Saturday, January 28, 2012

Confessions and TMT: Two for One Post

I sheared the pregnant ewes yesterday.....boy do they look nice...and VERY gravid!  I put down fresh straw and also introduced a molasses lick.....all in an effort to help those bare-naked ladies with this crazy weather and overnight temps in the 20's! 

Thursday came and the TMT challenge was this:

1. How do you search for and then choose a trainer?
2. The dog world is small and... uh... talkative. After choosing a trainer how do you handle those people in your life who don't believe in that trainer/trainers methods and criticize them to you?
3. Do you believe that a person's personal life should influence your choice of a trainer? (i.e do you believe a person's choice to be a party animal outside of work would affect your choice?)
4. When you have a break through moment with your dog, do you feel that moment makes your connection stronger with that dog and makes the next step in training easier?
5. Do you stick with just one trainer, or do you go to multiple sources for help?

All day long, as I over-thought about my answers to these questions...I kept hearing this voice in my head....

"and now, we interrupt this regularly scheduled program for this shameless plug"

Indeed...as co-CEO with Geri in our production company, Little Horse Mountain Productions....together we have helped trainers introduce their methods to the world.  I've always hoped this would help folks not only learn, but sort through what style of training feels good to them and then seek these trainers out for the personal, one-on-one, live training we all need at some place in our journey. 

Who would have thought, just 7 years ago, as I started my journey with an all-breed instructor and dabbled in arena trials with a rescue border collie, that my life would unfold as the wildest, most vivid, craziest dream of dreams come true. Working with the likes of Jack Knox, Patrick Shannahah, Scott Glen, Alasdair MacRae, Derek Scrimgeour...then moving into the cow dog world and having Shane Harley work with me and my girls.

Here is where TMT meets Confessions.......

I confess......

I have tried to keep my blog about my journey...dogs, sheep, ranch and those experiences that I believe all unfold to mold me into betterment if I am pliable and willing.  As mentioned above, this journey is unfolding as I sit in amazement that it is my life!  I die daily to the "if onlys"...as in, "if only I could train with _____"  "if only I had more acreage" "if only I wore a size______" "if only I lived where my sheep live" "if only I had a dog like ________"  (this list could go on and on)  and find thanks for this journey, just as it IS unfolding.  Thankful for the shepherd that calls to allow me and my dogs (that I am thankful for) to do some "real" work on the big acreage.  Thankful for the friends that allow me to come and train on new sheep in new places, allow me a place to lie my head , break bread, and share hearts.  Thankful that my place is small enough that I can leave for Canada with a couple weeks notice and thankful for friends who can take care of what I leave behind. Thankful for my mentors that speak truth to me for my betterment. Thankful for friends that allow me to over think and then dabble in that with me!

All this said, over the past year, I have been called a "name dropper"; I have been asked for input and had that input offend.  I do love my dogs and if they are my best and only redeeming quality....so be it, at least I have a pack of redeeming qualities.  LOL.  I've vowed to myself, as I move forward, to exercise a little more discretion of my words and who I share them with...especially the words I value most for the relationships I treasure.  I will keep my blog about my journey.....dog, sheep, ranch, adventures.....and remember that it is my journey and everyone else has their own journey that is suited to just them. I've also promised myself a long time ago that I would not use my blog to shame others or become an "authority".  Instead, I hope that if somebody enjoys my blog or learns something through my experiences.....that is just darn right cool.  Otherwise, I hope those who read me, do so to enjoy another take on life.

And NOW this has turned into TMI Saturday so I will end with this....

4) I cherish break-through moments with my dogs!  I long for them.  I've never assessed if they make my training easier because, over time, training has become more about the climb.

5) When I take personal one-on-one lessons with a clinician....a) I look for similar styles with the foundation of method I use when it comes to training my dogs b) I look for the styles of handling I admire and a deep respect in the knowledge of handling dogs for those I seek help with for my own handling. And I do indeed focus on one or the other at my lessons. I believe, for me, there is a difference between training a dog and handling a dog. I did not really understand that until last May....and now, that idea of handling is the foundation of a whole lot of over thinking: different handling for each dog, type of sheep, each dog on type of sheep, time of day....it's a fabulous way to go.

