Sunday, August 13, 2017


On June 1, I wrote in my journal, "what will I do with this summer?"

Clearly, what I have not been doing this summer, is blogging.  What  I have been doing, is trying to stay as mindful as I can and live every day. Having some troubles with my dog (and being on the receiving end of some sources of unrequested input) made me a little sensitive to writing publicly about our sheepdog work, so either consciously or unconsciously I took a blogging vacation.

On June 6th, I wrote, "there's nothing better than June... the whole summer beckons, and I want to savor each day and not suddenly find myself at the Fourth of July (or how about the 13th of August!) not remembering the sweet days of June." Sometimes, things are satisfying but not exciting, like getting hay delivered to feed the sheep on a hot day. The pleasant things do not go unnoticed, even if somewhat mundane.

Some of the boys on hay delivery day, on the outside looking in

Coal found a way to cool off during June's heat waves - one day went up to 105!

Cosmo on hay delivery day: I really want to bark at that guy with the big truck.
Spot proving that we indeed did get hay delivered

And sometimes, the obstacles are the path. I don't know where I got that quote but it is one of the things I wrote down.

When I am volunteering at a sheepdog trial, I can't count how many times one of the trial organizers has said, "just take the quad." I would always shuffle and say, I "don't do quads". And I would walk. Walking is good for me, up to a point. I always felt so unprepared because I did not know how to drive a quad. I did not grow up with motorcycles or quads. It seems like everybody in the sheepdog world now lives on a quad. And now thanks to my enabling friends, I have started driving a quad, which granted was a fancy one with all the bells and whistles. But look, here I am, driving a quad and all three dogs are on the back because we were fixing to cross a paved road before getting back to the private road. Yippee, for me. So empowering. And yes that's my winter rain parka in June. Humboldt County. 

Smiling ear to ear, I drove a quad. Photo by Marnie N.
I also do not do cows. My dogs do not do cows. When a friend says to you, "just go back to that barn lot and sort off the XXXX sheep, you'll know which ones they are, there are about twelve of them mixed in with the others (about sixty), and you can take them out there and work your dogs, ok?  Oh and there are a couple of calves in there too." Uh huh. More empowering and enabling girlfriends, providing obstacles that become the path. Ryme was a superstar and we got this sort of sheep away from cows accomplished. Sorry, no papparazzi. :-) Friends are amazing.

And... Spot and some of the other dogs, including Gloria's dogs, in this picture that she took when we went back to Little Horse Mountain.
There is more to say, but that's enough for now.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Life is an Adventure, or, Little Horse Mountain

Life is an adventure. Whatever we do, it will be fun. Those are the takeaways from our trip to Little Horse Mountain, even though some  of it was not so fun for Spot and me.

Evening views

Mt Shasta

Sheep in the exhaust field

Sunset at Little Horse Mountain

Nursery handler walks to the post on Friday

Nursery field on Monday

Nursery handler and dog walking their sheep to exhaust on Monday

At the pen in Nursery

Cooling off after Nursery


It was so neat to watch the Nursery dogs. I love seeing the green dogs when they are just starting their sheepdog trial career. The foundations are there but the experiences need to be filled exciting!

Ryme and I sorted sheep out of the exhaust to drive back up the field for afternoon runs on Sunday. Photo by Gloria A.

Ryme and Nell push hot and slow moving sheep through the field back up to setout. A long walk. Photo by Gloria A.
Ryme had a great day on Sunday. We sorted a bunch of the ewes out of the exhaust, leaving some behind to graze and with Gloria and Nell's help, we walked them all the way back up the field to setout for the afternoon runs. By this time it was hot out and the grass was pretty tall. It was hard to push them and I was glad that we had the two dogs. Ryme acted like he was far younger than his eight years and worked like a champ. When another handler came on a quad bike to pick us up, Ryme ran with the bike like a two year old. He had a blast! He looked so happy. This made me happy. :)

Spot seemed anxious and confused and we had two RTs in his trial runs. We will be taking an indefinite period of time away from trials, and go back to as much "real" work as we can find, and just rebuild what we had. He seems affected by the negative experiences  at the trials, so it will take some time to get his attitude back. It is all puzzling but I just keep telling myself, Life is an Adventure.

Aside from that, this is always a great trial to go to and help with, and a lot of fun. The sportsmanship level is high and the gathering of great handlers is a wonderful place to be, amongst over-the-top hospitality and a high level of very competent trialling laced with a lot of good sense of humor.  Everybody pitches in, to make it happen.

