Monday, April 26, 2010

Minimal Monday: Thankful

I am thankful that 808 decided to join the ranks of motherhood today......allowing me a worry free road trip to see Derek Scrimgeour.


I am thankful that she twinned....because I would have been in BIG trouble with this big of a single!


I am thankful for this super cute little ram lamb.


And I'm thankful for the fact 808 had them without any help from me.....


But I am most certainly, positively, and delightedly thankful that this beauty is a EWE!!!!!


This was probably too many words to be a minimalist.......but still I am thankful!

Seize the day!!!!!

Friday, April 23, 2010

It's That Time of the Year.....


Can you see them?? The four spotted eggs amidst the gravel of my parking deck??? Here's a closer look......Every year, a Killdeer mama and papa build their nest smack dab in the middle of traffic in my parking deck! grrrrr! And every year, I say..."serves them right if something happens to their family!" And then every year....I do this.....
I am such a sucker for this family! And the babies are soooo cute! They come out mini Killdeers.....but for now, I get to enjoy their "broken wing" routine.....as they try to lure the cat, the sheep, the dogs, and me away from their now highly reinforced nest. Wonder if they noticed??
Live strong and prosper....little Killdeers.....you make me smile!!!Seize the day!!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

One of My Favorite Bloggers......

True confessions of a blog addicted gal....I really do love Pioneer Woman. I think it is her sunny disposition.....how she paints life with such vivid colors....blog sharing how she lives hers out on a huge cattle ranch in Oklahoma. When I heard she was coming to Portland on her cook book signing tour....I thought about going. Next thing I knew.....I was here......
Being an efficient type of person...I showed up at 5 for a 6 o'clock party.....and received ticket number #328! They stopped giving out tickets at #350!!!! What was I thinking????

This fellow was the party coordinator.....handing out numbers, making sure the aisles were left open for customers that were not there to see Pioneer Woman. Really? Somebody would come shopping for a book while Pioneer Woman was stopping in?? And asking women to not stand on the counters....yes that did happen!Pioneer Woman has a few, shall we say, fetishes...all of which she posts pictures of on her HIGHLY read blog. 1) babies,

2) tummy bumps....as in the pregnant sort,


3) fashionistas and last but certainly not least 4) husbands. Some gals tried to increase their luck for being on the Pioneer Woman blog by doubling up; such as a fashionista with a baby...better yet a fashionista with a fashionista baby! Or the big triple whammy....bringing multiple babies and a husband!

Me...well, I am just me....I am NOT pregnant (thank God!). There is NO WAY my husband would have given up hours for me to meet Pioneer Woman. My children, both of which I think are as cute as buttons and a few girls would agree, might have gotten me in with this gal......Pioneer Woman's 12 year old daughter......

but you know how much teenage boys will give up for their moms! And they would have not fallen into the "cute baby" category.

Pioneer Woman finally came out to chat at 6:15.....answered questions, did her Ethel impersonation, all of which I enjoyed from my "5 o'clock arrival view point"!

Then she started signing books. 10 people were called up at a time....I started doing the math....I actually thought about leaving. Fashionistas, babies, and husbands were beginning to fade.....it was my lucky night...a lady came out and gave me her ticket...#223......and at 8:15, I met Pioneer Woman.

(sorry to cut the tip of your head of P-dub, being by myself, I had a lot going on...what with facebooking, taking pics, and chatting)

One guess....know what we talked about?? BORDER COLLIES! What a great dog that breed is: her mother-in-law loves them and used to have them. Why she and her husband do not use them on their ranch: theirs is a sort of rescue and they have never tried to see if it could work. She signed my cookbooks and then kept chatting with me.....I can see why people love her. She is real, and down to earth, and enjoys a good chat. I felt a tiny bit bad knowing there were fashionistas/husbands/babies, (at least 120 more).....waiting to meet her. So, I left her with a working border collie gift......and my favorite quote. When she asked me if I had more than one border collie, I told her, "border collies are like potato chips....you can't stop at one!"

Seize the day!!!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Fade To Black......







Will she end up a mear shadow of her original self??



Seize the day!!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

All In The Family!!

I LOVE the fact that a few of my friends bought Nell pups. 1) because they are all fabulous homes 2) because they all will all be putting these pups to sheep and 3) I get to see them, which is the next best thing to keeping them all!!!!




Today, Mr. Tweed came for a visit...... He is one handsome boy! And once again, Nell has left a few finger prints on her pup! Tweed loved steeling Gyp's toy.....because then Gyp would chase him!
Gyp preferred the tug-of-war game.......

I caught them in the shade..........
Love these ears!What a very nice young man he is becoming!

The wait to put these pups on sheep....seems so long......Tom Petty definitely has it right "the waiting is the hardest part"!!!!!

Seize the day!!!!!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Pre Trial Musings......

