Thursday, June 19, 2008

Pedigree testing again

Test pedigree for the Tiglets

Arrr, bugger. Will have to redo this on R's computer using the full edition of Breeder's Assistant.

And then input Fly's pedigree, so I can do a pedigree for the future Maggots.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

What's hot at our house:

Bipedal locomotion
Tractors (in a BIG way- we now have seven on the living room mat, including a dud John Deere toy that fell apart after 2 days- very disappointed, John Deere!)
Trucks and other things that go BRRRM BRRRM!
Where the Wild Things Are
The trophy shelf- SHINY dogs and horses!!!
Groovy little knitted boots with sheepskin soles- flexible, comfortable, plain cool
The Loony Pin, where small boys can run free (also found at, except that site's not working, Amy!)

Not so cool:
Cats that won't be picked up
Heaters that erupt excitingly into flames when stabbed in the vent with a knife, and are then removed by cruel heartless parents
Rain, slippery verandahs, boredom and long days inside

And today Jack pointed out his own ears, unprompted. Genius.

Saturday, June 07, 2008


Early mornings really are the best part of the day. With R out of action, I’ve been
getting up before dawn to run the dogs. Its been a while since I was up this early
enjoying the start of the day with the dogs, but I’ve really missed it.

It’s the ultimate mood lifter: grumbling out of a warm bed into cold stiff jeans,
leaving a milky breathed cherub sprawled across my side of the mattress, stepping out into the cold night and down to the training paddock, where my breath catches at the sight of the gully filled with thick fog. In the swinging torchbeam the house dogs mill around my feet, snorting and scuffling with the thrill of the dark and the scent of the sheep. “Here Bill”, and I open the gate a fraction to let the chosen one through, where he crouches, expectant but unsure, because the mist is so thick we can’t see the yard just metres away, let alone the usual landmarks of the paddock, the trees, the rocky outcrops . “Round!”, and he spins behind me and is gone.

How long should it take for him to find his sheep? I find the yard gate and swing it
open, slipping and sliding in the overnight mud. Then I wait, and listen. No birds, no yelping foxes, the dogs still curled in their kennels- the whole world is quiet, tucked under its foggy blanket. No drumming of hooves… how long does it normally take Bill to find these sheep? And then I think I hear them, a faint low rhythm through the clouded air. If the training mob are up to their usual tricks they’ll be racing breakneck down the southern fenceline and slipping behind the yards, where they’ll hold their corner and dare the dog to come in and shift them. That hooligan Bill will know I can’t see him hustling them, can’t order him to stand and take his time…

I’m fumbling for the whistle dangling beneath layers at my neck when the sheep appear, quietly but steadily swinging across the paddock, well off the fenceline. Somewhere out there a dark shape drifts across my view and then disappears again into the mist. What dog is that? Arcing wide and smooth, too low and steady for Bill. Has Fred pushed through the fence? Has Murphy slipped his collar? The unseen dog draws the sheep up the paddock, swings them easily around the yards until they mill in the gate mouth and then slides across to block them from breaking up towards the rocks. “Here, walk up” and it is Bill, pacing menacingly out from under the cloud. Block, push, block again and the sheep turn and crowd into the yards, where they’ll stay while I run the dogs through the paddock. My phantom sheepdog cocks his tail back to its usual devil-may-care pose and skips beside me up to the kennel area.

The dogs are emerging one by one from their kennels, but are too bleary eyed and
surprised to greet me with their usual cacophany. My stiff hands fumble with each chain and clip as the newly freed bound down to the paddock, enjoying the novelty of this predawn run. I grab the frisbee and head off up along the fenceline, Pied Piper of dogs, a soggy and not-so-stellar centre to their endless canine orbits.

The fog is so thick that I can’t see the lower dam, let alone the fig tree or the sheds, and one by one the dogs appear by my knee, laughing steamily up at me, then vanish again into the white. We do two laps of the Pine Tree paddock, until my joints are moving freely and my jeans are brown with muddy dog affection. As we reach the Turkey’s Nest dam, the sun begins to rise across the hills and first light filters through the fog, laden with smoke from the district stubble burning, glowing beams of apricot and amber. It’s ethereal, breathtaking, stage lighting from Heaven, and the dogs and I all pause for a minute at the top of the hill, as if waiting for the show to begin.

Then we plunge back into the thick of the fog down the hillside, and make our way home.

(below- not the early morning, a later, wetter, darker walk, but you get the idea... featuring Jim, Fred, Bill, Murphy, Pink and assorted others. Video to come soon. Watch this space.)

Monday, June 02, 2008

Test Pedigree: Kojonup Blue

Just playing around with the new pedigree software, trying to work out how to upload these pedigrees to webpages... And I think I've got it! If you click on the pedigrees below, you'll get the enlarged, readable version. I'll be updating logo and pictures, but in general, is the first one too busy, do you think?

This is Blue, the red boy from the Jake-SallyK litter. Pic or two below...

Blue goes for his first ride in the ute dog box, with Uncle Muddy (no relation)

Biggles (formerly Buggles) and a bit of Bindi:

Jack and Blue, working together to figure out how to open the dog box...

Some rather annoyed ewes in Siphon paddock, as they realise the ute isn't pulling the sheep feeder...