Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Away to Me

Last night I watched the movie "Away to Me" which chronicles the lives of Faansie Basson, Amanda Milliken and Haley Huniwell (nee Howard), and followed them in their competition at the illustrious Soldier Hollow trial, held in UTAH on a previous Olympic skiing site...  This trial is by invitation only.  This movie was GREAT!  I encourage you all to either borrow, or get a copy of it.  So great, and really speaks to why we do this, and why these dogs amaze us on a daily basis...  It was so great, sort of injects a bit of energy into my less than energetic trialing bones! 

We had an interesting run at Cummington.  Sheep were not of the settled variety, who knows why, maybe Dan riled them, but it was falling apart at the cross drive, and then they ran behind the pen and chute and then two split for exhaust and I quit.  One stayed RIGHT at my side and literally walked at heel next to me as I went to get Dan who was bringing sheep off the field.   She just looked shell shocked.. who knows.. it's how it goes. 

I got home from the trial and mowed the lawn, and found my mail box is broken from a bush growing into it and then, under my sink I see my PVC piping came apart and my cabinet floor is all wet.  Have to get both addressed- the drain today for sure!  I also have to string trim and run some errands for my sis.  Busy time of year.  The yearling has not delivered yet, and I think I will put the ram and a few others up in hill field for now, so I can keep the new lamb safe from the ram.

So, here it is almost June and things are going a mile a minute, just how I like it!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

My idea of a very GOOD 24 hours

The above pics are of my Border Leicester cross ewe, and her lamb (father is Border Cheviot), she is beautiful, and he fleece is the softest fleece I have ever felt... The second pic if of the ram lamb I have; he is huge and for sale, and the third pic is a Border Collie hiding behind some reeds...

I have had a very nice 24 hours.  First, I went to the sheepdog trial.  Dan had a good go,but no chute no and therefore no pen... low score, but he did well on his outwork and only 3 points off all of it.  Cold and rainy there, but still, I enjoyed myself.

Then today, a day off from trialing.  Brought my nephew to the farm to do some string trimming; taught him some tricks and watched him go to it.  Then, I worked Joe and then I walked the dogs.  Now, I am home, and just finished a pot pie.  Now, I am going to lie down.  My head hurts, but that does not take anything from this being a great 24 hours.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Hmmm, wasn't expecting that....

Yesterday, brought all the sheep down from the hill field into the barn.  I should say Dan did this...  Got the sheep in the barn and into the smaller room.  Dan had them in and when I turned around, Dan had left to go back out in paddock and in a few secs, comes back with a straggler.  Good boy Dan.  Started doing shots- one lamb, the second to youngest was nutso, but most were good.  The ram lamb is like an adult sheep now, he's bigger than this mother and not even three months old.  Good gracious!  Anyway, the black one was the best.  When I let her up her mother immediately called to her and back with her mom she went- plastered to her side as always.

As I was doing this work, bent over a lamb... I looked up and saw that my thin yearling, with the wool break, who is gaining weight nicely... has a bag... oh boy.  Never saw this coming.  Not that I should not have but....  Great.  No wonder she was thin.  I gave her a CD/T shot, as her last was in Feb, and now I have to decide what to do with her... The ram is not nice to babies, so I will have to divide things up, or pen the ram.. I just don't know.  She's still thin, but this great grass we have had has been good for everyone- and she has gained weight even if still a bit thin.  her bag is not tiny, like that last ewe that went for a long time, so as of today, everyone getting moved down to the lower field and I have to set a jug back up too.  I hope she's a good mom.  She's rather young.  I guess this ram will have to be separated from here on out, because he sure is dedicated to his work.

Worked Dan a bit, he was very nice, and also worked Joe a bit.  We need to do stall work soon.  He needs more comfort on sheep in tight places, but now with lamb on way, my room for that will be taken.

Still really poor.  Ate no dinner last night, literally nothing in the larder.  Was very weak this morning, but tomorrow is pay day.  Thank goodness.  Have to get the lawn mowed today and maybe vacuum as I will be busy Friday and holiday weekend.

Well, that's it for now...

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

So, yesterday was busy day, and by the time I got to the sheep it was pretty warm out.  Walked the dogs, and worked Joe- need to work Dan today...

Joe was a bit flummoxed by the lambs who did not flock as well as they could and I see lots of holes in his work, so lots to work on.  He was pretty hot after working but we took a lot of breaks- I don't work him long, but having to think so much makes a dog pretty hot...

I have to get the oil changed in my car this week as well as get the rest of the dogs in for their annuals.  Waiting on some money for that... may be a long wait.  Just behind the eight ball this year wrt money...  Would really like my sheep to be bringing in some money for me!  Still at the point though of wanting to increase numbers so I have enough to work and enough to breed. 

I put said sheep up in the hill field yesterday.  Moving them has been great- by the looks of them.  Hope to keep it up.  We have a fourth field that is being cleared now, so when that is done, more grass.  Always chasing that grass..

