Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Whirlwind Year

It’s been a crazy year for me. From yet a few more heart surgeries, back to work full time, training dogs and trialing at the Finals, then fall and winter routines. But now, all is calm and quiet and life is good. It was a real struggle in the first half of the year, recovering so that I could have another major surgery and bearing with all the pain. But with good support from the family and friends the second half of the year went much better. Healing makes life so easier and running my dogs make the pain ebb even faster. I remember many times walking slowly up to the post, with my chest in major pain and on heavy duty pain pills, looking down at my dogs and seeing the love in their eyes and the intensity in their face, the pain disappeared and we connected and enjoyed ourselves. When you are doing something you love, you forget the hurt and remember the joy.

I remember brave little Nan running her heart out for me in a thunderstorm. Lightening struck all over the place and my hair was standing on the end from all the electricity in the air. Nan is terrified of thunder but her love for me; she ran and gave me her all. As we penned, a huge thunderbolt lit up the sky and she held her side at the pen. She placed second that day, one point behind first. As we raced off the field to the trailer, the white of her eyes showed and she bolted into my arms in the trailer, trembling with fear. We snuggled, Nan and I and I knew how deeply she loved me.

Lucy ran well for me for just having moving up to Open in March. She has a huge heart and gives all for you. She was the least experienced of my Open dogs but quickly made up for it but her willingness to do what you wanted. Her golden eyes would look at your in love and your heart would melt. She managed to make into two Double Lifts, one with me and one with Scott Glen. She ran game in the one with me and placed quite well considering she never did a Double Lift or International Shed.

This was the year that my Tess retired. She carried me over the many years to be the handler that I am today. She was patient while I flailed on the field. She is not a flashy dog but a steady dog that rates her sheep well and *knows* what to do. Many times, she placed in spite of me. Before each run we would do our country western dance and once an Open handler teased us about it and then after her brillant run, he met me at the gate and asked what was the name of the country western song. Often at the post, we would gaze into each others eyes and *just know*. In the shedding ring, our eyes once again would meet, and a sly smile would appear on her muzzle and she would come clean for the shed. Ah, it was the best of times with and on our last run, tears fell from my eyes as we walked over the field. She retired with honors, that old dog, won the beautiful quilt made by Kathy Rivers, having being the high scoring dog over six trials. She lives on through her sons and daughters and grandpups who run. She is my best friend, my partner and my savior. I love Tess with all of my heart as she has a big piece of my heart.

I remember Tess standing guard over me the many nights as I thrashed in pain on the couch and licked the tears off my face as I cried. She would lie gently next to me and put her paw on my side and nuzzle my face as she would a weak pup. Numerous nights I would wake up and she would standing above me, licking me and looking worried in her gray face. Many nights, Tess and Nan would stand guard next to me and if anything would wander near the front porch, they would protect me; Nan to the door with bared teeth and Tess braced next to me with her teeth also bared. Often it was a stray rabbit, crow or sometimes a coyote.

I missed a good portion of trials due to the surgery but the ones that I did make, the trial hosts made sure that I was able to run and rest. It was comforting to see the trial folks and helped in the healing process. The dogs ran amazingly well, no doubt carrying more of the load and covered my errors when I was too slow for a command. Luckily, for me with Tess, Nan and Lucy, they can carry you on their broad shoulders and make it look easy.

Work was great as they let me ease back in part time and then full time. People were quick to make sure that if I needed help, they would be there. I work for a great place, the FAA, have been there for 6.5 years, and enjoy my job.

Getty even drove the trailer to a trial in May right after my last major heart surgery and set it up, went home for band practice then came back for the trial and drove us home. It would have been too much for me to do it by myself but he rallied for me. He sat and watched a few runs with Tess in his lap.

My mom and brother were instrumental in me getting well so quickly. They spent a lot of time with me and made sure that I ate well and got my exercise. Nelson is a great cook and some of the dishes he made, I just had to eat even though I had no appetite. My mom is very active and loves to feed the animals and it would bring a smile to my face when the animals would crowd around her for treats. Tess and Nan especially loved it when mom and Kimiko would come over, as they would eat well too. And they had willing victims to toss the ball for them for hours on end.

