Friday, October 31, 2008

Life is about living....

Well, I sure was bummed the last few days. Talk about a big blow to me. Just when I think I am on the road to recovery and suffering from all the pain the last few months, I find out that I still need surgery. Gee, I prefer news like “I won the lotto” or “I won the USBCAH Nationals Finals” not “You need another surgery”

I needed a pick-me up and my mom arrived today and did just that. I woke up in the middle of the night having strange dreams and my heart was pounding. So I wandered about and then went back to bed. Got up at 8, then went back to bed and woke up to hear my mom knocking at the door. The only time that she doesn’t bring a key, and the doors are locked. Usually I am awake and the dogs greet her.

Did the dogs leap out of bed when someone was knocking at the door? Nope, nary a stir. I rush to answer the door and greet my mom. The girls race behind me and make some half hearted attempt to sound like guard dogs. Worthless curs!!

Their ferocious barks soon turn to barks of joy when they see my mom. They cavort about and yelp in delight. I go and make coffee while the girls get treats from my mom. She gave them some fancy-smazzy treats and not the milk bones that I have in the cupboard.

I toss the girls and Rainey outside to calm down. Rainey has been in the house with me and learning how to be a good dog. She is 11 months old and a daughter of Tess. She is far too clever for her own good. Thank goodness she belongs to Getty.

So mom and I decided to keep busy. We swept and mopped the floors. Then I got the bright idea I wanted to clean the office floor. That is also the dog’s room when they lie on the dog beds. There was a bunch of dirt under the beds but in the end we beat the dust bunnies and won the war.

It was good hanging out with my mom and just keeping busy. She was telling me stories from my childhood. She took me when I was over a year old trick or treating. She was pregnant with Nelson. She got lots of goodies such as in two large bags. We think the people thought she was dressed up also.

Ever the astute mom, she mentioned that the last time she was here she noticed the cow was gone. She would be the last person that I would have thought that had noticed the cow was gone. The cow had jumped the fence and was gone for a week and she was gone the last time my mom was here. Guess. that Moms are pretty sharp-eyed after all.

Yes, I explained to her about the cow’s adventure and that she was back now. Remember now, that my mother is a prim and proper traditional Japanese lady. So she tells me of a story of when we lived in Port Angeles and we had a farm. We raised cattle for meat. Once, when Nelson and I were at school, the cow got out. She called my dad in a panic but he was at work. He couldn’t go home as he was a Deputy Sheriff. So that left my mom to deal with the cow. She is afraid of large animals. So she armed herself with a bucket to get the cow. The cow run up to her for the grain and then she would get afraid and run. I see this mental picture in my head….”Mom, dressed very properly, armed with a bucket of grain, being chased by a cow”

I bust out laughing and she laughs with me. She did get the cow in and I had to tell her how we got our cow back. My mom, the Japanese Cow Catcher.

I guess we should have called her last week for the cow wrangling?

So after the stories we made dinner. I was the assistant chef and prepped the salad and marinated the pork and chicken with Bulgogi Sauce (Korean BBQ). Mom made pan fried scallop and green beans. She also had made Spanish rice and brought that over so all I had to do was reheat it. We ate well and then hung out and chatted some more.

Kathy Davis called and I filled her in on the surgery and she is taking the time off to come up and be with me. She is an awesome friend. I think is surprised at how this ended up.

Mom and I went to do the feeding. Mom has this down pat now. She does the bread and hay feeding. I feed the dogs and other stuff. The sheep ran up to her and she feeds them their daily bread. Sorry, I just had to put that in!!

Tess, Nan and Rainey followed mom and I could see that Rainey had her head in the bread bucket and stuffing her face. Just like her mom, Tess. Tess was just helping herself to the bread through the fence that was in the feeders. Nan was getting the *dropped bread* from my mom. I am not about to tell my mom not to feed my dogs.

It had quit raining, The air was cool and crisp. The dogs were lively and my mom was having a good time. My disappointment was lifted away by the soft winds and it was good to see the careful dogs racing about and my mom laughing as she feed the sheep. I began to laugh also and soon tears of joy streamed down my face. Life is about living and I was doing that just then.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Square One

Just got back from visiting Dr. Condon. My Protime level is good. It is 2.5. Last week it had dropped to 1.6 since I was drinking Green Tea.....ooops!! No more green tea for me.

