Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Pappa-San Pop-Up Party Palace

Try to say that quickly five times in a row. So the Party Palace folks, aka Suzanne, Wayne and Jeanne sure like to watch a trial in style. This is an extension of the main camp, the Party Palace. Those folks from CA sure know how to travel in style.

One day, they hauled out the Papa-San chairs. You just melted in those and could take a nap. Not a good idea if you are running three dogs. Erin and Suzanne are in this pix.

Janet and Tess, in her lap naturally, Suzanne and Bonnie are in the front row. Linda is in the back. She does all the scores.

This is another day without the Papa-San chairs. Notice that Tess is under the tent. Wayne is in the back of the pop-up and Kathleen is in the front. We all sure had fun under the "Pappa-San Pop-Up Party Palace" and thanks to them for letting us being part of their pack!!

In case you were wondering about score, as soon as I get them, I will post them. I don't have my score sheets or how I ended up but Tess was "rocking hot" this weekend. More to come.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Waiting at the Gate

Tess hangs out with me before her run under the handler's tent. Sometimes she will sleep in my lap. Or drink my beer if given the chance.

Here she is looking up the field for the sheep

She sees the sheep and looks at me to make sure that I see them too. How very thoughtful of her!! I use the excuse that I forgot my glasses when I can't see the sheep. I love the expression in her eyes. She has such deep, piercing eyes.

OK, I am making my way to the gate. Our ritual is a country western dance together and then to the gate. She is ready at the gate as you see.

Here she is very excited and jumping up and down. She is very happy.

Looking at me as if to say "Hurry up"

OK, she is trying to push the gate open with her nose.

Oh, look another handler walking by. Maybe they will open the gate for her.

Sad to say, it was the last time she will go through the gate for a run. It's a sad last picture of her at the gate. She is retired now.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Quick update for Eweful Acres

Tess did well. She won the Quilt for combined scores for six trial, the last one which was today. She is officially retired and will not be running in any more USBCHA trial. She is 11 years old and this was the Crown Jewel and what a way to retire, being on top!!

Nan and Lucy did well too. We all had a blast. I will post tomorrow as I just pulled in and need to unpack and go to bed. We are tired as heck.

Tess putting the sheep through the Maltese Cross. She was very successful in both directions.

More tomorrow, I Promise!!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Saturday Tess and me

I am too tired to blog tonight so this will have to do. Tess got 4th out out of 51 or so dogs.

Will blog tomorrow.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Pictures from Whidbey- Party Palaces

As promised, here are the pictures of the party palaces. This is from Whidbey Island.

Jeanne's trailer. Isn't it the coolest colors!!

My truck to the right. Nan is at the back of the trailer and Lucy is at the front.

Wayne and Trouble the Jack Russel. Trouble is the coolest Jack that I know. Not only he behaves but does tons of tricks and is a sweet dog!! I like him a lot!

Wayne is cooking. Dustin is stationed at Whidbey Island. He is Suzanne's son and is very nice and polite. He came and hung out during the weekend.

Dustin and Wayne. They have a great view of the fields.

Steaks on the grill. Cooked to perfect by Wayne.

Café Largo

Well, today was Novice, Nursery, ranch and ProNovice. The handler’s meeting was 6:00 a.m. and I rolled over in bed with the girls and we all looked at each other and where happy were we in Open and promptly went back to sleep for another 30 more minutes. I sauntered out to watch the runs, some were unrestrained, and others were controlled. It’s nice to see the youngsters making their debut as well seeing them advanced more and more at each trial. I had a doughnut and coffee and was armed with my camera. I took tons of pixs so you will be seeing them. I’ll be posting the pixs tomorrow as I am tired tonight.

Karen Mahoney won ProNovice with Grit and it was a stunning run. I think her score was 81. Kilt also ran got did well but I can’t remember the placing. There were some nice runs. Nursery was next so Tess and I went to set up at the top. It’s nice to see the runs from a different angle. Some of the young dogs sliced at the top, others crossed, and some ran like a dream. All were very ecstatic to run and soon they will be seasoned veterans.

Speaking of Karen Mahoney, she was generous to invite me into her trailer and we watch the latest Indiana Jones Movie and just hung out and had a good time. She also hooked me into her generator so I had power for the laptop and she is the reason why you get to read your daily blog. My wireless is working off Sue/George’s place so many thanks to them. Karen is also giving me tips for the trailer. I am getting so many tips that I feel so much better now about traveling with the trailer.

I had lunch with Kathleen and Jorgen and it was relaxing to eat and talk dogs and such. Jorgen is running the super nice dog named Merckx and he is one good handler. Look for this winning combination on the top placings in the future, as well as now. Kathleen ran Emma who had a hard time finding her sheep and she never has an issue but this weekend she was off. So back to general fieldwork with her for a bit. She just needs more miles under her belt. Everyone likes Emma and she will be a contender.

I did not run any dogs today so I just set sheep, took pictures and took a long nap in the middle of the day. The third class was Ranch and it was fast paced. I took my nap during the middle of it so missed a bunch of them. Suzanne had a very nice run with Yoko and got fourth place. Yoko is the daughter of her wonderful, talented Jet. Jeanne did quite well with Rocky and timed out on her drive. Had she not timed out she would have been up there is the serious scoring.

Novice was the last class to run and I strolled up as they were finishing the class. I don’t have the placings on that class. When I get the placings, I will post them on the blog. We have over 91 runs today so it made for a long day.

Dinner hour rolled about and I went to “Café Largo” for drinks and dinner. I got a Margarita, which was quite tasty and went well on the empty stomach. You are probably wondering about Café Largo? Café Largo is Suzanne and Wayne’s party palace area….aka the dining area. They had two green picnic tables set up, tons of food and drinks and all had a good time. Wayne cooked caramelized onions, grilled asparagus, steaks and Suzanne made a salad. We had drinks and soon were laughing and having a blast. This is my second dinner at Café Large, as the first one was Monday when they stayed at my place. Café Largo and the Party Palaces are necessary place to visit on the trial circuit.