Seize the Day!!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Cool Day

I had a really cool day today....Nell and I got asked to take 30 ewes and their single lambs on "walk-about", so to speak.  I felt almost mature as I dropped two string electric fences, just as I had been taught, and then "learned" how to get 30 moms and their single lambs to go over that dropped electric fence.  I kept reminding myself of the things I have learned about flock work over the past month. All about pressure and how you apply it.....letting the lead ewe have some time to figure out that fence was dropped.....patience baby!  Nell thought waiting patiently was a bit boring and gave thought to making a fight with that one ewe with the curious lamb.  We talked that idea through.  Then she wanted to push when the lead ewe had started taking a few ewes with her into the new pasture.  Instead we found it better to let them go and give them all time to sort out the two wires on the ground.

One of the pastures I had to trail the sheep through was that infamous field where Bella and I had left 217 yearling lambs behind.  With rolling terrain and fencing that opened up behind a house (for goodness sakes) I can see how Bella did not get them all...darn it anyway!  Thank God the shepherd had taken time to draw a map for my duty today, otherwise the sheep just might have ended up in the neighbor's flock!  But no, I found the secret passageway into the single mom's housing, dropped another fence and wished them luck as they walked by. 

I walked through two big fields today, one had been tiled for drainage, the other not.  WOW!  I am a believer in tile now.  I've always considered putting it in at my place but the cost has been prohibitive.  The amount of standing water when comparing the two fields was amazing.  Not that the tiled field did not have any....just way less and very sporadic.

As I left the task that had been assigned, I raised each fence and walked back to the truck.  It was a beautiful sunny day and my Nell had been a good partner.  Working ewes with lambs is not the easiest of tasks and she is really starting to understand the differences in what is presented.  Closer at hand, when it made sense, she had a nice little pull-in.....we have work to do with that on her outrun!  Tomorrow my pregnant ewes are schedules to be sheared. This evening, I tucked them into the barn so they could be dry for the event.  And I do believe the sun is planning on making an appearance.

Seize the Day!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Blah, Blah, Blah

Okay, so we went from one of the mildest winters in history (pretty much) to one of the wettest!  The flooding is ebbing, slowly, waiting for us to beg it not to go, as if we could somehow miss it.  Then the skies open up, dismal dark grey rain comes down making it hard to tell the drops apart, and the floods come running back with open arms.  Licking at the new rocks that have been arranged at the entrances of driveways that were washed away with the first visit.  Tickling the edges of swollen creeks in anticipation of, yet again, slipping over and flowing with abandoned, merciless, gleeful, destruction of land and mood.

It could be so much worse, that I do know.  My friends up north, without electricity for days on never ending days.  Relying on Mother Nature’s cold shoulder to keep their provisions from going bad.  Wind tipping over insecure trees, the trees that have no depth to their tap root but instead rely on an easy superficial root system that provides no security when storms of life hit.

Yes it is wintertime here in the valley.  Hubby suggests maybe a tanning booth would be in order......me, I’m popping D from my Pez dispenser and am editing footage like the mad woman I am.  Friday, according to the meteorologist that is batting .300 when it comes to accuracy and yet still gets paid, it is supposed to be sunny.  I’ve got the woolly pregies slated for haircuts and every single truck collie scheduled for a spin on the yearlings.  Hanging on to that dream.....


 
Seize the Day!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Only One

Today is Thursday.....I'm only answering one of the questions for TMT today. 

What is one lesson you have learned this week?

As the North West gets hit with crazy winter weather......we most certainly do find out who are friends are.  The calls that were made this morning, concerns shared through facebook......friends checking on friends all in the name of standing in the gap and easing a hardship.


I took my camera with me as I drove to the ranch to feed and assess my situation.   Penalty for being curious.....the creek that overflowed its bank came up to my running boards as I crossed. I pondered my AAA coverage and if they would bale me out if I were too daring....I bravely rolled on.


My little ranch is fine.  My barn is nestled in at the bottom of a big hill, water that is flowing through it appears to be coming up through the cement foundation.  Every time this happens I wonder how I might solve it for next time...do I need a french drain or is it just the fact my barn was not built well?  My ranch used to be a dairy....so under the barn is a huge catch basin.  It fills with rain and I, in turn, siphon the water out.  Maybe one day I will buy a pump but a hose does the work for free.  I started the siphon yet again today, although it was only 3/4 full, and hopefully can keep ahead of the skies.


I feel very fortunate today.  I saw folks out helping each other fill sand bags, dig drainage ditches, while others gave moral support.  Nothing like a brief, thoughtful phone call received while sweeping out the water from the barn to lift my spirits.  My sheep are fine...all have shelter and dry hay from the loft above.  Not sure how the lower kept alfalfa and straw will fair but nothing that money can't replace.  All is safe, healthy and lambs are not due until early February.