It also made me realize what good friends that I had. They all rallied to take dogs while I was recovering in addition to help taking care of my sheep. Janet drove me to trials most of the year. During the first half of the year, I would sleep on the way to the trial while she drove. She also made sure that I had drinks and food so all I had to do was to be ready. Monique did a lot of sheep work for me. Ron took care of Janet and I at the "On the River Trial" so we didn't have to do the hard work. Everyone pitched in so I didn’t have to worry.

The summer was hot but wonderful. The grass grew as my spirits. Life was getting better and better. Four of my dogs qualified to run at the USBCHA National Sheepdog Finals. In September, Getty and I did the trek to Klamath Falls to run Nan and Roo. Jenny Glen ran Lucy in Open. Scott and Jenny Glen keeping in touch with me over the year with Sleat's progress and running her at the Nursery Finals. Tess was retired but her role was the cheerleader. Kathleen, Monique, Janet and Jerril, Kathy Davis and Ben K. joined us. Met a ton of new friends and saw the old friends and did blogging with Lise and Ben. We all had a blast.

Fall came quickly; shearing, then the ram were put to the ewes, young dogs were started to be trained, the farm was getting prepped for winter. A few trials were in order and then my yearly heart check up. It went well, I got the green light, and the hole was sealed. Then winter arrive quickly and a few more trials and next thing it was Christmas and now the New Year. This year just raced by very quickly and I can honestly say, I am happy to be alive, happy to have a good family and friends and happy to have good dogs and most importantly of all, good health. And of course, a wonderful supportive spouse, Getty.

Yep, it has been a whirlwind of a year but a good year. I am truly blessed.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The last beer

This video says it all...."Oh, for that last beer"

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sheep caption needed

I am on a roll. This photo needs a caption too!! Winner will get a mention in the blog.

Nan needs a caption

Nan needs a caption for this photo. Winner will get mentioned in the blog!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Bored Graphics Artists!!

A friend sent these to me. I do not know who did these but they are wonderful.

Bug Gladiators

I used to like bananas.

I am going to buy plastic shoes from now on!!

I failed geography but know breeds of cows.She is a Holstein cow,

Shark Bait. This is why I do not scuba dive anymore.

I used to like kiwis also. So bananas and kiwi are no longer on my food list.

Knobby Knees. She probably needs some skin lotion as as salt water exposure is not good for her legs.

OK, also take strawberries off my food group also.

Beetles and Peace or is it Beatles and Peace,

A true hockey fan.

Wonder if I grow my nails out that long if he will paint them?

I could never roller skate....or car skate for that matter.

I love these!!

I feel airsick!!!

So is this where the headless horseman can find his lost head? In the lost head section!!


The last person who touched this toad now has his skull painted on the back

A new breed of chickens called "Green Necked Flora"

It gets really rainy here in Washington State. On the days we don't drive to work, we just swim to work. I take the canoe instead.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Well bred working Border Collie Puppies available soon

My cousin (more like 2nd or so cousin) Mark Billadeau and his lovely wife, Renee, will have available some outstanding working Border Collie puppies availble soon. They live in the east coast.

Bette is related to my Nan. Bett's grandsire is Imp Spot who is the sire of my Nan. Bette's sire is Lew. I will admit I am very biased on the Imp Spot breeding.


The breeding on the puppies are: Lyle Lad's Shep x Renee Billadeau’s Bette. Bette is Joni Swanke Lew x Florence Wilson Bess.

Shep is double bred Bill Berhow’s Nick.

Bette qualified for the 2007 nursery and open finals; she placed 9th in nursery. Renee and Bette placed 14th at the 2008 Bluegrass Classic.

The temperaments of these pups should be very solid and friendly based upon the temperaments of Shep and Bette.

Both outstanding trial and working dogs. We're looking for working homes for the pups.

Five female and four male are available.

contact Mark

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Tam at 11 months old

RisingSun Tam is growing up. First of all, he is learning some manners. He now has learned to down, not rush out of a kennel, not yank the leash, not be a general pest to the cats and respect the adult dogs. Tam has been in the round pen getting some time on sheep and just recently got out of the round pen. This is his third time in the big field. He worked the 8-9 month old, super light lambs and one Clun Forest ram.

