Saturday, December 31, 2011

Good Bye 2011

This week I have felt like the luckiest girl in the world.  Christmas was very very good....having the family home and wanting to be.  Then.....I've shared since the first months of working Ms. Snook on sheep 7 or so years ago....I've always dreamed of the big field gather off a huge field of rye grass right there by I-5. 

Tuesday brought a full day of this type of work....true confession......there was good work and not-so-good work....but it was work! Gathering a field of 400 near term ewes then moving on to gather yet another field of 600 or so of the same.  The second field had a couple ewes with lambs at their side, complicating the gather, along with a lot of terrain.   I feared after the not-so-good, I would never be called again....and yet the rain made for necessity and ewes and lambs requiring evacuation...beggars can't be choosers thank goodness.

I followed the sheep guys with the trailer to the field sending the SOS.  We drove through about three of these, each time me cursing the lead truck.  They assured me later that, since there was little current....we were safe! 

It was a very eerie feeling driving through the lake....water everywhere. Needless to say, once the ewes and new born lambs were gathered.......I took a different route home!

Today, I sent the old year out with yet again more dog work.

Nell is really starting to shine working for me.  She is trusting me and I her.  This morning, amidst a bit of fog, we gathered a field and then drove them on to a beautiful new growth grass field.

Watching the ewes as they drifted out onto the new field was just darn right breath taking.

Bella had a go with some ewes back at the main ranch.  She has been loosing her head and choosing not to be a team player a little on the big flock work so I was glad to be able to get a hold of her with the flatter field. 

The last of the work did not bode so well for me today.  I was to help gather about 350 lambs and push them across a little creek, then over a road into a new grazing field. The gather went splendid but the lambs would not cross the creek.  Nor would they cross the dropped electric fence.  I ended up working Bella and Nell together trying to create more push and well, it got very exciting.  We called uncle and I learned a really good lesson today.....just as with trialing, real work does not always go as planned!  The sheep foreman started telling me stories of other days that had not gone well, and, it felt good to laugh...even the best sheep men need to "know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em"

One of my goals for 2012 is to learn a little bit more about sheep.  I am thankful to these sheep guys for giving me that opportunity to learn! I hear their lambing barn calling my name and am hoping for some time to go give an obstetric hand in the coming weeks.

I gave hubby Grace for Christmas.  He loves her so....and she him. She gets all goo goo eyed and whiny when he walks in the door every single night.  He is training her to go mountain biking with him and she seems to be loving it.  He did whisper in her ear that she could continue her sheepdogging....but only when he did not need her. A boy and his dog......

As the final sentences are added to the very last page of 2011.......I continue to listen to the lessons learned and reflect on all the blessings that came my way.  Tomorrow starts the new book of 2012....the clean, bright page ready to begin to capture the latest adventures in a life well lived.  Happy New Year everyone!

Seize the Day!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Dream vs Fantasy

It is indeed that time of year for me......the spare moments are filled with review of 2011.  Last year I made a pretty darn comprehensive vision board

which included goals such as: find three fields to haul out to for practice; qualify Sally to run at the 2011 National Finals; create an on-line training course.  Now as I sift through the year I see how these dreams played a huge role in how my life unfolded.  I did indeed find three fields to haul out to but need to get permission from the owners of two.....I have one field at this time. I did not qualify Miss Sally to run at the finals this year.....we did come close but no cigar.  And much to my thrill of witnessing a dream come true, along side a friend,  I did indeed create an on-line training course to help people just like myself get better at training sheepdogs, regardless of where they live. 

Since the vision board was so comprehensive and BIG stuffed with dreams that might take a while to actually see come to fruition, I've decided this year to use the same vision board and fill in the details a little more, change some to be more specific, and add new dream pictures to put over the dreams I've decided to let go of.  As I sort and challenge myself to dig deeper and raise the bar, I've been listening to some Dreamers talk, share and motivate.  One speaker shared...the difference between a dream and a fantasy.......fantasy being something filled with "whens" and "if onlys" and "shoula coulda woulda's"....while dreams are are nurtured in the heart and grown out of intention, conscious and unconscious decisions, faith, and belief.  I choose to be a dreamer!

Being an over thinker I am ruminating over the whys of my dreams right now......last week TMT asked "why do you trial?" and that got me thinking about why the heck I do any of what I do?   One very successful woman, when asked what her greatest struggle is, said, "my voice."  When I heard that I instantly thought, WOW Really? Her too?  That voice, the one inside that says "you are not good enough", "you will never get this", "you are too________".....that very same voice that gets stronger when fed by insecure others that make it their business to attend to any business but their own.  It was very freeing to hear her admit that struggle and then hear some of how she deals with that voice to free the truth belief voice to take over. 

