Monday, December 29, 2008

Scarves and Lanyards

Thanks be to the Turd for her excellent modelness... and apologies for the SUCKY pictures. But, it's inside, and it's dark, blah blah blah blah...

My second scarf - I'm keeping this one for myself. Mary gave me knitting needles and a how-to book for Christmas, and I've become quite the spaz.

A scarf and a lanyard I made:

A turd, a scarf, and a lanyard:

Actually, that's the same Turd, the same scarf, and the same lanyard, but who cares??

And, a blue and black lanyard... not that you can see the colors with this crappioloa camera. This is me heaving a big fat camera envy laced sigh.

Almost the New Year

I'm sort of bah-humbugging it at the moment, so please forgive the lapse in attention to the blog. I'm not feeling overly talkative at the moment - an admission that likely will have jaws dropping to the floor. Yeah, OK, so there's a first time for everything. So what have we been up to?

I've been making beaded lanyards. And knitting. And... is that not just vaguely scary? Yeah, me of the 12 year afghan crocheting project... learning to knit. I've been knitting scarves, which are infinitely smaller and less unweildly than a blanket. Right? So the lanyards turned out very nice, and I may actually make some to sell. I'll have some pictures later on (if I get that motivated), hopefully.

On a dog front Nick is still not quite right, so we're going to go visit an ortho vet tomorrow. He isn't dead lame - but still off enough that I want to see if we can't go on and kick this thing without messing around too much. I say that because I feel sort of like the last few weeks have just been time wasting. I'll let everyone know what the doc says tomorrow.

I worked Linc at Robin's Christmas get together the other day, and he looked pretty darned good. I think he's ready for Jack Knox in January - and I'll bet we'll have an absolute blast. Sure, we ain't got no stinkin stop or call off...

Oh, and while working Linc I did a face plant in the roundpen. Well, actually it wasn't a total face plant, because one of Robin's ewes broke my fall. I had a ewe shaped clean spot from the middle of my belly up to my head. The rest of me was covered in mud. Mm-mmmm good.

I survived my sister's wedding. For those who knew about it - I found the cutest little pantyhose type biker short dealies that are sort of girdle-ish... and band-aids. I didn't have time to find sunflower you-know-what covers, so I had to settle for bandaids. Turned out that with the amount of lining and boning in the bodice I didn't need them anyhow. I did, however, look pretty good in the dress and my silver strappy sandlehickeys. In freaking December. For a couple who was already married.


I'll try to get some decent pics of the scarf I made myself, and one of the beaded lanyards.

I've decided that either I'm depressed and nesting, pregnant (NOT), or maybe perhaps just happy in my own skin these days. Maybe I'm nesting and happy. Maybe something about being slightly crafty appeals to me. Who knows, but I'm having fun actually MAKING something.

That may last for a few more weeks.

Ah, I did find a picture I took of my first two lanyards. Sucky picture, on the dog-haired carpet, but you guys get the idea. This was before I finished them.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Picture Thingie?

Ok, so I think I'm supposed to post some whositswhatsits thing about a sixth picture somethingorother. A meme something? Something about opening your sixth file where you keep your pictures and posting your sixth picture. I realized that several folks had tagged me to do this - sorry guys! Didn't mean to be remiss. I promise, though, that when I'm finished cooking up what I've been cooking up this week all will be clear and I'll be forgiven. *laughs maniacally*

My sixth picture thingie:

THAT, my friends, is about a four month old Noodlehead showing that on occasion he DOES come enthusiastically when called. Will you LOOK at those ears? That was right as his ears were starting to stand, and a stiff breeze would blow them over backwards. There's the Small Dog standing over off to the side. At this point Nick was just barely bigger than the Small Dog. What cracks me up is looking at those LONG legs... some things evidently never change.

Nick is still being rested, and I'll probably continue to rest him until next weekend. There's nothing pressing, and soft tissue injuries can be a real bear to heal, so I'm trying very hard not to rush things.

In looking through my old pictures I ran this one, too, and it made me giggle!

The date is wrong, by the way. But I call this one "The Troublemakers". Nick was maybe nine weeks old here, and still smaller than Zippy. He and Ginger were non-plussed about this whole puppy thing - and if you look you'll see the TurdiTude, and the Small Dog leaning as faaaaaaar away as he can without actually moving. Nicky looks just a tiny bit forlorn, too.

There's not a whole lot else going on around here. Personally, I'm scurrying around getting ready for Christmas, and my social calendar feels like it's on the verge of overwhelming me at the moment. It always does this time of year, and it also always manages to work out OK in the end.

All of the things that need to be in motion at the moment are, and by this time next month my divorce will be final. Saturday night is my Dad's Christmas dinner, and Monday night is Girl's Night Out with some of my favorite women... Julie's birthday, and then CR's birthday following right on it's heels!

It's looking like rain, unfortunately, for Sunday which might muck some things up. Sounds like a good reason to lounge around in my powder blue fuzzy slippers and drink my coffee as slow as I feel like. So there.

Oh! I almost forgot... I think I'm supposed to tag other people to do the same picture thing... but I think some of the people I'd normally harrass have already been tagged. So, lets see...

Jen, Becca and Darci... you're up.

I *think* I'm supposed to tag more folks than that, but I'm feeling wholly uninspired today. I guess I might deserve my brother's two T-shirts that read "Doesn't Play Well With Others" and "Doesn't Follow Directions". lol

Monday, December 15, 2008

Small Dog in a Little Coat

Imagine I'm singing this like David Spade in the movie "Tommy Boy"... you know, "Fat guy in a little cooooooaaaaaat", right? Well, this is small dog in a little coat:

How can I not adore that fluffly little ball of grumpiness? It was a tad chilly for a small dog yesterday, so he got to putz around in his little coat at Julie's yesterday. It makes him very happy to do that, and tickles me too. He does look rather goofy with his hair all sticking out everywhere. It's even worse in his jammies.

