Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fall Day.......

What a beautiful drive unfolds down Northern California's 101....even more so now that fall is upon us.  I left behind drizzle, which I heard turned into buckets of rain, only to arrive to 77 as the temp and my overnight bag filled with long sleeves.  What was I thinking??  The grape leaves are starting to join in the cacophony of color, started by the trees feeling the cooler nights.   6 girls joined my on my adventure....they have all been walked and are now doing the border collie stare....willing me to create some fabulous magic.  No Wild Toad Ride or Space Mountain this go, girlies.  This is a business trip so to speak.

Thank goodness for tech suave iPhone has craftily become a "hot spot" and I have Internet on the road....that makes for far less Starbucks and MacDonald's visits for sure.  Now to just discipline myself to keep my lap top with me and maybe bring a cord that would allow me to down load pictures.  Details, details.

I still pinch myself  each and every morning, as more and more opportunities keep presenting themselves.  Dog work, training, ideas for education...all of which mean I am learning and growing.  I really can nor contain my excitement.  The MacRae Way is being received with rave reviews.  Scott Glen is up in Olympia for lessons and a shedding clinic.  Or maybe that is down when compared to his stomping grounds of Alberta, Canada.  I have my list of "things" for Bella and Nell...another for myself......and hope to glean as much as I can on marked sheds.  Seems that those continue to haunt me.  But for now, I will soak up a little sunshine...stocking up as much vitamin D as I can because unending days of rain lay ahead.

Seize the Day!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Little Mob Work

As I have been working the teenage girls......I've had the notion that they might benefit from some "mob" work.  Seems like the advice I have been given really is true....working a big group of sheep can help make sense of the whole matter for young dogs. 

warning: iPhone pic!

So when I got "the call"...I had to go.  Grace is in heat (seems to be the story of my life) so Gyp got the mob.  It was fun watching her sort out her outrun and once she got them together she sorted out how to bring all 200.  At one point we had this crazy whirlpool going....outside rim of sheep circling the core of sheep that were standing, knees locked and not budging an inch!  Our mission was to take the mob and drive them into a paddock which sounded pretty easy.  But sheep are anything but, so when the blind-in-one-eye girl got scared in the move through new territory and freaked out.... my inexperienced Gyp said, "fine, let the yotes get ya". With the price of sheep and at the end of the day, that really is not an option, so Gyp and I had to go into the paddock, sort off a group of ewes, and take those back to calm the blind one so she would come.  All in a good day's work.

Bella had a go in another huge filled with pregnant ewes and a big surprise to me.....6 mom's with brand new lambs.  Bella's gather looked much better....not pulling in on the first volunteers to come...but those ewes and new lambies certainly brought a great lesson for this maturing girl. One ewe kept turning on Bella to protect her babe.....and when Bella stopped pressuring her, she would come along with the mob.  However, Miss Bella would pick herself up earlier than the mom felt comfortable and make a fight.  It was a fabulous lesson in patience for all of us.

I think I might have crossed over into the certifiable category......days when I get to go work the girls and help at the sheep ranch are my favorite sort of days.  It is indescribable joy to watch the dogs sort and figure and grow and become.  I'm thankful for the balance and perspective that comes amidst this crazy roller coaster ride called life.

Seize the Day!!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ponderings From Fire Ridge

I really had a great time at Fire Ridge!  I was not in the money, nor in the points....but my girls are all working hard and running better and better with me.

Sally drew up second for the first round of open, and I did not handle her well.  Her outrun was nice but I mis-read the one ewe pushing back on her and tried to fix my line too quick on the fetch.  Sally did exactly what I asked....but that ewe took advantage of the release of pressure and rolled back to the set out pens.  My new glasses failed me at that distance and not sorting it timely, left me retiring with four ewes.  Sally's second go was nice, good outrun and a nearly flawless pen and single.  All year, I've worked hard on getting Sally to want to come through for the shed and that she did!  She even held the single with the enthusiasm I have not seen at a trial.  Atta girl, Sal!

Nell had a couple of nice runs.  Her first time out....we had a little discussion on her outrun...and after sorting that it was one of those magic moment runs for me.  Her second run was nice as well....but not as nice with some fighting me for flanks and a really hard pen.  The wind had picked up that third day and I needed to eat my Wheaties and maybe consider working out as I could not keep that darn pen gate from blowing out of my hand in the 35mph wind gusts!   I brought my video camera and Geri filmed my first run for me.  Lordy, lordy.....if I could get ahold of myself.....let's just say that Nell is a nice dog despite me.  I've got some serious work to do.

