Sunday, December 30, 2012

Last Weekend of the Year

Ready or not, new year here we come. Time to reflect and reorganize, clear out for the new year. The weather has been so uncooperative for working dogs on the sheep, for what seems like weeks and weeks.  We have had a ton of rain. Compared to last year when at this time they were talking drought, it feels like we need to build an Ark! Actually it has been a combination of the weather, the short days, and the holidays that has kept us from working with the dogs and sheep. Soon I hope we are going to be back working more often.

The days will only be getting longer, from here on out for a few months anyway.
Saturday brought some drying out, finally...and a chance to work dogs. The dogs were happy; the sheep maybe not so much so...but they survived. 

Ryme has been a bit lame again, not severely, but enough for him to have a layoff. He got to work and he listened well. But he does listen well close at hand. It's when we get at a distance or at an unfamiliar place, where Ryme has problems.

In 2013 I will be looking for ways for Ryme to fit in and do the work he loves, accepting him for what he is.

Coal is now at that mature age of six where we know each other pretty well. And what I know about Coal is that if he is not tuned up on a regular basis, he will get very sloppy. He will not take his proper flanks, he won't stop, and he won't come through on his sheds. We will be tuning this all back up in the coming weeks, because he and I have not done anything with a purpose since the Dunnigan trial.

Setting up the shed with Coal

And Coal takes the split two sheep away.

Ryme cools off.

Isn't this a sad face? Please can't we work again? I promise I will stop this time... 
I had a great dinner and get-together with old friends this weekend. Many laughs where shared. It's so good to get together. The Christmas decorations are going to get put away and the spaces cleared for the new year. A new journal notebook for 2013 needs to be purchased today or tomorrow!
 The weather forecast even looks clear for a few days; that means some cold nights but some chances to dry out a little bit and regroup. We can get back out with the dogs without worrying so much about slipping in the mud. Maybe some more regular blog posts will even re-appear!

Happy New Year to All!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Happy Boxing Day!

Coal looks thru the gate

A very Merry Christmas, Happy Boxing Day, and looking forward to a very Happy New Year for everyone!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Some Photos of the Boys..

My visiting friend was nice enough to take some lovely new photos of the boys...

Chiefie holding court in front of the (gas) fireplace...staying warm on an early December night!

Were I more talented with the computer I would Photoshop a chess set inbetween these two!

Chiefie has claimed the stick and dares anyone else to take it!

Chiefie smiles...

Coal waits at the gate....not necessarily patiently! If you think about it, dogs do a lot of waiting...we could learn some patience from them. :-)

Guess which side of the fence the sheep are on?

Coal going around the sheep to the left.

Coal cooling off in the water tub...amazing how he enters from the right yet always ends up inside the paddock!

Neve has to sample the hay before he allows the sheep to eat it. Just being a good guardian dog and all!

Coal: "LOL! I can't figure out how I got in with the sheep! O.M.G. I guess I might have to go round them up since I'm already in here..."

Ryme brings them smartly across the pasture.

Ryme has them under control taking them to the gate.

Flanking Ryme around on the come bye...

Sheep and a beautiful sky!

Ryme waits...

Ryme looks through the wooden gate...again waiting patiently.

December 23, 2012

Things got a little crazy for me just before Thanksgiving. Some really good times and some down times. My roof leaked during the time I was gone to the Dunnigan trial and ruined a ceiling in my house. Oh my. Out of town guests were on their way and the rooms had to be rearranged so that everyone had a dry place to sleep. I spent Thanksgiving cleaning and sorting and making beds. Whew!  We made it! A few trips were made back and forth to OAK but it was all worth it.

We went shopping in Sonoma and looked at pretty store windows like this one above on the historic Sonoma town square.

We went to Armstrong Woods and walked in the rain and greatly enjoyed the peaceful redwoods and the music of running water through the creeks. Tamales were eaten. Wine was tasted. Lots of fun!

When you have guests from out of town you do a lot of driving...and you look at your normal surroundings with a fresh pair of eyes.

We prepared for Santa Claus' annual visit!

Above is some beautiful holly that was in a planter in front of a shop on Sonoma's square.

I hope everyone is ready for Christmas! I am feeling really blessed despite the ups and downs. My friend took a whole bunch of photos of the boys while she was visiting. I will post new pictures next.

