Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Things I Learned Last Weekend

Things I Learned Last Weekend:

1. Paper money does not stay put in my back pockets but I'll take it however I can get it.

2. Sheep that jump over my dog and into a sorting pen that they don't belong in while flattening another sheep and knocking a gate completely down get caught and bodily thrown back out to where they belong by yours truly. I am such a brute. That annoys me, and it's rude. Note to sheep: Just Don't Do It. (was that the world's longest run-on sentence?)

3. Ants like cupcakes. For reals. RIP precious cupcakes.

4. I can back between two narrowly placed trees TWICE in one weekend and not hit them. In fact, I didn't hit anything with my vehicle all weekend long. This must be some sort of record.

5. It is actually possible to over-inflate an air mattress.

6. Dry socks are a gift from God.

7. It is a long way from the bottom to the top at Robin's when you're trying to run up the hill looking a bit like an overstuffed buffalo on crack.

8. Eventually a girl's legs get tired of stepping over gates and fences and need help from friends. It gives new meaning to the term "give me a leg up".

Ok, so I was going to list ten things but I ran out of steam. Oh wait, I learned two important things that ARE relevant:

9. Don't pick up the pen rope unless you're going to hang onto it. Seriously.

10. When your sheep come into the shedding ring if you have one looking to run away don't let her lead off. At the very least don't turn your back on her - she is sneaky like ninja.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Whistle for a Cure SDT Recap

This past weekend was one of new beginnings for the dogs and I. Nick and I both had a first - our first Open trial together, and it was Nick's Open debut! It was Linc's trialing debut in Pro-Novice. Surprisingly the fact that I was busier than a one-armed paper hanger working maybe accounted for the fact that I never even thought of throwing up on my shoes. I know, another first, right?

The trial field was great - Robin has spent weeks clearing out trees and brush, and has made it much more open and easier to see. The course wasn't terribly long - but it was challenging. The first day of Open a good bit of the fetch was blind, which was rather cool. The sheep were very good I thought - and though it was quite a mixture of hair sheep and wool sheep from two flocks, they worked pretty well for the most part while being a challenge as well. Nick and I traded off with Julie setting out and doing penwork along with the help from Denise, Peggy, Sandy and Dan. They were AWESOME - thank you guys! I think maybe I even prefer working up top - it's fun for me. It keeps me from obsessing and worrying, and it makes Nick happy.

We raised almost as much money this year as we did last year for Ovarian Cancer research as part of our friend Joan's team. She is such a special person that it's an honor to be a part of this and support not only the research but her too.

I'm not going to give a blow by blow of every step that was taken (I'm still too tired for that), but I'll give a decent recount if I can. Nick's first Open run he did everything I EVER asked of him and then some. He was sharp, thoughtful, listening well, and held it together really well. I was pleased to see him holding some of the lines on his own. His drive was a thing of beauty - only losing two points. Going into the shedding ring we'd only lost 12 or 13 pts. Unfortunately we wound up losing a ewe to the exhaust on a missed shed (totally my fault - I turned my back on her and she was GONE), and I retired because I couldn't see what was going on.

Dang. Shedding sure is a lot harder when you're doing it than when you're watching it. Oh yeah baby, I'm a darned good armchair shedder. In real time? Not so much. Yet. It's a lot harder to do the first time under the gun than it is just out in a pasture alone. When it's just me, my dog, the sheep, and no pressure we're like shedding fools. In the ring? Hah. For that matter there's a lot more pressure in general - there's a lot more to think about running in Open. There's a lot more that's expected and needed from the dog, and I cannot imagine how anyone could make breeding decisions when they've never gotten out of the novice classes. Open is a whole new ballgame. But really, that's another discussion. We're just at the beginning of our journey.

Our second run wasn't nearly as pretty - it took me until partly through the drive away to get ahold of Nick. By that point he had been setting out and pushing out the day before - and was quite full of himself. He buggered the sheep a bit starting his drive (and OK, on the fetch too) and was overflanking and winging around. I finally got his attention, and after that his drive was good. Fortunately the sheep were forgiving of his buggering and settled right down. I made a few novice flubs also - but we got around. We timed out in the shedding ring this time. Denise had given me some much appreciated advice (thank you Denise) after our shed the day before, so I was considering this as I went into the ring this time. I was disappointed to not have time to put it into action, but at least I was *thinking* about it. We got a score though! It wasn't a great score, but it WAS a score.

So YAY! We got a score at our first Open trial. That's not what I aspire to forever, but for the first one - with my first dog... I'm happy. Satisfied? No. Happy? Yes. I won't be satisfied to *just* get a score forever. But for today I'm floating.

Linc's Pro-Novice run was better than I expected. He gave me far more than I expected him to. I've been having a little trouble of late with him hesitating on his outruns. I was worried that this would be an issue... or that I might possibly find him hanging off a sheep on the way down the field. When he feels pressure from me he gets a little wiggy at the moment. I set him up to go left, and to my surprise he went like a champ.

