Monday, January 31, 2011

Little Blue Birds

I'm not sure what these birds are called (other than little blue birds!), but they are cute and fun to take pictures of. They are always around at one pasture where some of our sheep live.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Taking Some Photos...

I've been carrying the camera along on weekends but seem to neglect to pull it out of the vehicle. Not many pictures get snapped that way. Today was an exception as I took a few photos of the dogs, sheep, and so forth. 

Rime doing a nice job with the sheep

Rime gathering the sheep
Rime and Neve sharing a greeting
Chiefie on the move and lookin' good!
Somehow I missed getting Coal. Next time!

All the rest of the photos from today are in a Picasa album, here:

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Episode Five - A Useful Dog

Here is the last episode to "A Useful Dog."


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Episode Four - A Useful Dog

Here is the link to the fourth episode of "A Useful Dog."


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Useful Dog

My friend Joy E. posted these videos over on Facebook and I thought I would re-post them here. The series of videos by a Scottish film maker as a tribute to the Border Collie may be interesting if you haven't seen them.

Episode One

Episode Two

Episode Three

The Youtube site says that there are five episodes but so far I have only found three links. Enjoy!

Monday, January 24, 2011

My Fellow Aquarians

My fellow Aquarians: once again, it's winter time and there isn't much sheepdog-ish to blog about. For me there was some excitement because yesterday was my birthday. This is a milestone I try to avoid, but others insist upon celebrating it, so I went along with the festivities. What other interesting stuff is there going on mid-winter, anyway? ;-)  The football games held the interest of many; I was torn between the Packers and the Bears since both are so representative of the midwest and "home" to me that it was hard to choose.

I got some very fun and interesting presents. From Bob T and Mary T, arrived a "Border Collie Trial Emergency Kit". The "kit" consisted of a Subway gift card and a WalMart gift card. I thought this was inventive! The Ts are always creative and thoughtful! What could be better than lunch money plus mad money for a few necessities?

From TT, breakfast at Big Daddy's, and a new book. Of course he has already read it but I am looking forward to reading it myself:

On Facebook there were so many birthday well wishes (including some strong and smart ladies who share the same birthday date!) that it was almost overwhelming. I have to say, I love Facebook. I thought I wouldn't have time for it but the connections re-connected are well worth any time invested. I particularly enjoy the home-town folks with whom I would otherwise not be in touch. I beg to differ with anyone who says that the social media make us more isolated, when the opposite is so clearly true.

NC, DB and CB surprised me with a tailgate party at the park with a lovely bottle of most-quaffable Korbel. Who else gets to toast her birthday with some of the Russian River Valley's finest bubbly, in the company of great friends and dogs, and then walk maybe 50 yards home?

From the other TT, a lovely wind chime to keep me centered and thoughtful. From LD and DD a money order that will pay for a sheepdog lesson - yes! I am getting those lessons next weekend come what may.

The other CB didn't know it was my birthday but gave me a lovely ISDS sheepdog calendar that had been backordered for Christmas. Did I want it? Of course!

I got beautiful cards both in the mail and e-cards via the internet. I thank you all for your thoughtfullness! It was a nice day, having breakfast, working dogs, working dogs some more, then relaxing and heading to the park to let the dogs just be dogs...then toasting with friends. Ahhh. Here's to 5,000 more hits on the blog.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Wonderful Slide Show

This was posted on the Sheepdog-L so many of you may have already watched it. Anyway it's a wonderful slide show of a farm, very much worth watching. Enjoy. It's very inviting and tranquil, for a Friday after a long week!

A Day at Shepherd's Meadow Farm

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Zamora 2011

The Zamora Hills 2011 sheepdog trial running orders for Open are posted. I am not thinking too hard about Zamora right now, since practicing with the dogs is almost at a standstill due to weather, lack of daylight, and other factors. But, Coal is entered in the Open and Rime is entered in the Nursery. The trial runs over the President's Day weekend. Just in case there is a soul out there who is not familiar with this trial and its rugged landscape, here are a few photos from the 2008 Zamora trial.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sheep Fields We Have Known...