Friday night was my company Christmas party. Chuck came with, and it actually was a good bit of fun. I might have had one too many fuzzy navels, but I managed to not say anything remarkably stupid, and kept all of my clothes on. This would be a good thing around coworkers, right? Saturday I got to help out CR with some ear tagging duties (which makes me happy 'cuz that means activity points baby!). Then yesterday a bunch of us went over to Julie P's for a lesson with Robin.

We took Linc for a quick spin yesterday and have determined that he's pretty ready to do a little bit, so I'll probably work him some next weekend. His spark was back, and while he was (I think) a tad tense in the smaller area and slightly concerned about the sheep on the outside of the pen he was looking pretty good!

I worked Spottie for a few minutes yesterday - and am feeling good about that. She's taking my whistles at Julie's pretty nicely. I was disappointed to have to pull from the cattle trial up at Roy Johnson's this past weekend, but Nick's on the "being rested" list at the moment. Anyway, a couple of pics of Spottie from yesterday:

All photos today by Darci Gunter, by the way...

So I was really reminded of how much I depend on Nick this weekend. It's the small things, like "would you hold sheep for me?" or needing him to help with tagging sheep... I missed him. Don't get me wrong - I was really glad to have Spottie there, and she was a very good girl. I guess what feels so odd is not having the dog that seems to just *know* what I want, and just helps me. He just... does it. I think I'm beginning to understand the relationship that so many handlers have with their dogs.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Nick Updates

I thought maybe I'd put some Nick updates in one spot, and I'll try to update this post as I get information. Nick is at the vet this morning. I just called (and I managed to hold myself in check for THREE hours before calling), and he's being worked on right now. I'm a nervous wreck. When I left him, though, he was happily wiggling and sniffing the vet tech. Obviously he's not too concerned.

New update:

The vet called. She said, laughing like a loon, that he was the hardest dog she'd ever tried to manipulate physically. Evidently every time she'd try to move him he'd go all rigid or push against her. Silly boy. lol Anyway, X-Rays showed that his back and discs and knees were excellent. She said his hips were good but there was a tiny question on them, so I may ask her today for a referral to have a second opinion just to make me feel better. Even with that she said she didn't think the hips are his problem at all - and that they're nothing to worry about. Obviously she doesn't know me very well, hunh?

Anyway, she says his abdomen looks good also. Her feeling is that he strained/sprained/pulled a muscle in his lower back. She's suggesting resting a bit longer, and some more anti-inflammatories. I'll be off to pick him up here in just a little while.

Thanks everyone for the prayers and good thoughts!

Latest getting ready for bed update:

I went in and looked at the X-Rays when I picked him up, and after mulling it over this evening I'm agreeing with Dr. P that I'm not going to worry about his hips. So now we have to worry about getting this muscle thing fixed! He's to rest - not full official crate rest, but no working, and no blazing around either. So we're working on that right now. He's under my feet making chewbacca noises at Linc as I type. Any of you who've ever talked to me on the phone know exactly the noise I'm talking about. Hah!

I'm still not 100% convinced that it wasn't partly an overabundance of poopage. The beast has gone like... four or five times today - once in the vet's flower bed.

And in totally unrelated news, my mother has decorated her house for Christmas. She has all of her lights up outside, including the prelit reindeer flock she has - all six of them. Last year while she was gone my brother made it so several of them were mounting each other. She was not amused. I, on the other hand, almost wet myself laughing. Maturity is grossly overrated.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Broken Back Ranch SDT Update

Well, the good thing is I didn't barf on my shoes. I felt like it, but I managed to at least appear outwardly calm this weekend.

Nursery, Friday, Nick's first run... is mostly a blur. Outrun was nice, lift a little off, fetch started out squirrelly, but got it under control. Actually, we didn't lose many points on that part. I think zero off on the O and L. I can't remember if we made the fetch gates or not, but when they got to my feet it was like Nick didn't want to flank. We made a REALLY wide turn at the post, and had some trouble getting them online to start the drive (right hand). He finally got them online, and the drive away was right lovely (made the panels pretty dead on) - and he was taking tiny flanks on the fly (with whistles) so nicely. We made the turn at the gates, and slightly overflanked, resulting in needing him to flank come bye.

He'd been a tad odd on the fetch, and by this point he was really sluggish and off (flanking REALLY slow and REALLY wide), and acting/moving a bit oddly. We got the sheep almost online on the crossdrive, putting one through the gates and the other three missed low. When I flanked him to bring them to the pen he looked really weird, and I realized he wasn't having an attitude problem but a physical problem. He wouldn't even come all the way to the pen, but the sheep walked in for me. When I flanked him to bring them out he started holding up a rear leg. Yikes.

So Tony exhausted the next set of sheep and I pulled him out to look at him. He was hobbling funny on the back end. Anyway, to make a long story short we wound up in the middle of the pack scorewise, but any good feelings I might have had about the good things were quite overshadowed by my worry for my dog. I scratched his second run. I've had him on anti-inflammatories, and have been resting him. He's looking fine by today, but I'm going to keep him quiet for the rest of the week - and might either pull completely from the cattle trial next weekend or substitute Spottie for Nick. If he's still funky by the weekend I'll take him in and have my vet take a look.

Spottie... was a very good girl. I walked to the post with my heart pounding in my ears. On the first run the OLF was really nice. I did give her a redirect on the outrun, but I'm not sure she needed it. On the fetch the dogs were to turn the sheep at a hay bale instead of bringing them all the way up and I really struggled to get her around there. We got things under control and the drive away was reasonable. Cross drive was really wiggy, and we were having troubles communicating. I don't think she was being obstinant, we just weren't quite together. At any rate, we wound up retiring at the end of the crossdrive (right at the panels one sheep broke away and I had trouble getting her to cover... and by the time she did the sheep were practically at my feet again), but I was pleased with what I felt was reasonably respectable considering she's only been with me three weeks. She wasn't taking my whistles very well this weekend, even though she has been at "home".

