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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.