Sunday, November 30, 2008

Trial results from Rocky Ewe Nov 29th Trial

Well, it was a long day yesterday. First, we had to get up at 5:30 a.m. and head off to the trial. Starbucks was the stop along the way and we got hot, steaming coffee to wake us up. It worked and we chatting non stop and managed to miss our exit. Thankfully, we left with time to spare and arrived ahead of schedule. Ron Green and his niece, Misty were my travel buds. Ron drove!!

The trial was full with 60 runs with Open, ProNovice, Ranch and then Novice. It was sunny and then cooled down but was not freezing and it didn’t rain. It was ideal for the sheep and dogs. It was. two weeks since my heart surgery and I was looking forward to judging as well as getting out of the house. I had great scribes: Janet, Kathleen, Lora, Jennifer and Pam. They were busy and worked hard all day.

Judy hosts these “Winter Series” trials for the last few years. The entry fees are low and you use your time up if you RT. There is no payback and the Open handlers get points. People bring out their young dogs to get some trialing time and work out the kinks. I really enjoy judging these trials as I see the handlers and dog improve each time.

I started judging a little bit after eight, took a short lunch break and judged until almost 5:00. The last run ran as it was getting dark and we finished in the nick of time. People quickly grabbed panels and helped break down most of the course. I was tired by the end of the day but it was a mental tired due to the 60 runs. Judy and Nora kept me supplied with hot cocoa all day and Janet made sure I had snackies to eat. My leg was fine and the incision didn’t hurt at all. It’s great to feel on the mend and I am now well on the way to recovery. Several people commented how my face looks rosy now instead of a green tint. Do ya think it is because it is getting blood now? I fell asleep on the way home!! Ron drove again.
Janet, Audrey, Kathleen, Audrey, Pam, Ron and Misty all entered in the trial.

Anyways I am very happy and had a blast. Thanks to all who entered. Here are the results:

Judy Norris Winter Series
Nov 29, 2008
Judge: Diane Pagel
Comments: Judy Norris and Diane

The sheep were very difficult to set today and were challenging for dogs to lift. They were very difficult to shed and only three dogs got a shed. The weather was sunny and no rain which made for a perfect day to have a good trial. The trial was packed and ran until daylight ran out. Lunch was provide by Judy and Nora. Thanks to the scribes: Janet, Kathleen, Jennifer, Lora and Pam. Much thanks for the setout crew who worked extra hard and long shifts. We couldn’t have done it without your tireless help. Lastly thanks to Judy and Nora for putting on the trial and Diane for judging two weeks after her heart surgery.

Open 21 dogs (2 N/C)

The sheep were set out and most dogs came in tight. The sheep were very light and quick and unforgiving. The drive was a long first drive away and the cross drive was extremely tough to see and difficult. The wily sheep wanted no part of shedding and stuck together like glue. The first three placing were won by the older, seasoned dogs. No comment on the handler ages!!

1. Jim Cooper-- Kyle 84 Donna maybe she wishes he stayed home but doubt it. The shed placed him in first.
2. Donna Donahue --- Davy 83 What a great old dog, he can still show them how to run a course.
3. Brian Ricard - 80 Mig He know how to get the sheds - luck!! He got two of the three sheds
4. Donna Donahue--- Kate 74 Very nice pen
5. Brian Ricard--Doc---74 One of the fed sheds of the day
6. Sue MacDonald --- Jan 72 Very nice fetch. She is really improving and is going be a nice young dog
7.Joe Haynes-- Rain--72 She just couldn’t see the sheep so did the long route and did an excellent pen
8 Linda DeJong-- Charlie--72 Calm lift and he beat his brother this time.
9. Sue MacDonald -- Bess 69 Very good pen
10. Jennifer Coleman -- Aika 66 A perfect outrun and lift sheep said thank you fro that!!
11.George MacDonald -- Chris 67 He is getting better and better with these light sheep
12.Jim Cooper-- Zot 67 She got lost and made sure no sheep missed their turn
13. Patricia Pederson – Patch 60 Nice lift
14. Linda DeJong – Michael 46 Nice fetch
15. Patricia Pederson -- Jenny 42 Nice Pen
16. George MacDonald -- Huck 39 Excellent work on the single who took a nap during the pen. Great patience and as a result got a perfect pen

The rest of the class were RT or N/C.

Pro Novice 18 dogs

The sheep were set much closer. The drive was tough on the cross panel. The pen was a three sided pen.

1. Heather Wardell -- Dessa 73 First time at the post with a very talented dog and what a smoking run!!
2. Becki Maloney--- Yank 71 What a nice outrun!
3. Joe Haynes -- Penny 70 Watch out for this young dog and an excellent pen
4. Pamela -- Caymus 64 Great job all by herself, turn around and ran again non compete and got a score of 75
5. Karen Combs-- Buddy-- 62 Nice Pen
6. Ron Green --- Kane -- 57 Nice fetch
7. Dave Imas – Russell -- 52 He is a lot of dog but a good dog.
8. Pam Carter -- Colin 51 nice job in calming the sheep and Pam kept her cool
9. Ron Green – Tait 41 He is a lot of dog

N/C runs in PN
Janet Thorpe -- Scott 62 Next time she will run him compete. Good drive. Audrey had a pushy Dan on the course and he was not letting the sheep escape so they RT. They had a nice pen.
The rest of the class was RT

Ranch 12 dogs

Setout was much closer and full drive was in the class but set up close. The drive was tough but do able.
1. Becki Maloney -- Finn--69 Wow, nice first leg and tight turn and a great pen
2. Janet -- Scott 64 First time to the post as a competitor. She is going to be one to watch out for with the nice old dog teaching her the tricks
3. Dave Imas -- Cap 64 He is doing great with his young dog and one of the best drives
4. Karen Combs -- Skye 57 Nice pen
The rest of class was retired as the sheep proved to be very difficult for these young dogs. The sheep were very fast.

Novice 9 (3 N/C)

The beginning class had some very nice young dogs and young handler going to the post for the first time. The sheep were very wily and were a real challenge for these dogs.
1. Karen Combs --Tex 56 Great job of encouraging him. He is looking great.
2. Kathleen Torkelson -- Emma 55 First time at the post with Emma and the best pen in Novice. She marched the sheep into the pen.
3. Misty -- Spike 51 One of our young handler and she really kept her cool. First time to the post.
4. Karen Combs -- Skye --51 Excellent pen
5. Nick -- Luna RT Another of young handlers and his first time ever out and he did a nice job. His mom brought him all the way up to run. Nice young dog for him.
The remaining dogs were RT or N/C.
Ron worked hard in the pens during Ranch and Novice. Thanks to him for doing that. It is often a thankless task.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Too tired to write

Ok, I just got home from judging a USBCHA trial today and I am what this means it that tomorrow I will write about the trial......

However, even though it was a long day, healthwise I did really good. My leg was fine, the incision didn't hurt unless I touched it (I know, quit touching it!!) and I didn't run out of gas. I didn't feel the need to take a nap at 2:00 p.m. and my body held up quite well. I judged about 60 or so runs and was mentally tired by the end of the day.

So hang tight until tomorrow....The trial was fun and some runs were awesome. It was sunny then cool but didn't rain and was not freezing. I was supplied with tons of hot cocoa and one of my scribes (Janet) keep feeding me treats.
Night to all...

Friday, November 28, 2008

Irish Jig

We recovered quite nicely from our yesterday feeding. We were not given our daily wake up call by the hunters so it was nice to sleep in. After we had dinner with my family yesterday, we also went to a friend’s home for dessert. I got to visit people that I have seen for a year or more. I used to play Ultimate Frisbee and it was the old gang. I updated everyone on the heart status. It was a fun party and we got home late. That wore me out and I was exhausted by the time we went to bed. So we slept in and it felt good.

This morning consisted of unloading the truck of the feed supplies. Actually, Getty unloaded and I helped as best as I could. I got two stall mats and prepared the area for them. I got bags of grain and dog food and other supplies. Getty and I had unloaded the carpet that I got on Wednesday.

Just in time, a friend showed up and took the carpet duties from Getty. Getty had a LSU game and was itching to go watch it. So we cut carpet and put it in the muddy gate area in the upper pasture. It helped quite a bit with the mud.

