Monday, July 20, 2015

Happy Fourth of July!

Every year, I try to find somewhere to go, to get out of Dodge during the Fourth of July Holiday. Where we live, the illegal and the legal fireworks go on for days and the noise is very scary for the dogs. The smoke fills the streets like a war zone. I don't mind a good municipal fireworks display with a band and the whole Americana deal; you can plan for the timing on that. But the local neighborhood's 24/7 pyromaniac schedule has us all on edge at my house. Some years we have gone to Carmel, but that can be an expensive outing.  This year I was so fortunate to have a friend invite us the opposite direction, to the high desert of western Nevada, where we not only escaped fireworks but enjoyed great sheepdog training opportunities and visits with friends. The weather smiled on us (it actually rained!) and we had a wonderful time. I was so happy to be somewhere "away" and at a location that was so beautiful. It really felt like R&R even though the visit was just a long (short) weekend.

Our friend has Scottish Blackface (like we do) so it was interesting to see the difference in my dogs' work on the same breed, but different sheep. There were several different fields to work in; I felt so blessed. :) Spot was good. There were no "starbursts"...that is my new mantra: NO STARBURSTS! :) Ryme and Coal got out for shorter work sessions as well. Chiefie got lots of walks and attention. They all got to roam about freely in empty horse pastures, periodically. It was heaven.

Morning and evening, we were treated to beautiful, open, Nevada high desert skies, at almost 5,000 feet elevation. Without all the city lights, the skies, the moon and stars, and surrounding hills were painted with subtle colors depending on the lighting.  Thunder clouds rolled in across the mountains and sometimes they brought drops of rain...and sometimes more...real rain! What a joy. Just the smell of it was wonderful.

Visiting with friends was superb. Often times at trials there are just short sound bytes of conversations and there is no chance to really talk through a topic. Over the Fourth weekend, we had some good talks about sheepdog and other things in depth, that I really relished. Oh and I was sort of forced to watch the first episode of Outlander, a popular series which I had heard of but never seen. It's a little rough for my tastes, but I enjoyed it and will probably watch some more episodes via Netflix. It was nice to find out what many of my friends have been talking about, and I can see what they like about it. :) And there was a trip to a nice little Mexican restaurant with great food... that part was easy to take.

As for our dog work, I found out that I need to make my shedding practice harder. Apparently our home sheep, even though they are Scotties, are way too easy to shed. I couldn't shed any of my hostess' yearling Scottie replacement ewes to save myself. Not with any of the dogs, including Coal. Oh my. Talk about a false sense of security that fell away like a thin cardboard floor... sigh.

All too soon it was midday on Sunday and I had to get home for work on Monday. Despite a long drive home it was totally worth it and I had a great time. Nevada, I will be back, I hope! :)

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