Well, that's it for now!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Old UK style

Guess what?! I moved the sheep again yesterday!  They are loving this.  I moved them to behind and to the side of the barn.  There is a LOT of browse in there, which they go for first.  I tried to get netting to block off on the barn side, but the ground is way too rocky.  So I shut the barn doors and blocked them that way.  I covered up some areas at one place where I know there is some construction debris concerns.  They should be good for at least three days there.

Raining her right now; supposed to do so off and on all week. This is great.  We are considered "abnormally dry" via the US drought monitor, so I am happy to get any and all rain.  Everything at the house is so green and beautiful right now.  I love it after I have mowed/trimmed and then just to sit back and enjoy the view.

Worked Joe yesterday.  He's getting big for his breeches, and I need to do some close work with him, as he just wants to keep walking in and in.  He's not slashy dashy, he's just uber confident.  But, when he walks in too close they bust and then he covers. He's creating his own work...

I wormed the sheep the other day, surprised I had enough wormer.  The thin yearling who looks terrible due to wool break, has finally turned a corner and is eating to beat the band and is gaining weight.  This makes me very very happy.  The lambs look good.  Will be getting three cross breed lambs later this summer and then I think we are good.  Have to move the in tact ram lamb on sometimes in June.  He's ginormous.  The littlest lamb who's dad is the ram lamb is just awesome- built like an old UK style Border Cheviot.  I am SUPER happy with her!

Have more work to get done at the farm, but moving the net is not easy.  Every spike takes a LOT of work to get in.  Today I was going to go to a breakfast at my sister's church, but my stomach is doing flip flops, so just toast and coffee I think.  Really poor again this week.  Going to be so tight...   If it weren't for trialing... Ah well, such is life- what is life without a little pleasure?

Well, that's it for now :)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Yeah, debt but....

It's been three years now that I have had my sheep at my brother's place...  Before that, back in 2007, I had some sheep on a rented pasture, but that did not work well and I sold out of it very fast (too new to get all that was required, and too clueless).

My brother and I talked about it, and he agreed, and then after a total face warming joy... and walking out where the fence would go, I began on my journey- of increasing my debt... ah ha! no, not just that, but creating another Julie, one who could go back to where she was as a kid, at my grandparent's farm, and be out there, with the animals, and nature... 

It took forever to get that field cleared and a LOT of money, as there were a ton of trees to clear and brush hogging etc.  Lots of work, but more a labor of love, and future.  My brother had some steers in a field he had already fenced (the lower field) and once they were gone, I got permission to what I call "hard fence" that field, and so with the help of someone I hired off of Craigslist, I got it done.  Still more work to do on that....

In all this time I got more and sold some sheep.  Spent my time scheduling, accomplishing various seasonal goals, as I do now.  Spring is time for weed killing and lots of sheep moving, so grass can grow strong.  Summer is quiet, and saving money for hay.  Fall is breeding and getting hay in, and winter is caring for the girls so they can have healthy lambs... 

During all this I maintain the full time job, try and keep the house clean and orderly, and keep up with outside stuff (this is hardest this time of year when everything grows like crazy).   I am just like myriad others, poor (a lot) happy most of the time, and occasionally upset over things said to me.

But, all in all, life is very good, I am busy, some what in shape and am doing what makes me happy.

Debt=life, no debt=no life... and I want to live.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Am extraordinarily poor right now.  Thinking of selling a kidney... I am only half joking... ;)  Next month will be better, but right now, the cost of the electro net and other things... it's bad.  Keeping all my sheep for now, but...  I have to figure something out.  So far have been eating lots of left overs and rice.  Too bad I couldn't eat grass with the sheep...

Worked the dogs yest.  Joe was good, but have to keep him remembering what a stop is.  Used the whole flock which was good. 

This morning Joe and Dan had a growl at each other; first time, and I got after them....  I will have to nip this in the bud....

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Last week I got in three rolls of electro net and moved the sheep onto the middle field that sits behind the barn.  I started with one roll, then a second, then the third.  On Sunday morning I got a call very early that the sheep had gotten out.  Great.  So I headed out without even a shower.  Got them all in- I think it was my fault- the sheep pulled deep grass through the fence and it pulled the posts up- I did not stick them in ground deep enough.  Anyway, fixed that, and then sprayed the white snake root, to kill it before it takes over.  That hill field was so over run with it last year, but this year, the young plants coming in is way less.  I think I may finally be winning the battle on this- I certainly hope.  If this weed was not poisonous, and the sheep ate it I would let it be, but that is not the case, and it absolutely takes over in the field.

I moved the entire three rolls of electro net yesterday.  Sheep had to be moved into it, and there were myriad ways they could chose to go.  Dan was absolutely great working with me to convince them that it was a good idea to go there.  Lots of wonderful grass.   My lean ewe, the one I bred, has wool break- something happened to her at some point health wise- she never had diarrhea, but obviously she encountered a health challenge.  She has been wormed, and when I wean the lambs, she and the lambs will be wormed- the adults I will check FAMACHA scores and see what we have.  I am loathe to worm animals that do not need it.

