Monday, September 1, 2008

Two days of fun!!

What a fun filled two days. I love the holidays, although true to form, Labor Day makes sure it has it share of rain. I want to point out when it did rain, I was outside. When it was sunny, I was in the house. Well, not all the time, but it sure seemed like that.

First of all, there was an “Official Changing of the Guards” at the house. Tess has been my guardian since the surgery. On Sunday night, Jeff and I traded dogs. Tess was happy to be on the bed, snuggled on my side with her head on my pillow. Nan danced with joy that she got to be with me without Tess!! Nan had figured out the night routine.

1. Ice Cream- she gets to lick the bowl
2. Midnight forays into the kitchen for treats – she gets a biscuit
3. Nan gets to snuggle next to me on the couch when I watch TV- lays on her back for fully belly rubs
4. Gets to kiss my face during the night- and gets pets in returns
5. Get fussed over- with no Tess so has undivided attention
6. Guardian duty- when she growls, I listen and praise her

Nan loves lounging on the couch. At first, she thought she would be in trouble, and then she calmed down but still was ready to leap off if she thought I thought she should be on the floor. Now, she gets on the couch, flips on her back, gets belly rubs and then fall asleep. She doesn’t hop on the couch unless I call her on. She will look at the couch then at me, several times, to give me the not so subtle hint. When I give her belly rubs, she sings in joys. At least she sings in tune, whereas I can not. The America Idol Judges would pee in their pants laughing at my singing.

Mornings consist of Jeff letting the girls out to go potty and then when they come in, Tess will to go the office to be with Jeff while Nan comes to me and lies next to me. Then she will either kiss me or nudge me. She is so transparent in her actions.

I have been better so I am doing more. Not too much but each day a little bit more. Some items I can not do such as unloading or loading the dishwasher. The constant bending just hurt my chest and gives me bad pain so I don’t do that. I can wash dishes by hand but can’t lift the heavy pots. Running the vacuum is out as well as cleaning the spider webs off the ceiling. Doing laundry is ok. I just have to think if it involves bending of the chest area or more weighs than 10 lbs.

Sunday was lesson day for the students. First on deck were Nancy and Courtney. I gave them mini lessons in the field (no round pen). Short sessions with me sitting down between lessons and then later I sat outside and watched them put into practice what they had learned in the first session. I was very pleased on well Blaze did. We are teaching him a "take time" and he caught on quickly. He is a lot of dog with power but still has to learn how to harness the power. The two brothers, Jack and Logan did well too. It’s hard to believe they are 20 months old. Mig, the pistol was doing well on her outruns.

Ben arrived and worked Tess. He is doing well and figuring out the basics. Tess listens to him (most of the time) and he is learning to run her well. He is getting his own puppy next year and by then he should have a solid foundation so he can get her going correctly. He had his lesson and then went to work Tess by himself.

The morning folks went off and then the afternoon folks arrived. Monique gave a lesson to Janet and then Irene. Both of their dogs are doing well. Janet also comes here and does self herding with Tess and Scott and has been doing well on the drive. We, meaning Monique, worked Kuro. He is the son of Bobby Dalziel “Jamie”. Kuro has nice square flanks, reads the sheep well and lots of power. I really like what I saw in his work. He has grown into a tall, lanky male with a thick, lush coat.

I named Kuro after my favorite Manx cat. His name was “Kuro Kuma” which means black bear in Japanese. CWRW (pronounced the same way) is Welsh for beer. So it is a play on words. He is a really nice dog and a great addition to my kennels.

We did sheep chores and were starving. Monique and Lucy brought the sheep from the far pasture and we re-set the flock and then brought them back. We did a few more chores and then off to dinner at the Mexican Restaurant in town. I managed to eat half of my huge burrito. I offered the leftover to Jeff but he ate the homemade beef stew that I had cooked.

It was a busy day filled with herding, people, sheep and chores. I worked Nan also and she gave me her all….at the warp speed but getting better on her downs. She used to be a heck of lot better before the surgery but we will get it back soon. I sure hope so before the trial we have in a few weeks.

My chest was off/on hurting so I took Advil and then it was really hurting, my ½ perco. But even though it hurts, it doesn’t hurt as bad as last week. It is getting a little bit better and I am getting better at judging whether I need to take a pain med or an Advil or see if it a brief spasm that will do away.

