Thursday, October 30, 2014

Happy Birthday, L&M Nana

Nan turned 12 years old today. It's hard to believe that I have had her since she was 4.5 years old and full of piss and vinegar. She still is full of piss and vinegar but a bit more mellow. We have come so far together, running in three Finals. We did qualify for more but only ran in the west coast finals. She has run in several Double Lifts and did great, and either won or placed high. She has managed win quite a few trials. Our road has been a long one. She was for sale as a Nursery pup but I passed on her and got her daughter instead. Liking the daughter, I contacted her new owner to get a pup from her last litter but all were sold and I ended up with her with a promise she would be here forever.
We struggled for a bit as her heart was stone cold, having three litters of pups and five owners by 4.5 years old. She would do as I asked but it was because she was told and not from the heart. Then, when I was recovering from  my heart operation, I told her that she was the guardian of the house and soon realized she was here to stay and did her role quite well. She also shadowed Tess as she knew Tess was a permanent dog so by doing exactly whatever Tess did, she know she would not be in trouble. Once she gave me her heart, she opened up to everyone and would greet people at the door and have long, extended talking conversation with them. Official greeter and treat beggar.
Our relationship suddenly took a turn for the best, she going all out, with her heart on her sleeve and trying her hardest to please me. I struggled with a high powered dog like her but we worked it out and soon she was a force on the field. She trusted me and would stand up to the sheep, as when I first got her, she was terrified of them.
Taking a break on a huge sheep ranch operation in central Oregon after working range ewes on the side of a mountain, over 1/2 mile away.
The year flew by and we just got better and better. We placed or won quite a few trials and we seemed to have that connection. Woe to me if I was slow, as she still was a high powered dog on the trial field. Off the field, she was Miss Social Butterfly.

At a trial when the sheep were heavy on the draw and she was holding it.
We were as one on the field and just got better and better. The one day, I looked at her graying muzzle and realized she was getting old. She still had the spring her in her step but she was deaf in one ear. She knew enough to handle the sheep and would hold a nice line.

talented at penning....just open the gate and shut up!
I bred her and got a super nice litter of pups. I kept one, named Billie who is like her. A tri with lots of heart and a one person dog. Nan wouldn't work for anyone else, well maybe for a brief moment until the end of the outrun and she would leave the sheep at your feet to go look for me.
Her goal was to hang out in the house, play ball and be my couch warmer until she had to run at a trial. At the trial, she would fall into a deep sleep at my feet, waking up just before her run, go run and then back to bed. She knew that all she had to do was to run for 10 or so minutes, then  was off duty until her next run.  She would run her heart out but once the run was over, she was on relax time.
She wants to please me with all her heart and is very transparent in her love. She wants to be perfect and does everything with full gusto. Well, except work chickens....she will bust through the middle of them then ignore them. She leaves that work for the common dogs!

Our last Finals was at Colorado where her sheep got the best of her and wouldn't more, no matter how hard she tried. The exhaust dog couldn't move them either so the cowboy had to push them off with his horse. You could see the try in her eyes and she did grip but to no avail. She needed the "Don't Fu** with me grip like Maid"...but she tried her hardest and that's all I can ask for.  That was her last Finals and I have run her in a couple of more, short local Open trials. She has done great on those so we have fun with her.
It's been a wonderful journey for Nan and while her path at first was long, it ended when I got her on a promise when she was 4.5 years old and she has been my heart dog. I love her so dearly,  her try and her love to do best. She is very talented and gives me her all. I have been the one who held her back the first few years but she forgave me.
She has been a super partner and taught me so much, to trust, to let me into her heart, of love, of security, to live in the moment, humor and most of to love a dog for that they have to offer, as they do offer a lot and sometimes we don't see the diamond in them.
She has been my shining diamond for years and now she is enjoying her retirement as a back up dog, snack hound and bed warmer. Happy Birthday to my dear Nan, Nana Banana, , Beautiful, Nani-Boo, Boo, Boo and Nanner!
Happy 12 years old to a wonderful soulmate.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Sheep Halloween Costumes

In case you wanted to dress up as a sheep for Halloween, here are some ideas. or better yet, dress your child or dog up.
This sheep needs to be shorn

freaking adorable!

 my dogs would kill me if I put this on them

and my horse would kick me if I dressed her up like this as well.
What am I going to wear for Halloween....well, I suppose this might work...
Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Weather report Canadian style with Mike Sobel and Ripple

I love this weather report. I even love the fact that the station allows Mike Sobel to feature animals on the air. They have been doing it for about 15 years and I applaud them for that.
Click on the link below to see Ripple "help" Mike Sobel do the weather report.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Double Rainbow

It's has been the usual yucky blustery fall weather here in the pacific northwest.  So as I was driving home, I saw the double rainbows and decided that the cool, wet fall weather wasn't so bad after all.
So I chased the rainbows, (it also helped they were in the direction that I was going towards) and never caught  up to them to get my pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. But I remembered form my Physics class that rainbows are caused by refraction of water droplets and are not stationary so you will be always chasing the elusive pot of gold.
In case you were wondering, I was in a traffic jam and we were sitting and not moving so I whipped my iPhone out and took these  pics. I was going to do a video and scan the whole rainbow but traffic started to move so you lost out.