Second run yesterday she stopped short on her outrun, so the lift was a bit off, but she did take my flank on the fetch to get them online. But, then I couldn't get her quite around that hay bale to make the turn (almost did, and at the last second she decided NOPE), and we wound up RT with our sheep at the exhaust. The judge was great, and came out and told me that at that point I could have sent her the other way - and although that would have been crossing our course (the reason in fact why I didn't) that it would have meant we could have kept going. See? You get to learn all kinds of cool things when you jump into things feet first!

They gave us these cool handlers badges, and I was so excited I thought about pinning it to my undies and wearing it forever.

We ate good this weekend, that's for sure. All of my friends had some really nice runs laid down, and it was fun to be a part of it. I got to scribe for the judge, and had an absolute ball! It was quite chilly, though, and I'm glad to be back home and in my bed. So that is it - the good, the bad, and the ugly. It wasn't quite the spectacular display I'd hoped for, but reasonable and respectable - and certainly not a total trainwreck! The hospitality was great, and the field was absolutely gorgeous.

Now I have to actually go do some work at work.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Trialin This Weekend...

So this is me packing. Like it? Yeah, me too. We're headed off to SC this weekend, and if they have room and will agree to squeeze me in I'm going to ask them to let me run Spottie in Open after all. Robin's going to hide in the van. In a trenchcoat. And a Fedora. Just for good measure.

Nick has two nursery runs tomorrow, and I plan to roll out of here by no later than 7am. That means I need to go to bed... uh... now? The jeans I'm wearing tomorrow are in the dryer, my clothes and snacks are in the van, and all that's left is a few minor details.

Oh, and I sent in my entry to run Nick on cattle next weekend. This is me over here throwing up on my shoes at all of the new experiences I'm planning to undertake in the next few weeks... running a dog in Open, running a dog on cattle, getting a divorce, spending Christmas with people I love and truly enjoy this year...

Spottie says, oh, it's you again!

I was hoping you were someone... else. Oh, wait... what is THAT? Are you going to throw it?

I didn't think so. You're not much fun when you have that camera thing in your hand. I'm on to you.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Tree

I found my memory card! It was in a truly stooooopid place... way on the back of a filing cabinet under some stuff. Now I KNOW I didn't put it there for safe keeping, so I'm figuring I put it on the shelf next to it and it managed to jump off and under that stuff. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Anyway, so here's the pic of the tree.

I tried hard to get pictures with the lights lit, and it worked out not-so-good. You really can't see much, but you CAN see that this beast is freaking tall.

If you look down towards the bottom right of the picture there's a little Santa dude sitting on a cedar chest (the chest was made for me when I was a child). This little guy has a bell on his hat - and Spottie's new favorite thing to do is to run up and bump him so his bell will ring. I suppose it doesn't help that I giggle every time she does it.

The picture doesn't even really come close to doing the tree justice, but you guys can get the general idea. With the cathedral ceilings I felt like I needed a tree with some height to it, but since I don't have a ton of floor space this one doesn't take up much room at all.

Anyway, so here's a picture of just one of the crystal angel ornaments that Judi gave me:

That is all. Now that I'm in the Christmas mood I'm busy harrassing CR about putting up a tree in his foyer. Yeah, as if putting up one Christmas tree wasn't enough trouble. Hah!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Katie Bar the Door!

So I promised dog working updates, no? The dogs and I farm-sat for Mary & Tony Weds-Sat, and had just an absolute ball. She has a few katahdins and some tunis, so between her place and Julie's right up the road we got a lot of good working in over the span of the week.

Lets see... Spottie is just working nicer and nicer for me. It appears that the Bad Sunday was quite possibly just a minor blip on the screen. She's being quite enthusiastic (increasingly so) and nice and sharp. She's starting to take my whistles - which are quite different from Robin's. She's also been really good (and really patient) with helping me with the shedding. I feel like we're really starting to connect - like we're having a conversation out there... working together. She's a lot of fun, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to learn from her.

Nick... Nick is an alien. I'm probably going to have to make him a tinfoil testicle holder thingie so that he can get his brain back. Between Spottie coming in, and the very inclined to run sheep at Mary's... he's gone ape on me. Stop? We don't need no stinkin stop! Friday at Julie's he was rather wild and crazy when we walked out on the field (totally out of character for him), and despite the orange fire shooting out of my eye sockets he's not been very inclined to get his feelings hurt either. In some instances I'd be determined before a trial to try to get his attention a tad more, but I'm almost inclined to leave things be. I have a suspicion he may need his push in certain situations. I just hope his brain comes back a little.

I did, however, remind him that he does have to stop - giving him a stop command and then enthusiastically getting him back up as soon as he thought about giving it. That seemed to mostly straighten him up, but left a little of the push in there (as per Robin's suggestion, technique wise). I'm beginning to wonder, though, if he's not going to get tougher and bolder as he ages. I wouldn't complain about that.

Additionally, between processing what Robin has been telling me, working with Spottie, and watching Alasdair MacRae's shedding video, something has clicked for me shedding-wise. We went down to Julie's and twice used an almost perfect group of sheep. I changed several things about my body position... I got closer to the group I wanted him to take, made the hole a bit bigger, and made sure that I turned completely sideways (presenting my hip to him) when I called him in. As he would get almost to me I'd give him a short flank command, and then stop him after he went behind me and walked him on up. Finally my mental understanding and physical ability to carry it out are starting to merge.

One huge gaping maw of a problem I'd been having was standing smack in the middle of the hole, putting pressure on him AND the sheep by leaning face on towards him. I was standing there in the way, and it was just not working. He'd start to come in, then he'd slam on brakes and try to put everything back together. Then I'd fuss at him, or flank him around endlessly, ending in a not very happy dog. Well, he was definately happy dog when I got my act together!

We'll probably do this a while longer, and then start progressing. As it is now he's coming through nice and enthusiastically - and taking good confident control of his shed off sheep.

That being said, on Saturday morning I got the bright idea (after our progress) to try to do this on some completely inappropriate sheep. Lesson learned. I wound up going back down to Julie's to fix the mess I'd made, but to my relief the damage was quickly reversible. However, I think I mentally beat myself to a bloody pulp first. *sigh* I'm quite grateful for Nick's forgiving nature.