Rating: 5 stars out of 5 stars
Ambience: 5 stars out of 5 stars
Food: 5 stars out of 5 stars

Company: 10 stars out of 5 stars

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Green Acres

So today, I worked until noonish then tossed a bunch of stuff into the trailer and crossed my fingers that I got it all in. Can you guess that I missed a few items? Considering each night I haven’t been getting into the house until 9ish, then going to bed, up at six, I haven’t had much time to get stuff in the trailer for the trial. Getty hooked it up in the morning so I just had to pull and go. I ran to the store and got food for the weekend so in that department I was set. I did remember my dogs at least. The crook and my cell phone and laptop. Forgot the wine, beer, and easy lounge chairs. Also, the pop-up.

I still need to get a generator for the trailer and weight distribution bars too. I need to stock the inside of the trailer up with kitchen items, food, clothes, bathroom items and miscellaneous items. Jeanne gave me a bunch of tips so I will be shopping to get those items

I had to work this morning and then bolted for the trial. I brought my laptop for blog updates as well as finishing my reports for work. I probably will do that tomorrow during the Novice, Ranch, Nursery and ProNovice runs. I’ll take pixs and put a posting on the blog.

Therefore, I am driving down the I-5 corridor, singing badly to the Stones and Beatles, when I hear some person to my right lay on his horn. I quickly glance over and to my horror, I see a Lexus cutting across three lanes of traffic and cars stopping on their noses to avoid hitting this person. He whips in front of me, I hit the brakes, and the trailer gives a wobble in the back to protest. So do I hit the fool or hit the brakes? Did I mention this is my VIRGIN DRIVE with the trailer and this HAPPENS!! God, I am nervous enough without some moron trying to kill me.

So, after the moron cuts across all of I-5 and takes the exit, my heart begins to settle down. Thanks goodness the front part of my chest has tons of wires to hold it in as it was about ready to leap out of my chest. The rest of the drive was uneventful so by the time I reached the trial site, I was all calmed down. I could not for the life of me, back the trailer in so Sue came to my rescue and backed it in.

Then you can start humming the “Green Acres” song. Why you ask, because I was a greenhorn to trailering. Lucky for me, Wayne (Suzanne’s husband) was around to help as he got my trailer all working for me. He showed me how to set it up, level it, set up the fridge/freezer and made sure the stove worked. He did a bunch of more stuff and when I could not get the electricity to work, he figured out that I was not getting any juice from the barn. Turns out the shop fuse was blown so I do not have any power.

He is charging up my rig with his generator so my battery, laptop and cell phone can charge. This is great!! Jeanne came over and quickly figured out that I forgot my pop-up and a mat so she loaned me hers. She also gave me wine glasses and champagne as a celebration. I really appreciate that they (Suzanne, Wayne and Jeanne) came to my aid. It made my day a lot easier and I was not so stressed after that. I was pretty stressed by the time I was trying to get everything all set up.

So now, I had dinner and drinking my ice tea and writing to the blog, Wayne will come and get his generator in a bit but the batteries will be charges so I am good. So far, the pre-trial stuff is going well for this greenhorn and someday I will look back at this and laugh. However, for now, having generous friends such as them has made this maiden voyage a sweet one.

Tess, Nan and Tess are on the bed or couch. I got them new fleece beds to sleep on which are on the floor but they looked at them and promptly jumped up on the couch and bed. I guess the floor is for common dogs. Look for the highlights for the Novice classes tomorrow.

-Signing off…Green Acres Galore-

Whidbey Island – Sunday- Part Three

Sunday rolled around too early and again I rolled out of the comfortable bed, grabbed a coffee and wandered out to check out the course. I was 11th with Nan so I was able to watch a few runs before mine. They had reversed the course but the setout was the same. There were a couple of good runs so I sat down to plot my strategy. Send dog to get sheep and shut up was the first part. Blow the correct whistle. Lastly, go to the potty before the run. It was a long and well thought out strategy, don’t you think?

Nan was the first to run and she walked up to the post, full of herself. Her eyes bored onto the sheep and she stood, every muscle quivering in her haunches. She ran off quick and deep and came behind the sheep and brought them to my feet with a little bobble. She was on the muscle for the drive and got her pen. The sheep were high headed and her being on the muscle did not help. We ran out of time in the shed and almost had it a couple of time. Her score was 77.

Lucy was next and it is in the mid day but it was overcast, so the sheep were not so cranky. She was a live wire and I felt a good connection when we went to the post. She came deep behind her sheep but the setout crew had let the sheep run part way to the set out so she dropped and looked at me, quite confused, as one set out was moving towards the sheep. I called her to do an away and she got confused at the echoes. I did the whistle, she came on to the sheep, and we got them back on line and through the fetch panels. The turns were nice and she was a far different dog today than yesterday. The drive was sweet, she leaned onto her sheep, and she brought them straight to the pen. A little fuss and she got the pen and off to the shed. I set up the shed and she flew in like a rocket launcher to the target. Needless to say, it was my only shed of the weekend. I was very proud of her and she was grinning ear to ear as she knew she was the best. She got a score of 84.

I took a long rest and had lunch and watched some nice runs. Gayle Cochlan from Canada has the most inspiration runs to watch. She is a very nice person and is a joy to watch. Suzanna had a nice run with Jet and they are a good team to watch. Not only y he is an Open dog, but he knows about a million tricks too. Oh, did I forget to motion that he is a good looking dog to boot!!

The setout crew had a hard time with Tess’s sheep as one ewe wanted no part of the deal. They ran back to the setout a couple of time, then down to the first drive gate and back to setout and back to the tree and then one last blast to the setout. The two people and two dogs had a very hard time holding them and they were trying to dart around them. When Tess got to about 11:00 the sheep slipped past the setout person and dog and ran to the setout pen. She turned to get them and worked like a cutting horse to keep them off the pen. All five darted five directions to try to get past her to the gate. Tess met each attempt as the dust swirled up in the air. I let her work the sheep and she finally got them bunched up and headed down the course. I gave her a redirect and she got them online and had a nice turn at the post. At the first leg, they tried to bolt back to the set out, she stopped them, and they fought the entire time across the crossdrive. They tried to dart past her to go back to the setout but Tess was determined to win this battle. We did lose the battle at the pen as the one high-headed ewe refused to join her pals in the pens. As Tess would cover four, the high-headed ewe would slip off and her friends would join bolt then. Tess gallantly covered them and we would try again but we ran out of time. She would very hard to get what little points she had obtained. Afterwards, the judge said we should have gotten a new set but I was happy how well she did her work. She did awesome work at the top in sorting out the nasty sheep. She was proud of her work and we walked back to the the trailer where she got part of my lunch for her efforts.