In the case of two rainbows, the primary  rainbow the light is refracted and the second one , the light is reflected.  Interesting what I remember from my Physics class.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Shaded Heart Sheepdog trial

This last weekend  I went to Wilbur for the first Annual Sheepdog trial, called "Shaded Heart Sheepdog Trial.   It was fantastic but tough. April born Targee crossbreed lambs with no leader, five per Open proved to be quite challenging. On Saturday, they wanted to run back to the trailers  and when and if you got them lifted, they ran to the crowd. They are feed lotted lambs so were drawn to people but never worked by dogs. Once they busted past the post, on the wrong side, you had to reset to do the proper turn and that proved to be the undoing of my dogs on the first day, including mine.
The town went all out to make this a great event. Noelle and Dan Williams were the driving force behind this and they pulled off a fantastic well run trial.  Lorri Padmos-Crumpler did the score keeping and I am sure I forgot to thank someone so here is a "Global Thank You."
A field with about 300 yard out run, a long crossdrive , shed and pen in ten minutes. Sounds easy, right? Not so, with lambs that bolt or all face off at your dog. None had a leader so it was very difficult. The lambs were consistent in size and temperaments and freshly shorn.  The place was set up well as had lots of amenities, food, lots of parking, bathrooms and much more and sunny weather for most of the weekend. A must return to trial and five star rating.
I got there late Friday night after working all day (darn that day job) and took rest stop every hour to ease out the hurting ribs as they began to scream in pain after an hour of driving. Maid and Nan like the stops as we got to explore the areas. They especially like the dinner stop as they got a good portion of my sandwich. I got to the Willows motel, one of two in town. Very nice and my room had been recently remodel. Clean and new everything and a five star rating as they went out of their way to be accommodating. Turns out the owner is from Carnation and has family here as well as her friend who helps her out. We knew a lot of the same wild is that?
I tossed a blanket on the bed for the dogs and Nan and Maid soon stretched out and left little room for me to sleep and when I shoved them aside, they just groaned.....spoilt! We got up at 6 and moseyed about before heading out to the Handler's meeting. Maid was a social butterfly and had to visit everyone.
 Nan was first up and had a nice outrun and lifted them well but her fetch was offline and they went on the wrong side of the post. One tried to break and she nipped it (we were allowed one warranted grip but any unwarranted you were DQ)....she finally got then lines up and  another one tried to bust and she stopped it with her teeth and was called. She never backed down, even when they were charging her.  Once she gripped the lambs behaved and she was quite pleased with herself and I told her that she was a brave and good dog.
Later in the day, it was Maid's turn. I took her out and let her visit and relax. She watched the sheep but was calm and we went to the post and she scanned the field. She ran out nice and deep and according to Norm Close, she had a wonderful lift, calm and thoughtful. The lambs ran down the field and I flanked her to stop them and we missed the post. One of the many people who missed the post all day. She had to work to get them back online as they kept breaking into two groups and running in two different directions. She was patient and did everything I asked of her with numerous downs and steadies.  She finally got them going on the first leg of the drive but we were called since we had a minutes  20 seconds left but got to keep out score of 26. Most of it was off due to the fetch.
I was happy how well she ran for me. She was soft, pliable and wanted to please me.  I think we finally turned some corner in out relationship in the last couple of trials.
After the trial, they had a Handler's Dinner but I passed as I was feeling bad from the drive and hurting ribs. So we stopped and got a pizza and went to bed early. Slept for 12 hours and I felt so much better.
Saturday Score. 

Sunday we slept in until 8 and it felt good and my body was not feeling bad. In fact, I felt pretty good.  Maid was the first of my dogs to run and I decided to pull Nan as I knew I had a long drive and needed to rest. It was a good call and I am glad I did it as the drive was much better going home.

The wind began to pick up and there was a little chill in the air but it still was a nice day. Perfect Indian summer weather.

They moved the setout so when the lamb bolted it would be towards the other side of the post and also made the draw to the trailer much less.  You didn't have to regroup in the shedding ring as well. Maid ran out wide and took her time picking up the lambs and was kind to them.  We just skimmed the panels and were offline here and there. Nice tidy turn at the post and they wanted to bust back to the spectators so Maid worked them nice and slow and we got them going. It took a bit of work and time but she listened well, was soft and very biddable.

the line was nice and we made the first panel and then they busted up towards the trailer so I flanked her wide and she stopped them. She got them back online at the cross drive and she got them through the second panels and had a tight turn to the shedding ring. We worked and got the shed. She came in easy and drove them off. We got them gathered at the pen and they still wanted to bust, two to the back of the pen and three to the exhaust pen. We looked at each other and she gave me a look that warmed me to the heart. It was a look of trust and partnership.  One that Tess used to give me in the shedding ring. Maid had a sly smile and a tiny wag of her tail and did a few cutting horse moves and we penned the sheep. I gave her a big pat and she looked up at me with adoring eyes. In the end she placed 6th and got a couple more points towards the Finals. I love this dog and she gave me her heart and trust me and tries hard, even though I maybe sometimes in the wrong.

