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Monday, June 29, 2009

Surgical Removal

I'm sick of being sick. Caught a cold some time at the end of last week and am having a hell of a time shaking it. I really want to get back into working out, but my chest lights up as if on fire if I so much as sneeze. Sux.

Looked at another house tonight. I love it! It needs some work, but for $100K for almost two acres, you can't beat it. I think I will look a little more seriously at this one. I love the location. No neighbors! Right across the street from a wildlife preserve and a huge lake.

Worked Echo a bit tonight. We needed to move the sheep from one arena, though the pens and alleyways and stuff into the round pen for an instinct test. This is not a hard transition, however, it requires patience on the part of the dog, and you're putting the dog in very very tight spaces and asking it not to lose its head. This is something Zip and I have done a bazillion times and he does with his eyes closed and without ever riling up the sheep. Doing it with Echo, however, is a little more ... "fun" ...

Tonight, though, she was a pro. My voice never became more than a whisper. And next time I go down this alleyway, I am bringing a giant pair of shears! There's so much overgrowth there now, you almost don't know there's a walkway. Anyway, pushed the sheep down it, and we never crammed them up against the gate. Called Echo to me so I could open the gate without getting run over. This required her to plaster herself along the fence and most past the sheep. Did that very quietly. She held them off the gate while I opened it, and then I sent her blindly into the very narrow alleyway and she handled it perfectly. No popcorn. No slicing, no dicing, no lamb chops. Five sheep came calmly through the gate with a nice calm dog following behind. Trusting her more and more and really enjoying using her for stuff like this.

Had dinner with Janie and Kirk and made some plans for the weekend. Need to firm up what to BBQ and stuff.

Came home pretty late. Was just reading Facebook. What an odd place that is. There is some interesting stuff ... some funny stuff ... some pretty stupid stuff ... so you get quite a variety. What I have been noticing lately ... as far as sheepdog people ... there are open handlers whose success speaks for itself ... and then there are the wannabes who sit on the fence. They don't particularly have an opinion of their own, but instead agree with everyone. And they will comment just to put their name up there with the big hats (most of whom are several states away and she's never even met).

"Lipstick? Yes, I like lipstick. But only if you like it. If you don't like it, then I don't like it either. Red lipstick. Yes, red is good. Oh you don't like red? Me either. Pink is my favorite. You like pink? Yeah, me too. That's good."

Right down to their choice of where to get a puppy (not once stopping to consider that perhaps the dog is not the problem in the equation).

Some of these handlers better not stop too fast, because they'd have this fence-sitting wannabe so far up their ass, they would have to have her surgically removed.

Looking forward to a fun 4th of July weekend! And I can't help it, but I am getting excited about submitting an application for a home loan. I have my doubts about being able to swing it, but I can dream, can't I? If nothing else, I'm having a blast looking at the houses for sale.

Off to lala land, hoping that when I wake up, I feel better than ... what I have been lately.

(Hey Katy, I was going to write, "feel better than scattered ass" ... but decided to UD that term and this is what it says scattered ass is.)


Friday, June 26, 2009

Horticulture & Costmetology

I'm sitting here listening to the t.v. and every station has the "SHOCKING" news about Michael Jackson's death. I think the only thing shocking about it is that they figured it out in the first place! Seriously ... what looked so different about him on Friday that looked more "dead" about him than say ... the last 10 years?

My neighbor has been out mowing his pasture for the last 3 hours now. Why? I don't have a clue. Apparently he doesn't like the look of the haircut the sheep are giving it.

My fingers are sore from picking cherries. I hope Janie wants like 20 pies. I have two giant bowls of cherries I am bringing to her. The cherry tree has two giant branches that literally just broke off from the main part of the tree. Besides the tree being old, and the wind blowing pretty good, I am sure the sheer weight of all the cherries helped. I don't understand why the squirrels and crows aren't all over that tree this year. I've never seen anything like this. I made a cherry cobbler the other night that was yummy. If I had a family, I might even buy a cherry pitter and make more stuff, but ... I just can't see myself eating that much cherry stuff. Besides ... I am on a diet!

