Tuesday, December 08, 2009

A Journey: Second Report (Guest Blog)

Greetings, Gentlepups!

I have some more Words about our Journey. After the smooth land stopped, we entered a State named Montana. I have Uncertainty about this State.

There were pleasant Vistas:

And useful Historical Information:

Yet at times we felt Unwelcome:

And, might somedogs agree, Disrespected?

Sharp Barks!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

A Journey: First Report (Guest Blog)

Greetings, Gentlepups!

Some Suns ago I accompanied Young Kyzer to his Sheepdog College. We journeyed Far and saw much New, some of which I would like to share.

The first New was this youngster:

She is attending College with Kyzer and traveled with us. She is small, and most unusual in appearance for a working border collie. I gave her a Sharp Bark! upon greeting, and she behaved very well thereafter.

We were busy the first Suns, traveling and sleeping in new places. On the third Sun we stopped to see a beautiful New:

After so much smooth landscape these Valleys and Hills [the Painted Canyon in North Dakota's Theodore Roosevelt National Park - ed.] were a Surprise! We saw Horses, but no Sheep there.

We saw much more New of which I will report later.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Smoothies update (Guest Blog)

Rafe here.

Well, not here. At the Farm. Getting some advanced driving training. Sheep, not Cars, I like to be chauffeured.

Sure do like working every day. Hear young Kyzer is working every day too, on a Farm in Canada. Should have some good stories for us. He's staying here:

Good to see he has a Red Barn too.

Stay warm, pups, snow is in the air.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Words (Guest Blog)

Rafe here.

Been thinking about words. Our scribes, into reading and writing - words. Me, I like a few words - come bye, walk there, lie down. Well, don't like lie down so much. Pictures are nice too. Words, pictures, hmm. Here's something they might like:

I like the biggest word.


Scribe's note: go to www.wordle.net and enter your URL or text

Friday, September 04, 2009

Sharp Bark! (Guest Blog)

Greetings, Gentlepups!

On occasion I think about Writing and how there is no Sound. I find that Pleasant, as I can then Relax on the couch when Writing is being Read. Several suns ago I thought about Photographs, which also have no Sound. I thought more, about my own loud Sound. I put it here in Writing and in Photograph:

Sharp Bark!

(I was addressing our winter foster pup, Wasabi.)

Gentlepups, do you not hear Sound from that Writing and Photograph?

Soft barks,

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Reading (Guest Blog)

Greetings Gentlepups!

Some suns ago, Fox-Cat inquired about my Reading. I had yet to complete my Book so did not wish to Bark about it. Now, after much diligent Couch Sitting, I am prepared.

My book is On talking terms with dogs: Calming Signals by Turid Rugaas. The Author is from Across the Water, so her words are slightly different. I enjoy her vocabulary. She names a group of dogs a Flock. That is more refined than a Pack.

The Author is Wise, and knows much of Dog language. To tell of this language is very kind, as we may then all Understand each other better. She speaks most of how we dogs communicate to try to avoid Conflict and create a Calm World. She is quite Correct.

Our Flock Scribes had been curious how much Dog I know, as I was Alone in my Early Years. Goodness, of course I know Dog! A wonderful example is "splitting": Miss Pippin was Frolicking with a toy and tossed it. Young Master Hamish leapt upon it with Glee. Miss Pippin was displeased and prepared to scold young Hamish. I trotted over to them and walked between them. This "splitting" calmed them down. We were all Pleased.

I am next reading Barking: the sound of a language by the same Author. I believe everydog and their Scribes would enjoy these books by Turid Rugaas.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Reading (Guest Blog)

Rafe here.

Thanks to my fellow Sheepdogger Hamish for the shout-out. Good pup, won in Kentucky.

My Fox cat said we could tell about what we've read past few months. Me, been reading sheep. Helped me a lot, helped me at that Trial. Different sheep, Shetlands, Scottish Blackface, all move different, have to learn to read them. What I'd like to do is be overseas, so I could go to school. Ewephoria, like our Sheepdog pals Holly and Zac did. Look here, Mr. Aled Owen was the Teacher:

Lucky pups, living near there. Good looking ones too.

Another bit of news: Grizzly Salmon Oil smells real good, tastes good, good for you. But if somecat offers you a 32 ounce bottle, politely decline. Moderation is best.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Shout out to Rafe, Novice Champ

From the desk of H.B. Moy, Sheep King Extraordinaire

Since my last missive about a month ago, much has happened at our humble house. I think my sister Pippin plans to talk about some of the things that have happened (since some of them involve her), but I wanted to show how humble and gracious I am by giving a shout out to my packmate, Rafe. In general, I don't see much to like about this country bumpkin who my people brought into our pack against my better judgment. He is quite a goof-ball and can just really get up under your skin, if you're a thinking, careful, well-mannered dog like myself.