While at Mary's we basically worked on stopping running sheep (mostly damage control) and I was pleased to see Nick getting more comfortable coming off to the side and catching the eye of the lead sheep... and he was also much more inclined to stay on contact. Many times when sheep run he gets wider and wider to try to release the pressure. While sometimes that's appropriate, sometimes it's not, and I'm trying to help him to distinguish the difference.

The other side to that, however, was that he was also quite gee'd up by this whole process. Thus, Katie Bar the Door!!

Linc is still just being a puppy. I'm thinking to pull him back out around Christmas and see where he is. If I feel like he's mature enough I'll enter him in the Jack Knox clinic. If not, I may put Nick in instead. A lot of my January plans, however, will hinge on whether the company I work for does what they normally do at Christmas. Some prayers that they will would be much appreciated.

This coming weekend I'm running Nick in Nursery down in SC. Should be interesting, and a fun time. He'll get two runs - and while I'm nervous I'm also very much looking forward to it. I feel like he's made a lot of progress on some things recently, and provided I remember the tinfoil testicle holder thingie so that the aliens won't steal his brain we might just have a good time!

This pic is from about a year or so ago, but it seems rather appropriate at the moment.

photos by Julie Poudrier

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Symbol of Hope

I came home from farm-sitting last night exhausted and weary, and also satisfied and encouraged after some good dog working and fun with friends. Mary's place, as usual, was immaculate (hahaha, not so much so after I had twelve dogs in her house!) and well kept, and it is always a nice place to stay. I took a swim in her big old garden tub - the kind you can sink all the way down in, and just had a ball. Friday night I had Julie and Chuck over for some of Becca's Fall Lamb and Apple stew - with corn muffins and some of Julie's fabulous yams, and it was really nice. We then watched Alasdair MacRae's shedding video - and I came away from that truly inspired!

At any rate, the point is that I got home from Mary's exhausted, and happy. After I unloaded the dogs and all of our stuff I wanted nothing more than to sit in my chair and mindlessly watch some football on TV. But for some reason I felt inspired... to put up my Christmas tree!

So I did. I drug it into the living room piece by piece (it's a 9' slim prelit tree) and put it up, and then went into the closets and drug out all of my decorations and ornaments. The living room now looks like Christmas... for the first time in three years. It appears, though, that I'm slightly vertically challenged even at 5'8", with a chair to stand on and all! I couldn't quite reach the top to put my angel topper on, so I settled for snaggging and bending a branch about 6" from the top and putting the topper bow I have on there. It looks fine from the front, but sort of ridiculous from the back. Anyway, Tall Tree (as my Stepmom refers to CR) has agreed that next time he's over he'll put the bow up there properly for me. Hah!

I promised my friend Paula that I would put my tree up this year - if nothing else then as a symbol of hope this year. This year I have a lot of things to celebrate hope for that I've not had in a while, and I'm truly thankful for it.

Unfortunately I can't post a picture of the tree - dang if I didn't put my memory card away somewhere for safe keeping (while I was working on my computer the other week) and now I can't remember where that place was. Wouldn't it have made too much sense to put the thing back in the camera??? At any rate, the decorations are burgundy, silver, gold, and crystal (I have quite a few crystal angel ornaments that were a gift from my Stepmom). I have a few Lennox china ornaments too. So the symbol of Hope is up this year. I'm hoping that ALL of us have a fruitful and good next year!

dog working updates to follow tomorrow...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


And, drum roll please... I caught the duck!

When I got home from work today he was swimming around in the baby pool in my back yard (where I'd left him after Nick and I put him in the back yard at lunch). So the plan was to put an ex-pen out there, with some food, covered with a tarp... and run him in it. Well, after one failed attempt (and having to go regather him... is it really a gather when there's one? I guess not... let's call it retrieve) and another almost fail, I noticed that he was just happy as a clam when Nick was fetching. Whenever I'd go help Nick drive he got very unhappy and things would go all to heck. Well, the expen thing? Not happening.

I wound up having Nick fetch him up the sidewalk... and in the back door into the house. Yep, we fetched a duck into my kitchen, and then into the living room. I then was able to toss a blanket over him while he was on the couch, and put him in Zippy's crate. He wasn't thrilled about the being handled part but I was as gentle as I could be.

I took him home - and it turns out my assumption and/or understanding was wrong. They tell me he's to be given as a gift to be a pet, and they're leaving tomorrow to take it to some uncle in New York. I don't know if I believe it or not, but it felt like the right thing to do to take it back to them. I tried to explain that he might be tough eating since he'd gotten his exercise, but they looked at me like I'd grown another head. Maybe he IS supposed to be a pet. Except I think HE might be a she.

Oh, and the beast took a dump on my couch.

They should be glad they're getting a mostly dog-broke duck. They should be glad I didn't notice the duck poo or they might not have GOTTEN a dog broke duck, they might have gotten a BROKEN duck. I admonished them to PLEASE not let the duck out again.

Thus ends the saga of the great duck roundup in the city.

For reference, he looked like this:

Image from .

Mary wanted to know why I didn't get a picture of him while he was on my couch. Uh... I have no idea. I figured I didn't want him to have time to see the plant shelf or the archway thingie.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Team Noodlehead & the Duck

Today on my way back to work (about 6 houses down) there were two teenaged girls out in the road... following a duck around. Yes. That is a duck. In our neighborhood. You know, the neighborhood where houses are ten feet apart, quite literally. So I stopped, and asked what was going on. Evidently this duck was intended for some sort of holiday fare, and had snuck out the front door. These gals had been trying to catch it all day.

So, what did I do? Of course. I got my dog. At this point the duck was down at my house, so I brought out a crate, told the girls where to stand and where to move, and flanked Nick around. Good thing he likes him some ducks, hunh? Except... it wasn't SOME ducks, it was A duck. A duck with non-clipped wings, a fact that we learned right as I had it about two steps from the crate. Little bugger flew up on top of my neighbor's porch roof thingie.