Overall, Lucy got 3rd, Nan was 7th and Tess was much lower. This is Tess’s last year to trial and she only has a couple more before she becomes a retiree at home. It will be a big loss for me as she reads my mind at the trials and in a difficult situation as today; she is the only dog of mine that could do the work without any commands from me. Tess has carried me to be the handler that I am today, her shoulders are very broad, and our love for each other is deep as the Grand Canyon.

I loaded up my dogs after the Awards and catch a late ferry. We arrive home well after nine and Getty had bbq chicken for the girls and me. Soon we were all passed out on the couch and the dear spouse unloaded the truck. It was a fun weekend and this upcoming weekend is the super fun trial at Sue and George’s. I will post from the trial. Time to go and pack the trailer and get on the road.

Whidbey Island – Saturday - Part Two

Since I am not a morning person, I was slow to get up at before the crack of dawn, so I slept in for another 10 minutes, then made my way carefully down the ladder to solid ground. The girls went for their morning potty run as I sipped the hot java that Jeanne had brewed. She woke up way before me and must have a good dose of the morning genes in her DNA as my DNA is loaded with evening genes.

Cyril Roberts of Wales was the Judge. He will also be judging the trial at Sue and George’s the following week. Cyril has judged many trials in the UK and the Welsh Nationals. Cyril is a shepherd and we were glad to welcome him back. He had judged about four years ago and he did not laugh too hard at me back then. I ran Tess in Open and Roo in Nursery.

The Handlers meeting was at 7:45, the first run was on deck at eight, and I was fifth place up with Tess. The sheep were set on top of a hill, about 450-500 yards away. As you looked up the field, the setout was to the left and it provided a heavy draw to the sheep. They used five Katahdin ewes and lambs and they were very light and very reactive. The dogs had to be far off the stock and you had to place the dog properly otherwise the sheep would bolt to the set out or down the field to the exhaust. They have been through the routine many times before and were wise to the fact.

Tess shivered in anticipation, her hindquarters stuck up in the air, and she turned her head to me. It has been an old, comfortable routine between us now, she sees the sheep and turns at me, we locked eyes, and our love for each other pierces out hearts. I send her with a shhh, her feet kicked up tufts of dried grass, and clods of dirt and her white tip tail spun side to side with the force of her paws hitting the ground. She swung out, checked her sheep and then swung out wider. The sheep all turned and stared at her as she came around at 11:00 position. She hitched up and then very cautiously began to lift the sheep. She had a nice lift and they ran down the field and started to get offline but she swung on an away and tucked them in, a little too neatly and they skimmed the fetch panels. She had a nice turn around the post, missed the panels, and was a little high on her drive. She marched them into the pen but not before one ewe stood eye to eye to her before she turned to join her companions in the pen. At the shed, she came in quickly like a hot knife on butter and began to hold them but was not the allotted time so we set up the shed again. The sheep were tight as frat boys on a kegger night and refused to yield so we timed out.

Her tongue was long and dripping large drops of sweat as she trotted to the water tub. She soaked in the tub, her eyes bright and sparkling, as she knew she had done a good job. The offline at the top of the fetch, missed panels cost us and we had a score of 64. It was not the winning score but I was very happy on how well the seasoned veteran worked the sheep.

Lucy ran in the middle of the day. She went out at a nice pear shape and had a nice lift. A little bobble at the top but got it set right and the sheep came down to my feet with only 3 points off so far. Then she had a hard time pushing the sheep for the drive. They kept facing her and she would not lean into them but stay off the pressure point and not into the bubble. It was that way all during the drive and the sheep stopped and faced her the entire time. It was quite frustrating as she can do it but chose not to do it that day. She followed the sheep than pushed the sheep through the drive and we lost 16 points. As a result, she did not hold the pressure at the critical time at the pen so the sheep would slip around and around at the pen. We timed out and got a score of 61.

Nan ran at late afternoon and the sheep had been run several times and were getting tired of being the unwilling participants. It showed clearly in the flaring nostrils, the ears twitches and the angry stamping of the hoof. Some had the high-headed attitude of Clint Eastwood’s “Make my Day”. Na started nice and then kicked out wide, deep, and stopped as I told her at the top and then came down with the sheep. She was pushy on the sheep and I had to rein her in to have a steady pace. She had a nice turn at the post, a little low and high on her drive and one missed panel but a very nice drive. The sheep got tired of her push and took a bit of convincing to go into the pen but in the end, she put them in. In the shedding ring, the sheep were tight to each other and we ran out of time. She ran well, was very pleased with herself, and lavished in my praise to her. Her score was 65.

We placed mid pack, I think but I do not have the placings yet so I am not sure. For Sunday, I had to change rethink how I would run the girls and hope they would do better than today. Overall, I was happy on certain aspects of their runs and on other areas, we need to freshen up a bit. They placed in the same area and points off in the same areas so that tells me where I need to work on as homework.

Suzanne and Jet ran in the middle of the day and had a nice run. I do not have the score but he is a very willing dog and calms the sheep. Gayle ran her Kate, who is as old as Tess is and she placed second. Lani ran Blair and he had a smoking run and the crowd went wild at the end of his run. That was very smooth and a joy to watch.

Nursery had some good run and some runs that needed some work. I think there were eight or nine dogs so at least two got a leg. I do not remember who won though. We had a handler’s dinner and there were some great spreads. Jeanne made salmon that was exquisite. There was a yellow rice dish that had sausage that I had to have seconds of and if you made that dish and read this blog, please send me the recipe. It is awesome!! The dessert so were good that I had to have several of them. Night fell quickly and the chilly air began to wrap around out legs so we all headed back to our trailers for the night. As I entered the warmth of Jeanne’s trailer and as well as the warmth of Jeanne’s kindness, I really felt blessed that I had such good handler friends, dogs who loved me and ran well and most importantly of all, my good health.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Whidbey Island - Part One

This last weekend was a great weekend. Handlers from all over attended from California, Oklahoma and from the Northwest. I left on late Friday afternoon since I was one of the early runs on Saturday. Jeanne Boudrieau pulled her trailer so I was able to bunk with her. She has a nice toy hauler that is very spacious.

