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Friday, December 31, 2010

Life Goes On ...

The holidays are just about over!  Woo hoo!  We've got amateur night left, and we're done.

I'm in full-blown Dexter withdrawal ... so I turned to Sister Wives.  Didn't take me long to get through, but talk about something that makes no sense to me!  Yeee haaaa!  So now I have to find something else to obsess over.  How about my weight?  I should start working out.  Yeah.  I'll get right on that, right after I'm done eating the 4 trays of some of the best chocolate chip walnut cookies I made last night.

I think I'm getting sick.  I've had a sore throat all week, and now my face is running a little bit.  Just enough to be annoying.  I haven't been sick in years.

If the weather cooperates, and I can stave off this cold, I'm going to go out and work dogs on Sunday.  It's good because I haven't had Echo on a big field in months.  We have a trial coming up in a couple of weeks, and it would be nice if she brought me my sheep. 

This weekend, I am hoping to meet up with the guy who is doing my remodel so we can go get the materials to start the job with.  It will be nice having this all done and I'd have some cabinet space for my stuff.  I can't believe how little cabinet space this place has.

Oh, the garage ... it leaks ... big time.  I'm glad I had the forethought to put all of my important, old photos in my closet in the house.  The boxes out in the garage are all wet, or most of them anyway.  I imagine I will be throwing some stuff out.  So there's another expensive little project ... a new roof.  I wonder what the difference in cost would be between replacing the roof on that building ... or just having him make me a whole new building, complete with dog kennels.  I'll have to see.

Took Reese out to Couch's last weekend.  She did a nice job.  Looks like she's about ready to start training.  She took the pressure well and you could tell she was trying to figure it out.  By the end of it, she was falling in to balance quite nicely.  I will make it outside later today and see what condition my pasture is in, and maybe try her out there.

Well, my search for a nice working merle, once again, has proven to be nothing but an exercise in frustration.  Most of the pedigrees are loaded with a conglomeration of puppymills and pets ... or "sport" dogs, and most of them go back to "breeders" who have been banned from registering their dogs with the ABCA due to failure to cooperate with an investigation into their breeding practice.  In other words, the pedigrees aren't worth the paper they're printed on.  If you do find someone who claims they work their dogs and you ask for videos ... they don't have any to show you, or the clips they do show are of an "instinct test" with tail up, barking, growling, etc.  And no, they don't trial because they've got too much going on, or they don't believe in dog trialing, or they don't have any trials within 6,000 miles of their house, or whatever.  Or they talk about how the dogs are so good at bringing the horses in at night.  Or they tell you that the sire and dam don't really have any interest in working stock at all.    The only person I would get a dog from isn't selling her dogs, and does not have a litter planned.  I should have bought one from her when I had the chance.  So, I'm tossing around the idea again of maybe breeding Zip to Echo.  We'll see.  Would much rather a summer litter than a winter one.

I got up way too early this morning.  I might have to take a mid-morning nap.

Maybe not.

If I can get my ass in gear, maybe I'll put the little heater in the garage, crank the tunes, grab a couple of beers, and start organizing all of the crap in there, throw some crap out, and move keep-worthy stuff to dry ground.  If I start small, and clear a work space, and then start going through stuff a box at a time, I can make it through that stuff by the end of the weekend.  Ha.  I've been saying that for about a year now.  And what a good idea.  Let's wait until it's 17 degrees outside to get this done.  Yahooie.

Maybe I'll take some photos today.  The sky is nice and clear.  It's just going to be icy cold out.  I can deal with cold if the wind doesn't kick up.

Off to enjoy the day ... and ignore my sore throat.


Monday, December 27, 2010

Owyhee Lake

Justin and I went for a ride yesterday afternoon.  It was too gorgeous out to sit in the house.  So we stopped in Marsing, got some munchies and hit the road.  Not sure where we were going to land.  We went through Homedale and out the other side and kept on going.  I'd never been to Adrian and wanted to see it.  It was tiny ... took just a few minutes.  (Hey Katy, do you remember the name of the restaurant your friend recommended for "the BEST prime rib?  We didn't see a restaurant.)  We decided to keep going.  Got to a sign for Owyhee Lake.  Thinking I'd never been there, I hung and left and followed that road.  (Actually, looking at the map, Leslie Gulch is on the south part of Owyhee Lake, but we were going in on the very north end.)  This is definitely a trip I'd like to do when the weather gets better.  It was simply gorgeous!  Yes, I brought my camera.

Here's a photo somewhere in Adrian.  I love peaks like this. 

Then a few miles up the road out of Adrian, we drove past this band of sheep.  I didn't want to disturb anyone, but I did want a couple of photos, so I drove up the road a bit before I stopped. 

Most of the rest of these photos were taken by Justin.

We found a hot spring coming down the mountain.

It formed a little tiny pool on the side of the road.  See the bubble?  Yes, it was that hot.  And how do we know that?  Well, someone (not me) stuck their hand in it.

This is what the hot spring was dumping into...

I loved this peak.  The sun was behind it and just lit it up.

Of all of the photos, this one was my favorite.  I think I will be framing it.