Info on the Protime tests:

They did an EKG test to see about my arrhythmia. Guess what. BAD NEWS. The arrhythmia is back. We think it is due to the 2.2 ratio in the heart. The heart is working extra hard again for the blood flow.

The ratio is 2.2. it is not exact science but a calculated guess. When I first went in, it was 2.8. So I am almost back to where I started from. At least we think we have a rim to work with so we can do the clam shell operation.

So we hope this clam shell operation will fix the hole as well as settle down/quit the arrhytmia, get ride of the asthma and migraines.

So we are back to "Square One" and going to start this game over. Let's hope we can win this time.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Updated news on upcoming surgery

Well, today was one of those bummer days. I’ve have had complications with my surgery and if you have been following my blog, the ratio (hole) has returned. Remember when I went and it was first diagnosed at 2.8 and then I had the surgery and then it was diagnosed at 1.6/1.7. Now it is 2.2. That is not good.

So Dr. Condon set me up to go and see Dr Mark Reisman at Swedish. He is the Director of Cardiovascular Research.

Dr. Condon and Dr Reisman have been comparing notes and possible ways to fix this issue. Put two smart Doctors together and you get a good…no, wait a great plan.

So let me backtrack a bit. Dr. Condon called me earlier this week. It was this basically in a nutshell. The hole is big, we need to fix it, high chance of clots (bad), don’t want to live rest of my life on pills (bad), the prior major open heart surgery was not a success since it didn’t repair the defect.

I have been getting tired easily now and tend to crash hard. I just figured it was due to the fact that I was pushing myself too hard. But it is the flow of un-oxygenated blood back into my system. My system has to work harder than normal since it has limited oxygen. I am not a Medical Doctor but just a lowly Electrical Engineer. What I do know is my systems are not functioning as they should.
As an engineer, if a system doesn’t work and it is a critical/main system, it can severe problems for airplanes. As a FAA engineer, my role is to make sure that airplanes are safe to fly. My area is electrical wiring and I am a Project Manager on the new electrical wiring laws that were just recently released. I work for the Seattle Aircraft Certification Office. These set of laws/rules that were recently released is the largest rule making packing ever released. Our role is to make sure the airplanes are certified for safe flight. I work with a bunch of passionate and ethical people and I am honored to be with them.

Prior to the FAA, I worked at Boeing as a Design engineer on the 737/757 projects. Most of those guys that I worked with in 1990; I work with now at the FAA. We had a tight, tough team lead by Tony Castillos. Now we all are at the FAA. We are family since most of us have known each other for 17 years.

So what am I trying to say? As an engineer, you must have ethics and be passionate to do your job properly. You have to try to be the best at what you do. You have to have a passion for your work. At your work, we strive to make sure our work is the best since the public replies on us to make sure the planes are safe to fly. In case you were wondering, flying is at the safest it has been for years. I trust the guys that I work with and we do our jobs with passion as well as ethics. It is an awesome place to work for. They have been great in making sure that I stay in the loop at work as well as making sure I get the time off for the surgeries and recovery time. I love my job and my co-workers.

So hearing my system is not functioning properly is not a good idea. As an engineer, you have to make sure the critical or any systems works or failures can occur. You have to fix the errors so everything works. We have passion for our work. A real deep passion.

So enough of my rambling. Dr Condon has the passion for his work. He has genuine concern for his patients. I saw the same passion with Dr. Reisman.

Passion is a very powerful emotion. Used properly it can lead to great discoveries, inventions, cures, better quality of life and betterment of yourself.

I am not going back to Overlake or Dr Austin for anymore heart surgery. We are going to go to Swedish Hospital. Dr. Condon thinks we can use the “clam shell” technique on me than the major open heart surgery. The results of the TEE shows there is a hole. It looks like there is enough of a rim on both sides so the clam shell device to clamp onto. Then scar tissue will grow over it and seal the hole. We couldn’t do this operation before as there was no rim since there was no wall between the right and left atrium. Now, even though the open heart surgery was not a total success in closing the hole, it managed to create a wall so the *clam shell* can latch on to and seal the hole.

We had hoped the first/second surgery would have sealed the major hole and it did for a bit but it opened up again. No one really knows why as you can’t quite whip open the chest and take a peek inside. The TEE shows some details but not extensive details. The best detail is actually looking at the inside of the heart. They will do that when they do the surgery.