No worries, I had a plan. I went around back and got out the Mad Spaghetti Noodle, and got that naughty bird down off of there. We then drove it back down towards it's house - I had a new idea. I had the girl open her front door, and we worked the duck up four steps, and onto the porch. Nick and I, and the girls, had it about three or four steps from the front door, when, whoooooooosh. Off again. That was my fault though - I was getting hurried (uh, wasn't I supposed to be back at work 20 minutes ago??) and put too much pressure on it.

Well, to make a long story short after bringing the beastie back down the road several times I finally had to go back to work when it decided to make another trip up on top of someone's garage. Great - now I have a dog that's looking for stock to work every time he comes out the front door, because according to him where there are ducks there must be sheep. My one regret is that we didn't have more time, because I was feeling rather determined to get that beastie BACK in that front door.

I told the girls that if he was still loose when I got home from work we'd try again. I guess I'd better check Nick's pads, too, as he's not used to working on asphalt and concrete. He sure did work like a champ though.

I sure have gotten a lot of ribbing on THIS one now that I'm back at work. When I called to tell them I was trying to catch up a duck, they were like, "You WHAT????". Just another day, hunh?

Dogs All Day

That's what a friend on a dog board calls that particular board - "Dogs All Day". I think it's a pretty appropriate title for my weekend though... because that's pretty much what I did all day Saturday and all day Sunday. Saturday a bunch of us descended upon Robin (and I took a monster pot of my chili) and we worked a lot of dogs, and enjoyed a lot of good times with friends. It actually wasn't quite as cold as I thought it would be, but it was quite chilly. Colder up top, that's for sure. Sunday Julie, Mary and Tony came over to Chuck's to work dogs, and we finished up that chili. Good times!

So, lots of stuff happened dog working wise, so I'll start with Nick. Saturday I used him to hold out for a while (and to sort, and so on). By the time we went back down to the bottom he pretty much had the bit in his teeth, and his fingers in his ears (figuratively speaking). I'm starting to think that he just might be getting tougher as he gets older, too, because he didn't seem to be sensitive to the fact that I was on him about stopping. Turned out he was right first time out actually - if he stopped this ewe lamb in our first group would try to run away. At any rate, later I finally got a chance to run him around the course that was still set up - using his whistles. He's not only taking them nicely, but REALLY seems to like them. He still had his fingers in his ears, though. Here we are waiting for our sheep to be set:

Picture by Darci Gunter. Did I mention it was rather chilly? Nothing like overalls and three layers of clothing to make one look like they're wearing one of those huge blow-up sumo wrestler suits, right?

Anyway, Sunday I used Nick to bring Chuck's calves in (only 5), sort them out, and do the same with the sheep. He still had the bit in his teeth some, but worked both the calves and sheep nicely. He did run into some trouble on the calves because his handler would stand in the gate and wonder why they wouldn't come through. Duh. Needless to say I'm learning a whole lot about how cattle react and think. Not. Like. Sheep. And they're big. Pretty... but big. At any rate, I didn't work him much on Sunday other than to use him to hold out some, and shuffle stock around for everyone (and he digs that stuff).

I worked Linc at Robin's and I think he liked the slightly larger area. He was really nice - but slightly hesitant in a few spots. There was some really good stuff there, but I didn't like those hesitant moments. It was enough for Robin and I to agree that probably he needs more time to grow up, so I'm going to put him away for a month.

I pulled Spottie out at Robin's, too. I was worried she might not work for me on her home turf, but she actually worked pretty nicely. I chickened out on shedding with her (then), but we had a pretty nice go and I was really happy with her and the progress we'd made. After we finished Robin came out and gave me some thoughts that I think will help. Then, Sunday I pulled her out over at Chuck's, and things did not go so well. We just were not making the same kind of connection as we did on Saturday. It wasn't a total bust though! Spottie and I managed to shed our sheep! Surprisingly with a dog that knew what she was doing (and was digging it, too) and sheep that were settled and happy it was much easier for me to think. I remembered what Robin's been teaching me, and we did it. I could feel where I was going wrong with Nick, too.

I went on and scratched her from the trial in two weeks. I didn't want to - but logic tells me that even though it's possible we might get it together between now and then it's not together enough for me to be comfortable NOW (and today's the pull date). I feel like maybe I'll be inclined to put too much pressure on both of us with a two week deadline, and may be doing so already. I know I'm feeling sort of under the gun, and maybe not having the fun I'm supposed to be having with her. So. I'm going to aim for running her in January, which feels more reasonable to me. This coming week I'll be farm-sitting, and will get ample opportunity for some good dog working, and I'm looking forward to it! I'll still run Nick in two weeks though (Nursery).

So that was our weekend. I'm pretty wiped out today. Socializing and dog working sometimes takes a lot out of a girl.

Friday, November 21, 2008

It Snowed!

It Snowed! It's November in North Carolina, and it snowed last night! I got up this morning and sent the dogs out while I found some shoes and a coat (I thought it had rained) and when I walked out the back door I almost had a heart attack. This is the beautiful kind of snow... you know, the kind that covers the grass mostly but leaves the streets clear? The dogs had a ball - and Linc was running around bulldozing it with his nose. I wish I had pictures, but that wasn't on this morning's agenda.

I have agendas, by the way. Schedules, agendas, the Way. Things. Should. Be. Whatever you want to call it. I have trouble sometimes being adaptable, but I'm trying to be moreso these days. So, on this morning's agenda was to finish packing and getting cooking items together so that I'm ready to make chili for tomorrow's hang-out-with-friends-and-work-dogs day. Should be fun, and the chili should be hot. It's only supposed to get up to 41 tomorrow - which in my book is butt-crack cold.

So since I'm off track anyway I'll talk about dogs. Spottie is adjusting to being with me fairly well. It's not all that unusual for a dog to take some time to work for a different handler, by the way, and it can't be easy for her adjusting to a new home either. She's being such a trooper, really.