At the recent clinic I attended, an idea was presented....in regards to new handlers or folks running young dogs.....many handlers are more concerned about hitting their lines/panels on the trial field then they are getting the dog to work proper with good method. That statement right there....certainly gives a person a lot to think about. I am working on getting a nice lift.....getting a "hold" of my dog on the lift so that she can feel her sheep on the fetch. I spoke with another friend and handler today...one that I would love to grow up to be like....and she asked me some hard questions regarding my dog. 1) how far out does the lift go wrong? 2) why does the lift go wrong and 3) what are the changes between the lifts that go well...and those that don't. She did not come out and ask these questions.....they were just there......questions I kept mulling over after I hung up the phone. I did not have answers. 1) I get nice "feely" lifts at home....200 yards. I have had a nice lift at a trial at 300 yards or so.....and just did some nice 350 yard outruns. But a 350 yard outrun at a trial, routinely turns into a not so good lift. Which brings me to #3 first...is it the distance, type of sheep, or hmmm....a set out person and their dog? At home I train by myself.......I have a lot to think about! So to answer #2.....what goes wrong.....well, my whistles have been loud and hard and I am looking at that. Also, whenever I get a chance to lengthen my outrun...I do....and I do not do it systematically. So maybe I am stretching to fast?? Or maybe I am not as consistent at those bigger distances. There certainly is a lot about me to think about!!!!

I did take Nell out to a friend's field yesterday and got some nice lifts and fetches on big outruns with sheep being held.....we were a team and that felt good. Tomorrow, I walk to the post. I think my mind is getting "more right".....leaving the post might be what needs to happen for future runs. Well, see......but the other side of the coin to what was shared about lines/panels vs. good method.....is the confidence in knowing.....when I care more about the dog's method and less about the course.....that I have the strength and mental self management to not listen to other people's criticism post run.

Seize the day!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Like Mother, Like Daughter

Mother Nell:
Daughter Gyp:


Physically there should be enough different to tell them apart.....but man oh man....are their mannerisms two peas in a pod! Here's to hopin' and a prayin' Gyp has a bit of her daddy in her! That cool head would be a nice asset!

Seize the day!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sweetgrass....behind the camera

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJ_PEA0Aad0

I can't seem to figure out how to imbed a youtube.....but here is the link. What a fun interview...and it explained so much about the movie!

I grew up in Central Oregon...and had a friend with a cattle ranch in Sisters, Oregon. The friend was selling out and moving to northern California. I asked him "why are you moving? Your ranch is so beautiful." And he replied..."beauty, to me, is belly high grass.....not rugged snowy mountains and a climate that gets one cutting a year." I thought a lot about his comments as I watched Sweetgrass...and again when I watched this interview.

Seize the day!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sweetgrass......

I took advantage of a great opportunity to go to Portland with a few of my favorite peeps!



Sweetgrass is an amazing documentary detailing the hardcore work required to maintain a band of sheep in the rugged mountain country of Montana. What a way of life!!!

Nothing like adventurous friends to make a field trip a fun memory. The sun is still shining here today.....may we grow a little sweet grass in the valley!

Seize the day!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Meat and Potatoes....

The "potatoes" from the past few days : my three working dogs are all VERY different! Having three lessons..in a row....my head is spinning from all the information that I received for each dog. My quest on how to help a dog with a blind fetch.....I need a training buddy with a walkie talkie to help me know what is going on so I can give information but not commands. Next, I also have to think about my different corrections and how they apply to my work. It certainly is an interesting thinking exercise....how using different corrections in specific situations can add clarity for the dog on how to make adjustments from the correction in the fashion the handler desires.

The "meat" from the past few days.....I need to figure out a way to soften my whistles. I am pretty darn good about projecting wind through mine! I think it might be easier for me because I bite my whistle when I blow it. I am going to work with this. I also found I can finally blow my smaller brass whistle and that because of its size it is very difficult to blow hard. Then the dogs will need some time to work on the new whistle sounds. They did not "magically" get it!

I have some serious thinking to do.....about training, opportunities, my dogs, and those I train with. Off to work the dogs.....I did not get near enough sheep time to work on ideas presented....

Seize the day!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Corrections.....

The Working Border Collie Magazine had an article, not too long ago, about corrections. It was a good starting point to think about such things in my training of my dogs. I've worked very hard to make my correction volume level fit the crime....and have learned to say "hey" in about as many different tones and ways as say...Kathy Knox. Who is the queen of saying "hey"...in my book! A correction, to me, is just saying to the dog....you are not doing what the sheep need, change it. Where as punishment is something very different from a correction, and a possible topic of discussion for later. I personally think corrections are good and I want my dogs to be able to take them without getting sulky, shutting down, or blowing me off and taking measures into their own paws.

Use of a name can be a correction. I've noticed when I say Bella's name it really draws her in. So the other day, I sent her on a big outrun...and she seemed a little thoughtless as she was heading to the top....and I gently said her name.....and pulled her right into a terrible lift! SHAME ON ME!!!!! Not only do I need to learn to give different "levels" of correction....I am learning to look at my corrections.....assess the impact it has on my dog...and then use it appropriately...in the appropriate manner! Gosh, there is so much to think about.