OK, so this surgery will happen as follows. They will go via my groin using a catheter in my vein to insert the *clam shell* device. The device is stretched out to go into the vein and when in the hole, it is blown up like a balloon. Then they will see if it fits and will have enough rim to hold on to as well as other criteria. I am a good candidate for this as I have good veins (verified today at Swedish) and the TEE shows a rim.

There is some risk as well with any surgery. Last surgery had a risk of not sealing properly and unfortunately it didn’t seal. I was assured it was a low risk and something went wrong and the hole opened up. Granted the whole wall didn’t disappear so in that regard that was good but a hole reappeared.

In this surgery the risk is the clam shell won’t have enough of a rim to hold on to so then they will have to do an Open heart surgery. But given what data that was presented and you know us engineers love data, it looks like it will be a success.

Some info:

Dr Reisman is super energetic and very outgoing. He makes me look quite quiet compared to him. I know you will find that hard to believe!! They were very thorough in explaining what was the issues, what needed to be done, the risks, the recovery and so forth. I had a ton of questions to ask but they addressed most of them in the consultation. The staff was very professional and kind and made me feel at home. Dr. Condon’s office is that way too. It makes you feel more at ease. One of the folks escorted me to the section that I had to get my veins tested…..that little act of kindness was a 5 star rating in my book.

I had to tease Dr. Reisman about his accent. He is from New York and has the New York energy. I really felt at ease with him and am confident about my surgery.

I was pretty bummed when I talked to Dr. Condon earlier this week. I felt like I had gone through a lot only to be told that I was not fixed. Dr. Condon wanted to make sure that this surgery would be successful and his concern was evident over the phone. It’s nice to have a caring person like that on your side. I am really glad that my family Doctor Mindy Hsue made the appointment for me with Dr. Condon.

After my visit, I was in great spirits. Then I had to navigate through Seattle traffic on Capitol Hill. URGH. I really hate traffic jams and driving in the city. I guess I am getting spoiled living inn the county.

So to fix my wounded pride in driving, I stopped and got a cheeseburger and malted chocolate shake at local burger place. I felt much better afterwards.

The surgery is set for Nov 14th. It should take an hour or so and I will be awake during the procedure. I will get a copy of the tape too. It will require an overnight stay. For a few weeks after the surgery, I am not supposed to lift heavy objects until the groin incision heals. Today I was tossing about 50 lbs bales of hays so I guess that is going to end soon. Soon I will be back up to speed. Oh yea, no horse riding either for a bit. I just have to be more aware of what I can do until I heal.

I will be happy when this is done and I am well. It’s been a long and hard road but there is an end in sight. I talked to Getty tonight. He is at the Ultimate Frisbee National Championships in Florida. He is feeling good about this and was worried about this. I think he is at ease now. I hope his team does well at the Nationals. Nelson and I talked and it’s good to have such a caring brother. I finally called my mom to tell her. I had talked to Nelson earlier in the week but wanted to have everything all squared away before I talked to my mom. She is a very typical Japanese mother that worries about her children. I think I got her all okay with this surgery now.

Tonight while I watching TV and writing this blog, surrounded by Tess, Nan and Rainey, I realize that this is all going to work out. I will be trialing soon (one of my passions) and life will go on. The surgery and recovery time is far less that what I just went through and this will soon be just a memory.

Speaking of memories, the dogs and I have a good memory of eating home made caramel popcorn while watching “Without a Trace”. And the popcorn disappeared without a trace!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

We had the Scrapies Inspection yesterday. We are in our second year and passed. The Scrapies Inspector, Stacy, came out and she was here from last year.

Tess was the one doing all the work. First, she had to gather the flock and put them in the stalls or pens. The flock is split up into several flocks as the ram are with the ewes.

Tess is bringing the main flock in. It was a very warm and sunny day.

Two Clun Forest ewes. You can see part of the white Scrapies ear tag in their right ear.

Callie, my old pet ewe. She was the first to volunteer to be inspected.

Callie letting us know she is ready for a pet and some treats. We gave her both.

After we checked all the sheep, the work was done and Tess took a break. She jumped into the feeder expecting to snack on some leftover bread that the ewes might have left in the feeder barrel.
She was disappointed. There was no bread. See the look of disgust on her face.

OK, Tess said she will take the next best thing....."Sheep, Sheep"

Well, the sheep didn't show up so Tess called in for re-enforcements. Rigby arrived, hopefully to save the day.

Rigby took over the barrel duty.

