Monday, January 31, 2011

Big Linc, Little Linc, and Nick

Yesterday I got the royal trail tour from Pam. I have lived here most of my life, and I am just now learning of these places? The dogs cannot believe I could possibly not know this. There are trails here. There are lakes. There are trails and lakes. There are trails that lead to lakes. Lakes = swimming. Does it matter that the water is like 10 degrees F? Apparently not. There were miles upon miles and miles of wooded awesome rocking trails, and tons of water access. I had the greatest time, and so did they.

Witness Big Linc, Little Linc, and Nick. Swimming. In North Carolina. In January:

OK, so it is a cell phone picture, and it's awful. Up front is Linc, in the middle is Nick, and see waaaaay back there, that other black Linc-looking thing? That's Rogue. He's an Aussie. His registered name should have been "Auntie Laura's Puppy". He's not a Border Collie and I really don't care. He's pretty darned cute on sheep (has a good bit of go-around in him, and that cute little fluffy wiggly black butt just kills me). He wants to come live with his Auntie Laura. He's like a little sweeter Linc that listens. Want. Unfortunately, so far Pam refuses to cough up the puppy. I even tried to make an even trade, and no go.

For the sake of keeping it real, though, here is a true confession. I took this picture here...

'cuz I thought it was Linc.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Dogs Update

I think I'm very much overdue on the dog updates. There have been some recent changes here. I finally came to the very difficult decision to send Moon back to Robin. The biggest reason for this is that she just needs more than the casual sort of work I can give her. Now that Julie has moved away I certainly won't be able to work my dogs at much, at least not until I can change my circumstances. So I've cried a lot of tears, and feel like I've done the right thing.

Linc... Linc is growing up. He's in a place now where he's still a bit rash, and a tiny bit silly, but finally at least on the trial field willing to listen. I've been working on opening his flanks back up some, letting him be a bit more natural (now that he's less of a bonehead) and reinforcing his stop. Well... more like sort of trying to reinforce his stop. I really appreciate the motor in this dog - and really appreciate his stamina, but dang if he would just STOP when I tell him to... we'd have a lot less of a mess to clean up sometimes. He managed to place at Montpelier in Pro-Novice, and I'm toying with the idea of moving him up to Ranch if I can get enough work on him to make it reasonable. He's getting his whistles, and growing a brain. Good boy Linc.

Then, there is Nick. I can't remember what I've updated but he placed fourth in Open both days at Montpelier. This was our first time placing in open, and our first points for the finals. Neither of those runs were our best, but they were good, solid runs. On the second day we sat in first place ALL day... but there were a few really great runs in the last 7 or so runs. They were really nice runs, and ours was only good. It worked out the right way!

At Rural Hill the first day he crossed over at my feet, thus DQ'ing us. He had set himself up to go left... but right as I was about to send him he started leaning to the right, HARD. So I flipped him around to my right side. Then, the second I sent him, he crossed over to the left at my feet.ARGH! I could have choked him. I was trying SO hard to set him up right, knowing beforehand he might have issues with the horses at setout. Well... he did.

The second day had issues again on his outrun. He *really* didn't want to go around the horses. After a couple of redirects (which he ignored) he ran out to the left STRAIGHT up the side of the field - no real bend, so that he could squeak in between the horses and the sheep. He then proceeded to bugger the sheep all of the way down the field - straight as an arrow, about 50 yards off line, despite my very ardent protesting. Did I mention that it sometimes makes me happy when he flips me the doggie bird? This was not really one of those times.

I gave him an earful as he went around the post, and we got it together on the drive - to a point. I was surprised that the sheep pretty much forgave him. Then we had a little shedding lesson. I do a pretty good job of setting it up, but sometimes have trouble closing the deal. I need Robin's shedding lesson #2. BUT, we got it, with 9 seconds left on the clock. I don't even know why I did it, but I ran laughing like a lunatic to the pen. The entire crowd was roaring with laughter. I ran to the pen not saying a word to Nick, and as I turned with the gate open he was cramming those sheep in the pen... right as the timer went off. I'm guessing the sheep were just grateful. So yeah, we sucked it up bigtime at Rural Hill, but we at least offered some sort of crowd entertainment.
One of the conclusions I've come to is that part of our problems are just me being a new Open handler, and Nick being a new Open dog (with an inexperienced handler). The other big problem is that my dogs are just not getting enough work to make any of us happy. The housing market still sucks so much I don't want to sell my house yet, so I'm going to look into the possibility of renting some pasture.

In other dog news, June is good, Ginger is good and Zippy is getting old and doddery.

