Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Little Side-step

My Gyp is sick.  Sparing details, let's just say her GI tract has shut down to a very slow crawl.  She has been hanging out with my fabulous vet, who has been nothing but understanding and tolerant of my medical knowledge.....which leaves me on the verge of fearing for the worst, asking too many questions, and taking matters into my own hands.  For example, he wanted me to leave her overnight at the vet office.  Not in this life time!  They leave at 6 and are not back until 7:45 the next morning.  Instead, I begged him, and reminded him that I am a retired RN, and then gave the over thinkers 10,000 reasons why she would be better off at home with me.  Me, who will sleep next to her crate and check her every 2 hours.  Me, who can run an IV very nicely thank you! 

So Gyp is home!

I had to get creative and use the coat rack...up on a chair to get the height for the drip rate....for the IV pole!  It works....

Tomorrow she goes back for a day at the spa......she is slated for a scope and exploratory surgery.  Her symptoms are indicative of a blockage or foreign body but the barium, x-rays, and ultrasound don't show anything other than a GI tract that is barely moving.

The outpouring of support from friends has been much appreciated.  Friends help keep me grounded and reign in my imagination.  Tomorrow is a new.....

Seize the Day!

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Wouldn't you agree that part of the joy of a fabulous dream is the process of dreaming it?

Seize the Day!

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Unfolding Story of a Crook

I remember vividly my first USBCHA trial...and that one amazing crook hanging from the rafters of the handler's tent.  The handle of the crook was smooth and shiny and I could hardly tell where the horn ended and the wood of the staff began.  That crook belonged to Diane Pagel, and she introduced me to its maker....George MacDonald.  Starry-eyed I went to see the special ordered crooks he was making...amazed at the masterful artwork but not ready to pay my dues to own one.  Elissa Thau has a George MacDonald crook, that a year later fueled my crook lust.  And then I saw the crook George made for Derek Fisher!  It is so Derek, with a personality all its own and unique to the hand whose work it adds finesse. Right then and there I told myself...when I won my first open trial...I would take the winnings and get a George MacDonald crook for myself. Year after year, I made little mental notes as I meticulously viewed all the many crooks handlers called their own.  I almost gave in and bought a George MacDonald crook at the 2009 finals in Klamath Falls.  However, I stuck to the deal I had made with myself..and thankfully the crook of temptation sold!

I wonder if J.K. Rowling might have used the modern day crook maker as her pattern for the wand makers of the Harry Potter series.  In the stories, each wand has unique characteristics...the type of wood the wand is made from... the unique core each wand possesses....the special qualities instilled by each wand maker.  So it is with a MacDonald crook...each has a different type of horn formed into designs making up the head. The head is then married with a unique wood shank. Additionally some crooks have embellishments at this seam. The finished product is a work of art; a crook having a personality of its very own. 

Then it happened....I won my first open trial!  I knew exactly what I needed to do....I found George and ordered my crook.  George was so amazingly gracious to me, listening as I talked through my ideas and what was important for my crook.  We parted ways that October day....George taking with him my bare outlines of ideas....putting wood and horn and silver together making my dream become reality.

The head is a Scottish Blackface ram horn. The shank a beautiful golden hazelnut.

The tip of the shank is again Scottie horn.

It was exactly as beautiful as I had ever hoped for...the tiniest detail making it uniquely mine.  I can hardly wait to use it at my next trial....I wonder if George might have lined it with dragon's heartstring...or maybe the feather of a phoenix. 

George MacDonald's crooks can be found at The Shepherd's Crook

Thank you, Sally for helping make my dreams come true!  And of course, thank you George for sharing your amazing gift of crook making.

Seize the Day!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dear Mr. Glen

Dear Mr. Glen,

Yes, sir....I have indeed taken one of your shedding clinics.  In fact, I have taken two of them.  I must have been getting a coffee refill when you mentioned "get out of the way".  I do appreciate the laughs from yesterday, if you ever fail at being a sheepdog could most certainly make it on the streets of New York as a mime.  Okay maybe not a about a comedian impersonator?  I do see you are doing yet another shedding clinic, perhaps three's a charm. 

