Friday, July 29, 2011

Exhausted Mental Meandering

A dream really did come true. Having our own place to work sheep is a culmination of years of hope. A long with it comes work, work and more work. I am still a happy camper because it is ours. 

I had a lesson with Dianne today at Ronnie's in Yelm.  She told me I was working Brynn dog better than she has ever seen (yeah!) so all this work is paying off. I am learning, becoming more comfortable with commands, corrections and confident that I am doing the right things.

Then Dianne said, she wished I could work like that during a trial. She made me laugh when she told me something Jeanne B. said earlier in the day, "you need to be speakin' not freakin'!" Meaning you need to talk to your dog calmly, help them, relax and don't freak out. Since Dianne was at Palm Cottage last week she witnessed my 'scary shrill nervous whistling' and subsequent harried meltdown when things started to fall apart. I am getting better (I don't hyperventilate, cry or scream at the post anymore) but I have a long way to go.

I know I will get there. I am confident that every trial I make a step in the right direction. Every day I work my dog with the right attitude, I am moving forward.

I feel good about where we are. This whole positive energy, attitude thing is kinda sinking in, and I like it.  It sure feels nicer than beating myself up.  I had an epiphany the other day - being positive and feeling good about yourself is GOOD, it does not mean you are egotistical, self centered, or stuck up - it just means you feel good about yourself.  Feeling good about yourself is a healthy, happy thing.

I wish I could have learned this years ago.

Having my head in a positive space is good thing because my husband John just got layed off his job. He was put on stand-by for a month or two. To look at this positively - we are really saving a lot of money by having our own sheep and think about how much money we will save not paying for his gas to commute to work every day. Yeah!

In every cloud there is a silver lining.  You just have to look for it. 

That reminds me, John had a lesson with Beth today. I have finally committed to giving Beth back to John to work. It breaks my heart, because I adore her. She is the perfect chore dog. I don't even have to tell her what I want, she just knows. On the trial field, it is another story - we both succumb to nerves and Beth doesn't have fun.

She thrives on farm work - I will miss working her. She has been my right hand in doing any type of chore. Now it is time for Brynn to step up and I need to trust her and teach her how to do the same things Beth does every day. 

John has set a goal. He is going to run Beth in his first trial this September.

I don't know if any of you remember, but John started Beth, right after we adopted her.

He actually is the one who fell in love with her first when we visited her foster home.

He attended lessons with her, even a few Scott Glen clinics.

When he started working overtime at Microsoft a few years ago I took Beth over....then never gave her back.  Blame it on addiction.  I was addicted to sheepdogs.  It is a treacherous road to go down, it leads you to places you never thought you would be.

Like yesterday when we were helping with shearing.  I was trimming feet.  One of the ewes started struggling.  I grabbed her behind and my fingers slipped into an place (certain orifice) I did not anticipate - or the ewe for that matter.

See what I mean?  It takes you places...strange places with green schmutz that gets under your finger nails.

Speaking of places - my co-op partner posted a blog today about working on the field.  She shot great pictures of the field.  She determined the sheep need some training and she is just the person to do it.  They are sheep with ill intentions that aim for people.  One particular ewe is the devil incarnate.  She has taken me out twice - she drops her head and aims for me... every-single-time.  If she does it again, I will personally dispatch her to the big sheep farm in the sky - with my bare hands.  She belongs to the land-owner and is for sale.  I hope she leaves soon.

Speaking of which, he has 10 ewes for sale.  Some Romney and a few Columbia/Rambouillet.  They are all in excellent health.  No foot rot, good moms (all twin'ed) bags are great, 5-6 years old & recently sheared.  These ewes are massive, they have never missed a meal, big boned, sturdy sheep.  Please drop me an email if you are interested.  I can put you in contact with him. 

Monique's blog is here Behaviors of a Dog Mom

Tomorrow we shear Jim the llama.  This will be a new experience.  After I have another lesson with Dianne in the evening.

Another long, but happy day. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tell me Thursday

Today Laura from Crooks & Crazies would like to know two things.

#1. What is your most embarrassing trial moment to date?
#2. What do you prefer to whistle with and why?

#1. What is your most embarrassing trial moment to date?

The 2010 Athena Trial also known as the Caledonian Games in Athena, Oregon.   Either due to  the heat, or just my crappy state of mind, I made a complete arse out of myself at this trial.  I 'lost-it' on the field, yelled at my dogs, smacked the pen with my stick, in general did everything on the field I never want to do again, and I did it in front of grandstand full of people. Regardless of my crappy behavior, Beth placed 1st and Brynn 2nd over-all/combined in Novice/Novice.  Whenever I look at those ribbons I am ashamed. However I use the shame as a catalyst to change - as a reminder to never behave that way again on the field & check my ego at the entry gate.