We had a record 29 days of sunshine so it was only fitting that it began to rain on Friday. Not a summer drizzle but a full-scale onslaught. As I pulled up to the ferry, I then realized that I had forgotten my new purple raincoat and pants. However, I had my heavy duty Carhartt jacket and ski pants. In addition, I had lots of winter base wear and of course, the warmth of Jeanne ’s trailer. Jeanne and I had talked about getting groceries so between the two of us on the food supplies we would have tons of food.

In addition, Suzanne and Wayne Anaya would be there with their trailer. They had driven up from California and were already at the trial site. Last year, I met Suzanne and Jeanne and had a blast with them. We had drinks at their site and laughed most of the time and I truly enjoyed their company.

As I was wandering about in the ferry line, much to my surprise, Jeanne was in the line too. We chatted for a bit and she got on the next ferry while I had to wait for the next one. It was nice to sit, relax, enjoy my latte, and watch the seagulls bombarded the tourists as they walked by with their food in their hands. Some of the folks were so startled that they dropped their fries, which were quickly scooped up by the marauders.

The ferry ride was quick and the sharp salty smell of the sea was refreshing in contrast to the vehicles fumes that were in the ferry line as we boarded. White frothy waves broke in unison against the bow of the ferry as the rain cloud danced above and Tess, Nan, and Lucy comforted me with their wet noses pressed into my neck.

As I pulled into the trial site, the sight of trailers and trucks lines up and black and white dogs racing about in glee, greeted me. I found Jeanne’s trailer and parked my truck. I let the girls romp about while I unloaded my gear into Jeanne’s trailer. Jeanne ’s new dog, Rocky greeted me at the door and I must have passed his inspection as he let me in with my bag of food.

Suzanne and Wayne parked next to Jeanne and we had the party palaces all set up in record time, complete with pop-up tents, outdoor tables and chairs, which was swiftly followed by robust red wine. Jeanne and I compared our grocery items and we laughed hard at each other as we pretty much had gotten the same items, unbeknownst to each other. Salad, bananas, cheese, crackers, yogurt and snacks. I also brought fried chicken. She brought salmon for the potluck and I had brought pasta.

Dinner was salad and fried chicken. Tess worked her “pitiful eyes” on Jeanne and got lots of fried chicken. Now, Tess has a new friend to add to her “food chain! We all had a fun evening and I crashed hard on the super soft Queen bed in the trailer.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Whidbey Island Photos

I'm too tired to write about the trial tonight but will do the trial update tomorrow. Lucy got third and Nan got 7th in Open on Sunday. Tess had a bad packet but handled it great.

Details to follow.

Photos are at Bonnie Block's site

Field and Farm

You will see Tess and me in these series!!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Mutton Busting

This is a bunch of young children trying their skills at mutton busting. It’s a short clip but quite entertaining.

Mutton Busting

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fish Tacos

This is one of my favorite recipes. It's quick and easy. I also have used oysters instead of the fish.

Fish sauce:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 ts dried oregano
1/2 ts ground cumin
1/2 ts dried dill
½ ts paprika
Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup cornmeal
2-3 eggs
1 cup Panko
1 lb cod or halibut
1/2 cup canola oil

One sweet onion
2-3 ripe tomatoes
Cilantro to taste
Pinch of Salt

Other Ingredients:
1/3 green cabbage, sliced thinly or finely chopped
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
8 or so flour tortillas
One lime

1. Mix together the mayonnaise, yogurt, oregano, cumin, paprika and dill. Squeeze the lime juice and adjust to your taste. Add salt and pepper to your taste. Put in bowl and chill in refrigerator.
2. Finely chop up the onions, tomatoes and cilantro. Add a pinch of salt and squeeze some lime for flavor. Set in refrigerator.
3. Put cornmeal in one bowl. Whip the two eggs in a second bowl. Put the Panko into a third bowl.
4. Cut the fish into 1 inch x 3 inch strips. Pat dry. Dip fish into cornmeal, then into eggs and into the Panko. I usually put the Panko into a large baggie and shake the fish into it so it is coated well. Have the oil heated over med heat. I use a Dutch Oven to fry my fish.
5. Put fish into oil and cook until golden brown. After it is cooked put on paper towels so excess oil can drain.
6. Warm up tortillas on flat heavy skillet over low heat. Add cheese on tortillas and take off when it is melted.
7. Add fish, salsa, cabbage and fish sauce. Squeeze some lime juice on top. Roll up tortillas.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Stand By Me........

I love this song. It's well done and took a lot of effort.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Whidbey Trial June 20-22

Well, I am at the ferry holding zone waiting to get on the 5:00 p.m. ferry to go to the Whidbey Island Trial. I won't be able to post from the trial so you won't know the results until Monday.

On Saturday we run Open and Nursery. On Sunday it is also Open and Nursery. Monday will be ProNovice, ranch and Novice. The classes are full. I am running Tess, Nan and Lucy in Open.

Jeanne Boudrieau brought her trailer so I will be staying with her. She will be running Rocky in PN.

Will post when I get home. I have some blog set to post automatically for the next two days so you won't miss a thing!!

Gotta start the truck and load now...so wish us luck.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Zack the ACD

Let us introduce you to Zack.

He is an ACD and quite the nice gentleman. He has been coming out her for a few months. I really like him as he is kind to his stock. He is very methodical in his work. He has been working 5-15 sheep in my lower pasture which is a few acres. It has some tough draws to the lambing corral, the round pen and the back pond. If the dog is slow to cover the sheep beat a hasty retreat so the dog has to work.
Zack walking up on his sheep. He has nice pace and rates himself well.

Not rushing the sheep but finding the right pressure. He is calm.

This is a shot of him as he is lifting the sheep. He turned in at the top nicely and walked straight on to the sheep.

Finally I was able to get a picture of Zack and the sheep. See how nice he stays behind the sheep and how calm the sheep are during the fetch.