Tam's sire is Cub. Cub is Imp Moss (Michell Howard) and Rose (Kate Broadbendt). Imp Moss is a son of International Supreme winner Henderson 's Sweep. Moss is a litter brother to Bobby Henderson's very talented Bill. Moss was the 2003 Scottish National Brace Champion.

His dam is Imp Peg. Peg's dam is Johnnie Wilson's ##Maid, who won the 2003 Supreme Championship and was runner up in 2004. His grandsire is Bobbie Henderson Bill.

Tam  working 8-9 month old lambs and one ram. The lambs have not hardly been worked by dogs and are very light and reactive. This is the third time in the big field and the first time on sheep that are not puppy sheep.

He did very well and handled them quite well. We have high hopes for Tam and his training will increase a lot more in the spring as he gets more mature.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Llama - 4 points, Handler - 0 points (aka the Four Step Program)

Ever been bested by a Llama?  Well, it sure is humbling.

Gallo had his halter left on when he was moved to the neighbor's pasture and Janet and I wanted to take it off. I don't want an animal loose with a halter as it can snag and they can get injured.

Look at that sweet innocent face. Isn't he the cutest Llama, ever!! We sure think so.  So, lead rope in hand we decided to catch Gallo and undo his halter, right? Sounds simple enough. Now doing the plan of action was far harder than thinking of the plan of action.

Gallo used to be a show Llama and used to being handled. Obviously he forgot about his showing days and galloped off when we approached him. He didn't come when we called either. We chased him for a while then got the bright idea of using Scott to fetch him.

Big field + fast llama = tired handlers.

This idea is great if you want to be on a weight loss program.

Scott was more than happy to help us. Gallo wanted no part of being worked by Scott so they had a meeting of the minds. But Gallo soon saw the *light* and let himself be worked by Scott.

Step One was that we trapped Gallo in this corner. At this point, we thought we could walk up to him and grab his halter. So we were thought we were so clever but Gallo was more clever. He would wait until I had my hand on the halter and spin away. We did this several times. Scott covered the back so Gallo would be in the corner.

Step Two involved in Janet hanging onto one end of the lead rope and me on the other end and we would stop him with the rope. We trapped him several times with the rope but he just ran through the rope.

Step Three (do you see a pattern yet?) was me taking the lead rope and lassoing him. Well, this is a good idea in theory BUT a lead rope with a big heavy clip is not a roping lasso. It was awkward and the loop would close shut before it got around his neck.

Step Four (and by this time the neighbors were watching with amusement) was Janet stopping him at one side with the crook and I snuck up with my useless roping lead rope and try to snag him. FINALLY, we did it and once the rope was around his neck, Gallo stopped rock solid still and we petted him. He did make the evil eye at Scott though. We took off the halter and rope and set him free.

Did he gallop off? No, he stood next to us and acted like it was a big laugh on us....which is was.

Don't be calling us for llama lassoing, that it, unless it is part of a clown act!!

Poor Janet...I hope by now she has recovered from llama lassoing!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A tale of Two Llamas

Since Gallo the llama is doing such a great job in protecting the neighbor's sheep, I decided to get two more llamas. Wendy and Crystal came from Bellingham and were owned by Bryan and Faye. They are sisters and have been together all their lives so they came as a package deal.

They arrived this morning and soon settled in the upper pasture. After they get used to the place, they will live in the lower pasture with the sheep and Kodi and Frankie (LGD).

Wendy, the reserved one.

Crystal, the friendlier one.

They are around 14 years old and have been trekking and good around people. We look forward to having them on the farm and being part of the gang.

photos: Bryan/Faye Archer

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Flyball with Epic

Deborah and Ben bought "Deltabluez Anson" from me this spring. He got a new name of "Epic" and they have been working with him on herding and he can do a Novice Course at this point. He is a very biddable dog and wants to please.

Epic (DeltaBluez Tess x Delmar Scott). He just turned two years old in November.

Ben has been training Epic for Flyball. He was in training for three months and went to his first Flyball Tournament. He got a run of 4.04 at that tournament.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Dec 12th trial update

As you all well know, I am so not a morning person so when the alarm went off at 0500 on December 12th, I slowly rolled out of bed to get ready for the trial. Nan and Tess followed me out to the kitchen where I got my coffee and finished packing. Loaded up Roo, Nan and Tess and headed down the road. Tess was the chief navigator who promptly fell asleep.

