Thursday, April 29, 2010

Roughing It

It started yesterday - the wind blew and the snow flew. I had a pretty good feeling about this one, I have a special weather forecaster on the place called Billy. He is the resident pygmy goat and usually spends his days with the ewes and lambs in our electric fence - but when he knows the weather is about to turn, he starts bleating uncontrollably until we put him in the barn. He was right again - the weather turned horrid. I am a die hard for training, but I am not crazy - I spent the last few days inside. Today, for the icing on the cake, there was no power. How did they ever manage it years ago? Of course, no power means no water and no heat. There are still lambs to feed and baby calves to worry about, so by a Coleman's Light (powered by recharged batteries - thank God I had at least remembered to plug those things in), we emptied the hot water tank for some water to mix up the lamb replacer, and fed the lambs. I looked after the young orphan calves (they have a nurse cow to suck) and Chris went out in the wind and checked the cows - they took the day off from calving (smart girls). I can guarantee that any new calves would be housing in the Schmaltz Hotel for warmth if they were born. I bunked down with the rest of the animals and kept covered up, looking for a blinking light anywhere to tell me that the power was back on (and the water and the heat). Guess I wouldn't last on Survivor very long. Unless, of course, they had a challenge of feeding voracious lambs in the dark - mark my words, the men would have a disadvantage (or possibly advantage depending on the sickos out there).
Billy came out of his stall today, looked outside briefly, and went back inside. God I hope that doesn't mean 6 more weeks of winter.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Talent Comes In Many Forms

Talent comes in many forms. Border Collies can be very talented in their jobs, but this is another talent that many dogs do not learn.
This is Mike. His talent lies in how he keeps the coyotes at bay.
Mike, also keeps the Jack Russells at bay. I cannot blame him really, the obnoxious snots that they are.

As you can tell, Cliff was too obnoxious - Mike had enough and bit Cliff's leg and broke it. I had to remove it because it wouldn't heal. Doesn't slow him down though.

And this is where Cliff talent lies - he is still able to mark his territory - but now he does it balancing on two legs.

He can lift his right or his left leg to relieve himself. His balancing technique is remarkable to watch.
Chris wants to know what is the big deal-he is able to do it on two legs all of the time.

Monday, April 26, 2010

I Was Bawled Out

I think I should get danger pay, or at least a new pair of running shoes. These days, new baby calves are being born daily, and we have to tag them so we know who they are. This morning, #52 was born, and she needed to be tagged. Chris came and asked for help so the mother cow wouldn't run him over. "If you use the John Deer Gator, you can keep her away" he said. Well, #52 cow did not care if I had a Gator, I could still feel the heat of her breath down my neck - I actually think I saw some flames coming from her nostrils. Old #52 couldn't decide who to run after - Chris on foot, or myself in the Gator. The calf wasn't helping matters, every time it bawled, #52 bawled back and came like a locomotive. The calf during this time, had been roped and tied so it wouldn't run off-probably the reason for #52's loving nature. In the excitement, I drove over the rope and got it tangled up in the Gator wheels. I thought, this is it-they will find body parts and Gator parts strewn across the field, and the only witnesses will be the other cows - and I know how they stick together, they won't talk. I said a quick prayer, and was able to inch the calf close to me by pulling the rope to tag it. When I got close to the ear of the calf, #52 came at me again, and I hit it with the tagger and she backed off a little. So Chris brought out the cow deflector (shovel) and every time she got close, she got a love tap. I got the tag in, and then Chris informed me of the radio tag (damned the Canadian Food Inspection Agency) that had to be put in. With the help of the deflector, that tag was put in as well. #52's eyes were getting bigger all of the time, as was her nostrils. We let the calf go, and they went on their merry way.
Only 150 more calves to go - perhaps I will write my last will and testament before going out again.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Off To Toon Town

On Friday, Shawna Burton and myself with our dogs went to Saskatoon for a mounted cattle arena trial. We woke up bright and early - that being 5 am (nothing bright at that time of day) and made our way to Saskabush. We nearly hit Bambi and his friends, and had to drive through rain all morning. Can't complain about the rain, the prairies really need it. But I can complain about the wind - cripes it was blowing - cold wind outside, and hot wind inside the Jeep (just kidding:)) For anyone who knows Shawna, she has great stories to tell, and I think I nearly peed my pants from laughing so much. The Queen of Comeback - that's Shawna Burton. She is almost as funny as me...almost.

The Cattle Trial was so much fun - it was well run, and all the dogs did well. It's great to see so many dogs in the competition - 24 in all. Some people brought their own horses, and some borrowed each others horses. The steers worked very well, and that was in thanks to Peter Gonnet and Peter Luhoff for training the cattle the day before. The course was really well set up, and allowed you to show your dog and stockmanship. There was a sudden death final, and they all deserved to be in the top.

Shawna Burton and Kate was 5th...

Marilyn Ramsey and Nick was 4th...

Dale Montgomery and Spot was 3rd...

Peter Gonnet and Dot was 2nd...

and the big weiner was Jeff Demarni and Eddie!

Shawna and I left after the finals and discussed about the day. We decided if we were going to have big winners in the trailer, I would have to get air ride trailer and a chauffer.
We made it home 2:30 am - almost hit Bambi's friends again on the way back. If they would only cross at the deer crossing signs - possibly they can't read because they are blinded by the headlights.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Ta Da

I have been telling people about the pedicure I had - nothing I had ever done before, and was worried since my feet aren't the most beautiful things in the world, but after having it done, I highly recommend the procedure.
Before Pictures

After Pictures

It is also noteworthy that my foot size decreased from a size 9.5 to a size 8. My toes had never seen polish - virgin trip for those tootsies.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I Thought Things Happened In Threes!

These days, my days are filled with filling the mouths of 13 lambs (not quite flocking lambs yet, but if I lose much more sleep, they will become flocking lambs). I have it down that I can feed all of them in 15 minutes with the help of the great Suckatronic (as I have christened it) - a pail with 6 nipples. Ingenious! It definitely has made my life easier. Actually it is quite fun doing it - been hoping to get a few more to add to them, but maybe I should leave well enough alone.
You know how people says things happens in threes - I think they may be wrong. Yesterday, I stepped on a nail - no, by the size of it I think it was the last spike. I hobbled around my birthday party (I have the mind of a 25 year old, but the body of a 62 year old - if you do the average you will get my age) and ate wonderful marshmallows made my my neices. About 1 am this morning, I stubbed my toe (of my beautifully new pedicured toes) going to the bathroom. Then the icing on the cake happened this morning. I was cooking scrambled eggs, and was walking to the stove, slipped on some pee left by a delightful (tongue in cheek) Jack Russell puppy and then grabbed the stove so I wouldn't fall. This is where the fourth episode happened. As I was grabbing the stove, I grabbed the hot burner. So now I am hobbling on both feet (very difficult to do) and have to learn to write with my left hand. I think I may just stay inside today, the gods look like they are having fun with me.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Bo Peep And The Sheep Are Home

Loaded up the dogs and we were on the road by 7 am from Sommer's this morning. Stopped in Saskatoon to pick up lambing supplies for my new mini-flock.
I had to go to Vegreville, Alberta - home of the largest pystanka. What the heck is a pystanka, and why does it have to be so large? Found out it is the name of the Ukranian Easter Egg. You could feed alot of Ukranians with that Easter Egg-it is gigantic (sorry there is no picture, it was too big to photograph).
I picked up the lambs - turned out to be 13 instead of 10 - he had another set of quadruplets born and stripped those off as well. Ended up with 8 ewe lambs and 5 ram lambs.

Not sure if the dogs were impressed that they had to give up their spot for some bawling lambs, but I guess it was better than walking.

Got them all home and fed them all. The 6 teated bucket did not work as well as I had hoped, and I ended up giving their milk with pop bottles. I really have to get that bucket to work - I will have to get Chris to suck on the teats to get them started I guess (I told him that this was the plan and he got this weird grin on his face-not sure why).
Their bellies were full, and they settled down for a snooze. Guess I will be doing that for the next week or so-they'll have to be fed every 6 hours.
Wonder if TLC could do a show on us.
They could call it - "Wendy and Chris Plus 13" - darn that doesn't flow too well - guess we can get 7 more and call it "Chris and Wendy Plus 20" - not sure if my teats can handle that many though.

Friday, April 16, 2010

My Rent Has Come Due

Well, it has been a very good couple of days here at Norm and Bev's - the dogs have definitely have improved over the past few days - thanks to Norm and some training tips. I have never been one to follow just one person's method - I think you can learn from all handlers. Take what makes sense to you and use it, discard the rest. All dogs don't train the same, so there are different ways to obtain the same result as well. Don't get bogged down by the small stuff. And that concludes my inspirational talk for today.

Did some sheep buying today - been trying to get a few sheep - my flock of 10 will be coming home with me when I go home. Right now it is a mini-flock. Okay, they are bottle lambs - they will be riding in the dog trailer home. Gotta start somewhere right? I am going to pick them up along the hiway - feel like I am doing a drug deal or something (not that I have ever done one - except selling a bottle of penicillin to a rancher).