No ... I am NOT posting the photo for all to see. It graces my desktop. I see it more often than I care to. And I may just take Darci's advice and put it on my fridge!

I did more dishes tonight than I thought I owned.

Kirk is fixing my trailer for me. Woo hoo! Earlier this year, the doorknob broke, so I went and bought a new one. It was a regular door knob, so it was relatively inexpensive as trailer parts go. When he replace it, though, there was a gap in the area where the door meets the trailer. Apparently he shimmed it up and reports that it worked well. Also ... the water pump in this trailer has never worked so long as I've owned it. I've been stumped. Well, Kirk looked at it, looked up the part number and gave me the item numbers to the stuff I need to buy, so I will go pick that stuff up tomorrow and bring it to him. I am SO glad everything in the trailer will work for the upcoming trials. Yahooie!

Also ... great news! My friend Mark said to pencil him in for the Athena trial! While he doesn't have a dog to compete with, he and I met at a fair, and the fairs and rodeos and stuff have kinda become our "thing." So add a Scottish fair to our list! That would be a hoot! Note to self: Bring air mattress for the back of the truck.

If I had the money, I'd probably enter Zip also, as arena trials are his forte. But I haven't been working him, and I need to stay on top of the finances right now. I'm about 2 weeks away from applying for a home loan. (I don't have much hope of getting it, but I am going to try ... what do I have to lose?)

So on my calendar today came up a little note about Sunday. Sunday is the approximate due date of a very closely "linebred" litter that, if born, you won't hear anything about for several months because the owner is quite a jokester and likes to pull stuff out of her hat like magic! The last time Shrub was bred to Hairspray, they had an amazing litter of ... one! I know people thought that the owner might have quietly culled the rest of the litter, I know it's because she's such a great breeder, she has these amazing powers that when she only wants one puppy, only one puppy appears. And this time around, she only wants one puppy again. I wonder if she will name it something really cool like Bush after its mom ... or maybe even Lice after its dad! The weird thing was, someone tried to convince me that Hairspray's pedigree appeared to be very similar to Shrub's ... so much so that it almost appeared that Hairspray was Shrub's father ... but I told them that's not possible. The registry must have made a registration mistake and I am sure that's all been worked out by now. So I wish my friend wasn't such a prankster and would post pictures of Weed/Grecian when she/he is born rather than waiting several months and then backdating the story of the pup's arrival! I know she only wants one pup, but I would love a litter of like 10! Could you imagine all the names we could come up with?

I just got done BBQ'ing dinner for ... myself! I don't think I've ever BBQ'd for one before! I grilled up the steak I got on sale the other day, and being that I am on a diet, I didn't make the 15 pounds of butter-soaked garlic bred I usually make to go with it, ate only 1/2 the baked potato with 16 teaspoons of butter. Instead of sour cream, I used low fat cottage cheese! Yum! Had a corn on the cob laying around, so threw that on there too, along with some asparagus in a tin foil packet with butter, salt & pepper. It was all very yummy.

I am sure I'll be wearing these jeans for a while longer.

Need to get my ass up early tomorrow and get out to the Leaf. We have a bit of yard work to do out there. It'll only be 87 degrees tomorrow, so we picked a good day. For the next week, it will be closer to 100. I hope I can make it through the next few weeks without breaking down and sticking that stupid swamp cooler in my window. The house stays pretty cool, so I should be okay.

Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I've decided ...

I am going to bust my fat ass and be down a pants size by Lacamas. That gives me about six weeks.

Oh that photo is horrible.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

All Kinds of Stuff

I was looking through some photos for a friend of mine tonight when I ran across some very scary photos -- of myself.

So ... after I got home from the gym tonight! ... I went out and worked Echo on the stuff Dianne was teaching me yesterday. It's so nice to make some progress. Before this, I wasn't quite sure how I was going to fix Echo's lack of flanks (or very tight flanks) on the fetch. Now we are getting there. And the whistle is getting easier and easier to remember to put in my mouth because I hate the sound of my voice ... I can't imagine how Echo feels.

