Monday, January 31, 2011

I tried, but couldn't come up with a title for this post... The shame is that it really needs one, but maybe, after I finish, I can try again...

Yesterday, I met my friend at John's farm to treat the sheep. First thing we had to do was get them in the barn. John suggested that I could do that myself, by just walking toward them. That worked for about 40%, but then, they went back. Then, John suggested he could do it. That worked for about 80% and then they went back. Then, it was time to get Lucy. John said he wanted to see it anyway.

So, I sent Lucy to the left around them, but they were all standing like defense tackles on a football team. Lucy had to grip a couple, and then they cleared out and went in the barn nicely.

After we had our stuff ready, my friend and I went into the barn. Now, this was a bigger area than I would have liked... But, we got started. Lucy was to push them into a corner, and I would grab, my friend would treat and chalk and then be done. Well, except for the little issue of these sheep not being dog broke, and feral, pretty much, to people.... Lucy was getting hit from all sides- and I felt very bad when she would down for me and then get hit. Every time she got hit, she would un-leash a can of whoop-a** on that sheep- but not more than was needed to remind it that she was boss. Lucy does not take kindly to sheep coming at her. After a while, I decided that it was best for her to be out of the barn, to remove one variable.

My friend and I continued, and actually had to take several breaks, because we were so exhausted and hot. Yes, hot. It was so hard. I would grab sheep by the wool, and they would power forward and I would have to circle with them and get them to the wall. I actually got a blister from holding on these guys. It was hard work. HARD work. At one point, when things were real tough, Lucy leaped over the 4 ft high plywood gate (which was a foot off the ground) and into the fray. She desperately wanted to help.

When we finally finished, we pulled ourselves out of there, and the sheep were let out to eat their hay.

Today, I am about cooked. Feel like I was a tackle in a football game.

Lucy. What can I say about her. I have absolutely no doubt that my little girl would die protecting me, and/or herself from any animal we work. She has grit to spare. When I think about how the sheep were hitting her from all sides, and she never quit, or ran away- she faced and went out anyone who came at her, or us. I am almost speechless about it.

Last night, as she lay cuddled up next to me, a big heavy sigh. I had a deep feeling of knowing that she is indeed, my once in a life time dog. The dog who would die doing my bidding.

Friday, January 28, 2011

So, the storm that came only left us with a couple of inches. That is VERY good. We had some over freezing days, so we have a wee bit of melting going on. The sheep are well.

Dogs seem to have wound down and are not okay with not working sheep, but, when they are out of the pen and I am feeding, you can almost see the drool in their eyes ;) We will get there.

I have something I want to mention, and I want to preface it by saying, I am not here to judge anyone. Goodness knows, I am not perfect, and no one else is either.

It's this business of musical dogs. Border Collies change hands, and transfer well, I am told, and I have seen it happen. They are slaves to their work. If you have work, they will do it. That is a virtue of this breed. But, that said, they are dogs too. They are used to their place in the pack, and they surely must have some sort of bond with their owners, no?

Again, remember, I am not judging! But, it seems to me, some people change dogs with the same regularity as say, changing the oil in the car. What's worse, is some people have dogs for years, and then send them away, and replace them, like the oil filter. Some of this is to be expected, in a sport like ISDS herding, you are not in it to "also ran" you really want a chance to top everyone. But, what about the older dogs? Why must they be sold/traded for a newer model? I know, good retirement homes and all. Can only have so many dogs and all. But, what's really important here? Perhaps people who do this should not keep any dogs in the home, just simply have a string that someone else maintains, and you get to train and run. The person who maintains them keeps their lives solid, and constant, and they get to live their lives in the same well loved pack. Karin, who has sled dogs does this. She has a geriatric dog yard. Her dogs stay, and she is no slouch of a competitor, and has LOTS of dogs.

