Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Shameless Begging - Best of Western WA Contest

Seattle's channel King 5 is holding their Best of Western Washington contest again.

I am shamelessly begging for your vote.  It could help me with promotion and advertising for my photography business.

The voting is easy, and Ranger would love you forever and ever.  I promise.

Click HERE to Vote for Look Back Photography

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to the tip of my frizzy grey haired head.

"Please help Camera Face get work, she is driving us dogcrap crazy sticking the camera in our faces all the time.  Srsly, HELP US!" 

Thank you!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Chore Dog

The past month I have been treating a large wound on one of our sheep.  It was nasty, requiring daily bandage changes, debrieding, cleaning, antibiotic shots, among other things.  This wound required I be at our field every day. 

I clearly understand how utterly important it is to have a reliable, honest chore dog.  One that you can trust to stay in the same position and not harass the sheep while you work on one.  A dog that will hold a single while you restrain it, back off a the appropriate time, yet remain ready to help at a moments notice. 

That dog has been Beth.  

I tried to use Brynn for these chores, because she really needs the practical work.  But I had to be able to concentrate on treating this ewe (who was less than cooperative once she started feeling better).  One day I used Brynn, the sheep were unsettled, jumpy.  It was difficult to get them calmed down enough to grab the ewe.  When I finally got the ewe restrained, I put Brynn in a lie down, expecting her to stay.  That was a mistake.  As I was bent over, scrubbing the ewe's leg all the sheep came flying into the shelter where I had the ewe restrained, knocked my supplies over, flipped me over onto my arse.  I was none too happy.  

"Who me?  I didn't do that..."

Brynn was banned from helping me with this chore.  I simply could not properly take care of the ewe and keep an eye on Brynn at the same time.  I needed Beth. 

Every day we would go into the pen, corner the sheep so I could get the halter on the one I was treating.  After we did this several days in a row Beth knew which sheep I needed and held her in the group.  She made my job of catching that particular ewe simple.   

It built our relationship.  I learned to trust her and she learned to trust me.  

While John is trying to decide if he wants to do anymore trials with her, I have continued with working her daily. 

Our relationship has grown, matured.  I have her almost completely on whistles - which she prefers to voice commands.  

She is working better than ever.  

I respect her ability to move anything, without being mean to her sheep.  
The sheep respect her and do not give her crap.  

The ewes that used to turn on her, know better now.  

Inside flanks are still a challenge for her.  I suspect they always will be. 

Now she will confidently drive all over the field, to and fro.  She will still react and bust up her sheep if I put too much pressure on her, although I am learning how to read that before it happens and back off. 

Is it selfish of me to hope that John does not want to trial her and I will get her back?  It would be cool to see how she would do in a trial now that we have this consistent foundation of work under us. 

I cannot help myself, who could resist this face?  

I love this dog, entirely too much.  Is that even possible? 

Friday, September 23, 2011

TMT #10 on Friday

Laura over at Crooks and Crazies has a single question for Tell Me Thursday #10. Because I've been busier than a woodpecker in a lumber yard, I am a day late. 

Laura wants to know:  Going forward over the next six months, what are your goals?

Training/Trialing Goals
  1. Enable Brynn to work correctly at home or at a trial.  That is first and foremost at all times.  
  2. Be choosier with the trials we enter.  Select trials that will be a benefit to Brynn & me, as a handler. 
  3. Consistency, consistency, consistency
  4. Begin to let go of Beth for chores and start using Brynn at least 75% of the time.   
  5. Send Bea to Dianne for training - no matter how much it will hurt to let my little Beetle-Bea leave for a few months.
Personal Goals:  
  1. Continue to lose weight, slowly and steadily (I will not set a goal for actual pounds lost - lest I self sabotage). 
  2. Continue with therapy and personal growth.
  3. Walk across the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, alone.
  4. DO NOT start smoking again (I have been so very tempted of late *sigh*)
  5. Survive my daughter moving back home with the baby. 
Professionally/Business related Goals:
  1. Release print line & begin marketing
  2. Finish book
  3. Expand advertising

Monday, September 19, 2011

Tinkle Terror

This dog has you all fooled.  