The road up to the dam was pretty hairy.  There was quite a bit of snow, and the road is very narrow and winding.  There were hunters coming down in their big trucks and trailers, and deep snow along the side of the non-guard-railed road.  I didn't get any photos from the lower side of the dam.  Here's the top side.  In the very lower left corner is the rim of the Glory Hole, which is not being used right now.

On the way back down the windy, slippery road, we saw a deer that was not using her back left leg. 

Poor thing.  We thought she was by herself, but around the corner was this.

Looked like it might be her baby, but there was no way of knowing.  These were the only two we spotted. 

It was a gorgeous drive, and one I am sure to do again. 


Sunday, December 26, 2010

"Merry the Day After Christmas!"

That seems to be the theme ... what everyone says.  We can go with that.

I had a pretty rough day yesterday.  There was a lot of reminiscing and stuff with my son, and while that was great fun, there were people in those memories that are no longer with us ... like my parents.  And that's very hard.  It will always be hard.  I wonder if I'll ever be able to handle it any better than I do now.

I downloaded photos from my phone today.  Also downloaded photos off my camera.  There's quite a bit on both of them that I could include here.  We'll see how much energy I put into this.  (I quit right after I said that.  Now it's Sunday morning.)  So this is going to be completely random. 

Starting with pics from my phone ...

Was over Dianne's working dogs a few weeks ago.  Here's a photo of the rainbow we saw, and actually, it's not even a really good photo since it was a full double rainbow.  But how lucky is she that she gets to work dogs all the time in such a gorgeous place?

Jaenne and I went to lunch with this guy.  You'd hardly recognize him, since this isn't normally what he looks like.

Apparently, I take a lot of photos of myself at work.  I should just put a mirror up somewhere in my office.  Check out the egg carton behind me.  I seem to collect quite a few of those, yet I haven't had a single egg in probably a month or more.

Then I could do this, like our receptionist.

Here's Colleen right after she arrived in town on Thanksgiving, the day after she rolled her truck.  Was so happy to see her!  That's Jaenne's Mo in her lap.  (Jaenne, stay tuned ... there are some pretty bad photos for you later in this post...)

Here's a photo of a dog that needs a non-working home.  Lovely little thing, from all that's said about her.  (I think it's a her.)

Ok ... moving on to my camera...

Here you go, Jaenne.  Here are those fine photos I took for you in Oregon.  No worries, you can pay me later.

It's not really me taking blurry photos.  It's that Kip is way too fast for my camera.  See?  The poles are in focus.

Go Kip!

Here's a photo of some ice on my deck one early morning that, for some reason, I found fascinating enough to lay on the ground and take a photo of.

(No one is really wondering why I haven't posted lately, right?  Depression rocks.)

Same morning.

This helps depression.  Pendleton and 7-Up.

People tell me pigs hate chickens.  That pigs will even eat a chicken.  Don't put the chickens in the pig pen!  I am having a hard time believing it.  This is Thanksgiving dinner, Wilbur style.

What are you looking at?

Here's an odd image.  I made my first ever bread bowl for some spinach dip.  I was afraid that the entire loaf of dough would make too big of a bread bowl, so I decided to cut it in half.  Well, they turned out a bit too small, so I gave the batch of spinach dip and two miniature bread bowls to the neighbors.  But without further adieu ...

I didn't end up taking a photo of the one beautiful big bread bowl I ended up using at the Christmas party, so you'll just have to take my word for it.  Well ... at least until I make another one and remember to take a picture of it.

Glenda called me one morning and we went and took the dogs for a run at Pickles Butte.  On the way back, we crested the hill and saw this ...

To give you an idea of where that is, that's my next door neighbor's barn.  My house is just to the right of this photo.  But I am more in the trees.

Ok ... now these are kind of for me, but you can ride along with me.  For those of you that like the home improvement part of my blog, here's a starter piece for you.

The two rooms I have not done anything with since moving in really ... is the entry way, and the "2nd bedroom," which I call the "utility room" because all that's in there is the hot water heater, washer, dryer, freezer, and a couple of crates.  Well, I am having someone work on it ... little by little as I can afford it ... but at least I've made up my mind what I am going to do with it.

This is the entryway. 

I am not sure what that whole paper-on-the-wall thing was, but I peeled most of it off.  The cabinets, as you can see, are in pretty bad shape.  The window to the right looks into ... my kitchen!  Talk about a useless window. 

And the spot where you come in the door is a mess. 

 (The doorway to the left goes into the utility room.)

What you're looking at is hardwood flooring on top of concrete.  Putting the crates on concrete does not help the dogs, as it is difficult for them to regulate their body temperature on concrete. 

So the plan is ... on the far wall with the "real" window, break out the cabinets and counter top.  Build a platform so I can put crates three across, a new counter top above that (which will lift the crates off the concrete) ... and new cabinets to the left of the window. 

On the north wall (with the "fake" window"), take the window out and close up the hole.  Hang cabinets 5' wide and 3' high on that wall.

For the area right behind the door, run the kitchen tile down the steps and straight out to the entry way like a landing strip.  That will solve the "wet" problem at the door.  He's also going to re-hang the door so it's straight and re-do the weather stripping to cut down the draft coming through.

