Friday, September 26, 2008

Royal- oops!

Off to another Royal- and this time I think I've outdone myself. I've not only entered Bill and Muddy, but also Ziggy and Queani. Queani has had exactly 2 agility lessons in her life, only did the tunnels once (for the first time) a couple of weeks ago, and Ziggy thinks agility is mostly about running around obstacles, grabbing random tug toys, and has also only had one tunnel lesson.

I'm debating whether to scratch them or whether to give them a go and be thrilled if I can get a few jumps out of them... I think I'll run Bill in the Open Agility, despite the seesaw (which he's never done), and just pull him off that obstacle.

Mayanup 3Sheep

(Below: Marianne's Coco at the D, Nan Lloyd's new pup Swagman Balto, and Esme's litter sister Just Martha)

We seem to be flat out with sheepdog trials at the moment, and Mayanup was certainly one of the most enjoyable trials I’ve been to recently. The weather was unbelievably fickle, with shirtsleeve sunshine one minute and blasting wind and rain the next. The sheep were big , irritable and well endowed with horns, and gave many dogs a hard time, and the Mayanup hillside course caused problems for others, especially on the cast, which is a bit longer than usual and incorporates an interesting dip midway up the hill. The pen didn’t get much use over the weekend, so mention must be made of Marianne and Coco, who were one of the few teams to complete the course, and Sarah Somers held up the girls’ team by getting two dogs into the Open Final.

I was pretty happy with my dogs.

Muddy found the sheep on his first run and then I retired, although he stuck and then crossed on his second run.

Pinky stuck on her cast both times- something I'll have to work on.

Queani did some good work (such an awesome casting dog). I think we made it to the bridge the first time out before she had a momentary brain freeze and crossed (working to the judge). But in the Improver she got them to the bridge and then, just as they went over, one turned around and Queani didn't want to walk up and push them off- understandable, since I was asking her to walk onto that small, wet enclosed space to front up to 3 large cranky sheep with horns, one of which was stomping its feet loudly on the boards every time she walked forwards. After winding off most of our points, she finally went up and over, bombed them on the way through, and apparently crossed just off the obstacle. I didn't see it (was too shocked that she'd gone over) and asked the judge if we were OK, and apparently she didn't see the cross either because she thought we were fine. But the office assumed that it was a cross, and hit the timer bell prematurely. So we got a rerun- which was OK, think we made the bridge again but ran out of time. The thing I'm learning about Queani is that she isn't pig-headed at all- she's actually a bit soft, but she shows her stress when I hassle her by bombing and swiping. If I work on keeping her relaxed, we get much better work.

Bill was a good boy- he might not be much of a dog, but I really enjoy working him and now we're getting some ground time he's starting to relax and work with me, so we can get some nice sections of work. He had trouble with the lift and draw both time, pushing the sheep a bit hard which resulted in one taking off for the fences. But we managed to salvage the unsalvageable- he actually stopped when asked, and looked back away from the sheep he had to the one away up the field, and took my advice on how to get them back together. We had some really nice work on the carry in both runs, and managed to get the race and even the bridge and made it to the pen on a pretty good score in the Improver, where Bill ran out of puff and the sheep peeled off all our points going around the sides. We still made a 4th place in the Novice. Considering how tough the sheep were, I was really happy with him- he even walked up on the bridge with a head full of horns facing him.

Mayanup 3 sheep Trial
19-21 September

Novice (judge- Andrew Gorton):

1) Bernie Jones – Glenview Ruth (BC)
2) Ray Sutherland- Swagman Cyndy (BC)
3) John Charlick- Grassvalley Magpie (BC)
4) Sam Weaver- Boylee Bill (BC)
5) Nan Lloyd- Badgingarra Rio = Ken Atherton- Badgingarra Tony (both kelpies)

Improver (judge- Germaine Seymour)

1) John Charlick- Nolan’s Gael (BC)
2) Ken Atherton- Badginagarra Tony (kelpie)
3) Ivan Solomon- Perangery Danny (BC)
4) Nick Webb- Morillo Toby (BC)
5) Ivan Solomon- Perangery Beck (BC)

Open (judge- Frank Sutherland, finals- Ivan Solomon)

1) Peter Gorman- El Shamah Ellie (BC)
2) Nick Webb- Morillo Toby (BC)
3) Ray Sutherland- Rocky Roxy (BC)
4) Ray Sutherland- Christie’s Tammy (BC)
5) Ken Atherton- Kiwi Knight (NZHD)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Introducing Esme

It looks like I've got my Esme after all... not the original Esme I'd planned, but sometimes the unexpected turns out best.

Officially, she's "Just Esme" (yes, that's her prefix, Just), by Grassvalley Tippy (Swagman Bobby x Grassvalley Brook) out of Boylee Ella (Boylee Barney x Boylee Salt).

Monday, September 15, 2008

On the move

They're 4 weeks old now, and proper puppies at last. Running fast on stubby little legs, barking loudly at everyone and each other, tugging fiercely on trouser legs, digging trenches and gobbling up a variety of foods and other substances.

Which boys will stay? Its still very undecided at the moment. I'm still tempted by the half-faced boy, but on the other hand the white headed boy (Finbar) is likely to be the one no-one else will want (white faces aren't popular with farmers). With two blue eyes and just enough ticking to look smutty instead of devastatingly handsome like Bill, he's the fugly one. Fugly is always hard to resist. R likes "Jim Junior", aka JJ, because he's Mr Sociable, always underfoot, tail wagging, trouser-tugging, but the dark boy is still in the running.

And what will their names be? So far, the list:
Elvis (ask R, don't ask me)
We're open to suggestions...

These photos are from last week, at 3 weeks of age, when they started heading out into the Big Garden to play. They are bigger and cuter now. I will get around to taking some fresh ones, eventually!

Shouty Pouty Girly:

Noble, Strong, Steadfast Dougal:

Splitfaced boy, Class Clown:

JJ the Hunter- hard to photograph, because he's always POUNCING:

Fugly Finbar, spotty around the edges, blue eyed boy (and happily, apparently not deaf):

Girly and JJ, hanging out in the Box:

Girly bites Finn:

Split bites Finn:


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Maggot updates

The five maggots are getting fatter and wigglier by the day. The first eyes started opening midway through last week, and they are now all up on four legs and starting to waddle around. They have needle sharp claws that obviously get used in their nipple pummelling feeding frenzies, because Fly occasionally breaks into an outraged growl, but she is still a careful and attentive mum.

Apologies for the quality, the light was terrible and they are really hard to photograph.

Blaze/socks boy- pretty laidback lad, might be like his Uncle Jim:

Dark boy- R really likes this one, he seems a bit finer than some of the other little piglets, and will probably end up marked much like Lilli, with a black head:

My favourite, the split faced boy:

Finn, the white faced boy- he's a bit of a stand-out, despite his white head, first to do things, very alert and active but calm, doesn't get upset easily:

The little girl- no longer quiet! Definitely the noisiest and most stroppy pup:


It definitely feels like spring is here: the fruit trees are flowering, the wattle has turned the roadsides as yellow as the canola-brimming paddocks, and the bees and blowflies are out in force. There is so much canola this year that I'm sure south-west WA looks yellow from space, and I don't even want to think about the quantity of chemicals circulating in the air here. We're not quite ready for spring yet though- some more rain is definitely required before summer.

Today R spent the morning drenching, and the afternoon spraying, and BabyJ and I spent the whole day swanning around in the warm sunshine. Didn't get any agility training done though, and I should have.

Boy vs. Kelpies (Muddy and Bonnie)


Binnaburra Bonnie:

Boylee Angus:


My little man: