Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Here Goes...

This blog is gonna change. I have decided this blog is for me.  A chronicle of my life, the dogs and our family.  It started out that way, instead I allowed it to follow a path that took me away from my self and more into pleasing everyone who reads it.

There is more to me than the dogs, sheep, photography and well...dogs, photography and sheep.

I have bad days.  Very very very bad days. 
I have good days.  Some happy, terrific and bliss filled days.
I am going to try and share both.  The ups, downs and in-between.  

Here goes...

Things are starting to ease up at work.  This job was supposed to be part-time.  It morphed into much more than I was expecting, throwing my life at home in utter chaos. 

While trying to wrap my brain around the job and its added pressures, my daughter, pseudo son-in-law and granddaughter moved in.  Which required major shifting in the whole household.  The addition of three people, one of whom crawls and sticks her tongue into light sockets, is no small adjustment.

But she is so damn cute you can't help yourself.  

No amount of cute can take away all the stress.

For some reason my adult 24 y/o daughter has suddenly regressed into a badly behaved 13 y/o.  With the same self destructive attitude and mouth that I barely survived the first time.  I won't even mention that they have yet to pay us rent, or pitched in for food.  Their schedule is erratic, unpredictable and makes me want to rip all my hair out of my head on a daily basis.  Oh, did I mention the arguing?

The other kids, are pretty cool and thankfully doing well.

My photography business will hopefully pick up again - now that I have time.  I have not had the time to work on client requests, let alone mine.

I wish I knew how to say "NO".  Instead of over extending myself and trying to make everyone happy.

The farm reminds me of everything good.  I can look at those sheep and know in my heart they are content.  They are well fed, happy and doing well.   Watching them with their lambs, makes me long for the days when my kids were little.  I miss the innocence, the simplicity, the love.

Therapy is a good thing.  The road to recovery through PTSD is a long one.  The dogs, sheep and farm have been instrumental in that healing process.  It seems that the universe is opening a new door for me and I have a choice to step through or not.  Not since I was an army wife have I felt part of a community.  I do there.  The entire neighborhood is being lured into the sheep.  We have three separate 'farms' to graze now, soon will be adding a fourth.  All are connected by property lines.  We have the barn of my dreams to lamb in on the farm across the street.  New friends, so many incredible things have been happening.

Top it off I joined a knitting group.  I do not know how to knit, but they are going to teach me.  We are all nurses and 'get' each other.  The group was started by Mary, who we rent pasture from.  One day I will spin the wool we just sheared from our sheep and I will knit something. A pair of thick wooly socks would be perfect.

The dogs are progressing nicely.  We have good days and bad days.  More good than bad.  I will use Beth every now and then but, she really is a big pain the ass.  She ignores me more than she listens.  I do not think she enjoys working sheep.  She much prefers her ball. 


I have decided I am done fighting her.  I have been consistent & fair in her training, but she is just passive/aggressive and that can be dangerous. 

The other day she blew me off and I got hurt.  It has happened too many times.  There is one thing to having a dog blow you off on the trial field.  But when you are seriously trying to do something necessary with your sheep and you get hurt, it is a whole 'nuther story. 

My priorities have shifted from dog training to sheep care.  If my dog does not respect or listen to me, my sheep get hurt, and ultimately I get hurt physically and financially.

That sucks, because then I chase the dog across the pasture screaming profanity in a poltergeist voice, which is unflattering.

Bea is coming along nicely. My objective has been to work her here and there, building confidence and exposing her to situations where she can be successful, yet think.  Letting her be naughty, but at the same time expecting correct work without putting a huge amount of pressure on her.  She will be going back to Dianne for more training in the fall - this is summer camp for Bea.

I have been very careful in the trials I entered Brynn in this year.  The next couple of weeks we are going to be getting ready for Wessels Dirt Blowing trial in Dayton, WA.

She makes me smile.

Brynn's work is beautiful. What I project is not from the post out onto the field, is not.

I have got to get a handle on my anxiety on the trial field.  Hopefully sans pharmaceutical help.  Aromatherapy might help?  Sheep manure, wet dog and lavender might bring about soothing thoughts of calm.  I wonder....

Till then I will just have to look at this picture, it makes me giggle. 

Miss Molly Malone, the black lamb.  

Too cute for words. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Found my Voice...for now

I have been looking for my blogging voice.  For now, it has returned.   

Looking back through the last year I feel as if all I do is repeat myself.  Same sh*t, different day.  You know the feeling.

So many things have changed in my life the past year, it seems a wee bit overwhelming at times.

We went from no sheep to 65 head (borrowing 5 range ewes, we own 52, Monique owns 8) in less than a year. With them comes the responsibility of caring for them and the huge impact that has had on our lives.

We seem to keep acquiring pasture to graze.  It is a wonderful thing!  But with the pasture comes work.  Fencing, moving sheep frequently, watching, caring, etc.   I love every single solitary moment. 