A gift from the neighbors.  I love having awesome neighbors!

Ok ... the utility room.  This room is really hard to photograph because it's so small.  But here's a shot.

The only electricity in this room is to hook up the washer/dryer.  There's no light.  There's no closet.  There's a window to the right that looks out to the storage shed.  This is it.  This will be hard to explain, but I'll try.  In the right of this photo ... about 2 feet in from the corner along the wall on the right ... where the wall meets the floor ... there is a leak.  This is caused from the way the concrete was laid on the patio on the other side of that wall.  It slopes into a corner and the water sits in the corner, and the seeps under the wall and into this room.  We will be fixing the sloping concrete in the spring.  (It's not a bad "leak" ... it seeps through with a lot of moisture ... melting snow buildup ... or heavy rain.)  In the meantime, we are going to be building a wall unit on the back wall.  Floor to ceiling, wall to wall, shelves and a broom closet.  I'm going to move the freezer to the wall on the right under the window, and those crates, of course, will be on the platform in the entryway behind me.  Hopefully this will solve the lack of storage space in this house.

Now, in the kitchen ... I am still waiting on my cabinet doors, and that's ok with me.  They are coming out really nice and I'm looking forward to hanging them up. 

Where that cabinet and counter top is now used to be where the washer was.  Inside that "closet" used to be where the hot water heater was.  As you can see ... the trash area is an eyesore.  There are doors that supposedly hang here that are in my storage building, but I am getting rid of all of that.  I'm knocking out this whole area, and we are going to extend the counter top and cabinets to give me more storage.  I need to figure out what to do about a trash/recycling area, but I have lots of time to worry about that.  All of this work will get done as I can afford it.

I have other photos from the fall that I haven't edited.  If I get around to it, I'll post them here. 

That's about it for now.  I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday and is recouping well.  Personally, I feel a huge sense of relief that it's over.  Going to go take Justin shopping today for some clothes and call it good.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Working Merles

This is me ... getting into the spirit.

Nothing much really going on.  Job is going well.  Home is fine.  Dogs are good.  Livestock is happy.  Haven't been working dogs lately ... just enjoying them. 

Thought about breeding Echo this Spring, but decided against it.  I'm going to wait until winter or maybe next year.  I really enjoy working her, and I don't want to have to worry about taking a big, long break right when the weather gets nice.

What might be fun is to find a young adult blue merle to start working.   Something like 10 months old or so.  Not picky about female or male, but am not into a smooth merle.  They start looking like Catahoulas.  So if anyone knows of a young - reasonably priced (i.e., not sport breeder priced) working bred blue merle available, please let me know, or refer the owner/breeder to me. 

I am working on some new ideas for the Stockdogging blog, and also for my own blog, so there will be quite a few changes happening between now and the new year. 

More later,

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

More on the AHBA

In response to Peggy's posting that, in part, said:

"Starting Jan 2011 - Must have one level 3 title in one course/stock AND must have at least a level 2 title in a DIFFERENT course."

I sent an email to the group, which, of course, was moderated.  It read:
This is a great idea.  I saw a similar message earlier in the year mentioning this.  I have a couple of questions, though.

Was this decision made by the members of the AHBA at the annual meeting? 

Do I need to become a member to be notified of upcoming voting issues? 

For issues dealing with changes in the judge requirements, are the judges sent a notice, or do they need to rely on messages posted on this message board?   

Wouldn't it be just awful if anyone ever questioned what the AHBA is actually doing?  I didn't get moderated for being rude, or attacking anyone personally or anything like that.  I got moderated for questioning what membership entailed.  Period.  And here's a prime example.  Decisions were made.  By who?  Not the members, I'm sure.  Was this ever really up for formal discussion?  Was there a meeting?  I am a judge.  I got no notification.  And it's not even on the website. 

I attempted to post my message a second time.  And again, it was moderated.  Imagine that.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Attention: AHBA Judges and Prospective Judges!

If you're not on the AHBA Yahoo Group, you might miss this.  There was a post back in May in response to someone else's inquiry ... and then again ... here in December ... about the upcoming change in requirements for judges in the AHBA program.  The change has not yet hit the AHBA website, so you won't find it there, either. 

Starting Jan 2011:
Must have one level 3 title in one course/stock AND must have at least a level 2 title in a DIFFERENT course.

Starting Jan 2012:
Must have a level 3 title in at least two of the courses (HTAD, HTD, HRD, RLF) and two different livestock (sheep, ducks, goats, cattle, etc). Example: HRDIIIs and HTADIIId Or HTDIIIs and HTADIIIc, etc.

The rest of the post says:
Yes, earlier titles count. Around June/July of 2011, I'll probably be emailing those judges who don't seem to have met the requirements to either update our records or to discuss a temporary waiver.

The intent of the requirement is to encourage judges to be active in AHBA, to have experience in the stock/courses that they judge. We don't have "seminars".  The feeling is that being active in herding is the best means to be familiar with the rules and issues involved in herding. Queries can be addressed to me.