He was a *tad* tight going out, but he kicked out and landed beautifully behind the sheep. He took his down whistle - dropped like a stone. The fetch was a tad off line (just barely missing the panels) but I finally convinced him to fix it after the panels. After the turn at the post there were two sheep bound and determined to head off towards the left. Two sheep were online going where I wanted, but I think he was afraid if he let off the pressure they would bolt up the hill. The two determined to go towards the goat yard were *really* determined, and I could see Linc getting wound tighter and tighter. I retired at that point - I felt like he was in way over his head. All in all I was more than pleased with him.

So it might not have been the most successful trial ever as far as scores go, but dang if my dogs and I didn't learn a lot. I was awful proud of both of them. Nick worked literally *all* weekend up top, and he held up physically and mentally - and still he wanted more.

Now we look ahead to the Lexington SDT in October. I missed the opening date of Jan Thompson's trial so won't be heading up there unfortunately. I'm disappointed, but maybe I should try paying attention. I'm tossing around the possibility of seeing if we can get in to run at Rural Hill since it's so close. That will probably be it for us and trials this year.

Later on I'll have a list of "Things I Learned Last Weekend".

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


People say strange things sometimes. I should know, because I know I say strange things on a pretty regular basis. Today I gave my cell phone number to a guy who has been doing a good bit of my trucking lately (at work). His response? "Ok, I'm writing it in my book this time, and I promise I won't use it to drunk dial you."

A man after my own heart... irrelevant, irreverant, out in left field, slightly odd and off topic. Maybe he SHOULD drunk dial me. Then again, I've never seen him in person, and those types of things can go very badly. The other day he said something about not being married. I wonder if he's hitting on me? That would be strange too. I would hate to see myself show up in a blog on PLFM.

Lastly, and completely off topic... I'm going to be doing some SERIOUS puppy squishying this weekend. The Chris/Zac puppies are coming for a slumber party at Auntie Laura's house while Julie and Robin are at Don McCaig's. Sadly I didn't get my entry in before he closed the open entries, so I'm opting to be sufficiently puppified instead. Yum! Puppies, all for ME!!! Then I get to send them home again, which seems just perfect.

While I'm at it this weekend I think I'm going to go harrass said defectees' sheep while they're gone. Linc desperately needs some practical stuff. I worked him this past weekend and saw some of the fall-out from the issues the weekend before. I think it's a minor bump in the road, so this weekend I'm planning to spend one day at Robin's place putting here sheep here, there, and beyond. It'll be good for him, and it'll be activity points for me because the four-wheeler scares me. Nick worked nicely for me - and I'm to work on more whistle, less voice, and more proactive handling. We can do that.

Oh, and for a quick itchy rash update... I think I finally turned a small corner. I think it has phased back into the land of the bearable until gone. Please, oh Lord, please go on and take it away. Maybe I should drop this livestock thing and plan to raise something less inclined to lay in things I'm allergic to... like garden gnomes... and goldfish.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Slackin and Slummin

Slackin and slummin over here. Sorry! It's been crazy around here, and I'm just sort of hanging on by my fingernails at the moment.

What have we been up to? Nick's all healed up from his neuter, but I didn't get to work him as I'd like due to his feet being softened somewhat by his layup. Hopefully he'll be good to go tomorrow. Last weekend Linc and I ironed out some issues working sheep in tight spaces, and dealing with the pressures there appropriately. We had some rough moments but I think we got it all squared away.

Also (insert whiney voice here) I'm partially covered by an itchy rash coming from an unidentifiable substance obtained from an unidentifiable place. I seriously want to claw my own eyes out. That being said I finally went to the organic co-op here and am getting a bit of relief.

Last week my air conditioner went out, and bless my Ex-Husband for fixing it for me. It appears that we're going to have some sort of friendship now, and while I'm not sure exactly how I feel about that (and I'm a tad leary) I'm glad to have some sort of open communication with him.

I'll be loading up the dogs early tomorrow morning and heading up to Robin's to work dogs, hang out, and prepare for her trial end of this month. I'm hoping to give Linc a chance to lengthen out his outrun tomorrow... cuz he's running Pro-Novice and Nursery at Robin's WFAC trial this month. I've also entered him to run Nursery in Lexington, VA end of next month. Nick will be running Open at both - and we'll be helping up top (either in the pens or setting sheep) at Robin's trial. So we've got a few fun things coming up.

Robin's WFAC trial is to raise funds to support our friend Joan Stout-Knight in raising money for Ovarian Cancer Research. You can get an entry form by going to . As it turns out we'll be running Open as well as the novice classes. They'd be thrilled to have any donations or in-spirit entries, so please consider getting involved in some way. We had a ball last year, and I think we will this year also!

The rescue Chi thing didn't work out because the owner of the dog refused to relinquish her when the time came. She still (the dog) shows up in my yard every few days doing zoomies and begging me to play with her (which I do). I feel awful for the wee one - I think it's possible they're intending to breed her (based on their belief that she should be bred before spayed, ick) and so on. It makes me sick to my stomach.

At any rate, hopefully I'll have good updates to report on Linc's work this weekend. I suspect I'm going to take him out there and be surprised and pleased with him. He's a good boy. Happy Labor Day everyone!