Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sheep Camp Update

Today was the hottest day in Western WA...ever. Yes, I said EVER. Seattle topped out at 103 degrees. When I got home today it was 106 in my driveway. They have been keeping temperature records in Seattle since the 1800's. We have NEVER had temperatures this high before EVER. Let alone an entire week like this.

KOMO News - "Welcome to the Hottest Day Ever in Seattle"

Many of you are thinking (especially the Idaho folks) "Ahh that is nothing". But you have air conditioning. Most people in Western WA do not. We are not prepared nor have we ever experienced anything like this. We are heat wimps

The hottest week in Western WA history....and it just had to be the same week as sheep camp.


I would love to post a bunch of awesome pictures from sheep camp. But I haven't taken any. I am planning on changing that tomorrow. Our schedule has been so tight and I have been so hot, tired & grumpy pictures have been the last thing on my mind.

We start class's at 0630 and are done with sheep for the day at 1200. By 1030 it is oppressively hot and the sheep are open mouth panting and we are limited to working 5 minutes at a time. Poor beasties.

We have had some fabulous classes! The afternoons have been filled with lectures in the barn arena. Today Karen Child lectured on training exercises with demonstrations. I have filled my note book up with diagrams and notes that are going to be incredibly helpful.

After Karen's class today I decided that I am going to keep a training journal. Prior to going out in the field I am going to write down my plan, decide on what we are going to focus on, review the diagrams of exercises, work my dog then come back and make notes on area's needing more work or focus. This will really help me with each of my dogs.

Karen was very impressed with the progress Beth has made since spring. This morning I sent Beth on a complete blind outrun. She left my feet like a bullet, ran clear down to the fence line, then swept the entire field until she spotted the sheep in a ditch along the far fence.

Karen looked at me and said "Think she will go in the ditch?"

I said "Yep" then Beth disappeared. Next thing I could see was sheep popping out of the ditch. Karen told me to give her a correction because Beth was goosing the sheep & 'hot-rodding" a bit. Beth stopped, calmed down then to my amazement looked back, took the flank and gathered the rest of the sheep that split off, bringing them all together and right to our feet. Karen looked at me and shrieked "That was AWESOME!" I was so proud of Beth.

The next class I took Bonnie out for the large flock class. We went on walk abouts with huge mobs of sheep.

I am struggling with Bonnie's lie down. She has been REFUSING to give me a lie down AT ALL. This has turned into a very negative thing and I need to change the way I am approaching it (more on that later) because she is starting to shut down & leave the field again.

Bonnie did a very nice gather, and got all the ewes (approx 40 head) together and brought to me, then we started walking. Shortly after we were moving one of the ewes stepped on the back of my shoe and whoosh it was gone and I face planted on the ground, bouncing off one ewe on the way down. I tried to get back up, but the ewes kept crowding me because Bonnie kept pressing them closer and closer up against me.

Good news, I found my shoe but my legs are covered with bruises. Ewes are not nice to you when you are at eye level. I was also more up close and personal with more sheep dingleberry's that I ever want to see again.

I learned one very important thing. If you are on the ground in the middle of a flock of sheep, screaming for help...won't help! No one can hear you.

After I got back on my feet, I was mad. I was mad at the sheep, I was mad at Bonnie and I was mad at myself.

I called Bonnie to me. I didn't want to freak her out because she has been acting 'spooky' again, so I patted my leg and said "come'mere Bonnie lets go!". That was my second big mistake.

It was like a replay of the other day. She came flying at me then launched into the air and WHAMMO hit me on the side of my thigh AGAIN! My knee gave out and I crashed to the ground sideways.

In the process of falling, I ended up stepping on Bonnie and landed partially on her. She yelped and bellowed like she was dying. I screamed as I was falling. You would have thought something was being slaughtered.

I am sore, it hurts to move. I wrenched my knee and my wrist. I have bruises on top of bruises. I think I have scorch marks on my face from the heat.