Merry Christmas to all!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Dunnigan Hills 2012 - Open


After fairly nice weather on Friday for the Pro-Novice, the Saturday first day of Open at Dunnigan Hills was horrendous. The rain and wind and blew in near-hurricane fashion. At times it felt like you could barely stand up if you were up on the crest of the hill to see the trial field. For the handlers it was fortunate that the wind was at our backs. For the setout crew, however, the biting rain and wind was straight into their faces. It was hard to believe that the diehards on both ends of the field stayed out there and persisted, but they did.

Coal was up midway through the order. By the time it was our turn, I think the wind and rain had laid just a little, although not much. I sent Coal away (to the right) but he was focused on the setout helpers up on the horizon rather than on the sheep far to their left which blended in with the grasses.  Ouch. It took three whistles to get him out where he needed to be and after that he put in a beautiful top to the outrun, and lift. It was not a poor outrun, he was just understandably focused on the wrong, darker, more prominent thing...which several other dogs did as well.

Good news; we made all the gates and our fetches are improving. Whew! I was quite happy with the run. There were a few squiggles here and there but overall it was a nice run considering everything.
Coal came out of it with an 82 out of 90 points which held up for fifth place in the trial and a handful of USBCHA points. Yeah! Judy Loflin and Cam were the winners with first place. By mid afternoon the rain and wind had quit and it actually got pretty nice out for the last ten or so runs of the day. We were finished early and all went back to their quarters to dry out and warm up to get ready for Sunday's runs.


On Sunday the weather was much nicer although the access into the pasture was very muddy and each trip in and out was a bit more precarious. Coal ran #41 - late in the day. The sheep were re-used, and tired. On Sunday they didn't want to move. Changing their line at any given time required some doing, and some big flanks. Despite the improved weather, the running was much  more difficult on Sunday than it had been on Saturday.

When our turn came, I sent right again. Several dogs sent left - come bye - had gotten drawn back to the holding/setout pens. The first part of Coal's outrun was not good...there were no setout helpers for him to get drawn into this time but for some reason he was not where he needed to be. With a verbal correction from me he shot off like he should to the right and the rest of his outrun was gorgeous. The top of the fetch was difficult; the sheep were leaning on him and we missed the fetch gates. The rest of the fetch and the post turn was all good, except - I realized when the sheep got close to me that I had drawn up Penny - the ewe who normally can't be penned - who was not supposed to be used in the trial.

Thinking really fast with sheep and dog on the run (or trot) I tried to aim for a perfect drive even though I knew we probably couldn't pen. The path to the first panel was good but the sheep - especially Penny - were leaning really hard on Coal and we missed the first panel. In trying to recover I blew too many whistles, and Coal crossed the course. So much for mental management when things go awry! Knowing that we had already missed two gates and had a poor top half to the fetch, as well as corrections on the outrun, I decided to retire. It was just not happening that day and there was no point in pushing the tired sheep through the rest of the course when I knew we would likely get a poor score. Being objective about it, I am really happy with the weekend's gos. The outruns I continue to work on but at each trial the outrun truly is in Coal's hands (or paws!) and so I do my best and send him and see what happens. The element where I have more influence on the trial field that I had identified that really needed work - the fetch - is showing improvement so I feel good about that. There is a lot of time to think it over and train for our next trials which will not be until March 2013.

Coal on the fetch at Dunnigan Hills (photo by Barb McPherson)

At the post - Dunnigan Hills - photo by Barb McPherson

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving - Takoda is Found!

Happy Thanksgiving! Takoda was found today, about a mile and a half from the accident site. He has worn pads and a sore foot but otherwise is no worse for the wear being out lost for six nights in the rough desert.
I am so thankful that he was found and so happy for his mom and dad Leslie and Michael.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Dunngan Hills 2012 - Pro Novice Day

The Dunnigan Hills Fall trial was this past weekend; the pro-novice day was Friday. I had entered Ryme earlier, and decided to go ahead and run him (despite his poor performance at Hopland) since Dunnigan is familiar ground with home flock sheep that he knows. I had also planned to stay the weekend and help out with the trial in whatever ways I could...knowing that it would likely involve the setout pens again especially on Friday. Some help had been procured for Saturday and Sunday in the pens, but not Friday.

