Friday, January 8, 2010

Recap of last two weeks

I can’t believe how fast time has flown by the last couple of weeks. In a brief recap of all what has happened. We had a wonderful Christmas. Getty made prime rib, green beans and mom made shrimp salad, fried calamari and Nelson made yam/sweet taters, roasted apples/pears, brownies and roasted baby onion/taters. I made upside down pineapple cake and Kathy Davis made Grasshopper Torte. I know there was more food but for the life of me, I can’t remember but it was good and I ate so much that I had to take a nap.

As usual, the dogs got tons of presents, toys, treats and beds. The farm animal got extra treats and got more goodies from my mom when she did the afternoon treat feeding. The sheep remember my mom as she is the “bread lady” and they run up to her, baaing and eating bread from her hands. She loves feeding them that. I got my mom tow Japanese Silkies (hen and rooster) so they will be her pets. She always has loved Silkies and wanted some so now she has two. She’ll have to name then though. They are very friendly and live in a horse stall. The other chickens live in the chicken coop.

Right after Christmas was Getty’s birthday. We went out to eat at the Roadhouse Grill which is in Fall City. I got two appetizers as my meal. One was the small Pacific Oysters and the other one was the Flatbread. The oysters were small but tasty dippy in a light crispy batter. They were very good and I recommend them. They gave me a Remoulade Sauce which was excellent. For my other dish, I got the Flatbread Pizza of the day. It had goat cheese and tomatoes and I covered it with the rest of the Remoulade sauce. That made it excellent. Getty had the pork ribs, mashed potatoes and coleslaw. Since it was his birthday, they gave him a free dessert and he got the Crème Brûlée. I got one too.

I had a few days off work and spent it working dogs and doing chores that needed to be done but I had put off. I have been working Tam and each time he just gets better and better. For just turning a year old, he is very mature and keen. He has gotten better about taking pressure and doing nice small outruns. He does tend to stick at the top by lying down so we have been keeping him on his feet when he gets to the top. He is a quick study and wants to please. The sheep are respectful of him and like him.

Kira, the other yearling, on the other hand is a real terror sometimes. She has her own opinion on the stock should be worked so we have had some discussions on listening and stopping. She has come to see the light and does stop and listen to me but if someone else works her, all bets are off. She doesn’t rate her stock as well as Tam but is more bold and grippy. She is fast and more reactive.

Both pups are totally opposite in working attitudes and style to each other. Both are keen and I like some aspects of each. My goal is by spring to have them ready to run in Novice and ranch so Janet can run them. At this rate, Tam will be ready before Kira.

Nan has been worked well. I’ve been letting her figure out how/when to lift at the top than he just automatically downing then waiting for a command. She will down if I tell her but I want her to figure out the lift in case we have a blind outrun or the sheep fuss at her. I sent her and then don’t say a word. She goes to the top and hits balance then lies down. After a few seconds, she peers over the sheep at me and I just give her a ”ssshh” or keep quiet. She will then walk up and figure out the lift and if they swirl offline, will get them back online. Prior to this, she would just pick them up offline and bring them without regards to holding the pressure. Her fetches can be fast but I am letting her figure out the feel behind the sheep. At first, she would push so hard that they would string out and scatter but now she is figuring out the bubble. She will take any commands that I tell her so I am not worried; I just want her to be able to feel her sheep more. She is getting better about standing up to a sheep and not running off. Nan is getting more confidence each time, which is key.

Roo has been working quite well too. He can rush at the top but lately has been staying deep and stopping when I ask him. Also on his work, he can get pushy but when I reel him back to a respectful distance, he will do it and the work goes smoothly. He is a joy to run and it has been a while since he was bad. I hope the new and improved Roo will be the permanent Roo. In the last few trials, he has missed being in the top 20% by one placing. If there are 3 spots for points, he will get the 4th spot. Nevertheless, I am happy with him and enjoy him. He is such a happy go lucky dog that is full of life.

Tess has been doing well with retirement. She does chores at the farm and the still the Queen at playtime. Each morning Tess puts the ducks in the pond pasture and at night, she puts them away. Mind you, Nan cannot stand me working another dog, and will also work the ducks BUT well behind Tess and barking. Nan actually does not like to work ducks but will do the flanks that I tell Tess. If I tie Nan up or kennel her, she will howl and shriek until I turn her loose.

For a few weeks when I would get home from work, I would park my car and walk to the barn to let the dogs out of the kennels. I would hear one dog bark and bark and bark. I would tell the dogs “knock it off” and the barker would continue. I was thinking it was Tam or Kira and would shake my finger at them when I would go in. Of course, you know that as soon as I entered the barn, the offending dog would be quiet. One day I had enough and snuck in from the other door. Kira, Roo, Tess and Tam were all sitting nice while Nan was bouncing up and down and barking. I told her to “knock it off” and she just bounced higher and barked louder. Sigh, she really wanted out of the kennel and was so happy to see me. So much for that!! She will not quit barking, as she is so excited to see me. If we are at home, she is in the house but during the day, she is the kennel with Tess. She really hates being in the kennel and has Tess’s attitude of the kennel which is “Good for common dogs but not for us!!”

Lucy, my other Open dog just got a new home and I will write about that in another blog. She went to a perfect home.

New Years came and went. We worked dogs and stayed home. I guess we are getting old as right after midnight we were asleep. Since we live in the country, many people shot off fireworks or guns. Nan is terrified of that and runs into my arms. I gave her some rescue remedy and began to teach her to play with a tug toy. That seemed to work. I had to lock Tess up so Nan would have one on one time. It seems to help that if I do toy playing with Nan (minus Tess) that she doesn’t stress so much. Nan has really gotten into playing with toys now.

The sheep are doing well. Some are a little too fat so they will be getting less alfalfa and more exercise. They are not due for 2 more months, aside from a couple of early ones. Today we brought everyone home, resorted and brought them back to the far field. The fat ones and going-to-lamb next month ewes stayed here. Emmy, the 23-year-old Arab came home so she could babysit the farm sheep. She was not too sure about the two llamas and when they made a move on her alfalfa, they quickly realize a retreat was in best order. Frankie thought he would bark and take a run at her from the other side of the fence, but Emmy gave him the evil Arab eye and he wisely retreat to his sheep.

Winter has been good around here, aside from the two weeks of 6-10 degree weather where our well house pipes and pumps froze. We haven’t had any snow and had good sunny weather until today where it rained pretty hard. No floods either and at this time last year, we had several major floods. I sure hope we don’t have any more flooding.

Right now, everything is quiet and peaceful. I am feeling good aside from my right arm which I am having issues with. The arm is messed up since the Doc put my sternum back - not lined up and it pinches the nerve so my right arm is numb and weak. I am going to a chiro and getting massages to help it. If it doesn’t get better next week, I will call my regular doc to see what she can do. I can’t really lift anything with my arm and am in constant pain. I’ll be happy when I am not in pain as it has been 18 months of pain now!!

Tomorrow a bunch of us (Kathleen, Janet, Ron and I) are going to my far field and running a practice trial. We have a USBCHA trial on Sunday so we are doing a tune up. I will be running Roo, Nan, Lucy and Faye. I am babysitting Lucy for her owner while she is on vacation so will run her in the next two trials. I haven’t run Faye in 2 years so that should be fun. I worked her this week and she was a little rusty on her flanks but did well. Faye is here for about a week to be bred to Roo.

I am enjoying working the dogs now. It’s good to be back on track and hope we continue to have fun and grow together. The New Year has started off nicely and I hope it continues that way.

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