Zack will be working lambs soon and then in a bigger field. Look for more updates on Zack.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Caption Contest at BorderSmith

Put on your creative hats and visit Amelia's blog and enter in the caption contest. The winner gets a free one year subscription and second place gets six months. What a great deal. Amelia has a blog on training a young pup from start to finish. each week she write about the trials and tribulations she has and it is a good read.

For this month here is the picture. Isn't it the cutest picture, ever!!

Now to enter your *witty caption* you have to go to her site. The contest ends soon so you better hurry. In case you asked, I already entered my caption

Click on:

Amelia's BorderSmith

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Where are the sheep?

Just how tall is the grass in my training field? Half of it has been cut down which as been great to train the dogs in but the other half is going to be cut in 10 or so days. The sheep like to hide in the tall grass.

There are sheep in the grass here. The grass is taller than my head. I knew the sheep were in here as I saw them run it when I came down the path with Tess. The sheep thought they were very clever and tried to hide.

Unfortunately for them, I sent in Tess and she found them. Her sheep radar beacon works great. Soon their little hidey-holes will be gone!! Too bad!!

Mary Had a Little Lamb

Mary had a little lamb,
Little lamb, little lamb,
Mary had a little lamb,
Its fleece was white as snow

NO WAIT... this isn't Mary and this lamb is not white. Perhaps the song should go like this.

Janet had a little lamb,
Little lamb, little lamb,
Janet had a little lamb,
Its fleece was black as coal.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Mig the Kelpie

A friend bred a darling Kelpie named Mig. She is a real pistol and loves to work the stock. She is now just out of the round pen and doing small gathers. She is very speedy and enjoys her Sunday outings.

Their outruns are not very far since they just got out of the round pen. We want to make the close gathers very successful before we make it longer.

We made the dogs learn both sides. 

The video were not working so I removed them.

Epic (aka Anson) and Ben

Pic (formerly known as Anson) now belongs to Ben. Ben got Epic for herding, flyball and his main dog. Epic adores Ben and thinks he walks on water. He even gives him his monkey hugs like Tess does.

Ben is learning to work with epic. I put the foundation on Epic so Ben had a dog that was ahead of him and they could grow together. Ben comes out each week for lessons. He uses Epic to sort his sheep and do chores. This time he had to sort out 5 or so sheep and leave the ram and Dorper behind. He did that quite well and that helps Epic learn how to do practical work. Then I had him work a larger flock.

Ben is learning how to work Epic on outruns. Prior to this, he used Tess as a lesson dog and she knew what to do. Now, he has to help Epic and teach him. This session, we stretched Epic to go very far on his outrun and I had Ben keep giving Epic his flanks commands so he would get better on them. On this clip, he is working with Epic on his come-bye. Sometimes Epic get a little too cautious at the top, so we have been working him to push harder. The pups from this litter are cautious at the top so we are making them come on harder at the top so their eye won't hold them at the top like it has done with their sire, Scott.

This is the away side and again, the farthest he has come. Ben is sshhing him to go faster and push on the fetch. By the time we were done, he was quite happy. I think I am going to encourage Ben to enter in a Novice trial this fall.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Jack and Logan Video

Today we worked dogs in the far field. it's 650 yd by 250 yards wide. It's not an easy field as part of it has grass waist to head high and dips. It has panels set up for Open and sometimes we try to run a course.

I set the panels next but not on the sheep trails. If you don't watch it and try to run the course you will miss each panel as the sheep want to walk on their trail and not through the panels.

There are some good draws also. Just behind you is a long ditch and they sheep will jump it to go to the other side which is the upper part of the pasture to join their pals and horses. Is that doesn't suit their fancy, then they run to the gate.

And to top it off, if they don't run to the ditch or gate, they will bolt for the far end of the pasture and hide in the tall grass. The sheep have been worked by dogs but they don't run to you unless the dogs does their job correctly. They are not easy to drive and make your dog work to push them, however if your dog can drive well, you can do the drive quite well.

This is Jack who is owned and trained by Nancy. Nancy got Jack as a pup from me and he is devoted to her. He is still a youngster. We have been working on lengthening his outruns and getting him to come in deep. This is the farthest he has gone on an outrun in this field. See how nice and wide his outrun is and how deep he comes behind the sheep. Behind the sheep you can see how tall the grass has grown. The rest of the field will be cut this week.

Jack has a nice outrun, lift and fetch but pushed on the sheep so Nancy is teaching him a "lie" which is his hitch up command. What you don't see is that he drove the sheep about 50 -75 plus yards and then came back to Nancy for another outrun. My camera died so I didn't tape those so that will be next time. These are not the best videos but hey, it is what it is!!

This is Logan who is owned by Courtney. He is a brother to Jack. Courtney has been coming out here since she was 13 and now she is 16. we can't believe she has her driver's license. She is a very bright girl in school as well as doing well in training her dogs.

He has a nice outrun, lift and a hard fetch. Logan was not too sure about pressure so we have been working on him to lean on his sheep which you see he is doing quite well. He came in fast at the top and pushed them hard on the fetch but we have been asking him for that. He also drove his sheep to be set up for his next outrun. This is the first time that he has gone this far in this field also. Both dogs ran out about 250 plus yards.

Tomorrow I will post the Kelpie "Mig" and on Wednesday, the dog will be "Epic aka Anson" who is the bother of Rainey.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Rainey - Learning an outrun

More training on Rainey. She is learning how to widen out and stretch herself on her outrun. I took her to the far pasture that is 25 acres and waist deep in grass. We went out in middle of this week. Since then they have cut about 2/3 of the field.

First a girl must roll in sheep poop and then soak in the ditch.

OK, look for your sheep. They are about 200 yards ahead of us in the tall grass.

I tell her to walk up. She still has no idea where her sheep are in the grass but since I am teaching her whatever direction I am going to that the sheep are ahead in that direction, In this case, the sheep are hidden and she knows that they are in front of her, somewhere...

She races out and has a nice wide outrun. She is very fast. She can barely see the sheep as she left. I think she saw the top of their heads.

She comes out behind them and overflanks then self corrects.

The sheep come in a straight line. About halfway down, she gooses them but that is fine.

