Monday, March 30, 2009

Round 2

Saturday was... more of the same. Nick wasn't taking my lie down whistle at the top, wasn't taking ANY sort of stop on the fetch, and was goosing the sheep in a zig-zag pattern until I finally got ahold of him just past the fetch gates to finally get them back on line. The drive, however, was lovely - a tad slow (we walked the sheep around, but the line was really good), and as a result we timed out before the pen. Again. But I learned some things this weekend, and at this point (being my, what, seventh or eighth trial or something like that?) that's a very good thing.

So, after yesterday we went back to Julie's and had a "you lie down you little twerp" discussion, which surprisingly consisted of a whistle, and a "HEY!" and then a dog that dropped like a stone every time I told him after that. Why didn't I do that at the trial? I dunno. Sometimes I don't think quite fast enough on my feet. We worked a little on fixing his fetch, but I'm having a bit of trouble grasping what Robin is asking us to do. So I'm going to roll it around a bit for a few days, and just fool around and try to "get it". That's usually how the two of us work best, Nick and I, is this latent learning thing.

I worked Linc a bit yesterday too, and was pleased at my calm attitude, which in turn resulted in HIS calm attitude. He was looking good, and hopefully I'll get him worked some this week too.

Other than that I watched the basketball game last night (GO HEELS!) and went to bed early. Now it's another week.

God save me from teenage boy dogs this week. That is all.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Today's Runs

Well, I'm pleased to announce that we got NUMBERS, and I did not throw up on my shoes.

That counts for something, right?

Hah. This stuff still sort of blurs and whirls around for me, so unlike Julie who manages to generally be able to recount everything beautifully, for me it's more like, "well, we didn't totally suck". So here is what I DO remember:

Run #1 - outrun was nice, but he was pulling up a bit shallow. He, however, realized it and flared out beautifully to land nice and deep, and walk up straight and confident. He was, of course, walking up right through my "LIE DOWN" whistle. My emphatic lie down whistle, in fact. According to Julie he also managed to effectively lift the sheep, GOOSE them, and then lie down. Doofus. Fetch was offline until after the panels, he did NOT want to let off of the pressure to correct the line, nor did he want to stop. Turn at the post was lovely, as was the drive away.

The cross drive for the first run was a pull back through the fetch panels, which he did pretty nicely. We managed to time out at the pen though. Wanna know why? His idiot handler had neglected to check how it opened during the handler's meeting, and thought she was going to have to take the danged thing apart to get them in it.

So sheepdog trialing noobs, listen up. When the seasoned veterans tell you to make sure you know how to open the pen, you should listen. For reals.

Second run his outrun was nicer, though he slightly overran. Lifted a bit crooked (I thought, but his lift score was better) and then same fetch as before. Same exact score, actually. Drive away was a hair squirrelly, mostly due to the dog deciding that maybe he should see if he could just do what he wanted to. We discussed it. I won.

He did the most beeeyoootiful crossdrive he's ever done. Up until today every cross drive we've done at a trial has mostly been him goosing sheep, winging around to cover, me trying to get him around, rinse and repeat. Today he got in there and with some steady's and some small flanks damn if we didn't actually drive some sheep.

That being said, we timed out before we got to the pen. This course was the full drive (it was a long drive) and as a result didn't get our drive points at all. We did miss the crossdrive panels, and had a squirrely trek back to the pen because the sheep were bound and determined to get back to the setout. They'd neglected to tell the judge that we'd have an extra minute, so we timed out when we shouldn't have. But hey, there were others who managed to complete the course AND pen on the smaller amount of time, so fair enough. I'm not complaining at ALL.

I think we ended up fifth or sixth in the first go (there were some really, REALLY nice runs after ours, including Robin's Billy - who is very young, and looked very good, and Denise's May who kicked some serious young dog bootie). I don't know where we wound up on the second run - but I think I won the "Who can have the lowest score that is a NUMBER" prize. Wonder what we get for that?

Here's the thing... we didn't do all that great from a score standpoint, and we didn't get our second Nursery leg, but I'm so happy with him and our runs. They were very respectable, and I was just pleased as punch with his driving. There were a lot of things that he gave me that he hasn't been, and I think the time off did him some good. He's gotten a lot tougher, and I truly had a ball today. The weather held out until we were finished too, so that was a very good thing. Anet has a beautiful place, and I really liked the challenges on the field.

Update on tomorrow to follow!

Coffee and Nerves

This is us - longing for the green, ripe days of summer, where we can swim around and then sniff the air! I am SO ready for it.

I'm sitting here drinking my coffee just less than three hours before I need to load the dogs up and head down the road. Granted I'm not heading very far down the road - this trial is only about 20 minutes from my house! That means I can either come home at night or bunk down at Julie or Mary's place - they've generously offered me and the doggers a spot to sleep should we want it.

I'm both anxious and excited at the same time. Nick has been very sound - and very happy to be at my side again. He's developed quite a few opinions while he was being rested, and that's a very good thing. I think once I send him today I'll be OK, but at the moment my stomach is flopping around, which is not very good for digestion I suppose. I remember how freaked out I was the first time I ever ran Nick in a trial - and it took me MONTHS to work up my nerve just to do it. This is definately a small drop in the bucket compared to that, but still I feel so out of the swing of things really. Maybe now that I've obsessed here I can get over it. Yeah right.

So I'll be back later with a report - maybe tonight, maybe not. We have two Nursery runs today, and then one more tomorrow. It's supposed to be rainy, rainy, rainy here. I can say I'm not looking forward to that. With the chance of thunderstorms I'm up in the air about whether to leave June at home where she's safe, or with me where I can keep an eye on her. I'm seriously considering just leaving everyone but Nick at home, at least today (since we're starting at Noon). I've got my rain gear packed, and after a shower and a few more cups of coffee we're going to roll on out of here!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What's Coming Up?

Watching the rams Noodlehead? Of course.

The Crazies and I all went out to Julie's this afternoon for a little walking, and a little dog working. I'm running Nick in Nursery at the Climax SDT in just a little over a week, and we'll be doing a last tune-up with Robin on Sunday. Today we mostly worked on shedding actually. I wasn't sure that was what I was going to do when I walked out there, but it sort of happened that way. Turned out that Zippy managed to squeak into the pasture with us, so it made for some interesting pressures.

I worked a tad with Linc on outruns, but we were having some struggles and I suspect it was either the sheep not being quite appropriate or him catching my vibes. I didn't THINK I was giving off any vibes, but the amount of wool left lying on the ground said otherwise. Sometimes you just have to know when to walk away and come back another day. Today was one of those days.

We had a great walk though! Here are a few photos. By the way, did I mention how much the Noodlhead LOVES him some fowl? The other day I wasn't paying him much attention and when I turned around to see what he was up to he'd gathered up all of Julie's chickens and was bringing them to me. Does it matter to him that they don't really flock? Of course not. He will happily bring them one by one, if he has to.

Seriously, Nick. One by one? Weirdo.

After all of that, Julie, Mary & I went up to the Backyard Grill and had all you can eat crablegs. I belive a hand-truck was practically in order to get me back out to the truck.
Pip says hi!

I call this one "Brothers". Awwww.

Coming back up the ridge:

And lastly this one isn't quite in focus, but I swear this dog is practically the cutest thing ever. The only thing cuter is when he runs. Seriously. He gets this floofy flying hair look and I just wanna squishy him.

That's all for now. I'm still working on moving shots with this new to me camera. Most of the ones I got today were *really* bad. But practicing perfect makes perfect. That one is for my old Gymnastics coach, Rob Travers. ;)

Monday, March 9, 2009

New to Me Camera

I bought a new to me camera from Robin... and my poor dogs are paying the price. One thing that really cracks me up is that Zippy's foster Mom didn't realize he's tri-colored. I can see the cloudiness in his 15 year old eyes in that shot. At any rate, I probably will try to get some working photos this coming weekend, but today at lunch I fooled around some and much to the dogs' annoyance I had a ball. So here we go...

The Small Dog (Zippy) with the Turd (Ginger) in the background:

June had already run in the house to hide, and Linc was feeling unphotogenic today. Nick, however is usually reasonably coooperative. Usually.

The Noodlehead (Nick):
This is stupid...
He seems to have lots of pictures like that one. But then he loves me anyway...