Peggy Richter
So there you have it.  I don't recall seeing any notice of a meeting of the members being held, or a vote taking place or anything.  Did all of those people who rushed to send in their money for their "membership" get a voice in this?  Anyone know?  Are you a member?  Did you get to vote on this issue?  I'd love to hear from you.

Are you an AHBA judge?  Did you receive some sort of personal notice of this change either by mail or email or something other than on the yahoo group?  I'd love to hear from you.

Am I disagreeing with the requirements?  No.  I think it's a good idea.  In fact, I'm not sure why the requirement to this point was a Level III title to be a judge in the first place.  It makes no sense to have people vieing for championship points being judged by someone who only has a Level III title and has not proven the consistency needed for a championship. 

What do I think prompted the change?  Probably people bringing in Border Collie handlers who have years and years of experience, who ARE the clinicians at the seminars judges need to qualify as judges, and having them run twice to get their title, and making them a judge -- and then further participation in the program (remember ... judges are NOT required to even be members of the AHBA!!!!) is optional.  This new rule will ensure that these people at least do it twice.  Which, I guess, is better than only once.

So, if you're an AHBA judge, and you only have one Level III title on one course, you'll need to obtain a Level II title on a different course. 

I welcome all comments.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Western Washington AHBA Trials!

A couple of years ago, Jaenne and I went out to Washington and attended the AHBA trials put on by the Western Washington group.  We had a great time!   Their trials are coming around again.

St. Paddy's Day Rally Trial
March 11, 12, 13, 2011
Friday - PackLeader Farm
Saturday - Fido's Farm
Sunday - Frogsbreath Farm
Contact:  Barbara Davenport ( or
Elsie Rhodes ( for information
So, Jaenne and I are talking about going out there again come March.  This time, hopefully, we'll be able to attend all three trials. 
The last time we were there, we stayed at a pretty seedy motel, so I hope to find something a little better, but still affordable.  There's probably a Motel 6 or something probably pretty centrally located.
If you're interested in coming out there with us, shoot me an email.  The people that put on these trials are a blast, so this would make for a fun trip! 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

AHBA Trials

Well, the rest of the AHBA trial went well.  Echo never ended up hanging off of anything, so that was good.  The courses were pretty similar to stuff we've done in the past, with the exception of a heavy-draw freestanding pen that would magically suck the other sheep to it (when you let the second set out of the little pen).  It was fun watching how the various handlers negotiated that obstacle.  I opted for the safe way in case Echo decided to take chase if the sheep broke and headed back to the freestanding pen.  So I just set her up as kind of a roadblock, and took the sheep out of the little pen myself.  I am sure I got hit for points doing that, but it was better than having Echo stress, chase, and return the sheep to me with her cowboy hat and spurs on.

On the other course, the element that hung me up on Sunday was the damn barn.  That was not fun.  But good obstacle.  It's cool how it's only worth 5 points, but if you screw it up, it takes you forever to fix it, so time becomes your punishment.  There wasn't too much different about this course from last year, so I hope in the future, we change it up a bit.

If I had enough sheep, I'd consider doing a ranch trial here.  I don't really want to keep that many sheep though.  I could probably rent them, but then it makes the cost of the trial ridiculous, and a cash payout is probably less likely.  Hmmmm ... I will continue thinking on this one.  I'd also have to get my trailer up to speed, which I've dropped the ball on.  It's currently sitting in the front of my house, ass over teakettle, because it has a bunch of concrete in it that shifted.  I've been too lazy to go fix it.  And now there's snow on it.  And I think I like it like that.

So, despite the worldly advice left to me on my truck this past weekend, I am breeding again!  I've decided to breed Pepe to Wilbur.  I will be creating a new breed called "Ramhams."  You watch.  The lambpigs out of that will be awesome and will eventually go on to win the National Finals.  (Y'all saw Babe, right?)  And then everyone and their brother will have to have one of them just so they can say they have one.  You'll see!  It will be great!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Fall AHBA Trial

Well, there's been tons going on, but I just haven't found the oomph to write about any of it.

First of all, let me just say ... I am very grateful I didn't lose a good friend last week.  Luck was on her side, and all is well.

My job is fine, my house is still here, and so is my son.  If anyone would like a 21 year old of their very own, I am giving one away.  You will need to learn the lyrics to "Pants on the Ground" though.

In other news, the weather has been quite chilly in these parts.  I love it, when i am dressed for it.  It's only taken me about 6 years to finally figure it out.

The GSH trial is this weekend.  I ran Echo in both ranch trials.  Before the first run, Echo and I had a discussion ... I told her that no matter what happened ... we need to beat Jaenne and Mo. 

The first one was the course with tons of little pens and gates to go through, etc.  She did well, for the most part.  This is a handler course for the most part.  The spaces are very small, the gates are plenty, and sheep are quite cooperative.  This course ends up in Echo's least favorite arena, and once again, we had some trouble in it.  She got a little stressy on me at one point, but we worked through it and got the job done. 

And we beat Jaenne and Mo!  By one point!  But ... we still beat them!  We took 1st place and it was good enough for a championship point.