But I am happy, my dogs are tired and content...and we ready for more sheep camp at Fido's Furnace tomorrow.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sweaty Sheep Camp

Tomorrow we are off to Sheep Camp at Fido's Farm in Olympia. I am taking Beth, Bonnie & Brynn.

I have been looking forward to this for months. According to previous participants this is supposed to be like 6th grade camp with alcohol. Yessss! Right up my alley.

Last year following sheep camp several women had strangely colored hair. Apparently one evening they drank heavily and played with the paint they use to mark the sheep. Pink, green, can imagine the results.

Yesterday I heard Chris tell Sylvia to pick up three cases of wine at Trader Joe's. Sylvia told me she already bought several cases of beer. I bought two fifths of tequila and margarita mix today. Kristi is bringing the fixings for mohitos.

Sheep, dogs, friends and alcohol. This is going to be fun.

I wonder if anyone will stick my bra in the freezer like they did at my first slumber party when I young. Unfortunately for me, I was the first one to fall asleep. I woke up that morning with my training bra standing up next to my pillow like a sentry. Apparently they soaked it in water, then draped it over a couple bags of frozen veggies and let it freeze.

I was scarred for life.

Maybe I will finally get a chance to try the saran wrap over the toilet trick?

Nah, I have already done that to my sons. That may explain some of their 'emotional' problems.

So, the next week I am going to be sleeping in a horse stall at the big barn. Roughing it. Well, my version of roughing it. John is hauling all the 'furniture' I am going to put in my horse stall down to Fido's this evening.

One major draw back. No air conditioning. I am going to melt...have you seen the Olympia weather forecast for the next week?

Sunday 91/61
Monday 93/63
Tuesday 98/62
Wednesday 99/62
Thursday 93/60
Friday 83/57

WTF is that? The hottest darn week of the year? The weather forecasters are have 'O's over the next week record breaking temperatures and triple digit potential.

doG - HA HA HA, VERY FUNNY! I have to say that I don't get this cosmic joke. There is a reason why I live in the Pacific Northwest. Rain, gloom, clouds, rain. I like rain. Endless sunshine is boring. I don't do heat. Heat makes me homicidal, suicidal and mean. doG, can you please turn the air conditioning back on for this week? Please? Thank you.

Tell me something, how did the pioneer women manage? Can you imagine wearing a corset and a long skirt in this freaking heat? I would have volunteered to be a 'lady' of the evening just so I could wear less clothes and get away with it.

I am going to be herding sheep in my skivvies. People will point and laugh. Maybe it wont matter if they are still drunk from the night before?

The poor sheep...the poor dogs. Egads, I am going to melt.

Chris said we are going to start each day with sheep chores at dawn. (Lovely, I am a night owl). Then classes start at 7 am. We are going to be done with herding at noon, then class time and instructor presentations in the covered arena in the afternoon.

I am worried this will be my attitude by the end of the week. (My apology in advance to those G-Rated readers - for the F-Bomb being dropped in the following picture).

I don't think I am going to sleep there on the days it reaches 100. I will drive the 45 miles home (if I am not looped on alcohol). Because someone will have to bail me out of the Thurston County Jail because when I am hot, I am grumpy. Then sleep deprived? Egads the combination is potentially lethal.

Getting up early + hangover + heat = Mean-ass biatch.

According to my husband; "sounds like normal".

I am planning on hurting him first.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Wayward Morning

Have you ever had one of those mornings? I was in a rush. Ripped my clothes out of the dryer, got dressed in the laundry room. Nothing matched, forgot to comb my hair. Ugh...ugly day.

Then I whacked my face. Our bathroom door has a annoying habit of never opening quite all the way. It just hangs there half opened and half closed. I walked out of our closet turned the corner and whammo right into the door.

Dogamn door.

That pretty much set the tone for my entire day.

As I was speeding the 45 miles to Fido's Farm I was yearning for a hood mounted artillery gun. You know, something you could use to shoot the cars in front of you into oblivion?