Still looking hopeful, but no sheep. The sheep have wised up.

So Tess and Rigby left the field and stood by the gate. Tess gave Rigby a kiss for helping her.

Tess and Rigby still looking hopeful. They see sheep approaching.

But the sheep saw them and left. They had enough for the day. So Tess and Rigby just hung out....a dog and a friends...who would have thought?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Some Fall Scenes

Some fall scenes...

Japanese Dwarf Red Maple Tree near the house pond.
Close up of the Japanese Dwarf Red Maple.

Ref Maple near the front porch.

Another tree near the upper driveway.

Tree snuggled in the half sun and shade near the upper driveway.

Tree looking outside from the front porch.

Grape plant on the well house. Nelson gave this to me. He has the green thumb and his garen is far superior to mine..

Dragonfly on a grape leaf. This one is for Nancy Roller.
Thought I would treat you to fall farm scenes.
Enjoy. I know that I certainly did.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Cow is back...

We got the cow back. Yeah!! Last week due to a comedy of errors, she jumped the fence and went to the neighbor's cattle field. She is a brat.

She is 1/2 Angus and 1/2 Whiteface. She looks like a Whiteface. I sold her sister to the auction. She was a worse fence jumper. She weighed in at 855 lbs and I got .63 cents a pound for her. By the time I got a check from the auction, I got paid $484 for her. I paid $500 for her and she doubled her weight. Needless to say, I took a loss on her sister. I plan to sell Brownie as locker beef next year. I do much better selling locker beef money wise than sending her to auction.

Brownie, (the PC name for her and we have a non-PC name for her but we will not put it on the blog), is now back and in the lambing corral. Tony, Kathleen, Monique and I went over to Phil's place. Phil managed to separate her and had her in his upper pasture.

Lucky for me, there was a gate between our pastures. I had forgotten about it but Phil remembered it. Tony cut away the blackberries and Tony and Phil managed to open it. It was buried under a ton of blackberries.

Then the cow work began. Phil, Tony, Kathleen, Monique and I all slowly worked the cow to the gate. Se didn't want to go into my field even though there was alfalfa. She tried to make a break for it bu me, but I whipped off my extremely bright yellow coat and waved it front of her.

She turned and then went into my pasture. We were so happy. Tony went back with Phil to gt his truck and trailer. He had brought it over and we thought that we would have to load her up in it.

Monique, Kathleen and I worked the cow through the upper pasture and then the lower pasture and finally into the lambing corral. Brownie will stay in the lambing corral until she turns into a *locker beef*.

What an adventure that was and we are happy that Brownie is back home now. Last year, I had a steer and he was very tame and quiet and never went on an adventures. Next year I am going to get a steer. I have had enough of cow wrangling for a while.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

What a beautiful day.....

What a beautiful day. It was sunny and warm and full of fun. I felt much better than yesterday. I am still sore but no hurting like the day before. Getty went to a disc Golf Tournament and would be home late.

Autumn Leaves. View from my office.

So I planned a bunch of stuff for today. The people who wanted to buy hay showed up at 9:00 and got their hay loaded in record time. They were a really nice couple and part of King County Horse Search and Rescue. They showed up on time and were very polite. I like people who are like that. I have had several people who want to buy hay; either don’t show up or show up about 3 hours late and then ask for the hay for a far cheaper price. First of all, I had to pay to have the hay cut, baled and delivered and therefore will not sell it at a price lower that I paid. Nor will I *give* you free hay because you have too many horses and can’t afford to buy hay for all of them. So needless to say, having the nice couple that I had today was a real pleasure.

Then my mom showed up. I had just let the dogs out and was walking to the barn when I heard Nan squeal with delight. Then Tess did her god awful high pitched bark and I knew that my mom had arrived. Before my mom went into the house, the girls managed to convince her to toss the ball and upon entry, they got their treats from her. I was ignored by the girls.

We had our coffee then wandered down to the barn. Mom got to work right away by filling up the bread buckets and feeding the sheep and ducks and chickens. I am sure that Tess and Nan got a few pieces too. I did the alfalfa feeding.
Cattails in my front pond.
Willow Tree next to my front pond.
While I was in the barn, I saw a Bald eagle and took some pixs. This is when I realized that I really need a long lens on my camera. The Bald Eagle flew over and perched on a tree near my pond. The wild ducks went crazy and took cover under branches in the pond below.
Bald Eagle looking at the ducks.