Kelpies differ from Border Collies in their loyalty. Lucy loves everyone, but really only has eyes for me. I would love it if she could work with others, but if I am still around, it's not happening. Kelpies are a true Ozzie- True Blue loyal. That's why some people who are used to Border Collies and their slavish-ness, end up not keeping them, because they simply won't take the same kind of treatment. Border Collies are their own worst enemy that way.

I guess I am just a sap. I doubt it will change though...

Well, that's it for now :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

SHOCK NEWS: A snowstorm is expected to dump up to 8" of snow on us tonight. WOW. Someone call Ripley's Believe it or Not!

Whatever. I have just given up on anything remotely like past recent years, like walking the dogs on a little bit of snow, working them on sheep, and maybe wearing regular sneaks out to my car in the morning...

Dr's appointment tomorrow morning; let's hope I can make it...

I have to get Insectrin for the sheep on Sunday. We should be able to bang that job out quick. The sheep will truly hate me after that. Oh well, life is hard sheepies. Cheviots remain a bit feral their whole lives...

Started a new book last night, so far it's good. I am very glad of that, because it's exceedingly boring lately, and I will probably run through it very fast...

Well, I don't have any scintillating news to share, so I better go sweep the floor.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

When I got to the farm yesterday, there was still a bit of hay on the ground that they were munching, and that is exactly what I was hoping for. The sheep handled the weather fine. This area that they are in is very good for keeping them in the sun, and protected from the wind in the north and west. I was especially happy to see that the water line did not freeze :)) We put some heat tape on it, but this recent cold snap was worse than my idea of cold....

I have learned one thing for SURE. I will not lamb in this weather. It makes no sense- not with temps like this. I would MUCH rather have lambs delivered in temperate weather, with grass to eat, than locked up in a pneumonia producing barn, with hay.... So, I plan to breed late this year, to have lambs in April. I have also decided to increase the flock by a good number, so I can always have fresh sheep, and keep aside the breeders. Since more land is being cleared, we should have more than enough grass.
Last important thing is finding good affordable hay....

Looking forward to working the dogs again, and getting to new places to work them. That is a priority this year, new places, and BIG fields. Danny is ready to stretch out, and so is Lucy. So, that's it. With each day of January that disappears, life is getting better ;)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Saturday after work I moved the water tub up to the barn corral. I gave up on putting the sheep back out there for the near future. The crust is extremely thick, but does give way to knee deep snow. There is simply no reason to keep the sheep in that, plus, watering is much easier now, as well as feeding.

Went out Saturday night with some friends; dinner, and then listened to a band. Had a great time. Leo and Clair, Irish nationals were a hoot, plus, Leo was a sheep farmer back in Ireland. Band was good. Got home around 11:30. So tired the next day.

Sunday the cold snap was coming in, so I gave the sheep an extra half a bale of hay, and left them be. It was so cold this morning, my car thought it might be difficult to start, but she did. GOOD CAR! -12 degrees F. That's cold enough.. I will give an extra half bale to the girls again today.

It will be warmer later this week, which is great. So far though, this winter has been a bust for outdoor stuff like working dogs.

I hope to treat all of John's sheep some time this week- if it gets warm enough.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

So, made it through work today, and am home. I left the sheep up at the barn today. The crust on the snow is horrific. The dogs have a HARD time getting around, and my lambs would be well, stranded, after a bit. So, I gave them their bale of hay, fresh water (someone left some presents in it ;) and left. I think they are totally happy with this arrangement. Lazy imps. Well, they can look at it as their vacation- for now.

We are supposed to get 4-6" of snow on Friday. Isn't that just great?! Not. Well, what's a bit more in a sea of it? Got an oil delivery today. I had to be home for it because my oil burner tech told me to make sure my furnace is off when they deliver, so the crud doesn't get stirred up and sucked into my furnace. HUGE bill. Wow. Glad I don't use a lot of oil.

Danny and Lucy played a long time outside today. Lucy is exremely playful, and Danny always obliges. Good boy. I slept like a ROCK last night- a nice hot shower will do that for you.

