Friday, May 27, 2011

To The States Again

It feels like I've never left home - jumped into work with both feet. I had left Lizzie the JRT behind to have her pups - and she tried to wait for me - she didn't realize that my flight was cancelled! She had 4 pups by herself - which was great since she had cesarean sections before. Good thing she waited until the end of my trip- she wasn't letting anyone get close to her pups. Hannah my kennel girl (4 year old niece) will be looking after the pups when I bring them home with me-I am contemplating hiring her for the summertime, she sure does a good job with the pups.
Work is like it was before I left - filled with crazy cases. Just a note to all of you people playing fetch with your dogs - NEVER use sticks. After camping on the weekend, this couple's dog was not eating very well. Eventually, we found a 5 inch stick that had rammed itself down its throat next to the larynx - only 1/4 inch of the stick was sticking out. It doesn't seem like there wasn't any collateral damage, that is left to be seen. At least my dogs like playing with 2x4 planks, and they are too cumbersome to throw around. For safety sake, I will throw rocks instead.
It will be soon that the next trials will be here - The Big One and Slash J in North Dakota. I hope my luggage will be back before then (it had decided to have an extended holiday in Chicago). Maybe I will have to get a new wardrobe, Walmart here I come. Monday morning I will leave work, quickly pack all of the dogs, and head out to my Mom and Dad's and then go the next day to Bowman, North Dakota. Looking forward in seeing the old trial crew - bound to be a good time!
When the trial is done in North Dakota, then I will finally see the new place in Saskatchewan - we are going to brand our calves that weekend - if anyone wants to come, they are invited - you just have to be prepared to have a good time after. I hope they sell beer by the case lot in McCord, Saskatchewan.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

This Was One Classic Bluegrass Classic

Well, we are finally back on Canadian ground. Riding on a high from the accomplishment Gin did during the Bluegrass (finishing 6th on one day, getting to the double lift and ending up 17th spot), we drove back to Chicago to get back home. We got Calvin to the airport on time and wished him good riddance, and told him I would see his egghead again in September for the World Championship in England. Louanne and I had extra time before our check in time, so we wasted our time-finding the McDonald's Museum (which was closed) and then stopping at a park to walk the dogs and relax before we drove back to the airport. We got their early, checked all our bags in, and got the dogs through security. We then got through security ourselves, got the famous xray, and then went to our boarding gate. When we got there, I realized I had left my crook where we had dealt with the dogs. I quickly got back to that location and found my crook - funny in the times of increased air security, I would have expected a full lock down to be done because of a suspicious object with a sock on it. Anyways, I retrieved my crook, went through security once again, got some more xrays done, and then thought I would check to see if our plane was on time. Nope it wasn't on time, it was CANCELLED. Then the ulcer started bleeding. We found out that the next flight was the next day, we couldn't be guaranteed to be on the flight, but we could go on Thursday. Thank God I had my phone, Louanne's phone's battery had died, so she was on the hunt to find another flight. She also stood in line to get to get our dogs and luggage back, and I stood in another line to get refunded our money for getting the dogs on in the first place. Well, no other airlines fly dogs, so we ended up getting a flight with WestJet (my favorite airline) from Windsor since they can send dogs. So, we went and got another vehicle, and started to drive to Detroit. You can't take rental vehicles across the border, so we had to get a taxi to get us over the border. As I was renting the vehicle, I was contemplating whether to get insurance. I thought to myself, "With our luck, we'll get into an accident!" Well, we were close to an accident, and when we dropped off the vehicle, there was a door dint likely from the short stay over at a hotel during the night. For a 12 hour rental, it cost over $400. Then there was the taxi - Thomas from Pakistan - first he comes in a luxury limo - "No, the kennels can't fit in there - we told you we needed a van!" A harrowing drive through Detroit to the border in his minivan was then done. That was the quickest part of the trip - no questions were asked at the border, and we got to the Windsor Airport - $150 ride. We got all of our dogs on, minus our luggage, since it was still in Chicago, and we made it back home to Calgary. Now we have to go back in to retrieve the luggage when it arrives!! What a trip. Hope to do it again next year.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I, Had The Time Of My LIfe, And I Never....

