Saturday, January 7, 2012

January 2012-Catching Up

We are well into the new year. The first weekend of 2012 is upon us and I am amazed once again by how quickly the time flies by. The above picture is from January 2011; there is mud and water in the background and the other photos in the set from that day show lots of green lush grass. That is not the case this year. We desperately need RAIN...the pastures are eaten down to the nubs and we are feeding hay to sheep that normally live on pasture. We found a "deal" on $16.50/bale mixed alfalfa/grass hay last weekend and will buy a few more bales tomorrow. It's a bit scary. I keep checking the 10-day forecast for some raindrop icons. Keeping fingers crossed!

There has not been much of interest for me to blog about. The holidays were good. I hosted the RESDA Christmas party which was a lot of work, but turned out to be a very fun event for everyone ( I hope!) and even for me. There were about 25 people in my house and it was sort of fun to step back and hear all those happy voices carrying on about ten different conversations over wine and snacks, a delicious ham and potluck dinner, and then coffee and desserts. Whew! After that, Christmas Day itself was very simple but fun...working dogs and making soup. New Years Eve was spent playing Jack-O-Poly! What is that, you ask? It is a "Monopoly" game with Jack Russell Terrier characters and themes; my two friends that I spent the evening with both have JRTs. Go figure. And by the way I still suck at board games.

Back to work after the holidays we were given the news that our company has been acquired by a much larger corporation. So there is much change on the menu for the work situation. At least I was given an employment offer. I am staying positive. Such is life in corporate America.

As for the dogs, Ryme is still being rested as a result of his injury and lameness. He is getting a short to medium leash walk every day. I am starting to slowly lengthen those walks and he isn't showing any bad response to that. It has been difficult not letting him run or work. I take him on leashed visits to his park friends and he enjoys the socializing but you can see that he is frustrated more and more and doesn't understand his confinement. But I do think it is working. Eventually when funds allow, I will have him sedated and xrayed to determine just exactly what we are working with, structurally. But for now it appears to be a soft-tissue problem that is getting better with time. Next week is their monthly chiropractor visit. I am hoping she finds Ryme improved from her perspective.

Ten-year-old Chiefie managed to injure his psoas again for at least the third time in his life, this time just playing. So he is on rest restrictions as well. He is almost harder to deal with than young Ryme. Chief's zest for life has gotten him in trouble physically before. I think this will take several months for him to recover. Time will tell.

Coal is working really well and I wish we had trials to go to, right now. He is really on his game, what little I have been able to work him. Coal and I had a good lesson with our trainer in early December; we made a list of what I need to work on with Coal, over the winter. The daylight hours are so short that working dogs through the week is about gone but will return in just a few short weeks. So, it means we make the most out of our weekend sessions. Coal is really good at handling the ewes with lambs that belong to our friend that we share pasture with. I would have been giving Ryme this job in order for Ryme to gain experience, but unfortunately I can't this year, with him laid up. So it has fallen back to Coal, much to his glee. Coal loves working ewes and lambs. A weekend or two ago I watched him back a ewe and lamb into a pen with the most amazing skill that it just floored me. No bites, no overt movements, no nothing, just will and concentration. We spray-painted all the ewes and lambs with numbers this year, to keep track of who is with who...the paint eventually wears off, especially as the lambs grow so fast, and so we do it again. I decided one day to update the paint markings and was trying to catch lambs by myself; how dumb was that?  I finally let Coal into the pen and started catching lambs effortlessly in about two seconds and quickly got them all re-painted. That's what it's all about, Charlie Brown. We don't have any trials until all the big ones in March and April. I hope we will be ready because funds will not allow us to travel much again this year; so we'll have to make the most of the ones near us.

A very happy, safe, and productive new year to all!

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