Now he is looking at me.

He turns his attention back to the ducks again.

Look very closely. You can see the ducks hiding at the bottom of the pixs under the branches from the Eagle.
He finally gave up and flew off. He didn't appreciate me taking pixs of him.

Liz, a lady who came to look at my Aussie saddle the day before, arrived to pick up the saddle. She is also a very nice lady. I sold my new saddle to her at less than half of what I paid for it. I sold the horse that I used the saddle early last year. I have a nice team roping saddle that I ride on now so therefore I had no use for the Aussie saddle. It was nice to see the saddle went to a good home. I gave the money that I got from the saddle to help pay for my mom’s vet bill. Her cat got sick yesterday and I wanted to help her. It’s the least that I could do.

The sheep were happy that they got fed. Next on the list was us to get fed. Mom brought Sukiyaki fixings and I love that dish. Just as she was cooking, my friend Joyce arrived so she joined us. I haven’t seen her in years. She has a nice Border Collie named Molly and she used to come for lessons when she lived in Easton. She moved near Spokane and we keep in contact via email. It was great to see her and catch up. I sent her home with a bag of Clun Forest wool since she is a spinner. She has Shetland sheep and makes purses and hats.

A friend showed up after we ate so we made him sit down and eat also. He came over to help me ear tag sheep. No sense in letting a volunteer go hungry. The sukiyaki was delicious and I ate two helpings. I was so full that I wanted to take a nap but didn’t. Joyce and my mom left and Chuck and I went to tag team the sheep.

I had picked seven Clun Forest ewe lambs to add to the flock. Since I belong to the Scrapies program, any sheep that stays on my farm, after a year old, must be accounted for and have a tag. In addition to the Clun Forest ewe lambs, I kept two Katahdin ewe lambs.

We used Tess which is a good thing. We had to grab the ewes and I tagged them and we didn’t have much time to tell Tess what to do. She has hundreds, if not thousands of hours of work on the farm and knew what to do. She held the sheep in the corner and any runaways were dealt with. She was like a cutting horse, moving to the left and then to the right and holding the sheep. She was incredibly fast if there was a break away. She held the sheep while we worked on the ewes. She didn't need hardly any commands but just did the needed work.

We got the sheep tagged and then cleaned stalls and worked dogs. I was starting to take it easy as my chest began to hurt. It was a good time to quit watching the flaming red sunset and feel the cold fingers of fall wrapping around our legs.
Red, the rooster enjoying the evening.
The little Red hens
Sleeping Geese

Getty and I ate the rest of the sukiyaki and watched the LSU game. Sad to say, the LSU game was not a good way to end the day as they lost.

So as a consolation prize, Getty and I had some dessert.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Results from the hospital and sheep stuff

Well, it was a success yesterday. Getty took me in and we hung out for a bit and then the nurse, Sharon started the paperwork. I sent Getty home and told him to come back after 4ish. There was no sense in having him hang out at the hospital when it was such a nice, sunny day. Warm enough to go outside with just a tee-shirt.

Sharon was the nurse who took care of me when I was going in for the numerous tests in June and July. We recognized each other. She is very nice and an excellent nurse that makes you feel at ease.

Dr Zilz came in to do the TEE. He is a very quick wit and we had fun exchanging barbs. Soon we all were laughing which made the nurse doing the EKG; shake her head at us since she couldn’t get a good reading. That was because I was laughing so hard. She finally did get a reading and it showed that I was still in arrhythmia. Dr. Zilz was impeccably dressed. We teased him about is wife picking out his attire and told him that he married well. He took our ribbing quite well. He sure makes you (the patient) feel at ease and totally relaxing which is very important.

.First, they had to give me more blood thinning medicine as my reading was too low. Then Dr. Zilz took great pleasure in spraying the back of my mouth with the most god-awful spray that numbed my throat. Not once but twice. I gagged appropriately too.

Finally, my throat got numb and then I was out for the count. They had to check for blood clots first and then do a baseline reading of my heart. They wanted to make sure that I did not have a blood clot before they did the cardio-version. Had Dr. Zilz been more on the ball, he could have decorated me up for Halloween since I was defenseless. But then again, he might think that revenge would be worse and decided against it.