But I am getting ahead of myself. The Dunnigan trial this fall was held to benefit a very worthy cause. A young man just 16 years old lost part of his leg in a  high school football game accident. All profits from the Dunnigan trial this year will go towards a prosthesis for Koni Dole. You can find more information on Facebook about the benefit and fund raising efforts to support Koni here:

Koni Dole Benefit Page.

A beautiful handmade quilt was donated to the trial for a silent auction item, as was a handsome man's shepherd's crook. The empathy and outpouring of support for Koni and his family was obvious at the trial. Koni is a very inspiring and motivated young man. They are selling wrist bands for his cause that say it all: Too Strong For Fear.

Friday's weather was good. We had a few sprinkles but not much; the forecast had been for rain but we lucked out. I ran Ryme late in the order. He did all right. We had one precarious moment after turning the post, but most of his run was OK. He got 64 points out of 90. We were out of the placings of course but in our world just finishing a course with a respectable score is a huge milestone. I was proud of how Ryme handled most of the run. He needed a whistle or two to get where he was supposed to be on the outrun, but he stopped and lifted the sheep nicely. Our fetch was good. The post turn was good. On the driveaway to the first panel, however, I let him get too close (the driveaway is down a hill and the sheep pick up speed which may have excited him) and he blew through the sheep. Oy. But we got everything back together, did the whole drive (with a pull-thru on the second panel which was fun for a change) and then penned, all calmly and under control.

The rest of the day, however, was really the highlight for me. We went up top early in the day and both Coal and Ryme helped me in the pens with pulling out the required number of sheep for each run and then bumping  them up the hill towards Mike who was doing the actual sheep spotting. Once we got into our flow, the whole thing moved like clockwork for the most part. Ryme is the most useful of my two dogs for this purpose, believe it or not. He remembered the job from last April and fell right back into the routine.  We don't want the sheep getting out to the trial course too soon, nor do we want them running back towards home. 

When the spotter was ready for the next set, we sent the sheep up towards him and I called Ryme off and we started the whole process again. With six minute runs, we had only a little bit of down time between each run. Any sheep that looked unfit, we sidelined into a pen where they would not be used. I was very careful not to send out one infamous ewe, Penny, (the ewe who cannot be penned) to the pro novice folks.

Since this is a farm flock trial, the sheep have to be reused. I think most of them ran maybe twice a day although some of them probably only ran once a day...when they had been sent to the exhaust they spread out over the hills grazing. At one point about halfway through, the spotter told me we'd need to go find the ewes who had been used once and reload the pens. He handled what I had been doing and Coal and I set off to find the exhaust sheep. The trial is held on a field that is 180 hilly acres and the trial only uses a portion of that land. The rest of the area is where the sheep were grazing; Coal and I walked to the top of the next hill and saw the sheep way in the back area of the pasture. I told Coal to "look"and sent him off to gather the sheep. I could not use my whistle for fear of interfering with the ongoing trial. It made my day to stand there and watch the little guy disappear out of sight behind the hills and then come back to me with the sheep in basically a silent gather. Later I was told that this gather is close to a thousand yards. Whoa. Who needs trial scores when you have moments like this?

The day wound up with a delicious Mexican dinner at Maria's in Woodland. Yum. There was a designated driver so I had a Mango Margarita. Awesome.

Open Day two and three will be next.

Takoda is Still Missing - A Plea for Arizona Folks

If any of my readers know anybody in Arizona...please send them this flyer. If you aren't in Arizona please send positive thoughts to Leslie and Michael that their boy will be found.
The accident was last Wednesday night and searchers have been in the area since it happened...the girl, Eve who ran from the accident with Takoda, was found...but the puppy boy has not yet been located.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Hopland 2012 and More...

The Hopland sheepdog trial for 2012 is now a memory...what a wonderful trial site, with great fresh sheep and staff who never seem to run out of energy. Below is a picture of the trial field taken by one of the UCANR staffers, R. Kieffer, that is from their blog at this link. I really love this trial even though it is a hard one and I have not had the best of luck is one of my favorites despite our lack of success. Coal and I have run there three years in Open now (incredibly) and the year before that in ProNovice. It is hard to believe that Coal is now six years old.

IMG 7353 copy

I'm not sure that sheepdog trialling gets any better than this...