We watched a couple more runs then headed out. We stopped at a Del's along the way and got some feed as it is a lot cheaper on this side. The girls loved this as they got to have fun and I played with them. We also stopped at Dry Fall's museum based on Chris Soderstrom's advice. Simply beautiful. Thanks to Chris for suggesting this!
Pixs are below, using the iPhone but it was a breathtaking sight.




Saturday, October 11, 2014

Fido's Farm Sheepdog Trial on Sept 28th

After licking my wounds at the Finals on our disappointing runs , I was not overly eager to go to another trial. But we did and I entered Nan, Maid and Nikki. I am getting Nikki up to speed in Open as Nan is pretty much retired, aside from the few local shorter Open trials.  Open was the last class to run so for once I didn't have to get up at the Vampire hour and head out before my coffee went to work and my eyes were fully functional. I got there in time to see all of the PN and they were tough. Sheep would take off if the dog was incorrect and showed no mercy. They knew where the exhaust and set out were and were quite light.  Nan was first and had brilliant outwork then on the first leg, could not hear me and as a result we made a dreadful mess of the first half of the drive.  She made up for it on the single and pen. She is deaf in one ear and slowly losing hearing on the other side so the drive aways are tough. She gave me a gallant effort and I was happy.

Nikki was next and went out about 200 yards and crossed. I tried to stop her but she ignored me. After a few minutes of going everywhere but where I wanted, she decided to listen and went and got the sheep. By this time, I had turned the session into a training run since we could use up our time.  She wouldn't release on the first part of the drive so it was a battle and I got into her head on the second part and it was sweet.  She came in nice for the she and marched them into the pen. We slowly are getting to be a team and hopefully by spring, she will be my solid Open dog.

Maid was third from the end and by this time the ewes were cranky and wanted to check out. She went out nice and I gave her a down at the top and there was no movement. Hum, so I gave her a walkup and the ewes squirted to one side. She did down and waited for me. I stopped her and then gave her a big flank to stop them. She took the stop at their shoulders and they turned back online. I kept her in the shoulder until all lined out and then put her behind the sheep. They flowed nice to my feet and they went around the  post calmly. Nice first leg but one swirled and we got offline for a few steps and then nailed the first panel. Sweet turn and she was very soft.  Beautiful crossdrive and made the second panel and nice turn to the ring. She came in to hold the single very calm and I about fell over in shock. She was so soft and pliable during her run. It was a quiet run and she was very easy. She tucked the ewes into the pen like a mother tucks her children in bed at night. She ran up to me and I gave her a big pet and it was one of the nicest runs that I have ever done. She was so willingly to work and very reminded me of running Tess....a gentle run like a walk in the park. I had no idea of the score but when I got a 96 out of 100, we both danced for joy. Maid knew I was delighted about something and so she jumped up and down with her tail wagging. We redeemed ourselves but we need to do better at the big show. Hopefully we will get enough points so we can go this year as this will be her last year.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

October Shearing

Today we did the fall shearing. My normal October shearer bailed on us with no warning so I had to find another shearer in a short time frame. Through several recommendation, we found Pierre and he came out.  I had reduced my wool sheep so we had 28 wool and two Dorpers to shear. We didn't shear the other hair sheep. We started at 9ish and got done around 2 but we took breaks and a long lunch and worked dogs. The shearing crew was Audrey and Diane as the Vets, Karol manning the tilt table and doing the dog work with Phantom, Wayne and Tim as the sheep wranglers, Phil and Morgan as the hoof trimmers and me as the record keeper. I was banned from doing hoof trimming as my ribs still hurt. Pierre was a great sport and we had all sort of banter going back and forth.  If you want a superb local shearer in the Western Washington, we recommend him, His contact info is: Pierre Monnat
It was a sunny and warm day so that helped. Karol, and Vet Diane on the left. Morgan on the right. After Pierre sheared, we put the ewe on the table and the Vets checked her for health, and to see if they needed to be wormed. Morgan and Phil did the hooves and they are a great crew. Karol worked the tilt table and also had Phantom hold the sheep in the north barn driveway after they were sheared.

Tim Browne who has become  great farm hand.  He was a wrangler and go-to guy. He also fixed my broken feeder today.

Phil and Morgan doing hooves.

A new victim has been loaded. Vet Diane, Karol, Phil and Morgan are ready to go!
Phantom did four hours of sheep tending. After we did the work, we put the sheep in the driveway to graze and hold them. Once we did that set, he moved them back to the proper pasture and then got a new set.  He was tired by the end but did a great job.
When Wayne wasn't wrangling he was sweeping the wool off to be bagged.

Pierre doing the shearing. We all loved his quick wit. And a great shearer to boot. He is available to do all sorts of shearing in Washington State and other areas.
Having a shearer that is good looking is a real bonus!
Tim wrangling the sheep from the stall to the shearing station.

One of the ewes after she was sheared decided to lay her head between two buckets for a nap.
We got done after two and went out for lunch and then came back and worked more dogs. It was a good day for shearing, sunny and warm and having a crew made the work go a lot faster. Thanks to all for helping!