Janet showed up and grabbed Scott and we all headed over to the far pasture.  We all had practice runs at the PN level. Janet did extremely well and on one of her drives, did it almost perfect. Tess was the setout dog and I made her drive the sheep 250 yds to the set point. She did that quite a few times and then I ran her in the PN course a couple of times. I thought since she had just worked so hard, that she would be slow. She surprised me by going out strong and deep. She was on the muscle and did the course quite well. Someone forgot to sign her “Senior Citizen” Card this morning!!

After our fun practice, we went and had local Chinese food. I felt better after a hot meal. My incision is healed up and a small lump is there. It is only tender in a tiny spot and my leg feels fine now. My stamina is getting better each day. After lunch, we moved five ewes from home to the far pasture. That was the last chore and the day was done. It was a busy and full day but felt good and fruitful.

Dinner was Turkey soup with dumplings (what else!!) and we all hung out and watched TV. It sure is nice to have company and be able to visit and do fun stuff with them. And the best part is able to work dogs and not be exhausted or hurting. I am happy that the last surgery was successful and now I am seeing and feeling the results.

Tomorrow I am off to a Border Collie trial. I will be judging and have over 50 runs. I look forward to that and just enjoying myself. So I will be able to an Irish jig. I need a lesson on that.

Do you know how to dance an Irish jig?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

We got up at 5:30 this morning and it was not by our choice. The duck hunters went ballistic at 5:30 and it was quite a few hunters blasting away. It was not on our property or we would have called the police. We don’t allow people to hunt on our farm.

Each year, our area is one of the stopping grounds for the migratory fowls. We get Swans, Snow Geese, Canadian Geese and a multitude of ducks. Our marsh gets blanketed with a quilt of many colors from the wildfowl. There are hundreds of ducks and sometimes all you can see is an undulating mass of ducks as they swim across the water. As they take to the sky, the sun is blocked by a large black mass and they cry out as one.

We often watch this with a hot steaming cup of coffee and relish in the fact, that we can see this from our windows, a scene directly from National Geographic. Sometimes a Bald Eagle will circle and the ducks look warily up, and then explode in a flight. The Bald Eagle will try to snatch one but will get confused when the ducks scatter about him. It’s a technique that has saved many a ducks from certain death.

Sometimes I will see a coyote hunting for mice in the neighbor’s field. The coyote will stand and peer at the ground, then leap up like a gazelle and pounce on a mouse. If the coyote is not successful, then it is repeated. Occasionally, a Red Tailed Hawk will join it and will try to get the mice that the coyote missed; it is a slow dance among the various players.

But this morning, we did not have our hot cups of coffee in hand and did not appreciate the early wake up call. I rolled back in bed to snatch a couple of more hours of sleep while Getty went to finish prepping the turkey and start to cook it.

I got a free range Turkey in exchange for a sheepdog lesson. It was a good trade and I recommend getting a free range Turkey. If you want one, get in touch with me and I can connect you with the person that I got the turkey from. Our turkey was about 15 lbs and butchered and delivered on Tuesday. Getty soaked it in brine and then roasted the turkey with herbs, butter and his special fixings.

While the turkey was roasting, we went to feed the animals. The dogs got an extra long play time and extra rations and treats. The livestock got extra alfalfa and treats. All were happy in this glorious day.

After the turkey was cooked, we loaded up the SUV with our portion of the Thanksgiving dinner and the girls hopped in the back. This year, Nelson was hosting the dinner and he said we could bring the girls along. The road was empty of traffic and we drove in peace.

We arrived and I walked to the front door and the girls ran and barked at the door. They never have been there but could smell my brother’s scent. They love my brother and waited anxiously at the door. They raced in and began their happy dance of barking, racing and begging for pets. Getty and I unloaded our food into the kitchen and Getty began to prepare the rest of the meal. Mom and Kimiko brought sushi, asparagus, salad, tempura and other goodies. Nelson made yams, sweet potatoes and Asian potatoes. Getty made gravy, Dijon asparagus and stuffing. It was a feast for a King.

The delicious scent wafted around us and we filled our plates and began to enjoy the tasty meal as well as the wonderful company. Everyone had seconds and finally we all pushed ourselves away from the table, all sated from the meal. It was a real delight for me to be able to enjoy a dinner and eat and laugh and not feel sick. The dinner was a blend of a traditional Thanksgiving combined with Japanese and Cajun influence.

Tess and Nan were on the rug in front of the fireplace. I had put them there and told them to stay. They did not move a muscle but their amber eyes followed every movement at the table. Occasionally, a half hearted wag of the tail would accompany the stares. Henry, the fat cat was in the mud room and not happy about being left out.
"Feed me!!"
Henry was one of the cats that survived the Barn fire. After the fire, we were all standing at the charred remains of the barn and Nelson heard Henry meowing. Henry came strolling out of the woods. We thought he had died in the fire since he was very fat and lazy. Nelson took him for for a few months until we could get the barn rebuilt. As always, when a cat goes home for a visit with one of my family member, the cat never comes back here. Henry was no exception.

Henry belongs to Nelson and is very happy. Nelson has him on a diet and he looked big but not fat. Henry was not too thrilled about Tess and Nan being in his house so he watched them from a chair. Just to make sure that the dogs knew their place, he swiped at Tess as she walked by him. Satisfied with her yelp and her bolting off, he fell asleep in his chair, well assured, that he was still, afterall, the King of his Castle.
"King Henry"

Since Tess and Nan were well behaved, Mom and Kimiko gave them some turkey and potato Tempura. The girls danced in glee at their good fortune. Cleanup was quick and we all went outside to look at Nelson’s backyard. The last time I was at Nelson’s place was three years ago when I spent a night since I had a class down the road. He has done a lot of work on it since I have been there. In the backyard, he has taken down the dark and overbearing evergreen trees and Junipers. He put in beautiful boxed gardens, a small orchard and a stunning stone walkway. Also, he put up wood fencing to enclose his little piece of Heaven. He is very talented and gifted in the “green thumb” department.

Dessert was pumpkin and pecan pie. Still full from dinner, we managed to eat pies and have tea. If we weren’t full before, then we were very stuffed now. It was a good way to end Thanksgiving and relish in the fact, that we have a great family and we have a lot to be grateful for. We all have our blessings.

Do you know what your blessings are?

Happy Thanksgiving to All of You!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A new lease on Life.....

Gee, the last three of days just flew by. It’s amazing how short the winter days are now and there is so much to do and not enough daylight!! Since I have been feeling better, I am trying to do chores around the house. I pick the one that require lifting less than ten pounds.

I cleaned out my walk in closet, arranged the closets in order, tank tops, sleeveless shirts, short sleeves, long sleeves, Western gear, winter gear, shorts, casual pants, and fancy pants. I ended up with two boxes of clothes that I don’t wear (nice, fancy clothes and suits) and will donate them to Goodwill. Then, onto the dresser and cleaned out the sweaters and got a box to donate and arranged the drawers into trial (herding) sweaters, fun sweaters and work sweaters.

I went to the airport and picked up Belle. Worked dogs and feed the livestock. Cleaned the kennels. Got to know Belle. She is a nice dog.

I also went and got some free carpet today so it can be put into the muddy parts of my pasture. It was four rolls, one roll was huge. I got the people who were giving it away to load it and then Getty to unload it. Then I went to Del’s and got 10 bags of grain, chicken feed, dog food, stall mats, kennel wood pellets and other assorted stuff. Again, they loaded it and Getty will unload it tomorrow.

Then I wandered down to the Library (third bedroom) and cleaned and rearranged two book cases. Got four bags of books to give away. I still have to do one more book case.

I still want to point out that none of the above weighed more than 10 pounds.

My incision has gone done and hardly hurts. It still tender but not painful. My energy level is doing well and I am tired by mid day but not tired enough for a nap. I do get tired by six though.

I still have no stamina but I am working on it. My goal is to be fit by January. I also have to realize that I still have two heart issues that need to be addressed. I still have arrhythmia and the Third Degree Atrioventricular Block. I have a few more Doctor appointments and heart procedures to do still so I am not out of the wood yet. But I have one foot out of the woods

Oddly enough, my open heart chest scar has been sore and tender. I think I have been sleeping on it incorrectly. My feet and hands have warm and I can only remember them being cold all my life. My appetite is huge and I eat and eat. I have gained weight and now am 120 lbs. I can almost fit into my jeans!!