I do have speech issues and sometime have a hard time with words or sentences. And some other items like when I was in the restaurant bathroom and couldn’t figure out how to turn on the faucet. It was a twist then pull out and I just kept tugging at it. Monique had to show me how to use it. I think I am doing well then I can’t figure out how to use a certain type of faucet. I also still have memory loss, more of the items just before the surgery. Monique did not laugh at me when I asked her to show me how to turn on the faucet.

After this full day, Jeff and I (and the girls) watched sports and are ice cream. I was tired by then and fell asleep rather quickly. It was nice be able to be active all day and not take a nap and not be hurting so bad that I just want to lie on the couch.

Nan kept guard all night and made sure ravens, coyotes or the boogie man were kept in check. None dare prowl on the front porch or the front lawn for that matter. I think the raven from the other day left town as I haven’t seen him/her since. We have a pair or ravens that hang out near the barn but they have vanished since Nan put the fear of God into them. Who knows?

Today was a busy day too. True to the routine, the girls have the daily schedule down. I take my meds and we all start the day together. Kathleen arrived and the girls bolted to the door, barking like banshees until Kathleen told them to be quiet. Tails a wagging they greeted her, hoping for a treat I am sure. No such luck

Claire and Nik came over and did landscaping for me. We did a trade and they worked on the garden and it looks beautiful.

I really had a great morning with Kathleen. She has done a great job with Emma. Emma can go into tight space and move sheep. She will go into a crammed corner, her snout under the sheep as she slips herself between the sheep and the wall and she moves them off with quiet authority. For a pup that is 20 months old, she works like a seasoned pro. Kathleen has taken her everywhere and put her in various situations to grow her into a confident dog and it has paid off. I must have picked my jaw off the ground about 10 times watching this brilliant pup work.

Anson was next to work. He is the male pup that I kept from the Tess x Scott litter. He has a all white head with black ears. Since Kathleen was one of the people who got me to like white headed dogs, it was only fitting that she puppy sit Anson. She has been taking him all over too. He has grown up to be a nice looking puppy. He doesn’t have Tess’s square, deep body nor Scott’s short legs. He has a nice streamlined body.

She worked him in the round pen and we realized he was ready for the big field. He did AWESOME and worked the flock of about 30 sheep. He is very biddable and soft but keen. He is like Tess at that age and it brings back memories.

Janet came over and did self herding. She has Mattie, a Smithfield Sheepdog. On self herding days, she works my dogs. Today, I watched her and was amazed how far she has come in a few short weeks. She has been doing self herding since I had the surgery and at first it was entertaining to say the least but today I saw her sort sheep in a few minutes, work the sheep all over the field and run a mini course. We had to hoof trim a ewe that was lame and she whipped it on the ground faster than a cowboy could bull dog a steer. Not bad for a former model, eh?

Audrey came over with Dan and worked him. He is still the pistol and I think the toughest one from that litter. Toughest as in, a handful to handle and has a mind of his own. He is one heck of a dog and ran very well in a ProNovice trial this weekend. Tomorrow I will post on that as well as Audrey’s Ironman results. Those two items need to be in a blog all by themselves.

He did quite well and we ended by having him do stall work. He needs to learn about pressure and after a few sessions in the stall he will be much better. His eyes got big when he saw all the sheep in the stall and he had to move them and then relax. Audrey got her bucket to sit on and by the end, both were relaxed. Tess and I did this so many years ago and now she is good in tight, high pressure situation. Kathleen did the same with Emma and it shows in her being confident in moving 60 odd sheep down an 18 inch chute for two days.

Audrey worked Kael in the big field. Kael did great like his brother (Anson). He covered the sheep and did mini outrun (albeit only 20 feet) but worked his heart out on the 30 sheep. He looked to her and then made sure he was proper. Very talented and thinking how to do it right than being stupid. I am not sure who had the biggest smile on their face, Audrey or me. I think it was Audrey. I am sure she thought she won the lotto and in a way, she did.

I wanted to take a picture but my camera died earlier in the day. That’s ok as there will be another day and another huge smile from Audrey. What a way to end the day!! Happy dogs and happy people!! That is what life is all about!!

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