08/22/2020 Finn & the Big Sea

Okay, it was actually the big lake they call kitchi-gami, but likely as close to the sea as Finn will get and his biggest adventure thus far. Last weekend Finn experienced what amounts to a rite of passage at our place: he got to be the Camp Dog. Not only that, he was flying solo. Gotta say, the demonic little asshat amazed me. He took to most of the Camp Dog duties like a seasoned pro. He was a little lax on chipmunk patrol. They could scurry right past him and he didn’t even flick an ear. And he had to be out of sight when we played Yardzee and Kubb. Being both games involve flying chunks of wood, and seeing as Finn is obsessed with wood, watching got him a bit overstimulated. As far as generally not making a fuss, taking hikes, and hanging out with the group around the fire, he rocked it.

08/22/2020 Believing to be More

A friend sent me the above text in a conversation regarding how Dillon had done at our most recent trial. Up until then, as seems to happen frequently, I had a different post all set to go. It was basically just a run down of why I haven’t written much of late and how the dogs were doing. (The answers to which are: I’m working on revamping the site and thought I’d post at the ‘reveal’ but it’s not happening as soon as I planned, Jig is semi-retired, Dillon is exceeding expectations, and Finn… In any case, my friend’s text struck a chord with me and prompted this post instead of the original. Dillon has been a hard dog to figure out, and I still haven’t got him 100% pegged, but I’m getting closer. A lot of folks I know would have given up on him. Some even suggested I do so,

05/27/2020 Another Farewell

As usual, this isn't the post I wanted to write. I started it earlier today when I was still merely contemplating making the call for Grady, our gentle giant, Tank Boy. When I was merely contemplating I was (mostly) okay with the decision, after all, it's not like it comes as a surprise. Grady turned 15 in April and, honestly, I was amazed he made it this long. He's had a few issues in his old age, but the good days have always outnumbered the bad. Over the past week, however, the scales tipped. Grady's appetite waned. He was still eating, but without his usual gusto. He slowly stopped galumphing across the yard in an attempt to keep up with Jig. And though he tried his best, he fell down frequently and needed more help getting back up. The walk in from the yard became a slow, stumbling event, and there were times

04/23/2020 Lambs & More

The current Covid situation means I'm home full-time for lambing for the first time ever. That's one of a couple silver linings. There are also many depressing aspects to the stay-at-home quarantine. I try to keep from thinking too much about those. Dwelling on what we can't control isn't very good for the soul. Most days I can keep from succumbing. Cloudy, wet, cool days when I can be too much in my head

04/05/2020 Dancing in the Rain

You would think this forced quarantine would give me more time to write and more to write about. Turns out, when I have a lot of free time I also have a lot to fill it with. There's a long list of chores on the side of the fridge waiting for decent weather and time, things like fixing fences, rehanging gates, cleaning the barn, spreading manure

03/14/2020 A Dog’s Eye View

When I ran agility (which, for those wondering, was eons ago), one of the things we did while walking the course was to squat down to our dog's eye level and survey our intended path. It no doubt appeared strange to onlookers. Heck, it felt strange the first time I did it. It also made it instantly clear that what I was thinking and what my dog was going to be seeing were two vastly different things. That, in turn, usually altered how I originally planned to handle that particular sequence. Honestly, I haven't given this much thought since those long-ago agility days. What brought it to mind now were some images I shot last weekend when Jig and I had some work to do. It's tough getting pics of my dogs working when I'm by myself. My phone is getting old and the camera in it isn't what it used to be. So

03/08/2020 Shaking it off…

I realized it's been quite a few weeks since I last posted anything. I've been meaning to, I just haven't had the energy or the motivation. It's a late-winter-not-quite-spring thing. This time of year, with the promise of nice weather right around the corner yet not quite within reach, I tend to get impatient with not being able to venture out and do the things I most enjoy, which leads to being more irritable than normal, uninspired, and generally frustrated and restless. Besides which, not a whole lot happens this time of year and I don't have a lot to share. Jig appears to have similar issues as she's been moody lately. Actually, she's been a downright bitch, just ask Finn. Poor guy can't even look her way without her curling a lip. Seems Jig and I are both suffering from the winter blues. Thankfully, Saturday was gorgeous. A good

11/26/2019 Teamwork & Communication

More teamwork. Due to circumstances we were forced to keep the cattle longer than we wanted (BTW, we still have beef quarters or halves available for any of you local folks who might be interested – message me for info). Anyhow, keeping the cattle over winter meant dividing the barn so they could be fed inside. Not something that thrilled me since four large beef cattle make a mess in a hurry. Thankfully, they prefer to spend the majority of their time outside, even in inclement weather, and only come in to eat. They're a pretty mellow group but still… large and pushy. The silver lining? Moving them off the feed bunker has become one of Jig's regular jobs now. It's one she thoroughly enjoys and I'm seeing vast improvement on how she handles them. No rodeoing, very matter of fact. She'll walk in on noses, hit if necessary, release pressure

11/18/2019 Two-by-two

Last Friday the weather was finally conducive to getting the ewes out with the ram so the afternoon became all about getting them sorted and moved. Knowing there would be a few challengers in the group I fully intended to give Jig the nod. Dillon needs more experience learning how to handle belligerent stock and though I've been working on it with him, we're having a few problems. It's well known; Dillon and I have communication issues. Then, in the way it often happens, the wise words of a friend popped into my head. Why not work Jig and Dillon together? How better to learn than side-by-side with an experienced dog? The team, ready to go to work. Jig's ear set says she may looking forward to it a bit too much. Right off the bat, someone has to cause an issue. Dillon isn't in the picture, but he's right behind Jig in