Thursday, June 30, 2011

Danny has really given me everything I wanted. A willing partner, fast to learn, happy, and above all just a good dog. I always liked his father Glen. It's funny, sometimes when a dog, or person passes, people remember them fondly, and sometimes, they don't. Glen was not an incredible dog, he was simply a good dog. He NEVER let Warren down, ever. He always made his work look easy. Someone once told me "you know, some people thought Glen was weak". I mentioned that to one of the clinicians I saw this year. He asked me, "did he ever get stuck?" I said no. Did he grip? No, So, they asked, "why did they call him weak?" I had no answer. He replied, well, maybe he was just good at moving sheep. Yes, I guess you are right.

His name was “Glen”

At first glance, I suppose, he wasn’t anything special
Just another black and white, with a wee bit of brown

Glen had an unassuming air about him
But that belied the fire to do what he was bid

When Glen walked out to the field
He was happiness and light

But when it came time to send him
His eyes turned black as night

He would fly through the field
The wind blowing in his mane

At the top he would know just where to stop
And do as he was bade

As he ushered the sheep down through the field
They moved without worry, for they trusted this dog

If a sheep would balk or scatter
Glen would just put her back, no matter

At the shed he was smooth, it wasn’t a big deal
He made it look easy, but his focus you could feel

At the pen he had a way that always calmed his sheep
See, Glen KNEW he would pen them, for him a simple feat

His runs weren’t exciting, not many, anyway
They were simply Glen going in his workman-like way

When he finished his run, he knew he’d done well
Maybe a pat on the head, or a good boy he’d hear

The only thing he desired was his master to be near

Glen was the epitome of a sheepdog

To his last day he remained faithful
To his work, to his master

Just a dog named Glen
Who will ne’er be replaced

The trial field feels a bit empty

Now that Glen is gone

Rest well old man, your work here is done
So, I am considering either the Subaru Forester, or the Ford Edge... May stop by some dealerships this week.

Got some more work done at the farm yesterday. My next big job will be cleaning out the winter area in the barn. I want to move them to another room, or at least give them the option of that room. Lots of stuff in it to move though. And, I need to seal up the giant holes in the field stone walls- gets mighty wet in there when it rains/snows.

Brushed out Danny last night. I knew he needed brushing, but I had no idea how much. Good Lord. Big white puffs of undercoat came out. He looks like a different dog. He has got to feel a whole lot better.

My brother brush hogged our walking trail, so it is much nicer walking back there. Will probably work Danny again today. Supposed to be getting hot on the weekend, so will have to work him very early if I do.

Lucy was amazing yesterday- I had the flock in the barn to sort out some sheep and they were corner bound and would not move. She gripped who needed gripping and got the pile un-stuck. If I remain calm and not micro-manage her, she's indeed tops in that work.

Yesterday I trimmed the hedges and shrubs near my house- not an easy job with the size of those things!

Well, that's it for now!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Not much to blog about really... I, like everyone, am busy with normal summer stuff- in the house, at the farm etc. I am trying to decide what to do with my car. It has a ton of miles on it, and I want to maybe get a trade in on it, but also, maybe just drive it until it dies completely. I don't really know what to do. Also, I want enough room for two crates, sheep food, etc., but want good gas mileage.... It's a conundrum. Used cars are going for a lot these days....... Any suggestions???????

Monday, June 27, 2011

This past weekend was the High Point Sheepdog trial in Knox NY. There were nursery, and novice classes.

Saturday, the weather started out a bit iffy. I was prepared with my rain coat and my wellies, but, well, perhaps not my thinking cap....

When it was our turn to go to the post, it began to sprinkle, and I thought better of making anyone wait, just so I could get my rain coat. So, I go to the post, sent Danny to the right, and he did a nice lift, and started bringing them and then the DELUGE came. I mean, it rained so hard I had a hard time seeing and I have great doubts Danny could hear. We got them around the post started the drive and it was tough going. Sheep generally do not like to be in torrential down pours.... At one point they went high and then I stopped Danny and then, I waited too long to send him and they hot footed it to the exhaust. Now, Danny made it over there, and went into what I call the abyss- where you cannot see dog/handler. So, I stood near the pen (we were heading to this when they too off), and I waited. After some nerve wracking moments, I see three pairs of sheep's ears coming up the rise. I gave one command to Danny to settle him and he brought them back. We ran out of time by the time they did get back to the pen. To say I was chuffed that Danny was able to bring them back un-assisted from a place where he could not see me was just about as good as it gets for me. I have not had the most faith in his "real work" work, so I guess he proved me wrong. I got home around 6 that evening and for some reason, did not sleep well. I think I woke up every hour on the hour. I was frustrated with our performance on Sat, and I think that kept me up.

