Friday, November 30, 2012

Joe versus Dan

Not in respect to working, but they do differ in that too... But, what I am talking about here, is in living with them.

Now, I have to say up front, Dan was shown the ball in the back yard and I think that did a heap of damage to him... in some ways.  He sees the back yard as a place to race around and be crazy.  It's not really a fun thing, and now, I usually let him outside by himself, or with Lucy because he spends his entire time being a nut.  He will eventually calm down, but you can see, he believes it's action out there.  Joe goes out with me in the backyard, or the other dogs and will play with other dogs, but does not race around willy nilly, for the most part.  He will carry a toy and play with it, but he's not totally nuts. 

In the house, Dan will chill, as Joe does.  Dan usually hangs out in the living room- always has, but Joe is with me all the time.  In the evening when watching TV Joe lays near me, and takes my cue..  sometimes I can even get up and he will stay there.  Dan's always up the minute I am and gets to wherever I am going before I even start there...

In the morning, Joe will bring a Nylabone and we play a bit of soccer when I get ready in the bathroom.  Dan I think used to do that too a bit.  Joe is calm, but playful.  Dan is well, hyper, I would call it and playful.

On our walks, it's most evident.  Dan has to race ahead and compete with Joe.  Joe usually lets him lead.  Dan has to run ahead and back every where.  On the way to the sheep, Dan has to try to block me, maybe not block me but basically gets to the pasture backward.  Joe will run ahead and sit at the gate.   Dan's just well, nuts some times.  I do love him, and when he is most calm, is when he is on sheep...  so that's good.

I definitely like Joe's temperament? is it?  better....


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Various

I am enjoying the slow creep into winter this year.   We had a little snow yesterday; not much at all at the farm, but enough to spur me to sing a few Christmas carols at work yesterday... Yep, I do love those Christmas Carols...  I have not finished the leaves but am about an hour away.... Almost there.... jeez, you would think it was like pulling teeth- well, this year, for some reason it is...

I got some much needed cleaning done yesterday.  I used to dislike my house because it was so small, and have finally realized that for cleaning/heating/cooling, for just me, that smaller is better....

It's just the usual at the farm these days, been working Joe every other day and it's better for both of us.  Sure would like to have more chores to do, but with only a handful of sheep, there isn't much to do...  One thing, those Romney girls are single minded- especially that black one.  She will find a way to try and get to the wheelbarrow with the hay, and every single time, Dan has to push her away, and then address the flock who tries to sneak in.   He's learning to get this job without much command from me.

Well, not much to report at this point... 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Indulge me...

In a wee bit of reverie about my cat....  My tabby boy kitty is very special to me.  He's not your average aloof, self centered kitty, he's pretty much just the opposite...  At night, when I get in bed to read, he comes up and lays in the crook of my arm and rests his head on my hand.  If I say something to him, he purrs.  He just simply loves to be near me...  If I jostle around a bit, he does not get his nose out of joint, he gets up, waits, and goes back to his station. 

In the mornings lately, he has awoken about 4 something, and eventually comes onto the bed and lays at my head, purring, and very happy.  Not pushing me to get up, just enjoying being near me.

When I do get up, and let the dogs out, he goes with them, and goes to the shed, where mice live, and "hunts"... Once all the dogs are in and I have showered, he appears at the back door standing on his hind legs, and asks to be let in.  Then he greets the dogs- usually with a lick to the forehead (but not to Joe or Dan- they are too busy for that).  Then he waits for his food, and he gets it, and then, right before I leave, he gets three small treats (and Lucy gets a couple), as sort of a good bye ritual.

This cat makes me very happy, he's affectionate and patient (I can pick him up like a baby and nuzzle his belly- and he just loves it.  And, he acts very much like a dog, begging and all.  Certain cats just rock and he's one of them...

Monday, November 26, 2012

Sheep, winter, dogs

Finally got set up for winter, wrt to the sheep.  They've got their bigger water tub and heater set up near the barn, and I brought them up to see it.  I always worry when you move things like that that they will find them.... So, I got them in to the barn yard and they all had a look see, and then they were back off again. 

In a few weeks I will be starting to grain everyone.  Some time mid December, moms to be will have to be on grain, and I will gauge it carefully, as the hay is pretty rich.  The ram lamb looks quite plump...  When that happens, I will really be tied down for a bit, but then, I have no plans to go anywhere anyhow...