...thought it would be so fun. Make sure you read the previous posts for the antics during the Bluegrass-there were technical difficulties getting the daily reports in. Today was the double lift, and Gin and I ran in 10th position. It must have been at least 87 degrees - the lambs did NOT want to move - it was like pushing string. We hit all of our panels, but the lines were not that great, and by the time Gin got into the ring, she was ready to pack her bags and get back on the plane for home. We were attempting the shed, and there was one renegade with a collar that looked mighty good on a plate by the time the run was over. In the end, we ended up in 17th spot with a rip roaring score of 71. Scott and Don ended up in Reserve, and Don's mother ended up Champion. There was a little storm that busted through to stop the activities, and also helped to cool things down a bit. After all the prizes were given out, we reloaded the Toyota Sierra once again, cleaned out some dog kennels due to some diarrhea (Yeah!!), stuffed Calvin in the back (sitting on his jacket since I had left the windows down), and Louanne peeled out of Lexington. Forty minutes later we left Lexington - SOMEONE (we won't name who - okay it was me) directed the driver to go the wrong way, so we drove the ring road around Lexington until we were able to go in the right direction. I swear, it wasn't my fault - Kentucky doesn't believe in good road signs!! We found a good radio station, Calvin sang Lady GaGa, Louanne sang the Erythmics, I plugged my ears and nose and we ended up in Lebanon at a princess motel for Princess Louanne. We have about 2 hours to get to Chicago in the morning - finally Calvin gets to go home (praise the Lord), and Louanne and I will fly home a few hours later. Hopefully we can find some corks for our dogs, but probably we will just pick up Peptomismol in the morning.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Pixie Dust IS Priceless

Sorry Tommy, but I HAD to use the pixie dust. I had run 41 position in the second go round with Gin and we got a combined score of 149. Eighty five dogs had to run, and there were many dogs to drop me off of the top 20. Tommy Wilson and Sly was the last dog to run that could bump me off, I was on 20th hole. I took my Voodoo doll of Tommy, found a bunch of pins, grabbed a handful of Pixie dust and threw it all at him. Unfortunately (but fortunately for me!), Tommy and Sly did not get a shed or pen, so left quite a few points on the field and allowed Gin and I to get in!! Bless his heart - he came up to me after and said that he did it for me. I have to phone my family tonight and send an email to my friends to let everyone know when we will run in the double lift tomorrow. The other Canadian - Scott Glen and Don are in as well. I have to take a picture of the position board to have all the names down. Pictures later for sure!!!
That wasn't the best of it, I was the announcer for most of the day, commentating on many of the runs. Also, we also did a herding demo at the wool festival that is held at the same time - sorry Chris, I am bringing some stuff from here along. So tomorrow, we will do the double lift, do another demo, and start driving toward Chicago - and the best is yet to come!! Calvin will be placed on the plane to go home. I saw his face on a milk carton the other day, it is time for him to go home.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Pixie Dust Duty Charges - $40, Being 13th Overall - Priceless

Well, the first few days of the Bluegrass is over. I hadn't been able to get to a computer for the last few days - early mornings and late nights. In a nutshell, this is what has occurred. Flossy should have been left home for one thing. The first day she didn't get to the sheep, so I was able to go back with her to find them the first day. The second day, she found them - although I had to send her back to find them as she was about to cross the course. She completely forgot her flanks, and I walked off. Today her look back was even more spectacular, was able to stop her up on top, and then once again, she didn't give on her flanks - oh well, back to the drawing board as they say. I will have to draw out a flank and show her what it is. I have to prevent her from learning bad habits, such as drinking and driving (she had picked up a pop can right before going onto the field, and would have brought it out if I didn't stop her). My first run with Gin was pretty good - had a 62 without a shed and pen on Wednesday. On Thursday, Calvin, Louanne and I went to a racing stable- found a Blue Jay on a fence, but no horses. I think they are all waiting to run the Preakness (or is it the Belmont Stakes) this weekend. We had a quick dinner, and Calvin and Louanne gave me a shedding lesson using forks and spoons. It came in quite handy today - Gin had a really good run at 87! We almost knocked down the second drive panel on the way back - the sheep received some splinters I am sure since they were right against the panel. Of course, after we made them, I got over exuberant and made a wide turn instead. My photographer Louanne Twa, yes that is Louanne Twa, forgot to take pictures of the run today, so the pictures of me running in my thongs will never be seen. Okay, there wasn't any thongs, but there was a heck of a jig done at the end of the pen for Debbie Bailey. Right now we are 13th overall, and 2nd for day money, but there are ALOT of good dogs and handlers left to go. I had brought a 40 pound bag of pixie dust - I hope that will be enough.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Why Is Kentucky Blue Grass Green?