As I mentioned....last weekend I got to work dogs with a fellow handler. We had a long discussion about corrections. The idea was to have specific corrections mean specific things....for example, if the dog is driving and not holding a line....a correction of "no" could be used in this situation. Then "no" would only be used when the dog is not holding a line. In contrast, "hey" could be used when the dog is pushing too hard on a drive (or fetch) and then "hey" is used to correct pace in the pressure point. Name pulls the dog in....so if a dog starts going to wide....or is hesitant on something like penning or shedding.....then the name could be a good tool to pull a dog in on sheep. These are just ideas I have floating around my head. I don't do this...I have never thought of doing something like this.....and it would take MUCH discipline on my part to remember what my corrections mean....especially as I stand at the post in a trial.

So, those ponderings and questions about corrections are top of the list on Bella's page of questions for my Mr. Shannahan lesson coming up! Gosh, if he reads my blog...well, never mind!

I also continue my mental program.......one quote I heard the other day was "other people's opinions of me are none of my business". WOW. That one speaks so much in so few of words. Great thought to think about as I.....

Seize the day!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

How do you.....

How do you teach a dog to fetch straight to you on a blind fetch?

In preparation for up coming trials, I had the opportunity to take the girls out onto a big field that had a terrain to it. Sally and I have been working on....Sally looking for her sheep on her outrun. I set up a blind outrun...where Sally could not see the sheep...and did not see them until half of her outrun was accomplished. Problem was....I could not see her or the sheep on her lift or the first half of her fetch. A friend watched from a vantage point where the whole OLF could be seen....but we did not have walkie talkies. Report back was....Sally's outrun and lift were lovely....but her fetch was off and by the time I saw the sheep...they were way to my left.

I've thought about ways to help get understanding about what I want......doing walk abouts where the dog is always balancing to me. But when Sally can see me.....we don't seem to have the same issues as when she can not.

After one very long, wet, dreary winter.....I am so excited to get back to working dogs! It has been almost a year since I have worked with Patrick Shannahan.....so you can imagine how much I am looking forward to my lesson this week! I have a list of questions...per dog! This question is top of the list on Sally's page of questions.

I heard a quote the other day that I have found one worthy of pondering "Savor every minute of the life you have". It has been easy to fall into the trap of "if only". If only I had a better dog, if only I had more property, if only I had lighter sheep, if only...."If only" feels like the MOTHER of excuses! I certainly can not use the "if only I had a better dog" excuse. I am working on disciplining my mind....getting rid of those thoughts that hold me prisoner.....thinking instead of gratitude, thankfulness, direction. I am so thankful for those in my life who provide opportunity and hold me accountable to be all that I am to be! Here's to the next level.....

Seize the day!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Thoughts on Double lifting!

Well, it is Monday....and I am supposed to be a minimalist....but it just ain't going to happen! It's April!!! Yahoooo!!! Finally, spring is coming...although our weather does not feel much like spring.....there are plenty of trials just around the corner of my life....and I need to get my game face on!
Last weekend, I went up to a very fun place in Olympia, Washington....Fido's Farm.
Chris, the gal who owns Fido's Farm, is committed to helping people get opportunities to train and work their dogs. Once every other month, she offers a double lift opportunity.....with set out folks to help make that happen. I decided to try Sally, who has a nice look back on her....and Nell who thinks she has a nice look back! The flock we were working were young yearlings

Nell had a hard time feeling the sheep. There were a number of frustration grips...that made me begin to look at what my whistles might be doing to my dog. Maybe I am adding to her pressure.....definitely going to look at that in the coming weeks. Also, Nell's look back....well...she does not have one! She might think she has one but she would not take it if it meant loosing the first pack of sheep. We will start working on that....but just a little. This year is more about getting to know each other on the trial field...and working together like we know we can.

Sally was great. Her look back was impeded only by a handling error...and it was my first ever attempt at this.....so I have greater understanding. I was so happy with Sally. Many areas where we have been working together.....were tried on my run. Hungry sheep not wanting to lift off grain, working 8 sheep through a course, my flanking her a little more than I would just to see if I could keep her calm and not getting frustrated with me, and having her pick up her pace. And the best part: she was sound! After months of crate rest, and limited activity.....giving up trials that I love to attend.....she was sound! It was a great day for the two of us!

Spring is here and the dog working opportunities are starting to pick up. I am so excited to get going, put some miles on, see some old friends, make some new friends, work my dogs...and trial! Living life......

Seize the day!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Sick Days....

I remember the good old days, working as a home health RN, when I called in "sick" and then stayed in bed all day...sleeping, watching T.V......deep sigh. I tried to call is sick.....but Gyp just does not get it!


"Oh goody.....I've got you all to myself.....he he he!"
"Hey, Mom...wake up....okay...how is this for "sleeping?"
NOT! Just fakin'....now play with me!!!!!
Amazing...the hours of joy an empty Kleenex box brings

My what silly ears you have, Gyp! Very expressive ears.....hard to catch the "two up" with my camera....but when she has a good game going on....both ears are up!
JRT Ruby is just about done with my couch bound status! Kindly she has been the babysitter....but she just handed in her resignation........

Time to get up...........well, maybe after one more nap.......

Seize the day!!!!!