Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Big E

I had a great time at the Big E on Monday.  I went to run Joe and Dan in two trials over the course of the day.  These were time/point trials in an arena.  I got there early enough to unload my car at the building, which was great, because at the end of the day, you have to schlep your stuff (crates, etc) and dogs back to the far away parking lot through throngs of people. 

Anyway, Dan ran first and had a decent go, not bad for only being back with me about two months, and only having worked twice for very short periods with me... He was happy and so was I.  Joe had a very good run, but I muffed up the pen, so it added time (shortest time with total allowable points gets you the win), but at the end of the trial, Dan got 14 place and Joe got 3rd. 

The second trial, not so good.  Joe was off the rails a bit, so we lost some points.  Dan had a sheep that kept escaping.  Joe did not place, but Dan eked out a 15th place.

It was a great little event, and I can't think of a better way to spend a Monday, than dog trialing!  I was interviewed while I was there, and I have attached the link for you all.

Dan is in there toward the end, catching the rogue ewe I mentioned earlier.   Joe is with me while I am being interviewed at the end.

On the sheep front, I have had some sort of creeping respiratory crud, the ram has it and one brown ewe.  They both got their second dose of LA200 yesterday.  They looked better than they did on Sat, so here's hoping.  I spoke with the vet, she said this flip flopping weather is hard on these guys.  She said not to panic, just do what I am doing.  If things continue to spread I will get her out.  She's a great young vet.

The ram has seven more to mark.  They have been on a field with some red clover in it, I sure hope the phyto-estrogens in the red clover are not messing things up.  I guess I will know by them either being bred very late (after the clover is gone) or on time (while clover still around).

Dogs are good, although no training lately.  When sheep are not feeling up to par, I don't train dogs on them, and I also don't train in very early pregnancy.  So, a bit of a lay off.  It's okay though...  it has been a bit too hot.   Though as of later this week, it is supposed to cool off, finally!!

Well, that's all there is now!  I hope everyone is having a great week!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Friday, September 25, 2015

Thank goodness it is Friday.  This has been a long week.  Finally will have that bill paid today.  Of course, that means Raman noodles for the remainder of the month, but heck, as long as the animals are fed, it's all good.

Two more ewes marked yesterday.  I had to put more marker on the boy because he's making sure to mark very clearly ;)  I did not even need a dog, he's pretty tame.  I just brought the feed scoop and made noises with it and he came to sniff it whilst I applied the marker.

Today I have to do a cemetery tour with school kids in my home town, which makes for a broken up day, but I guess absolute routine cannot be had for me every single day!!!!

I need to move the e-net, but decided I did not have enough time to do that before the tour, so I will move it tomorrow.  My hands/wrists are annoyed at me today, so we have an agreement, if you get annoyed, I will let you chill a bit.  So, I guess it's good I can't get to it.

Dogs are good, for the first time I had Joe, Johnny and Jenny outside all together playing happily.  Jenny is the boss, so instead of defending her honor from Joe, Johnny plays with Joe and hopes that Jenny is not so tough on him ;) Jenny is going through quite a growth spurt now.  She's going to be a good sized dog.  Probably weighs more than Johnny at this point.  Don't think she will pass 40 lbs, but it will be close. 

In other news, I have been watching the results from the National Sheepdog Finals in Alturas, California.  Johnny's mother "Lexi"made it into the semi-finals.  Fingers crossed for her!!  Some really good dogs running and some upsets, but that is exactly how it should be for a trial of this magnitude.  Some day.. I will get there.. to one of these.  It's all timing and if the dogs are on their apogee... we may... won't do it unless I think we are really ready.  I am slow cooker in this sport! 

Well, that's all there is for now.  Thought I would share this neat photo.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Fall breeding, dogs

This year I bought a new ram.  He is a purebred North Country Cheviot.  He is a twin, and was born in February.  He's registered and of great bloodlines that go back to Scottish breeding.  I have decided to move from Border Cheviots to North Country Cheviots, mainly due to 1) Calmer temperaments and 2) Larger carcass for meat purposes.  I like the Cheviot breed characteristics in both; hardy sheep, good mothers, and good feet.  Next year will be the time to get some NCC ewes for breeding.