Whatever we do, it will be fun. Life is an adventure.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Found 'Em Boss

I used to have a framed print by an artist whose name I can't recall. It was one of the first things I bought portraying a border collie back in the early 1990s. The name of the print was "Found Em Boss" and it portrayed a border collie who had found some sheep hidden in snow. I left the framed print behind in another lifetime and have always been sorry that I did that.

I think this little photo taken with my iPhone could carry the same caption.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Grateful For...

Grateful for...

A mowed pasture to work dogs in. No foxtails waving at dog's head height. Yay :)

Friends who check in and make you think your way around and through your challenges.

A little bit cooler day than forecasted.

And many more, including this:

Sunday, May 21, 2017


Random thoughts. I have just been letting things be since withdrawing from the last Open trial that Spot and I were entered in. I am not pushing any big decisions or choices. Many have asked me what I am going to do. I am just letting it be. Still working, still working my dogs. Riding my exercise bike and trying to do my exercises. Eating healthy. Resting. Letting things be. Feeling a bit blue at times, I admit. Last summer when Spot was sick I realized how important it is to my ongoing well-being to have a dog to work and carry forward with. Still working all the dogs and mainly letting Spot push sheep and working on takeaways from the confidence lesson that we had with Derek last fall.

Meanwhile things float to the surface. Like, when you step to the post (or walk to the line in agility, or run for officer position in an organization, or become a manager in a business, etc.) you put yourself out there in the public eye. Or when you enter a trial and then don't step to the post.  Or when you step to the post (or line) and then retire your run. True friends are supportive. They let you be and come around to whatever choices you need to make in your own time. When you want to talk it through, later, they listen (sometimes endlessly - gah! ) and offer suggestions.

What else happens is out of my control so that is how I am choosing to view it.  Observers have opinions gained on the sidelines but not on the trial field.  Still others somehow think it is their business what that handler does after they step away from the line. This is the contract that we make when we step to the line or the post despite that fact that it is nobody's business but our own as to what we do. We agree that our actions are viewed and public. Much like writing a blog! :)

Letting things be sometimes lets positive things happen.

My opinion is this. If I step to that post and send my dog, I am far and away a winner no matter what the outcome is of that run.

Friday, May 12, 2017

The Light of Failure

A very thoughtful friend sent me this.

Enjoy :)

The Light of Failure

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Two out of Five is...A Start

Our Nevada trip to the extremely well-run sheepdog trial in Carson City was a good one. We had a good time even though our first run again resulted in an RT. But, our second run got us a score. So, two of our so-far five runs in Open have resulted in a decent score, in two of the hardest sheepdog trials in our traveling radius.  It's not bad, or at least it's a start. I had hoped for a bit better but it could be way worse.

I had never seen so much snow on our drive to Nevada on Highway 50. Oh my! The piles of snow on the side of the road from the snow plows towered over my car by two or three times. It was beautiful but the immense acres of snow were astounding. The mountains were beautifully frosted with remaining snow. I had to keep reminding myself, this is April.  But we were extremely lucky- the weather for the trial weekend itself, was beautiful.

The trial was held on the middle of Carson City, in a residential area, on a remnant of a pasture that remains undeveloped but will probably not be that way for long. It is a flat field with beautiful views and easy access and close to all the amenities of town. The trial is so well run and ably staffed that it is a really good one to put on the calendar. The sheep used are from the Borda family locally, and they were Sierra Nevada range ewes (who I believe must be part Thoroughbred). The sheep definitely defined this trial. They were very tricky to say the least. The lift was IT. The trial runs were all about that lift and how it was carried forward into the first part of the fetch.This was an Open trial after all...but it's really a test of the dogs and the dog and handler partnership.

We had five ewes per run on a ten-minute course. On Spot's Saturday run he got out there, had trouble lifting, but got them going, then things got difficult and messy, and he seemed anxious. The sheep were carrying him offline. Before things got too bad I decided to walk. He is still learning about different types of sheep, let alone this type of sheep. I didn't want him to have a bad experience.