My calendar is getting pretty darned busy over the next couple of months. It looks like this:

July 4th weekend: Colleen is coming down and we're all going to get together and probably find some place to watch the fireworks, perhaps hit the drive-in movie theatre in Parma, etc.

July 11th & 12th - The Calendonia Games Trial in Athena, Oregon. Running Echo in pro-novice. My goal is a somewhat straight, controlled fetch -- straight through the fetch panels. If I get it, I'll be over the moon.

July 22 - Skar's puppies due.

July 24 - Canyon County Fair demo. A little fun trial where we will run a few dogs in probably some type of barrel pattern. Good practice.

July 25 & 26 - The Dizzy Duck Trial. This is the ranch course duck trial - not sanctioned - small cash payout depending on entries.

August 8 - Couch novice-novice trial (?)

August 13-16 - Lacamas SDT in Camas, WA. Running Echo in pro-novice.

August 29 & 30 - Western Idaho Fair trial. Running Echo in pro-novice.

September 22-27 - National Finals in Klammath Falls, OR. I am hoping to make it down to watch some. Would be perfect timing to pick up my Skar pup on the way home.

Somewhere in the middle of all this, I would like to get approved for a home loan and buy a house -- or at the very least, rent a different one. Need to move out of this one and leave all the memories behind.

I am getting my trailer back on the road ... with a little help from my friends. :-) Janie's husband, Kirk, is fixing the doorknob that broke. I went out and bought a new one and he's making it work. He's also going to take a look at the water pump and hopefully get that going as well. I would love to have everything working for the trials. I just got it registered for this year (finally) so it's good to go wherever I feel like pulling it. What's nice about it is there's not much to it, so there's not much that can go wrong with it (knock on wood). I would like to buy a porta-potty and portable shower for it, though. That way, we don't have to worry about anything. (No, I don't have a mouse in my pocket. When I say "we" ... just talking about me and whoever happens to be staying in it with me at the time.) I will also stop at Cabela's and pick up an EZ-Up to replace my old one. I think they are on sale right now.

Well, that's all for now. I can hear a bee flying around my room. That's never good.

Happy tails,

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Thick skull

Loaded Echo Monster up, along with a 12-pack of Coronas and headed out to Janie's for a lesson with Dianne. At the trial, I couldn't get Echo to take her comebye flank on the fetch, so that was the object of the lesson.

I know Dianne has tried to teach this whole concept to me before and I wasn't getting it.

I think I got it.

Inside flanks are just the opposite of the outside flanks used on the fetch. It's easier to square up the insides, which will correct the outside. So ... with that in mind ... all on whistle ... drive drive drive, stop her, pick a side, call her towards me, when she turns -- flank her. If she cuts in, call her to me again to pull her head out and then flank her. Don't let her go all the way around. Flow back and forth in that arc. It will also loosen up her eye and she starts to flow more freely.

The very last thing she did before I called her off for the evening ... was a nice square comebye flank off the fetch.

Need to practice this a lot more.

I know I am not explaining this right, but these are basically my notes so I can look at it when I go out to work her tomorrow.

My head's about to hit my desk.

Thanks, Dianne, for your endless patience.

Good night.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Trial stuff

I posted the results and photos on the Stockdog Blog.

Fun trial! The hospitality was great, the weather was good and everyone really seemed to enjoy themselves. The sheep were a bit tough, and it made for a really good challenge for the dogs, and gave both handler and dog some great experience.