Spoke to the hay guy, and he will save me hay until some time in January, as the stack is really high as it is, and I don't want to add to it now (I hate climbing that high as it is!).  This is good news, and then I can decide if I need more or less than I am estimating.  For now, one bale a day is doing it... But, if we get really cold snowy conditions, that may change- hope not...

Dogs are good.   I have decided to lay off working Joe quite as much as he has the basics, and I so love his keen nature, I don't want to quell that at all, and I think too much drilling ruins young dogs.  So, that said, one day on, one day off will be the name of the game.  Have some new things to work on too... he should love them; I hope!

I see I am getting well and truly hooked on working these dogs... It's scary....


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Nothing like it.........

There is NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING like taking a hot shower at night and getting into your home made (by mom) flannel night gown, getting under the covers and reading a book and sleeping SOUNDLY all night.  The past few years I have taken a shower at night to warm up.  It's been one of those things, that is not just physically comforting, but mentally too.... 


Monday, November 19, 2012

The trial

This weekend I attended our last trial for the year.  There is one more, but it will be too far away, I am afraid... But, maybe...

Anyway, I left early Saturday morning, as I was not due to run until later in the day, and I just wanted one night in a hotel; this makes it so much easier on my sister who takes care of my animals (and my sheep this time!)  I got to the site, and watched some runs, and helped in the pen just a very short time before my slated time.

The handlers post was situated on a small knoll, and not sure how far away the sheep were.  I sent Dan to the right and he had a nice outrun and lift- he lifted them nicely and had a decent fetch.  Turned the post, had a good driveway, and also hit the cross drive panels.  Sheep were moving comfortably, Dan had them calm, but respectful.  Got them to the pen and got two in.  One stalled halfway out facing in.  The two that were in were facing out.  I knew that if I had Dan walk up, they would have busted out, as they were as far back as they could go.  I stomped, I jumped up and down, blew in her ear, and even moved so she could see Dan better, and finally she went in.  Phew.  Then, it was time for.... the..... shed.....

Sheep were still calm and so was Dan.  After a short time I got them lined up, two facing one direction, one facing the other, and called Dan in, and he came in and he took the single, and I walked him up (for the shed, you could take the sheep anyway, but your dog had to hold it for a time)...  Then, the horn beeped signaling we got our shed!!!! We did the shed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Our score was 86, and put us at 9th, and we even got some points toward qualifying for the nationals!

I was very happy with Dan.  After our run, I watched more runs, and brought Joe out to watch, but honestly, he found even that boring because he wanted to do something ;)  I then went to the hotel, checked in and then back to the trial site for the handler's dinner.   It was amazing.  Roast Turkey, potatoes and then everyone brought side dishes.   I was lame and brought some croissants and pumpkin pie, as I did not know how I would keep anything being that I was in a hotel... Anyway, the food was just great.  Some folks brought some hot buttered rum, and a great time was had by all.  I ate way more than I needed.  Finally, it was time to get back, and hit the hay.  It was cold.  No dogs allowed in the hotel.  I thought I would adhere to that rule, but when I saw another handler at the hotel and he said he would bring his dogs in, I figured I should too- it was in the low twenties that night... So, I brought Dan and Joe in.  I did not want Dan to get a crampy back from freezing all night.  Joe paced for a few hours (as he does not ever not sleep in a crate) and then they both slept all night.  Not me- no clock in the room and since I was first on the line Sunday, I was afraid I would over sleep... So, I got very little sleep...

Sunday came and I ended up being first on the line.  It was very very cold and the ground was white.  That's bad....  I walked to the post, had Dan look at the sheep and was going to just let him go right, but saw one lamb bolting to the left, so I sent him come by.  He was almost up the middle, and then, he kicked out and went deep, like all the way to the set out pens.  And then he stopped- he did not see the sheep.   I had to lie him down, then say, "look" and then when he saw them, have him walk up, and then flank him around... So, he lifted his sheep, and they were buggered, so we got them through the fetch panels, around the post, through the drive away, they were high for the cross drive and then we did not get the shed- they were stuck like glue to each other, so also no pen.  A very bad run indeed!  Several more had very similar runs, except for the outrun. I asked the set out person when she thought and she said he did not see the sheep, that they blended in with the white frost...