But, I have to give credit where credit is due.

Mr. Rafe won the Windswept Farm Novice trial last week-end. He came in second place in the first round and first place in the second (as a small side note, I came in sixth in the first round, second in the second and third overall) and had the overall high score. This is especially great for him because he's been working through some "issues" according to my people (we don't tell them this, but our "issues" are usually called "our people.").

Kyzer was there, too, and did his best job yet.

I don't have much else to report on, but here's a "trial report" my person wrote:

The trial was at Jeanne Weaver's Windswept Farm, which is about an hour northwest of us. This was Kyzer's first time on this field, but both Rafe and Hamish have been to a trial here before and both of them have also done a few clinics/lessons here. This was a pretty new set-up for novice, though--running east-west instead of north-south, which has been the case in prior years. There are draws on both sides, but an especially strong one to the south (away to me side), where the sheep normally hang out and where the set-out was. Also a pretty strong draw behind the post because that's where the exhaust was (as a side note, at Hamish's very first trial two years ago, which was at this same trial, he ran into the exhaust after his run and pushed all the sheep out!!).

The sheep are Katahdins from two different flocks. Our sheep were ostensibly the sheep Jeanne uses for lessons, but they were nonetheless very light--totally clocked the dog for overflanking or coming in close.

There were 16 dogs in the class--mostly familiar local folks, but a few newbies.

The course was a little strange--there were no fetch panels and a very short wear between some cones. Basically an S-shape--clock-wise around the post, counter clock-wise around the wear-cone adn then to the pen. The outrun was maybe 150 yards. 3 minutes.

First round:

Rafe went first and started on a very nice outrun, but the sheep got away from the set-out before he was even halfway up, so the judge (Dal Kratzer), told Susan to call him back and gave her a re-run. That meant little Kyzer was the first dog up. Yee-haw. I sent him right because I figured that if he stopped short on that side, the sheep would squirt off toward the less strong draw. But, the trick there was a large tree right in the path. Kyzer had a coat-hanger outrun--started almost straight up the field, but once he cleared the tree, he kicked out nicely and came in pretty deep. He ended up overflanking some, but he got them back on line and charged them down the field. He was pretty good, but he didn't keep them tightly together and one kept trying to sneak off. He covered, but it wasn't beautiful (though he did get a 19-8-18 OLF). He pushed pretty hard around the post and the one that had been trying to get away split. I got them back together, but she took off again and was bee-lining it for the woods. I tried again to put them back together, but Kyzer either didn't see the one that had split or was feeling weird, so I decided to just work the two left--dumb, beginner mistake, but lucky for me, we timed out, so he still got his points (46).

When Rafe's turn came, Susan had to shoosh him twice as he started to lock up but then he got going and was very deep--beautiful lift, truly high caliber. He brought the sheep straight down the field, pulling himself up when necessary without a command from Susan. No troubles at the post or the wear-cones and Susan did a very stylish backwards run to the pen and the sheep walked right in as if that'd been their intent all along.

Hamish was next up and I decided to send him right on a similar theory to the one I used with Ky (this was probably the first time I really tried to strategize which way to send), but it was a mistake because he was too sensitive to the pressure of the barn/set-out and came in really tight, so I had to lie him down and re-direct him. He took the re-direct, but still came in pretty tight. Then, he was off-line for most of the fetch--I tried to get him back on line, but it's such a short distance. No troubles around the post or the wear-cone (I actually "drove" both rather than wearing) and a perfect pen. I got lots of compliments on the run, but the score wasn't great (63/80) because of the messy OLF.

Sid, the "most promising young dog" at the Bluegrass, won that round, Rafe came in second and Hamish came in 6th.