Coal and I ran in the Open on Saturday and Sunday and then helped with setout after his runs were over. We were middle of the pack on our scores but I was relatively happy with how he did overall. I would like to do better and we keep working at it. I was very pleased with his fetches in both runs which is one component that we have been working very hard on...and the improvement was there.

Ryme and I ran in the ProNovice on Friday. That day was somewhat disappointing as Ryme did not display the improvements in his work that he has been showing elsewhere at his lessons and at our various practice sites. I don't know exactly what to make of it except that maybe it was just too many changed variables all at once for him. Distance, strange field, touchy sheep...just too much for him to keep his head although the outruns were good (one to each side). Unfortunately though, that is what sheepdog trialling consists of...going to various sites and working the sheep and field that is set in front of you. I am thinking that I likely just won't be able to trial Ryme in most he will have to be a work and chore dog. We only have one more trial this year and it's in a familiar spot so I will go ahead and run him...and I plan to try to teach him a farm style shed this winter anyway, which will help me with his chores even if we never trial any  more. It is a very hard conclusion to come to after three years of work with him. He is now four years old...and very keen to work except...

A week ago Tuesday, Ryme got spooked by a loud and rapid period of gunfire right near where we were practicing. He quit working and wouldn't go back to the sheep that night. It was upsetting for all of us. I haven't taken him back to that site until this evening. He seemed fired up to work and we were sorting the sheep into a work group when suddenly he seemed to remember being scared, even though there were no more shots being fired. He quit again so I just put him back in the truck and got Coal out to work. After I was through with Coal I changed to a different group of sheep and tried Ryme again. He was ready to work again so we just did a few no pressure things and quit while he still wanted more. It may take a while to get Ryme happy at this practice site again. Poor guy. My dogs have become so noise sensitive due to what seems like almost a constant barrage of fireworks in the neighborhood where we live.

So that's the story... we have one more trial in 2012 and then it's on to 2013.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

What a Wonderful Book!

I'm in the midst of reading a wonderful sheepdog book, One Man's Way by Austin Bennett. A friend loaned me this book and I had no idea what to expect other than I'd seen it listed many times in the various catalogs.

The book is a compilation of twenty interviews from the Working Sheepdog News in the UK. The interviews contain so much information about the handler being discussed which is enough in itself..but also the colorful description by the author of the geographical location of each person makes you feel like you are sitting in the car with him driving to each farm. There is a lot about each handler's training philosophy, and details such as whether they prefer to breed their own dogs or buy started prospects. Of course the interviews contain photos of the handler being interviewed, and also at the end of each chapter there is a full pedigree of one of the particular handler's famous dogs.

It has been a real joy to read this book...each chapter is like a unique book in itself, so I am savoring them slowly. The chapter on Johnny Wilson - that I read last night -  just blew me away...his philosophy on raising and starting a dog, and training them just meshed so perfectly with my own very meager views and experiences.

When I can afford it I am going to buy my own copy of this book and I am sure it is something I will pull out again and again when I want a good read, or am just looking for a tidbit here and there about a particular dog. Highly one for the book!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Time Change!

Tonight's the night - don't forget to change your clocks. I always remember, "fall back, spring forward."

It's always a depressing time of the year for someone like me who values her outdoor time so highly. But I always find a workaround and we manage somehow to work and exercise the dogs despite little daylight.

Getting up earlier this week to go to work will prepare me for sheepdog trial weekends coming up!

Now there's a positive spin isn't it?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Here is a Happy Halloween story for you compliments of my friend Carl: :-)


It Was a Dark and Stormy Night............. 


Bob Hill and his new wife Betty were vacationing in it happens, near Transylvania. They were driving in a rental car along a rather deserted highway. It was late and raining very hard. Bob could barely see the road in front of the car. Suddenly, the car skids out of control! Bob attempts to control the car, but to no avail! The car swerves and smashes into a tree.

Moments later, Bob shakes his head to clear the fog.
 Dazed, he looks over at the passenger seat and sees his wife unconscious, with her head bleeding! Despite the rain and unfamiliar countryside, Bob knows he has to get her medical assistance.
Bob carefully picks his wife up and begins trudging down the road. After a short while, he sees a light. He heads towards the light, which is coming from a large, old house.
 He approaches the door and knocks.
A minute passes. A small, hunched man opens the door.
 Bob immediately blurts, "Hello, my name is Bob Hill, and this is my wife Betty. We've been in a terrible accident, and my wife has been seriously hurt. Can I please use your phone?"