I stayed for just a few more runs and headed home.  Beat as can be.  Walked the dogs, fed the sheep and home. 

Over all it was a great weekend.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I love a man with a chainsaw.....

I do, and it's because I won't ever try and use one again and because my brother apparently has a major aversion to them, making things extremely difficult to keep up with at the farm, because it IS a tree farm after all, and the trees there, are "shedding" trees, trees that lose their limbs over time....  What a pain in the you know what....

So, after work yesterday, I met Charlie at the farm and we cut up the two trees my brother knocked down with the back hoe.  I should add that my brother likes to knock trees down with that machine, but that's where his interest stops...  Anyway, we got those trees picked up and then started in the bottom left part of the big field.  It's gradually been cleared by livestock but there was a lot of downed GIANT limbs and vines, and you name it, still left there, and when the sheep go there when working Joe, well, it is nigh unto impossible to have him be able to get to the sheep... So,  Charlie cut up and I loaded the dump truck, and we did this for several loads.  At one point we took a break so I could go get some food (I was starving) and Charlie kept working while I was gone- that is my kinda man!  When I returned we stood at the bed of his dump truck, ate, chatted, and then back to it.  Finally, after 4.5 hours, I hit the wall- and so did he, and I proclaimed we were done...  I think he was happy too...
I would say we got 1/2 of that side cleared out.  There is still a lot of pieces of dead wood, but that will need raking and a shovel.  Still and all, it looks a LOT better, and now grass, precious grass can fill in there...

I was beat after that, but still took the dogs for a walk, but I did not work them, as there was no energy left for that.  I fed the sheep; gave them a bale and a half, as one bale, I don't think, will cut it for them this year.  More sheep this year...  Will see how much they ate of it, and see if I am on the right track.   To determine how much they need, I like to see just a tiny bit of hay left the next morning... I don't want anyone hungry, and I am not feeding grain now until January, so hay will be it- unless they for some reason need it... I plan to body score everyone today to get a read on how they are doing. 

Today is a normal day, with a salad for lunch (how I love those salads) and I will work the dogs when I get to the farm, and revel in the cleaner section of the field ;)

That's it for now!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Training, hay

Hey everyone!  Don't know where the time has gone... Really... Well, I guess part of aging is getting forgetful?  Well, anyway....

On Sunday I drove down to my friend's place to work the dogs.  Dan did great.  We did not work on any shedding, as doing it every day at my place, I figured I would give him a break.  Joe did well too.  We did a few outruns with my friend holding and he's getting that.  He will need more practice but this winter will be good for that.  I am selective as to who I will let hold for him since he's so young, I don't want him to have a bad experience....

I honestly don't remember what I did Saturday...  Not good...

Anyway on Monday, I got to the farm and noticed that my brother had taken a section of fence down (it was there temporarily) and knocked a tree down right in front of the barn.  So, the sheep had to be locked out of the barnyard and I was not happy, because I put them in there to shed some off to use for Joe.  Thankfully, the sheep were smart, and handled the blockage fine, by going around. 

Joe: Joe is learning driving, getting more and more comfortable with it.  I am also asking for him to be sure he takes the right direction when given a flank command.  I am not doing outruns at my field, as the sheep just take off too fast.  Need to have a fun day at my place so we can practice :)

Dan: Dan is coming along really nice in shedding.  Now, instead of the sheep just running behind me, he's calm enough that they avoid me and will split on their own (with my help) and I can call him in and walk him up on the group I want.   By George I think he's getting it!  He sure seems a lot calmer.  I am so happy with Dan.  He's been a perfect first open dog for me.

Sheep are good.  The new ram lamb is doing well and the runty lamb is okay.  Color looks better and she will stay, I have decided for training purposes, as if the adult ewes are bred, I will only have a few sheep for training in the spring.  The hay I got is annoying me.  There are several really stemmy bales.  Sheep don't eat stems, and they REALLY don't eat alfalfa stems...  I am going to have a chat with my hay guy about the issue.  Not every bale is all stems, but many are...

This weekend is the last trial of the year.  I found a hotel that is close and not too expensive, will only be staying one night and heading back home after I run early on Sunday.  Then, that's it until next year!  I would like to have a fun day at my place but will have to see what every one's schedules are.



