09/29/2020 When Your Dog Saves Your Bacon

There's no question, at our farm, Jig is the power. When there's a task that needs doing, and I suspect the stock might not cooperate, Jig is the one who gets the call. It's a very handy on thing to have, especially on cattle. It can sometimes be a bit much on sheep. Though, over the years, I've been able to convince Jig to tone it down a bit. Most times. Still, loading the chute is one of her favorite jobs because she might just have to use some of that push. "Just say the word, boss." Last Saturday morning I suspected I would need a little of Jig's touch. We were loading three sheep into the back of a pick-up, up a steeper ramp than they're used to. Our plan consisted of running the sheep into the small side of the barn to a temporary chute and up into the truck. The

09/22/2020 Sometimes You Have to Make Your Own Opportunities

I was supposed to be at an ASCA stock trial this past weekend. Like so many other events this year, it had to be cancelled. Instead of kicking the ground and going into woe-is-me mode, I created my own opportunity by taking the trip anyhow, meeting up with some friends, and turning it into a training weekend. Dreams and goals take work. It's work you need to make yourself responsible for. Blaming your failures or lack of success on others is giving them an awful lot of power over your life. True, not everyone has the same resources, but if you want something bad enough, you'll find a way. Apologies for the tirade, but it needed to get said. "People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for

09/02/2020 Updates All Around

Isn't it the way of things? You prepare to your utmost, follow all the steps or guidelines to a tee to ensure a smooth go, and then the tiniest of things causes what should have been a walk in the park to become more like this

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