Monday, December 27, 2010

The sign's posted

Right beside the front door. 

"Good food available, but you'll have to work for it. "

My side of the family came out for Christmas dinner this year, and given that we don't have kids of our own at home to put to work, we took full advantage of the nephews and had Liam and Griffin take care of all the farm chores. 

Liam feeding the sheep.

After feeding the sheep, Liam and Griffin figured we needed to pack some trails down for the animals...

Which of course involved a quad, a chunk of rope, and a calf sled.

After all of that hard work, we figured they deserved to eat.

And without further ado, pictures of the feast. I tried to capture my family at their best...

My brother Paul

His mostly vegetarian wife Chriss loving the brussel sprouts.

Griffin and his best "I HATE VEGETABLES!" face.

Uh Dad, you've got a little something...right there...just below your nose...

Never mind dinner, Uncle Travis just said I could shoot his paintball gun!

All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth (I'm thinking maybe you should wish for a top plate Mom)

Just smile and nod, smile and nod...this is why we don't have her side of the family over often...

Still hating the veggies...
As far as Gramma's concerned, "As long as there's lots of dessert, I really don't care what goes on at the table."

Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Snow day

Really it's been a whole slough of snow days lately. We've gotten a bit, and in some cases a lot more than a bit of fresh snow pretty much every day lately.

Kate and I pushed the sheep to the other side of the yard yesterday through pristine chest deep snow - and I kicked myself that I didn't have the camera with me. Today I did bring the camera and while the pictures aren't as good as they could have been it certainly gives you an idea of what the snow is like here already. 

Friday, December 17, 2010

My how things can change in a day or two.

Gordon and I headed off an a road trip on Tuesday. He's been sold to Mish Katahdins in Saskatchewan and I agreed to meet them half way - which meant it was only an 8 or 9 hour drive each way for them. 

Gordon was none to happy about leaving his friends Skinny and Skinny's brother (not to mention the ladies), but between Hope, Kate, Travis, me and some hog panels we finally got him loaded up. 

Janette and Jeff Mish met me at Louanne's, driving a pick-up with a plywood box in the back.  I WISH I had taken pictures of them moving him over to their truck. Honestly, Louanne and I both figured it was a disaster waiting to happen - that the 6:00 Calgary news would feature word of a Katahdin ram running amok in Okotoks. The Mish's assured us that it would be a piece of cake to get him in the box, "We'll just lift him up", and while Louanne  and I watched, with our Jaws dragging on the ground, the two of them jumped in the trailer, picked him up and tossed all 250 pounds or so of him up into their box. It took less than a minute. Amazing. 

Afterwards I had a great time as usual hanging out with the girls (Jenny came over as well), drank too much wine, ate loads, laughed a lot - good times!

Eventually the party had to end and I drove home yesterday.Added a little excitement to my drive by shredding a tire just north of St. Albert and had to be rescued by my dad.

Got home to WAY more snow than when I left...

and more from the never ending "reno from hell". 

My "favourite" new windows - not even close to the right size and...the wrong colour. Feel free to drop me a line if you're looking for new windows and doors and want to know who to avoid...

Look for us on an episode of "Holmes on Homes" soon... ;-)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

More from Sam Sheepdog

He may not be growing up, but he sure is growing!  Sam's about 5 months old now.  He's big enough now that I don't have to lean over to pet him, but still so much a pup. 

 Sam Sheepdog - the king of "squishy and sweet".

Because of the weather (for the next 4 months or so) the sheep are less active right now. Odd thing about sheep, when you put a ton of feed in front of them, they stop grazing and just stand around and eat, except for when they're lying around chewing their cud or sleeping - kind of like humans at a Christmas party.

However with Sam's age he's getting more active (and has occasionally played with the sheep - no damage yet, and I'd like to keep it that way) so I've been taking him for a couple of walks a day out in the field.  When I'm not out with him, he wears a "dangle" which so far has worked like a charm.  

I thought the walks would be a bit of a chore, but so far I'm really enjoying them. There's nothing like a happy puppy to make your day just a little bit better. 

 Ready for take off. 

Sam's favourite stop on our walks is his Jungle Gym...or as it's more commonly known...The Manure Pile. 

It's his most favourite place. Really.

At the base of Mt. Poopsicle.

and at the top.
but in case you think I'm telling fibs about a manure pile being his favourite place to hang...

here he is between top and bottom - pure Maremma joy!
When we're back from our walk? It's business as usual.
 "Nice day, ah Sam. Yep, good to be alive Ralph."

Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas came early this year

for the dogs. 

I should have known it was inevitable. Almost every working Border Collie owner I know has one.  