Now she has them at my feet and drives them off a few feet.

I recall her and we do it a couple of more times and quit. I am happy and she is happy. What more can you want?

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Geese Squad

It seems like forever that the geese have been laying on eggs. Finally the goslings hatched. There are some eggs that are still hatching. Meanwhile the young mama and the gander took the goslings out for a swim.

They are very protective and made sure that I could not get close. They are in our upper pasture pond.

They decided they had enough of me and quickly left the pond. I'll have to take more pixs as they get bigger. I love gosling and duckling as they are so cute and fuzzy.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Rainey working stock - Video

I worked Rainey tonight. I also tried to tape and work her at the same time. There were several times that I thought I was taping when in fact, I was not. So needless to say, I didn't get very many videos. But here is what I got.

Rainey is 18 months old. She finally matured enough to take pressure. She is Tess x Delmar Scott. Scott is a grandson of Bobby Dalziel Wisp. She is a tiny female, the runt of the litter but quite full of herself. She has Tess's willingness to please but Scott's attitude on stock. She has no issue in gripping if needed and will stand down a ewe. she works great in the stalls and has a nice low heel grip. Her outrun are very nice, wide and deep and she is very balanced.

Here she is in the upper pasture. This is a tough field to work in. It had two major ponds and two ditches. It is not easy as it will draw the dog in to be tight. They have to figure out the course and go in the proper spot. As she takes off in this video, she could have been sucked in by the ditch and cross but she kicked out wide and got behind the sheep. She over flanked but fixed that and brought the sheep to me.

In this one, the sheep are next to the goose nest. She has to take the sheep off the fence and has no issue in squeezing herself between the fence and sheep and bringing them. She gave a hitch up when she saw the turkey. I let her figure out a lot on her own but give her commands to help her along. As her training progresses, I will give her more commands. Now I want her to think and use her brain. She does a lot of chores and practical work also. So she will have miles under her belt soon. In a month she will be doing a lot more formal training.

She is doing a big outrun here. I sent her and she can not see the sheep so she is going out blind and over a hill. The sheep are plastered against the gate but she gets them off and brings them. She is not too sure about the two LGD who are playing as she fetches the sheep so she slows down but still does a nice fetch.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sheep Mineral Feeders

My two sheep mineral feeders floated away in the winter flood so I needed to get some more. A fellow handler, Norm had made a mineral feeder for another handler and I asked him if he could make me one. Norm made me one and it is great. It is better built than the two that floated away.

Here it is in my upper pasture. See how sturdy it is. It is quite heavy and even though the sheep brush against it, it will not move. The roof keeps the rain out of the mineral mix.

It holds over 2.5 gallons of mix. The sheep love the feeder and ofter use it as shade. Well, at least for their heads. I really like this feeder and much thanks to Norm for building it for me.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Killdeer Decoy

Check out this brush pile. Looks like a pile of branches just waiting to be burned, right?

Wrong. it was the brush pile waiting to be burned but now it is the Killdeer nesting zone.

Click on the picture for a larger view.

Look closely and you can see the Killdeer.

See the eggs. How many do you see?

A closer look. They have cleverly hid the eggs next to rocks in the brush pile.

The Killdeer is using herself as a decoy to draw you away from the nest. See the "broken wing" ploy. She just stayed one foot in front of me to keep me interested.

I stopped and so she put on a bigger display for me. Chirped to get my interest.

Called out some more and got me about 25 feet away and then flew off. Each night when I walk the pasture, we do this ritual. In about a week, the eggs should hatch. We have a lot of Killdeers all over the farm with nests. You know it is spring when they abound in the evening.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Hilton Barn

The cats live in the barn. Namely, Cosmo. Rigby stays quite a bit of time in our house and then visits the neighbor as well. Cosmo was a toss away cat. My vet called me and asked if I wanted a free barn cat. He would get him up to date on shots etc. He was brought into the vet because the people were moving and he had a UT infection and they wouldn't spring for the medicine. They could spring for a new place, however. Go figure!

Since my vet doesn't put down animals because the owners have questionable reasons, "new carpet, moving, had a baby etc", my vet will often take the unwanted animals and rehome it. He is a great vet and has been my vet for over 16 years.

So, the ex-owner of Cosmo signed Cosmo over to my vet and then he got the antibiotics needed and soon was on the way to our place. We always get tossaway cats.

For the first year, Cosmo hid in the barn and hated Rigby. They still are not best of buddies but now Cosmo enjoys the barn life. He is very friendly now and is an official greeter when you enter.

Cosmo loves to sleep on top of the barrel. He was sleeping on a towel but he got a new bed from my mom. As you can tell, he fits right in it. Taking a snooze. Life is rough in the barn.

Oh, I woke him up but he soon went back to sleep. Did you happen to notice he has Border Collie marking....just a coincidence!!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Mama Duck

Well, the old Mama Duck finally had her eggs hatch out. She is one tough mama and is more than happy to take a chunk out of you if you get too close. So far, she has had four ducklings and a couple of more eggs to go. I am thinking the last eggs are good but I am *NOT* going to reach in there and check them out.

In the nest in the dog kennel. She is the only duck in that kennel

She is glaring at me and giving me the evil eye.

Ruffling her feathers and letting me know she is not amused. I retreated while my skin was still intact. Tess, on the other hand, beat a hasty retreat and went to the barn and left me to my own defenses. I quickly joined her.

Saturday, June 6, 2009


How many of you have ever heard the full rendition of Il Silenzio, otherwise known as Taps? This one will grab your attention and hold it! This young lady is amazing. You will truly appreciate this soulful sound.

Friday, June 5, 2009

A little bit of everything this week

It’s been a busy week so far. Last weekend we worked dogs. Janet and I sorted lambs. We matched the lamb’s brass tags to the lambplan. I am keeping five to six ewe lambs so we sorted those out. We checked everyone's health and all looked good. I have had a couple of coyotes stick around and was missing two lambs, perhaps due to them? I think so!! That doesn’t surprise me as they do it every year. I lock everyone up at night but during the day, the sheep are in the pasture. The coyotes come right up to the barn to snag a lamb. A month ago, Getty saw one waltz up to the lambing corral at 10 in the morning. I have sold all of my lambs and they will be leaving in the next couple of months aside from my locker lambs and replacements and have tons of orders for more.