Friday, November 9, 2012

Ah Friday....

I am looking forward to the weekend.  This week has been a long one, partly because of the news events, and partly because for some reason it seemed to slog on... But, it's almost over! 

Busy day at work today, and the I will work the dogs.  Still working on shedding with Dan, it's a slow slow process.  I am able to get a nice hole for him to come in, but he's just not natural with this, so I hope to heck most of our trials call for the shed last, because if not, then we lose pen and shed points...  Lack of eye and liking to flank result in a dog looking at the big picture too much.  I will say, though, he's getting better at pushing the ones I want off and covering them well from behind.

Joe was amazing yesterday.  He simply was so on and well,  he's just very cool to work.  I did not work him very long, and we ended up taking a second lap for our walk, because I feel like we all need the exercise.

I have to get the leaves done at my house... I hate doing leaves, I mean I hate it...  Has to get done though...

Well, that's it for now!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Chocolate Chip cookies

I was not in the best of moods yesterday... I did eat a nice healthy lunch at work (salad), and then after work, headed up to the farm.  It was very cold.  We had a nice walk (albeit sort of fast) and then I gave a bale of hay to the sheep, which I am not real happy with.  It's an alfalfa/grass second cut, but it has loads of stems, and sheep don't eat those stems... I will mention this to Lloyd my hay guy.  But, on the bright side, they are getting a lot of nutrition in the hay they do eat...  I then loaded up to leave and do a few errands on way home, one of which was stop and get chocolate chip cookies- pre-made version, to bake, because I needed it... 

On the way home I turned on my heated leather seats (YES! love them) and got home, and the snow started.  Very windy too.  Glad we did not lose power.   I was still cold though- I keep the house at 60 degrees, so I ended up taking a warm shower after I fed everyone and then cozied up under a blanket to read my book.    When it was time to let Joe out, he LOVED the snow, he did the zoomies in it- which I have never seen him do!  Very cute- one happy puppy! 

After dinner I baked those cookies.  MMMMM, with a glass of milk.  Just perfect for a day like yesterday.   Then, when it was time for bed, I settled in with my book and my warm blankets, with kitty laying next to me, and Lucy too, and slept like a rock all night.  I guess I found the perfect combination for good sleep.

Today have an oil change for my car, and then various stuff.  The snow may be melted by the afternoon, we will see. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Working dogs

The other day I went to a friend's place and worked dogs.  It was very cool.  I was able to catch up with Joe's breeder and see his litter mates work and I also got to work a couple of them.  They have not been officially started for various reasons.   One male is similar to Joe in a lot of ways, and the other has a bit more eye.  I was happy that they worked for me.  The one with eye is also very one sided, but by the end of our short session I had him going on the hated side pretty nice.  I really love starting dogs... I really do.  I would love to start these guys for her, but I can't keep them at my place.  I do have good sheep for it though!

I worked Dan on shedding and now he's totally about it.  His cover is better now, and that was evidenced when we got home and I sent him for the sheep, they took off to the right and when I whistled a stop, he did not!  He never does that!!!  He was not letting them get away though.... Before the trial, suffice to say we will have to work on the basics again.

Joe, what can I say.  He was a good boy.  I worked on a few things, and then my friend said that they would hold sheep for him.  I was a bit worried, but figured he's ready.  Well, when I first sent him to the right, he stopped half way up on the outrun and went toward the sheep... hmmm, he figured they would come running to me like they always do, I guess.  Anyway, then we did a few more and he was getting it.  At first a bit worried about going by the person holding the sheep, but then okay.  Then we took a break.

Then, I went back out there.  This time I stood near Joe (I am usually between he and sheep) and I got a perfect outrun both sides.  Stopped at the top and walked him in.   Can you believe it?  I said, well, that's it, going to end it on a good note- it made my day...

Then, we headed home, I gave some hay to the sheep and then I went and voted, and home again. 

Today the bad weather rolls in.

Snow and water....

The week has been plowing ahead.  Clean up continues in NYC and Jersey, and now we've another storm headed our way today.  This will be tiny compared to Sandy.  We are getting some snow, not much but enough to accumulate.  But, this weekend will bring temps near 60 degrees, so that white stuff will disappear.  I have to bring my larger stock tank to the farm, as I have more sheep to water this winter.  Hope it fits in my car okay....

