Friday, July 31, 2009

Move Along, Lil Doggies

I lease a pasture that is about 1/2 mile down the road. I move sheep back and forth to my farm and to the far pasture. This particular day, I was recovering from the flu so didn't want to walk with Tess to move the sheep. Tess believes in making the sheep move at a fast pace and when the sheep get close to the far pasture, they tend to run to it. They haven't figured out how to open the gate yet so they have to wait until I get there.

Here is the view from the car. Notice Tess is moving them at a brisk walk. She has been doing this for over nine years so knows the routine. She knows that visiting the neighbor to the right is not good.

One year, the sheep veered own his driveway and stuck their noses into his back door. It was a glass back door and he was watching TV when suddenly 50 ewes noses were pressed to it. He was surprised. I am sure he was not watching Animal Planet.

Moving them along at a faster pace as she makes sure they don't bolt down the neighbor's driveway. Only about five of these ewes are familiar with the journey and the rest are yearlings.

She has her head down low and her mind is on the job. Nice steady pace and I just follow and give a few commands. She keeps them all tucked in.

Perhaps she remembers when she was younger and was sent to Scott Glen for training. He used to sit on his pickup when he had someone drive the pickup and he used to teach Tess to drive for miles this way. Apparently he did a good job, as she is an excellent driving dog now and is very familiar with people who follow behind her in cars or trucks. Thanks to Scott for all the time he put on her teaching her how to drive.

All done now and the sheep are at the far field. Now it is my turn to put her in the car and drive back home. Then she got to play in the pond and cool off.

I guess I'll have to teach another dog this job. Tess has done it so well for many years. Nay, Tess said she is the only one who can do this. Guess she still be the Chief Wrangler for a bit longer.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

"Where are thou flock, Kodi"

Kodi, where is your flock?

Somehow I don't think in the back of a Lincoln is where your flock has gone.

Look- FOOD!!!

Remember a couple of weeks ago when my Mom and Kimiko came over and made lunch. I found a picture that I took of one of the meals. We had other food that is not shown.

Shrimp/Gork Gyoza, Vegie Spring Roll, Shrimp and Pickled Cukes.

This Saturday, they will come over also. We are going to celebrate my Birthday. It's not until Aug 7th but we are doing it early. I'll be sure to take pixs of that meal and post it too.

Hum, where are my sweatpants...I think I am gonna need them on Saturday. Oh, I'll be sure to eat for you too!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

How Hot is it in Carnation?

From: wunderground

Carnation, WA on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.

108.5 °F

Clear Sky
Humidity: 17%
Dew Point: 55 °F
Wind: 2.7 mph from the WNW
Pressure: 29.71 in (Falling)
Heat Index: 108 °F
Visibility: 10.0 miles
UV: 8 out of 16
Clouds: Clear -
(Above Ground Level)

Can you say Fricking HOT?

How hot is it where you live? Post where you live and the temperature. What are you doing in this heat wave?


3:55 p.m 109.9 degrees

4:50 p.m. 111 degrees

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

On the River Lap Warmer

What trial is not complete without my lapwarmer? So what that is was over 90 degrees and humid. A retired Border Collie has to critique the runs!!

Tess on my lap on Saturday of trial. She was watching the ProNovice runs. See that she is smiling. The runs are doing great.

She approves of Ursula and her run with Pete. That was a nice run.

The run is over and she is ready to get off the lap. Tess sees that people have lunch and she is off to see if she can get a bite. She managed to get s few bits of lunch from several people.

In case you think that all she does is be a lapdog and get handouts, that's not quite true. She moved the flock (120 sheep) from the exhaust to the setout and put them in with the help of Kristi and Lou. She also got the runaways sheep that bolted to the highway during the PN runs.

However, that hardest job that she has is being the bed warmer at night. She still is the best pillow thief. Some things never change.

I'll post the results as soon as I get them.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Ballet Dancer

I don't know how this tradition started but it is here to stay. I used to do a country western dance with Tess before our runs. Now that Tess is retired, I have a new dance partner.

Nan did not want to encroach on the country western dance so she chose ballet as her dance with me.
Here is she getting ready. Balance on the back feet and turn the ears forward. Bark a few times for background music. This is "Arabesque"

Another ballet pose. This one is called "Attitude"

The Two Asians

Here is a rare appearance of the two Asians at the "on the River Trial" this last weekend. Obviously, I am one. Who is the other Asian?

The mystery person ran right after me on Saturday. (I am in the pink)


Her dog's name is Lou.
She is a great photographer.
She is very witty and if you try to get into a battle of wits with her, you are gonna lose your ass!
She lives in Canada.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Hat Model

I just got home from three days of trialing and Joe and Heather's wedding and need to unload the trailer and so forth. Tomorrow I will update you on the trial.

However, I was having fun with my camera. Here are some non dog pictures. I saw this hat and it the coolest hat.

I just like this picture. See how the ribbons blend into her hair?

Look at the wisp of hair across her beautiful smile.

Here is a stunning model with the coolest hat at the trial. Who is this handler?

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Since I am at a trial and have no Internet access, this will tide you over until I get back online.

This is for all of your fishermen out there. Or maybe your spouse can get one for you as a gift.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Men in Kilts!!