We had a few days of cold weather, in the range of 6-10 degrees and our well pipes and well pump had froze. The roads were slick and one portion on the way out, the water from a ditch had overran its banks and had flowed out to the street and turned into 4 inches of frozen ice on the road. I drove my truck and it crossed the icy barrier easily but you could see where other cars were not so fortunate by the tires marks on the side of the road when they had slid off to the side.

I could see my sheep were huddled in a tight mass and the thick winter coats on the horses were frosted. They stood by the gate at my far pasture as I drove by and didn’t lift their heads up. No one in his or her right mind should be out so early and also be moving about when it was so cold.

I guess I am spoiled by our winters as they usually are mild by most standards. Yes, we get snow for about a week and the temperature hardly dips below 30 for any extended amount of time. So when we were hit with single digits temperature for almost two weeks, everyone was unprepared.

The road crew in last year’s snowstorm had done a poor job and they were determined to do a far better job this year when it snowed it but when we had frost and low temperatures, that was a new challenge for them. Numerous places had frozen pipes which had burst, highways were slick and no one ventured out unless they needed to and that included me. The only place I went to was work and to my far field to feed my sheep and horses.

Roo was the first dog to run at the trial and it started at 8:00 a.m.

I gave myself extra travel time in case that Highway 18 at the summit was snowy or icy. It didn?t have snow but the roads was slick and at one point my truck slid to one side. We got to the trial without any issues and I scoped out the course. It was a standard course and we had a class of 18 or 19 dogs but several handlers could not make it due to the weather. We were short on Open dogs so a couple of us entered extra dogs to help the class. I entered Tess and she would run at the end. She was still fast asleep in the truck, after she woke up enough to have part of my breakfast.

Roo ran out nice, deep, and stopped at the top as I asked. His lift was nice and he was a bit pushy on the fetch but did as I asked. I was vey happy to see him to continue to work well on our partnership. He only lost two points total for is outrun, lift and fetch. His drive was straight to the first pane. The last few feet of the first panel was in a gulley so you had to have a straight line to it and you would only see if you made the panel when the sheep popped out on the other side of it. They did indeed, pop out but Roo tried to head them back on the first part of the cross drive but we got back online. The second panel was dead on and the line w as straight to the middle of the ring. He lost 10 points for his bobble at the first drive panel.

He came in clean at the shed and held them proper for full points. He marched them into the pen and I was shutting the door when time ran out….oh only for 2 more seconds. With that, he landed mid pack and we had the pen, he might have landed in 2nd place. I was very happy how he has been working and at each trial, we are connecting better and better. He was quite happy with himself after the run too!! His score was 78.

Nan was my next dog up and the week prior she had tore her toenail. We wrapped it and she was raring to go. She pranced and danced all the way to the gate and once inside the field, scanned the field for the sheep and was frozen in time until I sent her. She ran out quickly and forcefully and came deep behind her sheep. I didn’t give her a down at the top as I wanted her to feel the sheep and learn how to lift the sheep without downing all the time. She glanced down at the field at me and then took charge. She leaned into them and had a nice lift but they roared to one side and she flanked to cover the draw. I flanked her to slow her down but she was really leaning on the sheep and we slowed them down at the fetch panels. A couple of the ewe skirted past one side at the last second, we go them tucked back in, and had a nice turn a t the post. She lost 0 for her outrun, one for the lift and 6 for the fetch.

The drive was smooth and she lined them nice and had a nice turn but they came in a little on the first part of the crossdrive. The draw of the gulley sucked the sheep into t his and it was the bane of many runs, sometimes the big sucking gully would bring the sheep almost back to the post on some of the runs. We got them back online and went straight to the second panels, nicely through and to the ring. She lost 4 for her drive and she came in fast for a sweet shed for a loss of one point. She quickly regrouped them in t he ring and marched them into the pen for a perfect pen. Her score was 88. Nan was so happy with her run and was quite pumped with herself. She carried her with pride to the stock tank with her tail waving as high as she could carry it and her smile was broad. She knows when she does well and that I am pleased. She is a far different dog than I used to run 2 years ago when she would run through the bit and fight the stop. Now she is a true partner and gives her all on the course.