Regarding STOP..... I think I have found my issue with "stop"...perchance Bella has been reading Urban Dictionary that defines stop as:

Stop means Slow to only Pause

Stop sign most people only slow down instead of coming to a full stop

I've put a Webster's dictionary in her crate for night time reading......and Bella and I will have further discussion on the the coming months.

Yesterday gave a vague sort of deja vu....same song, next verse, different dog. Next time I see you, my goal is to move on to a new song...k?

As always, thanks for the great lessons! 

Seize the Day!

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Glove Box

I started lambing 5 years ago.....well, six if you count that "free ewe that would do so much better on the valley grass".  That same ewe that lambed twins at home three days after I brought her over the mountain...and exactly as I crossed by Mt. Shasta on the way down to California for an agility seminar.  That same ewe that caused mondo marital stress as my suit clad husband went out to the ranch with my emergency bag of meet my neighbor and a friend who took over the situation which left him traumatized for years! Since "that ewe", I have taken three lambing classes through OSU as well as an on-line sheep management class through Minnesota West.  I've had some good lambers and some that needed help.  One year, I did the deed I swore I would never do and called my vet out on a pull that I could not muster.  He cheated, by the way, and gave her an epidural, easily sorting out the big huge tangled mess I had made.

This year I bred 24 ewes.  I did indeed use CIDR inserts to induce heat.  My vet and a couple of knowledgeable friends have all assured me that CIDRs do NOT....NOT....NOT cause multiple births.  That was all luck in the form of one set of quads, five sets of triplets, three singles and all the rest as twins.  I have 38 lambs at the ranch.....5 others went on to be bummers with friends....and I lost 3 lambs that I know of not included in the ewe with listeria.  It most certainly was a year of "learning".  I had my first "mummy lamb" and the above mentioned listeria.  I also learned that breeding my blue face leiscter ram to all my shetland ewes, though fabulous in fiber, was not in my best interest!

I really did not pull many lambs by neccesity this year.  Of course Coyote girl got a free-pull pass.  One coop/blue face girl was a hard pull.  The quad mom was totally pooped out when she surprisingly passed the fourth lamb breach.  Shear exhaustion left her laying down when she might have gotten up, so I gave a helping hand to get the head out and into air.  A few other lambs were pulled as the moms were going and I had places to be.  I learned from the best that it is better to pull and have live lambs then to get busy, forget, and not.  It was those darn Shetlands and my plan for improvement in fiber and dog workability that used the glove box.  With some success and some utter fail, I pulled every lamb out of those Shetlands.  Today, I saw the end of lambing 2011....with the birth of these two beautiful lambs.

the boy
the girl
The boy was first and interesting how the hard pull on the first lamb created stress for the second lamb.  The yellow film on her white wool is from the passing of meconium from stress during birth.  Once I got the boy out.....I quickly went in and rearranged a front leg to pull the girl.  Another lesson I learned from this year.....pull one, check for more right away.

Another life lesson learned is that, though I really do love lambing, this is the beginning of a lambing break at Rocking Dog Ranch.  Not living where the sheep live make it really time consuming and hard.  Next year, I won't have the home help, with both boys being off to is time.  Bitter sweet for sure but I have had so much fun with the making of lambing memories.  I promise myself to enjoy every lamb race this year.....I certainly have enough to make betting interesting.

Maybe next year some of my sheep friends will let me come and help lamb.....

Seize the Day!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

She Was Indeed a Triplewide

The big wool ewe.....the one who had me up at nights worried she would need help birthing monster babies.....had just right sized triplets.

They are sooooo cute!  The one on the far right is taking a bottle from me....she is also the biggest. I will supplement her a couple times a day for a while and keep supplementing until she is on creep and they all are growing good.

They have tiny chocolate dipped ears....well, okay maybe their ears aren't very tiny. This one, the middle sized sister, has a beauty mark on her hinny.