The big news is that yesterday she worked for me. I went down to Julie's at lunchtime, and while Julie stayed inside I took her into the roundpen. She went right to work - never even blinked. I was feeling encouraged, so I took her on out into the big pasture with the main flock. As we drove around the corner she slammed on brakes, her head popped up, and she ran back around to the roundpen. So, I stood where I was and waited. After a minute or so I called her, and she came running, and went right back to work.

After that she was working for me pretty nicely. Later on I worked her for Robin, who hid in the van. Heee! I was a little afraid she'd be looking for Robin knowing she was there, but surprisingly she didn't. I'd say we're not 100% together yet - but the difference from Sunday to Thursday is just staggering to me. I think we're really going to have a lot of fun together - she's a blast. I think we're going to mesh just fine.

Nick was looking really good yesterday. We did a good bit of sorting and shuffling sheep around, which he loves. I didn't fool with any shedding (giving him a break) and he's taking his whistles really nicely now. Tomorrow we'll hopefully get to do some setting out, which he loves to do. It makes him very happy. Pushy, but happy. Linc was a big of a booger, and the sheep were just a little too light for him, so it was a bit of a frustrating session with him.

We've got a busy few weeks coming up. Lots of dog working, and a few trials. I'm running Nick in Nursery in Cowpens, SC, December 5th. If Spottie looks good this weekend I'm planning to run her in Open down there that weekend too. Uh... this would be *my* debut into Open, a fact that makes me want to throw up. But still, this has been a year for doing things I've been afraid of, so why not? I'm also considering entering one or both of them to run Open Cattle up at Roy Johnson's December 13th. Since I'm farm-sitting over Thanksgiving I should be able to get plenty of good dog-working in. I'm looking forward to it!

editing to add...

I'd like to now take back the "Yay, it SNOWED!!!" enthusiasm, please. Now the snow is gone, and I'm left with a wet, muddy mess. That makes for 24 wet, muddy, icky paws trampling around, which makes for quite a disaster. Why is it that melting snow makes for more mud than rain does? Is it like... punishment for the fun gained by making snowmen and snow angels? If so, I don't deserve it because I did none of the above. So, I'd like to offer up my serving of mud to benefit the greater good, please. Thankyouverymuch.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I used to think that romance involved candlelight and flowers, moonlit walks, blah blah blah. These days? Romance is my man calling to say he's got a deer for me to put in the freezer. Seriously, does it get any more elemental than hunting and gathering? It sure does make me all mushy.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Dogs and Unrelated Thoughts


Saturday I met Julie and Robin for lunch at this neat little place down in Randleman, and we then went back to Julie's to work dogs and do some switching dogs around. I handed Raven back off to Julie, and Robin handed Spottie off to me.

Spottie is going to be staying with me for a little while to teach me some things and I'm pretty darned excited. I hope I'll be able to run her in Open soon (and though the very thought makes me want to throw up on my shoes I'll deal with it) - and I really think this will take some of the pressure off of Nick. I think working with her is going to make the picture more clear for me - not only the where I'm going with Nick part, but the how to get there too. I think she has a lot to teach me, and I'm pretty stoked about it.

So far she's not quite ready to work for me, yet, but she will be. Shoot, it's only been two days. Hah! We're mostly getting to know each other right now which is proving to be quite fun. She's a hoot - a very funny and sweet dog, and I think we're going to have a lot of fun together. To see a picture or two of her go visit Robin's blog on the sidebar (Shoofly Farm). I'm sure over the next few weeks I'll be taking some pics of the dogs in general, though!

So far Spottie is fitting right in with the resident dogs. I suppose they're reasonably used to dogs coming and going a bit - and that certainly makes transitions like this easier.

Unrelated Thoughts

If June had her own blog, it would be entitled, "Armpit Love".

I finished the last of the Sex and the City seasons last night. I sniveled and cried, and alternately snorted and laughed. Oh, and they FINALLY show you what Big's real name is at the end of the last show! All of the characters finally sort of "get" to the place I was hoping they would - and it's just the perfect way to end up, IMO. I can't wait for us to all get together and watch the movie. I think I've enjoyed the episodes enough that I wouldn't mind actually having them on DVD.

This getting dark early thing is for the birds. I am going to try to get the bosslady to let me take my remaining vacation days in half-day increments so I can manage to get my dogs worked some during the week. I've been feeling rather frustrated and encouraged to unload my house as soon as it will be financially responsible to do so. With the current housing market and economy as it is it wouldn't make sense to try to sell, but as soon as things start looking up I am SO out of there.

Fleecy winter pajamas here I come. It's going to be a cold one this week - and the weekend should be as well. I'm not sure if I'm ready for winter, but ready or not it's coming. Brrrr!

Today is day two of being back on plan - WW - in loss mode. I'm feeling like I've finally got it under control. I've learned that I have trouble with letting myself run amock when I try to be less rigid about counting my points. Once I get to running amock, amock, amock I find that it's awful hard to get myself back under control. I think the answer for me is that I just cannot relax by much when it comes to what I eat. I will say it feels GOOD to have things back together again. CR is coming over for dinner Tuesday night, and I think maybe I'll treat us to some Shepherd's Pie ala WW recipe.

Happy Monday!

PS - PW has put up two new chapters in "Black Heels to Tractor Wheels".

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Three Good Things

I can't exactly remember all of the details, but yesterday one of the radio announcers I was listening to was asking people to call in and list Three Good Things in their lives. I think it had something to do with Veteran's Day (and thank you to the Veterans for the sacrifices they've made for MY freedoms). He was saying that yes, things are bad for most of us right now from many standpoints, and he thought that we needed to look at some GOOD THINGS.

Ok, so I'll play. I won't even talk about the BAD things today, because wouldn't that just cancel out the good things? Maybe it even cancels out the good things to mention that there are bad things, but still...