Slowly but surely the back pasture is being cleared and the fences fixed.  John and the kids have been hard at work.  Most of the fence line has been repaired.  A couple months ago there were downed trees, brush, and a long line of destroyed & smashed fencing.  This weekend John put the finishing touches on it and it is ready for livestock.  This side of the fence used to look like the other side...that gives you a bit of an idea how much work this has been. 

We have also been putting up other fencing. Three strands of hot tape has solved the rhododendron dilemma.  Now the sheep can be left in the back during the day while I work without fear they will eat things they shouldn't.  

A word from the wise.  Do NOT piss off your electrician husband while installing electric fence.  Just sayin, you may find yourself being a human voltage tester.  Trust me on this.  

The other night when we were having dinner with the pasture owners, Dick asked me "Did you imagine a year ago leasing this pasture would have transitioned into .... this?"

I looked at him, shook my head, leaned back, stared into what was left of my margarita, thinking about the overwhelming positive things that have entered my life this year.  It is mind boggling.

The sheep, new friends, new hobby, new job and a new found sense of worth & about 40 lbs less fat in my ass.   Things have just fallen into place.  Remarkable actually. 


Until recently I did not know what I wanted to be when I grew up.  The choices I made when I was younger were for the wrong reasons. 

From my choice of career, to where I lived and how I kept my yard, I did things for other people.  Seeking approval.  Feeling as if I am an bird in a cracked glass cage.  On the edge, afraid of everything, seeing nothing but inadequacy, failure and sadness reflected in the mirror.  I would try to please others, more and more, ignoring that small quiet voice inside.  My personal identity & self slowly dissolving.  A terrible self destructive spiral.

I am getting better.  Slowly.  Listening to my heart. 

Instead of trying to shove myself into the round hole anymore I am going to embrace my squareness.  I am NOT an extrovert.  I do not understand people.  I need to quit pretending I get all the jokes.  I am NOT good in a crowd.  My communication skills are less than stellar.  To describe me as social idiot would not be too far from the truth. Often I feel like the biggest idiot on the face of the earth, living in constant dismay at the utter stupidity that explodes from my mouth on a daily basis.  It is exhausting trying to pretend to be something I am not. 

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy my friends immensely, but find most social situations absolutely exhausting.  If it is just me and my dog, a bunch of sheep & a camera I am good.  Rain or shine, I am good with it.  My dogs do not give a shit if I am fashion forward, have greasy hair, with alfalfa in my bra and manure on my boots. 


Enough of that prattle.  Moving on...

The lambs are getting huge!

Like a bunch of fat ticks they are growing.

This little ewe lamb is on top of my favorites list.  Her attitude and confidence make me giggle.  Her fleece makes me giddy with pleasure. 

We have a few visitors on the farm.  Five healthy rambouillet range ewes made a stop at the farm. Their sole purpose is for training the dogs & are not part of the general flock population.  They need to leave soon.  I am starting to like them. Alas, they will not do well in our climate. 

I have learned oodles working & watching them. 

Many of my hours are spent just watching and studying all of our sheep. Understanding their behaviors.  How each breed, group or individual reacts, relaxes, moves off the dogs among other things. 

Often my thoughts go back to the beginning when I started taking lessons.  The phrase "watch your sheep" was repeated over and over. 

Watching your sheep is absolutely essential, but when you are a beginner it is about the last thing you can comprehend. 

I find myself watching my sheep now, instead of my dog.  For example the sheep are telling me in this shot that my dog is being a brat, pushing them too damn hard and getting ready to flank around and head them. 

Most importantly the sheep are telling me if I do not take the camera off my face I may die.   

Life is pretty damn good right now.  Keep things in perspective, listen to your heart and put one foot in front of the moment you look around and realize you are exactly where you are meant to be. 

“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” C.S. Lewis

Thursday, May 17, 2012


First, watch this little clip from the Simpsons

Llama-Pig, Llama-Pig

Does whatever a Llama-Pig does

He could spit, in your hair, 

No he won't, he's a pig

Look out, he is a Llama-Pig.  

This lack luster return to blogging has been brought to you by Monique.

Blame her for this ear worm.

I will return later, after I attempt to gouge this melody out of my brain with an icepick.  

Sunday, May 6, 2012


I am going to take a blogging break, since I am finding myself resenting the blog just a wee bit.  It stopped being fun and feels like posting is an obligation.  That feeling coming from myself alone.  As a perfectionist I see things as 'all or nothing'.  I need to learn how to live in-between. 

Each day ends with me being exhausted.  Rarely picking up my camera, with little to show - mostly iPhone shots which are dismal at best.

Until I get a handle on my new schedule, it is necessary for me to back away from the blog for a while, gain some perspective and come back with a better attitude.

Most likely I will be back in a few days.  I just need to say something to relieve the pressure I feel for whatever reason - I am weird that way.

See ya soon!