Second round

Hamish was up first of our guys and I decided to send left so that he wasn't running into the pressure. Excellent choice; beautiful outrun, reasonable lift, but again, off-line fetch. But, he held good pace and kept the sheep quiet. No troubles around the post or the wear-cone. I didn't get him lied down quick enough to get to the pen before the sheep, so I had to work him from the back of the pen--which he did. I was careful to let them drift out far enough that he could turn their heads to get back into the pen, which he did and in they walked and he got a 69 (second place). Combined score of 132

Rafe came next and this time, he had an even nicer outrun--no encouragement from Susan, beautiful, wide, came in deep, lifted like a pro. Again, the fetch was bang on-line; post was great. Susan overflanked him a bit on the wear, but the sheep didn't cross the plane, so she was able to send him back around and get the wear. They had to work a little more on the pen but were able to get it easily. I don't remember his score for this run (but he had a 20-10-20 OLF), but he got first place and his combined score was 140 (which was 1-point higher than Syd, the dog who already runs nursery) for the high score in the class.

Kyzer was the last of our crew and again did the patented coat-hanger outrun to the rumble of thunder and rain. He was a bit tighter at the top, so the lift wasn't as good and he brought the sheep barreling down the field--he did pull up once when I gave him a "time", but he had jets on. And so did the sheep. It got kind of messy around the post-the ended up circling the wrong way and then booking toward the exhaust. This is the kind of situation that has gotten me in trouble many times with Hamish, but I decided to trust Kyzer and sent him. He covered great and go them back coming toward me. The rest of the wear is a little fuzzy in my memory--maybe because it was going light-speed but at some point my stick got stuck in the ground just as I needed to head to the pen, so I left it there and ran to the pen, sheep hot on my tail. I flung open the gate and got Kyzer to lie down in just the right spot and lo and behold, those ovines turned their heads and went right in. Again, a 46 score, for a combined total of 92--right in the middle of the group.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Musings from the sheep king

From the desk of Hamish Braeburn Moy, Sheep King Extraordinaire (in training)

It's been a long time since I posted here, I know (actually, it's been a long time since Pippin posted as well). I've been after my secretary for some time but she had this and that to do. You'd think that Pippin and I (and the rest of the pack) would be the ONLY thing she should be doing, but she had different ideas (Note to self: Consider new secretary ASAP).

Anyway, since the snows went away a few months ago, we've been working with the sheep twice a week. Naturally I'm the best, but I encourage Kyzer, Tansy and Rafe to do the best that they can. And they do, bless their hearts. Pippin and Renzo keep watch over the home fort--we tell them that's really important work so they don't feel bad staying at home.

Still, I'm the best. In fact, we went to an important stockdog event two weeks ago. It's called the Bluegrass Stockdog Classic and it's where all the really great sheep dogs (like me) strut our stuff.

There are two fields at the Bluegrass: the "Open" field and the "Novice" field. Since my person is still a trainer in training, we went to the Novice field (I could do the Open field of course, but I wouldn't want to have embarrassed my handler since most of the Open dogs are great themselves AND have great handlers). On the first day, my handler didn't trust me (silly handler) and called me off before the run was done. I still smiled encouragement at her, though--you know these beginners need lots of strokes. Kyzer and Rafe went on the first day, too. Only Rafe got a score. His handler is better than mine (even though, I'll remind you, I'm infinitely better than Rafe). Kyzer was a little zoomy and a little confused, but it was only his second time at a Stockdog Event.

On the second day, Rafe decided he'd most like to look at the sheep rather than disturb them, so his handler had to call him off. Kyzer, well, Kyzer was still pretty zoomy and this time, he did one of the biggest no-no's for a stockdog at a stockdog event--he grabbed a sheep with his teeth and rode along with it while it ran. The judge said "Thank You, Kyzer", which is a polite way of saying, "Yeeerrrr Out".

But, me, well, I won the day. Seriously, I won first place (I even got some money.) Now, you see I have the chops to claim my rightful title as the King of the Sheep.

Here's my winning run (my handler tells you what's going on--as if you can't tell the awesomeness all on its own). Since it's the Novice field, it's not as hard as what the Open dogs do--but we've got our sights set on that Open field. Once my handler gets just a little bit better....

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hi! Hi! Hi! (Guest Blog)

It's me, Fox!! Cat is Dog Bloggin!!

Dogs busy, workin! Scribes busy, workin! What work? Readin!! Kay I read too!

Good book*! Lern dog Secrets, don tell!!

Rafe say he read, tell all. Other dogs and scribes too! Hey, let me see what Tansy read!

Maybe she tell next.


[*Patricia McConnell, The other end of the leash: why we do what we do around dogs]

Friday, April 17, 2009

Nice Video (Guest Blog)

Rafe here.

Flock's been busy. Scribes too. But, saw this on the portable Light Box and wanted to share. Some fine work there, looks like a Fun Place to go. One year we'll go, even just to watch not run.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

What a Pup! (Guest Blog)

Rafe here.