Men in Kilts!! So sweet!! What a sight for sore eyes!!

I love going to this Skagit Valley Games. It's a Scottish festival and not only they have a fair, but all sort of events. Tess and Lucy ran in the sheepdog event. I'll post that in another blog.

This is the Caper Tossing. Men tossing large logs about!!

Doesn't this look like a small telephone pole?

The caber is a pole about 18 feet long weighing about 115-130 pounds. The competitor holds the caber upright by its thin end and throws it so that it lands on its heavy end and flips over. The throw is not judged on distance, but direction with the tin end falling away from the competitor.

This is the Sheaf Toss. The sheaf toss is a traditional Scottish event. A pitchfork is used to hurl a burlap bag stuffed with straw over a horizontal bar. The typical weight for the bag is 16 pounds They are allowed three chances to cleanly go over the bar. After all competitors are successful, the bar is raised and all successful competitors move on a higher height. This continues until all but one competitor is eliminated.

Next year, we will have to take more pictures.

Photos by Janet Thorpe.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Skagit Valley Highland Games results

For the last few years, I have been going to the Skagit Valley Highland Games. Last year, I missed it since it was the weekend before my heart surgery and the Doctor suggest that I relax. The year before, Tess won the trail with well over a minute before anyone else. It is a time and point trial in a baseball field. You have tons of spectators and sheep are very light and can be wild. We have done well over the year, often placing in the Finals and it seemed like for years, we held onto the 3rd spot. When we won it two years ago, Tess got a beautiful plaque and some cash!!

So this year, even though Tess is retired from USBCHA trials, I entered her in the trial. It’s short and she enjoys it. Each year, she goes around the fair to the booths and often get part of my shepherd’s pie as well lots of attention from fair goers. I entered Lucy as she can settle the sheep quite easily and in the small arena, the sheep are very reactive. Running Nan would cause my blood pressure to rise so she stayed home to keep an eye on Getty and the farm.

Janet signed up Scott. Scott has run at this trial several times and has been in the Finals a few times so she is an old hand at this trial. However, it was Janet’s first time to run in an arena trial. Janet was before my runs and she missed one obstacle so all the other obstacles after that one did not count so she got a score of 9 point out of 28.

Tess was midpack to out and she was her good consistent self. We went through the course will full points and used up all of our time. I wanted to do a good clean run with full points to make sure we would have a good chance at making the top ten on Sunday. You got a run on Saturday and then one on Sunday and the top ten would advance to the Finals. If you qualified with two dogs, then you cold only pick one to run. Tess got all of her points.

Lucy was towards the end and she was pumped up. The sheep put a lot of pressure on her and she was not tucking in at the corners tight enough so we had to work to get through the course. She was wide on the pen so we did not get the pen. Her score was 24. For her to advance in the finals, she would have to get a perfect run on Sunday. At the end of the day, there was a six way time for First Place and Tess was one of the six.

Sunday, I was first with Tess. The sheep were very flighty and we managed the course but we could not get the pen. So we had 24 points which gave us a total of 52 for the combined. Lucy ran second and was much better, having figured out the sheep. She was very consistent and did the course quite handily, her score was 24 and her time was 3:28, one of the fastest. The total time allotted was 4:30 minutes.

Janet ran Scott and used a different strategy and did quite well and got 27 points. She just was out of the Finals but I expect next year, she will be in the Finals. She ran Scott well and her timing was good.

So I had Tess and Lucy both qualified fore the Finals. I went with Tess was she won it last time she ran and placed in the top ten consistently. I drew up halfway in the run order.

Tess was keen to go into the arena on her run. Her snout was quivering and she scanned the arena for the sheep. They popped out of the setout and ran to the exhaust. I sent her and she walked them off the exhaust to the first obstacle. It was on the other side of the arena and you had to push the sheep through a panel and the arena fence. Then they had a 30 degree line to the second obstacle. The draw was not through the panel but just below it. I stooped her just short of the first panel and then the sheep went through it and looked like they wanted to skim past the second panel. I moved on step to the side of the post and gave Tess a hard stop and they bolted through the second panel. That panel was the undoing of a few runs. She had the sheep turn tightly around the post and marched them through the next two obstacles, both were driveways panels and then a tight turn and through another panel and then to the pen. We had the fastest chute time in the Finals. I had them lined up at the pen and one ewe was content to stand next to me. She was not afraid of people at all and not matter how much movement I did, she stood there. She pooped out with a buddy when Tess leaned in and Tess quickly scooped them up and after a bit of finagling they went in. Had they went in the first time we would have won but we placed fourth due to time. We made all the panels so had full points. I was very happy with Tess’s run. She ran hard and fast when they broke and yet around the course was quiet and methodical. For an old, retired dog, she sure knows her stuff and ran like a top.

Janet taped the run and you can see it here. The course is tiny, the draw is heavy and sheep are light.

RUN click to see the video

All in all, we had a blast and next year, we will go back. If Tess is up to it, she will run. She really enjoys this trial and all the goodies she gets at it. If not, she will be my lap warmer.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Skagit Valley Lap Warmer

Guess what?? Tess was the lap warmer at the Skagit Valley Highland Games.

Here is the full back position! This is just before her run. Doesn't she look comfortable? This was a small arena trial that she has been going to for years.