My Three Good Things for today:

1. SATC Season 6, part 2 disc 1 should be in my mailbox today
2. I slept all the way through the night last night
3. My lip shimmer color this morning is the BOMB

Ok, so maybe those are a little weak, but it's the best I can do today I think. Sure, I could drag out the old "I have a job" type stuff, but I was trying to come up with good things that didn't have a qualifier attached. So, those are my three good things that don't have any sort of "but" attached to them. Put THAT in my hat and smoke it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Who Are We? Part Two...

Some days it really bugs me to be sitting here in the office looking out the window thinking I'd rather be out there. But, there's not much to be done about it really. So get over it, right? Since I can't be outside I suppose I could cough up some dog bios (with apologies to those who already know us well).

Nick is just barely over 2 years old. I'm running him in Open Ranch, and Nursery right now - we do ISDS style trials exclusively (USBCHA). He's quite useful, and I think we make a good team. He's always been quite sensible on stock - even as a youngster, and I really enjoy him. Although he's technically my second dog (June being the first) he's more like my first dog. I held him at less than a day old, and knew he was supposed to be mine. These pictures by Robin French (the first was taken after we'd been setting out, and he'd been having a big old time in the pond on the way back down the hill):

Linc is just a hair past 10 months old, and his main job is being a puppy right now. I've had him on sheep a handfull of times, and I think we're going to have a lot of fun together. He's very goofy, bouncy, and very sweet... if slightly hard-headed. Hah! These pictures by Julie Poudrier from Sunday:

June is eight years old, and was my first "real" border collie. She came from an unofficial rescue situation - and I first met her at Becca's place. I remember thinking how much I wanted her (which was odd, because my only border collie experience was Bree, and I KNEW I didn't want another dog like HER) but she was already promised to someone else. As it turned out she wound up with me anyway, and I got started learning to work sheep with her. When she came to me she was completely turned off of stock (she'd had a very rough beginning to life). She turned back on - and although she never has amounted to much we've had some fun together. I adore her, really.

Photo by Julie Poudrier:

And then... there are the non border collies!

Ginger was my first dog period. No, we don't know what she is - maybe some cocker spaniel in there, maybe some lab-ish type stuff, and something very spastic and hard-headed. She's 10 years old now, and we've been together for nine years now. She does some of the strangest things with her ears, and has quite the fan club.

And then... there is Zippy. He's a 14 year old Papillon that I rescued when he was 11. He doesn't act or look much like an old dog, but he doesn't hear much these days. He's a sweet little guy with his own little quirks, and I adore him. Most of the time.

What a fun bunch these guys are. Life is never boring with them, that's for sure.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Monday Again

It seems like no matter how hard I try to keep it away Monday always seems to still manage to get here on Monday. I had a blast this past weekend - lots of dog working, and some fence fixing too. CR did came over on Saturday and we fixed my fence. Well, really I should say HE fixed my fence - I mostly just sort of tried to help where I could and not be in the way. I got to hammer some nails and that was pretty cool.

While I'm thinking of it, Becca is having some surgery today. While it SHOULD go as planned I'm keeping her and her family in my prayers that it will go as it should, and that the recovery (it will most likely be a long one) will go well. It's going to be a tough few weeks I'm afraid.

At any rate, Sunday was lessons with Robin out at Julie's place. It was a beautiful day for lessons, and I had a ball. One of the awesome things about Robin is her ability to read and adjust to each individual dog AND her ability to read and adjust to each individual person. I never come away from a session with her confused. I may sometimes come away not quite yet doing what I need to, but I always at least understand what she's telling me.

Case in point... we worked on shedding with Nick. This is me heaving a big old sigh, because my body language is still wrong. I'm probably going to spend a few days mulling it over, because for me to help HIM learn how to shed I have to be able to shed!!! I understand what I need to do here, it's just a matter of getting my body and mind to meet in the middle.

I also took a lesson with Raven since she's hanging with me and my crew this week. We worked on several things - getting her more happy about stopping for one thing, and I was pleased that we were able to get her to stop and remain engaged. We also worked on some driving - doing some of the things I was trying to do with her, but Robin helped me to muddle through where I was having troubles. She's an awful lot of fun, and I think AK Dog Doc is going to have a ball with her.

Then... then there was Linc. He started out like he has been (apparently having forgotten the lesson from Friday) but we finally managed to really get through to him. Here is some video that doesn't quite do him justice (this was truly one of those "you had to be there" things).

Yesterday, second session:

What fun we're going to have together methinks! Hopefully we'll have some pictures to share too, but it probably won't be today. Happy Monday!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Weekend Plans

Whew. I know I owe on the dog bios, but that'll just have to wait until my computer decides it's going to cooperate with me again... or until I'm back at work on Monday... whichever comes first. I've borrowed CR's computer for a few moments while I'm waiting for him to get home from work. Since I was off of work on vacation today, I managed to get my yard mowed, house vacuumed, some tidying up done, and then snuck over here to work dogs and walk dogs. Here shortly I'm to meet my Dad, brother & family, and sister over at the seafood place near the house for dinner.

I managed to get Nick, Raven, and Linc each worked twice today. Nick worked about like normal - and I managed to sort him out a nice driving group second time out. Raven and I worked on driving some - switching sides mostly. It took her until the second go until it seemed like she was "getting it" but she was in fact getting it. It was even more helpful when I realized how badly my timing was sucking, and got more on the spot about stopping her sooner. Duh! She pushed the sheep on out ahead of me about 30 to 40 yards or so also, which is something she's not been willing to do yet. She doesn't have a lot of steering on her yet, so mostly I just let her go on and stopped her and repositioned myself behind her if she tried to flank around.

I also took her in to do some practical work - gate sorting, and the like. She looked at me initially like I had lost my mind, but took to it fairly quickly. She didn't want to flank on around the sheep to my feet to push them away (and I don't know if she's done that before) so we worked a little on that, and on just being patient at the gate while I sorted sheep. She did well, very well. She seemed to really like what we were doing, once she relaxed and understood that we had a task to do.

Linc was a wildman, as usual. I worked him out in the 3 acre field, mostly because the roundpen here is uneven ground and wild puppy + uneven ground + somewhat uncoordinated me = me on my behind. He was keen, fast, and furious, and I wasn't making much of an impression on him.