Sunday, we were a bit earlier in the run order, and I went out there with a plan to keep my head about me. I was nervous, but put my hands on my hips (I know I look stupid, but for some reason I am calmer), and I sent him. He had a gorgeous outrun and I stopped him at the top and instead of getting up like I expected, he waited for the ask up, which was him being a good boy. Thing is, the sheep were heads down in the grain. So, I said "walk up" and he did, and they lifted very gently. We got them down the fetch, around the post and through the drive gates (all but one) and then I SCREWED UP and thought that after the turn they would keep going. So, with me not watching, they came back THROUGH the panels. I did not know this until I looked at the video. Well, we got them to/in the pen- they were some of the calmest sheep I had seen all weekend, and I came out of there feeling great. We ended up with a 4th place, and it would have been LOTS better had I not been stupid. That will NOT happen again my dears!

We headed home, I had a sandwich for dinner and then bed. Now, back to regularly scheduled programming.

Danny is turning out to be everything I wanted. Thanks Danny. You rock.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Been a while... I think I need a vacation! One where there are no dogs, no animals, other than the wild kind, and perhaps a beach and a pool.... I am not as busy as some, and busier than others, but in any case, I am just wanting to relax a bit. I have a trial this weekend and next, and then off for a month and then one more. I may go do some sheepdog work with a friend at the end of this month, but we will see.

Sheep have been fine. I have been trying to decide what to do with my intact ram lambs, as I don't want them breeding my ewes, but there is simply no easy answer, so I am going to keep them as long as I can, and then process them.

We got more rain this week; it's a huge difference from last year where we had very little rain all summer. The hill pasture, where my sheep normally are, has been rested now for a week and a half and is really doing well. The pasture where the sheep are now, still has tons of grass. I am so glad I got the fencing up. Also, with use of the barn, I can sort sheep much easier.

Dogs are good- Lucy shed all her undercoat in I think, like two days. She's basically naked now. I brushed out Nikke, and she looks good- Danny and Kylie are next. Cats are good, and boy kitty didn't start meowing at 4:30 this morning, so for that, I am extremely grateful.

Gotta work Danny today/tomorrow, but with the thunderstorms, it may be an issue.

Not much exciting happening, I am afraid... But, no news is good news, right?

Oh, I did get Danny's first place ribbon from the P/N class at Finality for the second trial in the mail the other day, so now we have memorialized proof that my boy on his first weekend in pro novice won both times he walked to the post.

Okay, now I am hitting the road!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Wow, slow today. Went out to dinner at a friend's place last night; it was a fun time, got home relatively early, but still this morning, I feel like a truck just about ran over me. Just out of bed at 9:00. That's unheard of for me. While at my friend's place I put my order in for the hay I will need this winter, and so I am glad I am set that way. It's expensive, but very good hay, and since I am breeding this fall, I don't want to chintz.

Today, plans are to get moving after my coffee, and head up to see my father for father's day, and then work Danny, perhaps. Lucy is a little off on her front left, and I think I may take her some where to get it officially examined...

I have no aspirations of doing anything today- other than what I wrote- maybe do a load of laundry, but seriously, I am just beat.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Those weeds? After a lengthy Internet search, followed up by some common sense approach techniques, I realized they are wild raspberry bushes. Where they are coming up is right where we cut a boat load out this March. Makes a lot of sense. I got that stupid heart palpitation and tightness of chest when I was doing this, but I got a lot out. Still more to go. Want to get it done when the ground is still soft. They have heaps of roots, and they also have runners.

Worked Danny yesterday, still working on off balance flanks. He was a little tight on his right outrun yesterday, but that may have been due to that side of the field being too long. Will ensure better work today. Sheep are good. They like it in there. Gave them more minerals yesterday- they love them. The loose minerals is the only way to go- they dip their lips in and then lick them off, and then go back for more. Still wondering why they smell like licorice (the minerals that is).

This weekend, need to go to grocery store for basics, work the dogs, maybe pick up some piles, but I think, honestly, I have to pay my nephew to do this. I am just not able to do that sort of work without that heart thing, and it scares me a bit. Now, I could do that fencing without problem, but there was not a lot of strenuous stuff. It's weird. Maybe I need to keep a diary listing how long it takes before I get like that and what the symptoms are.

