Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A little loo history

As some of you know, I am the official North American Loo Watch reporter for Sue Main over in Wales. I take this responsibility seriously - the world needs to know about this stuff.

This past weekend Louanne, Jenny and I drove down to Gig Harbour to the farm of Sue and George MacDonald for their Ewesful Acres trial. This was my first Open trial - but more about that later - on to their beautiful Loo.

We`re used to the pretty common plastic porta potties at our trials, but Sue and George have a porta potty that also rates as a historic building.

This Porta Potti is a military Sani-Cam built in 1942. While it looks like it has been sitting in the sun too long and is set to explode, it's shaped all wide at the top so that soldiers could use it with their packs on.

The inside?


Once again, a woman's touch is obvious. Flowers, hand sanitizer, a garbage can, seat covers - it may actually be bigger and with more amenities than my bathroom at home - well done!

As for the trial? My goal was to go down and not embarrass my self completely. I wasn't planning to enter Open at all this year, but a little peer pressure from my friends and the opportunity for a "girls weekend" was a enough to convince me. The field, while not large was tricky with lots of dips and bumps.

That would be me, shaking in my boots at the post.

Not only was the field itself tricky, there were added elements which I hadn't even thought about preparing (or obsessing about - ignorance really is bliss) for, such as a Maltese cross, blind cross drive and a single.

The great news is, we did manage to get around the course both days finishing in the top half on Saturday and close to it on Sunday in a field of 60. I am most proud of Hope on Sunday who, having never trained for a single did a great job of taking my poor set up, turning on to the ewe and really showing that he could hold her.

Congratulations to Jenny who came in 6th on Sunday with Laddie and...drum roll please... Louanne who came in 9th on Saturday and then...1st on Sunday with Isla!

Today we're back at Louanne's unpacking the truck and then packing the trailer so we can head off to today for Ian and Joanne Zoerb's trial tomorrow and Thursday, Wendy and Chris Schmaltz's trial Friday and Saturday and then the Calgary Stampede Sunday and Monday. I'll try to keep you posted.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Head for the hills

Big hills!

Last week Travis and I packed up the trailer, grabbed the dogs and headed to Jasper.

Holidays teach us to slow down.

Especially when stuck behind an elderly couple in an older motorhome...

They can teach us to appreciate what we have.

I sure appreciate that we have a trailer and don't have sleep stacked like cordwood in the back of the bus.

That sometimes it's a good idea to unplug.

and beat your husband repeatedly at backgammon.

That art is everywhere.


To enjoy the company of others.

I'm still not sure which end to invite to dinner.

That hiking means enjoying spectacular views while breath taking.

That good things come in small packages.

And it's worth walking up a hill... to see what's on the other side.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The birds and the bees

are up to their usual antics around here...

and look what Travis found in one of the sheep shelters the other day.

It's nice to see that some of the sheep wool shed out all over our place has been put to good use and has been incorporated into the nursery.

and nursery it is! There are at least 5 eggs in the nest. The nest is right up near the roof so even taking a picture of the eggs is tough.

The parents?

click on the picture for more info

They're flycatchers. The flycatchers show up every spring and are hard to miss because they love to do things like sit on our deck posts as well as tap on our windows. They also eat bugs (imagine that - a name like flycatcher and I've caught them catching flying insects), so they are always welcome. The addition of a family is a bonus.

I'll leave them alone for a few days and then check and see what they've had - I'm predicting baby birds.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Kate's first field trip

There are cows in the usual field that Hope and I go to right now, but Don had mentioned that there were some other fields on the other side of his property that I could use. Up until today I've always just taken Hope, but the problem with that is with only one dog to work I generally spend more time hooking up the trailer, loading everything up, getting there, getting back and putting everything away than I do actually working. This morning I was feeling particularly brave...and decided to take Kate too.
I've never actually been to these fields before so we drove around till I found the least hilly of the bunch. Then I let the sheep out.

The usual suspects in a deceptively flat looking field.

The sheep were their usual ridiculously light selves and left. It's what they do. No problem, I had already thought of that possibility and planned to work Hope first so that they were tired when I got around to trying Kate.

Hope doing his thing. I'd love to say that the reason why he's so far off the sheep (if you look closely at that little smudge in the field he is moving at a really nice pace) is that he's incredibly "powerful", but really it's what I said before - the sheep are REALLY light.

Any way, at some point I decided that the sheep were "tired enough" to give Kate a try. I brought the sheep back near the trailer, put Hope away, and grabbed Kate - and by then the sheep had taken off. So... I put Kate away, got Hope out, and brought the sheep back again. Then I started over. I did that three times. That should have been my first clue. However, I had no intentions of letting those sheep wreck my plans for Kate. The fourth time I grabbed her, moved faster and tried to catch up to the sheep. A little voice in my head told me that this probably wasn't the best "set up", but why listen to reason? I told her to lie down, walked between her and the quickly leaving sheep, and sent her. At first things looked good. Kate was casting out, and then she got past me, took off straight down the field after the ewes and they all disappeared over the crest of the first little hill. Then they disappeared over the crest of the next not as little hill. They didn't come back. At that point I decided that maybe I should start running... when I got to the top of the second hill this is what I saw.

I took these pictures later on. I'd love to say that I was so cool under pressure that I took time document my stupidity, but no I was too busy running and thinking " I believe I just lost a dog and three sheep...maybe some of them for good".

That's right. I saw nothing. No sheep. No dog. No noise except for the sweet sound of bird song. Bird song's not so sweet when you're having a mental heart attack...

I also took a picture looking back at the truck where we all started out to give a bit of perspective. As you can see, sheep weren't the only ones who had a good run.

So there I was, standing at the top of the hill, catching my breath, and looking at the empty field in front of me, thinking - and then I saw sheep heads bouncing around in the poplar trees. Kate was running around them in circles. I gave her a quick shout to let her know where I was and incredibly she brought them back to me.

Good girl Katie!

Crisis averted, Kate and I had a good time working out in the field and I took more pictures of her cuteness.

That's my tale. We all made it home safe and sound so I'd say it was a successful morning!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The sheep

Are apparently very well fed...

They also aren't complaining about getting too much work.

They've been kicking up their heels on a daily basis and they love playing King of the Castle.

But they are a wiley bunch.

As soon as I head out to take pictures they go right back to acting like ordinary sheep, standing around, grazing, and chewing cud. I'm forced to take pictures with my little camera from the deck of our house.

Obviously Hope, Kate and I will have to do something about about all this secret frivolity. Sheep - more work for you!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

I've been a neglectful blogger

100 lashes with a wet noodle for me!

I had a GREAT time down at Louanne's and then at Holly and Len Brunner's. They did a fantastic job putting on the Paxton Valley SDT. I'll be going back next year. Here's a shot I stole from Louanne's blog.

The trial field - not huge, but a bit of tricky thing with dips and hills that aren't as obvious from this end as they are from set out which is down by the house.

Hope and I finished out 8th out of 30 I think. Not too bad and I know where I need to make some improvements - mostly with myself. The dog does what I tell him - I need to make sure I'm telling him the right thing....

Now, on to my lame excuse for not blogging sooner. I got home Monday night and...well...I've been gone for almost 2 weeks. So I've been catching up around here ever since and things that breathe or need to be watered DO take priority.

The dogs are happy to be back together - and Bruce isn't really blowing me a raspberry is he?

Travis and I are happy to be back together too - sorry no pictures - you'll just have to take my word for it.

I've got more to blog about, but blogger has once again decided to give me difficulties uploading pictures. Rather than have you turn your monitors on their side again, I'll just give it a day - that seems to work.