Whew, I am tired now and wonder why? Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and we have a lot to be thankful for.

For me, a new lease on life.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

One Bed and Two dogs, Two dogs and One bed

A couple of month ago, I got these two very nice dog beds for Tess, Nan, Rainey and Lucy. They have nice fleece on the inside and a removable bottom. On one side of the bottom it has the thick fleece and the other side is cloth. These beds are super deluxe well built beds. Not the foam type of beds covered by cloth. The new beds cost a bit more but since my dog sleep in the beds a lot, I wanted a durable bed. Not to mention, that Rainey takes great delight in the foam beds. The delight being is shredding the foam part of the bed. Three foams beds have suffer a slow death by Rainey.

Since I got these beds, they have held up well and I am very pleased with them I am going to get a couple more beds soon. Lucy and Rainey are not here at the moment so we just have Tess and Nan this week.

The girls have been real pills today. I have no idea what was put in their Wheaties but whatever it was, I want some. They have been antsy and dancing about. They got to work but obviously they wanted to do more.

Dinner rolls around and I told the girls to go to their bed. They looked at me and then ran to Getty. Wrong, so wrong!! I tell them to go to their bed in a stern voice, which I hardly use at home and they both bolt for their beds. They knew that they had crossed the line.

The two beds next to the TV and each of the girls has a bed. You would think that Tess would go into one bed and Nan into the other.


So I recalled them and then send them to their beds again, hoping they would see the errors of their ways


Some days you just can’t win.

Squeaky my new Cattle Dog

I got a new dog. Her name is Squeaky. She is 2.5 yrs old.

Tell me what you think? Looks like a excellent cattle dog!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

2009 USBCHA Sheepdog Finals

In case you were living in the dark ages, the 2009 USBCHA Sheepdog Finals will be held in Klamath Fall, OR on Sept 22-27, 2009.

Information can be found here:

Sponsor a dog/handler team at the Finals and become part of the event whether you can attend or not! A Dog Sponsorship/VIP pass includes a listing on the web page and in the program, a special event sponsor cap, admission to the event, VIP parking, access to the VIP tent with prime viewing of the event and a chance to win cash and prizes if your handler wins or places. There will be daily prizes given and cash prizes given for the Finals

Info here:

And of course, they need volunteers:

Nan and I are working on gonig and running at the Final. We have a few points and hope to get a few more. Tess has some points also.

Come root for us.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

All is forgiven

Tonight, Tess is by my side on the couch with her cold nose in my lap. Her eyes are closed and she is sleeping soundly. We are couch buddies again.

We have been buddies all day. So it was only fitting that we would end the day as buddies. In her opinion, Tess thinks she is the best sheepdog on the farm. She has earned that berth over eight and a half years as the main dog on the farm as well as my trial dog. She has carried me on her broad shoulders over the years. She was a diamond in the rough when Scott Glen took her under his wing over nine years ago.

Today, she was the back up dog and drove the sheep numerous times up my huge pasture for the lesson dogs to fetch. It was obvious that the time that Scott had put into her made her a well rounded dog. Between lessons, she sat at my feet and sometimes snoozed in my lap.

It was a sharp day, full of sunbeams and a cool bite to the air. The sheep were very lively and the dogs were more than ready. I decided to take Tess since most of the lessons would be in the far field and I needed a dog that could do back up without interfering with the lesson but yet, make sure the sheep would not break away.

It’s been over a week since the surgery and I was eager to go out and work dogs. Nan got to stay home with Getty and I only took Tess, The incision is still sore and puffy but the hurt in the leg has gone away. My goal was to work half the lesson then watch/guide the second half so I would not get wore out. This game plan worked out quite well. Tess worked hard all day, sorting, setting, holding, driving and fixing runaways.

The lesson dogs did well today. We worked in tight spaces, taking sheep off the gates and feeling the sheep at the top. Each person did well with their dog and you could see both the confidence in the dog and handler by the end of the lesson. Tess worked extra hard in turning back a ewe who decide she didn’t want to play the herding role. She was exhausted by the mid afternoon but managed to put the sheep away with enthusiasm.

Janet and I went out for lunch and then I noticed I was tired. I was not exhausted but tired due to being out of shape. After we ate, I felt much better and not ready for a nap but ready to go out again. This is great progress and it will take me a few weeks to be at full speed again.

The afternoon consisted of Monique working the young dogs while I taped Finn and Break. We have gotten Finn and Break to a point where they are ready to be sold. Finn is a nine month old tri color male that is a great grandson of Pleat. He has nice square flanks and a gorgeous outrun. He is learning to take sheep off the fence and down on command. He is going to be a nice dog. Monique has done a fine job of starting Finn.

Break just turned two and is a smaller tri male. He is started and very willing. He is just starting to learn how to drive about 10-20 feet. He is also a nice dog that wants to please. He will be a nice ranch or trial dog. There is no quit in either Finn or Break.

Tess held the sheep so her day was not done. After the lesson were done, Tess pleaded to work the sheep so we ran a few quick outruns and drive. She was very enthusiastic (again).

I also worked Nan on her inside flanks. She tends to slice and I am trying to square her up. Finally, she was consistent so we ended the lesson and she was quite pleased with herself. She was pushing into me for pets and her eyes gleamed with delight that I was happy. That is our nemesis on the trial field. We will work through it.

My leg was making me aware that the incision was not quite healed so we quit for the day. Tess was quite sure we were not done and brought her jolly ball to me so we played with that for a bit. I would kick it and she would bring it back, with her tail held high. I also want to point out that I did not kick it with my lame leg.

Now I was really tired and we headed up to the house. I heated up my leftovers from lunch and wolfed it down. I took a hot shower and Tess also got a bath. Her bathwater ran brown as she was filthy. She also stank but some Aveda Shampoo did the trick. When Tess gets a bath and gets out of the shower, she gets dog treats. That was what happened tonight BUT she darted off before I could towel dry her. I just followed the water trail to the biscuit bucket and there she was. She got toweled off and several treats. Then as I was cleaning up the bathroom, I was hit from behind and almost taken down by something hitting the back of my legs. Tess had her retriever toy stick and brought it into the bathroom for me to toss. She whacked it behind my knees (OUCH) and looked up at me, waiting for me to toss it.

So I tossed it for her and she ran around the house like a puppy with Nan following her. I felt much better and my incision didn’t hurt so much. I am happy that I can see my healing progress at a nice rate. Tess was happy too since this meant more play time. As I sat on the couch, she hopped next to me. She put her muzzle in my lap and her soulful eyes looked at my face and then at the cracker that I had in my hand.

I offered her this peace offering and she sniffed it, just to be sure it was not a baby carrot.

So I gave it to her.

All is forgiven.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

My heart is crushed...

Today was one of those glorious fall days. Crisp and cool but sunny.

It was a busy, busy day and I managed to get a nap in too!! Mom and Kimiko came over and it was nice to see them. Kimiko brought her vacuum cleaner since ours is so awkward to handle. Mom was whipping the mop about while Kimiko was whipping the vacuum and I whipped out coffee. Mom gave me the evil eye when I tried to help so I did odd chores that didn’t involve lifting. I’ll be happy when I can do the major house cleaning so my Mom doesn’t have to come over. Although now, it is a ritual and they love to feed the girls and the livestock.

Speaking of the girls, they greeted Mom and Kimiko at the door, spinning, barking and dancing in circles. Again, they were amply rewarded for their behavior with lots of dog biscuits. I give up trying to make them behave since I get scolded and the girls don’t listen anyways. Last time, I scolded Tess, all she did was to run to my Mom and not listen at all. Then my Mom told me it was okay. The girls know they *only* have to listen to Mom and Kimiko and barely listen to me.

That’s fine, as everyone needs to be spoiled. Getty and I got spoiled too. Mom made home made Gyoza and Yaki-sobi noodles. We feasted. Of course, the girls got the leftover Gyoza and Yakisoba Noodles. I went back for seconds on the Gyoza and then was ready to hibernate since I ate so much!!

My Mom’s Gyoza is the best, ever!! It has shrimp, pork, green onions and other items. She made it this morning. I have never had Gyoza this good in any restaurants. I have even tried to make it myself but it never is as good as my Mom’s. The Yakisoba had shrimp, pork, squid and vegetables in it.