The second course was more in the open and way more fun.  My handling was a bit sloppy, though.  Commands were late ... and wrong.  I think it's because I didn't have anything good to drink.  So I'll remedy that tomorrow.  I have some wheeeskie I can bring, and I'm sure someone will show up with some beer.  I hope.  We took 3rd and another championship point.  But Jaenne and Mo ... they beat us by a whopping TWO points!  We're slackin'.  But now, Echo and Mo are even.  Echo beat Mo by one point at the last AHBA trial ... so we're 2 - 2.  Tomorrow will be the tie-breaker for all the bragging rights ... and the chair ... if we can beat Jody R. and her bitchin' little dog, Circle!  Better start drinking up, Jaenne!  We'll be sharp as tennis balls tomorrow!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Pitty Pot

Yeah, I'm still on it.  I think I'll be here for a while.  Good thing Colleen is coming to town.  At least I know I'll be drunk.

At least for a minute.

Not while we're out shooting, though.  That would be bad.

Shooting.  I took my gun safety course last Saturday and got issued my certificate for my concealed weapons permit.  Got to handle quite a few guns and got somewhat of a feel of what I'd like to get.  I'm looking at getting a Ruger GP100.  We'll see.  I still want to go down to Impact Guns and shoot at a bunch of stuff and see if I like it.  I'll go tomorrow morning and apply with ... whoever I need to apply with ... to start the concealed weapons permit process.

I miss Jag to no end.  Was on my way to work yesterday morning, and had a complete and utter breakdown.  Had to pull over until it passed so I could see where I was going.  I knew his passing would hit me, but man ... this is getting ridiculous.  I remember the last week of his life like it was yesterday, and it breaks my heart every time I think about it.  How could a big healthy majestic dog just ... go down ... so quickly?  There will never be another like him, and I can't even think about bringing in another big white dog -- i.e. every breed of guardian dog available.  If I do, I know that pup will end up on my bed, at my side, going with me everywhere I go, eating whatever it wants, doing no wrong ... and basically attempting to fill really big paws.  Which would then render this livestock guardian dog ... no longer a guardian, and by definition, basically ... useless.  Except to me, I guess.  I can't do it.  I'm not ready.  I don't know if I ever will be.  I was looking at Maremma pups last week ... and oh boy are they the cutest things ever.  But I know what will happen.  And it's not a good mindset to start out with.

I miss my mother.  That's just raw.  And I'm sure people find that old.  I don't care.  If I believed ... honestly believed ... for one second that I'd see her once I was dead ... I'd be finding a cliff to jump off.  What I wouldn't do to hug her again ... to smell her ... to talk to her ... to hear her laugh ... to watch her expertly rip someone a new asshole ... to have her ask me a bazillion questions ... the same questions that used to bug the crap out of me.  I can't believe we're coming up on five years.  It is a gaping bottomless pit of a hole in my life.  Every day.  I still can't hang photos of her in my house.  I think about it ... and I tell myself that it would probably do me some good ... and I glance up at the boxes that hold the photos ... and the thought of going through the contents of the boxes make me nauseous.  I wonder if that will ever go away.

It's pretty early for this crap to be setting in.  It feels like someone is sitting on my chest and I am having a hard time breathing.  There's still about a month and a half of this to go.  Oh joy.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The holidays are upon us ...

Why is it that I don't mind being alone -- until November and/or December hit?  I guess because I watch everyone making plans and getting together with their families, and I don't have that.  Dad's been gone almost 11 years.  Mom's been gone almost 5.  (Both of the anniversaries are sneaking up also.)  My brother is in Jersey, and my sister is in California.  It's me and Justin.  I sit around quite a bit thinking "what if..." 

Sarah Palin is considering running for president.
Obama is president.
And Justin Bieber is making it big.

What is the world coming to?  No wonder I'm depressed.

Wow.  What a pitty pot post.  Even I'm impressed.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

AHBA Membership & Bylaws

It's that time of year again where the AHBA is soliciting membership.  (In case you missed my review of this issue in February of this year where I was moderated on the yahoo group for asking questions, HERE IT IS AGAIN.) 

It's a great program, and those of us that run in it should support it.  It takes a lot of time, effort and energy to run such an organization, and I, for one, appreciate having the program available to everyone.

That being said ... I just pulled up the application for membership.  Just above the signature line, it reads:

"I agree to abide by the constitution and by-laws of the American Herding Breed Association..."

So I went and took another look at those by-laws, and a lot of questions popped up, other than the ones raised in my previous post about this. 

Keep in mind, you do not need to be a member in order to judge, compete in, or hold an AHBA trial.

"D. Good Standing
Those members who have paid the required dues, fees, and assessments in accordance with these bylaws and who are not suspended shall be members in good standing."

In other words, those who bought the newsletter are "members" in good standing.  If you don't buy the newsletter ... what does that make you?

"E. Termination and Suspension of Membership
1. Causes of Termination
A membership shall terminate on occurrence of any of the following events:
                                  . . .
(e) Expulsion of the member under Section III.E.3. of these bylaws, based on the good faith determination by the board, or a committee or person authorized by the board to make such a determination, that the member has failed in a material and serious degree to observe the rules of conduct of the corporation, or has engaged in conduct materially and seriously prejudicial to the purposes and interests of the corporation."