Check off another day closer to spring! Soon I will start counting the minutes!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Just tired of it all. Tired of expecting things from people and they blow you off. Tired of thinking you know someone and then proof you don't. Extremely tired of this winter. Made it to work and the sheep today, miraculously. Seriously. The sheep are staying in the barn. When I came in the back door to throw them a bale of hay, they ran out... But, they are dry and it has been freezing raining for several hours now. Smart girls to stay where it's nice.

There is a cruise being offered at NCL that I may just sign up for. I am thinking a need to re-balance my life. Broaden my horizons to more than just dogs and work. I think I am getting burned out.

Tonight I am going to read, and count one more day off this un-ending winter. Tomorrow, a big day at work, and I hope I can get there.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Wow. I can't believe it; the Jets won! As I watched the game, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, and for the Jets to choke, but they didn't. They played like they really wanted it. Sanchez is not as good a QB as Brady, but he hustles in the pocket, and Brady is afforded such nice protection (generally) that eventually, Brady will get sacked, which he did, several times...

I slept well last night; I really needed it. Tonight bad weather is fore casted, into tomorrow, so I will bring everyone to the barn, but I am concerned about getting to the farm tomorrow- as they expect ice, and I do NOT want to wreck my car....

I will work Danny on the sheep today when I get there, and also check Typhoid Mary (the lamb I found with lice) to see if she is still sporting them....

We are now officially more than half way through January, HURRAY!

Well, that's it for now.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

So, here it is Sunday. Am just about to eat a wonderful meal, and then I will sit, and watch TV, and hopefully, the Jets beat the Patriots. I have nothing against the Patriots, just that they have monopolized the football scene for so long. Also, the Jets are the underdog, so I have to go with them. I just hope it's a good game.

I have been kicking the idea of having a trial at John's farm for a long time. A few folks have said that I should not, because it is just a huge hassle. But, I see how we are losing trials every year, and if we don't get new ones going, what will happen? So, I am going to do it!

John has a big field up in the back, and there is road frontage right up to it, and he says that his neighbor will be happy to let us park the rigs up there. So, the next thing is to see about getting fence up in the spring, and then, of course make it so the sheep are not quite so feral. They will be a good challenge, but they need to be workable, and fit.

I am very excited about this. The trial will happen in the fall.

The NEBCA meeting yesterday was good, albeit long. I am glad I went and touched base with everyone again. The Potluck food did not agree with me. I am afraid my food repertoire has become limited as I have aged. Well, lesson learned.

Tonight it is supposed to get VERY cold, and then late tomorrow a mix of rain and snow comes in. Well, sheep will go to barn for that. Winter, you can leave now.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Yesterday, I picked up the organ meat for my friend at the butcher's. Very clean place. The livers are HUGE!!!!! In fact, the bag of Kidneys, Tongues, Heart, and Livers is almost too heavy for me to carry. I left it in my car, so it can freeze. I would rather have it frozen, and keep well, then un-frozen in my fridge for a few days, so I chose the former.

I put the sheep back in their home pasture yesterday. I think they are sick of the snow too. I took a small video of them just going to the new pasture, but they stopped before they went in... They didn't see any hay ;)

I pulled the sled with a bale up the hill and fed them. Happy as clams, they are. My favorite (Favey for short) is always the first to greet me and the closest to me at all times. I do like her.... She's sweet.

It was below 0 this morning. That is just too cold. The high will be in the mid twenties today, with a wind chill bringing it down. So glad I have good hay for the girls...

I have a busy weekend, and it starts after work tonight. I just wish this snow would melt!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

John Mellencamp- Ain't Even Done With the Night

Ahhh, wonderful memories. Embracing, my hands in his back pockets, his hands around my waist, dancing at the bonfire....

So, on these long cold nights, I have had some time to reflect. For me, that means thinking about things I can't do much about. Things that cause strife in my life. And, you know what 99% of those things originate from?


