Thursday, February 28, 2008

Encounters of the prickly kind

Five minutes into our daily hike through the woods Biscuit got quite interested in a birch tree that hangs over our trail. I assumed it was either a squirrel or grouse - the usual suspects around here. Imagine my surprise when I looked up and saw this...

I had a chat with Mr. Porcupine and thanked him for choosing the tree over the trail.

That's close enough guys.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Biscuit takes assertiveness training

I think Biscuit read my blog the other day and realized that he has a reputation. He's "sweet". He's "great with pups". He's the guy you dated but dumped because he was "too nice".

Today's walk started out like every other.

But then Biscuit remembered his favourite Anthony Robbins quote. "If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten"...

So this is what happened the NEXT time Bruce got up to his usual antics.

If you look closely, you can see a "oooh, Bruce is gonna get it" smile on Tell's face.

Take that!

*no dogs were harmed during this photo shoot - not even Bruce's less than fragile ego.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Inuit Spring

We're all familiar with Indian Summer. It's that wonderful week or two in late fall when the weather turns warm and sunny. It's easy to forget about things to come during Indian Summer.
Right now I'd say we're going through what I now call Inuit Spring. The weather is fantastic. It's acting like spring. It smells like spring. It's pretty easy to get caught up in it all.
The fact of the matter though is that it's February, which means that there is definitely more winter on the way.

There's something wrong with this picture.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Evel Knievel

There's really not too much to report on the Border Collie front. The snow is still deep and crusty which is making training very difficult so I'm attempting to focus on other things. The rest of the four legged crew have pointed out that I'm wasting way too much on "all things sheepish", so I guess I'll devote a blog or three to them. First up - Bruce.
Brucie is the youngest of the bunch at about 6 months of age. He's most likely my last Aussie (there, I've said it out loud). Having said that, he's just the kind of Aussie that can get a person hooked on the breed. He's sweet. He's soft. He's VERY entertaining.
His latest hobby is using Biscuit as an obstacle to jump. MOST of the time he clears him easily.

Sideways with Biscuit standing still is a good warm up.

Lengthwise with Biscuit moving is a slightly bigger challenge, but easily accomplished.

Note that Tell is ALWAYS up front. He doesn't understand all this fooling around business. This is the afternoon RUN. This is EXERCISE. Silly Aussies.

Bruce and his prop... I mean friend, Biscuit

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

My new toy

Travis gave me a wee giftie today - a new camera! This one is tiny but mighty, unlike the old one which was mighty big. I can pack this one around easily - nothing is safe now!

Work it baby, work it!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Fun in the Sun

Our good friends Tammy and Emily are here to visit for a few days. Looks like they picked the right weekend.

That's right, it's 51 degrees warmer today than it was last weekend.

Tomorrow I will explain what +10 C means when you want to snowshoe. I have pictures as evidence.

In the mean time, here's a picture of Fizzy the Greyhound. She thinks that the weather is TERRIFIC!

I laugh at you winter!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Whistle while you work

One of my winter projects is to teach Tell his whistles. I have grand visions of us working at great distance from each other this summer so I want to be prepared! A few days into this project, I realize that really I need to teach ME my whistles. I'm well past "spitting all over my wind shield and dash board as I cruise down the highway desperately trying to make this piece of plastic do SOMETHING" stage. I can play basic tunes on it now so it's time to move on to "real work".
Instead of hit tunes on the stereo, I listen to "Gaining the Winning Edge With Whistles". Good thing I'm alone all day...
I've been practicing in the house and have been doing quite well I think. So, this afternoon Tell and I went out to the sheep so I could start teaching him. I started. I suck. If I was my dog I'd be correcting me. I might even thinking about moving me along.
I'm going to give myself another week of remedial training before subjecting the poor dog to it again.

My "instrument" of torture...

Saturday, February 9, 2008


Enough Said!

Friday, February 8, 2008

The Snow ball effect

It all started with a herding clinic or “fun day”. I went to one and liked it…A LOT. I went to a few more. I quickly realized that taking my dog to sheep once a month was going to get me nowhere fast. Never mind I was spending enough money on gas getting to the sheep that I could have bought a cull ewe per trip.

This is how I started to justify getting sheep. Ask Travis and he’ll tell you that I am the queen of rationalizing anything…

I couldn’t just buy sheep though. I needed somewhere to put them. So I sold my left kidney on the black market and bought fencing, wood, electric net fencing, etc., etc.. I got a few sheep and figured I was set.

Thing is, if you only have a few sheep, they catch on about as fast as the dog and the next thing you know they’re “too broke”. This, plus the fact that now I’ve discovered that I really like sheep, means that I need to get some more. It’s why there are sheep manuals, sheep magazines and sheep brochures scattered from one end of the house to the other. It’s why I’m hunting around for bred ewes and learning about direct marketing. It’s why I’m already thinking about the fencing that will need to be done this year. It’s why there is a black and white dog with a tail at my feet and most likely another on the way.

There really should be a warning at the bottom of a “fun day” sign-up sheet. “Participating in this activity may lead to life altering obsession”

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Tell's growing circle of friends

When Tell arrived we weren't set up to house him in the manner he was accustomed to - as in we still need to build him a dog house etc., and it will be much easier for me to convince Travis to do this come spring, when the snow isn't knee deep. So he's living in the house for the time being. Living in the house includes sharing space with the two resident cats, Buster and Antonio. The first time Tell saw Antonio he very sweetly walked up in the most polite manner and tried to introduce himself. Antonio promptly smacked him hard on the nose and let him know in no uncertain terms what HE thought of Border Collies. Tell, being the incredibly powerful working stock dog that he is, hightailed it out of there and spent a good chunk of the evening nursing his emotional wounds.
They eventually worked out a decent truce. As long as Tell steered clear of Antonio, the cat would leave him unharmed.
So, imagine my surprise today when I walked into the living room and found the two of the snuggled up together on the couch. Apparently Tell has won over Antonio with his charming personality. Either that or the cat has realized that a Border Collie is a good heat source.

Who can resist me?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Blogger's pressure

Less than 24 hours into my "blogging experience" and I'm already dealing with performance anxiety. How was I to know that there was more to blogging than just jotting down one's thoughts and experiences now and again. No, there's more to it than that. You see, I want to stay (heck I want to be added) on my favourite bloggers favourite blog lists. Well I've just been informed that there are requirements. I better blog on a regular basis. I better blog often. Nobody said anything about content quality. ;-)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

It's time to out myself.

After almost 15 years in Australian Shepherds I’ve added a new breed to the pack. What led to this? A small flock of sheep and a growing obsession with all the things that come with owning them.

The guilty parties

I’ve been told that I’ve “gone over to the dark side”.

One of these things is not like the others...

That’s what this blog is about.