The second day I sent him the other direction (away). I was determined to try not to put any extra pressure or anxiety on him from me. I didn't try to show him the setout point and just walked to the post like he knew where the sheep were. I think this was more successful. We made it to the shedding ring where we timed out. I was pretty happy to get the outwork and drive completed. I kept talking to Spot when he was close enough to me, like when we were turning the post. This trialling thing is taking more of an adjustment from training, than I perhaps thought it would -- especially on the different types of sheep. We are learning as we go.

I had a great time visiting with friends, and the boys and I were treated to cozy lodgings and wonderful hospitality. And there were puppies to play with! :-)

Thanks to all who helped to run this trial, and to those who offered me such great hospitality. It is all very much appreciated! :-)

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Making it Real and Back to the Future

Recently a friend whose ewes were getting really close to lambing, needed to sort said ewes out of a bunch of other sheep and move them to their lambing location that is more in-by. We showed up at the right time and the dogs and I helped to sort the groups. It was nice to put their training to work - making it real - in a helpful situation. We could have gate-sorted the sheep but that is hard on the gates and on my knees. So, I sorted them using a mini-international shed for all but the last few, who got gate sorted. First Ryme helped me to sort six training sheep out of the bunch and those were put away. Then we worked quite a while to sort yearling ewes out of the rest of the ewe "bunch".  This was a lot more difficult because some of the yearlings were really attached to the big group and kept running back to the older ewes. We got this part way accomplished, and Ryme was apparently getting tired. So I broke off and got Spot and gave Ryme a rest. Spot and I finished the job and we put the bred ewes in a pen to be loaded on the trailer and put the yearling ewes out in a pasture to graze. When you have a real job to do it makes it really clear why all the training we do is so important and not just being incredibly picky about clean flanks and stops.

Of course it was raining lightly during this chore and I suppose I should be glad that it was not just absolutely pouring. We are still having a record rain/weather year. It still feels like winter and we are more than halfway through April. It is a good thing that the bred ewes went to their lambing spot, that morning, because the first one delivered healthy twins, late that afternoon, and another ewe had a single, that night!

Back in my childhood we watched the Jetsons' cartoons on TV, and we were led to believe that commuting to one's workplace would eventually be accomplished in a blink of an eye in a space ship that traveled at the speed of light. Astro the space dog was often present in the passenger seat of the space ship. :-) Now in a similar fashion, my commute has been shortened to a few steps, because I have joined the ranks of the WFH set.  Back to the future, for me. It takes some getting used to and I have not fully made the adjustment, yet. The dogs gather around my work space and sleep, most of the day. So far only one conference call has been interrupted by a loud squeaky toy being tossed around, when I mistakenly thought my (soft) phone was muted. Back to the future. It's an odd combination, an ages-old tradition such as bringing ewes closer to home for lambing, and a Jetsons-like work experience.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Been There, Done That; Got the T-Shirt: McCormack Days Two-Three

Day Two of the McCormack Ranch trial was not nearly so windy; it was a beautiful sunny day with only light winds. In the afternoon it got pretty hot. I know some of our dogs (and people) are not acclimated to the heat yet, this spring. Spot and I had another run and we tried to make the best of it after the first day's failure to even get out to the sheep.

The Saturday course was the same: left hand drive, shed-pen-single, with the time reduced from 15 to 14 minutes. This was still ample time to complete the course if the work was efficient and moved the sheep properly. Some folks finished with one to four minutes to spare, even!

I sent Spot to the right this time, as I had initially wanted to do the first day but then got swayed by watching others and switched my plan. Today I stuck to my original plan. I had to re-direct Spot out four or five times, but he got out there, thank goodness, and lifted the sheep. The fetch was not all that pretty, nor was the drive, but we got around. I think we missed all of the possible gates but we were not far off the mark. We did our shed, moved on to the pen, where time was called, and we got 54 points. So no pen or single points, for us.

McCormack Ranch trial field
 What a beautiful trial field and setting! The sheep were fantastic. What a nice thing to be able to have time to do the full course of shed-pen-single. No one had to feel super-rushed through the work if they kept their sheep at a nice pace and their dog worked them properly.

Saturday scores
I'm so glad that Spot and I got to run at McCormack. I don't have any regrets about moving him up in class even though we now can't go back to PN. I am only looking forward.

Friday's scoreboard
I was thrilled to get a score even though Spot and I did not complete the course. It was a decent, respectable run for our first time in Open. :-) I figured out something I am doing that I will need to fix; I am stopping and flanking him too much and I need to let things flow more. I wanted to try to handle more this way on Sunday.