Here is what I know.....I am a passionate do-er......I want to dream big and leave fantasy might be a motivator but having a greater purpose is what drives me-FIND THAT PURPOSE......I need to surround myself with people who believe.....if I learn from them, my disappointments will make me stronger.....I will keep my eyes on my journey, share the journey with those who are honest and game, and allow others their journey....I must be true to myself......and always

Seize the Day!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Dog-like Christmas

Today is Christmas.  I am not sure why this one day can be surrounded and filled by so much obligatory expectation. Jorgen over at Strider, Mereckx and Ben asked Why do you like dogs?  And I answer with......

Dogs live in the now......

Dogs cheer what others might see as the mundane....

Dogs enthusiastically live the day.....

Dogs might not always listen...but they do when it counts most....when a heart is breaking or is filled with jubilation....they listen....

Dogs don't care if the house is clean, if there is dog hair in the food, if the truck is muddy, nor do they care about Christmas decorations.....

Dogs don't keep record and rarely hold a grudge.......

Dogs love unconditionally.....

Today, I wish you a Merry Dog-like Christmas.

Seize the Day!!!!

Friday, December 23, 2011


The shepherd skipped town...who could blame him.  New Zealand would be a nice place to visit for Christmas especially if there were family longing to see flesh and blood in person.  Of course it is summer there, a different view of the Christmas glass.

When the shepherd is away, the mice get to play.  The ranch owner being dog-less and maybe a little soft of heart.  Okay that can't be it....desperate might be a better word. The ranch owner, being dog-less and desperate, called me.   Me, well, I've dreamed of these days. 

After a successful ewe gather with Nell, Bella drew the lambs.  Lambs, the death of my best laid plans.  Not terribly flocky, nor a leader amongst them.  One of the most incredible scenes I have been witness to is a whirlpool of lambs...circling, circling...whilst the center lambs hold firm.   Lemmings following blindly needing a confident dog intervention.

The ranch owner might be a prankster.....or my Bella might have forgotten to count.  Be that as it may, I got a second chance at yet another fine day of "real" dog work...bringing in the left overs, or the whoopee cushions....whatever really happened I took it and gave Miss Nell the Christmas gift of lambs after her mature sheep gather of two days ago.

Today was a 4-wheeler kind of day......not so much of a work out for me but a necessity as the day was leaning towards Christmas Eve day.

The field was gathered, the lambs driven into the sorting barn, the count as it should be at the end of the day.

"And I, I took the road less traveled by.....and that has made all the difference."

Seize the Day!!!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Winter Solstice

The days are going to start getting longer....and that, my friends, is something to celebrate!  Insert Snoopy Happy Dance Music.

The week I took off from my routine life to visit Disney Land the 2nd....I mean, Canada.....has left me chasing my tail for Christmas preparations.  We sat down as a family and went over traditions that have meaning for each of us....and those will stay and be honored.  The rest have been stored in the attic for next year. I'm hoping this year is filled with surprise as some of the expectations are released and we can embrace the day as it unfolds. 

This past week saw the processing of lambs at the ranch.  Generally, I butcher in early November but this year I was a little late.  I always feel a bit of heavy responsibility as we butcher lambs, all of which are done right at the ranch.  The folks who come and buy year after year, and the new folks who are beginning to see the value of farm rasied/farm killed lamb add to my goal of making the sheep help pay for my passion.  Although I have to admit....I feel a heaviness of heart as I clean and bury the remnants of the week's work.  Life is not to be taken for granted. My friend Elissa from Magnolia Farms captured the essence of what my heart feels.....

The Perenial Plate

Happy Winter Solstice!

Seize the Day!!!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Theory....An Over-Thinker's Paradise

While in Canada, I was reminded that I have not "trained" much with Scott Glen.  "Trained" in the fashion of starting a young dog , laying a foundation and building the dog from the start with Scott's unique vision.  My journey with sheepdogs, with a focus on USBCHA trials, began with Patrick Shannahan.  A few years later, I met Jack and Kathy Knox and I would say that those three people and their methods are the foundation for my training style.  I have indeed taken a few (okay THREE) shedding clinics and a handler's clinic with Scott, in addition to some private lessons.....all of which the topic was my handling of my dogs....with a few discussions on training thrown in for good measure.  Though I heard the training insight, I never really understood what was being shared or the importance of the training's application.