I put the raddle marker on his brisket late last week.  There were some marks on some girls, but not true breeding marks (as you do this, over time, you will get to know what is an attempt, vs what is the real deal).  There were two girls that had clearly been covered this week so far.  One is my oldest Border Cheviot, and one is a blackface cross, a yearling.  I note all this in my book, so I have an idea of due dates.  Of course he was with the girls before I put the marker on him and I did see him jump another Border Cheviot last week and she stood, but I don't know if that was accurate or not!  He is a ram lamb after all!

It is cooling down a bit, finally.  Still warm days, but nice cool nights.  I really appreciate this a lot.  I am not a fan of heat.  I can work the dogs more and have been.  Johnny is coming along.  He is a much different dog than Joe, and he reminds me that I cannot push him- he is still so young.  If I keep making him drive in hard places, without giving him time to absorb it.. he will fly in.  Joe never did that.  But, Johnny is better at some things than Joe was, so it really is a toss up who is the better dog.

Jenny who is 5.5 months is very keen to work, but still just too young.  I think I may not bring her to the farm each time for a bit.  She cries to work.  Just because they are keen, does not mean they are ready, unlike what Jon Katz will tell you. 

Other than those two things, and working full time, that's pretty much it around my place.  I love fall so much....

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Food = Happiness for sheep

A few of my favorite things.  Very fortunate to have some grass for the sheep this time of year.   Sheep's lives are governed by finding and eating fodder.  When they find a new stand, it is *everything* to them.  Hard to believe we are nearing the end of September when looking at these pictures. 

Weather is cooling down a little for the next few days, but looking at the long range forecast, it does not appear to stay cool for the next few weeks.  That is sort of depressing, but such is life I guess.  Hopefully a little more rain coming our way too...

Hope all is well with you all!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Things are moving along.  I have not felt well all week, but today, finally.. I feel better.  Thank goodness.  I have a lot to catch up on- the house cleaning, grass mowing, raking, weeding, all sorts of things. 

I have been able to work the dogs for shot stints this week, not very long because it's pretty hot.  But, enough to keep them happy. 

Sheep have been moved again, pretty much I move them every week to a new area.  It seems to work well, although this time of year, the grass has slowed down a lot, so there will be even shorter times on the middle and hill fields.  I have started graining the sheep as I do every fall, so they are back to their addiction behaviors (the minute they hear either me or a dog, or a car door close, they are baaing away).

Looking forward to measurably cooler weather soon.. I love fall and 50-60 degree weather.  80s, not so much!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Fun times

I had a fun day at the farm. The dogs had a good chance to work some challenging sheep on tricky terrain.  It was very nice for everyone and we even had spectators.  That was maybe the best part :)  Watching people enjoy this sort of stuff.

I was able to work Johnny and Joe before everyone arrived, so that was nice. 

I did get some bad health news, a new challenge in my lift going forward. I am fiercely driven in my life and I will handle this no matter what.  No matter how bad I have it, others have it worse than me.

My blessings are many.  At the end of the day, the animals are what keep me afloat in life.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

So looking forward to fall

This week has been extraordinarily hot.  In fact, we shattered a record in Poughkeepsie yesterday, with a high of 97 degrees F.  I think this may have been one of the hottest days of the year.  It was hideous.  Before this week it was very humid as well.  I have not worked dogs in a long time, I think it will be about two weeks this weekend. 

I have decided to have a fun trial at my place on Saturday.  Since I had to cancel my trial, I still wanted to offer something for folks to get their dogs out on new terrain.  I have some more mowing to do before then, and that sort of thing, but not going to get it done today, another hot day in the 90s awaits us. 

I cannot wait for fall and fall things.  I love cool weather, it is just more me. 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Sunday on the farm

This weekend has been productive.  Today I was up before dawn, so I could get things done at the house before I headed to the farm to get the e-net up and sheep moved, and then more mowing.  Had a good breakfast, including coffee, which is notable since I have been off it since March, but I am happy to have it again.
The above picture is "Wilbur", my walk behind trimmer.  It is a great machine, and is perfect for mowing a strip for electro net.  It's also good for mowing the snake root.  Some day (sigh) I will have a brush hog to use...