I moved Bella to open at Vashon so now she runs with the big girls.  She did not even bat and eye or miss a beat as she ran out both runs and worked the course.  The first run I did not mess with her much on her drive....they were long and I felt holding the line was more important for us in our relationship. She looked good so the second run I worked her a bit more and she ended up high score from my pack of three open dogs.  Not a lick of tension and very supple, oh and we got our shed the first go!  And timely.  Bella and I need to work on penning sheep that really don't want to go in the pen....she needed to push more and with the wind, I had to be responsible for the gate staying open and could not help much. 

Having three open dogs is amazing!  I know there will be trials where I will have to decide who runs, but when I can run all three......what a treat.  I learned so much running three times in one day.  Each go I tried to watch my sheep a little closer and see what I could sort out.  I also taped a few runs which makes me really pay attention to the handling, sheep  and dog. 

Patrick Shannahan just wrote a little article over on his RedTop Website about community.  We really do have an amazing community of sheepdog handlers.  Dawn Pucci took all the photos of my dogs from Fire Ridge...otherwise I would not have a single one to show you.  I did not even ask...she just did it.  And Ray Coapman gave me a little 'learning' at the trial.  He saw me sorting something I had never encountered at a trial before and came to give me the proper answer.  He said something along the lines of, "I would see that again someday when I ran at the finals and it might cost me a point or two without knowing".  Not only do I have more information...but somebody also believes I will run on a Saturday at the finals!  And of course I can never thank enough my close friends that support me, tape my runs, let me overthink and sort, and give sage, a little further down the road advice.

Seize the Day!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Most Beautiful Things

~The most beautiful things in the world can't be seen or even touched, they must be felt~

Seize the Day!

All photos by Aye Sea Ewe Pics-Dawn Pucci

Monday, October 17, 2011

Solving The World's Problems

One cuppa Hot Chocolate at a time.....

Why YES that is indeed my Nell on my over stuffed mug!  You too can enjoy a beverage with my Nell by checking out Vicki Close's goodies.

Seize the Day...and another cuppa!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Oh Yea, Life Goes On.......

It's a JM kind of day...yet I can not imagine "long after the thrill of livin is gone".  I so don't feel that way.  Not one single passe` kind of day goes by in my life.  Yesterday....I finally kicked myself in the rear and, with the help of my eldest son and a few fabulous friends, I got my hay in for the winter!  200 bales all stacked in the hay loft ready to be tarped this morning.  Thank GOD for friends and sons because we did another 90 bales for another friend and I could not seem to lift a single bale above knee level that last load.  Today, I am going to burn and then maybe see about hauling in some big round bales.  Those make feeding the sheep so much easier with the whirlwind of weekend activities coming my way for the remainder of October and November.

I've decided to buy Miss Grace.  I've had a lot of summer fun with this girl and want to spend the winter seeing where we can go, the two of us.  She fits into my little pack nicely and the big bonus is, my husband likes her.  Now the challenge begins of training up litter sisters and remembering they are unique and train each how they need to be trained!  Grace and Gyp had a lesson with Patrick Shannahan last week and it was fun to chat about each afterwards.  Same/ Nell/not like Nell.....what I have seen before/what is new to me in a dog......makes for some fabulous over thinking material for the longs drives I have coming my way.

The coming weeks are filled to the brim with my version of Disneyland activities....the FireRidge Sheepdog trail, a visit with Jack Knox, my third shedding clinic with Scott Glen (I will get this...or die trying!) a couple of fun, one day, local winter trials, the release of Patrick Shannahan's second DVD and onward to another on-line project, this time with the Glens.  To keep up-to-date on the exciting, hot off the press training "like" Little Horse Mountain Productions on Facebook or visits

The excitement continues to mount as we head to the KICK OFF date for the MacRae Way.  October 24th starts this on-line training class...filled to the brim with training and handling from the MacRaes.  After the christening on the 24th of October, people can register at any time, and the class will start for them with that registration.  I would liken it to "pay for view" buy it and then you can view it.  The class is like sign up and purchase the sessions...and then your classes starts that very day and unfolds as the weeks do......sessions each week allowing plenty of time to watch, learn and assess application.

Instead of a dreary winter....longing for spring, this winter I am excited for all the "training" that will be going on.  I had better keep to the to-do list to prepare for to burn, baby!