Well, we have made it to Kentucky!! It started out 5 am in the morning in the Calgary Airport - and there was a period which we thought we weren't going to be able to take all of the dogs. What is it when you ask some people some questions, the website says something different, and when the time comes, the answer changes once again. "No, I don't think we can take all of the dogs." What the......? In the end, we got Floss, Gin, Craig, Meg and the puppy Finn all loaded. Going through customs was a breeze - they were just impressed all of the dogs were all so quiet they didn't even look at my health papers. We were up in the air by 8:10 am, and landed in Chicago at 12:30. We got our bags and dogs quickly, and got to the rental car. Louanne was the chauffeur for the day. Before we could leave the windy city (and it was windy!), we dropped the puppy Finn off so he could go to his merry way to Boonton, New Jersey. There was a nice lady at one of the cargo buildings that drove us exactly where we had to be, and that was a godsend, since we probably would still be driving around the airport right now if it wasn't for her. The car we got is a Sierra - a pretty nice van. Everything got packed in perfectly - we almost had to put Calvin on top of the car, but thankfully he has short legs and was able to sit in the van as well. Seven hours later, we arrived at Lexington, and it took another 40 minutes before we found the dog trial location. I will fully take the blame for this - too many Mapquest directions, and Calvin yipping in the back made me confused. Louanne is going to stay with Scott and Jenny, and then Calvin and I went to the hotel - I believe it is a 1/2 star rating - oh well, it is a place to lay our heads down.
Today we are planning to go to the Kentucky Horse Park, competition starts tomorrow. First we went to about 4 different banks before anybody took our Canadian money. I told them the bills had pretty colours. Some hosing was done however - for the strong Canadian dollar that we currently have, for $440 Canadian, there was only $403 in US that was given in exchange. I think the surplus went to the fancy brass lamps that were in the bank.
The first sight of the day today was a very large Kentucky man with his shorts that didn't go quite far up over his hips. Please say no to Crack. For the love of God, please say no.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

One More Sleep (Or Rather-Two And A Half Hour Nap)

Since Calvin has arrived, he has turned into a real cowboy. As I was spaying dogs, and playing rounds of golf with my new clubs (must read previous blog), Calvin was helping Chris with the cows, tagging calves, getting trucks ready for the haul to our new pasture in Saskatchewan and mucking about with the young dogs. I can't believe it, but a Welshman has seen our new place even before I have seen it. His exact words were "no one can commit suicide there by hanging, there are no trees." I am not sure if he will ever come back - he went with Chris with the cows on Friday, with plans to get back by early morning the next day. The poor guy had to sleep at our new place without any blankets (but I am told there was no cuddling like Brokeback Mountain, but there were thoughts of it as it froze that night), then in the morning a true cowboy breakfast was served - a Wagon Wheel, Jube Jubes and water. Yes, we do know how to show a great time to a foreigner.

This is not the true cow which sent Calvin scrambling up the chute - but a very good representation.
In the week he was here, he got our 8 month old Jet working quite nicely on sheep - she was holding singles and all. Cripes - I am even talking like a Welshman -where's the soap?

Being Sunday, the day before the trip to the Bluegrass in Kentucky, we thought we would be easy on Calvin. After watching Coronation Street (in which he told me what happens in 6 months time on the show, and I pleaded him not too), he went and checked the cows. He came back asking whether coyotes came in all colors - the neighbor's dog decided it is fun to kill my sheep. Before they left for Saskatchewan, I had 8 lambs, now I only have 3 and I have 2 less ewes. Needless to say, we moved some sheep today to safer fields. Nice parting gift from the neighbors.

So Jenny the donkey has been brought off the shelf to help tend the ewes and lambs.

Who is the biggest ass? It definitely is not Jenny. Depends on the time of day and whether they have had their morning tea or not.
Calvin has packed his recycled grass stained jeans and will be heading out with myself and Louanne to Kentucky in a few hours. We will land in Chicago, and Louanne will be the tour guide to Lexington. All I say, is Calvin better behave himself, or he may find himself hitchhiking along the road. Or it may be me.....we will see.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

John Daly Have You Lost Something

I have decided I am going to move my carcass more these days, the winter has been a very long one, and I am fearful to wear my shorts (though it won't stop me from doing so). So this morning I thought I would start my day with a walk with my dogs. The hotel we stay at is basically on the outskirts of Wetaskiwin, and we see a few seedy types during the week. I am afraid Lysterine is a favorite drink of some of the Hobema residents - great teeth but not so great livers. So I took the hounds out this morning, and in the ditch I thought I saw the remains of an Indian burial ground, but instead I find a full set of golf clubs in a bag - they were even balls, tees and socks for the drivers. So John Daly, if you have lost your clubs - contact me - you'll find me on the golf course.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Counting The Sleeps