Sunday's running order had us listed as dog six; not much time to get ready or get nervous.  The judge and the course director had changed the course around. They switched it to a right-hand drive, and put in a marked shed and pen instead of the traditional shed, pen, and single. Each dog and handler team got six sheep and two of them were marked. You were supposed to sort off the two marked sheep as well as one other plain one (the wild card), and then pen those three. I was really looking forward to trying this sort/shed as this is the type of work that Spot and I really enjoy doing. We have practiced this type of thing multiple times. But it was not meant to be. He again needed a lot of help on the outrun but he got out there after 4-5 whistles. Then he lifted the sheep and just barely started them towards us. I don't know what happened next but all of a sudden he appeared to be running back towards me, down the fetch line. At this point there was nothing to do but retire. It was somewhat dissappointing but I am not discouraged. This was our first open trial and I chose the biggest open trial in our area to move Spot up. Even the person who has been urging me to move Spot to open ASAP was a little taken aback by this move of mine; I am not regretful. I learned so much about the dog, and my handling and what I need to work towards just by running in this trial.

Oh and I did get the t-shirt :-)

Friday, March 31, 2017

That's Not my Puppy...Whew! Day One McCormack

The McCormack Ranch is a gorgeous site for a sheepdog trial. Green grassy fields extend out endlessly in all directions, to the Sacramento River and beyond. The sheep are fit and beautifully conditioned and sensible. The trial is so well-run and well-staffed with many volunteers and local involvement. It is a handler's dream location.  The only drawback today was the wind, which was blowing at 22-24 mph.  Arghghghgh.

When I first walked out to the course, I thought how well laid-out this course is. My gut reaction was to send Spot right. Instead I wavered by the time we were up, and I thought he had spotted the sheep (which were little specks due to the very long outrun but he hadn't, or he didn't realize how far out they were), but for better or worse, I sent him left. He started out well but I could tell he was not sure, because his head was up as he ran. I gave him a comebye whistle as a reminder and he went on, and then pulled up, confused. Oh no. Then he ran behind a hill and I lost sight of him. I blew recall, walk in and comebye...and recall, walk in again, and soon he reappeared in the spectators, sort of behind the post. We both tried hard to get him out to the sheep but it was not happening, he was lost, he had misplaced his sense of where the sheep were and I nodded to the judge's truck and retired. I am not upset. He tried hard, I tried hard, and we couldn't make it work today. We will try again tomorrow.

Then, we were at exhaust. The next handler had a nice outrun, lift, and most of the fetch, when suddenly a puppy appeared dragging a leash and it was very keen! The puppy ran into the sheep near the post and started chasing them. The working handler and I stood frozen, not knowing what to do! Soon though it was apparent the run was over and would be followed by a re-run for this handler. Meanwhile the puppy was chasing the sheep over the endless hills and almost out of sight! The puppy's owner came running and she and I started in pursuit, and I unclipped Spot's leash and said, Away. I sent him out blind over the hills to find the four sheep and the puppy. There was nothing else I could do but keep walking forward and wait. Pretty soon, here came the four sheep over the top of the hill, with Spot smartly trotting behind them, and the puppy leaping and jumping all over Spot. Spot says, I work alone! (LOL) but he put up with the pestering. The course director soon appeared on a quad, and between he and the owner, they caught the puppy and took her back on the quad to be sequestered  no doubt for the remainder of the trial. Spot and I took the four ewes to exhaust. I was very proud of his work being sent on the fly, out of sight, blind, to pick up sheep who were being chased by a puppy. Anything could have happened and only the right thing did. It made my day.

We will try again tomorrow. I have a good dog who is well trained, and needs experience.  There were some really nice runs. It is so nice to have plenty of time to work through the course and to do the whole course (shed-pen-single) without a huge rush. What a super treat for the handlers. Like I said, this is a dream trial so far, despite our own RT.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Oh, Zamora...