So what?  You don't get the newsletter anymore but are still allowed to judge, compete in, and hold trials?

"2. Suspension of Membership
A member may be suspended, under Section III.E.3. of these bylaws, based on the good faith determination by the board, or a committee or person authorized by the-board to make such a determination, that the member has failed in a material and serious degree to observe the corporation's rules of conduct, or has engaged in conduct materially and seriously prejudicial to the purposes and interests of the corporation.
A person whose membership is suspended shall not be a member during the period of suspension."

So if you seriously fail to "observe the corporation's rules of conduct," you don't get the newsletter for a month or two?  Is that how that works?

"3. Procedure for Expulsion or Suspension
If grounds appear to exist for expulsion or suspension of a. member under Section III.E. of these bylaws, the procedure set forth below shall be followed:
(a) The member shall be given thirty (30) days' prior notice of the proposed expulsion or suspension and the reasons for the proposed expulsion or suspension. Notice shall be given by any method reasonably calculated to provide actual notice. Any notice given by mail shall be sent by first-class or registered mail to the member's last address as shown on the corporation's records.
(b) The member shall be given an opportunity to be heard, either orally or in writing as determined by the Board in each such instance, at least five days before the effective date of the proposed suspension or expulsion. The hearing shall be held, or the written statement considered, by the board or by a committee or person authorized by the board to determine whether the expulsion or suspension should take place.
(c) The board, committee, or person shall decide whether or not the member should be expelled, suspended, or sanctioned in some other way. The decision of the board, committee, or person shall be final.
(d) Any action challenging an expulsion, suspension, or termination of membership, including a claim alleging defective notice, must be commenced within one year after the date of the expulsion, suspension, or termination."

So if you're up for explusion, you're giving a 30-day notice that you will no longer receive the newsletter because you'll no longer be a member?  Remember ... you do not need to be a member to judge, compete in, or hold trials.

"A. Place of Meeting
Meetings of the members shall be held at any place within or outside California designated by the board ..."


"B. Annual Meeting
An annual members' meeting shall be held on a date and time in January of each year to be designated by the board no later than November 1 of the preceding year and stated in a notice to the members as provided in Section IV.D. of these bylaws. If the board fails to so designate a date and time for such meeting, the meeting shall be held on January 31 at noon, Pacific Standard Time. At this meeting, directors shall be elected and any other proper business may be transacted, subject to Sections IV.D.2. and IV.E. of these bylaws."

I wonder when the next meeting will be.  Anyone know where they announce that?

"A. Nomination
During the month of September, the board shall appoint a committee to select qualified candidates for election to the board. The secretary shall immediately notify the committee members and any alternates of their selection. The board shall name a chair for the committee and it shall be that chairs duty to call a committee meeting which shall be held on or before October 1 of that same year. The committee shall make its selection of candidates for election to the board no later than October 25. This nominating committee, shall make its report to the board within five (5) days of its selection of nominees. No later than November 1, the secretary shall forward to each member, with the notice of meeting required by Section IV.D. of these bylaws, a list of all candidates nominated by committee under this Section.
Additional nominations may be made by members if received by the secretary no later than December 31. Such nominations shall be in writing and shall be signed by at least ten (10) members. Such nominations shall also include a signed statement by the proposed nominee agreeing to serve if elected.
The committee shall designate those nominees it has selected who are specifically nominated to hold the office of President, Vice President, Secretary or Treasurer. Additional nominations by members shall be for non-officer positions on the board unless the nomination specifically states the officer position for which the nomination is made."

Did anyone see anything about that this year?

"E. Annual Report
(1) An annual report shall be prepared within 120 days after the end of the corporation's fiscal year. That report shall contain the following information in appropriate detail:
(a) A balance sheet as of the end of the fiscal year, and an income statement and statement of changes in financial position for the fiscal year, accompanied by any report on them by independent accountants, or, if there is no such report, by the certificate of an authorized officer of the corporation that they were prepared without audit from the books and records of the corporation.
(b) A statement of the place where the names and addresses of current members are located.
(c) Any information that is required by Section XIII.F.
(2) The corporation shall notify each member annually of the member's right to receive a financial report under this Section. Except as provided in subsection (3) of this bylaw, on written request by a member, the board shall promptly cause the most recent annual report to be sent to the requesting member.
(3) This Section shall not apply if the corporation receives less than $10,000 in gross revenues or receipts during the fiscal year."

Has anyone ever seen this?  Would I get this if I became a member?

It's unfortunate that the "powers that be" won't take a look at this, and instead, will moderate all those that question it.  I'd buy the newsletter if they called it that.  I won't buy it under the guise that it's a "membership," when, in fact, it's not, as defined by their own by-laws.  If they wanted to allow the members to vote to change the by-laws to reflect what their actual procedures are, or if they'd like to start allowing members the rights as outlined in their current by-laws, I'd not only become a member, but promote it.  I can't do that the way it is.

What I'd like to see happen is have the by-laws followed, and then require judges and trial hosts to become members, and therefore, be bound by the code of conduct.  It would generate more cash for the organization.  Then they could do a higher sanction fee for non-members, perhaps something like: 

Members:  $30 per run ($2 sanction fee, $28 to the host.)
Non-members:  $35 per run ($7 sanction fee, $28 to the host.)