Ok, sleepy eyes. Time to wake up now.
Photos by Janet Thorpe.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pups and Pandas

Two abandoned red panda cubs are thriving at a zoo in China - after being adopted by a dog.

The cubs were ignored by their mother after it gave birth in front of a crowd at Taiyuan Zoo in China's Shanxi province, reports Wuzhou Daily.

"No one knew she was pregnant. Her thick fur and plump body helped cover her secret," said keeper Ha Guojiang.

"She may have got scared seeing so many staring eyes, and has refused to nurse her cubs since birth."

The zoo urgently needed a replacement mother if the cubs were to live and found a dog which had recently given birth on a neighbouring farm.

The dog is now raising the two cubs like its own offspring - sometimes even refusing to feed her own pup.
At three weeks old, the baby cubs have not yet opened their eyes but have doubled in length to 20cms (8ins).
There are believed to be fewer than 2,500 adult red pandas in the world. Unlike the better known giant pandas, red pandas resemble raccoons with long bushy tails.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Sheep Thrillz Lap Warmer

As usual, Tess is watching the run and gives me her opinion of them. Now that she is retired, she has lots of spare time. In the winter, I really welcome her warm body on my lap.

However at this trial, the temperature was above 95 degrees. My lap was quite warm and then she had to sit in it to watch the runs. Here she is watching the first leg of a drive at the double lift.

"Oops, they missed the panel!! commented Tess. "Better luck at the crossdrive panel"

Much thanks to Bonnie Block for the lap warmer pictures. She took tons of pictures at the last four trials: Key Pen, Whidbey Island, Eweful Acres and Sheep Thrillz.

In addition, she has wonderful Bird Notecards for sale.

Please stop by her website and check it out!!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sheep Thrillz write up - July 2-5

It was a long drive for me and my first time that I had such a long foray since the heart surgeries. Most of the trials that I have been attending are 90 minutes or so away. In addition, usually, Janet goes along so we can take turns driving. Nevertheless, this trial was in Scio and I had not entered but Lora Withnell called me up and roped me into going to the trial. I signed up Tess, Nan and Lucy. But since I just had retired Tess at Eweful Acres, I pulled her from this trial. Tess did go along as my bed buddy and chief navigator.

I was not able to drive the 5 hours straight so I took a short stop at Camping World and got a bunch of items for the trailer. Jeanne Boudrieau sent me a detailed list so I went and got quite a few items. I stopped at the part counter and told the gentleman that I wanted to buy a weight bearing/sway bars for my trailers. I told him the size, brand, weight, length and age of the trailer and told him I wanted the weight bearing/sway bars for it. He asked me what model, I told him that I didn’t know, and can he look it up for me? He said he was too busy and I need to figure it out and tell him. Let me see, he has the part catalog, a computer with all the info and he can’t look it up? They sell and install these all the time, for goodness sake and he is too lazy to look it up? I get him to open up the catalog, there are two listed, and I ask him which one would work for my trailer. One is for heavy trailers and one for small to medium trailers. I tell him the small to medium one might be the one and he says he isn’t sure it will work. I ask him if the bigger one would work and he says he doesn’t know. For crying out loud, he is working in the parts section, I am ready to put down a big chunk of change for the bars, and he can’t figure it out? He says he is too busy…well, hello, I am a customer who wants to buy a product and you are too busy to sell me one. Therefore, I leave the store with no bars and a reminder to email the Camper World management to let them know of my treatment.

The rest of the journey was pleasant and I pulled into the trial. I unload the girls and we go looking for Suzanne and Wayne. I spy them, we sit down for some cool ice tea, and then Suzanne has to run Yoko. Yoko is fast on the field and finishes the course and I believe got 1st. The sheep were very tough to set as well to run. I don’t think there were any pens or if there were any pens, maybe a few. They best most of the dogs and the scores showed that.

Nick Davis showed up later in the day. He is Kathy Davis’s father and I was staying at his place for the weekend. Kathy was driving up either late that night or the next morning. After the trial, was over I went to Nick’s place where Nick, Linda and I just hung out and had fun. The next morning was too early and I left before anyone was awake. Kathy didn’t pull into the trial until late Friday afternoon.

Saturday morning I set out with Sue MacDonald. So much for Tess’s retirement as she was the setout dog. The sheep were very challenging and ran all over. She set for 3 hours and was exhausted. The sun took a lot out of me as it was in the 90s and I felt slow the rest of the day. It did reflect in my runs late. Several times, they bolted and Tess had to put on her afterburners to get them but she did her job well. Sue was great company to talk to while we were doing our job.

Nan was the first dog and she went nice and deep and lifted her sheep well. One ewe was fighting the setout crew the entire time and she stopped at the fetch to face Nan. The rest of the sheep ran down to me so I had Nan bring them back to the surly Suffolk. She never moved. We did it again and she slowly walked and then every two feet or so, turned to face Nan. Nan held her ground and they slowly went around the handlers post. I was very happy with Nan that she didn’t back down and she worked the ewe one-step at a time. Halfway up the first leg, the ewe refused to move and tried to butt Nan. Nan met her with her teeth and the ewe still refused to move. Nan gripped the ewe next to her and all the ewes then decided to move. We were called off for a DQ but Nan held her ground and walked into the ewe with no hesitation. A couple of years ago, she would run off if the sheep faced her. When the ewe had the standoff, I called her name, Nan turned at looked at me, and I told her to walk on and take. She stood up taller, opened her mouth, and marched forward. Bonnie Block got some great pixs and I’ll see if I can get them. Even though we got a DQ, I was very happy she did as I asked and held her ground.

