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!!

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