It would certainly encourage membership. 


Dog Kennels

In the Spring, I'd really like to do a nice dog kennel instead of dealing with the dirt dog run I'm using now.  I love this setup, but I wouldn't have room for the building itself.  But this is kind of what I'm thinking of doing. 

 (Photo found at Raney Ranch Retrievers.)

Friday, November 5, 2010

My Favorite Season

Everything is cooling down.  I love it!  The air is getting crisp, and before you know it, the ground will be crunching beneath our feet.  Can't wait!

Reese is doing great ... she's been so fun to raise and hang out with.  She's kinda spazzy, way silly, but starting to mature and settle down a bit now. 

My entries are in for the GSH Thanksgiving AHBA Trial.  That should be fun!  There's two ranch courses each day.  One includes a serpentine.  I haven't done a serpentine with Echo yet.  I think I might set one up in my pasture and try it. 

The Sleddin' & Sheddin' trial is coming up in December.  I need to make it out to Dianne's a couple of times to see if I can communicate with her in the open field well enough to enter that trial.  I think I'm a bit paranoid now.

Was just looking at sleigh rides in Idaho.  It's something I'd really like to do this year.  I look at it every year and I never do it.  I'd like to find an outfit that has a lot of elk through the area they take people so I can take a lot of photographs.  Most of the sleigh rides end up at a place for a good steak dinner.  Yummy!  Merry Christmas to me.  Maybe I won't even limit my search to Idaho.

Got my hay delivered last week.  My neighbor down the road has grass hay and alfalfa, so I got some of each.  I'm feeding a little earlier this year than I have in the past, but I'm glad my pastures made it this far, so that's ok.  Hopefully next year it will all last a little longer, especially when I get some irrigation to the west pasture.

I also got a tongue jack welded on to my trailer.  Now to just get it registered so I can take it to Boise to have it "remodeled" to what I need it to be.

My son is staying with me for a few more weeks.  I love him to pieces, and even more when he lives with his friends.  Boys are just ... gross.  Fun, but gross.

So far, I've sold three dozen eggs.  I'm keeping the money in a separate little place, so when I have enough, I'd like to get one of those really nice coops.  Once Wilbur is gone, though, I'm going to have to put a door on the pig shelter because that is where all of the hens now hang out.  The ducks seem to still be hanging in the quack shack.  But there are a couple of chickens who go back there and lay eggs.  I haven't gotten any duck eggs as of yet.  It's ok though.  I like the ducks.  The dogs like working them too.

This weekend there are several things going on.  I bought several gates from my next door neighbor ... the lightweight aluminum kind ... a couple of them are like 10 or 12 feet long, so I will use those as openings to my west pasture.  I'd like to start dragging those over to my place tonight so I can start re-configuring the fencing along the driveway.  I think this will be the third time I've done that particular fenceline.  Such is life of a homeowner, eh?  Then on Saturday morning, I am going to work Reese if the weather cooperates.  Then Jaenne is taking me to Oregon with her so I can take some photos of Kip and Mo doing agility.  Saturday night ... I think I might have something to do that will remain unmentioned here.  Sunday ... I can work more on the fence, and then a couple of people are coming in the afternoon for instinct tests and to work dogs.  I hope the weather holds out.

Somewhere in the middle of this, I need to make it over to my neighbor Dean and Brooke's place before they send a search party after me.  Brooke made me some of the best jam from the plum tree next door.  Holy cow ... to die for!  And I have a jar and a half of it!  I'm stoked!

I talked to Couch today, and am going to push him to do a trial at his place.  He said he'd like to do an AHBA trial, so I told him -- this weekend -- we need to get a diagram of his place going.  I'll start looking at a calendar so we can pick a date and secure judges. 


Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween Weekend

Hmmm ... it's been a while since I've updated this. 

Not much going on.  The days are getting shorter.  It's dark by 7:00 p.m. now.  The time change happens in a couple of weeks and soon I'll be going to work when it's dark, and coming home when it's dark, and only seeing daylight on the weekends.  Here's where I start making it a point to get out of the office for lunch.  The trees are all different colors and absolutely gorgeous!  I need to take more photos ... quickly ... before it all goes away. 

Friday night I worked Reese in the round pen.  Despite the fact that I've only done it a couple of times, I think she's got the basic idea of getting around her stock, so it will soon be time to move her into the field.  She was lovely.  She waits patiently for me to close the gate behind us, and for me to get to my sheep before I release her.  When I send her, she initially goes in and makes it a bit exciting, but kicks out pretty readily and then is just ... lovely.  Stops.  Goes both directions.  Stays out.  Buzzes a little bit, but I don't mind it at this point.  And holy holy ... is she ever fast!

Saturday, it was off to judge the IHA trial.

The weather held out ... in fact, it was gorgeous out!  There were several trial runs, and quite a few test runs.  The people were so fun to be around, all excited about the possibilities with their dogs.  The first trial run was Jody R.  She had the misfortune of having a small malfunction at the gate, and no ribbon on the sheep for the shed.  She handled it in stride and ended up doing very well.  I don't remember how the placements went, but there was a lot of nice work by all the dogs with some very light sheep.  Great experience for handlers and dogs, and it seemed everyone had fun trying to figure it out. 

