Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Montpelier here we come


We’re going to the Montpelier Sheepdog trial this weekend. None of our dogs are ready because we’ve been really bad lately about getting our asses off the couch in the evenings, when we should be out working the dogs. That and I’ve got some sheep that see Blue and decide they should cram their heads into a corner so tight that a crowbar couldn’t get them out. Not good for working a young dog that has confidence issues as it is. I worked those sheep last night with Heather (after putting a gate panel in that one corner!) and I think they just need to be worked by an experienced dog to get them to go with the program. I’m also on the hunt for a few dog broke hair sheep to add to the mix.
I’m taking off from work this Friday (and hopefully Andre can too) so we can head down with our trailer a little early and not have to pull in at dark like we usually do. The weather is supposed to be just perfect – around 70 each day – and sunny. I’ll never forget the year of the monsoon. What a mess. Rained the whole weekend and almost everyone had to be pulled out of the muck on Sunday.
Looking forward to just hanging out and talking with friends, watching the good dogs (they’re all good!) and handlers and enjoying the weekend outside in the fall. AACCHHHOOO. Oh – gotta remember to bring my Zyrtec. (Also need to bring my credit cards so I can make some fiber purchases at the vendor booths. Ssshhhh – don’t tell Andre, although he spends more than his share on Kettle Corn every year!)

Friday, September 26, 2008

New book on the nightstand

I am currently reading The Exact Same Moon, Fifty Acres and a Family, a book written by Jeanne Marie Laskas. I happened upon it during one of our Sunday forays to Borders.
She used to write a little column in the Washington Post Magazine that I looked forward to reading every Sunday. I was sad to learn that she had recently stopped writing it this year. I had no idea that she also wrote a couple of books about her life and moving to a farm, so when I just happened to see her name as I was glancing through the aisles, I was so excited! I like reading stories about real people, so I snatched it up and have started reading it this week. She’s easy to read and I’m enjoying the book. I can relate to some of her life – like moving from the city to a farm and all the interesting things that happen when you’re learning about farm life from scratch. Their new wonderful life on the farm is somewhat disrupted when she discovers she’s yearning to start a family. She writes about exploring IVF and adoption.
I’ll probably buy the book that precedes this one – Fifty Acres and a Poodle, A Story of Love, Livestock, and Finding Myself on a Farm.
I’d be glad to pass on the book toanyone who would like to read it.
(I have another book I read recently that I liked, along the same lines, about a lesbian couple who start a sheep farm. I’ll have to find the name of that one and review it here, because I enjoyed that one too.)


warning - a little political blurb

Quiz of the Day - Which one of these clips is the satire?
One is hilarious. The other disturbing. Heartbeat away disturbing.



I’m not NOT voting for McCain because of his running mate – I just don’t think he made a good choice there. And I don’t hate McCain. I was an Obama supporter long before either picked their running mates.

I had a dream last night that I was telling people to vote for Obama and I was crying. I think I need to stop watching CNN before bed…….

I told myself to not be political on this blog. I respect everyone’s right to their own views, but I know a lot of people get offended when they read opposing views, so I’ll stop posting anything more about this election after this entry (well maybe a little hooray when Obama wins).

I wish everyone would vote based on real issues that speak to them – be it Republican or Democrat. I just happen to agree with the Democratic platform on most issues. Don’t make it about race, or you heard one wasn’t a Christian, or one isn’t patriotic, or you heard his parent’s weren’t married (we heard that one – really!) or whatever other irrelevant internet rumor is out there at the moment.

Deb the Socialist (someone called me that when I said I supported Obama…..I just smiled.)

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Weekend Of The Ass Explosions

This weekend we learned something. Well, we had heard it before but it never hit home like it did yesterday. You should always GRADUALLY introduce a new dog food. We didn’t…….

