Monday, March 29, 2010

Fun Weekend in Pescadero

It's been a long time since we spent some time in Pescadero but this past weekend we enjoyed another fun AHBA trial at Willowside Ranch with all the fixin's...good runs, great friends, glorious weather, and dinner at Duarte's Tavern to top it all off.

Coal had five runs over two days on goats, geese, and sheep. He got three first places and two second places. His awards included HIT on hooved stock (goats/sheep) on Sunday and the high score over the whole weekend which was his 96 point HRD-III Sunday score on goats. The overall weekend award was special in honor of remembering Duffy so it was really nice that Coal was able to win it since he grew up with Duffy helping him get started in working stock.

The Willowside Wranglers never cease to amaze with their energy and creativity. A special surprise awaited the Level III handlers on the goats and sheep ranch course as they crossed with their stock over the footbridge on the far end of the long course. What lives under a bridge, you ask? A troll!

Rime made his debut in Level I but the long course and flighty sheep were just a bit over our heads at this point. He is only 15 months old and while we made it through the first part of the course, we got in trouble when the sheep got into a corner on our way "home" so after a couple of attempts to fix it, I decided to retire rather than risk a problem. He doesn't have the skill set yet to handle all the issues that can crop up on a ranch course. We have plenty of time to work all those things out as he matures.

It's hard to come back to reality after such a nice weekend but I would like to send out a big thank you to all of the trial organizers and helpers. The Willowide group is always the best!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sonoma Wine Country Sheepdog Trial 2010, Results

Results are posted from the Sonoma Wine Country Sheepdog Trial, 2010.



Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sonoma Wine Country 2010, Pro-Novice

Coal and I had a good afternoon yesterday at the Sonoma Wine Country Trial. He ran almost last which was after 5:00 PM. But by then the air had started to cool and a slight breeze had kicked up which was most welcome after an afternoon that was almost too warm (we are not used to 80 degrees yet!).

The range ewes behaved tolerably well and we were able to get around the course, but timed out after starting to work on our pen. I wish we could have moved things along a little faster throughout the run, so we could have completed that pen but overall I was really pleased. He got 10th place with 59 points and since the awards are so generous at this trial, we were lucky enough to go home with a pretty ribbon and a nice bottle of wine. I was really thrilled when I realized that he lost only five points off his drive. Wow!

It was fun to catch up with friends and enjoy the afternoon at a beautiful spot. Thanks to all who helped. The Open runs continue Saturday and Sunday on the two fields simultaneously.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sonoma Wine Country Sheepdog Trial 2010, Running Orders

Running Orders are posted for the 2010 Sonoma Wine Country Sheepdog Trial:


Here is Coal at last year's trial:

Photo copyright Morgen Magnuson

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Golden Apple

My longtime friend Dean was recently surprised with an award (the "Golden Apple") for teaching. Teachers are the unsung heroes and heroines in our society; often underpaid, overworked, and way under-recognized for their contributions. I'm really proud of Dean for getting this award and grateful that an organization is finding a way to give teachers some recognition for what they do every day.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Goose SheepDogs

Yesterday Coal and Rime got to work geese as well as sheep, at our friend Joyce's place. It was Rime's first time ever trying out the geese, and he took right to it, well, for lack of a better term, like a duck to water! I was really pleased with Rime's reaction. We went into the goose pen, I laid him down, walked halfway to the geese, and sent him around. He worked them like he'd done it all his life and had no hesitation, whatsoever. Geese are fun and give us more variety at the AHBA trial venue, so I was really happy to see Rime working so well on them. Coal hadn't been on the geese since last summer so I gave him a quick turn just as a reminder.

They both also worked well on some light yearling woolie ewes who act differently than the sheep we have been working for weeks. It was a fun outing! I thought going to a new place would mean I'd have to take a few steps backward with Rime but instead he surprised me by taking a couple of steps forward instead. Yes!

OK, so these are not the exact geese we were working, but they are placeholders and I figure that a photo makes the post more interesting. ;-) 

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Upon the Occasion of Rime's 15-Month Birthday, March 6, 2010

On the occasion of Rime's 15-month old birthday, March 6, 2010, he has a few things to say about the pictures he has posted. "The Boss Lady keeps muttering something about how I'm 'getting it' whatever that means. I think it means I'm pretty clever so I'll keep doing what I'm doing!"

"I have met the MacPherson Sisters (USA), Mr Woolie Wether, and you are no match for them!" (We are big fans of Mist: Sheepdog Tales around here.)

OK I will just play it cool standing here until she lets me go back to work again...La, La, La...

Don't all dogs squint when you try to take their picture with a telephone?

OK, I give in! Eyes are open! Please let's just let the woolies out of this pen and get back to business!

Friday, March 5, 2010

A Wild Turkey Morning

If anyone is hanging in here long enough, you'll recall a few weeks ago in which I was almost run over by a coyote chasing a rabbit in the parking lot of the office building where I work. I remarked that I hadn't seen any of the wild turkeys lately that were formerly frequent visitors to the office complex, and I wondered if the coyote(s) had already  made meals of all of them. Good news! The turkeys are back. A group of seven Toms in all their finery were parading around this morning, right in front of the door that I use to enter the building. They were gobbling and strutting about with all their feathers on parade.

And here is the object of all their excitement and affection: the lone hen:

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Coal is Three and a Half Years Old

It's almost incomprehensible how quickly time flies by. Coal is now three and a half years old and definitely the "go-to" dog for everything. When Bid left us unexpectedly last year, Coal stepped into some big shoes to fill but has taken on the responsibility and then some. Coal can do anything I need him to do with our sheep...he shows finesse, patience, grit, and sometimes a bit of cowboy!

I was searching for some photos for another project and found these from late 2006. I can hardly believe that this little puppy is now my right hand man..a great and willing sheepdog partner. I just had to share them.

Coal and Chief became great pals!

Except when Coal would pounce on Chiefie!

I love this one of Coal and Augie. I am so glad that Coal got to spend time with Augie in what were to be Augie's last few months with us. I'm pretty sure that Augie passed on some of his wisdom.

Augie allowed Coal to snuggle up with him on his blanket.

Augie was so gentle (at age 14+) with a raucous puppy.

And I can't resist showing this lovely shot of Bid taken at the same time.

None of the dogs are ever with us long enough but we treasure them all.