Hey Meathead - did you just cut me off? KerBLAM, poof....GONE!

HEY Cottonhead! Are you really driving 40 in a 65? KerBLAM, poof....GONE!

"Mom, what does "arse-hole" mean?"

I had a good head of steam on by the time I arrived at Fido's. Then I find out Chris accidentally doubled booked my lesson. *sigh*

I was deflated. I felt like Eyeore...gloomy, boggy and sad.

Our lesson didn't go well because I couldn't seem to communicate and Chris was in a hurry. Every time I opened my mouth, what I meant to say didn't come out. Instead I sounded like a blathering idiot.

After the lesson I worked Bonnie for a bit alone. Bonnie is doing well. Me, on the other hand, someone should beat me with my stick. No matter how many times I hear the same freaking thing over and over again - it just doesn't seem to sink into my IQ challenged brain. If there is a sheep herding gene - I was left out of that particular gene pool.

After working Bonnie I sat down and tried to give myself a bit of an attitude adjustment. I closed my eyes, listened to the wind, the birds, the bees buzzing on the flowers. Breathed in, breathed out and felt the tension just melt away. I decided to give Bonnie another try.

This time I decided to not raise my voice and wanted to build enthusiasm and excitement in Bonnie and myself. I realized it was working when I sent her on mini outrun - she was nice and wide. She brought the sheep to me then stopped right where I wanted her too!

She is not afraid to go between sheep and the fence.

Moving them with confidence - most of the time.

She is keeping a better distance.

After a while I called her off with 'that'll do" then patted my leg and said GOOD GIRL! Bonnie came running right at me ....faster...and faster...then WHAMMO she hits me right square in the thighs with her paws and the next thing I know I am flat on my back. She knocked me right off my feet.


I didn't say a word. Actually I was incapable of uttering a sound other than a gasp. I laid there. Trying to embrace the moment and enjoy the clouds passing overhead. Waiting until I could breath again.

I closed my eyes, tried to clear my stressed brain and found myself imagining that scene from the 'Shawshank Redemption' when Andy defiantly plays Mozart on the prison PA system. Trying to find a little bit of peace admist the chaos.

I was hoping some beautiful bird would flap into my brain and make all my troubles dissolve away.

When I could breathe again I stood up.

That is funny, my leg felt odd

As I am walking out of the field...I shook my leg. I wonder if Bonnie hurt me? I stopped for a minute and felt the side of my knee. There was an odd bulge.

I kinda freaked out a bit.

Shoook my leg again and felt something sliding down the inside of my pants.

Ever experienced that particular sensation? It is creepy, to say the least.

Then I looked down and saw...

Yes, that is right. Those are pink undies.

They must have been stuck inside my pants the entire morning.


Thank doG, they were clean.

Damn static cling. Must have been stuck in there from when pulled the pants out of the dryer.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


One of our favorite blogs Life with Dogs shares the tales of Nigel & Sola, a badly behaved pair living in Vermont along with the author and his incredibly patient wife.

When I see a new post pop up on this blog and I am like a kid desperately needing the loo - I gotta get there REALLY FAST! Actually, now that I think about it, I should read this blog in the loo, because I typically I wet my pants from laughing so hard. I love the excellent writing, the witty sarcasm & of course the cartoons. The sense of humor is bent, twisted and utterly fantastic.

This morning we are honored and humbled to see that Life with Dogs selected BCxFour in the number two spot on their "Top Ten List" a feature article written on

Stop by, check out Life with Dogs "Top Ten" list and visit the other blogs mentioned. Make some new friends & enjoy one heck of a good belly laugh.

Hey Sola, Ranger has evil Mr. Stick firmly in hand for ya. He is beating him as I type.

That didnt sound right did it?

Life with Dogs: Ranger Tested, Ranger Approved.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Guilt is a powerful motivator. I personally supported the local Toys-R-Us for many years out of guilt brought on by putting my kids in daycare and their absent constantly deployed father.