We ate and watched LSU play Old Miss. LSU lost so that was the dark cloud for the day. The final score was 13-31. LSU didn’t have any defense. Getty went to LSU so we are LSU fans here. It involves cheering for LSU, eating, drinking, hooting, hollering, and a whole lot of fun. And that is just Getty. Tess is usually in his lap during the game!! Mom and Kimiko were too polite to hoop and holler. I stayed in Mom’s and Kimiko’s camp.

At halftime, Mom, Kimiko and I wandered down to the barn. Mom and Kimiko did the bread and alfalfa feeding. Danny, the pet wether was first in line. He is so cute.

Gosh, I think the sheep recognize Mom and Kimiko now. They know they get extra food when they arrive. The adult ewes try to stick their noses through the fence to be fed by hand. My Mom and Kimiko oblige by feeding them. Everyone is happy. Prior to lunch, Kimiko tossed the toy for the girls until they were tired.



As we walked back to the house, Kimiko, once again tossed the toy for the girls. They ran around and barked for joy, tail swishing about. I can’t even imagine people looking at Tess and Nan at this point and thinking these two are the top Open dogs? Rigby had to join and chased after Nan. Nan ran from Rigby at full speed while Rigby chased her, full of glee!! It was quite the show.

Kimiko and Tess

Rigby on his rock. He is waiting for Nan.

Rigby and Nan in a nice line. Nan pretends she doesn't see Rigby.

Yesterday, when I slept quite a bit that helped a lot. Today, my leg was not hurting so much and I was not lame like yesterday. I did a fair bit of walking but it didn’t hurt. The swelling in the incision has gone down quite a bit too and it is not as tender. I have to build up my energy level too. That will take time. That’s ok, as I have lots of time now.

Mom and Kimiko left as Chuck showed up. I was tired by this time. I took a nap while Chuck worked his dogs. After he worked his dog he came up to the house. We all hung out and watched Texas Tech get whooped by Oklahoma. It was a big blow out.

It was a busy day and the nap helped quite a bit. I did a bunch of little stuff but not any major stuff. And I feel much more energetic. Oh, I did get good news. One of my dearest friends, Lora got FOURTH PLACE with Sally. She just moved her up to Open. Now, she can have cream in her coffee as Open handlers drink cream with their coffee ;-) I will buy her some cream for her coffee next time she is up here. I am so happy for her.

It was pretty much an eating and football type of day. Tess still hasn’t been on my lap since the baby carrot incident. Her new vantage point is on Getty’s lap. I feel slighted. My heart is crushed and it not from the operation

Friday, November 21, 2008

Mutton Tossing!!!

It’s been a week since I had the surgery. I have been quite spry the last few days and then today, I crashed hard. I don’t know if it is due that I have been walking a lot and doing a lots of up/down movement or perhaps the distance of my walks. I am not walking fast since my groin/leg area hurts. Since I am a Type A person, having to slow down the last few months has been very hard. I have watched more TV since July than I have in the 8 yrs we have lived here.

Now that I am mobile, I am wandering about and doing chores within my limitation set by the Doctors. Most everything is over the 5-10 lbs in the barn. Ok, they didn’t say anything about pounding but they said no lifting. One of the stall window bars row had shifted on the tongue and groove board it was sitting on. It had pushed out about 4 inches out and was sticking out in the stall doorway.

“Bang, Bang” went the hammer as I pounded it back in. I looked for other items to pound. The other stall door bar rows were fine. Soon, I gave up the hammer and was on a mission to do something else. I wasn’t too sure but I knew that I could find something else.

Back to that Type A personality. In July when I was going in to surgery, I did a bunch of barn projects so I wouldn’t be driven crazy seeing them half done. Apparently I must have done a good job because I couldn’t see any more projects for me to do.

I did see a project for my darling spouse, Getty. I need a roof on my Tack Room. Sparrows have been flying in and making themselves at home. Bird droppings on my saddle do not make me a happy girl. So then, I had to sweep out the Tack room and covered items up, The cats are doing their best but when the birds are 20 feet above them, it is hard to nab them. I told Getty tonight and he didn’t look to happy at this “honey do list”.

I did a last walk in the barn and didn’t see anything else to pound, fling, squash or sweep. I did the noon feeding of alfalfa to the sheep and Emma at farm. Then I took alfalfa to Emmy and the sheep at the far field,

Emma and Emmy had their hooves trimmed yesterday. One of Emma front foot was low in the back part and Jim Kincaid, my farrier, has gotten it to be even and looking well. There was a crack in the front that had grown longer and Jim has been working on getting it fixed. He cut a “U” around the crack so it would not continue up the hoof. The last farrier didn’t do that and when I pointed it out, he said it was fine but it wasn’t. As it was, the crack got bigger and she got an abscess. Now the crack has been halted, the abscess is gone and her foot is no longer flatter in the back. Both front feet are even and in good shape,

Yesterday when we were at the far field trimming Emmy’s hooves, I brought Nan along. Jim brought Jill, his very sweet wife. She has Aussies and loves her dogs, So while Jim was trimming Emmy, I gave a demo with Nan for Jill. Nan ran out and got part of the flock and then I had given her a look back to get the rest of the sheep in the far corner. Then I had to have her to regroup them and she did it at warp speed. Once she got them up to us, I had her drive them around and show off her skills. They were very impressed and I told them to come down anytime to watch. Nan was happy that she got to go for the ride instead of Tess. Remember that I am having Nan take over chores from Tess. Tess was miffed that I forgot her in the house.

Jim took care of the horses since I was still limping. When I was doing the demo with Nan, I stood in one place. I know some of you would be wondering if I should be doing that much work, so I didn’t. The farrier appointment was made 2 months ago and the next one will be in mid January. As they left yesterday, the evening rain begins to pour. Our timing was perfect.

This mid afternoon I began to get a headache and my leg was very sore at the incision. I might have been pushing it too hard this week and I was tired. A nap was in order and Tess, Nan and I crawled into bed for a nap. Tess snuggled next to me and Nan kept my tummy warm. I slept long and hard and woke up in the evening. I still had the migraine so took a migraine pill and my meds.

Now, I am feeling much better, the incision is less sore and my headache is gone. I am surrounded by Tess and Nan on the couch. Getty is making sure I am feeling better and had made me spaghetti for dinner.

Getty watched TV with me (he had the remote control) and we relaxed. Getty got me some Ice Cream and we think that made the pain go away. I see the light at the end of the tunnel get brighter and brighter each day. It’s been a long journey and with good friends like y’all, it has been a journey that is bearable.

We are all going to have a party when this is done, a potluck, Getty’s band playing and mutton tossing. Just kidding on the mutton tossing! It will be for the successful heart surgery, Getty and mine 50th party and the belated Barn Signing Party. And any other reasons we can think off.

Want to come? Put you RSVP in the comments section. It will be about January time frame after my last procedures are done.


This is what I wote for one of my favorite Clun forest ewe. Her name was "Granny" and she died in the Barn fire we had in Jan 2006. I was working sheep today and have several of her generation in my flock. I pulled it from my files.


Granny…(aka Bispham B 100) - Clun forest Sheep

Photo by Bonnie Block

She is an old ewe…almost 14 years…Jan 20th to be exact. She has a registered name of Bispham B 100 but her real name is "Granny" I got her in 2002 from Allen Iseminger.

Granny is all attitude and quick to let you know if you are slow in serving her. She has a hard time getting up now, he legs are arthritic and her body is ancient. But her spirit burns bright and she is aware of what all is happening on the farm. Granny has been retired since she first arrived. Her role is to mother the weaned lambs and show them the ropes. She is a great granny…she would have about 40 lambs all darting back and forth and would lead them into the barn for nightly feeding and during rainstorms and so forth. She was patient with them, even when she was lying down and they would climb all over her. Granny would walk slowly enough so the slowest lamb could keep up and stop if needed.

Two years ago, she had other ideas about my decision of not breeding her and backed up to the fence to the more than willing Katahdin ram and she had twins. Last year, she had the sparkle in her eye and I let her be with Hagar, the Clun ram. I figured she wouldn't take and that was all right with me. One would think an ancient ewe would be slow or at the bottom of the food chain in the pasture with younger ewes but not Granny. Quickly, she shoved the younger ewes aside and waltzed next to Hagar. The other ewes all backed down and Granny was Queen of the flock. Three week later she went back to her pen. Actually, she stood at the gate, pawing at the door and bellowing loudly (so loud that I could hear her from the house) to let her back into her pen and she was done!!