Funny how my day started with a thoughtful post on facebook by the 10-7 Ranch shepherdess.......it caught my attention because is said "Don't Carpe Diem" and well, I am all about seizing the day....so I read it.  This was an article about parenting and the writer, Glennon Melton's definition of Carpe Diem was "being in a constant state of intense gratitude and ecstasy" That is definately NOT my definition of seizing the day, but I read on....."I think parenting young children (and old ones, I've heard) is a little like climbing Mount Everest. Brave, adventurous souls try it because they've heard there's magic in the climb. They try because they believe that finishing, or even attempting the climb are impressive accomplishments. They try because during the climb, if they allow themselves to pause and lift their eyes and minds from the pain and drudgery, the views are breathtaking. They try because even though it hurts and it's hard, there are moments that make it worth the hard" I stopped and thought to myself...Bingo, that right there is my definition of seizing the day in life (parenting or otherwise, including running a sheepdog!).    Lifting my eyes and seeing that breathtaking view.....even though life is hard or the run is hard or the work is hard or.....there are moments that make it all worth the hard!  The article had a lot of fabulous nuggets...you can find it at PARENTS if you would like to enjoy it in its entirety.


Secretly, I knew all these things.....but it was such a fabulous gift to re-look at the idea of friends coming along side to share the breathtaking view that manifests as I choose the climb.  I think I'll stick with my definition of Carpe Diem....'.lifting my eyes to appreciate the view regardless of how hard it becomes' while being thankful as I take the next step.

Seize the Day by Carolyn Arends

I know a girl who was schooled in Manhattan
She reads dusty books and learns phrases in Latin
She is an author, or maybe a poet
A genius, but it’s just this world doesn’t know it
She works on her novel most everyday
If you laugh she will say

Seize the day – seize whatever you can
‘Cause life slips away just like hourglass sand
Seize the day – pray for grace from God’s hand
Then nothing will stand in your way
Seize the day

Well I know a doctor, a fine young physician
Left his six figure job for a mission position
He’s healing the sick in an African clinic
He works in the dirt and writes home to the cynics
He says, “We work through the night so most everyday
As we watch the sun rise we can say….

Seize the day – seize whatever you can
‘Cause life slips away just like hourglass sand
Seize the day – pray for grace from God’s hand
Then nothing will stand in your way
Seize the day

I know a man who’s been doing some thinking
He’s as bitter and cold as the whiskey he’s drinking
He’s talking ‘bout fear, about chances not taken
If you listen to him you can hear his heart breaking
He says, “One day you’re a boy and the next day you’re dead
I wish way back when someone had said….

Seize the day – seize whatever you can
‘Cause life slips away just like hourglass sand
Seize the day – pray for grace from God’s hand
Then nothing will stand in your way
Seize the day

Well one thing I’ve noticed wherever I wander
Everyone’s got a dream he can follow or squander
You can do what you will with the days you are given
I’m trying to spend mine on the business of living
So I’m singing my songs off of any old stage
You can laugh if you want – I’ll still say….

Seize the day – seize whatever you can
‘Cause life slips away just like hourglass sand
Seize the day – pray for grace from God’s hand
Then nothing will stand in your way


Seize the Day!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

M&M

Monday & Minimal:

Gyp meets cow work

Taking a heel nip

Sorting it out from the head

I love her heart
 Thank you, Shane Harley Stock Dogs.

Seize the Day!!!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

TGI Thursday!

Yes indeed.....it is Thursday again and I can just scoot on over to Crooks and Crazies for my writer's inspiration.  Buckle your seat belt babay....here we go.

Oh, Monique's favorite topic to discuss with me.
1. Stopping your dog - what do you prefer? On their feet? On their belly? Some combination? 


A: What stop?  

2. At what point do you start teaching this?


A:  From the moment they get on sheep they learn "What Stop?"

3. Do you have a favorite dog? I won't tell.


A: I have a fondness for Monique's Rye & Jenny Glen's guard dog, Alaska (I almost brought her home as my souvenir!)....and I AM a six pack in (plus a little) on Lana's Mint.        I do love my Nellie Bellie but Miss Gyp thinks she is my fav.  I guess I have to admit....I really love each of them in their own way.  I am down in the State of Jefferson getting ready to do some cow dog filming, meet to discuss my admission to the Loony House (oh I mean meeting for the finals), and participate in a winter "fun" sheepdog trial. I left Snook home.  She did not get to go to Canada either.  When it is really cold....all the dogs sleep in the back end of my new Rocking Dog Mobile with a heater and I'm afraid Snook would die in her sleep, sleeping on the front seat.  So she will stay home till the weather turns to spring.  I felt so darn guilty leaving her.....she introduced me to my addiction....I owe her!   Life with guilt....