It was blazing hot and they had set up a water mister under one tent so we all sat under that. It made it bearable in the heat. Bev Lambert was the judge and she had a clinic, then judged the Novice/Nursery classes on Thursday, then Open on Friday/Saturday and then the double lift on Sunday. I know she was feeling the heat.

Lucy was next and I sent her. The setout people didn’t hold her sheep so they ran down the field on the other side she was going up. As she got to the top, I whistled her and she flanked and got her sheep. Then I had to hard flank her to hit the fetch gates. The drive was wobbly and she wasn’t holding the pressure well so we lost quite a few points on that. She got her shed and pen (a nice one) and then timed out on the single. During her run, I had her get into the tub as it too darn hot to have her run without cooling down. They had set a tub so the dogs could go into it with no point loss. You would just lose time. Her score was 60 and she placed 10th out of 36 dogs.

Kathy showed up, Nick and we watched the rest of the run, and we headed back to Nicks. Linda made a very nice dinner for us. I brought my drench gun so Kathy and I wormed Nick’s sheep. Again, Tess was called upon to work and she pushed the sheep into a small pen and moved them around in the small pen so we could worm. The ram thought he was going to smash her into the ground but when his nose hit her teeth; he suddenly gained a lot more respect for Tess plus two new holes in his nose. He wisely then stayed in the middle of the flock after that. A few times, I had to tell Tess to take hold and she reached down to hock a sheep to get it to move. She was very quiet, we turned our back on her for most of the time, and she did her part well. Last year, when I stayed at Nick, Kathy and I wormed the sheep so this is going to be an annual event. I told Kathy that I was going to bring my drench gun since I knew Nick had not wormed his sheep and Kathy and I could do it quicker. I handled the gun while Kathy grabbed the sheep and soon it was done. We were all tired after that!!

Saturday was also hot as heck at the trial. Handlers’ meeting was too early and they reversed the drive. Lucy was second dog on deck so we went to the post while it was just starting to heat up. I don’t have my scorecard as they didn’t give them out at the trial. Lucy ran out well and had a nice outrun, lift and fetch. The drive was reversed but she did a nice drive and she got the shed and then pen and the single. She ran with more confidence today and held the pressure much better. I was very happy with her run and score of 68. Lucy placed 12th. Nan had a nice outrun, lift and fetch. She has a great run and a stellar crossdrive until the second panel where she could hear me. Therefore, she flipped the sheep back and did part of the drive the wrong way and when she heard me, we had lost quite a few points. We recovered and had a nice last leg and she got a great shed, pen and single. Her score was 69. That bobble took us from third for tenth place. I was happy on how strong she ran today. Both dogs did well and I was very happy with them. Tess was the lapdog and she did well on that job too.

Therefore, to into the double lift, you had to have decent combined scores. Nan with her DQ and a low score did not make it. She was close though/ Lucy made it in and it washer double lift. I called Scott that night and asked him if he had trained her for the double lift, since she was at his place over the winter. He taught her a turn back but no double lift. I wasn’t too worried about Lucy driving a flock as she does it all the time at the farm and we sorta do a look back but not a double lift. So it was like the blind leading the blind at this point.

They did the draw that night and Morgan called me to tell me that I was first up. I was counting on not being first so I could watch Derek, Karen or Noelle. Then Ian put me down for several hours of setout at the end of the trial. I told him that my heart was not up to it and I couldn’t do it but he told me I had no choice. Well, the choice of being dead is not a choice for me and he refused to listen. And I told him that I wanted to leave early so I wouldn’t be in hours of hot rush hour traffic, that combined several hours doing setout and driving extra long would push my heart to its limits didn’t faze him. He told me to trade and I told him that I was not going to kill myself and he still refused to listen. So before the handler’s meeting, I asked several handlers if they could set out and explained the situation and Bonnie took my place. Everyone was surprised that Ian would try to force me to setout and nowhere on the entry form; it said if you made the double lift, you had to set out. At the meeting I told people that I couldn’t do set out and Bonnie would do it. Ian vetoed that idea and said Bonnie was taking pictures and that he traded Brian’s spot for me…that I would setout out earlier and Brian would do later. Brian said he couldn’t as his wife was expecting home since he was under the impression he had an early setout. I told Ian that I was not going to work and Lora took my shift. Lynn was on the first setout and was late so they covered for her so she ended up doing my shift. I stressed all night thinking about this, woke up at four in the morning with SEVERE heart palpitations, and freaked out. I felt like my heart was going to rip out of my chest and I was very faint. I got up out of bed and woke Kathy up so she could see if I was ok. I had no idea what was going on. I thought I was having a heart attack. Tess was freaking out, jumping all over me, licking me and whining. I was terrified on what was happening. Kathy gave me the once over and my heart settle down. Talk about stress!!

