Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sonoma County Sheepdogs

Be sure to follow the links in George Powell's PK9P blog to read the nice article about sheepdogs in Sonoma County titled "That'll Do". Lots of locals are pictured and quoted.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Another June Birthday: Bid

This is the week for birthdays remembered. Today Bid would have been eleven years old. He is still very much missed. Of his littermates, Bid and Maggie are gone but Meg, Zack and Jess are all still hale and hearty! Happy Birthday to them!

Below is a favorite photo series of Bid. Enjoy!

Photos by K. Smay

Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Solstice Girl

This is Alix, my Summer Solstice girl and my first Border Collie.  Today is the 20th anniversary of her birth on June 21, 1990. I am celebrating 20 years of wonderful Border Collies all year long! She is pictured here at a very young age seven in 1996 with one of her many ribbons from performance events. Photo by T. Schaefges.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

All Creatures...

We had another RESDA workday on Saturday. Above are some of the sheep that we used, taking a rest under a handy tree.

Coal (above) helped again with set-out. Most of the novice dogs had never worked with a setout dog and stock handler before, so we set that up for them to begin practicing it. The dogs mostly had no issue with it, especially after their first run. Some of  the novice handlers hadn't realized the need to add this possibility into their training repertoire but that's what a workday is for, after all...to gain training experience through a collective effort. Coal is of course only too happy to help!

Rime is shown as a happy boy returning to the spectator area after his workout. He and I worked some on taking sheep off of the fence and just keeping the sheep quiet and controlled. I am very pleased with his progress (eighteen months old).

Today we worked with a friend on longer outruns with sheep set on hay. We added a person standing near the sheep (but no dog yet) to simulate a setout stock handler for the two novice dogs, including Rime. Once again I was quite pleased with Rime's work. With the sheep giving him a bit of "back-pressure" (i.e. not wanting to leave their alfalfa) it gave Rime just enough pause to rock back and make a thoughtful lift. Coal and I are trying to get back into synch after the annual "foxtail-induced vacation" from training. The field has been partially mowed so it's back to working for us on his more advanced assignments.

The three silly geese in the previous post are still here. They must have been very tame geese who got dropped off because they follow us around, nap under our cars, and even walked into the sheep pens ahead of the sheep. Then one goose got stuck in with a whole mob of sheep and acted like it couldn't get out. Of course we had to rescue it. Now you know where the term, "Silly Goose" comes from.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Feathered Friends

These three fine young feathered fellows have taken up residence at the sheep field, ever since part of it got mowed on Thursday. They're very tame and looking for a handout (which they will likely not get from us!).  I gave them a bit of advice today -- you'd better become a bit more feral if you wish to survive the hawks, foxes, coyotes and whatnot. Meanwhile they pecked at the wheels of my vehicle and napped under its shade while I worked dogs. Before I left for home, they gave me quite a talking-to! Too crazy!

Friday, June 18, 2010

RESDA June Newsletter is Online

The RESDA newsletter for June is online. There are photos from the Owens trial, the Johnson-Beebe Memorial, and the Spencer trial, plus more trivia on the rulebook.

Click here.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tuesday takes on new meaning

Tuesday is taking on new meaning. Besides being one of my long-term "sheep check" days, Tuesday is now the day that I will pick up my CSA box from Valley End Farm.

Here's what I got today:

Aren't they pretty? The box had spinach, chard, oranges, beets, cabbage, carrots, onions, and garlic in it. Pioneer Woman, I am not...but here's to healthier eating and learning how to fix foods I may not be totally familiar with.

Tuesday has long been one of our sheep-check days, so after picking up veggies and fruit, we went to check sheep. Of course the dogs want to work, but the field is still pretty heavily riddled with foxtails. Not wanting to repeat last week's experience of a trip to the vet for a foxtail in Rime's foot, I did let each dog work just a little bit in a clear area between the front gate and the holding pen. One of the things on Rime's "to-do" list is fenceline pickups; so we did just that, back and forth between the two fences. He is doing well. Coal and I worked on some sheds in that area which is not easy with the pressure back to the other sheep in the pens. They both helped me with the minimal chores including pushing the sheep back off the water spigot and away from the pen gate. Good boys!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

RESDA Novice Workday

Today we had a RESDA novice workday, so that novice handlers or experienced handlers with novice dogs could get some time on sheep in a different setting. I worked Rime once and he was not bad considering that the boys have not been out on sheep all of this past week due to the many foxtails at the field where we normally train. I was happy with how Rime handled the new environment but kept things really simple as far as what I asked of him. Next time, I will try for more. Coal helped with setting sheep for others and overall enjoyed himself. It was a fun and relaxed group. The way-too-hot temperatures of Saturday did not materialize for Sunday and there was a nice breeze, making the weather pleasant and more than tolerable. Thanks to all who helped to make the workday happen. Photos are here.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Lost At Sea Memorials

A friend of mine is writing a book about memorials around the world to those lost at sea, whether through military action, fishing, shipping or other accidents. He's also started a blog to showcase some of the research and photos that are coming together. Since he is a former Navy aviator among other job titles, it's very well done. Take a look:


Sunday, June 6, 2010

RESDA Pt Pleasant Sheepdog Trial, June 5 2010

Yesterday was the RESDA trial at the Spencers' place, Pt Pleasant Ranch. We had a large number (31) of Open dogs (for RESDA) plus a set of Pro-Novice and Novice dogs, but because of excellent organization, the day moved along smoothly. The weather was warm with a nice breeze part of the day. We ran on three St Croix ewes from the home flock. The Open course was a modified RESDA layout with outrun, lift and fetch, using the pen as the "post". The handler stood in front of the pen to send his or her dog. The two panels were driven rather than fetched in the traditional RESDA style. Once the sheep had broken the plane of the second panel, the handler moved to the chute and pen which were done in the traditional RESDA style (that is, no handler assistance at either obstacle). In RESDA style there are points deducted if a handler uses arms or body movement to help the dog at the chute or pen. Total points possible are 60.

There were lots of good runs with several scores in the low 50s. The field is absolutely flat which often throws off some of the dogs who are not accustomed to working there. Coal and I ran about the middle of the class. His outrun was not the greatest. We missed the second panel in sort of a bobble. So our score was middle of the pack, too. One of our sheep did not want to hang with the other two, so it was a matter of coaxing her around with the two, without splitting them up or allowing them to run back to their holding pen. We got the chute with only one point off, as I recall (that single ewe tried to do a run-by) and the pen with zero off, so we ended well. I am always happy with him though. I think Coal's score was 43 but all the official scores and results will be posted soon on http://www.resda.com/.

It was nice to talk with friends and the BBQ potluck lunch was as always second to none. The RESDA folks know how to eat well! Also, a fan of my blog introduced herself to me at the lunch break. I had no idea that people read this blog who do not know me. Anyway that was fun and quite unexpected! Next on the RESDA schedule come all of the fun county fair trials.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Photos June 2, 2010

This is my new rose bush, an impulse buy on Memorial Day. It's called "Paint the Town".

Rime will be 18 months old on June 6th!

Coal, with his ears in all their glory!


The Boys.