We used to keep sheep on a field that was really great; it was large enough for fairly long outruns, yet it had a smaller separate arena-size field on one side. There was a big barn-like structure where you could store a ton of hay or more, and it had a holding pen on each end to sort and separate sheep. There were big oak trees for shade and it was easily accessible off the freeway. On two sides there was a beautiful vineyard. Located near the airport, you often were treated to scenes of hot air balloons traveling by while you worked dogs, on nice days.

Jewel and Duffy

During the rainy season, there was plenty of water for the dogs to play in. A ditch ran across one end of the field, and low spots created little ponds for splashing.





What could make us leave such a sheepdog paradise? The answer is, that the predators drove us out. We had too many sheep killed and maimed by both dogs and coyotes, and we finally bugged out in May 2007. The coyotes would grab some grapes in the vineyard, then hop neatly over the fence and grab a bit of sheep. Keeping sheep at a site where you do not live is an ongoing challenge. This location was hard to leave behind but at one point we had to. Now we keep our sheep in locations that are much more supervised. Those were the good old days though! (Yes I am still going through old files and photos!)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

What Five Month Old Puppies Do

Chief and Coal January 2007

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Polish Navy

The Old Friends blog today reported the passing of a grand old race horse and sire, Polish Navy.

Here are some photos of Polish Navy as a young horse that were taken by my friend and I on a idyllic visit to Kentucky one fall weekend in the late 1980s.

At that time, Polish Navy was at Claiborne Farm, recently retired to stud and was being "let down" to begin his new duties in the early spring.

I don't know exactly why, but he always held a certain appeal and my friend and I had followed his racing career with great interest.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Chiefie Sheepdog Photos 2004-2007

Since we are in the middle of winter and there isn't much current to blog about, I mentioned that I might post some photos of Chief. He often doesn't get much "press" here in the blog like he should. People often ask me whether I have worked him on the sheep in the past. Here are some photos of Chiefie from late 2004. The photo quality (not digital) is not very good but I liked the quiet way that he was working. 

The next few photos were all taken in late 2005 with a nice digital camera.

Like any good sheepdog, Chiefie liked to cool off in the water tank after working.

Digital photos above by T. Tucker.

The following photos are from early January 2007.

These were taken by Pam Sturtz when she was visiting us all the way from New York.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Little Bit of a Let Down...Yet Not

A friend said to me today as we were lamenting our "back to reality" feelings this week, that the first week of the new year is always a "little bit of a let down" after the holidays. I had considerable time off work, with some short interludes spent in the office, over the past month or so. The dogs are not adjusting very well to "back to reality". On the other hand, it is exciting to contemplate all those clean, white, crisp pages on the new calendar! I'm getting some horizontal spaces cleaned off at home and that is also a good feeling.

One new year's greeting that we received was from Zack's owner (Zack is Bid's littermate). Here is the recent photo of Zack looking just as handsome at age eleven as he ever did:

Thanks, Bob, for sharing!

Dog work has slowed down to a crawl due to a combination of recent mud, rain, many baby lambs, and most of all lack of daylight. The park is even almost too muddy to contemplate a game of fetch unless one really wants to wash dogs afterwards. All of that I hope will get rectified little by little, soon. Our two dorper-cross ewes had their babies (one ewe, one ram lamb) sired by a St. Croix ram. We only exposed three ewes to the ram this year because we are just looking for replacements; the third ewe, a little Barb, either did not get bred or maybe she has a "bun in the oven" for a later date. At the other field that we share, our friend's ewes have dropped five white lambs from the same ram in a couple of days. It is a "lambing storm" of miniature proportions!

Since there is not much to blog about I think I will go back and post some photos of Chiefie working. Whenever we go to a sheepdog trial I invariably get asked whether I ever worked Chiefie on the sheep (right after I answer the question about whether he is a border collie or an aussie mix!). The answer is yes he worked sheep, loved it, and there are photos to prove it. He also enjoyed agility and tracking. Unfortunately his recurring injuries and layoffs among other things just precluded us from making progress, so now he is enjoying retirement (and running the household). But, it might be fun to go back and re-visit his training days.

Saturday, January 1, 2011