So far, for this year, I'm planning to work at Robin's March and April trials, but beyond that I don't know. I do know that the CrazyMobile is probably going to have to be replaced soon. But I plan to drive her until her wheels fall off! Rattletrap Power!

So that's it. Back down to my five dogs, and I think at this point I'm going to wait before I have another pup. At the moment I am really enjoying just having five. I wouldn't even mind getting down to four. Yeah, I'm sure that's going to happen.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Date? Isn't that a fruit?

A few weeks ago I posted Online Dating Decoded . The story behind that is that one day I was bored, and thought I might enjoy surfing around on It turns out you can look for free, but you have to make a profile. So I made a profile, and entertained myself looking at profiles. Then... then these guys started emailing me. It turns out that I have this nosiness problem. I could not bear the thought of not being able to read the emails. I think, too, that my nosiness problem is fairly well known. I don't want to tell anyone really what I know, I just like to know, and see.

So I signed up. I now, after two months of chatting on the phone and by email, have a first date.

What do people even DO on a first date anymore??? I mean, seriously? It's been ten years since I've had a first date with someone that I didn't already know pretty well. My first date with CR (remember him?) was "hey, why don't you come see my farm". Plus he already knew I had tons o dogs and was a little crazy. My first date with my ex-husband was sort of a "hey, we're already hanging out after this ball game lets go get food" sort of deal and I'd known him since I was 7 or 8. Well, then there was this first date with this cute sort of neighbor dude that was a total bust, but we already knew each other pretty well. Suffice it to say that he loves himself a lot.

I digress. So the issue at hand is, what in the samhill do people do on dates these days? I know, I need an emergency out. Who wants to sign up to be my emergency out? Then again, once he sees the CrazyMobile he might just drive away in a swirl of dust and barely concealed disgust (not to mention terror). doG forbid he stick his head in my car. Yep, that's why today, just in case, I've been vacuuming out my car. Most women would be getting manicures and shaving their legs before a date, and what am I doing? Vacuuming out crates and uh... taking in the towels that the crate full of chickens had been on.

What on earth am I going to wear? Well, I have two choices - farm clothes or work clothes. I don't have sexy going-on-a-first-date clothes. I'll never forget balling my eyes out the night before my wedding because I didn't have any sexy honeymoon panties. I'm afraid my situation hasn't changed much. I hope I still have some good manners left. After years of eating alone most of the time I hope I still know how to chew with my mouth closed. Besides, what DO people who don't do dogs and livestock talk about? This guy doesn't have either, though he does occasionally take his Mom's dog home for a sleepover. That's redeeming, right?

So we shall see. This dating thing is hard. Even the whole getting-to-know-you thing is hard. I hope I'm not all wilted and past my dating expiration date.

Ohmygosh, I hope I don't get to talking about taking sheep to the butcher, or the whole thinking about Julie and I killing chickens escapade.

Maybe I'll play it
safe and talk about... uh... football. Or... uh... maybe I'll get lucky and he'll talk a lot. I tend to babble when I get nervous, like the first time I had to take my boss for a ride.

But on the upside, my crates smell bleachy-fresh.

New Year Resolutions

I don't usually do NYRs, and I do realize that it's almost February. But I've been thinking. I need some goals. Maybe they're not even really NYRs but more just general life goals. I cannot seem to get myself on track for much of anything lately, so I'm making a list. We all know how much I like lists, so here's my list of short term goals:

1. Blog more
2. Change my work situation
3. Eat less
4. Curse less
5. Eat at least one fruit a day - to start
6. Drink more water - at least 1 bottle/day to start (I'd better get cracking today)
7. Play less FB games (yes, really)
8. Walk dogs more
9. Work on getting a new vehicle
10. Get a new mattress

Ok, so I'm not sure where the vehicle and mattress fall into things, but I can tell you that they're things I NEED. We're not even talking want anymore, we're in the world of need here. I've found that lately I cannot handle a whole lot of huge changes in my life, so I'm aiming for smaller changes - little by little.

I wish I could say that I had major dog working goals this year but I don't. With somewhat limited finances right now it's just not in the cards. I'm thinking about finding some pasture to rent because it really doesn't look like the housing market is getting better any time soon, and I think probably I'm going to have to hold what I've got for now. As for trialling this year, at the moment all I have on tap is working up top with Julie for Robin's trials in March and April. Beyond that... I just don't know.

So that's my list. I'm going to start with the Blog more part of things. I feel sort of blog-unworthy because I do not have a great camera and don't have tons and tons of supercool pictures to illustrate with. I guess we'll all just have to settle for mostly words, and hopefully the usual sort of zany stuff that happens in my world.