Friday, March 25, 2011

2011 National Sheepdog Finals Blog


I am sure most who read these blogs are aware of this link, but for my family and ranch friends who don't follow all the dog news here it is


http://www.sheepdogfinalsblog.com/

I was asked to write about what i was doing to prepare for the 2011 sheepdog finals, so i wrote a short article. Thou I am very proud of Kell's current 11th place ranking in USBCHA open points, I don't think i fit into the blogs "top competitors from all over North America" but i was very flattered to have been asked. I suspect the fact i will write when asked had something to do with the nod :)

Also check out the USBCHA site for the finals at http://www.sheepdogfinals.com/ and make sure you watch the promo video, which was very well done.

Kell ran very well at Zamora with 2 perfect outruns on the big tricky hill. He seems to be feeling good again and listening well.  Nellie did not run well at Heppner the first day, but the second day i was very happy with her.  I still cant seem to get ahold of the lil twit like i want to at the top.

Life gets busy now with shearing next week, James wrestling ending, Katy and James baseball starting.... and of course lambing in late April and May.  When spring really does come we will be getting rid of the old alfalfa and planting a grass/clover mix we like called Sucra grass. The other fields will all need to be harrowed here soon as well.

Right now it is snowing and blowing and i keep checking different weather forecasts hoping for better weather to shear next week! If the weather does not break  we will have to tag now and shear after we lamb. We have never had to do that, and i hate change!

Max and his yearlings and ohh yes spring time


Friday, March 18, 2011

You Can Take the ranchdog out of the country....


Old pic of kell, but this pic says "ranchdog" to me :)

But you can’t take the country out of the ranch dog.

I had some business in the big city this week, so I took the dogs with me as we have a sheepdog trial this weekend.

I am blessed to have some very good friends in P town and I usually stay with my dear friend Barb. I was in town for several days, so the dogs got some long walks in the big city.

My dogs are used to traveling for trials and they were unfazed by that part of the trip. Taking long walks in the city was another story.

I have my dogs Nellie and Mint with me. Both dogs are used to a leash, but they have never really been for a long walk with one on. At home I run on the ranch in the am and the dogs come with me, not on a leash. At trials they are on a leash, but they are looking up the field for sheep, or sitting watching with me.

We start out on the walk and I see both dogs are scanning for sheep. After several blocks they stop doing that, and notice the world is alive with squirrels and cats on porches. They know I would not tolerate pulling or misbehaving, so they just stare….as only a collie can.

This is a nice neighborhood, and apparently the breed of choice is a golden retriever. My dogs have seen 99.9 % Border Collies their whole life, and they seemed to regard these body wagging happy dogs with some mistrust, if not out right disdain.  I like goldens fine btw.

Many dogs had backpacks, and carried their own poop bags( i may be a collie snob but i have respect for OPP...other people's propery and do pick up my dogs poop.) I have to wonder what the dogs thought of that. I do now know what they think of big dogs who wear clothing.

It was raining lightly….ok it rains lightly in pdx for about ¾ of the year. We had seen construction workers with huge saws tearing up the street and plenty of cars and city noises. We were just settling into all this when i saw a well built man in a snazzy outfit run towards us. This was not odd, but his lovely golden retriever had on a rain coat, complete with a hat piece that came over the dogs head. Now this was not a lil lap dog with no fur. I admit my 6 lb Chi has a coat for the car on cold days…….. This was a beautiful hunting dog with a thick coat.

Both dogs stopped dead and Mint stood there with her mouth open like a person in shock. Every hair on Nellie’s body was standing straight up and she had a low rumble in her chest I have never heard before. The man seemed oblivious to our state of shock, and embarrassment. Then again if you are a 6’2 man running with a dog in a full rain coat, even in Portland you must be used to staring…and probably laughing.

We continued on, but Nell looked over her shoulder every few blocks and gave a low warning growl.

Yesterday we went to our friend Julie and Bob’s farm outside of the city. The second we got out of the truck the dogs and I both took a deep breath, and just enjoyed the freedom. The rain had stopped and we worked sheep in a lovely green field. I had major green grass envy, as it is still winter at our house.

The dogs were so happy to work and to be free of their leash. After we worked dogs, Julie made us a wonderful homemade meal. It was a lovely day, now one more city run this am and off to the sheepdog trial!
 
