Whew it was a busy weekend around Shoofly. It's good to be sitting down behind a computer to rest up. Friday i took off a half day and got my van cleaned out (a huge job) and all the crates washed etc, then washed 4 dogs, then mowed my acre of front yard (oh how it pains me to think sheep could be out there grazing!). Saturday started with a few lessons, then getting set up to move my group of wethers to a new field to graze, then more mowing around the farm, and to top it all off i about wore myself slam out tilling up the garden. Sunday, more lessons and then i worked my own beasties, and finally crashed. Double whew!
It was a good dog weekend. I had a student come in for 2 days of lessons with a really nice daughter of Kent Kuykendall's old Bill. I enjoy time with both the owner and the dog a lot, both very nice. My friend Lauren was around both days and she's really doing well with her new dog Mac. It's so nice to see them coming together as a team. Laura and Mary came out yesterday and they're always fun to hang with, and both of their young dogs are doing well and coming along. We put Linc (my Bart's littermate) on the sheep and he was all turned on and into it in no time, looks like he'll be a good one and a nice fit for Laura. I popped Bart out with the sheep so they could see him, and he was terrific. I set him down and jokingly said "here's his outrun" and the little snot ran out and around the sheep like a pro. Actually, little snot isn't exactly an appropriate term of endearment any more for his 28 pound (yes, 28) self. Big snot.
Saturday and sunday morning were especially nice and a couple of those times that make me so appreciative of the dogs. My lesson sheep (yearling hair ewes) are mixed in with the ewes and baby lambs on the big pasture, so there's a good bit of sorting and shuffling to be done to get them separated. Saturday morning Zac and i got it done pretty handily with an International shed but Sunday the sheep were a lot more difficult. Zac was in heaven doing sheds to push off ewes and lambs, turnbacks to catch and move them when they'd try to rejoin, cutting here and there hard to hold groups separate and all that fun stuff that just makes a sheepdog feel like a sheepdog. He was just so satisfied (in his let-me-back-at-em Zac way). That dog just loves to work. He's got his faults (they all do) but he's sure the dog for me. I just marvel at his ability and fire. After getting all of that job done, i went up the hill with Jet to gather up the wool wethers from the wooded field i'm keeping them in. Zac is a little too keen for that job sometimes - i let him do it last week and he came out with a big scratch under his eye. He has no regard for taking care of himself when there are sheep around. Anyway, Jet is a good gathering dog with a strong fetch. The wethers were all over those woods in little packets and i just sat there at the gate on my atv, directing Jet and sending her back and pulling her in or pushing her out, and it just struck me what an advantage it is to have a really trained out, finished dog. They really are quite amazing creatures, these dogs.
We're trying to get ready to leave on thursday for the Shaker Village trial in KY this weekend. The dogs are all working pretty decent, though perhaps not as fit as i'd like, going into the Bluegrass in a few weeks. Spring farm chores have just cut into my training time, but that's how it has to be. Moss' trial debut will be this friday, in ProNovice, and i'm just as excited as can be to see how he'll do. He's been working so well at home. Yesterday i put him around a Nursery/Ranch course at home and he did extremely well. I wish he'd been out to more fields and on more unfamiliar sheep but i think he'll do okay at the trial. The Open dogs all look pretty decent. All 3 get to run this coming weekend, which is nice. Only 2 get to run at the Bluegrass. Right now i plan on that being Zac and Spottie. If Spottie has trouble, i'll run Jet the second day. It's hard to believe the time is coming when i'll need to retire Spottie, but it surely is. I've started keeping my ears open for a great retirement home for her. She's still running well but realistically, at 10 she probably will need to retire before the fall. If the perfect place for her comes up, i'll have to consider it. She's still fit enough to teach a new partner for a couple of years. She's sure done a good job trying to teach me. :-)