The dogs love it. I love it. How did we live without a quad? Aside from running dogs, it's been great for clearing the driveway (although oddly enough, there hasn't been much snow so far this year), and in the summer it will come handy for things like hauling water etc.. 

Merry Christmas kids!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Good things are worth waiting for.

Way back in June, while Hope and I were at Scott and Jenny's for the shedding clinic, Vickie snapped a great shot of Hope.  Hope looked great for a change (he's a tricky dog to get a good picture of), the sheep...looked like they were being worked on a hot day (which it most definitely was. 

Vickie worked her magic and here's the finished product.

click on this picture to see a larger copy

No more panting sheep - magic!  I love it and can't wait to get it framed and up on a wall. If you'd like to see more of Vickie's work go to

Sunday, November 21, 2010

We've got friends taking care of the animals for a few days next week.  Needless to say I've been busy getting things ready so that it's easier for everyone, writing notes and labeling things. 

Today, I may have taken the "labelling" too far. My rationale for labelling the dog runs? If you open the correct door, and say the right name - a dog will magically throw itself into the run and wait for you to close the door. Pretty handy trick, if I do say so myself. 

I felt that the labels should reflect the each dog's personality.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Ben's first winter

He's taking to it like a duck to water.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hope's second run at Farmfair

It was nice to have friends Jennifer and Susi in the stands watching this year and lucky me - Jen video'd our runs.

If you happened to hear the announcer mention that I didn't close the gate the day before....let's just say that I COULD show that video, where the gate does obviously close, but hey - judging is a thankless task at best - and this was the faster run any way. 

Thanks for the great video Jen! Next we need to get you and Susi out to a field trial. :-)

Monday, November 15, 2010

That's a wrap

Time to put the buckle away for another year.

 and not a moment too soon...

There are sheep in this picture


Our last trial of the season was Farmfair in Edmonton. Kate reminded me that she's young and needs more experience, and Hope reminded me how much we've gelled this year by doing well both days and finishing up with a 3rd place and go around money on day two. 

We finished the year on a real high note and it leaves me really looking forward to next season.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

Seems like it's been ages since I blogged about trialling dogs. Well, today I've got a good one.

We took the whole family out to Lloydminster yesterday for the Stockade Roundup trial, where we met up with a good chunk of Travis's family (he's yet another Saskatchewan expat). I threw Kate in for kicks to see what she'd think of arena trials.  The arena was small and the courses complicated - the first one looked like cat's cradle...and there were no retries...and there was a judged pen...what the heck? Not exactly what I had thought Kate's first arena trial would be like at all but she surprised me by handling it like a pro, laying down two very solid runs, suffering from handler error on the first run and a ewe that really insisted that she shouldn't be penned on the second (Kate insisted that she WOULD BE penned and the ewe finally admitted defeat).

Hope and I were first to the post and the guinea pigs for the crazy courses. I managed to lose a few points on the first go around trying to make up my mind which way we were supposed to take the sheep around the second barrel  -leftorrightleftorrightleftorightcraplefttoolate-but beyond that we had two nice rounds and made it to the finals.  Hope and I had the good fortune to go first and run a clean round with a time of 1:14.  Congratulations to the other finalists Peter Gonnet in second, Jamie VanRhyn in third, Jeff DMarni in fourth, and Judy Finseth in fifth.

Along with a swishy new collar and the usual pay out Hope won us our first calcutta - the good people of Lloydminster like to gamble! Atta boy Hopey for bringing home the kibble!

We're taking a couple of days off to hang out with Travis's family in Saskatchewan and then we'll be off to Farmfair in Edmonton for more fun.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

With a real sense of loss

I lay these socks to rest.

These WERE my "new favourite pair".  A pair I had just recently purchased and only worn twice. Barely broken in. Merino socks. Purple. Merino. Socks. 
He's all broken up about it - can't even sleep.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

You know you're Canadian when...

the neighbours do  a "turn and burn"  in your driveway by way of dog team.

"Just need to use the loo - Thanks!"
And how do the sheep and our brave guardian dog react?

The sheep - and integral ingredient in any "lamb and rice" dog food, ran the length of the fence chasing the teams in, and then stood there talking smack. "Your mom sniffs cat nip!", "We've  seen poodles run faster!" 

Sam Sheepdog - bred to protect his charges from coyotes, bears, and worse? He pointed out that he was just 3 months old and that a heavily armed (heck they were hauling artillery!) unit of 32  wolves had just entered the property. So he did the wise thing, bolted for his shelter, and barked from in there. Stuff like "Sheep are idiots!" and " Gimme some lamb and rice dog food!". 

As soon everyone left,it was back to business as usual...