Thursday, January 29, 2009


This is my shower curtain. It's not supposed to be see through. It doesn't work very well when it's like this.
Don't think for one minute, I wanted it that way. I don't have a say in the matter. Who does? I would say Poe, but in this picture you can't see him. He's in stealth mode. However, his destruction can't be missed. I keep buying new curtains and he keeps tearing them down.
This is his "I could give a care" look.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Fond Farewell

When Scott first got Grandma she was one of several Karakuls. It's an odd, old breed that looks like a cross between a camel and a buffalo. That flock of rare sheep helped train a couple of Western Canadian Sheepdog Champions, a couple of Canadian Champions and a US National Champion.
As a youngster, Grandma broke her leg, but instead of shooting her, Scott splinted it and when she healed, she continued to help him train dogs.Originally, he called her Blue Tag but one by one she outlived the rest of her clan and was renamed Grandma. Outlived them enough to make it to 18 years old. Her grand niece, The Cocker Spaniel is only 3/4 Karakul but Grandma didn't hold it against her and took her under her wing. We often caught them off by them selves and watched Grandma whispering the ancient secrets of the Karakuls to her. A couple of years ago Grandma's leg started to bother her again and she was retired from dog training. She became the grand dame of the lambing pasture, supervising all lambings and weanings. One of the primary reasons we got Kit was for her protection while she was with the lambs.
Unfortunately, nobody can live forever and today Grandma's old legs refused to hold her up anymore. Scott helped her cross over to where the old flock of Karakuls were waiting for her. She left behind The Cocker Spaniel to carry on her legacy and just a week ago, we were presented with Grandma's great great grand niece to help us get over the loss.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Doin's On The Farm

Sorry for not posting sooner. Things have been rather busy here but lambing is just about finished and things should start to slow down a little bit now.
So what has been going on? Well, in the chicken house we have a "new" chicken- notice the white one in the back. She's not actually new. She's really the oldest chicken on the place. She came a few years ago with 8 others and they've been living free in the barn. Unfortunately, her sisters are all gone now so I've given her a new retirement home in the safety of the white house where all the red chickens live. It's got a heat lamp and regular food and water and warm straw. Practically a spa compared to what she was used to in the barn.
The quads (the 3 lambs plus the stolen one) have decided that only "C" and "D" need to be bottle fed. All four are nursing off their mom just fine but C and D like to get some milk from the bottle to help lighten their mother's load. In addition, two ewes decide they only wanted singles instead of the twins they actually had, so along with C and D, "17" and "18" are also getting bottles. It makes for interesting fights for the nipple at feeding time.
Kit takes her guardianship even more seriously now that she has so many babies to watch out for and spends her days and nights scanning the lake for coyotes.Hemp has progressed alot in his first lambing season. Along with figuring out how to handle ewes and lambs, he has also learned to lay and wait patiently while I do chores around the barn. This has been the hardest thing for him to master as he has way too much energy to be still.Inside the barn/nursery, we are keeping our newest set of triplets. They'll stay in for a week or two to make sure they get a good start (and to make sure they don't need to be supplemented with a bottle - knock on wood).
Of course in every group there is always a trouble maker and this triplet likes to explore.
Last but not least, Cali has also moved into the barn/nursery and the mice have moved out.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

What's In A Name?

I spend alot of time thinking about the names for my animals and I have names for dogs not even born yet. Most of them are named after a dog I admire. For example, Jed came to me with the name Rusty.Usually, I like the names his previous owner called her dogs - she's clever at it (she named Pleat for the cowlick between his eyes that looks like a pleat in a pair of pants ) but this time I thought he needed a change. I called him Jed after my favorite movie dog. Jed the wolf dog starred in "The Journey of Natty Gann" and "White Fang". My new Jed spent his first night at my house eating a leftover burrito. The next morning while Scott was giving me a lesson, I needed to call Jed back to my side. I hollered out "Jed! Jed!" and Scott said "He won't come to you. He doesn't know that name." Despite this, Jed turned on a dime and rushed back to me. He didn't care what we called him, as long as I continued to feed him those burritos.

I had been saving Lad's name for a long time. He was named after the main character in Albert Payson Terhune's book "Lad A Dog". Gasp! Is that a rough collie? Yes it is, actually. Terhune claimed that the real Lad didn't have all of the adventures he attributed to him in the books, but all the stories had come from real dogs who had defended their owners from attack, saved children from drowning and so on. My Laddie is named after the spirit of all those brave dogs.

Hemp. Well, Hemp was simple. I took one look at him and thought he looked exactly like Adam Telfer's, Old Hemp. I hoped it would be a good omen to name him after the father of the modern border collie.

Bob-dog has been in and out of my life since he was 7 weeks old and had been given many different names. His breeder called him Arizona. I first called him Pip (Squeek). His first owners called him Dax and when he was returned to the kennel I worked for the owner called him Bob after Kathy Knox's Bob. For those who aren't border collie people, Kathy's Bob was a sheepherding national champion. When I finally bought him at 6 months old, I felt he'd been through enough name changes so I let him stay with Bob. However, I always called him Bobby and imagined a different kind of celebrity whenever I used it.
And Skid? Well, Skid was named after what we were doing when we met.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

He's Gotta Wear Shades

Pleat has been getting a big head recently. Along with all the kudos that came with his retirement for a lifetime of winning trials, he will also appear in a new publication. It is a beautiful coffee table book and features some of the top sheepdogs in the world. It also features their handlers but since Pleat feels that he made Scott who he is, that part isn't important. He's been getting obnoxious and is thoroughly enjoying his retirement. His pictures were taken by his favorite photographer, Vickie Close, and he's looking forward to seeing his profile in this new book. He is also getting ready for the fame he is sure will accompany it. If you would like to get one of these limited edition books you can go to the Kinloch Sheepdogs Website and order one. But Please. Don't tell Pleat you bought one. He's hard enough to live with.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Mouse Hunt

Last night I came upon Skid in this position. I wasn't all that concerned at first. He often scoots under the couch to rescue a ball or lost toy. However, when he was still there an hour later I started to wonder. It took another hour before he did move and when he ran over and started pawing at the dog bed, it dawned on me that perhaps he was working back up for the cats. When Salem joined him I knew I was right. Skid was mousing! I guess if Salem and Poe are busy, I still don't need to worry - none shall pass. (Monty Python reference) Salem swooped in and quickly dispatched the intruder. I've blocked out the mouse's head because it was just a baby and actually kinda cute but I made sure to leave the tail showing 'cause it really freaks my mom out. (Tee heee hee)

Friday, January 9, 2009

You Be The Judge

Scott's son was visiting this past weekend and he asked me if Poe was named after the Kung Fu Panda. I asked him why. He said "Because he's black and white, fat, and his name is Po"First off, Kevin, his name is spelled P-O-E after Edgar Allan Poe! Secondly, he's not fat. He's just big boned and third... well, hmmm. Perhaps you have a point.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Lambs In The Kitchen

Lambing is in full swing now and so far, we have had 18 lambs born. Every year some lambs need a little extra boost to get going and today we had our first two of the season. It's no big deal. We bring them into the house and put them on our heating vent in the kitchen. Sometimes we cover them with towels heated in the dryer and then give them some warm lamb formula. This is Skid's second lambing and he's an old hand at it now. However this is Poe's first lambing. At the beginning, he felt he needed to show who was boss and threw a couple of tentative slaps that never quite reached the lambs. (you never know when one might get up and bite you) But in short order he had it all figured out and with his steady partner, Skid, he kept watch over the lambs until they were ready to go back to their mom. And then the team went back to doing what they do best.