Therefore, Lora saved the day. She also brought me a Starbuck coffee and doughnut. She is a very good friend with a huge heart of gold. I am blessed to have her as a friend. Oh, she introduced me to Charletta (sp?) who had the wool/fiber tent. I got a beautiful purple silk scarf and purple wool hat for my mom. I was going to keep it but it screamed out to me to give to my mom, which I did when she was here on Friday. She loved both of them.

Lucy ran out well, got her first packet, and dropped them off at the proper spot. I stopped her in the correct stop and told her to look back. I let the sheep drift as I learned from the last trial once they pass the fetch gate; you are not allowed to monkey with them. Lucy did a quick look back and didn’t see her second packet as she did a quick look back and was focused on the sheep in front of her. It took several times but she finally turned back and went up the field. The second packet had drifted down and she took the hard flanks and got half of them through the fetch. The first packet went to the exhaust by this time and we joined the sheep at the proper line. She was a nice turn at the post and we had two Suffolk who decided they didn’t want to be with the other sheep and kept going into a different direction. She worked hard at keeping them tucked in and had a very nice drive. She really held the pressure. Before the drive, I told her to get into the tub so she would be cool. At the end of the drive, I told her to get into before we did the international shed.

So the blind was leading the blind in the shedding ring. We did quite well. Lucy held the packet as we slowly began to peel off the sheep. We got down to six sheep and had four collared sheep and two uncollared sheep. We were very close but timed out. She did everything I asked of her in the Double Lift and did great in the shedding ring. The sheep broke once to join the uncollared sheep and she stopped them. She was a real trooper considering the pressure and doing something out of her comfort zone. Our score was 96 and at the end, we placed 8th out of 16 dogs. She was pleased with herself and I was grinning ear to ear that she did so well.

We stuck around until lunchtime for the group photos and lunch and hit the road, The normal 5.5 hour drive turned into almost 8 hours and I was feeling pretty stressed by the time we got home. We all crawled into bed and crashed hard. It was good to see Nick and Linda and enjoy their warm hospitality. Moreover, of course, hanging out with Kathy was a real treat and for once, she got to see me out of a hospital room or my couch and not just out of an operation. Lora made me laugh with her wisecracks and Suzanne and Wayne were gracious as ever.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sheep Hat

Isn't this the cutest sheep hat. Too bad it was too tight otherwise I would be the proud owner of a new hat. Janey and I spied this hat at the Highland Games last weekend.

I still have to write up the Sheep Thrillz and Highland Game results. However, we had fun at the games and ate Scottish food for all of you!!
Janet took this lovely photo!!

MacDonald's Ewesful Acres June results

This was my tenth Anniversary of my FIRST TRIAL with Tess. It’s hard to believe that we first stepped out on this field ten years ago. Both of us were wet behind the ears and just had out first real sheepdog lesson the day before. Needless to say, we did retire on both of our Novice runs and the Judge, who also gave us our first lesson, was kind to me the entire time at the trial and to this day, he still is a very nice person. Scott Glen went out of his way to make me feel welcome and later the fall; Tess went to him for training. I know I must have called him at least every other day to see how my precious baby was doing. And as you, the rest is history!!

Saturday came too early as it normally does but the redeeming feature was that I was not first or second dog on the field as it usually seems. Instead, the honor of second dog on the field went to Jenny Glen and Lad. I drew up 10th with Nan, 40th with Tess and 58 with Lucy. Cyril Roberts was the judge and he just had judge us at Whidbey. He had judged a few years ago and remembered Roo. Yep, big, red male, pushy and not much of a stop. However, I love him anyways and beside, he is a son of Tess.

For the sheep, they had brought in Barbados, which were not used to being worked by Border Collies and not in large fields and were not afraid of people. One dog or two was run off at the lift and if they didn’t think your dog had power, they just didn’t move. I mean they had feet of concrete. There was an outrun, lift and fetch and the Maltese Cross. It was the same setup as the Key Pen trial. You got one attempt and if the sheep broke the plane, you sent on to the second half of the cross. You were suick in the one quadrant and could not move out of it and the rope was not long enough so you could cover the opening. This made for some very entertaining handling. In addition, you wanted to slow your dog way down so the sheep would go into the opening and if they came too fast down the fetch, they simply just blew past the cross. Once you did both crosses, you did the drive and the dog had to slither into or next to the cross to do the leg proper and not veer off the course. Part of the drive was up a long hill and the sheep bolted up the hill, usually to one side of the cross. There was no shed but you went to the pen. Now the problem was the sheep had no intentions of going into the pen, for anyone, all day. They stood next to you and stared at your dog. They didn’t care if you moved or not, they didn’t have any pressure off people and they just invited dogs to grip.

Nan went up wonderful on her outrun, had a nice lift, and was pushy on the fetch. She lost zero on outrun, one of lift and four on the fetch. She had a hesitation at the first cross (-2) but got them in and turned then sharply and got the second cross for no point loss. The drive was tough, we missed gates due to handler errors, and we timed out on the pen. She did quite well considering the sheep didn’t want to move. Her score was 75. Tough sheep like these two years ago, had ran her off the course but now she has gotten stronger and has a lot more push. She was on the muscle and listened well. She got a 75 and 16th place.