Seize the Day!

Monday, October 10, 2011

It's HERE.....The MacRae Way


This is the dream I have been eluding to for...oh.....the past 9 months!  On line training with the MacRae's!  You can check it out at Sheepdog Training Courses where you can find all the details...including Frequently Asked Questions: FAQ and a syllabus with course descriptions.  Here is how it will eventually work:

Sign up and watch the first session.  You can watch it as many times as you like!  If you have questions about the material presented in the session, you will be able to submit those questions.  Questions and answers will be posted for all the participants to see.  As the week goes on, your homework will be to think about your dog and how/if the training presented might be applied in your training.  At this time, most of the courses have 4 weeks worth of sessions with some time at the end to catch up if sessions were missed or to watch again if that material intrigues and fascinates.  The cost is $99 a month or $237 for three months if you buy them as a package.  The MacRae Way Course kicks off October 24th!

Here is what I LOVE about this program.

* The sessions are filmed with the MacRaes and their very own dogs, or their client's dogs, so these dogs are started with the consistency of the MacRae method of training.
*I can train with the MacRaes from home without having to drive hundreds of miles, stay in a hotel, and eat junk food...which I seem to do when I travel!
*Too hot to work dogs in the afternoon?  No problem...I can watch the lesson for the week and then work my dogs in the early morning cool.  Snow on the problem because I don't have to travel!

I could go on and on.....but I do have to say, I am very excited about this.  What an amazing opportunity to learn from one of the best and most widely respected trainers and handlers in the world! And how incredibly to share this experience with the world. A dream come true!

Seize the Day!!!!!

Thursday, October 6, 2011


“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” — Steve Jobs
Today, October 6, 2011, my friend and I meet to put some final touches to a dream.  Yesterday the world lost a vissionary...a man filled with passion, thoughts that no box could contain, and action that would change how our society would function.  His words give me kindling to stoke my inner fire.
Funny how my inbox is filled with "driving onward" sentiments today....  
Danielle LaPorte sends out weekly emails and this one was written just for me:
Dear L, (okay I added this)
"There are soul-justified reasons to cancel. There are times to stop. This isn't one of them. Keep going. Show up. Decide to be one of those people who pull it off."
In the coming days, and maybe as soon as tonight, we will be bringing this dream to the world.....

Seize the Day!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Now there is a word that has so much depth of meaning.  In working is paramount that a dog can find balance.  It is the key to everything......a good fetch, a good drive, a good pen & shed.  Some days it feels so much easier to help a dog find balance than for me to find personal life balance.  I really enjoy reading Pioneer Woman and today's post of "how to draw a balance" was tucked away under her topic of Homeschooling.  I almost did not read the article...for one, why would anyone want to "draw" a thinking precise weighing with a scale sort of balance.  I don't draw much of anything besides shapes that form letters on a legal pad.  Yet, I did indeed read..and left the blog with a newly stoked fire to find a bit of balance in my new life. 

It is funny, with the boys gone off to college, I envisioned all this "free time".  Lazing around watching afternoon TV...who knew soap operas were off the air replaced by reality TV?  That's okay by me, nothing like a good dose of Celebrity Rehab or on the worst of lazy days maybe even some Jersey Shore Basketball Wives.  And yet that is not at all what my life has turned instead I have an endless list of things to do and can't seem to find its finish line. does one find balance? Why does the fact that I can do whatever I want leave me thinking I can do it all? BTW I want to stick in here...I am very thankful for my life.  I am blessed beyond measure and am filled with appreciation for all I have. 

I will let you know when I find my balance.  Certainly a quest of major importance. In the Pioneer Woman post OMSH says " And so, each week feels like it is chasing after the next, until September is over, then October, then November, and I wonder…is this how we want to live? Is this how we lose days, weeks, months, and years?" I don't want my life to flow away, lost without seizing some moments, if not days. Balance.  The key to a lot of life!

Now back to that list of things to do cause I absolutely must have hay! 

Seize the Day!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Carnage at RDR

Why did the chickens cross the road? I am not sure, but somehow they did!  It was a very busy road, as in North Jefferson Highway!  One hen and four baby chicks;  frustrating beyond measure, as they tormented their mama by slipping through the 2x4 no-climb five foot fence to hang out by the same busy road they crossed. The owner of said family did not really want to bother with them.  The chicken family appeared delighted by that news and went about moving in, unpacking their bags and pooping everywhere.  A few weeks ago, one baby went missing so I was down to 3 chicks and the hen.  But still a lot of poop.....the kind that Miss Gyp thought needed to be taken home on her neck as a perfume.