I worked Joe the other day, and am at a point where I need to get him in a smaller area working with the sheep, he's confident for sure, but I want to get him to move between the fence and them calmly.  Dan got it very quick. 

I am trying to catch up on house/yard stuff.  Cleaned the living room, washed windows/curtains, and that sort of thing.  Yesterday I string trimmed the back yard- egads did it need it!  Too tired to do front, will finish front/side today.  I feel like I am so busy it's crazy.  But, it's a good busy. 

So, that's my update!

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Have not been doing great energy-wise the last few days.  Basically I am back in that place where all I want is bed.  Have been having some physical issues lately, which may be the cause of this.  Have seen a Dr, and moving to get things addressed.  This all means nothing, really, because I need to get the sheep moved onto fresh grass.   Not only is the big field being mowed down, but the lambs are at an age where they will start to become susceptible to worm load and I don't want issues....

Joe is ready to get back to work now... he was all wiggly this morning.  Would like to accommodate him but will have to see what weather is like- may wait until tomorrow.

I am so looking forward to a quiet weekend.....

Over and out for now.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Ready and raring

After the trial wrapped up, I went to take a lesson with Haley Huniwell, the judge of the trial.  First thing I did was show her what Joe could do- flanks, etc.  Then she asked me to just take the leash off.  Well, that is when you see what you have!  A dog who busted through the sheep!  Haley had me work on proper cover (Joe will some times over flank on the right).  This was a great field for training and very good sheep too.  It was a great lesson and I got a lot of good advice, and I made a mental note of everything.  As I was leaving another girl who had a lesson canceled her next morning lesson, so I took that slot (how great luck is that?!) and I went back the next day.  We built on what we did previously.  Joe was so keen after each session (we took breaks every so often) it was great to see him be ready and raring to go, even after all that.

Yesterday, the electro net came in and I got one roll up.  Now it is time for my brother to get the charger going and then I can put the sheep down in middle field to graze.  This is a very good thing, because grass is at a premium, as it has been so dry.

All in all I had a great last few days and now I need some down time just to chill out.  I have to clean the house and get things organized.  Also need to get a new a/c unit as mine has issues. 

Well, that's it for now.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Finality final report

Sad to say, but this is indeed the final report of the Finality sheepdog trial, for the place is for sale, and Barbara Meyer, who so graciously allowed us the use of the field, passed away in January of this year.

Anyway, so, on my second run of the trial with Dan, I just wanted him to bring me the sheep.  I was NOT going to micro manage him at the top, and just let him bring me the sheep.  So, I set him off on the left, and although it could have been wider, he had a decent outrun/lift, and then I just let him bring him.  Gave him no commands the entire fetch, which lost us all but five points because I did not do the dog leg.  I wanted my Dan to just do his work.  This will gain him confidence.  It was a beautifully straight and calm fetch.  Nice turn at the post and good drive.  At the drive away I let the sheep veer toward the trees, as honestly, I was so happy and not focusing.  We did get both panels and timed out at pen.  Worst score we have ever had, but run felt the best ever.  I was SO proud of my boy.  We got our mojo back!

The weather was great the entire trial, it went very smoothly.  So, now off for a bit and have to get back to work at the farm.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Half way report

After a rough day on Thurs- I watched a lot of runs and spent most of that time worrying about how Dan would do. Chatham was a very major wake up call for me...  I went home that night and slept relatively well..

Friday was our first run. Before I went to the trial I went to the farm, moved sheep back to big pasture, walked the dogs and stopped to get some water.  Got to the trial, watched a bit and then went to the post as nervous as I have ever been.  All I wanted was for Dan to get to his sheep and at least attempt to bring them.

I sent him, he was a bit tight, but I re-directed twice and he kicked out.  Came in a little flat.  I whistled him on and it was slow and I now KNOW I need glasses.  So, they moved a bit, but clearly very heavy, and I have never seen Dan have such a slow lift.  So, then they were going and I was an idiot and decided to get them back on line with a come by flank.  Well, it was a tight flank and they shot over toward the barn.  Dan ran over to cover- and he was tight- and they broke around him and high tailed it behind the barn.  I half heartedly said "get back" having given up on this run.  In less than a minute, but what felt like forever, back around the back of the barn came the sheep, and Dan shortly thereafter- calm, they were all calm.  I had retired when they went behind the barn, as I figured it was a dq anyway (which I have since learned it was not), and met him halfway up the field and we exhausted out sheep.  

So, I have to say, even though by trial standards this was very bad, I was very happy that Dan went and got those sheep.  Was told by workers up there that he calmly went around them and pulled them out of the corner.  So, one + for Dan :)  

We have a run today, and then finished for the trial :)

I think Dan lacks in confidence, and this can only be corrected by getting out there to big fields and working. I hope!