Over the years, people have been rude, mean, you name it to me, and I could name them here, but what is the point. I have met one of these people in person, and she was as friendly as can be, but on the Internet, it is so much easier to act like you were drug up, not brought up, as my mother would say :)

I can say without any reservation, that the Internet (discussion groups, boards, fb) have brought out the WORST in people.

Those of you who visit this blog regularly, I hope it's because you enjoy it. If anyone has a beef with whatever I do, please call me, or, let's make a lunch date and hash it out, because I will not deal with false bravado on the Internet any longer.

Nuff said.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Another storm. Yesterday, I took the opportunity to work Danny on more pushing. This time I had Lucy tied in the barn room that my sheep go into. This was more challenging for Danny, and he never quit, or got too stressed. It was good. Lucy has more grit, it appears, but Danny is still young. He's also not a Kelpie ;)

But, it was generally good, and I need to remember to be calm. That is MY weak spot!

Anyway, we went home with Danny having another good lesson under his belt.

Last night I hit the hay thinking about the storm that was due to come in. Well, it did. We got about a foot.

I made it into work; some how, I made it up the hill on my road- inch by inch. Got to work, got my work done and then headed straight up to the farm.

I fed and watered the sheep; they looked fine. I think they are getting used to this deal.

Roads were much better on way home, so by end of day today, should be good to go.

I have to go to the butcher tomorrow and pick up organ meat for a friend of mine for her dogs. Planning to go to the NEBCA meeting Saturday, and that will give me a chance to do the hand off.

I am beat today. Lots of shoveling. Hey, one neat thing happened yesterday...
A contractor came back to do some work, and he said to me "hey, did you lose weight?" I said I didn't know, but I was glad he didn't ask if I GAINED weight ;)

Anyway, that's it for now. Dogs will have to make due with running in the snow, as I need some chill time!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Some how, this song is fitting lately :)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Now THAT hurt

So, I got to the farm yesterday, after my breakfast. I got the sheep treated- I used Danny to hold the sheep, he did very well. Good boy!

Then, since I had Danny, and the sheep in a smaller area, I figured we would work on getting them in and of the barn and corners. It all started out pretty good. Then, I fell. I fell hard on my right knee. Hard enough that I got woozy, and hyperventilated. I landed smack on my knee cap. I sat for a bit, and then finished working Danny. He did very well, and is learning to push happily.

Later, after I hayed the sheep, I looked down at my knee, and there was blood on my jeans....

Later, at home, I checked and saw that I had cut a nice deep slice on my knee cap. I cleaned it well, and chalked it up to: I hate snow.

I woke this morning sore in my left thigh, a pulled lat on my right side, and a sore knee.

It could have been way worse- at least the sheep didn't cream me when I was on the ground.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Yesterday, I got home from work to find the heat not working again. So, this is the fourth or fifth time I had to call the tech and get him to come. I was last on list, so it was a long time.

In the meantime, I went up to the farm, and had to park at the end of the driveway, as it was not plowed yet. I saw a trailer up by the gate to the steer paddock, and also saw the two steers having a great time running around. It was the day they needed to get loaded up to go to the butcher.

So, since no one was doing anything but watching, I got Lucy, put her on a long line, and we flushed them out. I just can't let her go- she will get kicked, I just know it, but she does have awfully nice bites on their heads, and she got them turned but then they would just run around me and I gave up. Finally, I put Lucy away, and my brother called them with grain... He had tried that earlier, but no go.

So, finally, we did get one in the trailer, but he hopped back into the gated area we have. I quickly shut the gate on him. Then, he simply leaned back and from a stand still, jumped the 4.5 foot tall gate out of the barrier area and was walking in the yard. My brother was worried about cars, and cattle, so he yelled for me to get Lucy. By then the thing was running along the fence line of the paddock. I got down the road, caught up with my brother, who told me that the steer had jumped back in the paddock. I kid you not. I could not believe it.