Told you about a pup we had here a few Suns ago, BC/ACD mix. Fun gal, here she is playing with Miss Pippin:

Sent us word about how it's going for her and her forever home. Had a few chuckles, here, read:

Dearest Aunties S. and R.,

I am writing to give you an update on how training my human, L., is progressing. L. is very bright and learns quickly. When I bring her a toy, she tugs it for me. Good human!! I have taught her to give me treats in many situations, and most of the time, all I have to do is put my butt on the floor instead of my feet in the air. It doesn't take much to impress this human.

I have also taught her to let me snuggle with her in the recliner, and to let me sleep in bed with her at night. She has learned quickly that it pleases me most to walk me three times a day. This weekend, I even convinced her to take me to work with her, since she had to do two overnights in a row at the emergency clinic. I have charmed all of her
co-workers, and I got to meet my new godmother Dr. P., who was a reference for me on the rescue application. I also have Dr. P. trained. She doesn't even ask me to do a trick, but gives me treats because I am cute.

Finally, I have trained my human to cook all my meals for me. I scoff at
dog food, I tell you-I am Wasabi and I deserve the best. I eat chicken, beef, salmon, it changes every few days, and I get two sides: veggies and grains. Life is good. Give me a few more weeks, and I will have this human eating out of my paw. Or wait, the other way around.

All is well here, I am loved, I am a good dog,

Soft Woof,

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Chilly (Guest Blog)

Greetings, Gentlepups!

We have been a Quiet Flock of late. Well, quite Active at home, but not Going Out much or Barking On Line. I believe I have had less than 4 Walks since the last Moon! For good Reason have we not ventured far, as the Air and Ground are Very Cold. We do not wish to keep our feet on the Icy Snow, and find it difficult to walk without touching Ground. Here you see a Typical stance Outside:

I believe the Air is getting Warmer so we will Walk more. Also, I will be learning New Tricks and practicing Old Tricks. Therefore I will be busy and have more of which to Speak! Others of my Flock will also Speak On Line.

Sharp Barks,

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

40 Things About Us (Guest Blog)

Rafe here.

Pippin said she let her Scribe post. Something about everyone knowing everything about us already. Nonsense. Think I can come up with 40 things.

40 Things About Pippin's Flock

1.  Miss Pippin is very polite. Somedog wants a toy she has, she lets them have it. (Blog posts too.)
2. Miss Pippin will "bow" if a person blows at her face.
3. Kyzer is crazy-excited to go outside in the morning. (Guess we all are.)
4. I have a couple spots on my inner front leg. Otherwise I couldn't've joined the Flock.
5. Hamish has at least 6 shades of brown in his coat.
6. Tansy has more collars than any other dog in the Flock.
7. Renzo has titles. CGC, FDCh (or something), also "Sir Barks-a-Lot"
8. Kyzer's seriously good at Agility. World Team potential. (Some stockdog!)
9. Renzo loves lettuce spines.
10. Pippin jumped up and took a lady's contact lens out with a kiss.
11. When I was a pup back on the farm, I shared a fresh lamb leg with my brother.
12. Renzo sleeps in the Red Chair when the Scribes are gone.
13. I sleep in the Red Chair when the Scribes are here. Unless they shoo me off.
14. We got a squirrel in the back yard once. We're not telling who did it, but it wasn't Tansy even though she pranced around with it.
15. Kyzer doesn't like canned food.
16. Pippin doesn't like rabbit meat.
17. Renzo doesn't have front dew claws anymore. He kept ripping them when he was young. Still thinks they're there, though.
18. Fox hid in the basement ceiling for 8 hours as few suns ago, didn't tell the Scribes. We watched them walk around outside in 10 degree cold, shaking cat treats. Should've told them he was o.k.
19. I was recruited to be a cover dog for Naturally Wild dog food. They chose a prick-eared black-and-white border collie instead. Fine. Don't eat that food anyway.
20. Tansy's the last one to have her collar off at night.
21. She gets an extra goodnight cookie too.
22. And, she gets first walk in the morning. 
23. Tansy's pretty special. 
24. Pippin does not like being groomed. Couldn't get her CGC.
25. Hamish threw up on car rides when he was young. Bonine and maturity ended that.
26. Renzo was cornered in a laundry room by an orange cat.
27. Pippin leapt a couch to escape that cat.
28. I stayed clear of that cat when I visited those folks.
29. Renzo loans Pippin his dog park tag sometimes. Think that's illegal.
30. Kyzer doesn't like to go in the stock tank after working sheep. Even when it's hot.
31. Inçi lived in Germany.
32. Hamish and Pippin are immigrants.
33. Pippin rubs her face on the snow.
34. Tansy scoops up snow when she runs.
35. Inçi loves "Feline Greenies." I do too. Should be called "Canine Greenies."
36. Hamish has liked every dog he met. Except one Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever named Sailor.
37. Pippin loves her Moni best.
38. We have dogs visit us a few weeks then leave. Just had a fun gal, Molly, part BC, part Australian Cattle Dog. More ACD the longer she was here. Heard she's doing well.
39. All of us border collies have different ear styles. 
40. Some of us run off leash in a nearby park illegally. Don't tell.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