When I start a new video project, the months and days before the first "roll" are filled with anticipation and excitement.  Much like starting a new book that has received rave reviews....the first line unfolding into a paragraph; the words tasty morsels.......that is exactly how I feel as I slip the headphones over my ears the first morning and tiptoe quietly into the world of a person and their thoughts, just as they occur, while a dog finds its inner calling and begins to understand.  I often find myself lost in the moment...amazed at the crisp picture of the dog and sheep...unedited words describing what the sharp eyes of the reviewer is seeing.  Lost in the dance as it unfolds....trainer to to sheep.....the whys and hows and what ifs all bringing forth understanding and confidence.

I can't help but stumble out of my trance and find myself changed a little, looking for some of what I saw through the trainer's eyes, while working my own dogs.  As I left my 10+ hours of filming behind me, I headed into a couple of lessons with Scott, me personally seeing my dogs just a little more clearly then I did when I had arrived.  Both lessons, one with Nell and one with Gyp, were discussions on handling but the thrown in training made so much more sense to me.  I will confess much of my lessons were discussion about my "stop" and how I use them while running Nell.  Gyp is pretty much a clean slate right now.....I've not addressed "feel" or "method" much with her.  I was fascinated working her with a little bit different style of training while Scott talked me through what I was seeing. 

I'm home now...although it looks like the crisp cool weather grabbed hold of my bumper and caught a ride with me. I've spent some quiet time thinking over methods of training dogs: similarities, radical differences, styles of dogs, end results.  Scott's parting words from my Gyp lesson were something along the lines of  "it would not be good for a dog to be trained in one method one month and switched around to another method another month."  There are many great and successful methods to training up a proven by all the top handlers that train different from each other and yet their dog's work great.  The secret to success is consistency, understanding, and accurate assessment of the dog's response, or lack there of, to the training. I'll continue to sort and weed and plant as I find my own method of training.....while being thankful for the help of those graciously willing to invest and believe in me and my dogs.

Seize the Day!

Monday, December 12, 2011

In Other News

Due to the fact that I was on anther planet for a week and lost total track of time......I missed posting THIS!!!!



Seize the Day!!!!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Hello Kitty Strikes Again!

Yes indeed, Jenny Glen is the newest inductee into the Hello Kitty Stock Stick Society!  Clever Jenny has matching boots!  I'm just a tad jealous.  I feel a whole line of Hello Kitty accessories coming on.....with all this enthusiastic HKSSS input.

Tomorrow wraps up what has turned into a really fabulous vacation of sorts. 

Hello World

Seize the Day!!!!!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Alta Pete Farm

I headed out real early Monday morning, can't say bright and early because the sun was smart and still resting behind the mountains. I grabbed a friend in George, Washington and continued my adventure all the way to Alberta, Canada and a visit the Scott and Jenny Glen.

Today, we began our work...... girls LOVE the snow.  I feel like the little boy in The Christmas Story...."I can't put my arms down!"  Despite the adventures with Mother Nature....I am having so much fun.  I'll be back with more pictures.....

Seize the Day!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

I'm Outta Here!

I'm so very excited......I'm packing my clothes and loading the truck.....heading out Monday morning bright and early to Canada!  I'm excited and nervous and can't stop checking the list of things to take..... over and over.  I went to Cabela's to get some winter my feet might stay a little warmer.  I'm going with a friend and two of her dogs...thank goodness, because if she wasn't going I might chicken out.  Passport...check.  Rabies certificates....check.  I'm hoping to blog a bit while I'm there but who knows.....I just might be having too much fun to blog.  Or my hot spot might not work.  I'll be back...with fun stories full of adventure and learning I am sure.  Watch out, I come!

Seize the Day!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Really?! Tell It To Me........

Laura over at Crooks and Crazies started this cool "Tell Me Thursday" event a while ago...and a bunch of blogging friends joined in telling their deepest secrets to Laura weekly. Whenever I had blogger's block, I knew TMT would get me going again.  Laura recently went into early TMT retirement and I was excited to see eyeherdewe launch a Tuesday event, which has come and gone.  Yet people continue blogging their answers to the questions hanging out in Internet space.  I've been looking for some profound, heady, zen/Buddha/ninja type of over-thinker's question...and all I could come up with was this.  This one question that was a topic of discussion at a recent trial......

and why?

For me, I would never name my next dog: Tucker, Debit or Itch.

Not that any of those names are not nice names.....I know a few very nice Tuckers and Debits....however, I sometimes yell my dog's name up the field to them from the post so many hundreds of yards away. I know how Tucker (yelled in my voice) would sound, echoing through the valley at say Big Willow.  And probably the preface of "listen here you little mother" would only add to the Tucker name misunderstanding from a judge.  Same with the "gawd" that might happen before the Debit or the "you little" before an Itch.

For me, I will stick with the safer, more traditional names. 

Seize the Day!