#2. What do you prefer to whistle with and why?

I have gone through several whistles.  I started with the plastic, then went to the Montana Lite, triangle shaped corian, brass blaster, baby blaster, the T3,
and now I am using the Corian Whistle from BorderCollics Anonymous. 

I liked the T3 and had success at getting a wide range of tones with it, but when I need to talk to my dog I don't always want to take my whistle from my mouth, I hold it with my teeth while I talk.  The T3 was making my teeth hurt, sometimes for a few hours.  When I first got the Corian, I disliked it.  It felt big and bulky.  Now I prefer it.  I can get a wide range of tones, values & volumes with this whistle.  Brynn has relaxed while I use it, with the T3 she would darn near jump out of her skin when I blew some commands.  With the Corian I am able to deliver a smoother, less ear-piercing, window-shattering tone. Brynn is so thankful her ears finally quit bleeding.

Now, if someone would just make a whistle our dogs would listen to every time... think of the potential!

Because you know, the problem is with the whistle...not the handler.  HA! 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Watching her Grow

1/52 Bea in the Hoar Frost2/52 Bea's Ears3/52 Bea - A Stylish Puppy4/52 Bea in the Sand5/52 Bea over the Couch6/52 Bokeh Bea
7/52 Bea on the Rocks8/52 Bea & the Snow {Explored}9/52 Running Bea10/52 Bea on Sheep - Pure Instinct11/52 Happy to Bea12/52 Bea - Working It - 24 Weeks Old
13/52 Bathtub Bea14/52 Swimming Bea15/52 Look Back Bea16/52 Working Bea17/52 Splashing Bea18/52 Bubble Bea
19/52 Bea with Bokeh Beth20/52 Bea an Angel...NOT!21/52 Buttercup Bea22/52 Bea at the River23/52 Leapin' Bea24/52 Bea in Seattle

52 Weeks of Bea, a set on Flickr.
We are 30 weeks into the year, and 30 weeks into my 52 weeks for dogs project with Bea.

This evening, after I posted this week's shot, I sat back and enjoyed the slideshow.

I started this year's project when she was 12 weeks old, the first week of January 2011. It is fun to watch her grow. This week she will be 42 weeks old, just short of 10 months.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Ewe & Mae

I have been going through the oodles of pictures I shot Monday, July 18th at Palm Cottage Sheepdog Trial, Cottage Grove, OR.  

When one of the ewes tried to make a break for the exhaust, Dianne Deal's Mae was hot on her heels.  

"Gonna get ewe!"

"Do ewe think ewe can get away from Mae?"

"If ewe wont listen to common sense, maybe ewe will listen to Mae teeth?" 

"Look at Mae, I can run like ewe too!" 

"I can run like ewe, I can run like ewe, I can run like ewe!"

"Neener, neener, neener!" 

"This is getting old...go back to ewer friends....ewe are not going to win!" 

"It's about time ewe listened to me, now turn the f___ around."
(I think if Mae could talk, she would most definitely have a potty mouth.)

"Seriously?  Really?  WTF....enough already!"

"Finally turning." 

"Stupid ewe, stupid frigging ewe...thought ewe could get away from Mae."

"I showed her."

"Okay, what's next?"

Monday, July 25, 2011

My New Heaven

This morning Bonnie Block delivered the Clun Forest Sheep.  Shortly after Bonnie left Brynn and I gave the sheep a tour of our new field. 

The nice thing about these sheep, is if they get 'fetchy' you can 'reset' them by driving.  Which is perfect, because that is what Brynn needs the most work on.  

Please pardon the pictures, I shot them with my cell phone between thunder showers.  

Our new field is awesome to work in.  It has trees, dips, hills, some areas have taller grass, which the owner will be mowing down for us shortly.  

It is great to pick a tree, aim at it and then drive the sheep around.  

There are some areas with marsh grass, that during the winter will get boggy.  Nothing too deep - just another good obstacle to work through.  

I love it there.  It is my new happy place.  

It will take us a few days to get used to the field.  The draws, pressures, trees etc.  

This is the fun part....

Then we introduced the Clun's to the rest of the flock in the night pasture.  The owner still has 10 ewes he needs to sell.  They are a mixture of Romney & Columbia/Rambouillet.  They were eager to meet the sheep.  

But then Jim, the Llama bounded between his 'harem' and the interlopers.  

The Clun's were not amused by Jim.  Jim then took his ladies into the corner...where they standing when I left, staring at each other like wary territorial bratty children.  

Jim the Llama with Mama, the senior Barb. 

Stinkers...all of them. 

Edited to add:  The landowner just sent me an email saying the clun's were all bedded down under the trees, looking relaxed and content.  They had a good day and are getting along nicely with the rest of the flock.  Yeah!