4. What is the #1 thing a dog can do to push your buttons?


A:  When they won't take my lie down, just like I taught them!

5. Brrrrr... it's winter. What is your favorite soup recipe?


A:  I really like Campbell's Tomato Soup made with milk, not water, with toasted cheese sandwiches.


Thanks Laura for all the inspiration!  I so missed you.  Welcome back!!!!


Seize the Day!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Pre-game Stretch

So Laura over at Crooks and Crazies is at it again....thank goodness!  She has brought back Tell Me All Your Dirty Little Secrets Thursday or TMT to her cult followers and well, I need to stretch a bit and warm up to baring my soul, so to speak.

1. What is your favorite new toy? I know you have one, so you might as well go on and fess up. This question makes me laugh....bwahahahahaha!


2. If you're going to be caught under the mistletoe, who would you LEAST like it to be with? I have no creativity hence I will go back to stretching.

3. New Year's Resolutions - for your dogs - share!
*Put Gyp on whistles
*Put a look-back on Bella (instead of looking back and giving me the thumbs-up,"Yes, I see the sheep back there")
*polish out some finer details with Miss Nell
*shed, shed, shed, shed, shed, single, single, shed, shed!  And a fourth shedding clinic if needed!

4. New Year's Resolutions - for yourself - share!
*master the shed
*refine new business (it is bursting with excitement right now and I've got my seat belt buckled as this is going to be one exciting year for sure!)
*continue focus on health

5. How did you handle the holiday food situation?
*with some Christmas cookies but NO fudge

I'm still working on my dream board......dreams are such a personal journey....to be shared with dream catchers and other dreamers. I do have to confess, I have done vision board/dream boards for four years now.  It is so fun to go back and look at what dreams have come true!  Especially the dreams that I have had to let go of or not over-tend.....but just happened because I dreamed them.  And of course there are those other dreams that are more goal oriented and need attention paid to every bite, of time or otherwise....the go-getter dreams.  For me, my journey with my dogs is a little of both.....and that is my biggest goal for the coming year.....knowing when to let go and knowing when to buckle down. 

A friend reminded me the other day to keep to the tasks that make my heart sing. 
Training and trialing my dogs
Helping my friends with their dogs
The Business (which is tied to training and trialing my dogs and helping my friends with their dogs...isn't that a lovely irony)
and pretty much all the other shiny things are distractions.  And as another good friend always reminds me.....that bag of "distractions" is not mine unless I pick it up!

So yet again, here's to 2012!!!!  Bring it on and always.....

SEIZE the DAY!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Trailing Sheep

Maybe "driving down the road with sheep" would be a better title....cause that is exactly what we did yesterday.  Naughty Nell....gathered the lambs...it took two sends to get her out and around all of them.  I could cleverly 'excuse' that she must have thought she was at a trial...only bringing 6 the first send. But the speed in which she brought them and the lack of recognition to a whistle, voice command or correction left any clever excuse dead on my lips.  I ran up the field and Nell and I had a chat....but quiting was not an option for the day....so Nell got sent again.  Nell must have found her listening ears laying amongst the grass tufts, that and her snappy stop.

Once the lambs were gathered, I jumped in the truck and ran block for the drive.  A truck went ahead....the shepherd drove the flock, me and trusty Red brought up the rear guard.  I kept thinking, life really is a country song...."If you don’t like the way I’m a drivin’ get back on the interstate otherwise sit tight and be nice and quit yer honkin’ at me that way". 



Be to the fact we are not in the State of Jefferson...we had quite a bit of traffic.  One lady had her phone out her window snapping pictures as the sheep folded around her and kept on their merry way. All the people were very courteous and patient and stopped and waited for the flock to get by...I was very glad to be driving a truck and not a dog.

I went back to my place and worked on a few stops with all the girls.  Seems like the big flock work loosens stop....or it might be the handling of the dogs on the big flock.  To finish the day, I watched a few of my favorite handler's runs from the 2011 Finals DVDs I just got in the mail.  And yes, I started my list of training I need to add or polish. 

Welcome 2012......

Seize the Day!