Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Zamora - The Trailer

We are back from the Zamora Hills Trial. There is not much time to write about it, yet, mainly because of going back to work but probably just as importantly, I am still processing it in my mind.

I had a great time. Our runs were decent, credible; Coal and I got two scores in the 50s from two runs. We celebrated Elgar's birthday. The worst of the rain held off for most of the trial days...although we need the rain very badly here in Northern California, it was not fun to stand out in the mud in cold rain...so I was glad it didn't pour buckets all day Sunday the way it did on Saturday night. I watched some really great runs; a few in particular stand out in my mind. Coal impressed me with his willingness in the face of distractions. In fact it got me to thinking about how amazing these dogs are who put it all out there for us every time, no matter if we are feeling less than confident in ourselves. We go to the post all wobbly and worrying, and yet the dogs give it their all (at least some or most of them do). It's a wonder. That's the main thing I am processing right now. I will write more about the trial later when time allows.

Meanwhile just a huge thank you to all who made the trial happen!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Just Enough

Just enough time to catch our breath between Sonoma Wine Country and Zamora. Working at the trial is always fun and this year was no exception. The judges were both a joy in their own ways. I am always impressed by people with such devotion willing to give back to their sport. Our runs were less than stellar although I could call Saturday's flat field run a little unlucky as the pen gate was almost closed when time was called. Sigh. Sunday showed me how I have not trained enough. Sigh. It's always fun to be a part of it though, and hope springs eternal.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

THE Annual Event...

THE Annual Event is almost upon us...

St Patrick's Day! And of course just as important, the annual Sonoma Wine Country Sheepdog Trial.

Wear your green...and your mud boots, rain pants, gore-tex, and all. It's too bad that Mother Nature is not cooperating for the trial but we are finally getting our much needed winter rainfall....all at once!

Good luck to all!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Ball in Your Breakfast

I should probably save this post title for something really fascinating but if I don't use it now, it may never get used. As RDR says, seize the day!

I have a really bad habit of drinking my morning coffee or tea and eating my breakfast at the computer. This results in the aforementioned ball in my breakfast, as both Coal and Ryme have a habit of dropping a ball in my lap whenever I am seated. If the breakfast is in the lap, well then there ya have it!

Yesterday  morning we were treated to fun practice runs at 7 Oaks Ranch in Santa Rosa. George Powell has posted a few photos from the day over on his blog. Thanks to George and Maureen for organizing this RESDA practice day. The second photo is of Ryme in the water tank, doing the obligatory border-collie-cool-off after his turn. It is doubtful that it was hot out enough for him to require this watery dip but then we all know how the border collies get into this habit. I was struck by how much the photo reminded me of my Bid dog, a resemblance I never really saw before. But the open pinkish mouth, pointy ears, and hair standing up on Ryme's back (he has dorky hair from sleeping on it wet the other night after I improvised warm-water showers for them after one too many trips to roll in sheep doo-doo at the field) sure reminded me of Bid. I only hope that Ryme can morph into as good a worker as Bid became in his later years. Ryme did ok at the practice day. He looks sound, too. We are making small steps of progress.

Coal got to work in the large pasture at 7 Oaks and this was a great experience for both of us since we have never had a chance to work in that lovely field. I was happy with him overall but need to tune up my own mental self before next weekend.

Breakfast is over; balls keep getting placed in my lap but with the time change, time's a wastin'! At least we can look forward to longer daylight in the evenings. Yes!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Hornet

Last Sunday a friend and I toured the USS Hornet which is now a living history museum anchored at Alameda, CA.  This was something on my "bucket list" that I have wanted to do, almost as long as I've lived in California.

The Hornet is an aircraft carrier that served from 1942 to 1970, seeing a lot of action in World War II, the Vietnam War, and finally in picking up the Apollo astronauts up at the end of their historical moon-landing mission. The tour is only $15 and there is free parking at the end of the pier. There is one display after another of historical artifacts, photos, uniforms, airplanes, helicopters, and the like. There is even an Airstream trailer on board that was outfitted to house the lunar astronauts after their return to earth, in case they brought unknown viruses back with them!
My friend and I happened to choose what turned out to be a gorgeous day to visit the ship. The water was crisp and sparkling and you could see the San Francisco skyline easily in the distance, across the bay. Sailboats and other craft were out enjoying the beautiful warm day, as well.

We had a wonderful docent who led part of our tour. He, like another good friend of mine, was stationed on the Kitty Hawk for most of his Naval flying career but was very familiar with the Hornet and all of her nooks and crannies, stories and statistics. He really brought the ship to life and the experience that the guys had, living there for months at a time.

I particularly enjoyed the stories about Admiral Clark whose nickname was "Jocko". He was the first Native American Admiral (if I am remembering the story right) and is told to be still wandering the halls of the Hornet and has been seen at the bridge and other places. I wouldn't doubt it! When my dad was in World War II stationed in the South Pacific, he and his fellow Army soldiers had a white pet parrot also named "Jocko", so I found the connection very sweet.

My friend who is a retired Navy pilot told me that the Hornet was a great tour, but cautioned me that "it is really small." I have to say as we walked up the pier to get on board, that huge ship in the water did not seem small at all! But once we got up to the flight deck with our docent, I could see just how "small" it was...imagining landing an airplane on that little parking lot out in the middle of the ocean so high up above the surface of the water was pretty overwhelming!

If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, do take time to go visit the Hornet. It is well worth your time and it is a great value. The docents are clearly very dedicated guys who would love to tell you about it.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


There are so many things to be grateful for.

As many know, Ryme was lame for several months over the fall and winter. We took a conservative approach and rested (for three months) and then hand walked him on an increasing schedule. He saw the chiropractor every month. In the past three or so weeks, he has been green-lighted to go back to full activity. So far, so good, as things have been going well with him. I took it really slow with him at first, but now he is pretty much back up to full speed, working and running.

This week I was able to get him radiographed by our vet in order to determine if there is any underlying skeletal issue with him that might prevent returning to full work. As it turns out his hips, back, and knee are all just great on the films! I was so prepared for a negative outcome that it was almost hard to accept the positive. I don't know if Ryme will make a trial dog but at the very least he can be a work dog and be happy and productive that way. There is much to be grateful for!