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Work of all sorts and cold!


Work first, then...

Yesterday sort of blew by... or should I say, I almost blew away?  I had just finished walking the dogs when John pulled in with his new to him truck and I thought about asking if I could bring Joe, but I saw he had his Lakeland terrier with us...  so, ixnay on that.

We got up there and it was WINDY and cold.  I just shivered, literally while we talked a little.  We got the ram loaded (he's NOT a small guy) and headed home.  John is a very slow driver, so by the time we go to the farm to drop me off, I REALLY had to go.... So bad in fact, that I left my cell phone in his truck.

So, I worked Dan on shedding and Joe on various things, with the whole flock, which was good- he loved it..

When done with that, I stopped by John to unload the ram, and he was immediately ensconced in his new girls.  Then I headed home and relaxed.  I was too cold though, so I needed a hot shower, I made some scrambled eggs/toast and then got in bed.  Long cold day, and it's only early November.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Almost ready

To hit the road.  Did a load of laundry, made/ate breakfast, and am having coffee now.   In a little bit I will be heading north to the farm to work Joe a bit and then my friend John will be meeting me at the farm and we will go up and get the ram he's borrowing from a friend of mine.  John's got a new used truck, uses diesel, and judging by the lines to get gas yesterday, I bet he's glad he went that way.

After that, it will be a quiet weekend.  I have to get a start on the leaves.

I am happy with my decision not to get the camper.  It would have been an albatross in my driveway, I am afraid as I just would not use it enough to be able to justify over a decade of payments...  I am looking at all the new tenting abilities out of your suv, and also maybe even a pop up.  I need something small, but I am in no rush, because I just need to decompress after all that....

So, hope everyone has a good day today, and will check back later :)

Friday, November 2, 2012

What a day, and I need a nice country singin' man...

That's what I said to myself when I heard the song "Carrying your love with me" by George Strait this morning.  Yes, I need a nice country singin' man...

Yesterday, I went to the camper dealership and first we did the demo of the thing.  When I walked into the garage I was immediately taken with how big it was.  It did NOT seem that big when I saw it last... I started to get a bit nervous.  Then, we continued on all the instruction and my eyes started to glaze over with the information and warnings.   The last part was winterization, which just about did me in... there was no way I was going to be able to remember all that stuff.....

So, we go inside and I sit with the financial guy, who is nice by the way, and he looks at me and he says "are you sure?"  and I said "No, I'm not".  So began my several minutes of indecision.  I sat there and started signing the papers and finally, I said I have to go outside and make a call.  Besides the hugeness of the thing, was the hugeness of the financing, which would have doubled the end price of it... that did not sit well with me. 

So, I went outside and called my sister, THANK GOD for her..  I was in tears, I kid you not.  Disappointed with myself, scared.  Never have I even been in such a state... We talked for a few minutes and she allowed me to say my fears, and realize this was just not for me.  I knew if I paid that much for it, I would end up hating it.  So, I went in and told the finance guy.  He said okay, but he had to tell the sales manager.  That guy was irritated.  So, the finance guy said go home and he would hold the paperwork, but after dealing with the sales guy and his attitude, I said no need for me to go home, just rip it up.  In the meantime, they had already started installing the hitch.  HOURS and HOURS I sat there.  At one point they had an employee drive me to get lunch at the nearby diner, as my blood sugar was plunging.

After seven hours?  The sales manager tells me the car is ready, and here's the bill.  They GOUGED me.  They told me when I was planning to get the camper, they would throw in the hitch/brake assist etc., for $600.00, but now that I was not getting it, it is now $1200.00.  I was too tired to fight.  I had to pay that and just get the hell out of there.  Today I will be getting estimates from other places, and see if they were way off, and if they were demand a partial refund.

I got home last night and had a beer and pb/j for dinner and read my book and went to sleep.  I have never had such an over-wrought day ever.  I believe I did the right thing, even though it was expensive (the hitch), but I can use that hitch, if I ever find a cheap camper I am comfortable with, and for a stock trailer.  What a day. 

This morning I heard that song "Carrying your love with me" by George Strait and I said "I need a good country singin' man".  Word.

Thursday, November 1, 2012