PN and Nursery (first) scores from Zamora

In red ink, nursery placements from first nursery class
Oh, Zamora. The Zamora trial is always a lesson in accepting what is and not trying to impose what we think something should be, over the top. The Zamora PN run was not a very good one for Spot and me. He ran out well, but pulled up a little shorter than I would like. I waited too long to whistle him over; I don't know what I was thinking but I know I let him hang out there a few milliseconds too long. Anyway his outrun was not bad at all. His lift was fine; he brought the sheep down without hesitation which was nice to see. The top of his fetch was straight but fast; I tried to stop him and he wouldn't. This was my warning flag; uh-oh. Somewhere on the first half of the fetch he did stop for me and was coming forward nicely with the four ewes when all of a sudden he flanked himself Away without me asking for it and the sheep went sideways (towards exhaust), and we were done. Those range ewes are just unforgiving of any small mistake; this was only Spot's second experience on the range sheep. It's been a while since I have run any dog on them, too.  We tried to put them back on the fetch but things went all sideways from there and we ran out of time, just barely completing our fetch. It was the fastest seven minutes of our lives. I felt like I didn't even know what hit me. Yikes. I felt disconnected from him on the run. It was disappointing to not even be able to try the drive. This is going to be my next challenge: to stay connected with my dog at trials. The last two trials I have not felt connected; it was so unlike the PN run at Hopland last November where the feeling was right. We need more experience with learning to trial with one another.

The weather was beautiful; it was a clear, cool, sunny day with none of that famed Zamora wind. The PN/Nursery folks really lucked out, for once. There were some really nice runs, better overall than many of us were expecting to see. I am glad for everyone who had a good run. I am still puzzling over what I need to do to get better focused and in connection with my dog for next time. This dog is certainly teaching me a lot.

I can remember my first time running in Open with Coal at Zamora; I was so thrilled that Coal actually ran out there on that huge hill and brought me the sheep, I almost forgot to whistle or do anything else. :-)  There was another year when Coal and I ran at Zamora, the year Alf Kyme judged, when we actually got our shed and I had my hand on the pen rope before time was called. That was a real high point for me. It is not just another trial, at Zamora. It's not just another field with sheep on it. I would like to be able to disassociate from the surroundings, and just be more in the moment when I run my dog, but it is hard to set those thoughts aside when you are standing at the post, especially at that place. I have been very, very fortunate to have run my dogs at Zamora several different times. I know there are many handlers out there who would love to give it a try.

Bill Slaven and Alf Kyme, in 2012

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Spot March 2017; Listening; Hearing

Below is part one of a little video that I didn't know was being shot...while Spot and I were "tuning-up" on our home sheep before some of the recent trials. It is from a unique viewpoint, that is someone was standing right with the sheep when he picked them up from near her and then worked them right up to and around her. Thank you Marnie N. for the video! I really like how he is listening. He is a listener! :-)

There is a part two of this video also. The work  in these videos is not all perfect but it's nice. Of course it's on broke sheep at the home field but it is nice to have a record of what Spot and I have worked so hard for.


Yesterday I volunteered all day at the ABCA-sponsored BAER (hearing) testing clinic at the Zamora Hills Sheepdog Trial. It was a full, long day, but a great one. More than 35 border collies had their BAER testing done and we got DNA cheek swab samples on all of them and a few more who did not need the BAER test at that time. The veterinarian who performed the testing was so patient and kind.  She worked tirelessly all day to perform the tests and collect the data. Those of us who were volunteers helped by collecting the cheek swab data on the dogs and organizing the paperwork. It took me back to my (non-licensed) vet tech days doing the cheek swabs and holding dogs. I have to say that most of the dogs were so well behaved and willing. It was amazing how they allowed us as total strangers to stick toothbrushy-type things in their mouths three times and swirl them around on their gums without hardly putting up any fuss. It really says a lot about the temperament of our trial dogs!

Spot was the first dog to get the BAER test; he was kind of the guinea pig  for those of us who were new to the process. I was a bit nervous that he might not pass or even that he might not hold still for the test. In fact he buddied up to the veterinarian as if she were his long-lost pal. I think she just had one of those countenances that speaks to animals as a friend. Spot was very well behaved for his test, and he PASSED!  Woo hoo! I was so relieved. Some of his ancestors appear in the pedigrees of dogs who do have early onset deafness. None of his immediate family shows it, but since we don't know yet how it is carried, I was concerned. Anyway at least for now he does not show it and he is 4 1/2 years old, so I am hopeful. Whew. Now we can move back to our trialling mode in earnest. :-) I really enjoyed working with the volunteer crew. What a great bunch of selfless and hard-working ladies who have only the health of the border collie in mind.  Tomorrow we go back to Zamora for the pro-novice trial.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Spot at Sonoma Wine Country

This is a video of the first part of Spot's PN run at Sonoma Wine Country sheepdog trial, March 2017.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Brothers, Bookends

We had a chance to get Nick and Spot out together a few weeks ago. Gloria took a few nice photos even though it was (surprise!!!) raining again. It was so special to see Nick and Spot walking up on the sheep side by side. Brothers and bookends. The first litter and the last litter but obviously cut out of the same piece of cloth. So much fun. :-)

Brothers and bookends; cut out of the same piece of cloth just a few years apart.