At any rate, my back is a tad iffy today, and second go I just ran out of patience at the getting run over thing. As I said, I wasn't making much of an impression on Linc, and so I finally came through the sheep and got his attention. Whatdoyouknow he looked at me like, "well, why didn't you say so?" and settled RIGHT in behind the sheep and was looking quite amazing. Good boy Linc. When he stopped being a yahoo he settled right onto balance, was reading and feeling his sheep so nicely it was a little like driving a Cadillac.

But anyway, I've been hesitant to do that (and I didn't do much more than come through the sheep, stick in hand, and ask him what he was doing in a quite emphatic, but gruff tone), and I hope it wasn't the wrong thing. I suppose when your first dog is prone to quitting (as June was) sometimes it makes one slightly inclined to soft step around. And he's still quite young...

Tomorrow CR is coming over to lend a hand on fixing my fence, YAY! That thing is a rattletrap, and I've been very disappointed at all of the warping and pulling it's done. Well, you get what you pay for (danged wooden fence) and the folks who did it were the cheapest. Bah.

Sunday we're all headed out to Julie's to take a lesson with Robin. That should be loads of fun as there are lots of folks coming out, and it's going to be a beautiful day! Friends, sun, food, and dog working - sounds perfect to me!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Who Are We?

Who are we? Wow, that's an awfully open and loaded question, but for today (even though I'm feeling right philosophical at the moment) how about some sort of bio since we're sort of starting over? I believe, since I'm on vacation tomorrow and bored today, that I'll start with me. Good. Now that that's settled.

I am 33, live with five dogs, am a member of a big extended family, am a daughter and a sister, and am soon to be divorced. In that order. The divorce thing stinks, but in the long run I think it will prove to be a blessing in disguise in my life. Shoot, it already is. I've always had a burden for people, and believe that each person brings something special - something to be celebrated - to the world.

I've had lots of former lives... as a gymnast, a cheerleader, a softball player (sucked at that - I regrettably throw like a girl), a headbanger in high school, a horse person, a runner, a swimmer, and these days a dog person. I've taught gymnastics and swimming, and I lifeguarded for quite a few years. What can I say... I love the smell of suntan lotion. I love to read and write (although I read mostly fluff, and don't claim to write well) and enjoy a lot of different types of movies. I religiously follow "House" and "CSI" (Las Vegas Only).

What else? Oh, I'm on the tail end of a 97 lb weight loss with Weight Watchers. I hit my goal at Thanksgiving last year, and I'm vaguely struggling with maintaining at the moment. Man has it ever been an amazing ride. I'm figuring this all out, slowly but surely, and have come to realize that it truly is about the journey when it comes to weight managment.

How did I get into border collies and working dogs? I wound up (rather by accident and fate) with a border collie mix, Bree. In figuring out what to do with this wild child that changed my life, I met Becca (see Eirene on the bloglist) and eventually would meet Julie, Rachel, Mary, and Robin too. Anyway, Becca invited me out to see her farm, because a class I was taking at the time required us to do some "commune with nature" type of stuff. I was offering free labor, and Becca was the only one (brave enough) to take me up on it.

From the moment she sent her old Ben dog (run free sweet Ben) for the sheep I was hooked. I had goosebumps up and down my arms, and all I could think was, "I want this", followed closely by, "I wonder if Bree would do this?". The answer to the second question, however, was a resounding no. Not even close, but she was the beginning. Coincidently that was also the day that I met June, but that's a part of June's story, to be told later.

To the snaggletoothed wild child border collie mix...

Thank you, Bree. I think she and I were happiest together when we were running around on an agility course. Some days I miss her. This photo by Julie Poudrier:

So I guess that's the beginning. I work my dogs on sheep and occasionally cattle (although I did a brief stint in agility with both Bree and June). For a while I had my own sheep which I kept out at Julie's place, but with the changes in my life I had to sell them on. For the moment I'm a girl with five dogs living in the city... but trying to get OUT of the city. It's a challenge training dogs on stock without... stock... but I'm having a ball. The plan is to get out of town and find a place big enough to keep my own flock as soon as I'm able. Please, let it be soon.

Lonely Little Blog

Isn't this a lonely little blog? I feel all guilty and stuff that it's sitting here by it's lonesome little self while I figure out what I'm doing, so I thought I'd come rescue it a little. Plus it's like Friday for me today since I'm off tomorrow, and I'm trying hard to look like I'm working hard. I'm quite talented at that, actually.

So. Some references that might pop up here that may not make sense to some new folks would be references to the "Crazies" and "Mad Spaghetti Noodle".

Crazies generally refers to me, my dogs, or any combination thereof. "Carson Crazies" is the name of my old blog, and also my login name on several dog boards. When I was initially starting out with the border collies I was looking for a user name that would reflect something about myself and my dogs, and the "Crazies" part was born. The minvan is the "CrazyMobile" (bless it's little heart), the house is the "CrazyHouse" and so on.

Mad Spaghetti Noodle? Watch this:

This is me working Linc at 6 months old. Julie and I had been at Lowes that day getting these PVC pipes, and they turned out to be too long and unweildly (and quite hysterical actually). If you listen you can hear Julie laughing about it being the "Mad Spaghetti Noodle" somewhere around the middle of the video. After watching the video and giggling (repeatedly), Becca said, "I know! You're the Mad Spaghetti Noodle Lady!" so thus the reference somehow managed to stick.

So bear with me while I figure out the whole title thing for this blog, but I think I'm actually on the edge getting ready to dive in.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Maiden Farting Around Voyage

So here I am, dipping my toe into the "blogger" waters. I've had a blog on Live Journal for about a year and a half now, and these entries can be found here: . I'm not sure if I'm quite up to making the switch, so I'm farting around over here on blogger to see what I think.

So here I am - looking to see what works and what doesn't. I'm a little concerned about confusing the folks that have been following my other blog for a while, so I'm still on the fence for the switch. But for now I'll just dink around over here and see what's what. Until later... maybe.