I would have planned to stay longer (and it seems that I would have been allowed to stay longer because no one has been locking me out of the house when I go walk my dogs), but I have to get back home to get a pedicure done. Yes, I am foregoing dog training for my ugly feet. It was a gift from Chris for Christmas, and I think he may be telling me something. He always complains of my horse hooves when I try to warm up my feet at night - the romance is not over after 16 years of marriage. I don't relish the thought of someone touching my feet, but I will try anything once. Seems like it may be a waste though - they will be contained in my Muck Boots when I go to the barn the next day. As I think of it, maybe Chris should do some waxing for me - on second thought, there may not be enough wax in the world to take the hair off his back (so sorry for the visual I probably left in some people's minds).

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Pleasantdale Is Very Pleasant

This was a very good day today - the sun came out, and I actually didn't have to put on the winter jacket today. The rubber boots, however, had to be worn. Thank God for the Muck Boot. Neil Sutter stopped by today as well, and we all sat back and critiqued the other's dogs. I will tell you - there are a good number of new dogs coming out this year. I will tell you another thing - it is amazing how well some dogs train so quickly with so little training (I was told today that the dog was only out for the second time - and it already has a 150 yard outrun, stops on top, and doesn't rush in-possibly I will sell him the bridge I own in Niagara Falls:)). In all seriousness, the young dogs are looking really good, and it is a testament of the good breeding in Western Canada.
I was getting some help from Norm to perfect the outrun in my young dogs, and like all dog trainers know, sometimes you might have to throw something to make those dogs give a little more ground. Well, Floss was on the receiving end of a water bottle thrown at her as she was coming around the sheep - did that phase her - no, not at all. Did she give ground - well, not exactly. It did make her pause for abit. As Norm threw that bottle towards her, you actually could see her eyes light up and say "you mean we get to play fetch?" I can still see Norm running towards her saying "she's got my water bottle!!" We all cracked a gut laughing at that. She did start giving ground, and the water bottle was saved.
You could see the relief on the yearling ewes today as the sun set down and we went in for supper. Don't worry girls, we will be out tomorrow again.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Trip to the Homeland

Have gone to Saskatchewan for a week - Mom was having her birthday, so thought I would come out and have some cake. I don't bake - not because I can't, it's because I need the urge to do it - the urge is not there. Chris however has donned an apron once or twice to make a chocolate cake - promise I will send a picture of that one day - that picture is worth 10 thousand words.

Anyways, the weather here has not been that good - there was a wind (which thankfully blew me to Saskatchewan, and saved me loads on gas money), then it decided to rain (or snow, depending which end of the province you were in). Who was talking about drought? I personally thought the rain came from a higher power to put out the inferno which was on my Mom's cake (sorry, but 79 are alot of candles).

I brought a slew of dogs with me - 12 (had to take off my right sock to count them all) took the trek out to Broadview, Saskatchewan. Thankfully Mom and Dad live next to a large empty lot, so have a good place to let the dogs out. Brought the young pups to teach them travelling manners - so far so good.

After a few days of playing cards and building puzzles with Mom and Dad (yes, retired folk are very busy), I set out to Pleasantdale to visit Norm and Bev Sommers and to train some dogs. When I got here, Bev let me put my two youngest border collies with their pup. I wish I had a picture to show you the drowned rat (yes there are rats in Saskatchewan) that once was a pretty handsome pup called Tim. Let me say, fun was had.

Got here today at 5, and directly went and trained some dogs. Trialers be forwarned - Norm has some very good dogs - maybe he won't notice if I take a few of his dogs - he has to take his and Bev's socks off to count their dogs as well.

Going to stay here for a couple of days (the food is good, the company is great and the training is fun) - better than any Sandals Resort.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Blizzard 2010