First run, Echo had a nice outrun, took her down at the top (I think ... or at least slowed up enough for a proper lift), and then came the broken come bye flank. The sheep were drifting to my right, and I couldn't get Echo to take her come bye flank. But ... I kept trying to whistle it, corrected her, whistled it, corrected her, and while she finally took it when she got a lot closer to me, it still caused our entire fetch to be offline. Nice tight clockwise turn around the post, the driveaway was a little squirrely at first, straightened it out and then needed a big, wide come bye inside flank to turn the sheep to the right into the crossdrive. She took it! Nice and wide. I blew a down and she took that too! Woo hoo! So now we can just go merrily on our way into a crossdrive where she generally holds a line pretty good on her own. WRONG! She stressed out, and went and peed off near the fence, and lost her sheep. UGH! What did I do wrong? I'm sure 14,000 things. I was apparently not releasing the pressure ... probably with my body first and foremost, but I am also sure my whistles probably sound like constant yelling at her. So after she got done peeing, I sent her up to try to gather the sheep so we could exhaust them. I didn't want her quitting on her terms. The draw proved too strong as we were very near setout at that point, so I called her off. It's ok. I was very happy with it. We made tons of progress. Nothing went slicey dicey. She took the down at the top. The fetch, while offline, was not scary. She was working well off the whistles for the most part. And I kept the whistle in my mouth almost the whole time.

Second run, she had a very nice (very wide) outrun, although I think I overcompensated and pulled her up short so that we didn't have the come bye problem again. This time the sheep drifted off to my left. While we missed the center panel (again!), we got the fetch back online. Decent turn around the post, drive away was a little squirrely again, and I don't remember if we made the panel, as I was concerned about her taking my come bye whistle again on the draw. It was a little late and the sheep started to escape, and we went way off line, but she brought them back (right through the center panel! LOL), and we went to and got the pen. Overall probably pretty ugly to watch, but again, I whistled her most of the way through it, and I was very happy with the result.

Can't wait to do it again!

Maybe next time, I'll bring my camera to the post with me. Ha ha ha ha


Friday, June 19, 2009

Pressure off?

Seeing that we have that novice trial coming up tomorrow, and I am running Echo non-compete, and I haven't worked her in probably 2 weeks because I am avoiding foxtails like the plague, I figured I should probably take her out to my pasture and give her a whirl on her whistles. What my goal is for tomorrow is to whistle her all the way around the course, and only allowing myself verbal correction.

If it goes anything like it went last night in the pasture, we will muck that up on the fetch, if not before. Working her last night made me realize that I have really been neglecting her training these last few months. I am still having the same problems I had earlier in the year. Her flanks on the fetch are still slices, she is still blowing off her down if she feels I am wrong, and we still have "come bye" issues (at the AHBA trial earlier this year, we were doing a crossdrive, and I couldn't get her to take her comebye flank to cover the high side, so I had to send her all the way around on the away side, thereby crossing course, to get to the second drive panel).

So I don't hold out a lot of hope for success. We'll see. I really need to get my trailer welded so I can take some sheep out to the desert and work her in big wide open spaces. My pasture is too narrow.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What kind of control?

Animal Control? Oh yeah. Them.

They came by today. They left me a pretty little red note. It reads:

"We had a call concerning the animals; Officer witnessed adequate shelter, water and living conditions. Please call if you have any questions."

That's pretty funny!

Wouldn't it be even funnier to find out who the jackass was that wasted their time on THAT phone call? They would actually have to have a spine to admit it was them, though. I don't see one developing any time soon.

Thanks for the laugh!

Happy well-taken-care-of tails,

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Something accomplished

Well, I didn't do nothing today. I actually got a huge project out of the way ... my hallway. Some of you know it's been a thorn in my side because it's a piece of my former life. Today I bit the bullet, cleaned off the built in shelves, threw out some stuff, cleaned off all the books, magazines, and newpapers I'm keeping, boxed them up and put them in the garage. I also cleaned off all the games, videos, and CD's and got them all ready to box up (I don't have any boxes). I dusted and cleaned all of the shelves, took the photos down and put them in the garage, pulled the nails out of the walls, vacuumed the entire area completely, washed down the walls and door jambs, and re-stapled the internet cord so it's nice and neat. A couple of boxes, and my hallway is all packed up and ready to go.

Pulled down the shower curtain liner in my bathroom, did a couple of loads of laundry, did all the dishes, and made myself some dinner. All good stuff. It was leftovers from Jaenne's mom's food ... the Korean BBQ beef! Yummy! Used the rice cooker and made some good rice. Thanks Jaenne!