March Madness

March's madness continued the wet and wild and wooly weather around here. We are breaking records right and left for rainfall in Sonoma County. There will be lots of feed for the sheep and other grazing animals, I guess. Meanwhile my yard is a disaster area. What has been dry and brown for a few years is now springing up with tons of green weeds and stuff I have not seen in a while.

More importantly, the March Madness spring fling of local sheepdog trials has begun.

We kicked it off with the thrice-postponed Pt. Pleasant PN/Nursery trial. At least it was not flooding, raining, or otherwise imposed upon by Mother Nature. We had a lovely weather day, actually, not too hot and not raining. Amazing!! It was so nice to go to a trial on green grass and catch up with everyone. It felt like we were throwing off the winter cobwebs. Spot had two Pro-Novice runs, which was really fun; how often we have said, "I would like a do-over!" and this time we got one. :-) My plan was to stick to my training criteria and if anything went wrong, I would go into training mode. Spot had a decent run in the first go, with some help on the outrun to find the sheep on that flat field. In the second go, he won the class, which came as a huge surprise when the awards were announced. Totally fun.

Dog torture!
Our friend George and his good dog Taff make their PN debut.
Next up: Sonoma Wine Country Sheepdog trial. Spot had one PN run and we had some trouble. After a beautiful outrun, lift, fetch, and turn around the post, the four young yearling finewools decided to make a run to the exhaust. They were pretty much fed up with the whole dog trialling thing on the fourth day. It was really hard to steer the lambs towards the first drive panel, but we did, and made the turn onto the cross drive, but then lost them to exhaust about one-third of the way into the cross drive. I RTed rather than have Spot get into a meltdown moment. There are more trials to come. His work was all good and he's listening. I am hopeful. :-) I haven't run a dog in a while, and I haven't run a dog on finewools in even longer. I have to get back up to speed and running a different dog who has a lot more gears and bells and whistles than Coal did, but a lot less experience. It will take us a little time.

Meanwhile March brought us some lovely puppies belonging to a friend, to visit and play with on a regular basis. It is just like grandkids, I guess (for those who had kids/grandkids). You go and spoil and play with the grandkids then walk away without responsibility and just have the enjoyment.  This litter was particularly photogenic and fun. They are going to their new homes this week and I will miss their joyousness! But, it's time for them to fly from the nest.

Two pups on a step after terror time takes a break!
 And, life goes on with the Scotties... I have not had much chance to work dogs with them due to rain, work, mud, and more. But now that we have changed the clocks and the rain may start to let up someday (please?) then we can get back out with them. Meanwhile they can eat all that green grass that is coming up with the rain.
Cosmo is on duty at evening time

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Near Horizons

I've taken as a new mantra lately, the advice of a management guru, who says (and I may not have the quote exactly correct) to "move to the near horizon; when you are working on a project and it feels like you are unclear on the final objective, start moving in that general direction." There are lots of things going on that folks (including myself) can get wound up about, projecting too far out and worrying about things out of our control. I'm trying to keep breathing and stay centered on that near horizon, and in the present, while still focusing on the steps toward the longer-term achievements that I believe I can work toward if I am diligent. We'll see. :-)

This pretty little blue bird was a merry addition to our Saturday afternoon sheepdog practice.

Coal, still handsome at ten years old.

Spot, focusing on our Scotties

Spot watching carefully this morning.
With all the rain and mud we are experiencing, it is really hard to work dogs, let alone do lots of other things. Many of the roads are closed. You really need to plan your route from point A to point B before you set out. Landslides, flooded roads, and more, are abundant. We are expecting a few more days of rain and wind and then we are hopeful for a break. I am hoping so! We really need a dry out.

It is small potatoes in the big picture of things, but with all this weather, I wonder if we will have any of our spring sheepdog trials this year? Again I'm trying to stay focused on the near horizons and just keep practicing with Spot on all those skills that he and I need.

The Boyz at Carmel, our favorite place