My sister and I have started to plan the party of my parent's 50th wedding anniversary; I need to make sure they keep the date free, without them knowing what for. Plan to invite tons of people, and probably have it at the Mason's lodge, or VFW, or something like that- will either have a band, or a dj, or, as my sister suggested, some good use of an IPOD and good speakers :)

I was thinking last night, as I chatted with some friends, that boy, I am in debt, but boy, I am happy. Ten years ago, you would never have heard that from me. True, I work as much as I can to get out of debt, but life goes on. Money does not define me, and neither does work. What defines me is all of it, the animals, the daily life, work, as it were, and when I shut my eyes at night, can I say I am truly happy? Yes, I will say I am. I am busier than ever, I get out of bed at a dead run, it appears, because for some reason, I feel like I am missing out on the best part of the day, if I stay in bed. My grandfather used to say that. He would be out milking the goats long before us kids got up and when we went down to the kitchen, first thing we did was get his breakfast ready. It was really a good life on the farm. Animals were always fed first, and everything had a schedule to be kept to. That's how I am.

Right now I am having some wondrous coffee and a yummy English muffin... Taking a little bit of time this morning....

The summer seems to be flying by this year. Scary how every year it seems they go faster and faster. I feel like I am on some sort of life ride, and can't wait to see where it goes next...

Well, that's it for now. Better get something done!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Rain. Solid rain this morning, which I could tell by the fact that none of the dogs wanted to get up. The hearing of these animals.... I am glad we are getting rain, we need it, and I want the other pasture that I am resting to get as much water as possible- not only for grass, but I have to pull these horrendous multi-stemmed weeds. They are huge, and have to go- sheep will not eat them.

Sheep are good in the other pasture. The Border Leicesters have all gained weight, and the rest look good- even the lambs. They have decided their resting place is smack dab in the center of the field, next to a pen I put in there. They like to be near buildings, or the like. This weekend I will check the floor in the other part of the barn they can go into now, and allow them free access should they like.

I picked a date for the sheep clinic, Aug 27/28, and have at least one confirmed open handler coming, as well as my vet friend. Should be very good. Have had five people contact me to sign up.

Today, since it's raining, not sure what I will get done- I want to pull those weeds, at least start, and I also want to do more cleaning in the house- started on that last night. Had a nice night last night, listening to old tunes on youtube and chatting with friends. Nice relaxing night.

Well, that's it for now.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

One good thing about being busy, is you lose a little weight. That's good. Also, you sleep better at night :0)

So far this week, I attached the sheep/goat fencing to the gates, some of them, anyway, and cleaned up a few things at the farm.

Yesterday was a whirlwind. Had my normal day at work, and then went to John's farm to drench the sheep as they got sheared. They really needed shearing and they also have not, to my knowledge been wormed, so they needed that too. I will say most looked very good though. John got a new gun/back pack assembly, and that was a real dream to use. One squirt and done, and auto-reload!

After that, I went to the farm and walked the dogs, and then worked Danny on just the Border Leicesters. I put the others into the barnyard. I may work the yearlings today. Danny is doing well, and doing better on off balance flanks. After I finished working on the gates, I headed home. I decided I better mow, so I got that done, took a break and then out for string trimming. I left the electric cords out there because I still need to trim hedges/shrubs. Then, the outside will be almost decent (need to pressure wash the siding still).

When I went inside, I got some neatening up done, but today will be massive cleaning. The dogs have all been shedding a lot lately....

Slept pretty well last night, almost finished that book by Earlene Fowler (go and get these books, if you are like me, you will love them!).

This morning, I let boy kitty out as usual, and when I called him to come in, he would not. EEK!!!!!!!! He had a baby mouse! He was just sort of standing next to it, and watching it. EEK!!!! Not HIM, my baby boy kitty! Not a killer!!!!!! The irony here is that is why I supposedly got him- to catch mice..... So, I trundled out there with my shoes half on/off, and saw a small mouse clearly freaked out and I picked up my boy, and carried him in (on his back, because he likes that). As we went, he purred, and meowed- cuddling to him in any form is a good thing. Then, when I set him down in the living room, he commenced cleaning himself off, because that hunting is hard, dirty work, you know?

So, today I have nothing planned, other than perhaps some work at the farm when I am there, and cleaning the house.

This weekend, most people I know are going to go to Hop Bottom for a sheepdog trial. I skipped this one, because the next two weekends I have trials, and two weekends in a row is more than enough for me. I suppose I should trial Danny more, but $$ and time is always a factor. I don't do the Canadian trials either- no way I can justify that expense/time.

I am planning on having a sheep handling clinic at my place, and perhaps a bit of dog work interspersed. Also, a vet friend of mine will be coming, so we can get a lot covered at once. Now, just to pick a date.

So, that's it folks!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Life is busy, but it's good. Danny would maybe disagree, because he has had little work lately, but tonight that will change. I have been busy working on things around the house and farm, and we also broke because of the heat. It's going to be good temps all week, so I am psyched about that.