"Mommy why do you have to work?" My son said when I picked him up from daycare

"To pay the bills sweetie." I sigh

"Mommy you missed our field trip because of your stupid job!" he says sobbing

"I am sorry honey" hugging my son "I couldn't get out of this silly meeting"

Because the big tears rolling down his sad little face are breaking my heart I say "Lets go buy a new 'Thomas the Tank Engine'!"

"YEAH! I LOVE YOU MOM! You are the BESTEST Mommy in the WORLD!" Smiles abound... my guilt subsides a smidgen.

I fell host to a myriad of parenting errors out of nothing but sheer guilt. Which is why I am sure my children now behave like the spawn of Satan.

They all blame me for everything that is wrong in their lives...along with the economy, the war, the price of gas, blah blah blah - you know the drill.

The other day there was a shining ray of light in the darkness of parental doom, a small spark of hope. I over heard my beautiful 21 y/o daughter telling her friend "I wish I would have listened to my mom when I was a kid, she is really smart about life".

I was so happy I wanted to take her shopping for some new shoes.

I wiped a tear from my eye then I heard my 17 y/o son call me an "dumb ass' under his breath as he was walking from the room.

As usual teenagers always have a way of sucking you back to reality.

My guilty shopping problem has extended to my dogs. Just call me Miss Anthropomorphism.

Guilt is a tool Ranger expertly wields with his cute face, freakishly large ears, expressive eyes. Ranger has been moping around like a sloth on downers since I said I wanted to trade him in for Kiddo.

How do we solve that dilemma?

Why a NEW Jolly Ball of Course!

"YEAH! A new JOLLY BALL! Awesome I totally killed my last one!"

"OHHHHHH Mom this is apple scented! YUM!"

"I love you Mom! You are the BESTEST Mommy in the world"

"Yum yum yum"

See the reoccurring theme here? I failed Parenting 101 miserably.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Miss Kitty & the Piano

I don't know about your house, but at ours we have puppies on our piano.

Doesn't everyone?

"Oh Hiya Mom. Wassup?" Not a shred of guilt anywhere

"Don't mind me I am just up here taking a closer look at all the family photos"

Yep...some excuse. You really got up there to get the tennis ball for Beth. I know the truth Miss Kitty.

Butter wouldn't melt in her mouth...

"I think I will get down now. Places to pee, things to eat...see ya!"

"Okay luv ya bye"

Just yesterday I found Brynn in the bathroom sink. Perhaps this is her way of telling me she wants to do agility?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Kiddo vs Ranger

I love Ranger. I really do. But I feel terrible leaving him alone while we go herding with the other dogs. The poor boy...all alone in the back yard. Lazing about, watching the bugs fly by...chewing on his bone, enjoying the solitude. Wait, that sounds pretty darn good actually. Maybe he doesn't have it so bad?

The problem is our city will only allow me to have four dogs. If I am going to have more than that I need a kennel license. Taking in the occasion foster dog that pushes me above four dogs is okay because it is temporary and I do not need to obtain a kennel license.

We wont talk about what my husband will do to me if I keep another dog. He wanders around the house muttering "crazy dog lady" combined with unmentionable expletives enough already.

So, if I want to keep a dog I have to get rid of one.

Doesn't Kiddo look AWESOME in this video??? Who wouldn't want to keep this boy? I am in love. He is the spitting image of Beth. Please ignore the bumbling woman in the hideous shirt (I am going to burn that shirt tonight).

Seriously - those of you who have so much more experience than I in judging a puppy and their potential. What do you think?

Here is the big question.....Should I keep Kiddo and get rid of Ranger?

Who wants him? Any takers?

Ranger is not amused. He called me a "traitorous biatch" then ran out in the back yard.

"You don't love me anymore? I WILL SHOW YOU!"

"I am gonna stick my head in this hole until I smother to death."

"You will miss me when I am DEAD AND GONE!"

Brynn says "Hey Ranger, don't forget your ball!"

"Got it, now I am going to kill myself because Mom doesn't love me anymore."