Tess was next and ran in the heat of the day. We did our country western dance and she was pumped. She ran out and was tight so I redirected her and true to form, she didn’t listen and I lost four for the effort. She came in on the sheep like a freight train and they bolted down the field. She was hard on them on the fetch and we lost three for the lift and five for the fetch. I finally got her to slow down and she marched them through both crosses for no point loss. She leaned on them on the drive and it was almost flawless, a beautiful drive and we lost three for a little dip on the crossdrive. They turned to face her at the pen, she backed them in, one-step at a time, and we lost four at the pen. She ran very well, abet a wee bit pushy in the beginning but the sheep never challenged her. Her score was 91 and I about fell on the ground in shock when I saw it. I knew it was a good score! She held on to 2nd place for most of the day and landed fourth. She maynot be the most stylish dog on the field but she gets the job done.

Lucy was at the end of the day and the sheep were very cranky. They had been run a couple of times and decided their union cards were punched out for the day. She had a nice outrun, lift and fetch and is like her grandmother, Tess on the fetch. Pushy!! She lost two on her outrun, zero off her lift and six on her fetch. The sheep were coming fast so we only got half of them n the first cross and none in the second. She was tight and took a couple of wrong flanks, which scooted the sheep past the plane. Her drive was nice and we missed a gate, skimmed it, on the crossdrive took another wrong flank, and was off the sheep. She wasn’t holding the pressure and that cost us. We lost 13 on the drive and we timed out at the pen. I was not too happy but she is a softer dog than I am used to running. It seems on the first day, she fades a bit and on the second day, she really pulls it together. Part of it is that we are still learning to work with each other too. There is a nice dog in her, she is young, and we are getting better and better at each trial. She tries so hard to please and sometimes second-guesses the commands. She is only four at this time and needs seasoning. Her score was 64.

Sunday’s run was flipped. The handler post was at the other end and you still had the Maltese Cross. You had a shed (single) and no pen. We ran on the Scotties, Coops and hair sheep. The last half of the first leg of the drive was blind as well as the first half of the crossdrive. If your sheep were in the gully, they ran up the field but it was offline so you had to be careful of that.
Lucy was the first dog (6th in the run order) and she ran out strong. We connected better on this day too. She stopped at the top, I had to whistle her to move, and then she had a nice lift. She was pushy on her fetch but I was happy. She lost seven for the outrun, one for the lift and four for the fetch. I was happy on how pushy she was and how she listened better. The sheep ran past the cross so we just went for the second cross. Part of the sheep tried to escape through a wrong section and I leaned over to try to stop them. My foot hit the bottom panel and I tripped into the cross. Lucky for me, I was still clutching the rope and didn’t manage to fall completely in and to add insult to the injury, the two sheep that I tried to block slipped out on the wrong side anyways! Therefore, we lost 10 for the first cross and 5 for the second and then we did the drive. She was straight on the drive and did the blind driving great and I gave her a flank too soon on the last part of the crossdrive, which cost us 6 points, and the rest was just fine. I was very happy on well she held the line and did on the drive. We didn’t get the single and I called her in but she flew around to the front of the sheep than through them. She got a 67 and I was quite happy as she tried very hard and was holding the pressure.

Tess was 20th to run and it was hot so we did our dance before the run. It was out last dance we would do together as a team on the USBCHA course. This would be her last run and she would be retiring. I didn’t have the heart to tell her but I felt the lump in my throat. Tess was tight (again) and she roared on the sheep. They had their faces buried in the grain bucket and she came onto them hard. Her fetch was fast, no surprise there and she brought straight to me. She lost five on the outrun, two on the lift and five on the fetch. They had a brief stop before they went into the cross for a loss of one and on the second cross, she marched them in and then right out. She lined them out perfect on the drive and did the blind drive quite well and had a great drive overall and only lost six. She timed out on the single. Her score was 81.

Nan was last and she was amped. She had been tied up all day and could hear me work Lucy and Tess. She is very devoted to me and by the time we got to the field, she was hot, hot!! She was at 51 place. She ran out fast like a bat out of hell and I couldn’t see the sheep, as they were n a draw. I could see her behind the sheep so I let her figure it out. Then I saw sheep popcorn into the air and I was thinking “OH, OH”…maybe a grip? The Judge was able to see all of this and he told me later that the sheep were eating and didn’t see her come up as their noses were buried in the grain. Then she was there and they jumped because they were startled. She had some sheep that didn’t want to play and were crazy the entire course. They ran down the field at a high rate of speed and I got her to slow them down as well as here. She lost zero on her outrun, two on the lift and three on the fetch. The sheep were too spooked to go into the first cross so we had to go onto the second cross and she got that. She was on the muscle on the drive but the lines were straight for the most part. We missed a gate, had one big bobble, and lost 16 for the drive. On the single, I called her in twice and she didn’t hold the singe and we time out. The score was 69.

Overall, I was very happy with my dogs. They did some very nice work and I found some glaring holes which I need to work on. The dogs are all completely different style to run which make it a challenge. Steady Tess, Ferrari Nan and Eager to Please Lucy.

To see the placings again:

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The New Lord of the Dance

This is a riot. I love this!! Great entertainment.

The New Lord of the Dance. It has nothing to do with dogs but good dancing. Enjoy.