"I'm sorry,"
replied the hunchback, "but we don't have a phone. My master is a doctor; come in, and I will get him!"
Bob brings his wife in.


An older man comes down the stairs. 
"I'm afraid my assistant may have misled you. I am not a medical doctor; I am a scientist.. However, it is many miles to the nearest clinic, and I have had a basic medical training. I will see what I can do. Igor, bring them down to the laboratory."

With that, Igor picks up Betty and carries her downstairs, with Bob following closely.. Igor places Betty on a table in the lab. Bob collapses from exhaustion and his own injuries, so Igor places Bob on an adjoining table.

After a brief examination, Igor's master looks worried.
 "Things are serious, Igor. Prepare a transfusion."Igor and his master work feverishly, but to no avail. Bob and Betty Hill are no more.

The Hills' deaths upset Igor's master greatly. Wearily, he climbs the steps to his conservatory, which houses his grand piano. For it is here that he has always found solace.
 He begins to play, and a stirring, almost haunting melody fills the house.

Meanwhile, Igor is still in the lab tidying up. His eyes catch movement, and he notices the fingers on Betty's hand twitch, keeping time to the haunting piano music. Stunned, he watches as Bob's arm begins to rise, marking the beat!
 He is further amazed as Betty and Bob both sit up straight!

Unable to contain himself, he dashes up the stairs to the conservatory.

He bursts in and shouts to his master:

 Master!.....The Hills are alive with the sound of music!"


(I am soooooo sorry.....but you really should've seen that one



Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Dynamic Duo

One of Ryme's assignments from our lesson is that he and I are to work a single sheep, but starting with a pair of sheep first. Monday evening I sorted off two good sized ewes who made a dynamic duo for Ryme to work with. It was not a problem for him to keep them on track and driving. Our goal is to keep both the sheep and Ryme at a walk though, which we did manage here and there. Ryme has a run like a gazelle so it is some challenge to get him to feel the sheep and keep them at a walk without over commanding him. Or at least that is the theory and plan. But soon there will be very little daylight.

All of these issues are nothing in comparison to what some folks are facing. We're waiting to hear what wreckage has been left by hurricane Sandy.

Monday, October 29, 2012


So, the Giants won the World Series and while I am not a huge baseball fan, just about everyone else I know and work with is a huge Giants fan. I am glad that one is over! The fireworks last night in town when the game was complete were very scary for Chiefie. He gets very upset and the other dogs do too, but to a lesser degree. I am very fortunate, I know, in so many ways but I do get frustrated with the constant firecrackers in the town where I live. They shoot off firecrackers for just about anything, or nothing....oh to live a little farther out or in one of the surrounding towns where firecrackers are not tolerated. That said it is just a teeny blip on the radar of what other people are dealing with in their lives so we will manage. Chiefie is fine this morning and all is forgotten until next time.

The other boys and I are feeling some success with the homework we started on three weeks ago. We had a great lesson yesterday with our trainer and the work we are putting in, week to week, is starting to show. We are still far from perfect but we were much more in synch and able to do things. Yeah! I even got to shed with Coal on those impossible-to-shed sheep. Coal was much more flexible and while he will never be totally flexible due to his extreme eye, he can be kept more in tune if I am more diligent with it. Ryme did two outruns, one to each side, and both were good. His natural pace on the fetches and drives is showing just teeny bits of improvement and our work together is improving. Our trainer says we are "so close". We shared a lesson time with another dog who is very similar to mine; I learned a lot by listening to the exchange between trainer and handler on that dog. It is so much easier to process, at least for me, when you are not the one in the hot seat!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Some Progress with the Boys

The boys and I have made some progress on our sheepdog work in the past couple of weeks. We were lucky enough to get a chance to practice in a large field yesterday. It is really hard to set up any kind of distance at our regular fields so this was a very fortunate opportunity. The weather smiled on us too and it was neither too hot nor raining...rain is in the forecast for next week and is very welcome but we didn't need it for our special training day!

Coal and I have been out of synch a bit but in our second run yesterday it felt like everything was falling back into place like old times. That was a nice feeling although I do feel like he and I need more tuning up. His outrun was great but the suppleness and responsiveness is still not there on the rest of his work, like I want it to be. But everything felt better so we are on our way.