40 Things about my Person

Taz' person tagged my person in the "40 things about me" game. Since we pups, the normal authors of this blog, have played this game before, I've decided to hand over the typing keys to my person so that she can tell random, boring things about herself. For normal readers of the blog, just skip this post--I'm sure you aren't all that interested to know about her, but sometimes I find it's best to humor her a little.

Here's a recent picture of her--yes, she's that scary.

40 Things about my Person by My Person

1. When I was seven, I heard a preacher talk about the road to hell being a road with no other cars on it. Ever since then, I feel irrational panic whenever I am the only car on the road
2. I lived in Switzerland for a year and learned Swiss German
3. I was born in Bremerhaven, Germany (on an American Army base)
4. I worked as a maid for a summer in a hotel on the Mediterranean coast in central Turkey
5. I wrote my dissertation on Turkish-German bilingualism
6. I can’t spell. And I don’t really care all that much.
7. I was raised a Southern Baptist. I am not one now.
8. I met my significant other in a café in Germany on my 28th birthday
9. I have recovered from a serious illness
10. I was the valedictorian of my college class and had to give a speech. I almost threw up from nervousness
11. I sucked my thumb until I was a teenager
12. I worry about whether or not my students like me
13. When I was 16, I got drunk for the first time. On rum and Coke. I ended up throwing up out the window of a moving car and haven’t had rum since.
14. I haven’t been a smoker for 13 years.
15. I often wonder what paths my life would have taken if my father hadn’t died when he did
16. I have been a vegetarian who eats fish since 1995
17. I am not at all crafty, except that I love to knit
18. I bake most of our bread
19. I sometimes ache knowing that I’ll only see my niece and nephews a couple of times a year
20. Every other year, I make jam out of all the Michigan fruits as they come into season: strawberry, blueberry, apricot, plum, peach, raspberry. I don’t use pectin. I did once and it was a disaster--all the jam molded.
21. One of my ears has four piercings, but I rarely wear more than one earring in it
22. For most of the years I was a teenager, I plotted novels while shooting baskets in my backyard
23. I once owned a beautiful marimba that I played regularly (I was a percussionist in the high school band). The one decision in my life I truly regret was selling it.
24. My mother asked me if I was gay when I was 18. I said no. Ten years later when I said yes, she asked why I’d lied to her when I was 18. (See #7)
25. I am learning Anishnaabemowin (Ojibwe)
26. I like country music. A lot. But not so much the racist, misogynist bits.
27. For 8 mos. out of the year, I work between 70-80 hours a week.
28. I regularly complain about how much I have to work but I don’t think I’m qualified to do a different job
29. I’ve never been caught doing anything illegal. Except running a stop sign.
30. I have experimented with various illegal substances—but not in a long, long time
31. I haven’t carried any debt beyond my mortgage in over a decade
32. I follow David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” program and it has made life infinitely more manageable. Even though it’s pretty much common sense, it’s also taken me a long time to learn.
33. I love the snow but remain afraid of driving in it
34. Learning to do livestock work with a border collie has been the most intellectually challenging thing I’ve ever done
35. There is nothing I want more than a small farm where I can raise sheep, chickens and produce (including fruits to jam—see #20)
36. Lecturing to 100+ students twice a week takes most of my available energy
37. I drove from Germany to Turkey in a VW bug one summer
38. I’ve lived in Germany for six years, but not consecutively
39. I prefer doing dishes once a day rather than after each meal. My significant other is the opposite
40. I have a high tolerance for clutter

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Yes, We Can

Here at Pippin's house, we are over the moon at the peaceful transition of power that has just occurred.

We have lots and lots of news to report

But, today, we salute the humans and their new president, Barack Obama.

(Image copied from CafePress--click on it if you want to buy that fetching shirt for you or your canine buddies)