One Year Later

It’s hard to believe that a year ago I went into for my heart surgery. It’s seems like the last year was a black, empty hole in my life. Which it was!!. I spent July to March, just recovering and then this last May, I had another surgery. I am still not 100% recovered yet.

I remember going into the surgery, expecting to wake up with a small hole in my ribcage and one in my groin vein. It was going to be fairly easy and I would be out in a few days and back to work in a couple of months. Imagine my horror, when I woke up and I hurt like hell and I was stunned to look down and see tubes sticking out of my chest and blood draining from them. I was shocked to say the least!! I went in the surgery expecting one thing and woke up with something else completely. Oh, the pain, it was awful. I couldn’t talk since I had a tube down my throat. I was dying of thirst and couldn’t drink. They would only put a lip balm on my lips. I was strapped down so I couldn’t move. I couldn’t go to the bathroom. I was yellow and puffed up bigger that the Pillsbury Doughboy. I could see the shock in people’s eyes when they would visit.

Did I mention the pain? I am sure I did. I hurt so bad that I would cry. They would give me some more pain meds but it still hurt. ALL THE TIME!! I remember one night, one nurse was chatting to her friends outside the room and I could not sleep (since they were chatting) and I hurt really bad. I kept asking her for some meds and whatever she gave me didn’t work. Not only I could not sleep but also I hurt badly and finally she upped the dose so the pain was semi numbing. I asked her for a sleeping pill and asked her to quit talking to her friends so I could sleep.

Apparently, people who came by said I looked like hell. Gee, thanks, I guess I did. I remember my fingers were huge!! I could see a fat, yellow-white body with tubes sticking out and it seemed surreal. Finally, they took the tube out of my throat and I was allowed to eat ice chips. Never in my life, ice chips tasted so delicious. I mean, I looked forward to eating them. Then I was able to eat sorbet. I ate a lot and now I am not interested in ice chips or sorbet anymore. After a bit, I could eat normal food but as soon as I would eat it, I would throw it up. The food was awful anyways!!

The pain still was horrible and I had problems breathing. I would gasp for air. The Doctors and Nurses would reprimand me for not blowing a lot of air into the air device (which measure air flow). I could barely blow 500 and they wanted me to get at 1200-1500 or so. I kept complaining that I had a hard time and I felt like they thought that I was lazy. Not at all, it was because both lungs were filled with blood. Once they drained it, I could breathe a lot better. They sent me home the next day after they drained my lungs. My lungs filled up quickly again and I had to get them drained again. I would go to the lung Doctor for month trying to get that issue fixed.

I was in so much pain the entire time, every time I move my chest would scream out in pain. They finally took out the catheter so I could go to the bathroom. It hurt to get out of the bed and move. A few days later, they sent me home. I was so weak and was hunched over in my wheelchair. Getty thought for sure that he would be bringing me back very soon. I still was in pain: to breathe, to walk, to sit, to move, to stand, to sit, you name it. My front chest would grate and stabs of pain would shoot everywhere.

The chest is not lined up correctly now after a year and I can’t do some items still. I have a hard time lifting and turning and if I do it wrong, the pain will take me to my knees. Sometimes when I sleep, I wake up in severe pain as I must turn in my sleep and my chest scream out in pain. I have learned to live with the pain now. I am hoping it will heal but I think it was not set correctly, as one side is higher than the other is so it is something I have to deal with now. They are not opening me up again. Twice was enough!!

I had too many surgeries. The first two did not work in July and then I had to have it fixed in November. Then the last one in May. As well as a bunch of minor procedures. The two month supposed surgery/time off turned into over 7 months, then part time at work and now I am full time. Even now at work, I get tired and my chest starts to hurt. Will it ever quit hurting? I don’t know.

I can’t grab and flip sheep anymore so I have to have help now. Once I grabbed a lamb and flipped it, then my chest grated and I dropped the lamb as I couldn’t breathe or move. I hurt so I quit. That really limits me on the farm. I can not sling the 50 lbs of cob over my shoulder like I use too. I ask Getty to move that now. Stuff that I used to do, I can not do anymore. The chest pain really limits me a lot. It not the same as before. Tossing the saddle on the horse is out of the picture. I still haven’t figure out how I am going to saddle my horse. That is the twisting motion that hurts my chest. Sometimes I forget, like when I grab hay and it quickly reminds me that I BETTER STOP NOW!! So in my farming work, I have to rethink my approach or ask for help. I really haven’t written about this very much as I have Getty, Janet, Chuck and other folks who have stepped in to carry that part of the load. But I can’t rely on them all the time.

It would have been nice if they actually closed me up nice and lined up but they just put me back together as fast as they could. I guess I will pay the price now. I am glad that Swedish didn’t have to open me up and they did it right. I was too weak anyways for them to open me up. The clamshell that Swedish put in worked and my heart is much better. I have color and gained weight. I might even think about eating less ice cream now!! I had lost 30 pounds during all of this.

I have a huge ugly scar on my chest. It is very wide and dark, and there are other scars on the chest. There are some to the side and on my stomach. It would have been nice to have a thin scar but this one is not thin at all. I guess they didn’t worry about that when then close the chest up. I won’t be modeling for any bikini ads at all!!