You have heard about the saying in Alberta - wait 10 minutes and the weather will change? Well it sure changed yesterday.
Birds were singing cheerfully in the afternoon, then they stopped - likely because a 80 KM/hour wind whipped up and blew them away.
Then the temperature dropped 15 degrees.
We stupidly went to Calgary to attend a presentation for a travel company (who wouldn't pass up a free dinner for just attending - okay I suppose most would, but my birthday is creeping up and it gets Chris out of taking me out for dinner).
On our drive in we hit hail, then snow, then the ditch (no we didn't, the sentence just progressed nicely). Actually, other people hit the ditch.
After convincing the travel people we didn't need to be part of their membership to get cheap rates (because we're not going to Hawaii this year, we plan to go to the sprawling metropolis of Maple Creek, Saskatchewan for the Western Canadian Finals this year), we ate our lovely pasta dish (which I am sure was created by Chef Boyardee) and travelled back home so we could watch Survivor.
Driving back home was an episode of Survivor. I would have loved to punted the person ahead of me going 20km/hour.
By seeing the multitude of semi trucks in the ditch, I would guarantee a bunch of men had to change their underwear last night. It made me slow down to 50km/hr (not sure why Chris closed his eyes so tightly for the ride home).
The hiway was a standstill of hazard blinking vehicles - we found a gravel road, plowed through the snow drifts, and finally got home.
We just made it in time to see Coach voted off.
Woke up this morning, and the birds are singing again. Hang onto your perches guys - they are promising 15 cm in the next couple of days.
In the meantime - I'll go find my Muckboots again and walk the dogs in the slush.

From green to white in 10 minutes - the lovely weather of Alberta.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Dog Poor We Are Not

Every day I go and walk the dogs 7:30 am.
I find it as a good socialization for the young dogs - makes it nicer travelling on the road with them. Teaches them a few manners as well.

Lots of times, treasures can be found in the ditches - sticks, pop bottles, and I am sure some old dead thing by the way they roll in a certain spot every morning. It has a faint odor of Pepe La Pew.

I find it a good socialization period for the pups - I started taking the 8 week old pups out a few days ago - they are knackered by the time they get back the yard.

Funny, I can always tell when one is missing-a sixth sense perhaps. Yup, I know exactly how many dogs we have. The head count is between 15 and 20. There is 6 Jack Russells (plus 2 pups, but they don't count), and 14 Border Collies (includes 4 pups, but 2 are leaving). So that is around the 20 mark.

Thank God for my fingers and toes.
At least when Chris walks them, he can count to 21.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Hair today, gone tomorrow

I know this is supposed to be about current things that happen, but I just got these pictures from Dawn Pucci.

Last year at the USBCHA finals, they were raising money for the American Cancer Society. I decided to do my own raising for the cause. I got pledges from spectators and dog trialers an in return I would shave my head.

I had done this about 10 years ago, and there has been many people shaving their head for cancer, but the way people reacted, it made me believe that this doesn't happen much in the USA-I felt the money went to research, and we would all benefit. Some called me a hero for doing it - no, the heroes are those that have to go through the chemo and radiation - I lost my hair willingly.

Herbert Holmes was happy to oblige to shave my head. He being the USBCHA President, and I being the CBCA President, it seemed fitting at the time.
A little of the sides please.

Herbert could open his own barber's shop.

In about 10 minutes, all was gone, and $1100 money was raised.

Six months have passed, and the hair has grown back - however, very grey. I have recently bought shares in the Clairol company (Clairol 114A is my friend).
I offered to cut Herbert's locks, but he declined. I will ask him again when he comes to Brooks this summer to judge EID Classic. Somehow, I think he will chicken out.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Quest for sheep

I've been looking for more dogging sheep, and thought I would go with my neice Ashley and her boyfriend Jason to the Odd and Unusual Sale up in Innisfail on Friday. Jason decided he wanted to have a goat (god knows why), so we hooked up the trailer (since I was going to bring my 10 sheep back with me) up to Innisfail. Now, this is the first time I had ever gone, and I would say there is more odd and unusual people than animals up there. I got my number 144 and was ready to bid. I had gone through the back, and all they had for sheep were Barbados and a couple of unshorn (I am sure for 3-4 years) ewes, 4 Dorpers and some Shetland Sheep. The goats sold first - one-at-a-time- it was going to be a long day, since there were about 150 goats to go through. Jason finally got his goat towards the end - the vast majority went for over 120 dollars. Then they started the sheep sale, and started with the bottle lambs - after the first went through I thought to myself, I should have brought the lambs I have at home - they went for $125 apiece!! I wasn`t too keen on Barbados, but I thought if they sold at the right price, I would buy a few. I didn`t even bother to try. I turned into a buyer for Grant Musgrove though (got to flip my number) - he bought some Barbados that were ready to lamb. The Barbados brought $95 or better. Then there were the old (8 year old) papered Shetland Sheep - $160. What were they thinking-those girls looked like they didn't have long to live. The unshorn sheep brought $130 - I am sure it would cost $30 to shear them for the amount of wool they carried.
In the end, the only thing I brought back from the sale was the stench of goat. At least Jason was happy-Billy the Kid is his name - stinking is his game.