A few more days and we'll be off to the Bluegrass. I have been busy training the dogs after work, but last night I took the night off and went golfing instead. Let me say, that I am not a golfer at all-I am no Tiger Woods. I went with Shawna from work - I lost 5 balls - but I found 3 so that was good. There was also a raffle after the golf night, and I won some pink balls - however I think that won't prevent me from knocking them into the water like I did last night.
After the clinic this past weekend, Calvin Jones from Wales has been able to give a few lessons, but mostly Chris has been working him like one of our nephews. We just about killed him the other day with an angry cow - Calvin was saying how he had to scramble up the side of the chute to save his life. Much like our nephews. The days have been filled with tagging the cows, tagging calves and getting the trucks all ready since Friday will be the first day the ladies will be relocated to Saskatchewan summer pastures. About nine loads should get everything there, and then there will be a load of horses to get there of course. Oh yes, also the sheep. Stormy Winters will be our pasture manager for our sheep this year until we can get things fenced for them. We will have to get them shorn before they go as well. Too many things to get done in a small amount of time. We also have to plan for branding for the calves as well. There are a few vet students that are working at Wetaskiwin that may come and help tackle that job -they may not know what they are in for.
Our official new address will be Box 39, McCord, Saskatchewan - SOH 2T0 - drop us a line. Better yet, come and stop by!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Heck of Training Weekend

Well, the weekend is over, and I think we have all gotten a little brighter. The judging clinic is over, and Chris Jobe and I ran our dogs, with a few tricks within our runs to stump the judges. The sheep are happy this morning just to be left alone. However Calvin is busy putting tags in our heifers. Intended move for some of the cows will be on Friday. Poor guy - he is going to have to have a holiday from his holiday.

Nancy from the clinic did a great picture show - she did a heck of a job.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Gone To The Dogs

This weekend has been pretty busy with the dogs. Friday, we started the 2 day clinic with Calvin Jones. He flew in on Tuesday, and he helped Chris with spring duties until the clinic started. He found out how quick he could climb corral panels one day - one of our cows thought Calvin was a matador. Needless to say, I do believe some shorts had to be put in the wash that night. We were able to find a kid's western saddle, and he was the hired man to move some cows from a field. Cheeks were sore - both from laughing and riding-but the job was done.

The clinic we did catered to everyone - from the very novice, to the seasoned handler. Louanne came out the first day as well, putting her Craig through his paces before we head out to Kentucky. Lois and Wizard, Megan and Veda and Nancy and Envy did very well as the novice people and their novice dogs. All of them learned from their dogs the art of moving stock - although it was rough in the beginning- by the end of the clinic they were out in the field doing walkabouts with their dogs.

This is Megan and her dog Veda - a rescue from Alabama. Not sure what the breeding was, but obviously was good.

Donna and her dogs Ted and Jet were out - it looks like she'll be doing novice classes this year with these two.

This is Lois and Wizard (sorry, he was cut out of the picture). Another rescue dog that showed a lot of style.

The weather fared well- sunny and not windy - and we just about got done when a storm passed through. Sleet is what we had, and the girls had to wait (both the wet and the woolly type) until it passed so we could finish the last of the workouts. Jill and Kate, Val and Brie, and Deb and Zero were there for the bitter end.

It took about 5 minutes for things to get white. Meanwhile, Calvin was talking about the heat wave he left back in Wales. Welcome to Alberta weather.

At least a rainbow came at the end of the storm. I thought there is supposed to be gold at the end of the rainbow, not asses. She is a golden ass - she is worth her weight in gold for keeping coyotes from the sheep.

After we were done, we met up with Milton and Leanne for a wind down. However, as the evening carried on, it became a wind up.

Only a few barley malts were drank, I promise, only a few.

I found out I was quite the pool shark as well. I should have played for money - I beat Milton twice, Calvin, Chris and this fellow called Kallen (rhymes with Helen). I said it was simple physics - not that it was my favorite subject in school - but it seemed to help with my game. I think I may have to take Stormy Winters on-I may be on a role.

Good friends and good times.

Calvin was on Wales Idol - but I think eating meatloaf would be better for him rather than singing it.

We have a one day judging clinic - Chris Jobe, Donna Brinkworth, Jill Brodie and Naomi Shields will be out. It is too bad that there weren't a few more to attend - people don't realize how much fun it has been - but then, I can have fun anywhere. Calvin will be coming back in October, so we can do this all over again.

We have another week of Calvin - I am not sure whether my liver can take it. Thank god I have a reprieve and I have to work the week in Wetaskiwin. In the upcoming week some cows will be moved to their new home with the help of our new hired man (Calvin). McCord, Saskatchewan will be our new home. It is now official, the garage sale will be soon. Look for the balloons.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

May The 4th Be With You

Ready to do the clinic with Calvin Jones this weekend - he landed on the big bird yesterday. Poor little Welshman was a little tired, so he had a big nap when he got home I am told. I am still up in Wetaskiwin, doing dentals, taking off lumps, removing uteruses, removing testicles and sewing up skin. I think I need a lifesaver.