Ryme ran the open course as well. I almost asked our sheep spotter to bring the sheep in closer for him to a more P-N level but then said to myself that we should just give it a go, as is, for the open outrun. I am so glad that I did. Ryme did a beautiful outrun, took my stop whistle at the top and then we went through the rest of the big course with only a few glitches, none serious, and only because my timing was poor in places.

I am very grateful for my good boys and also that they both drew into Hopland.

Monday, October 15, 2012


The boys and I have been working on our homework from our last lesson, as best we can. The days are getting shorter, fast...and sometimes getting home after work takes a long time! Like today the eleven mile trip took an hour and 15 minutes due to an accident. Oh dear. No dog work today.

Regardless when we do get to the sheep we are giving it a go to do the best we can. Ryme is thinking about his pace a little more. Coal is a bit more flexible. It's all good (I hope). We're looking forward to Hopland and Dunnigan (well I am and I'm sure they will be happy about it once we get there). Those will be big tests of how well we have done our homework, but they are two of my very favorite trials.

Saturday we had an NCWSA Board meeting in Pleasanton. We met at a sunny park not far from the Alameda County Fairgrounds, where the Scottish Games are held. Pleasanton was sort of equidistant for everybody to drive.  It was a good meeting. We are trying very hard to plan some good stuff for the club members for next year.Everyone on the board took home some homework to do. It has been very hard to keep the club going and to plan events. I am not so sure why it's so hard...but I would love to hear from folks what would help them to gain experiences to make the next level in their training or trialling. What would help novice people the most to become more intermediate? Let me know. Being president of the club has been really hard for me. I have to chunk down some of the things I have done in the past year and get them delegated,  otherwise I can't do it again....

Something else really fun has been happening. A very dear old friend with a lovely rehomed dog asked if we could take him to sheep. We gave him a couple of sessions lately and each time he gets better. He is a very happy dog, very nice on stock and really fun! So now we get his owner up to speed. Another sheepdog addict is born. Yeah! I think he will make a great beginner's dog.

There's a new sheepdog club in town, or rather in our part of the West: the High Desert Sheepdog Association. Check out their new website on my sheepdog club links. I would love to get to some of the fun trials but not sure about driving that many hours at $4.49/gallon. But those who are closer should be thrilled that sheepdog events are picking up again in western Nevada.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Back to School

The boys and I went back to school yesterday. Rather, Coal, Ryme and I finally had a lesson with our sheepdog trainer on Saturday. The homework has been duly assigned. If I had to carry it in a backpack like the school kids do, my pack would be enormous.

Coal and I are so rusty, having no place to practice distance work all summer; he's kind of got his hearing turned off when we get to a certain point or if something is happening that sucks him in with his extreme eye. This was not news to me and I work on these issues all the time; however it apparently is not enough, but especially not at a distance.

Ryme and I have some more issues to work out that are also falling under the major subject of scope and his relationship to the sheep. There was a lot of discussion of making the dog take responsibility vs. just ensuring that he takes this command or that. Commanding the dog to get through a trial course is not the ultimate goal.

I'm not discouraged, though. I wish the dogs had done better so we could have worked on some other stuff too. But we got what we needed and I'll try to figure out a way to get them some work sessions at longer distances. Both dogs were worn out, too and not in good enough physical condition. That is a tall order for me with fewer daylight minutes each day now. It's good to know where you stand though. Our trainer is trying to get us all to the next level, whatever that is. I am so grateful for the input.

It was a lovely day, not too hot, and beautiful weather. Just the little mini-vacation that I needed to restore my self. Just like fall weather that I remember when we were kids...when we went Back to School. :-)

Sunday, September 30, 2012


We've racked up some miles in the past couple of weeks both on the vehicles and on the dogs. I haven't trialled much this summer but lately have taken the boys to two AHBA trials with the goal in mind of adding to Ryme's trial experence "passport", so to speak. Ryme has gotten some good experiences and most importantly he and I are getting together better as a team in a trial environment. That is not to say that everything has been perfect with him - because it hasn't  - but we have made it through four ranch course runs out of four attempts and got a decent score on all of them. No thank yous, no DQs, no RTs, and even two placements. It feels sort of nice! Coal got to run too in some of the trials. He is just so fun to run and keeping him tuned up is a good goal as well.