This year she had two lambs, both fat and healthy. Granny has been in the lambing corral where she gets a big stall, grain and alfalfa. She has no teeth. Her lambs were some of the nicest lambs that I ever had seen. I went into the stall with a bottle to help supplement the lambs but she gave me an evil eye. Her udder was huge and the lambs had fat bellies and sleeping in the corner, furiously protected by Granny. Each morning and night, I would check on the lambs and Granny and each day the lambs were still fat and frolicking about. She still gave me the evil eye and every time I tried to handle her lambs, she would manage to keep herself between the lambs and me. Oh yea, and if I didn't feed her FIRST her grain, she would bellow until she was fed. So needless to say, she had me trained to feed her first. Bet you never thought a sheep could train a human, did you?

No teeth, old and full of attitude. Yep, and a two lambs by her side and the best mom of the flock. Never been sick, never had any problem.

She has her offspring on the farm also, all with the same attitude as her. Her daughter, granddaughter and great granddaughter and next year a great, great granddaughter. All of these ewes have some attitude. Not snotty but an attitude of "I am special and I know it"

When I clean her stall she stands at the door and watches me to make sure I do a thorough job. But beware if I leave a tool about or some item as her teeth will be upon it, checking to see if it's is edible. Heaven forbid a Border Collie might sneak in behind my back because if one does, she bellows (none of the silly baaing!!) and the dog is busted and Granny has a smirk on her face.

Last month, I had left the stall door open and she snuck out with her lambs. I turned and no sheep. I walk outside and around the barn and no sheep. I walked up and down the driveway and no sheep. I am getting worried. I get Tess, the Border Collie and send her to "find them" and she returns with no sheep. Now, I am getting worried and start to walk down the driveway to the main road when I happened to see a little glimpse of white. I turn and see Granny with the lambs, hiding in the garden, laughing at me. I point my finger at her and tell her "Bad Granny" and then she scampers off to the barn with lambs in tow. She saw me looking for her and hid and had fun watching me panic and when busted, the game was over. By the time I got back to the stall, she was laying in the corner with her lambs, looking innocent and chewing her cud with a sly smile on her face.

Tonight, as I was feeding the sheep, I noticed that Granny is slower to get up and not as loud to greet me. I honestly don't know how much longer she has but her two lambs are still by her side. Her eyes are still bright but I see dimness to them too and she is going blind. However she was alert to me and what I was doing.

Who knows when she will go to the lush, green pasture in the sheep sky but it will be a sad a tearful day at the farm when she goes. She is my foundation ewe, my granny to the lambs, the ewe who keeps me in line and my dear love. Granny, the ewe who I love the dearest. Granny, the ewe who is wise and has taught me a lot.

May Granny live to see her next generation be born.
December 12, 2005

(Granny was killed in a barn fire, one day before she turned 14 years old, on January 19. 2006)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Vantage Point

Today I went to see Dr. Joseph Condon. As you know by now, he is my Cardiologist. He is starting to open up more and has a funny send of humor. Not to mention, he has awesome communication skills. The first part of the appointment, Lisa did the Protime test. I just started back on the blood thinner on Saturday. They took me off it, four days before the surgery. My levels were a little low so she did some adjustments. Lisa also did an EKG.

Then Dr. Condon came in and we talked about my status. So far, it is looking good. I do not have to have the Holter monitor and that is good news. It is a machine that continuously records the heart's rhythms over for 24 - 48 hours during your normal activities. My flutter is still there as well as the Third Degree Atrioventricular Block. They will do the “electrical shock” that they did at Overlake (which worked for a bit then my heart back into flutter). That should work this time since the hole has been sealed. If for some reason the “shock” procedure doesn’t work the second time, they will do the ablation (burning of abnormal electrical conduction circuits). At this point, we are going to let my heart heal and the new tissue grows over the “clam shell”.

He will continue to monitor me and we will sit tight on the pacemaker. After everything heals, the Third Degree Atrioventricular Block might not be so bad that I would need a pacemaker. That will be the last of the procedures. In December and January, several types of ultrasounds will be done to verify the “clam shell” is working and so forth.

Needless to say, the light is at the end of the tunnel. I am so pumped. My heart surgery has worked, the remaining problems are not life threatening and can be fixed. I have been in good hands with Dr. Condon and his competent staff.

I am also in good hands at home with Tess and Nan and of course, Getty. Each night as I write the blog, Tess is snuggled next to me with her head on my lap or on the edge of the laptop, She is very careful and quiet and will give my hand a kiss or two as needed. She doesn’t put her paws on the keyboard but makes sure she is properly situated so I can type and not be bothered.

If you think, she is fascinated by what I write in the log, well you are wrong. She has an ulterior motive. Each night I eat ice cream and she gets to lick the spoon after I am done. Then I will eat cookies or crackers and she gets a nibble. She waits very politely for her treats.

She has been good when she eats her treat, never dropping a crumb and being very calm. Her eyes track every piece that I eat and she patiently waits. She knows if she is good and quiet, she will get a treat. Bad dogs are not allowed on the couch and do not get treats. She also makes sure Nan stays in her bed while am doing my blog. Nan gets the same amount of treats, in case you were wondering.

It’s a fine "Vantage Point." Next to me, who is feeding her treats. She also has a direct light of sight to Getty, should he decide to give her a treat.

Tonight I had baby carrots to eat. I ate all of my cookies up and decided to eat healthy. This is not counting the large bowl of Ice Cream that I had earlier. Tess watched every baby carrot go into my mouth.

Munch, munch was the sound of carrots. I relished each carrot and crunched them loudly. I heard a deep sigh and saw a pointy snout gaze at the direction of half carrot in my hand.

“Ok, Tess, here you go” and I generously handed it to her.

She took it gently from my hand and began to eat it. By this time, I was watching the news and glanced away from the laptop. To my horror, when I looked back, the keyboard was covered in tiny carrot bits. And Tess’s new "Vantage Point" was at other end of the couch.

I guess it doesn’t have a view of baby carrots.

My buddies in the UK

Here is a great article on Angie and Kelvin in the UK. They are my buddies in the UK. I highly recommend them as people to contact if you want a dog or puppy from the UK. They are genuine, honest and ethical. So far, they have helped me get three dogs.

Not to mention, they are just a blast to hang out with. Kelvin made some great Kiwi dishes when I stayed with them and I went home much, much plumper!!

Click on the pix to enlarge for full detail.

Oh, yea, they have some darn, nice dogs!! Check them out on their website.

But if you go visit, be sure to have a pint of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream (or equivalent) in your hands when you are on their doorstep.

If you want someone to do a great website, email Angie. She did the World Trial 2008 website:

Here is their website:

Hail to the Kiwis in the UK!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Hills of Scotland

Gosh, I guess it is time for my UK travel series. Last July/August I went to the UK for work and a bit of a holiday. This is not the work part of the trip. After my work part, I went to Angie and Kelvin's place in Scotland. I stayed there for about a week. We hung out, worked dogs, ate well and then went sightseeing. I can't wait to go back.

Click on the pixs to see a larger view.
The view of the hills from their house.

View of their training field. See the stone fences. See the sheep on the hill. That is how far the dogs have to go to get the sheep!!

View from the back of their house. See the sheep at the top of the hill.

The dogs and pups waiting at the gate to go back to the house.

Sava and Coll in the creek. They are the two Aled Owen's pups that I brought back. Angie helped me with getting these pups back!!

Angie's Roy in the training field.

Another view of the training field. See the white dots. They are sheep.

The view of Angie and Kelvin's house.

Angie and Kelvin have moved since I visited them and now are in Wales.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tipping Rate?

I took off the bandage on my thigh today. The area around the entrance is all bruised up. The bruising is about 4 inches by 4 inches. The actual entrance is healing nicely. It is flat and it will leave a scar but not lumpy. The first surgery I had at Overlake with Dr Austin, left the area all lumpy. I can compare the two surgeries side by side. The Overlake one is raised and lumpy and the Swedish one is nice and flat. Overlake tried to go in via the left vein but it was not a success and then they went in via the chest.