Watched the Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons. Cute movie. The opening was hard to watch because it reminded me of when my mother was ill, but overall a good movie. Now I am about to sit down and watch Slumdog Millionaire. More later.


Weekend Happenings

Went out to the Leaf Friday night. Brought everyone but Jag out there with me. Stopped in the Wilder Bar for a beer and took a few photos of the band there. Crashed out and woke up early the next morning and headed over to Janie's for the instinct testing.

Janie made us a wonderful bacon/egg breakfast, and then we went out and put little Drift on sheep. I normally don't put them on that young, but his awesome non-breeder has been bragging about his littermates, so I couldn't resist. I had to know before he went home. It was going to be the only time I could do it.

In short, he was awesome! He gathered very naturally, stayed off his stock, felt the pressure and adjusted himself according. Cool pup!

People started showing up and it turned out to be quite organized. I was testing one dog, and using Zip to help me, when I took a pretty bad fall. Feet came right out from under me and I landed square on my ribcage (ok, the fat over my ribcage), and got the wind knocked out of me. So Janie was on her own for the rest of the testing. I was a little gunshy after that. Someone was videotaping. I wonder if they caught that special little event.

Got a call from Drift's new owner who said they were going to be in town Saturday instead of Sunday, so we made plans to meet at my house at 3:00 or so. Couldn't have timed it any better ... I had just gotten home when they pulled in the driveway. A lovely family with two gorgeous young girls who were just so excited to have Drift. I think Drift is in the perfect place. (K, please keep me updated ... I'd love photos and stories ... I am seriously going to miss him around here.)

So now it's just me, Jag, Zip and Echo. Skar has been bred to Rock and is due to have pups at the end of July. Before I got Drift, I was dreading raising pups again. But after having him, and seeing what a joy a good puppy can be, I am looking forward to having a Skar pup or two. They are just such little sponges that suck up all the information they can. And their desire to please is second to none. Amazing. Simply amazing.

Mark came over last night for dinner and a movie. We planned on BBQ'ing, but being that it was pouring rain, we got a pizza instead. I tried to rent the movies I wanted to see, but the Redboxes in my area were out of them. We saw "Taken" instead. Apart from the last 30 seconds, great movie! A nice mellow evening. And great company. Thanks, Mark!

I have photos from the instinct test (not many) that I need to edit and post on the GSH site. Hopefully, I'll be able to do that today.

Not much will happen today. I might get a book read. Not moving too fast.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Birthday Monster

Today (June 12th) is Echo Monster's 2nd birthday!

It's hard to imagine my little girl is ... an adult! Happy Birthday, Monster! Thanks for the ride!

(I napped earlier ... and now I'm up till all hours of the night. Oh joy.)

Thursday, June 11, 2009


For those of you wondering ... the rescue dog was found. I got an email from a buy not far from me that saw him, and called animal control. They came out, and the dog was very tired, hanging out in the canal, and when AC got him, they mentioned how one side of his body was warmer than the other -- indicating possible bruising, and guessing that he'd been hit by a car. He's okay, though, and I will go down to the IHS tomorrow.

This has been a long week, and Friday couldn't come soon enough. The Instinct Test is Saturday, and then little Drift goes home on Sunday. That is if I don't hide him somewhere and tell his new owner that he just ... took off! Man is that one cute puppy. Bold as brass, and has the game of life figured out. I'm going to miss this little imp. But I think things happen for a reason. Before getting Drift, I was pretty excited about getting a Skar pup, but wasn't all that excited at the prospect of raising a puppy. Now ... I can't wait! I have had so much fun raising Drift, and he has been a dream puppy.

So Saturday should be fun. Seems like we've got several tests coming out. I always love watching a dog's first reaction to livestock. And I love watching the owner's reaction to it all.

Saturday evening, a good friend of mine is coming over for dinner and a movie. We are talking about several movies, and please ... let me know if you've seen any of them of if they are any good. If you have a good Redbox Rental you've seen lately, please feel free to recommend one or two for us.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Slumdog Millionnaire

Saw V ????