The trials were in close quarters to be sure, but the good side of that allowed me to stay close to my dog to help him if need be. The next item on my to-do list will be to work on stretching Ryme back out again at longer distances.  I'm grateful to have AHBA as a supportive environment for putting mileage on my dogs. Luckily no one takes it too seriously and the main goal for the day is usually to have a nice time with dogs, visit with friends, perhaps share some delicious food or at least some interesting conversation. Oh yeah and work dogs of course!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Fall Equinox

I am told that the fall equinox is a good time to re-visit our intentions of where we want to be going and what we want to be doing. It's a welcome chance to start over again on goals and continue to clear where we may have gotten bogged down--kind of like a mini new year's resolution festival--but the beginning of the footrace to the end of the calendar year.

This weekend begins some vacation time for me so I'm working on clearing some stuff at home that I've been avoiding for some time. It's a productive activity but tedious and so easy to get sidetracked on. You start on something and it's 1:30 PM and you look up and suddenly it's 5:30 PM. What happened? Inevitably some walking down memory lane brings some good stuff, along with a lot of sad stuff, interspersed with just a lot of junky stuff. You have to sift through to find the teeny gold nuggets.

That's where I am -- sifting.

And just in case this post started to sound too serious (as my last couple of blog posts have been) here is some comic relief -- a result of some of that sifting.

Halloween preparations circa ?

There doesn't that feel better?

I've had five male border collies at the house since Friday morning and have managed to keep everything under control. It's not a bad thing but a good reminder of why three is so much better for me to handle.

With vacation time, the boys get worked a lot more, we get our sheep chores done (like lamb vaccinating and the like) and in the evenings instead of constantly bugging me for attention the boys are flat out asleep on the floor in a "good-tired"sort of way. I could get to like this!

It's Finals Week.......good timing with that Fall Equinox and all. Good luck to all and may your intentions ring true.


I found a few more photos of Jess, Bid's brother who passed away on Friday at age 13. I always loved Jess but only have a few pictures of him. Jess belonged to my friends in Reno, Carl & Pat. They miss him very much.

Jess on the left, Quinn on the right (half brothers)

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Jess - 1999 - 2012

Good bye Jess; you were an excellent sheepdog, playful and loyal companion, and great friend. Time flies by way too quickly for the likes of you.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

2012 National Finals Booklet

2012 National Finals publication

If you haven't already seen the 2012 USBCHA National Finals booklet publication, open the link above and take a look. In fact, get a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and sit down with it for a while. I was impressed; the booklet is really well done.

NCWSA purchased a half-page ad in the publication in order to help support this year's Finals. Our ad is on page six. I am really thrilled with the way the ad copy turned out. The photo in our ad is very cool!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Scottish Games 2012 Pics

Finally all of the pictures that I took at the 2012 Scottish Games in Pleasanton are edited and posted into a Picasa album. Never mind that the event was Labor Day weekend and it is now September 17th!

Based on the number of "likes"on Facebook, this photo above was apparently the most popular photo in the album. If you'd like to see the rest of the photos, here is the link:

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Comments on My Blog

I am changing the settings on the comments on this blog to moderated.
Not interested in monetizing my blog or any other activity other than what is already stated.
Thank you.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Boys of Fall

Some impromptu cell phone photos from a recent evening sheep check and dog run/work.
The shadows are getting longer and the daylight in the evenings gets shorter and shorter. Fall is here even though we are having very warm days!

The calendar says we are into Fall...Soldier Hollow, Meeker, the International Supremes, and the Finals. The annual cycle continues while we cheerlead for our friends and favorites on the running orders, the semi finals, and the finals of each event. A couple of our friends and mentors took young dogs into these trials this year and came out not on top but with good goes and a greater experience level for their youngsters...very proud of them and looking forward to more.

I do like the theory on the Supremes where no scores are posted and the winners are announced from 15th up, at the end of the day after the driving championship. With so much information being transmitted almost instantly these days, I think it would be cool if our US Finals would do that for the final day -- keep the scores silent to save some buildup for the end, and the prize-giving.

The boys here are enjoying their autumn evening sheep works (and play/run/soak time after) and so am I; in a few weeks we will be down to the last little nubs of daylight and I will miss these times for them to run and work, until spring starts to appear and the days get longer again.