My groin area is still very tender and after a bit of walking, it hurts. When I get up from sitting, it is sore also. Touching it hurts so I won’t be doing that again. I guess it won’t heal in three days!! Like I said, I am impatient.

Ok, I am on a weight limitation. Not more than 5-10 lbs this week. Ever try to feed livestock and only carry 5-10 lbs….translated this means 75 extra trips going back/forth to the barn with alfalfa, grain and bread. Then I have to load up my truck with alfalfa to feed the sheep and Emmy in the other pasture. But God bless, the man who invented the utility cart. It has saved me the extra trips. I drag it all over the farm.

I got this neat cart from Tractor Supply. I has come in very handy for me.

I have been using it quite a bit and will continue to use it. It’s great and I love it. I feel like I should be singing “Old MacDonald had a Farm” when I am pulling this cart around. But I will spare you since I can’t sing.

I didn’t take a nap today which means that I am getting less fatigued now. That is great. I am eating a lot more. Tonight I had two huge plates of “Smothered Pork Chops”. It is a southern dish that Emeril had on his cooking show. Getty cooked and I did dishes.

It was very tasty and as a result, I had two plates. I love to eat and cook. Then I had two pieces of chocolate cake and then a bowl of ice cream. As you can see, my appetite has come back. I am also not so darn cold and have a lot more energy. A couple of people said my face looks rosier now. It looked yellowish before. I sure hope that the road to recovery goes well and no more issues.

Tonight as I write this, I see that Tess and Nan are wrestling on the living room. They are best friend and are having fun. Tess finally unglued herself from my side where she has been since I got home on Saturday. Using her as my “health barometer” this means I am cleared to go. She has given me the “OK, you are good enough to be on your own now”

Just as good as a Doctor and cheaper too!! She got a dog biscuit and was happy with that payment. I think she is expecting a tip also.

What do you think? A 15% or 20% tip?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Tending to Business

I am impatient. I want to be healed now and then go back to work and train dogs. But that won’t be for a few weeks so in the meantime I will just have to console myself with taking it easy, healing and getting back into shape. My appetite is back in full force or I have a huge tapeworm.

My groin area still hurts from where they inserted the catheter. It will take a week or so to heal. No lifting more than 5-10 lbs. Back on more drugs!! (Yuck)I did gain some more weight and was almost 118 on Friday. I just need 12 more lbs to go!! I guess that means extra hot fudge on my ice cream.

Today I took it easy. I had Tess take out the locker lambs and do some tending. Tending is where the sheep roam in an area and the dog makes sure they do not stray. Tess has done tending work for many years and once I let her know the boundaries, she will make sure the sheep do not cross the line. I am teaching Nan how to do tending. Tess has learned to just hang out when the sheep are loose. The sheep are at ease with her and then graze. Today we had the sheep on the front lawn. Tess was snoozing under the maple tree and should a sheep try to sneak past her, she would rise up and the sheep would go back. A couple of time in the 60 degree sunny day, I saw her take a snooze. But if a sheep got close to the boundary, her eyes would open.

Nan is very wired and it shows in her posture. I had her do tending next to Tess. The sheep were not at ease and kept an eye on her. I finally moved her much farther back and sat with her and then the sheep settled down. It will take a while for her to figure this new game out but she will.

We put the locker lambs away and then I had Nan take the ewes out. I had her hold them near the barn while I stood and brushed Emma’s mane out. Emma really enjoyed it and her head was on my shoulder and she dozed. After a bit, Nan settled down and so did the sheep.

After Nan put the sheep away, we went to sort a few smaller lambs from the locker lamb group. Tess is an old pro at this but I want Nan to start doing more of the hard chores. Lambs are not the sharpest knife in the drawer and when I was trying to sort them, the lambs were going every which way. I was not in the pen but on the outside as I didn’t want to be knocked down. Finally I got Nan to shed half the group and then we started to shed off the ones I wanted. She did quite well but was worried about the group that I had let slip off.

We got all of the small lambs sorted except for one. We got that lamb and one wether near the gate and I had her hold them. I didn’t want the wether in the pen but only the Dorper lamb.

The Dorper busted away and tried to join the group and Nan cut in front of it and tried to stop it. It then decided to run over her and she got a good grip on it and flipped it. I told her good girl and she turned and held it. Then we got it sorted from the other lamb and it was by itself. It danced one way and Nan matched it step for step. Finally, the lamb turned and darted into the pen. Nan did a great job, shedding the group of about 12 lambs to the four that I wanted. It was tough and she did everything I asked of her. Chores like that will make her a better dog and it had a purpose. Since I was not able to help her, and only could give her commands, it was very tough. When we were done, I praised her and she danced with joy. Nan knew she did a good job and that I was very please. She worked hard today learning to tend sheep and then sorting off lambs. I stood in one place and told her what to do.

That was my day. I also made a bunch of follow-up visits to Dr Mark Reisman on Thursday and Dr Joseph Condon (also) on Thursday. The visit to Dr. Reisman will be a follow-up visit after a week of the surgery. Then they will set up a visit for a month to do the TCD Bubble test. The TransCranial Doppler Bubble Test will see if there is any leakage. An intravenous line is inserted and they will inject agitated saline into your arm several times to see if any of the micro bubbles flow from one side of the atrium to the other.
Then I will have a 6 month and a 12 month visit to make sure the tissue has grown over the mesh (Clam Shell). As well as monitoring the other two issues that I have. I will be also seeing Dr. Condon to follow up on my healing and more tests. It sure seems like every time I leave the farm, I am either going to the Doctor for an appointment or the hospital for a procedure.

I look forward to the day when my life is back to normal. That should be about the time I need to trim hooves or something like that. I won’t have to worm the sheep for a few months since Monique did that for me on Sunday. You know, I have a great support group. People have helped me on the farm with chores or taking some dog for a bit. My mom and Kimiko come over once a week and stuff me full of food and help me clean house. Getty has been good about taking the load of me so I can heal. I am truly blessed to have such great family and friends. Thanks to everyone who called, emailed or showed up.

You are a bunch of great people!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Pixs from the Surgery (part two)

Click on the pix for a large image. There are more details on the pixs.

You can see two oval shape items in the picture. That is the "clam shell". The black bar is the middle part of the "clam shell" that holds the two pieces together. After a while, new tissue will grow over the "clam shell" mesh.

Pixs from the Surgery

Click on the pix for a large image. There are more details on the pixs.

This is the first part of the surgery where they inflate a balloon into the hole to measure the size. after that, they will put the proper size of "clam shell" in the hole and close it up.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

It was a success and I am home!!

The surgery was a success. I am home and watching TV and eating BBQ chicken and mashed potatoes. It’s Saturday night and we are watching “Dr. Who”. Life is grand and I am happy.

The journey started early Friday morning when we left to go to Swedish Hospital. It was a cool morning and I walked the girls to the barn. Tess ran to the truck, her tail wagging and her happy smile as broad as the Grand Canyon. She danced with joy, thinking perhaps we were going to a trial since I had gotten up so early. Tess bounced off the truck and spun in circles around me and then when I went into the barn, a look of puzzlement appeared.

Her dance of joy disappeared when I opened the kennel and called her. Nan ran in and stood with a dejected face. Tess dropped her head, and put her tail between her legs and shuffled in. She stood at the gate, white rimmed eyes showing disappointment and a saddened state. As I left, I saw two very sad Border Collies, their muzzles shoved into the wire mesh and sad eyes.

The flood had receded so the roads were drivable. We checked in and then waited. Kathy came in her own car but took the scenic route and went to the other Swedish Hospital. When she arrived, she hung out with me at Pre-op and then Getty went to the waiting room. Dr. Reisman and brought a colleague, Dr. Jones. Dr. Jones is a pediatric interventional Cardiologist. Dr. Jones would be assisting Dr. Reisman.

I got to change into the ever lovely fashionable hospital gown and then the nurses got me ready for surgery. Kathy hung out and helped me when I had any questions and that helped ease my fears. Swedish was using my surgery as a case study. They had about 30 or so Doctors from all over the world who sat in a Viewing room and watched the televised operation on big screen TVs to learn how to use this specific device from my surgery.

The Operation room was very cold and my arms began to shiver. The nurse put towels on my arms and in a few minutes I was ready. They sedated me enough so they could ask me questions. As I drifted off, I asked the nurse to tell me when I woke up to let me know if it was successful or not.