So, since my toes were officially frozen, I headed home, but stopped at John's to help him do chores- feed sheep, let horses in, that sort of thing. Then, I got home and no heat until around 6:00.

I took a hot shower, and then bed early. But before I drifted off, I called my brother to find out if he got them in the trailer, and he had, with the help of his friend. Good news!

Today I treat the sheep, with Danny's help. He needs the practice. Lucy is a pro already. I have made a nice pancake breakfast with wonderful coffee, but I am still pretty darn tired... Need more coffee!!!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Yesterday was not a fun day for me. I was still a bit down from losing Annbjorg, and then I got home to my furnace being on the fritz again. I just about lost it. So, I called my trusty repairman, and left to go take care of the sheep.

Got there, and once I fed them their hay, I decided just to sit there, and relax and decompress a bit. My favorite ewe, I call her "Favey", came over to me, and put her face right next to mine, sniffed me a bit, and then went to other matters at hand... A few minutes later she walked up behind me and I felt her nose on my jacket. Soon, she was well and truly tucked into some hay, and I left to walk the dogs.

When I got home, the furnace had been repaired! I should mention here, that it is not the furnace, it is the bad oil I got. They never put additive in when they filled the tank and I have been paying for that since.

Today, I went into work super early, so I could make it to an appointment, and then the grocery store, and then the sheep. I wanted to bring them up to the barn. I did just that, thankfully, they love their grain :)

They didn't really want to go into the barn, but since the hay is in there, I doubt they will stay out for long.

I made a steak dinner (early) and I am just going to relax today. The snow is really coming down now, and only thing on the agenda is going out to shovel occasionally, and well maybe a nap, but definitely, reading.

Tomorrow I am going to treat everyone for Lice again- since they are already up at the barn. Oh, I spoke with John, and he was happy with me treating his flock with lice treatment. Since I want more sheep from him, I would rather get them treated... Plus, they are due to lamb in Feb/Mar, and the lambs just don't need that toll on their bodies.

Was going to work dogs with a friend this weekend, but we will have too much snow. Oh, and I hear another storm with MORE snow is due on Tues/Weds. Isn't that just peachy!

We will be fine though. It's winter, it's what we do.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A tribute to Annbjorg


Sometimes someone touches your life in small ways, you never though mattered.
Perhaps it was their friendly smile, happy out look, or maybe it was something they said.

Sometimes you think of them, out of the blue, when you are doing something they taught you, or maybe eating a snack they told you about. You smile.

Sometimes your life gets busy, and maybe you think about things that really don't matter, in the whole scheme of things.

Then, sometimes, you get news that that one person, who to you, personified goodness and light, is not well, and you worry, and wonder why? Why her? Such a wonderful person.

Later, you get news that she is terminally ill, and maybe, just maybe she will make it to Christmas to enjoy the love of her family and watch her grandson play, just a little bit longer.

Finally, you get news that she has passed. That a bright shining light, with a wonderful spirit has passed on, and a huge wave of sadness over takes you. There is no reconciling it.

You just know that yet another wonderful person has been released from her pain, and will now soar with the angels. And you are left here, without her love.

But, then, you get it. You know that she isn't really gone. She's left a permanent reminder to you, and a stamp on your heart, telling you that there ARE good people, and they may not be around so long, so if you can tell them that you love them, and that they mean so much to you, you should.

Sometimes we get caught up in the small stuff, and we don't take our lives with deep breaths, and realize that life is short, and we need to embrace those that love us, and surround ourselves with good hearted people, who do indeed enrich our lives.

There should really be no "sometime" Annbjorg has taught me this. NEVER get caught up in pessimism. Drop it like a hot coal. It will do you no good, and you will be blind to all the goodness of the others who truly shine brightly.

I am so sorry Annbjorg. All of us will so miss you and your smile. We will always remind Jacob, your grandson, of how special you were, and are, in our hearts.

