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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!