The test class worked out really well.  Don worked with each person/dog team, and I judged it.  On Sunday, we switched that around.  Lots of nice dogs.  I was glad to see so many new people!  I worked with all of the test dogs in the morning while Don judged, and then I ran Echo in the trial.  I wasn't going to enter her, but the fact that the pen was proving so difficult the day before really bugged me!  I felt like I just judged a bunch of people trying to do it that I should put my money where my mouth was.  And Echo worked very nicely for me.  I was very conscious of my voice, the tone, the volume, etc.  Whistles proved a little more difficult to control, so I abandoned it.  One thing I realized is ... through Echo's new-found sensitivity, she has a great "git!" at the pen, where I want her to turn more than 90 degrees off the sheep to lessen the pressure.  Just a little bit.  And it worked well here.  I tried not to worry about the clock, and was concentrating more on watching the sheep's heads and waiting for them to even show the slighest interest in going in the pen.  They never did.  Echo and I ended up coercing them to back into it.  Very. Slowly.  The gate was not on a wheel, so I had to give up my post for just a second to grab the gate, and I was afraid everyone would pop out, but they didn't.  Woo hoo! 

We got to the ribbon pull, and there was no ribbon on this set.  Don told me to "grab one of the spotted ones."  Since there were 4 out of 5 spotted ones, it seemed a bit easier.  Ha.  Not.  These sheep wanted nothing to do with people.  I tried a couple of times to grab a leg, but they proved too fast for me.  I got a hold of an entire sheep and held it, and I hear someone say, "Now kiss it!"  So ... I did.  I've been makin' out with a lot of livestock lately.  Yuck!

Lots of fun, and it was really nice to work with Echo in that environment.  It's the most connected I've felt with her in a while.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Cute Smoothie Available for Adoption

Grace is an energetic 7 month old ,smooth coat, border collie.  Given up by her previous owner and now in foster care, Grace has transitioned well and is very content.  She is gentle and affectionate but can also be independent.  She is house broken, crate trained, knows basic obedience, walks nicely on leash and off, learns quickly, and is a wonderful companion that loves to be included in daily life.  She plays nicely with toys and other dogs.  She loves to chew on appropriate chew toys when not playing or she is just as content to be near her person.  Grace is easy to get along with and eager to learn.  She gets along with cats too, but I don't know about small children.  Grace has been on sheep and could potentially be a nice little sheep dog given time and training.

Please contact Phyllis Stevely at 208-440-0342 or

Monday, October 25, 2010

Autumn in the country ...

I love this time of year.  The heat is finally gone, and the cooler weather is setting in.  The colors are incredible!  I am not nearly as far along as I would have liked to have been, but I still feel like I managed to get a few things done this summer outside.  It won't be long before I start concentrating on the inside of the house again ... and dog knows there's plenty of work to be done there.

Phyllis came over on Saturday, and we worked the ducks for their first time.  They were none too pleased, and initially didn't understand that they were supposed to move off the dogs.  So the dogs would be right in their faces, and not allowed to bite them, which made it kind of comical.  The looks on the dogs' faces was priceless at times.

Here's Phyllis' Rusty.  He's a Jock x Lil from Don Helsley's breeding.

Here's the drama queen of the bunch. Notice her friend laughing at her in the background.

It's nice to finally stand on my deck and see someone working out in the pasture.  This gives you a better idea of how small the area actually is (and this is my "big" pasture).  I really need to find a hot guy with a lot of land.

Then Phyllis worked Rook (Jenn x Zip).  He did a very nice job.  By this time, the ducks were figuring out they'd better start moving off the dogs.

I probably have 100 blooper photos of Zip like this (notice the tongue).

Dawn Marie Couch ... Don's wife.

Echo wondering why it's not her turn again.

It rained on and off all day on Sunday.  The colors are amazing right now with all of the trees and grasses changing color.  This, of course, means that the wind comes whipping through to make sure it doesn't stay pretty for too long.  I forgot to take photos of my neighbor's tree on Saturday, and was pissed at myself because there were high winds forecasted for Sunday.  But I got a few on Sunday despite the weather. 

If you remember, back in January when it snowed, I stood in my living room and took photos out my three windows.  Here's what it looks like in fall.  I think might do this in Spring and Summer also, and do a bit of a slideshow or something.  I love having four seasons!

Looked out a different window and this is what I see.  They're helping me clean up the place before winter hits.

The neighbor's tree I'm whining about.

So I grabbed the dogs and headed over there.  Took some photos on the way.  This photo lost the detail and color when I uploaded it.  It's much more colorful than this.

This tree is just starting to change. 

More color...

The Tree.


That's better.

Mother & daughter

Echo looks like she's on crack in this one.

That's all for now.  Hopefully, I'll get another opportunity to take some fall photos before the wind strips the trees.  It's getting dark pretty early now, though, so I will probably have to wait till the weekend.  And I'm busy this weekend. 

Oh well ...