There were a lot of things that went wrong that shouldn’t have and later things that finally went right. At least now, the hole is closed (Thanks to Swedish) and I don’t have to worry about that. It was scary to find out that after my two surgeries by Overlake, that the hole had opened up again to the same size that it was when I went in. Then I had to get enough strength to heal so I could have another surgery. That had me worried for a bit. Getty was a trooper during all of this as he thought that I was not going to make it. There were many times on the couch that I struggled hard to breathe, that is hurt so much that I want to throw in the towel, that I was so weak that I felt like giving up but I am a fighter. The love of the family and friends and Tess and Nan was strong. Everyone should have support like that in times of need. It’s taken me a year to write this down as it is a hard subject to talk about.

It’s hard to believe it is a year later now. Tomorrow my mom and Kimiko will come over and we will feast and walk around and garden where a year ago, I couldn’t do any of that.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Don't hire this Shepherd!!

An accident prone shepherd had to be rescued after he followed his flock into a live minefield in Croatia.

Hapless Philimon Zandamela, 34, was led to safety by rescue workers in Sibenik, in the latest in a series of scrapes that have made him a household name in the country.

Zandamela - originally from Mozambique - survived accidentally drinking sulphuric acid and stabbing himself in the stomach because a fortune teller told him it was time to die.

And a fledgling porn career was snuffed out when his family threatened to leave unless he quit.

"He is a real media darling," said local Zandamela fan Mirjana Andric.

"As the only black shepherd in the country he was always going to be a bit of a sensation but with his knack for getting into, and out of, all these scrapes he seems to be permanently in the public eye."

Zandamela said after his latest incident: "I was walking along and I saw lots of strange bumps in the ground and suddenly realised where I was. Luckily I had a mobile phone with me and could call the emergency services for help. I am very lucky to still be in one piece."


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Last Dance

Sometimes you lead
And sometimes I do
We dance

In the afternoon rays of sun
Or the misty morning fog
We dance

Country western, of course
“Save a horse, ride a Cowboy”
We dance

For many years we do
The dance before the run
We dance

Our steps are in sync
Our minds as one
We dance

We laugh and cry
As we spin around and around
We dance

Tradition, it has become
Fast or slow, we just go
We dance

People look at us and laugh
Point fingers and smirk
We dance

We come off the field in victory
They don’t smirk anymore
We dance

Together your paws and my hands
Are joined in love and laughter
We dance

But now, we dance one last dance
Your eyes are dim and I cry
We dance

Our last dance together
You won a quilt with honors
We dance

Now we dance together in our dreams
Partners on and off the field
We dance

I love how you have led the dance
Proud and strong you carried me
We dance

I will miss our dance
And you by my side
We dance

Farewell my friend
I will miss our steps
We dance

No one else will dance with me
It’s our traditional, our bond of love
We dance
Tess retired in June 2009. Her last USBCHA trial was MacDonald's June trial. I will miss dancing with her.

Photos by Aaron

Monday, July 13, 2009

Happy Birthday TESS!!

Today is Tess's birthday. She is 11 years old. We love her dearly and she is the reason I am into trialing. She is the love of our life!!

A tradition for many years, Getty got Tess a McDonald's cheeseburger and he fed her. It's a private time they share together. She got two new toys, a gator and a lizard from tufftoys. She was very happy with her new toys and pranced about with them.

So, here are some random pictures of her. It's hard to believe that almost 11 years ago, we bought her as a pity buy for $100 to prevent her from being shot. I hadn't really wanted her since she had no papers, was spooky/shy and nothing about her working background and from a back yard breeder. Getty wanted to keep her and she was just going to be a pet. She turned our world upside down!!

But people believed in her (Scott Glen and Getty and me and numerous others!!) and she got her papers on merit, the third dog ever in ABCA history to do so, placed 6th in the 2001 USBCHA Nursery Finals (run by Scott Glen), placed 39th overall in the Bluegrass (run by Scott Glen - see a pattern of how he believed in her!!), ran in the USBCHA Finals (run by me), qualified numerous times, including this year for the USBCHA Finals and got a sheep farm for her second birthday. I got a weedwhacker that year.

She has produced winning Open dogs in sheep and cattle who have ran at the USBCHA Finals (Open and Nursery) and her grandpups have qualified for the USBCHA Nursery and Open Finals. She has been the main dog at the farm, working up to 120 ewes/lambs and cattle.

She has been my right hand for years and saved me more than I can count on the trial field. She is my pillow thief and bed warmer at trials. She critiques the blog each night and is always ready to have fun.

She taught me to take off my rose colored glasses because the diamond you seek is the rough stone you have in your hand. We are truly blessed to have her in our lives.

Happy Birthday DeltaBluez Tess. We love you.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

This Old Dog - Reba

Reba is 15 years old this month and she is a fine, old dog. Her sire is Chick Shaw’s Gus and her dam is from Candy Kennedy’s breeding. Linda DeJong proudly owns Reba. Linda got Reba at 2 years old and she was an Open dog for most her trial career. She has won Open trials and attended the Finals several times. Some of most notable attributes is the ability to grip without detection, usually behind a panel. In addition, she won enough money to pay for thyroid treatment for Cat who was sick.

She is a regal dog that is often wandering about to get her cherished pets from the handlers. She is a grand ole dog.

The pictures speak for themselves.