolutely GIANT. No WAY I want something like that, ever. So, we looked at the Border Cheviot ram lambs, and John and I each bought one. They made the trip home easily, and we left them both at John's for the evening.

This morning, I got up early (again!) and went to the farm as I had a couple of lessons coming. Two different dogs, the bitch is sired by Kevin Evan's Mirk, and an Irish bitch, and the male dog was bred in Michigan. The bitch had been on sheep once, and we weren't sure how it would go, but she immediately hooked on and we got some inklings of her. She's super keen, likes to go away more and when one split off, she really worked hard to find it (it ran into the brush). I like her a lot- she's going to be good. The male was good too- he had never been on sheep before, and after a minute or two of ignoring them, there he was, locked on- he started circling right away, but kept kicking out when I tried to stop him, so I will have to have running shoes on to work him too :)

During the lesson, John arrived with the ram lamb and I put him in the pen I had ready. That's him, above in the picture- he's registered, and I hope he and the girls will hit it off.

Now, I am just going to chill for the rest of the day, I am needing some serious down time.