Brynn says, "Uhhhhnnnn....Mom I don't think he is breathing!"

Its okay Ranger, you can pull your head out.

Awwwww...I cant get rid of this adorable face.

I feel an uncontrollable need to go to the butcher and buy the biggest meatiest bone I can find and give it to him.

Guilt is a powerful thing...and Ranger knows how to use it to his advantage. about some pig ears, raw meaty bones, my dinner, my dessert, breakfast...sure Ranger you can sleep in my bed too.

Cuz I love ya more than my luggage - you big dolt.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Monkey on My Back

Woooaaaaah is me ... but I've been dyin'
Got to get that monkey off my back

The fortune teller looked into my eyeballs
The wrinkles on her face about to crack

She said "You best believe it,
You ain't going nowhere, unless you get that
Monkey off your back"

I made believe the devil made me do it
I was the evil leader of the pack

You best believe I had it all and then I blew it
Feedin' that *flippin* monkey on my back

Got to get that monkey off my back

Uh, Uh, Uh

Ranger get that monkey off your back!

Now you too can have this song stuck in your it or not.

This is what happens when you have a house full of teenagers for the summer. My ears are bleedin' I hate MTV, VH1 and now the local library that allows them to check out CD's for free.

Can teenagers be considered monkeys on MY back?

Every woman considering childbirth should have to endure a group of teenagers for a summer - there would be zero population growth. Perhaps even negative population growth when people smarten up and strangle them before they reach the age of 13. What was I thinking? Why didn't I read the birth control directions more closely?

Note to doG: Please make this summer pass FASTER!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Kiddo, Emma Rose, Sheep & Brynn

My life is getting in the way of blogging again.

We have a new foster dog, he arrived on Saturday. Meet Kiddo!

Kiddo came to us via a stock dog breeder in southern Oregon.

Apparently Kiddo showed up at the breeders ranch over the 4th of July. Since the breeder had a few bitches coming into season they wanted to prevent an accidental breeding so they called rescue.

Kiddo is approx 6 months old, absolutely adorable & the spitting image of Beth.

Kiddo may have been mishandled in the past. He is hand shy and VERY submissive. Kiddo is going under the knife to lose his little boy bits on Wednesday.

Tomorrow Kiddo is going to meet the puppy sheep at Fido's Farm. I cant wait. He was already tested on goats while in foster care in Oregon.

Please stop by and check out Kiddo's listing on PNW Border Collie Rescue

Saturday evening Vicki came over with several of her dogs and her new foster for a BBQ along with some neighbors.

View some fun pictures of a whole'lotta border collies in one small back yard here
Border Collie Party on Flickr

Saturday morning we met Emma Rose's family at Vicki's where they were visiting another of Vicki's fosters, Bess. Click here to view Bess's Pictures on Flickr.

Bess and Emma Rose

Emma Rose brought along her big brother Bear. He is a big black lab chunk of love...

They were hoping to adopt Bess but the chemistry between all of the dogs just didn't feel right.

That's okay Emma... the perfect combination is out there somewhere!

Emma Rose sure loves her mom

After our meet and greet with Bess we conned Emma Rose and her parents into following us down the road a few miles to Fido's Farm where I volunteered to test Emma on sheep. What fun we had!

Emma is loaded with natural talent. Obviously she is a Bossie (Border Collie/Aussie)

She was holding the sheep to me, keeping them all together, maintaining a nice distance without one single grip.

She was a very good girl!

Emma Rose wrote about her exiting day meeting Bess and later herding sheep at Fido's Farm on her post titled Dreaming in Black and White.

That brings us to Monday. To start off our busy week Brynn had an appointment at the vet for her spay surgery today.

She knows the vet too well - she spent enough time there recovering from Parvo. When she realized she was there she planted her little paws into the parking lot and wasn't going to move. I had to pick her up and carry her through the doors. I felt terrible.

Send some lovin' thoughts to Brynn...she needs it. My poor baby...