Janet and I managed to do the lamb count a couple of times, once when we had most of them counted and then two got loose and went back into the flock so we had to do it all over again. Then a couple of times we wrote the number upside down or incorrectly but in the end, we got it all done. Tess was the main dog to do the sorting and she was more than happy to work on her own, keeping everyone tucked in while we fussed with lambs.

Lamb sorting took a lot more time than we allotted for so we didn’t work Scott. He just was snipped so he was sore so he got to hang out in a crate, besides he wasn’t going to be worked anyways. We worked Rainey on taking sheep of people as that was her nemesis at the trial. I had to stop her and make her think and then lift off Janet but in the end, it was good. . People forget (me included) to work on that and then at trials, you will be zinged when your dog stops and looks at the setout person in horror as if to say “who in the h** are you?” and then slice or bust into the sheep or such antics.

Belle worked in the lower field. She is still very soft on people corrections or movements but not afraid of the stock. I had Tess as back up and that made Belle a lot bolder. For now, I think I will have Tess as back up since Belle sees Tess working, decides it is ok after all, and works better. Tess is more than happy to work as back up on the sheep. Belle did great on scooping the sheep off the fence both directions. She runs off when you tell her down so we have been working on a sit as a stop command. For some reason at one time in her life, the down was used inappropriately and she runs off when you tell her down. However, she will sit on a dime so we will take that. She is a very slow maturing bitch so she will be next year’s project and for the rest of this year, she will be doing baby stuff. She has grown up quite a bit and is a tall, rangy bitch that towers above all the other dogs here, including her half sister Nan.

Sunday was lesson day and Mig, the Kelpieworked in the lower pasture. She was unsure off taking sheep off people so I held the sheep and we worked on that. After a bit, she was much better and not slicing near the set out person. Later, Mig worked the flock of 15 or so ewes and 30 lambs and she did well. She was doing short outruns and learning how to pace herself.

Tony arrived with Faye and we worked in the far field. It’s been a bit since Faye worked since she had a litter of pups. One is still available (b/w male) if you are interested. She was much faster on her outrun and did well but was having a hard time pushing them. The grass was knee to waist-high and thick so that made it very hard. It was very hot and the sheep would get tired so we switched them out frequently. Once the sheep bolted to the top of the field, about 650 yards away and Faye couldn’t find them. I sent Nan on a blind outrun for the sheep and whistled her to the general location, as I couldn’t see them either and she found them and brought them back. That was great to see that as she was running blind to 650 yards to find sheep in knee to waist high grass. I am glad that she believes me when I sent her and took the whistles and especially glad that she found them, more than likely by herself and then brought them in a straight line to me.

We worked Faye more and she got better about pushing the sheep. She will just need a refresher and it was nice to see her working again. I will have to drop more hints to Tony about running her. She runs very well for him and is very devoted to him. I see a lot of Nan in her and how she adores her person. At the end, we got her jazzed up with a few drills and quit.

Nancy and Courtney arrived with Meg, Jack and Logan. It’s been a while since we have worked in the far field with their dogs. We did outruns from one side to the other side, The dogs had to run through ankle deep water and marsh to get behind the sheep properly and they did. Jack worked very well, cast deep behind his sheep, and had a nice pace behind them. He loves to work for Nancy. He did well considering the sheep were very light, the grass was thick and high and it was tough. Meg worked well also, we worked on her down at the top, and once she realized we meant it, she did well and then paced very well. She was a nice and deep natural outrun and is learning how to drive. I dropped a hint that they should think about running her in Nursery.

Logan did sorting and worked on outrun and pressure work. He has advanced quite a lot, is getting much better at the pressure, and with more work, should be a powerhouse. He also adores Courtney and worships the ground she walks on. He is almost ready to run in Novice as well as jack and Meg. Nancy and Courtney have done the training themselves and they have done a good job. It’s nice to see Nancy with a huge beam of a smile on her face when she works Jack.

It was back to the house when Ben and Anson (now renamed Epic) were ready for their lesson. We worked on outruns and by the end he was going nice and deep and about 100 yards with confidence. They certainly have bonded and the last half of the lesson, Ben worked Epic by himself. I sat and watched and it was like watching paint dry, nice, slow, calm, and quiet, as it should be. Epic was rating the stock well and working the large flock. Give them a few more months and they should be ready for Novice.

Later that night, I worked Clip for Chuck. I am going to work Clip for Chuck until he is solid on his foundation work. So far, this week, I worked Clip three times and each time he gets better and better. He started with a 10 yard outrun and now can do close to 75 yards outrun, lift sheep off the fence and pace nice behind his sheep. The Tess x Scott pups are very nice workers and have a nice natural outrun to them. They certainly want to please too.

I have been at work full time this week and it is brutal. Tons of work as one person transferred out of my team so I am doing his work so I am behind now on everything!! Oh well, I do what I can. I have great bosses so that helps. In June, I will be offsite for a couple of weeklong meetings and those will wear me out.

I have been working Sava, Rainey and Nan a few times during the week. Tess also gets to do some chores but she doesn’t need any more training. She loves to work the cows and clip his heels. Nan has decided she can work the cow also. The cow is not amused.

I do training with Sava or Rainey and then have them do chores such as putting sheep away or working in the stalls. That way they get practical work under their belt too. I stuff the round pen and lambing corral with sheep and then set sheep in the lower pasture for them to pick up. They run past the round pen and lambing corral and soon figure out that sheep behind fences are not sheep for them but the sheep in the field they are in are their sheep. That will help in trials if sheep are in setout or the exhaust and the dogs can see them. This way they will learn to ignore them but to look for sheep in the field their feet are in at that moment. Rainey will run by the corral, take a quick peek and never break stride and get her sheep. Save still stops then goes on and soon she will figure out to ignore them.

They have learned to pen sheep in various pastures and not to rush in. They have also learned to work in crowded stalls and squeeze themselves between sheep and a wall and hit heels and then wait and do it again. Often we will use the dogs in a stall when we work sheep or trim hooves or general sheep stuff. They learn a lot about pressure and tight spaces and after a while, it is no big deal for them.