So, no blood clot which was good. Then he did the TEE and found that my ratio was 1.6. He had no idea that I had that ratio as I am sure he was expecting to see no ratio. He confirmed the number that Dr. Condon for my ratio. At least I am holding steady. Too bad, that I still have leakage. ;-(

Anyways, after Dr. Zilz did the TEE, and then they do the Cardio-version. They hooked up these two large patches on my chest. One was on the front of my chest and the other on the back. Then they zap me. It stops the heart and then your heart re-sets itself. By re-setting itself, your heart will go to the normal state since the *zap* interrupted the bad state. Most of the time this works but if it doesn’t then they do another procedure. That procedure is when they stick a tube up your groin area and *zap* actual parts of the heart. I don’t know that much info on that procedure since it was not going to be done me.

OK, so my heart reset itself and went into normal state. Keep your fingers crossed that it will stay in normal state. Dr. Condon will be monitoring me for a while to make sure it stays in the normal state. Once he is happy, then I will be off the meds for my heart. I think in a month or so. He will also monitor my ratio to make sure it doesn’t get bigger. If my arrhythmia does return, then they will do the tube up the groin procedure. I’ll have to go back to him for a bunch of follow up visits. But for now, I am not going to worry about it since I am thinking positive.

This is what I am thinking: my ratio stays the same or decrease, my heart stays in the normal state and I live a long and happy life.

Getty picked me up and we got home around 7ish. I was feeling pretty bad so headed off to bed. I told Getty to wake me up in 30 minutes, which really means try to wake me up but I won’t get up. He did try but apparently I rolled over and went back to sleep. Mom and Nelson called to check for status and he updated them. I did get up about 10ish and futzed about then went back to bed rather quickly.

Today my front part of my chest hurt and I didn’t feel like doing much. Getty and I cleaned the house. Since I am able to sleep in our bed and not the couch, we cleaned the living room. Now it looks like a living room than a room that I had been sleeping in for a couple of months.

I ended having to take a ½ Vicodin since my chest was hurting. Of course, Getty had to tell me as he was probably tired of hearing me whine. It worked and soon I was feeling human again.

Tomorrow I will feel much more human. My mom is coming over and will cook me some of her delicious sukiyaki. Speaking of delicious, we had some rib steaks for dinner tonight. I marinated it in teriyaki sauce and Getty grilled it. It is from our steer that we raised. His name was Sir-loin (named by Getty).

Today as well as yesterday, the sheep got a break from being worked. However since I was feeling sorry for myself, I felt sorry for the sheep and gave them extra alfalfa. They gobbled that up quickly!! Tess and Nan got to play ball and were happy too.

Tomorrow all the dogs will get worked. I guess I better start early before my mom gets here. Then it is eat and rest with my mom!! I love that!!

Oh yea, I have to ear tag about seven sheep with the Scrapies ear tag. The Scrapies inspector comes on Monday and I have to have everyone tagged that is going to stay. I picked seven nice ewe lambs to keep and they get the tags. The lambs that do not get the tags are the locker lambs. We have been in the Scrapies program for a year now. I only buy outside sheep that are in the same program. My flock has been a closed flock aside from the ram that I bought to bring new genetics into the flock.

I have about 30 breeding Clun Forest ewes and three ram. I also have 6 hair sheep and one ram. I reduced my flock down quite a bit this year. With hay prices skyrocketing, I had to make some difficult choices. I had spent quite a few years in making a nice hair and wool sheep flock. It was a hard decision to sell sheep and the ones that I sold were top of the line.

From the Clun Forest sheep, I sold the ewes that I had several sisters. Meaning that I had on set of sheep that had 5 full sisters, another set with 4 full sisters and so forth. So I reduced the sisters by half and sold the ewes to good homes.

Of my hair sheep, my decision was based on color and one main ewe. I had a favorite ewe called “Big, Ugly” she had a big spotted nose and was ugly. But she was solid and square and was one of my best moms. I kept the lambs from her and a couple of ewes that I got from Sara Jo. They are nice and square. So my hair sheep are very well built and weigh over 125 lbs or so.

“Big, Ugly” lambs are not ugly. Their noses are not as roman nose as hers and their spots are cute. Sad to say, “Big, Ugly” died last year. I have two generations of "Big, Ugly" here. They carry on the same great mothering and excellent genetics. I need to name them but it will be better than “Big, Ugly”

I am open to suggestions.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Off to the Hospital...

Just a quick note to let you all know that I am off to go to the Hospital. I am going to have a TEE and then a Cardio-verison done today and may stay overnight.