There was some nice runs to watch, one being Sue MacDonald and Bess. It was a very nice and quiet run and she placed first wit that run. Monique and Lucy had a very nice run and place 5th. She has come so far in the three years since she came to for her first lesson. Lucy is the granddaughter of Tess and Libbi and the only one I that I have from those lines. She was the easiest dog to train and always willing to do as you asked.

Janet had a good run with Scott. She also has come a long way since she acquired Scott a year ago. A handler bobble at the second panel cost her dearly and she won’t be making that mistake again. She handled Scott quite well as he was very pushy on the sheep.

Jeanne B and Rocky had a stellar PN run and won the class. Rocky only has been with Jeanne since springtime (I believe) and they have teamed up quite well. Kathleen and Emma won the ranch class. Kathleen has been working very hard to get the top of the outrun fixed and it shows.

Lunchtime rolled around and Tess woke up from her nap to accompany me and get part of my lunch. After she mooched off me, she wandered about until she found another potential victim, Jeanne B, and began to her on her begging on her. Since she has been retired she has figured out that she is not running anymore so has quit running to the gate but will stick her nose

Often she will sit on my lap and give her judging rendition of the runs.

I stood up as her run was at the end of the class and called her. “Tess, are you ready?”

Her ears shot up, she saw the crook in my hand, and she bolted at lightning speed to that gate. It’s one of the few times that I saw her run that fast. Apparently, she wanted to make sure that I wouldn’t have second thoughts. She jumped up and tried to push the gate open with her paws and when that failed, tried to thread her nose through. She was dancing with delight.

The nose part worked quite well but her body got stuck. I opened the gate and we walked in and I told her to wait at my side while they exhausted the sheep. I looked up the field then down at her.

Her whole body was shaking so hard and the tip of her pricked ears were flapping about. They normally can stand straight up in gale force winds but today, they were shaking like a tree in a winter storm. I looked down at her and asked her “Tess, do you see the sheep” and she glared at me as it to say “Ah yes, I do and I see you have the Blind Handler light on so I will cover your ass and make you look good, ok?”

I nodded okay and we walked to the post. The sheep mussed about and Tess was leaning so far forward that had I touched her, she would have fallen on her face. I sent her and she bolted up the field and I noticed that retired life did add to her waist line but I wasn’t going to point that out to her since I had gained a few winter pounds myself.

At the top, she trotted in a wee but flat and came hard on the lift but quickly got all under control for a nice fetch. She lost 4 for her outrun, three for the lift and 2 for the fetch. The turn at the post was nice but one ewe did not want to leave my feet so Tess showed her teeth and she hopped to her friends rather quickly. It was apparent that she didn’t want to be with this group and kept calling for her friends in the exhaust.

Tess turning the sheep at the post

Holding the shed.

On the first leg, this ewe kept trying to run off while the other three trotted on the line nicely. I flanked Tess back and forth and once when she thought I was doing a bad job, she paused and turned her head back to me as if to say “Hello, anyone home?.I am gonna put out a New Handler Wanted Sign if you keep this up” so I then just sshhh her and she put the wayward ewe back and kept them tucked to make the panel. Her expression was priceless.

Tess telling me to shut the gate!!

On the rest of the drive, I didn’t have to do much as she held the proper distance and kept them on line. She took my flanks for the turn and held then dead on to the middle of the ring. Our eyes meet in the ring and she came in for a nice shed and held them and then I opened the pen gate and told her to “pen them” and my only role was to shut the gate. Tess reads my mind and out many years of partnership was evident on this run. I really enjoyed this run and even laughed during parts of it. She lost five on her drive, two on her shed and none on her pen. Watching her run, you would never know she was 11.5 years old as she galloped to the water and got her fill. When I arrived at the water, she ran up to me and threw herself on me and we did our country western dance. She was so excited and could barely contain herself.

Our country western dance together.
When she exhausted the next dog’s sheep, she ran like a bullet and acted full of herself. She got 4th in the class. I’ll have to keep using her as a setout dog to keep her happy. I really had a good time with all three of my dogs that day. Oh yea, after her run, she went back to mooching again. She had good success too.