My veins were very small so the Doctors had to use a smaller catheter. They threaded the tube to the heart and inflated the balloon. The balloon is on each side of the hole and they use the balloon to gauge the size of the hole.

Lucky for me, everything looked okay to proceed. The hole was 2.2 – 2.3 cm size. Once the Doctors had an ultrasound probe in the heart, they were able to see what happened to cause the hole to reappear. The center of the patch had died. Apparently, in some cases the tissue will die and I was one of them

When they woke me up in the Operation room, the first words that I heard was “it was a success”. I was so thrilled and it made my day. As I was wheeled up to my room, I was happy this long journey was over. I was pretty drugged up still.

Kathy and Getty showed up and we chatted. I know we talked about the State of the Union and How to Solve the Oil Crisis. Just kidding, we really didn’t do that!!

My mom, Kimiko and Nelson arrived and then the nurse hustled everyone out to do an EKG. Nelson bolted home and then Monique and Nancy arrived. Getty left to go home to feed the sheep before it got dark. We talked about dogs and training and I was worn out. When everyone left, I feel into a deep sleep. I was exhausted.

Dr. DoLack arrived and updated me on a couple of issues. There are two problems that still need to be dealt with. Neither are life threatening.

The first issue is Arrhythmia. Arrhythmia is when both atria are not beating rhythmically all the time. Sometimes they are in atrial flutter or atrial fibrillation. They do not beat normally but twitch instead sometimes. To try to fix this, they will do an electrical shock procedure (like I did last time when I was at Overlake). If that doesn’t work, they may do an ablation (burning of abnormal electrical conduction circuits)

The second is Third Degree Atrioventricular Block. A conduction problem called third degree atrioventricular block. When the signal from the atria (the two upper chambers of the heart) is contracting it didn't get conducted down to the ventricles properly (the two lower chambers of the heart). The ventricles SHOULD contract every time the atria do, but with this problem, they don’t always get the message. If this problem doesn’t correct itself (which is most likely won’t), they will probably do some more testing to see if I have any symptoms related to this problem. If I don’t, they will just leave things alone. If I do have symptoms, I will need a pacemaker.

I woke up in time for dinner and a good meal. The food has been great considering it is hospital food. I got tasty decaffeinated Vanilla Lattes and peach cobbler. For my main course, I had turkey and gravy and Caesar Salad.

I got to stroll the hallways several times and the nurses kept an eye on my vitals and made sure my incision was not leaking. The nursing staff was very friendly and helpful and was on top of things. When one of my heart monitors clips came undone, they rushed in to make sure I was ok. They also made sure that I had plenty of cranberry or orange juice. I really appreciated how hard they worked and their cheerful attitude.

I watched TV then feel asleep, knowing that I was on the road to recovery. It was a good feeling to fall sleep with!! The morning arrived too early with the nurse checking up on me at 6:30 a.m. For those of you that don’t know me very well, I am not a morning person. The morning rushed by quickly with EKG and an Ultrasound and then I was ready to head for home.

Kathy and Getty arrived and we bailed. We made a quick stop on the way home to Olson Mills Saddlery. I found a cool cell phone case and Getty got it for me. Kathy managed to find a helmet and Getty managed to find a chair to sit in when Kathy and I had fun in the store. Shopping at a Tack store is not on top of Getty’s "Must Do List." Lunch was at Wibbley’s Burgers and then off to get my prescriptions. Finally we arrived at home.

The day would not be complete unless we worked dogs. Kathy worked Jill and Jill was ecstatic to be working. Tess and Nan stood at the gate, awaiting their turn. I was not in condition to be working dogs in the field so I worked the dogs from outside the gate. Everyone was happy and we went into the house for our afternoon nap. By this time, I was wiped out.

A couple of hours nap help rejuvenated me and Getty made bbq chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy and stir fried vegetables. Dessert was ice cream of course. A few episodes of CSI and Dr. Who ended the day on a good note.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Surgery Update

OK, so tomorrow, I will go in for my surgery. I am prepared as well as I can be. Today, I had all sorts of family and friends call or email to give me support. That means a bunch and helped me get into the right mindset.

Kathy Davis is headed up here and should pull in at 2ish in the morning. She is one of my best friend and a Doctor. She was at my side during the last hospital stay.

Nelson will pick up Mom and then visit in the afternoon. Monique and Nancy will be there too. We can have a party!!

If all goes well, I will be home on Saturday with a clam shell in my heart and the hole *plugged*and on my way to full recovery.

Since I won't be online for a couple of days, the update will be in the comments section of this posting. Look for an update on Friday night.

Keep your fingers crossed and keep me in your prayers

Baby Calves aka Barn Guests

Here are some pixs of our Barn Guests. They are the nine dairy calves from George/Diana who live down the road. Their barn got flooded out as well as their fields. These calves will stay here as long as they need to.

I like this one the best. She has the cutest face and biggest doe eyes. She is very curious.

All checking me out....

I like this one too. Very cute and friendly.

More flood pixs

So the 100 yr flood has happened twice in less than three years.....guess, I won't betting at the Casino on those odds, eh?

We went to bed and the Tolt River was rising and we woke up at 4:00 a.m. and saw it was rising and by morning it really had gone much, much higher. It was at the historic level again.

The view from our deck. Out little island with the bridge we made after the Barn fire. The bridge has 4 foot pole holding it down as an anchor. This was taken about a week ago

This morning. The bridge is trying to float away and the water is over the 4 foot poles.

This is my lower pasture. This is the tree the sheep sleep under. I guess that won't be happening today? The fence is 52 inches high.

Once again, Getty has to push logs off the fence line with his kayak. Click on the pixs to get a bigger view. This log is much bigger than his kayak. He pushed it about 1/4 mile away.

See Getty push the log. Push, Getty, push!! It's not what he really wanted to do on a Thursday afternoon. But he did it, since he loves his wife so much.

Nan at the gate. She wants to herd but notice the pasture is under water and the sheep have a 50 x 50 feet landing to stand on.

This is the view of my driveway. It is under 2 ft of water. See the bee hives. They got flooded out and hundreds, if not thousands of bees perished. Chuck took the hives and dismantled them. They were about 25 live bees left. I felt sorry for the bees as they worked hard all summer and were nice bees. He lost two hives.

View of my upper pasture. See the dog igloo floating away?

This is my other field. It is called the "far pasture" It is about 25 acres. Look to the middle of the pix and you see a fence line. To the left is my field and you see my sheep shed.

A straight on view of my "far field" All under 3-4 ft of water. Emmy, the Arabian and 15 Clun Forest sheep are next to the road and they have about on acre of land to stay on.

This is the view as you drive to my place. See how close the water is to my barn?

View of my driveway under water. I am really glad that I have a Dodge Ram 2500 truck with 4 wheel drive. I was able to go to fed the sheep and Emmy in the far pasture.
At 8:30 p.m. the water was out of the driveway and was going down.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Flooding and feeling alright now

Let the flooding begin. The last few days it has been raining hard and heavy. The Tolt River went over its banks and closed several roads. The Snohomish River also has flooded the outlying areas too.

My lower pasture area, over the ditch is under water. Last week, the water was lapping at the round pen and at the *critter pad*. Today, it is not so far up but down the road it is worse.

We had winds up to 45 miles or so, and anything that was not nailed down now has taken residence in the next county over. The livestock all hunkered down in the barn or sheds. I hunkered down in the house.

People are being more proactive to the floods and moving stock as needed. Also people are just leaving their homes. It’s wise to leave if there is a chance of your house flooding or in the worse case, being carried off by the waters.

Today in the afternoon, George and Diana stopped by. They are local dairy farmers and their fields are getting flooded. Their barn might get flooded. He is moving his cows to a friend of his but need a box stall for his baby bull calves. They need to be kept warm and dry. I had a stall available and now I have nine super cute baby bull calves in my barn. They have large doe eyes and skins that look like velvet. Diana will be stopping by to feed them milk and if she can’t make it, I will feed them.

They are so adorable and innocent. They were exploring the stall and frolicking about. Long legs that get tangled up and large soft ears that swirl at the slightest sound. Oh, to be so innocent and carefree again.