Oh, look at his cuteness hopping in and out of the stock tanks. 

He is so adorable...

There he is, in the stock tank that he is NOT supposed to be in.  

Dammit Ranger, now you are teaching Bea bad habits.  


Get out of that tank Ranger, get in the dog tank.  

That is better

Stop splashing, get out of the tank.  

You big dork, I am pissed at you.  

He may look like the best dog in the whole wide world, but let me tell you...he ISN'T. 

He is a PISSER

A Miserable Serial Pisser.  It started several months ago when Bea went into season.  He started pissing on everything.  

I had him checked for a bladder infection, you name it.  Nada, nothing wrong with him - physically.  The problem is, when Bea went out of season Ranger never stopped.  He knows what he is doing is WRONG, because he HIDES.  He sneaks around and hides his pissing.  

Tonight he pissed on my chair, WHILE I WAS IN IT!  

I am gonna kill him.  Right after we go back to basics.  When he is in the house he will be on leash, not out of my sight for a moment.  Slowly he will regain his freedom.  If that doesnt work, he is getting a belly band.  

Or, one of you can have him.  
Speak now...I just may let him go in exchange for a carpet cleaner.  

Available for Adoption:  Miserable Pisser

He comes with plenty of urine he likes to share. 

(For those of you who think I am serious, this little foot note is to let you know I AM NOT SERIOUS.  I am NOT planning on giving the Miserable Pisser up for adoption.  I may kill him with my bare hands, but I will NOT be giving him up for adoption, okay?)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

How a Trial Relates to Farm Work & Finals Webcast

This weekend is the USBCHA National Sheepdog Finals.

If you would like to enjoy a free hour watching the live webcast sponsored by Serta you can click on this link, register as a new user by Create an Account.  In the drop down menu select the bottom choice Free Hour by Serta $0.00.

In preparation of the live webcast here is an excellent video explaining how the a sheepdog trial relates to practical farm work. 


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tell me Thursday #9

It is once again time for Crooks & Crazies Tell Me Thursday.

This week Laura would like to know:

1. If you're not at the 2011 Sheepdog finals this weekend what are you planning to do?
Saturday I am picking up 150 lbs of meat (beef, tripe, organ mix & heart) from a butcher who drives up from Oregon.  I am a member of a co-op that puts together massive orders which saves us on price.  Saturday afternoon I am going to watch my husband extending the fence line creating an additional pen/pasture at our field so we can separate the sheep while the ram is here doing his job. While he is working on that I am going to begin construction on a shelter for hay storage, and set the posts for the creep feeder/lamb pen - might as well get that completed before the weather turns yucky.  

Sunday we are going to Longbranch for the "Left Behind" trial at the MacDonalds.  It is the first in the series of winter training trials for our neck of the woods.  I imagine I will be running away from the post at some point with Brynn.  John is going to run Beth in Ranch and Novice/Novice.  I am running Brynn in Ranch and Pro-Novice. 

2. One item you NEVER walk onto the trial field (any trial field, or training class will suffice) without?
My whistle with pink braided kangaroo leather lanyard with pretty beads and silver accents.  I have been looking for a pink crook, alas had to settle for a graphite training stick with a pink handle. 

3. Katy wants to know if you have a pre-run ritual that you observe?
I call it the Three P's.  Panic, Pee, Pill (Ativan)

4. How old were you when you had your first real kiss?
Does accidentally french kissing a cow count?  If yes, 10. 

5. What do you do for yard mud control during the winter?
Mud control in our back yard is going to be harder this year since all the bark/mulch in the flower beds seems to have disappeared and my husband has not seen it as a priority to replace. 

In the past if it is very wet and icky out I will dry each dog as they come through the door.  I keep several towels at the door for that purpose.  Each dog is very good about sitting and letting us wipe them down.  We are lucky to have a covered/dry back porch away from the mud where they spend most of their time while outside.  I like to keep the steps covered with carpet remnants and plenty of bedding in their houses which seems to capture most of the muck before they come inside. 