So, let's see.... The fence guy who said he would come by on Tuesday to finish, free of charge, unless his dentist appointment caused too much pain, did not come Tues. He said he would come Friday. I called him Friday, knowing full well, since I did not hear from him, that he would not. I knew as soon as I spoke with him he wouldn't be coming. He then regaled me with how he was sick from the heat, and blah blah blah. He said he would come Monday or Tuesday and I said "I can't wait that long". And I meant it. I asked him some questions about the fencing and then hung up.

Then, I called both Tractor Supplies near me and asked if they had sheep/goat fence in stock. One of them had all I needed (I had measured the field earlier), and I said "great, I will be in". It was at that point that I decided "in for a penny, in for a pound". I am going to fully commit myself to my sheep keeping and invest more $$ toward a goal of having enough room to keep a breeding flock. I have one life to live and I am going to grab it and not be afraid of anything anymore.

So, I called my friend John who drove me to get the fence, and we dropped it off at the farm, and then me at my house. I then put an ad on craigslist for fence help and one out of the two that offered to work, showed up. We worked for two days and all but about 40 feet are done. Sheep were in there all day yesterday when we worked, and boy did they eat. It appeared that weeds were the favorite item. They usually rest more, but it was cool, so they were happy.

Before I could leave, I had to put the sheep back in the other pasture, and I sent Lucy to get them. They were in a wooded section. I sent her, and they came running and I put the sheep up. Then, Lucy ran back to the pasture they came from and ran out again. I had absolutely no idea what she was doing, save for may just running around, but out of the woods came two lambs. I had no idea that they were there, but Lucy did. We got them in the field with the others and I just shook my head in amazement at my Lucy.

So, today I will finish the fence, and start putting a few more t-posts in, and the sheep will have new digs!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

So, summer is in full swing, even if the calendar disagrees. This means I hibernate.... I just can't hack high heat and humidity. Dogs get a walk around the pasture, and a dip on the pond and that's it.

Yesterday was the last sort of okay temperature-wise day we were going to have. After work, I headed up to the farm, walked the dogs and then checked the sheep. So far so good. I noticed that one of the older ewes looked a bit thin, and scored her and she had lost a little bit of weight. I decided I should worm them, as I did not worm them when I did the Cheviots one or two months ago.

I got Lucy and we were able to get three done, just holding them on the fence, but this one pain in the butt ewe would have none of me getting to her. So, I had to bring them down by the gate where there is a bit of a corner. I dosed her, and as usual, Lucy was a great help. Would not have sheep without a dog, no way. I think I am getting good at noticing little things in my sheep; things that are off in a small way. This, I hope means I can catch things before they go to far south.

The fence guy neither called nor showed up yesterday (surprise surprise). He said he would come Friday if not Tues, so let's see. He's a real pita. But, almost done, so I have to put up with it a little longer.

Well, that's it for now.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Yeah, busy, yeah, over-tired. What else is new? Yesterday, I felt pretty horrible all day, but today I stayed in bed a bit longer and feel relatively human today. Made an appointment for a B12 shot, and an appt with my physician. I need to get healthy again.

I had a lesson with Aled Owen on Friday. It went well, and I learned some new techniques to deal with Danny being a bit short on his left outrun. Aled is very good in that he requires pretty much perfect work, but the dogs never seem over taxed/stressed by it. That's a big thing for me.

Weekend, I was beat all weekend- got minimal stuff done, but did bring home three ewe lambs and two ram lambs (for freezer). First night was spent in barn yard, but yesterday, I put them with the big sheep in the pasture. Today I want to worm everyone.

Fence guy *may* come today, if not, he will be there Friday, to finish up. I may end up needing a stronger charger, so we shall see.

Going to be horribly hot this week, until it breaks on Friday, so really, no dog work, besides walks. Sheep hate the heat, so do I and the dogs.

That's about it for now.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Ahhhhh Wednesday. As usual, it takes me this long to recover from a trial....... This last trial was 2 hours away and I got up at 4:30 am each day. I am not built for such things.

It has been very hot this week. No sheep work and yesterday was spent running around. Lucy was sore from some thing, dropped gas off so my brother could mow the training field, this was after work. Last night I just slept like a rock. Until that is, Ginger woke me up wanting help to get past Lucy (shakes head).

Today is a new day. After getting some good rest, after work, I will hit the grocery store and get some steak and potatoes for dinner- maybe I will make them for my brother and I, and I may bring home some lambs. Have to get that done- at least one in tact ram which is for freezer, or maybe breeding for someone else. Depends on how mother nature is.

Fence is still not done. I am so sick of it all. I really just want to go with field fencing anyway, and may end up just borrowing John's truck and getting it. That way lambs can be in there.

I am stressed lately over things I can't control, and that is exhausting.

I have a lesson on Friday, but weekend off, and also the next several off. YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, that's it, manic-ly pedaling and seemingly not getting anywhere!