Rescue Sucks

I am done cleaning up other breeder's messes. And some of the people are just plain nuts, and you can't be honest with them.

When they call you and say, "You need to take my dog tonight or tomorrow morning or he's going to the shelter ..." I HATE THAT. Who are they to make ME feel guilty? I am not the one giving up my dog that I supposedly care so much about.

Ask for a donation ... and you get nothing. Ask for their collar and leash ... and you can't even have that. And what kind of thanks do you get? A hug. Gee. Thanks. That will help me continue helping other dogs.

Poor dog is loaded with issue. He's not dog aggressive. He's not a dominant male. He's scared to death. Of other dogs. Of fence gates that swing open. Of feet that trod too hard on the ground. Of hands about to touch his head to pet him. Of the front door. Of the back door. Of the laundry. Of the t.v.

And when he hopped the fence, trying to get him to come to me who he was also afraid of, on a street he was afraid of, with a canal between us that he was afraid of, to approach a truck he was afraid of ... I could go on, but you get the idea. His answer to it all was to run away from the scary things, as if his tail was on fire. The whole thing just broke my heart. All because his family didn't want him anymore. And now I sit and wonder where he is and if he's okay.

Stopping by the shelter yesterday and looking at row after row of dogs needing homes put me to tears. Again. I have never been able to walk through there (or any shelter) without coming out reduced to nothing. It's really hard to drive hysterically sobbing. I wish I could save them all.

But I can't.

Like a fellow rescuer recently told me ... everyone thinks the rescuers should do it because it's all about the dogs. No, no it isn't. There are other issues to consider ... like your personal safety and sanity. I have come to realize that I am not willing to throw either one of those things out there for those that feel dogs are disposable. If you want to find a home for your dog, that's your problem. If your dog gets put in the shelter because you can't keep it ... that's your problem. If your dog gets put down because of it, it's your fault. Not mine.

Going to go hug my dogs.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Young Male available - FOUND A HOME

FINN: 10-month old male, crate-trained, neutered, up-to-date on shots.

Finn is a lovely, calm boy who would make a really nice companion or sport dog for just about anyone. He loves other dogs, does well around children, and has an amazing desire to please. He would do really well with a soft-spoken, gentle handler and his owner would really like to find him a home where he will be part of the family.

If you're interested in Finn, please contact me and I will put you in touch with his owner.

Sunday Sunday Sunday!

Did I work dogs today? Nope. At least not yet. I haven't really worked my dogs much. I am trying to make sure I don't end up with a $500 vet bill for removing a foxtail from someone's existing holes, or a hole bore by one of those nasty things. A lot of mowing. And mowing some more.

I mowed the front yard today, and raked it. Once I clean out the planter, I'll even post photos of it. I will also mow the side yard and the back yard. Hopefully, then, this week I can concentrate on getting my garage cleaned out, which will only be helpful when I am packing to move. Move? Yes, I am not going to live here by myself. That's silly. I'm spending $950 a month on someone else's mortgage ... which was paid off a long time ago. So basically, this is just income for them now. And it's doing nothing for me or my future. Time to buy. I'm trying. But not here in the city. I am really growing to dislike the city. And when I first moved here from L.A., this was just a large town to me. Now it's a claustrophobic conglomeration of way too much stuff. I need to be out in the country.

I came in to charge my IPod. I was listening to it while I was out mowing. I love the Zac Brown Band ... but I am also on a major Lady Antebellum kick.

Here's "Lookin' for a Good Time"

It's funny how if I were just to say this out loud, it would raise some eyebrows ... but in a song ... no one thinks twice about it.

"How bout baby
We make a promise
To not promise anything more than one night
Complicated situations
Only get worse in the morning light
Hey I’m just lookin’ for a good time"

It's amazing how much I think about my life when I am mowing the lawn.

Well, I'm back at it. More later.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The "Wilder Bar"

So there's a new blog in town. The Wilder Bar!

Go check it out! More importantly, if you're in town, stop in and have a beer! You'll be glad you did!

Happy tails,