We had traveled to a sheepdog handling clinic on Saturday and by the time we got home that evening we were too tired to go to the store to buy more dog food as we were out of their normal crappy Pedigree. So we used the bag of EVO that I had bought for Blue when I was looking for a really good, grain free food for him after he had his first seizure last month. That bag was sitting unused because the first time I gave it to him he had a seizure within an hour. I didn’t connect the food to that event, but after the evening meal and it happened again within an hour we figured there was a trigger in that food. That’s a whole nuther story and mystery that I hope to get to the bottom of. My suspicion is that it was the high protein content (42%!) which I’ve since heard may have a connection to triggering seizures in epi dogs. ANYWAY, the food itself is a very good food – should be for $50 a bag - so even though the vet said to not feed it to Blue, there was no reason to not feed it to the others. (Blue gets home cooked meals now which he LOVES!). So we fed it on Saturday and sometime during the night, Vic had the squirts. Gave him some tummy meds and off we went to another day of the clinic.

We got there and as we were letting dogs out of the dog box, they came flying out and each had been swimming in watery poo and it flew everywhere! I had it on my shirt, legs, arms and on my dog whistle – EEEWWWW. Maureen the hostess gave us a roll of paper towels (which we used up that day) and some Imodium for each of the dogs. Of course the only one that felt okay was Blue because he hadn’t touched that food. They are all better today, and we sure learned our lesson. Andre was cussing that food all day, because of what it did to Blue and now all the other dogs! He kept saying “And how much did you pay for that food????!!!!” Lot’s of people swear by it and it’s a very highly rated dog food – it’s just never going to be allowed in our house again because of the bad memories…….

Well that was the worst part of the weekend. The rest was great. I loved the clinic, loved the company and getting out and working dogs. The hosts - Maureen and Billy Pritchard - had everything set up and ready to roll and provided breakfasts and lunches each day that were great! They had a round pen, a medium size field and a large field to work in depending on what level you were. The sheep were little troopers and worked great with the exception of the BIG Corriedales that were put in at one point (they had to switch out sheep because it was getting very hot and humid). They were a little too friendly and would run right at the handler – kind of like having a buffalo trying to climb in your lap to be petted! They were promptly put back out to another field.

Carol Calhoun was the clinician and she is great at seeing what your issues are and giving you exercises to help you and your dog. I would recommend her to anyone who has a chance to take a lesson or go to a clinic with her. Unfortunately she lives too far away from us to take more than just an occasional clinic with her. I’ve gotten to know her from being at trials where she is running or judging and she has always freely offered wonderful, useful information to new handlers because she wants people to do well with their dogs and not struggle. I told her one time that I really appreciated that.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

don't take this wrong

Look at the pic in my blog header. That's Blue man. Relative newcomer to the sheepdog world.

Now look at this pic. Do you see the resemblance? (And I don't mean color.) The serious expression and of course the EARS.

I hope they are both headed for great things.

book shelf

The pile of books by my bed is not getting smaller. Every weekend when we're out just for coffee and the Sunday paper, Andre always says "Borders?". And we go because he thinks he would like to buy a book or two, but I'm the one who ends up buying 3 or 4 books. NOT IN OUR BUDGET.

I've been making an effort to read a chapter or two every night from the latest on the nightstand. I've almost completed Animal, Vegetable, Mineral by Barbara Kingsolver. It was an interesting book, but I have to say I've enjoyed her fiction more. One of my favorite books by her is Prodigal Summer. Back in my days of living in the suburbs in a real neighborhood, I was a member of a Book Club. I think I was President at one point! Anyway, this was the book that I lead the discussion on in my living room. (No one visits my living room now - and if they did I'd need a few days notice to vacuum and dust first!) At the end, I gave everyone packets of seeds from my cone flowers. There was some correlation I'm sure.....but they must have all thought I was a bit odd.

So, I'd recommend her current book for those who are interested in living closer to the land and eating locally. Her family did it for a year, but they already practically lived that life anyway. Most of us don't have huge gardens and livestock, but we do have access to local foods from the farmer's markets. We have started buying from a local farm that has pick-your-own as well as already harvested fruits and vegetables for us lazy folks. It's all good and we are supporting a local farming family. Makes everything taste that much better.