I went up to the lunch area and mooched a cookie myself so all was in good order.

photos: Janet Thorpe

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Physics Of Santa Claus

As a result of an overwhelming lack of requests, and with research help from that renowned scientific journal Spy magazine (January, 1990), it's time for the annual scientific inquiry into the Physics of Santa Claus.

No known species of reindeer can fly. But there are 300,000 species of living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are insects and germs, this does not completely rule out flying reindeer which only Santa has ever seen.

There are 2 billion children (persons under 18) in the world. But since Santa doesn't (appear) to handle the Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist children, that reduces the workload to to 15% of the total -- 378 million according to Population Reference Bureau. At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that's 91.8 million homes. One presumes there's at least one good child in each.

Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the Earth, assuming he travels east to west (which seems logical). This works out to 822.6 visits per second. This is to say that for each Christian household with good children, Santa has 1/1000th of a second to park, hop out of the sleigh, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left, get back up the chimney, get back into the sleigh and move on to the next house. Assuming that each of these 91.8 million stops are evenly distributed around the Earth (which, of course, we know to be false but for the purposes of our calculations we will accept), we are now talking about 0.78 miles per household, a total trip of 75.5 million miles, not counting stops to do what most of us must do at least once every 31 hours, plus feeding and etc. This means that Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, 3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle ever made on earth, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a pokey 27.4 miles per second (a conventional reindeer can run, tops, 15 miles per hour).

The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium-sized lego set (2 pounds), the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting Santa, who is invariably described as overweight. On land, conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that "flying reindeer" (see point #1) could pull ten times the normal amount, we cannot do the job with eight, or even nine. We need 214,200 reindeer. This increases the payload -- not even counting the weight of the sleigh -- to 353,430 tons. Again, for comparison, this is four times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth (the boat, not the monarch).

353,000+ tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance; this will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as spacecrafts re-entering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer will absorb 14.3 quintillion joules of energy. Per second. Each. In short, they will burst into flame almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them, and create deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team will be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second. Santa, meanwhile, will be subjected to centrifugal forces 17,500 times greater than gravity. A 250-pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of his sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force.

In conclusion, if Santa ever did deliver presents on Christmas Eve, he's dead now.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Al Zuppan - Rest in Peace

Many years ago, when I first started to trial, I met a wonderful couple named Al and Ginger Zuppan. They would go out of their way to be kind to a green handler like me and make me feel welcome. They were were super nice but excellent handlers. They have touched many people over the years and many stories can be told about them.

Once, as I ran at a trial with Tess and we didn't do so well (we sucked) and I was feeling down, Al came over to me and took the time to talk to me. I don't remember the exact words but it was something like this "You will have good days and bad days. We all do. Tomorrow will be your good day - If you want it to be- so let it be"

The next day we had a great day. A kind word goes along way.

Today, we lost Al to pancreatic cancer. It is a great loss to all of us, especially so to Ginger, his lovely wife.

photo: osds archives

Put your Al Zuppan stories here, if you wish.

Rest in Peace, Al Zuppan.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

New Kinloch Cottage, AI Service, top Open dog for sale and five books!!

It's been  a while since I posted about Angie and Kevlin. Since then they have a new website for their Kinloch Cottage.

Two of my favorite people in the world are Angie Driscoll and Kelvin Broad. They used to live here in Canada but moved to the UK. They have the best dogs and to go with their dogs, a cool cottage to let. (that would be for rent)

From their website...

"Welcome to Kinloch Cottage @ Ffos Y Fran Farm in Carmarthenshire, Wales. Situated on the western edge of the Brechfa Forest and just 20 minutes from the town of Carmarthen, this charming self catering stone holiday cottage offers a perfect relaxing retreat to explore this lovely area and enjoy a slice of welsh countryside living.

This cosy cottage has beautiful scenery all around and offers wonderful forest walks and mountain biking from the front door. Being a working farm, you'll find sheep, chickens, cows, honey bees, and well-behaved border collies too. For dog lovers, you'll find a full range of dog agility equipment to play on and, for sheepdog enthusiasts, 70 acres of varying terrain and training sheep on which to work your dogs. Relax in our indoor heated swimming pool, wander around our extensive garden, sit by the ponds, or kick off your shoes and sit and enjoy a BBQ on our wonderful deck. Peace and quiet await you.