Things are Sinking In & Other Nonsense

Working my dogs every day has the distinct advantage of helping me solidify flanks.  I am finding I do not have to think about which direction is which, they just come out, almost automatically.

The bonus of that is my confidence has increased and I do not second guess myself when I give a correction.

For example, when Brynn takes the wrong flank, I can correct her immediately, instead of thinking "Did I say the right flank" before I correct - which can screw up your timing.  Additionally I believe I am able to project confidence in the correction.

It remains to be seen if it is making a difference for Brynn (I hope so).  Regardless, it has made a huge difference for me.  Instead of having a training session be catch-up from the last time, I can pick up where we left off the day before.  Continuity = confidence for me.  Let's hope I can bring that same confidence to the trial field one day.

I have this quote on my wall, it helps to keep things in perspective. 
"To succeed you must first improve, to improve you must first practice, to practice you must first learn, and to learn you must first fail."
-Wesley Woo

It's all just steps in the journey. 

That reminds me, last week at the Rocky Ewe trial we actually completed a pro-novice course (score was 55, 1-2-12-10-10 timed out at pen).  We made drive panels, yes!

 Thanks to Diane Pagel for shooting pictures for me

The urge to walk away from the post was strong.  It is just so automatic.  We are getting better, slowly but surely.  I am in no hurry.  My goal is still good work over a score.  Meaning my emphasis is making sure Brynn works correctly and not allow the work to be shabby in exchange for a number. I imagine I will be walking away from the post much more over the winter, until she gets it through her head that she needs to trust me and listen - regardless of where we are.

The people we rent our pasture from came out on Sunday to enjoy the trial.  They were able to see Monique run Lucy.  They did a kick ass job and placed second that day, 3rd overall for the weekend.

Lucy is one of my favorite dogs - and I love to photograph her.  This picture is not technically good, but Lucy's expression as this ewe leaped over her makes the shot.

I cant wait to get pictures of Lucy and her son Rye in the autumn leaves.  

Monique helped me figure a few things out the other day.  Brynn has been cheating her flanks in various scenarios.  I am now finally able to see what is happening and can correct it.  Her come-by flank is gorgeous, the away flank sucks.  Her eye pulls her in on the away side.

John told me the other day that he is going to run Beth this weekend in the "Left Behind" trial at MacDonalds.  But he is not sure he wants to trial as a regular thing and cannot make the commitment to work Beth as much as he needs to.  Even with our own sheep he can't seem to find the time.  I am disappointed.

John is back to working 12 hour shifts again.  It always seems to happen.  His schedule will lighten up, he will have time to work her, then  - whammo - he is swamped with work.  In the grand scheme of things work takes priority, as someone needs to pay for the dogs and sheep, dontcha know. 

I wish you could have seen Beth today when I took her out to do chores.  She was bouncing around my feet like a puppy as we were walking to the gate.

She likes to work for John, but you can see she is confused by the change.  I am  sad about losing my partnership with her, I think she may be too. 

John's schedule will determine how many trails he will be able to enter this winter.  We will see. 

One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.
— Sigmund Freud

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations.

I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty,

believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.  ~ Louisa May Alcott

Keep your head and your heart going in the right direction and you
will not have to worry about your feet.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Who's a Big Deal?

"I got it! I got it! I got it!" bellows Ranger

"Come to Daddy." 


"Yes! It is all mine."

"Did you see that?  I'm kind of a Big Deal."

"Correction, I am definitely a BIG DEAL!" 

"Watch out Beth, Big Deal has it!"

"Big ffffing deal, get out of my way!" Beth says as she slams into Ranger.

"Big Deal has it!  AGAIN!"

Big Deal has a Big Head.  

"Oh yeah baby, I gots all kinds of Big Deal goin' on." 

Bea thinks "Someone needs to make a big deal out of slapping him."

"Can I be first?" Bonnie says

Line forms behind Bonnie!