These next two pictures are a before and after scene of what the field looks like after being mowed.  I left the wild blueberries because hitting them with the trimmer explodes the berries and I get purple dots all over my shirt.

Sheep were moved before I got to this. They are uber happy in their new field.

Sheep were moved,  then I took some time to stop and just absorb that which I love.

It's hard to believe we are in September, it is very hot lately.  A few more days of the heat, and then a cool down, but only into the low 80s.  

Well, this was a very productive weekend. I just wish weekends could last longer!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

My Moby Dick

Today I had a lot on my agenda.  I had to pick and chose.  I ended up choosing to go to the farm and get some of the training field mowed a bit.  Then I headed to Tractor Supply, and got the materials I need for the wheel assembly for my feeder (just doing one prototype now), and then had to stop at Williams Lumber for some parts that TS did not have.

Then I checked the sheep and saw the Dorset and a lamb eating the snake root. That is bad. It is poisonous.  No bueno!  So, I started to get really worried.. I went to the clover field and started to pick up that electro net, and got four rolls taken down, and through in my car, and brought back to the farm yard.  I then mowed the strip where the fence will go.  Of COURSE I ran out of gas about 10 feet or less from the finish line.. So, trekked out to get the gas and another string and got that done.  It was then time for me to take a break. I went home and got lunch, and then began to really worry about the sheep eating that snake root.  So, I went BACK to the farm and started putting up the netting.  I got three rolls up- it is not easy because other than the strip I cleared, it's all brambles...
Then I hit the wall. I could do no more.  Honestly.. it was done. 

So, now I am home, beat, but I know tomorrow when I get there it will only be two rolls to do and then I can get them out of the hill field while I mow down the snake root.  The snake root is my Moby Dick.. it really is.. it will kill me one day, unless I kill it first.

Oh yeah, I stopped by the new feed/garden place in town, and learned that the previous people who were renting it, left on short notice.  This explains why they never got back to me about sponsoring my trial (they were very keen when I brought it up).  The new manager is a well known guy in town, nice guy, and I am on his list for getting grain :)

Well, that was my very full Saturday.  Have not worked dogs in over a week, but hopefully by middle of next week I can, when it cools down.  Right now, sheep care is more important..

Hope everyone had a good Saturday.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Project for the week

This was my project for this week.  Just have to get wheels on them, and a strap on the other side, so I can move these hefty things easier.  I needed troughs and I just decided to save some money and make my own.  I like them a lot.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Danny boy

A cell phone pic of Danny.  Good boy.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

I think I am back....

And it feels good.  Not sure why I wasn't up to writing much there for a while, but now I am back in the saddle.

So, got my new North Country Cheviot ram lamb home on Sunday night.  He's a real nice guy, calm and has a very nice build on him.  He had a bit of a cough, no doubt from the hours in transit, but I gave him a dose of La 200 Sunday, and another on Tuesday, even though no more cough from him.  He is acting normally, and eating and following the girls.  I really like his temperament a lot. 

I have been mowing the snake root every day, trying to get it gone from my training field.  Right now I am looking for a used riding mower to keep at the farm to keep it gone.  I am getting too old to walk behind trim it all...

I got Kylie's ashes and paw print from the vet's yesterday.  That is still very hard for me.  It was so fast.  RIP Kylie, I miss you a lot.

Dan's doing well, he likes his routine here at the house and I hope to get him on sheep again when it cools down.  I don't train dogs when it is as hot/humid as it is now.  I don't think it's fair to the sheep or the dogs.  Sheep have therefore had a nice break.  I may stop at Home Depot and get the wood for the feeders I want to make today.  Want them done so I can start using them in the next month or so.

I decided to enter Dan in the Big E, just for fun, I will be there with Joe, so why not?  Looking forward to a day away, could really use it.