In the past month, I've sort of grown fond of them, although they are slated for a trip up north to grace my friend's paddocks.  Yesterday, as I tractor cleaned the sheep sleeping quarters in preparation for winter, the family of four helped loosen two years worth of bedding, feasting on the uncovered treasures.  The young chicks napped in the sun while their mom kept at the work with me. 

Today it happened!  As I drove into the ranch...there lay the remnants of something all covered in yellow jackets (my all time favorite...NOT). As I wondered what the heck it could be, I caught my breath when I saw the gray and orange feathers and tiny body of one of my chicks!  I parked and quickly picked up the leftovers, lest they be ingested by a sneaky border collie, then ran to the barn to find one hen and one hen chick.  Gone....gone, gone are two pesky baby chicks.  I need CSI!  Carnage at Rocking Dog Ranch!  Maybe that stinking neighbor cat, maybe a skunk or quite possibly a raccoon need to have a meeting with my pellet gun.  Darn it.....I had grown to like those chicks in a love/hate sort of way!  I can not believe I spent hours fretting and working out a plan to get those remaining hens to Friday. 

Such is ranch life.  And yet another reason why I really do not want chickens.  Too independent for their own good and they poop everywhere!

Seize the Day!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Welcome to Open, Bella Baby!

I just returned from my first Vashon Sheepdog Trial and all I can say is WOW!  This was one very challenging trial to say the least.  BCxfour shows some pretty nice pictures but still did not capture the huge moundy hills that covered the field and deleted the dog's view of the sheep for massive parts of the outrun either way. And also, frighteningly enough for a control freak.....both dog and sheep were invisible on segments of any of the three drives....unless you were Patrick Shannahan who can obviously see through mountains!  Either that or his dogs can hold lines without his input...hmmm, makes a girl over-think a little.

In the past weeks, we have had some issues with our community well...leaving me with a pack of sick dogs.  At the trail, Sally was, I am hoping, the last victim of this bacterial infestation and ended up too sick to run her open go's.  With the day too full to accommodate all runs that were to happen, Miss Bella's N/C open run was being removed from the schedule.  So I did it....I plugged my nose, closed my eyes and jumped off that very safe pro novice cliff into the wide, crazy, inconsistent world of open with my Bella.  Maybe not the best trial to do it with her....but I have no regrets!  When she needed my help and I could not see her, or she got too far beyond her P/N comfort zone...I walked.  When she fell apart, we were able to get it back together.  She definately got a little rattled but I love the partnership that allowed her to look to me to help. Now to dream of the possibilities.....

I love my Nellie!  The first day, she thought we were in Vegas and was dead sure that the more sheep she could find...the more points.  She finally found a way to weasel herself into the set-out pens and my run ended with a big "that'll do"  Which she took so that was the good of my non-run!  I spent a bunch of time setting sheep, watching lifts from the left of the field, and then walking up to set sheep, yet again, the next morning on the left of the field.  I was talking to a friend last night on the long, dark, rainy drive home and we chewed on the idea if this sort of "stuff" worked.  At the end of the day, I am not sure it could hurt and I was slated to set so why not give it a try.  I am really glad I did.

Nell's second run drew up at a time of day that the sheep were at their worst:  hungry, not wanting to do anything anymore, hard draw back to the set pens. My goal, to get Nell up to the sheep on the side I sent her, which took a few blow-outs but she got it.  Once she actually saw the sheep, she took care of business in the awesome Owen Welsh bred way......did I mention I just love this dog?  I have to confess, this was the most challenging run I have done in my life of working dogs so far.  My Nell gave me everything I asked for and more.  She never once slipped off to catch an eye, she took to a very radical change in handling as I never once asked for a lie down or stop or "pace" was all push, baby!  I am so proud of this girl....and want to thank Geri and Lana for all the fine wool sheep work and advice they have given me since that winter trial where we utter failed on Lana's fine wool lambs!  No we did not win the trial...we timed out on the drive, but we were definately big double party winners in my mind. 

Now, of course, I am dreaming of trials to come.  Better than a chocolate shop, winter is filled to the brim with close, easy to drive to, one day trials.  Trails and a shedding just keeps getting better and better.

Time to

Seize the Day!