Owners, Angie Driscoll and Kelvin Broad, are sheepdog enthusiasts, avid trail runners and self-taught photographers. They like to share their passion for the welsh countryside with guests. "

I stayed with them a couple of year ago and had a blast. I got to work dogs, eat well, relax, go on walks, visit local sights, go to a top ranked handler to learn how to work dogs and enjoy their company. I want to go back and hope I can do it soon. Want a great place to stay while you are in the UK, I highly recommend them.

In addition, they offer AI service for dogs. They have access to the top trial dogs in the UK.

But wait, they also have a super nice Open dog for sale. I have seen Roy and he is a top quality dog. They also can find a dog for you as a service.

Last but not least, they only have FIVE COPIES fo their book for sale. Once it is gone, that's it.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Burping Sheep

Australian scientists are aiming to breed sheep that burp less to help tackle climate change.

The scientists have been trying to identify a genetic link that causes some sheep to belch less than others. They say burping is a far greater cause of emissions in sheep than flatulence, reports the BBC.

John Goopy, from the New South Wales Department of Industry and Investment, said: "Ninety per cent of the methane that sheep and cattle and goats produce comes from the rumen, and that's burped out.

"Not much goes behind - that's horses."

Scientists in New South Wales have been conducting experiments in specially designed pens where they measure how much gas sheep emit by burping.

They have found, from tests on 200 sheep so far, that the more they eat, the more they belch.

But even taking that into account, there appear to be "significant differences" between individual animals, Mr Goopy said.

The scientists' goal in the long term is to breed sheep that produce less methane, which produces many times more global warming than carbon dioxide.

"We're looking for natural variations so we'll steer the population that way, " said Roger Hegarty, from the Sheep Cooperative Research Council.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

787 First Flight

This is so non dog related but still worth blogging about. I used to work at Boeing as a Electrical Engineer. Now I work for the FAA in aerospace projects.

Today was the 787 First Flight. It went GREAT!!

"The 787 is a radical departure in aircraft design. Where other passenger jets are made mostly from aluminum and titanium, about half of the 787 is made of lightweight composite materials such as carbon fiber.

Those materials have long been used on individual parts such as rudders, and on military planes, but the 787 is the most ambitious use of the technology aboard a passenger plane.

Boeing says the aircraft will be quieter, produce lower emissions and use 20 percent less fuel than comparable planes, while giving passengers a more comfortable cabin with better air quality and larger windows. "




Monday, December 14, 2009

Poultry Herding

We have lots of poultry on the farm. We have geese, turkeys, chickens and guineas. The geese and the tom turkey spend the night out in one secure pasture. They are too big for the eagles to cart off. However, the ducks, female turkey, chickens and guineas free range during the day and at night get put away. The chickens and the ducks know the routine. I had one guinea and just added several more a few days prior. Guineas are very difficult to herd as you put any pressure on them, and they will just fly off. When summer arrives, I will let the guineas sleep where ever they want but until the new ones get used to this place, they will all be put away at night.

The turkey hen. She is not the sharpest knife in the drawer but very cute and friendly. Some of the new guineas and a couple of chickens.

So this day, I used Tess to put everyone away. This was the first time the guineas and turkey had been let out. They didn't know the program to go back into the coop at night. So Tess, being the master poultry herding queen is showing them the routine. She is going very slow and quiet to move the guineas in.  My penning command is "Pen them" and then get the heck out of the way.

Nan, not to be outdone, is doing back up. However, she HATES poultry and refuses to work them at all. BUT, she HATES it when I work Tess and not her so it is a double edged sword for her.  She stayed behind Tess and barked very loudly which didn't help one bit in trying to put everyone away. In addition, she ran around with her tail in the air and spooked the poultry.

Tess is very serious about her work and Nan is having a jolly ole time. Tess is doing some tough work at this point as the guineas want to bolt past her.  She managed to settle them down then Nan would run and bark and they would scatter and Tess would have to regroup them again. Nan is having the time of her life!!

Finally, all put away and then to the barn for treats. Nan beat Tess back to the barn for treats.....barking and dancing all the way, I might add.