The TEE is when they stick a tube down your throat and examine my heart. They will use this reading as a baseline.

Then while I am out, they will do a Cardio-version. That is when they stick electrodes on my chest to stop the *bad electrical signals* and then my heart will reset to the proper signals. Basically, my heart is in arrhythmia and needs to be reset to normal heart patterns.

So until tomorrow.......

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Ruler...

Rigby is the King of the farm. Tiny in size but big in heart. He rules the Border Collies.
When the last set of pups were born, he was in the box with them as they grew up and ate with them and played with them. He taught the pups that cats ruled the farm and they better listen to him.
The LGD also know that Rigby is the boss. One ewe tried to stamp at him and she got a paw to the nose and then she beat a hasty retreat.

Rigby by the hay shed.
Rainey spies Rigby and tries the sneak approach.
Rainey thinks if she lies down that Rigby might not see her.
BUSTED. Raieny gets closer to the ground as she knows she will be in trouble. Rigby is giving her the *evil* glare. Not a wise move on Rainey's part to sneak up on Rigby. Last dog that did that got chased up to the house.

Rigby is licking his paw, just waiting for Rainey to get into range so he can jump her.

Rainey is starting to back up as she knows the "licking the paw" trick.

"Hey You" I say to the two and they both try to look so innocent.

What do you think? Are they both innocent?

Rainey decides to leave and go lie on the ground and act innocent again.

Rigby doesn't care if he acts innocent or not. He strutted off like it was no big deal but secretly wishing he didn't get busted so he could have chased Rainey about the farm. He will have to try it again some other time and place...that is when I am not there.
Rainey and Nan are his favorite dogs to chase. Nan is not amused.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Old Guard and the Youngin’

Here is another senior citizen. Del’Mar Scot “Scott” He turned nine in June. His sire is Imp Jim, a son of Bobby Dalziel “WISP”. His dam is Delmar Megan. The dam side is Elvin Kopp’s breeding. Scott is a compact male with a large rough coat. He has two blue eyes and has one of the most loving personalities. I tried to buy him from Chris about 6 years ago and he turned me down as he was his top cow dog on the cattle ranch. As it was, I finally got to buy him over three years ago and was in heaven. I still am.

Scott worked on one of the largest cattle ranches in Canada called the “Coldstream ranch”. He worked cow/calf pair, bulls, steers…you name it…. in over tough steep mountains, in all sorts of weather. It was a real job and hard work. Often it would be over 12 hours and Chris and Scott would come home and be wiped out, then do it again the next day.

Chris and Terri Hanson loved Scott and decided to retire him while he still was young and made sure he got a good home. Scott went from working cattle on a large operation to working on a sheep farm and running in sheep and cowdog trials. He also gets to be surrounded by the girls who adore him. He loves that.

I ran Scott for a few years in cowdog trials where he was very successful and placed high. In sheepdog trials, he placed or won in the Open division. He was retired when his hips began to bother him over the long distances. His long work as a younger dog caught up with him. Scott retired on a successful note and became my farm dog and lesson dog. I do still run him in ASCA trials where he wins and loves the attention. He is such a ham.

Now at the age of nine years, Scott still is having fun. He is being worked by Janet, one of my students and she is going to run him in sheepdog trials but at the lower level. The distance is short and Scott loves to work with Janet. They will be running in ranch in the Winter Series. Scott still does help me with chores and loves working the ducks.

Last year, Scott sired a litter of pups. Tess was the dam and I kept a male “Anson” and a female “Rainey”. Rainey is quite full of herself and I see a lot of her sire in her actions. She is very clever and thinks thing out. She has her sire’s attitude of “I am GOD” and works just like him. She is tough, fearless and has a “make me” attitude. (DOB Nov 10, 2007)


Rainey thinks she should be helping with chores on the farm; as a result she will slip in with her mom, Tess to assist. She has helped move sheep off the feeders and not chase them as they move but hold them off. She will move sheep in the stall. She helped with shearing by holding and moving the sheep about in the stall with Tess. She will look at Tess and mimic her movements. She has lain down while we sheared and was patient. She will help sort and gather the flock with Tess.

We have been working her in the big field she is quite powerful and has a nice square flanks. Great balance and will call off when you are done.

She is like her mom in the fact that she thinks she is the only dog that is capable of working the stock. We really look forward to this little spitfire in the future. One day, she will go north back to see Chris and Terri to show them that her sire lives on through her.