I don’t know how long our guests will stay but they can stay as long as needed. George and Diana helped me out this summer and cut/baled when my hay when my hay guy flaked out. They also put up my hay in the barn too. It’s the least that I can do for them. People in the valley help each other out. It’s like the old way where people look out for each other and help each other. It’s a great community to live in. I really love it.

We lost our power tonight. It went out during dinner when I was cooking rice. So much for Pot roast and rice!! So we went into town to Pete’s. A local bar/grill and ate. Apparently a lot of other people’s power went out as it was packed and it was the Poker Night. Getty, taking full advantage of eating out, ordered a deep fried seafood plate and fries. We don’t deep fry very much as home but grill instead. I got a Rueben but they were stingy on the Rueben meat (one slice) but generous on the fries. I ate my three fires and gave the rest to Getty.

By the time we got home, the power was on. Everything was fine. We left the girls in the house and they didn’t seem too traumatized by being left behind. They said they would forgive us if we gave them the leftover fries.

I am finally getting into the mindset for the surgery now. I certainly wasn’t last week or earlier this week. I just hope they can fix the hole with the clam shell. I think part of the reason that I was not in the mindset was due that the first two major open heart surgeries failed. Those took a lot out of me, both mentally and physically. Then I had water in my lungs and after two taps it finally got better. I hurt very bad for weeks and was an invalid and not able to do the things that I wanted too.

Now, I am at the same place that I was before the first surgeries. But at least, I won’t have to do an open heart surgery. The recovery time is much, much shorter. I have a new surgeon and going to Swedish. I hope to be home on Saturday. I have a great group of support form the husband, family and friends. That makes a huge difference. I am in the right mindset now. It’s gonna work this time. Keep me in your thought and prayers. I am alright now.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day

Please don't forget those you gave their lives so we can have freedom and hug those who still are here.

My (late) Father "Milton Pagel" and Brother "Nelson Pagel" served in the Army. My *other father*, Tony Castillos also served in the Navy. I appreciate what they have done. They gave me a chance to be the person that I am today.

Thank you and God Bless all the Veterans.

“Stand Proud”

Stand Proud, my brother,
Stand Proud, my sister,
Stand proud, my father,
Stand Proud, my mother.

We can sleep at night,
Free from worry.
We can speak our mind
With heart filled passion.

So I can vote for a man
That I believe in,
So I can walk the streets
Safe and be secure.

You have made me proud,
Fighting for me,
Walking in danger
So we can be free.

On the beaches you fought,
In the mountains you climbed,
Fighting for a cause
And trying to stay alive.

Some of you still are there,
In spirit you walk about
Looking at us and hoping
We still remember.

We remember you
The farmer, the postman,
The driver and the young man.
Ordinary people with ordinary lives.

Lives you gave in full
So I can sleep in peace
And now, I still sleep in peace
With you watching over me.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Happy Birthday To Rainey, Anson and Kael!!

Time just seem like yesterday when Tess had her pups. But it wasn't. A year ago, Tess had eight pups. Today they are a cute young dogs, learning to work sheep and enjoying life.

"...all snug in their bed..."

"Santa Paws"


Rainey and Anson are the pups we kept from the litter. Rainey is too clever for her own good. She is very much like her mother. She is wonderful on sheep. She is our hopeful rising star. Plus, she is Getty's pet so she will be spoiled forever here. She adores Getty just like her mother.

"Rainey wokring on her grip"

Anson is the white headed male with one blue and one brown eye. He is gentle to the stock and not a fireball like his sister. He still is growing up and is a real sweetheart. I see a lot of his sire (Scott) in his personality.

"Aren't I cute?"

Kael is with Audrey. He has the cutest expressive face. He was for sale but there was something about his eyes that made me hold onto him. Now, he is with Audrey and it was meant to be.

"Asleep like an Angel"
Happy Birthday to the pups!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

How to search the Blog

I had several people ask how they can search my blog for specific postings.

Go to the top left of the blog at the Nav bar.

There is a "Search Blog"

Enter the words you want to search on and then hit "Search Blog"

Have fun searching!!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Scottish Times of a year ago

Remember last year when I went to the UK for work and a bit of a holiday? I posted pixs of the pups that I brought back. But WAIT, there was more!!

Angie, Kelvin and I went to Bobby Dalziel’s farm for a day. He was giving lessons and I was so pumped to meet Bobby and learn some tips that may help me.

Bobby is a very warm and funny person. He was dressed in comfortable clothes and you would never know that he was an International winner by his clothes or demeanor. He greeted me with a firm handshake and a warm hello and I felt at ease.

Bobby Dalziel

There were students from Europe, a whole gang of them and then us, Angie, Kelvin and I. The weather was cold and overcast and sometimes a bit chilly. It would tease you for a few minutes, duping you into taking off you coat and then the temperature would drop and you would put on your coat and then the cycle would repeat again.

Everyone was working at various levels, from the very basics to more advanced skills. Bobby would work with a person until they were doing the correct skills. It was nice to see how the dogs quickly got it as well as the handlers. Bobby explained the reasoning very clearly and we had lots of “ah ha” moments. Once he explained something in great detail and then we all looked confused and at each other in confusion. He burst out laughing and told us it was a joke. He had all of us on the joke.

He had Jamie, a stunning sable male. We talked about maybe Jamie coming to the States with me and we talked about what sheep, my handling and location. He was honest and said he would not suit me.
On a side note, Angie did get me a son of Jamie this year. Kuro will be a year old in December and is an outstanding working dog. Kuro is long legged, lean and black and white and doesn’t look like his sire but looks like his mother instead.

I questioned Bobby at great length about the US handling or dogs vs. the UK handling of dogs. He said we do not demand a lie down. He went into more detail as we (meaning US) let our dogs slide a step and not drop as asked. If you are working light sheep, or un dogged sheep, or need to make a precise turn, an instant down is critical. Actually, at any time an instant down is required.

He ran a demo with Jamie and a couple of more dogs. All dropped on their bellies when he blew his down. Once when a dog blew through his down, Bobby chased it down and then after that the dog dropped like a rock. He showed us Jamie (a top trial dog) to his work dogs (farm dogs) to a dog that he was staring. All were very obedient.

We learned quite a bit that morning and then Bobby showed us his sheep. He raises numerous sheep, mainly blackface. He had a flock in the pens and sorted some for the pups to work. The ewes were not too happy about being worked but with prompting from Bobby and a farm dog (named Kate, I believe) they were quickly sorted. They are very, very light and ran at the sight of a dog.

Scottish Blackface

Dalziel working his farm dog in the pen to sort sheep.

Still sorting.

Almost done

"Why me?"

Let's all look and stand in one direction.

Bobby explaining something to a guest.

Dalziel's farmdog pushing the sheep through a gate.
The last shove.

After the pups worked, it was time for lunch. We all went back to Bobby and Sheila’s farm. The house is as just a beautiful as it is on their website. We had brought our own lunches but Sheila also added extras to our plate as well as a hot cup of tea. Since we were not paying guests, we sat in the living room while the guests sat at the table. We certainly didn’t expect Bobby to come over and sit with us but he did. We all laughed and had a great lunch.

He is a down to earth person and he told fond stories of his trial days and his dogs. He answered any questions we had on training dogs and I felt welcome at their lovely house. Laughter filled the air and the scent of fresh baked food wandered about and the rain drizzled ever so slightly outside.

View of the kennels from one of the fields

After lunch the other guest went to work their dogs by themselves and Angie got her lessons. She worked several of her dogs and it was enjoyable to watch them work. Bobby was very helpful working on some detailed work as well as handling work. He didn’t stand and tell the person what to do but instead walked them through it and then had them do it and would be next to them as they did the exercise and guided the person as needed.
The training field near the house.

It was a fun and a fruitful day and the sun began to set so we quit. Those are the days that you wish could go on forever. As we drove homeward, we chatted non stop on how much fun we had as well as how much we learned. I never would have thought in a million years, that I would be at Bobby and Sheila Dalziel’s place, learning how to work my dog, eating lunch, laughing at jokes and feeling welcome.

It was one of the many great times that I had when I was staying with Angie and Kelvin in Scotland. I owe a big thanks to Angie and Kelvin for their generosity in taking care of me when I was there. Not to mention, making sure I got my two pups!! Also thanks to Bobby and Sheila for their kindness.