I generally immediately delete any pictures like this one with the sun behind the dog, but I thought this one was rather neat looking. He says, "We're done, right?"

This one was from yesterday as I called Nick over to the gate at Julie's (quite obviously there were sheep behind me). Bad picture... cute Noodle. I was still sort of trying to figure out the camera. Uh, I'm STILL trying to figure it out.

That is all. I'm excited - I think I'm going to have a BALL with this camera.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wedding Photo(s)

I promised a few of you a photo of the dress from my sister's wedding back in December, so here you go. She's 13 years younger than I am, and in a lot of ways I wish we were closer. She and her husband are now in Oklahoma, where he's stationed for the Army. This is the dress that sparked my moaning about girdles, nipple covers, and open-toed shoes. Anything for family, right? Anything for love?

She was an absolutely beautiful bride. I wish them the best. The silver dress is still hanging on the back of my closet door - along with the open toed shoes that cannot be seen from this angle.

The photographer is Lyndon Lloyd, of who incidently did my portrait and first wedding photos also. He and his wife own the studio, and also happened to be my Girl Scout leaders, and close family friends growing up. He's quite amazing, and they're just an all-around neat couple. Just had to say that.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Snow Day!

It SNOWED!!! Ok, so everyone up north who is used to snow, please bear with me. We got about 6" I'd say, in my back yard. The dogs are having a ball. Linc has been doing puppy zoomies and shoving his head in the snow, Nick has been seen to do a zoomie or two, and June is ambushing them both. Ginger is put out, though, and Zippy is highly distressed because the snow comes up almost to his shoulders. I suppose it's hard for a small dog to poop when the snow is almost as tall as he is!

I took a few pictures, but they're pretty awful. I'm posting them anyway, just because it's so seldom that we get more than a dusting here in central NC.

This is awful, but you get the idea... puppy snowplow:

June is waiting

Always waiting...

Nick says, does this snow make my legs look short? I didn't think so.

I've been sick since last week, and thankfully the boss decided to grace me with another day to rest (he said don't come out in this), so I'm at home again. I'm starting to get itchy to be out and about, but I'm still tired enough to appreciate the time to rest. Since I've now exhausted the full Lord of the Rings trilogy (all nine hours... well actually ten hours, since the ROTK is a four hour extended version) twice, I think I'll move on to training videos this afternoon. Nick is now released to full activity, and we're ready to rock and roll! He'll be running Nursery at a trial in Climax, NC, end of March, and I think we'll be ready.

Last night I raided my pantry to make a stew, and this is what I came up with:

Improvised Taco-Mac Stew

1 medium onion
1 stalk celery
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic s
3 cups beef broth
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp Ground cumin
1 to 2 chopped canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 15 oz can corn, drained
1 15 oz can of Dark Red Kidney Beans (or any beans will do) drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp Chili Powder
20-24 oz raw venison stew meat (beef or lamb would be great, too)
small can tomato paste
1 cup(s) salsa
1 cup(s) uncooked macaroni

salt and pepper to taste, plus water as needed


Spray a stock pot with cooking spray. Brown venison in olive oil. Add onions and celery, cook another two to three minutes more. Drain if needed. Put in spices, garlic, and chipotle, stir to toast. Add some beef stock to deglaze. Cook, stirring for about a minute. Add the rest of the beef stock, and the tomato paste. I added about 4-5 cups of water. Simmer for about four hours -add water as needed. I put enough water in to fill an 8 qt stock pot halfway.

Then add the beans, corn, and salsa (I would have used canned diced tomatoes, but I didn't have any). To kick it up a notch you could add a can of diced green chilis. Cook for another two hours or so.

Right before serving cook the pasta, drain, and then add to the soup. Allow to warm up before serving. Add more water as needed to thin the soup, if you like. I left it pretty thick. Adjust spices to taste.

Serving size = 1-1/2 cups, makes about 8 servings at 5 pts/serving.

Serving size may vary, depending on how you like your soup/stew. Barley would have been yummy in it too. Normally I don't like pasta in a dish like this, but for whatever reason it was just perfect.

If you don't like it spicy, leave out the chipotles. Trust me. Otherwise they add a kick, and a smokiness.