Sometimes I will send them out to the marsh to get the flock. The marsh grass is well over waist high and deep in water in some places and the sheep are scattered and hide. It’s real work and tough but they quickly figure it out. They also learn a look back to find the couple of strays who have hid in the marsh grass. Additionally, they learn how to swim and cross ditches.

My mom and Kimiko came over today. Once again, they were greeted at the door by Tess and Nan who barked very loudly and jumped up and down and forgot any manners what so ever. They were rewarded for their bad behavior by cookies and ball tossing, repeatedly. It’s a real joy to see how excited the girls get when Mom and Kimiko show up. Like me!!

We had Sushi, Japanese fried chicken (one of my favorites), shrimp, veggie egg rolls, sesame green beans and for dessert we had fresh strawberries and pound cake. I ate until I was stuffed and then ate more. We also worked in the garden pulling weeks and finishing preparing some rows. I planted some bush beans. Mom and Kimiko wanted a garden so they have one. I am starting cukes, eggplants, tomatoes, okra, snap peas, onions, etc for them. Most of the seedlings are not big enough so in a couple of week they should be ready. So far, in the garden we have raspberries, lavender, tomatoes, parsley, eggplant, bush beans and cilantro. We have four more rows to fill out and with the seedlings that I have started, that should round it out. I water it each night since it has been so hot. The raspberries are already beginning to form and one cuke has flowers. The cherry and pear tree also have fruit on them. Many of my flowers are in bloom right now and it is beautiful outside. It’s nice just to sit down, relax, and take in the dark lush scenery.

A duck has been lying on eggs and one duckling has hatched. She has three or four more eggs that should hatch. I check last night as she was attached to my arm, biting me for all it was worth. She is a very protective hen. She is a brown hen, more than likely a Khaki Campbell. We also have a Black Muscovy lying on eggs. She is the fifth generation on this farm. She, too is quite snarky when you get close and is more than happy to grab your arm and give it a good twist. The Khaki Campbell should have the rest of her ducklings hatch out in a few days while the Muscovy will be a couple more weeks. The Embden geese have been nesting and they are hatching out too. So far, I see one gosling. There is the old mother and her daughter who are lying on a shared nest. The young daughter has the one gosling and the old mother is still on the nest. I see a couple of more goslings when I peeked in. I did not get close, as the old mother goose is quite mean. Soon, she will come out of the nest with her babies. Tomorrow I will take pictures of them.

Tess and Nan went to the groomers today. They will be all spiffed up. Tomorrows will be Kodiak’s day to be clipped for the summer. I need to get my haircut, as it has been a year since I got it cut. I would have gotten it down earlier but with all the heart surgeries, there was no way I could get it done. My bangs are no longer bangs but are long enough to fit behind my ears. I think I will let them grow out more.

I went to the Cardiologist on Wednesday. I have extra heat beats but that is nothing to get worried about at this time. If I get fatigued or feel weird, I need to let Dr. Condon know. The heart should beat off the Sinus node but mine was beating off the Junction node (the alternative node). Two weeks ago, it was beating off the Sinus node. On Wednesday, it was beating off the Junction node. What does that mean? The Sinus node is the primary node and my heart does beat off that and sometimes on the alternative node. It may mean a pace maker later and at this point I am to monitor how I feel. Again, if I get fatigued, I need to let the Dr know about it. He took me off the blood thinner and I stay on the baby aspirin for the rest of my life. So briefly, extra beats and firing off the Junction Node is to be noted and be aware of and keep track if I get tired, but I am good to go! I can start running again and tossing hay bales about…well, I guess I should build up to that but life can go back on the normal routine now. Yeah, that is great news and for those of you who want to know how much I weigh, I weigh 132 lbs. (that would be Brian Ricard!!)

So that's my week and it was a good week!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Border Collie Rescue Success Story

It's a warm feeling to have a success story pertaining to a Border Collie that needed to be rescued. A fellow rescuer sent this touching story and I wanted to share it with you.

From Janet Legg from PNW Border Collie Rescue


Attached is a photo of Piper (a Border Collie puppy I rescued in 2001) with his current owner Joan Hitchner taken this morning, June 3, 2009, by my husband, Todd Legg. They were both at a fire investigation in the SeaTac area this morning and bumped into each other. Todd sees Piper and says to Joan… “your Border Collie looks exactly like our dog Jake”. Then Todd tells Joan that… “my wife is involved in Border Collie Rescue”, and Joan asks, “who is your wife”. Well, when Todd says… “Janet Legg” – the laughing begins. Joan adopted Piper from me when he was a itty-bitty puppy back in 2001. Joan’s “Piper” was later honorably selected to join the King County Search and Rescue Unit of the Sheriff’s Office a few years ago. He has been seen on television at search sites and has a very successful find career with King County SAR.

Piper was a puppy that was picked up for fostering by one of my co-workers who just happened to volunteer at a local animal shelter. Knowing that I was a dog rescuer, my co-worker came up to me at work with photos of Piper and said that the shelter described him as some sort of Lab mix – which he definitely was not, but rather was a PUREBRED Border Collie puppy. I asked if I could foster the puppy for rehoming to an approved Border Collie home and was told I needed to adopt him from the Kent Animal Shelter. Turns out, it was the weekend of the “Shelter Adoptathon” and I was able to pay only $5 to adopt Piper from the shelter due to this special event.

Piper was a Jake-look-alike so much as a puppy it was remarkable. (see Jake in photo called “The Guys” – with Piper and Ben – our other foster dog now living with Diane Conway in Tacoma). Piper was a delightful foster dog and we enjoyed having him at our home for only a few weeks before he was adopted by Joan Hitchner. He was expected to be her young son’s agility training prospect (see photo of Brian and Piper), but it turned out that Piper was too attached to Joan to train well for Brian – consequently Joan and Piper got involved with SAR training.

I could cry. I am so impressed by Piper’s career and his devoted owners. (We love you Joan Hitchner) This was one very special foster dog story that I will never forget. Piper (now 8 years old) still looks identical to our Jake (now 12 years old) in almost every single way to this day. Piper does Pacific Northwest Border Collie Rescue very proud indeed.


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