 
 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Max's Big Adventure

THE PLAYERS
The new guy aka Max







The teachers aka spring replacement ewe lambs





Ella aka the senior livestock guard dog LGD
 Today was a big day for our new LGD Maximus. He has been in a small pen for the past 3 weeeks with a handful of ewe lambs.  This was to allow him settle into his new home after coming from his litter mates/mother and the sheep he was with there.

Our other LGD Ella was up in the dry land( 1 mile away) with the majority of the flock.

I let Max out this am and into the back pasture with the rest of the spring ewe lambs. These lambs are not breed, while the fall ewe lambs are.  Max immediately ran into the group of sheep. At first the sheep trotted off, but soon several turned and faced Max. I watched as he was knocked down a few times, and he just sat in his sheep looking a little confused and overwhelmed.

Soon the sheep began to eat and Max was walking among them.  I then brought Ella down to the pasture. Ella was not that interested in the pup, and went about checking out the sheep. Max barked and retreated away from the sheep.

If Ella tried to walk to the pup he would run a little ways off and then stop. Ella soon tired of the game and went to check the perimeter of the pasture.  When Ella left the sheep Max went straight back to his sheep.  I was very happy with the fact Max was going to his sheep for comfort.

I like the back pasture as i can check on the dogs thru the day. Max spent some time away from his sheep looking forlorn, but he came back to them.  Ella made more attempts to get close to Max, but Max was just not ready for that. This afternoon they had settled for eyeing each other from opposite sides of the sheep.

Ella will go back to her flock and the two will meet up again later when Max is big enough to take up to the dry land.  Training/guiding a new LGD is not easy, but it can be very rewarding.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Best Day Ever.

Love that smile Martin
March 1st 2003, or as i like to call it, the best day ever.  I remember the day very well.  This is a sappy post and not about dogs, sheep or ranching.  If you don't like to hear a women gush about her wedding and her husband... please STOP here!

We decided to get married in March, that was before lambing and trial season started. My mother thought i was joking when i told her that is why we picked March, but i wasn't. We got married in western Oregon and that time of year you can just put money down that it will be wet, wet and wetter.  When we looked at the place to have our reception the gal showing us the place kept talking about the great mountain views. I thought for sure we would not have any views as it would be raining!


The am of the wedding a friend came to the farm to do my bridesmaids and my hair and makeup. We had had some rain the day before, but the sun was out and it was a beautiful crisp sping day. The mountains were all glorious.  My mother told me that day that i was the most relaxed bride she had ever seen. My mom is a pro musician who plays for weddings, so she has seen a LOT of brides. I am a very intense person so it was funny that i was so relaxed on such a big day.


Mom

I remember being so happy, and so sure about the day that nothing could make me nervous. I have a fav pic from that day.  My girfriends hubby Brian Lincon( an amazing pro photographer)   took our wedding pics and he got so many great shots.  This pic was taken after my hair and makeup were done and before we left for the church to get dressed. I was out walking my dogs around the farm, and this picture captures that happy, relaxed and reflective feeling that i had that day.  Martin used to have this up in his office, and it is his fav pic.


The day was perfect, at the end of it i wanted to press re wind and have the day all over again.  My dad walked me down the isle, my brother played the organ and my mother sang. Martin's brother Tim and my brother Richard did the readings. My dog Blue was my something "blue" and he had the rings in a satin box around his neck. My 2 God sons Charles and Nicolas walked Blue down the isle and i took the rings, then Blue gave me a kiss and they walked him back.


Martin surprised me with a stretch truck to take the gals and i to chuch







Blue and my God sons
 





















This is the first anniversary we have not spent together.  Not that big of a deal, as with 2 small kids and a ranch to run, we usually do something very low key.  I am missing my man, so the trip down memory lane on this blog is making me happy.

One of the things i love most about Martin is the fact he is so cool under pressure and he always knows what to do. Shots fired, broken bones, priest passes out in mass, my friends call with all sorts of animal and vehicle crises.... and thru it all Marty always knows what to do.   He can fix it, or build it, and if he does not know how he has a wonderful curious mind that always pushes to figure it out. He is one of the good guys, always ready to help a friend or neighbor. I love that about him.



Easy on the eyes too :)


 There is a line in a song that goes " i am not easy to live with i know its true, you're no picnic either baby that is one of the things i love about you. " We have packed a lot into 8 years and it has been one hell of a ride.  Marty is my biggest fan and that is something i have grown to appreciate as we navigate these challenges of our life. Two type A people.... it has not always been easy, but it has been an adventure! Happy Anniversary Slim.... I love you.