Jenny,  the pup is doing well.  She weighed in at a hefty 32 lbs yesterday.  Wow.  She's not yet five months!  I guess she will probably be about a 40 lbs female when she's done, but who knows.  I really like her temperament a lot.  She is no longer happy about being left outside with Johnny, no, not at all.  So, she stays inside with me when I get home from work and we play fetch, a lot of fetch.  Too hot to hang outside.

Other than that, not much going on right now.  This time of year is sort of not my favorite, hot, humid and no real trials coming up.   Going to get some pictures of the farm today, brighten up our day looking at them, what say you?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Life learning

I learned something about myself and others recently.  Last October, I decided to place Dan with an acquaintance.  I was not using him to help me with sheep, as I was not going to trial him; he did not seem to like it.  So, off he went.  She has her own small flock and a couple kids and is married.  The kids are teenagers.  It seemed all okay, she shared pictures, and even though in the house, in the pictures showed a concerned Dan, the outside shots showed a typically happy Dan.

I never heard anything negative about Dan, though a friend of mine mentioned that the people had contacted her with questions, which I was dubious about; why wouldn't she contact me?

Anyway, I kept in touch and about six weeks ago I re-iterated to her that if for any reason things were not working, that he needed to come back to me.  Two weeks later I got a message stating that Dan had to come back, that something happened at the house- he was aggressive to the father in law.  Dan is not an aggressive dog.  Dan never was an aggressive dog his whole life with me.  Within minutes of that message, she was on the road to bring him back (a 5 hour trip).  She arrived to my house at 9 pm.  Dan got out of the car and was absolutely whacked out.  He left my house to go with her, a happy dog, he hopped into her truck, tail wagging.  He came back to my house, and put his paws on me and growled at me, but it was not an aggressive growl;  more like a I am totally freaked out growl.  He then went near her and growled.  Maybe the other males at my house having peed on the front bushes made him feel intimidated, I have no idea.  It was very strange.  The most telling part of all of it though, was when she went to leave and get in her car, he never once looked back at her, he only looked at my door, clearly, this is where he belonged. 

Dan's coat was extremely thick, not sure he had been brushed since she had him and he had gotten a bit fat.  His coat was also brown and he had black on his neck hair, I presume from being tied out.  All of these things told me about his last 8 mos.   It took a couple of days for Dan to relax near me.. he was still quite nervous.

He gradually came back to himself and we play ball every day, which he adores. I put him on sheep and he did great.  I had someone come to look at Dan to re home him with.  She was outside my fenced yard and when I brought Dan out he saw her, barked and then came back around me.  The whole thing was very telling.  He in no way was leaving.  He went to her, and then he went to me and put his paws on me and whined and then he went up to the back door and lay there, wanting to go inside.  I have never seen Dan like this, never.  It was then and there that I knew that Dan would be going no where, that he was my boy, and what was I thinking of re homing him again.  I felt so badly that I could not send him with this very nice woman, but he was so clear, that I should not betray him again.  And, yes, I feel like I did betray him.  I sent him off thinking it would be better than what he had, but I have learned, dogs don't need a lot.  They need their pack and stability in that pack.  They need good care and love.  That's all.   No more.

I had fallen into that shifting of dogs mentality that many do, and many are successful, but not me.  I am not judging anyone, but for me, and my life, the dogs are my family.  I just had to put my beloved Kylie down due to heart failure last week, and I would give anything for her to be healthy again and with me. 

Every one's situation is different, and if you can't take good care of a dog, by all means, re-home it.  But, if you just don't want to be bothered, think of your self as you age.  Your home and family are your rock.  Being up heaved from them is not easy.  Especially not in an older dog.

There is no reason Dan can't stay with me, none at all.   I am even going to run him in some arena trials.  We are playing ball with the chuck-it every day, and he and Lucy get along well enough to be loose together (she is a not dog friendly dog with every dog BUT Dan). 

I learned a lot about me this past week.  First, don't think you know someone because you read what they write on the Internet.  Second, dogs don't lie, and their actions speak louder than any words. Third, sit back and think about what dogs really want.  What they *really* want.  It probably is not what you think.  It's a familiar pack and home and good care.  The rest of it does not matter.