Well, the week's half over... Isn't winter just FUN!?! Yeah, sort of like sitting through a history class in college, it is THAT MUCH FUN!

Yesterday, I brought some minerals up to the girls yesterday, and I also checked their water- the level isn't going down as fast as it used to, so I wanted to be sure there wasn't a short in the heater- I stuck my hand in there, and no issue with that. I guess now that I am feeding them far away from the water, that they just don't bother coming down to drink as much. There is also some snow on the ground if they so chose.

Didn't work them yesterday, just wanted to give the dogs and them a day off. The snow is ultra crunchy now, so it really isn't optimal for working the dogs, and well, there is no darn rush!

Looks more and more like we are going to get snow Friday night into Saturday. We will see; maybe it will miss us (hopefully).

I have decided to do a small clinic here at the farm, the first day will be centered on handling sheep (foot trims, worming, etc) and moving them with no dog. The second day will be round pen work, and perhaps bigger field work. It depends on the dog. It is geared toward novices. I think it's very good for newbies in this "sport" to get to know the sheep that they use so much. I have a lot of work to get done before then... Going to hire a guy, and be done with it.

Well, that's it for now!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Woke up this morning with a mondo, beginning of Migraine headache. Took some Aleve, and hopefully that will stop it in it's tracks.

Yesterday, I sent Danny up for the sheep (I can't see what he does), but the sheep came RUNNING down for their lives, but Danny was not on their butts whatsoever. My favorite ewe was actually breathing hard, and shivering a bit. I felt really bad. I am going to watch next time I send him for them, and make sure he is not doing anything bad.

I have been hauling the hay far into the field when I feed them, just to keep things cleaner and spread manure, and it seems to be working. Gotta get more minerals out there, and devise a way to not let them get wet (I use loose).

Danny worked pretty well yesterday, and I set up yet another strange scenario, so he will handle it better. He doesn't seem to generalize too well... But, once he knows the right way, he does it right from then on. A true student :)

Weather might go south (as in bad, not geographically) on Friday. Maybe getting snow. We shall see. I have to treat everyone again for the lice again on the 9th, hmmm, my friend will be here then... Perfect! Help! :)

Thanks for the emails of support regarding Lucy everyone. I really appreciate it.

Well, that's it for now :)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Breeding Lucy

Wow. Apparently, Lucy has a big silent following! Lucy is indeed a top notch working Kelpie, but I did not know that I had silent followers.

I have decided to breed Lucy, but there are so few males on the east coast, I have found none that would work. Important to me are pedigree, working ability, health consideration, and really important, temperament. I have been looking for years. I even considered importing a male.

Well, I found a male, a well bred, good temperament male, showing great working ability, already, but he's young, and his hips have not yet been done.

After I put the ad up on stockdogs for sale, I got lots of responses, and several legitimate people contacted me about a pup. There were also a few dissenters, based on the age of the sire I had chosen. He will be one year this month, and Lucy would be bred at the end of February. Normally, I would never consider breeding her to such a young male, but the truth of the matter, is that the only males remotely NEAR the north east are either not good working ability, or have bad hips, or well, the list goes on.

I spoke with Nathalie, the person that owns the sire I was planning to use and we both thought on it. Lucy is going to be five in a couple of months. My concern for her health is paramount. That was my real push to get her bred- before she is too old to comfortably handle a litter. But, there is that issue of the hips of the sire being done, and I do think that is important, as more and more Kelpies are turning up with HD.

So, after a lot of thought, I have decided to wait until this chosen male gets some good proven working ability, and age on him (as well as good hips) I just hope to God that either Lucy handles a late litter in life, or I can find another male WORTHY of Lucy. It is not easy.

So, the rumor mill, I hope can stop. But, rest assured, I will be breeding her at some point. I will contact the folks interested asap, and let them know that it will be a wait.

I guess everything happens for a reason.