I don't get very much done in a day right now.  Every now and then I have to just stop and watch the lambie antics.  My last katahdin ewe went today giving me twins in the form of a ram and a ewe.  This marks the very end of my experiment with CIDR implants and a 21 day lambing season.  The four Shetland ewes are bred to Sam the ram ala naturale`....and should begin to lamb any day now.  But they are Shetlands and have minds of their own.....and hopefully can get the job done without help from me.

Now its time to start thinking about taxes.....or maybe tomorrow would be a better day for that!

Seize the Day!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Triple Wide and Litter of Lambs

Yesterday was quite the day!  It started at 4:30 with the big huge katahdin ewe having a small lamb so I knew there were more in her.  The huge woolly girl was telling me she was having her babies too but I told her "show me the money".  I went home to kick off the day for the family, grabbed the dogs and headed back to the ranch at 7.  Thank God I jugged the katahdin as she had produced 3 flashy ram lambs while the wool ewe had a small ewe and another katahdin decided to join the fun and had a small ewe herself.  For the next two hours it was very chaotic in the birth barn....lambs showing up the end tune of two sets of triplets and a set of quads.

These quads weighed in at 7-8 pounds a piece...30 pounds of lamb in that poor ewe. I sent one of the strapping boys home with my friend, Denise.  I also nabbed the small ewe lamb from the katahdin triplets and she went with Denise as well...the mom was being a little ornery to her.  If I can get one of the boys from the first set of triplets on a bottle, I will probably pull him too. Three lambs seem to create a lot of stress for first time moms.

The big woolly girl really was a triple wide!  She had three beautiful ewe lambs.  I went and bought a bottle and some milk replacer today.  I'll supplement feed them and see if I can keep the ewe raising the lambs.  They are very cute...and their tiny nappy curls look amazing!

One more katahdin and four Shetlands left to go.  I think I see a light at the end of the tunnel.......really, I do.

Seize the day!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Short Sleeves and Tail-less

Yesterday, I saw the sun!  I actually sat in it and soaked in as much vitamin D as I could.  I think I am deficient to say the least.  I even took off my hoodie and let my arms think about turning brown!  Then I grabbed my camera and took photos of a few of my favorite things.

I love it when the lamb's behinds become cute baby butts!

One tail off and one tail on:

I also love it when the lambs find the creep feeder.  They know they are so special when their moms can't get into their crib and eat their stash of the BEST food!

I also find smiles in the beds the lambs make....

However, the best beds in the house belong to the woolly lambs...

I came home this morning to feed the family and grab the dogs.  One ewe had produced a small single so I am thinking she will have at least another lamb on the ground by the time I get back. And two other ewes were looking like they meant business today.  It is beginning to wrap up!

Seize the Day!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

First Flashy Ewe Lamb

This is my single ewe lamb from first flashy girl!  I love her ear....must have been tight quarters.  She is absolutely full of herself and I just might put her ear tag in and release her from the jug before she causes too much mischief.

I had twins right before bed last night.  Two boys.....and today it looks like 3 ewes want to have their lambs for me!  Past the half way mark gives me hope.

Seize the day!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Today's five a.m check revealed a tiny single white ewe lamb.....all cleaned up and starting to nurse.  Ewe beaming with pride and me thinking "gosh you are fat for having such a tiny single.  Best be thinking about culling you next year" as I lured the ewe into a jug with her carrot baby.  I fed and was on my way home to start breakfast for the family and make certain all was ready for my son's first state playoff basketball game.

As I walked into my Christmas wonderland barn at 8:30, strolling over to the new lamb jug....when, what to my wondering eyes should appear....


Two flashy boys.....

and the tiny white girl!

I think the mom will be taken off the cull list!

Much better way to start the day.  I'm still waiting for the necropsy thinks Listeria.  Just to give him pause, I'm betting polio.  However, I do think my vet is right and I'll be glad he did not take my double or nothing bet on the bill.

Seize the Day!