Tuesday, April 28, 2009

"So, when did you get back from Mexico?"

Me: happily motoring through the 65 km between home and work, the sun rising warm and bright, the morning air cool and fresh, an interesting day of clinical problem solving and helping people stretches ahead, all is right with the world...

Geoff Hutchinson: So, Professor, how should the general public approach this possible swine flu pandemic?

Professor Mike Someone-or-Other: Well, people should stay alert for any symptoms of flu-like illness, and if they occur, you should go to a GP straight away and get a script for Tamiflu.

Me: Whump! Whump! Whump! (my head repeatedly strikes the steering wheel)
Guuurgle... (my day goes down the toilet)

I wonder- does MedTech have Media-Induced Hypochondriasis listed as a classification? Perhaps I should look under Mass Hysteria instead.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


This morning, as I took my dogs out for a walk, I started thinking that this blog just doesn't have enough photos of dogs running about in a madcap fashion.

Fred, Pinky, Queani, Trim, Bill and Bart

Muddy, Finbar, Elvis, Fred and Bill

Sybil, Muddy, Elvis, Fin and Fred

Sybil, Muddy, Elvis and Fred


That's much better, isn't it?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The clip clop of little feet

A little something arrived today.

A little ginger something with a touch of blond,

with big brown eyes,

a rockstar hairstyle,

a fat spotty tummy,

and an indecent amount of facial hair,

No, it isn't one of the guys from ABBA (very very close, though),

It's Toffee!

He's sweet, gentle and handsome.

He's taught a bunch of local kids to ride, and now it's J's turn.
J's pretty happy about that.

Quiz, Blade and Jarrah are all excited too!

Toffee took it all in his tiny little stride.

He seems to believe "small" is merely a state of mind.

He isn't the only one around here with that attitude.

I think they're going to go well together.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

WA State Yard/Utility Championships

Badgingarra Syd:

This weekend everyone headed back to Tarwonga, between Williams and Arthur River, for the State Yard/Utility Championship trial. They started running some dogs through on the Thursday night, but BabyJ and I had new prams to collect in Perth, and didn't make it down until Thursday night.

Ramulam Gus:

As promised, the sheep for this trial were lovely, testing the dogs but consistently fit and workable. The utility course was again modified, bringing the start post forward to open up the space on the right between post and yards to minimise confusion, and again omitting the pen to save time. Extra points were allocated to other components of the course- the force and trap in particular.

Bellview Dale:

The yard events were held up at the existing wooden yards beside the shearing shed, and the courses were excellent, really demonstrating the ability of the top yard dogs. The Novice course involved taking 20-something sheep around a course including a corner, draft and various pens, putting 5 away in the shed and then taking the rest down the long race. The Open course really turned up the heat, with 40-something sheep to make filling the force and race much more difficult. Seven marked sheep had to be drafted off and put away, then after filling the draft, the handler had to mark another seven (lead and tail).

A tractor conveniently parked beside the yards came in really handy, providing shade:

and an excellent spectating position:

and even keeping the Sprog amused:

The sky on Friday morning was unseasonally clear, but by Saturday the humidity was building, soaking us with sweat and making the sheep increasingly doey and unwilling to move. By the afternoon the air hummed with tension, dark clouds rolled in from the west, and tempers and lightning began to crack.

We could see heavy rain falling to the south, but hardly a drop fell at the trial ground.

Our results were about as unstable as the weather, and just as frustrating. R ran Jim again in the yards, and he seemed to have recovered from his initial confusion and got into the swing of things, so he ought to start getting it together with a bit more work. Tess also did OK in yard and utility. R entered Fly for a couple of utility runs, which I thought was a bit rash given that she's a real bitch in season, and hasn't had much work recently. She stuck on her first cast, and then had running sheep in the second and lost her head. R retired straight away, and got an ear-bashing for not at least helping her get control, so they went and pulled off later, and Fly was going much better. I think she may be like Tess, best trialled after a full day's work. Jake did some mind-blowingly brilliant yard work, was a bit unlucky sometimes and a Very Bad Dog once.

I can't remember what happened with R's other runs, except that Bella was very unlucky with one crazy sheep in the utility. Fred was in the lead in the Open utility for quite a while, and eventually qualified for the final with a 96, only 2 points behind the leader. His final run was in the hottest part of the day, but he did a pretty good job, just couldn't get the sheep settled, and ended up 5th.

My dogs were mostly Very Bad Dogs, for various reasons. Queani worked pretty well in the yards, she's pretty good at filling a force, lots of footwork and enthusiastic blocking, but she was very reluctant to back for some reason. She and I had a disagreement over how we should handle an unhappy sheep in our Open utility run, and I ended up illustrating my point by making her run a few laps of the field to get the sheep into the yards. By that time she was pretty hot and bothered, and we just finished our yard run and took the sheep off.

RSPCA Muddy:

Muddy worked well again (for him). The yard courses really suited him, requiring the dogs to forget blocking and covering at a couple of points to get in and push. Of course we struggled with the sections that did need block and cover, but managed to get through, and he eventually qualified for the Novice Yard with a great score. He tried really hard outside, but we did have trouble with one very stroppy little sheep in the Open that just would not stay with the others. I ended up going down to help him get it into the yards, and running the yard course, thinking that it might help us "train" for the Novice Yard final. I don't know what possessed me- Muddy was knackered, it was boiling hot and neither of us got anything out of the experience.

But he really did try, and was actually fun to run. I really enjoy running the yard courses with a dog that loves to back and push- if only he had more cover... sigh. If I could blend Bill and Muddy, I'd really have a great dog. A great dog that would skulk around compulsively growling at itself, but still...

Novice Yard:
1 Andrew Gorton Ramulam Pepsi (kelpie) 91 + 95 = 186
2 Andrew Gorton Boylee Ella (collie) 95 + 87 = 182
3 Sam Weaver Mudhoney (kelpie) 92 + 86 = 178
4 Hayden Harries Mac's Magic (collie) 90 + 85 = 175
5 Karen Buller Badgingarra Barney (kelpie) 88 + 73 = 161

Mac's Magic:

Novice Utility:
1 Tony Boyle Boylee Mustard (collie) 86 + 67 = 153
2 Marianne Rogers Bellview Obie (Bernie- collie) 80 + 67 = 147
3 Denise Scudds Badgingarra Pete (collie) 81 + 57 = 138
4 Hayden Harris Olboa Ben (NZHDxcollie) 85 + ret = 85
5 Gibb Macdonald Boylee Poppy (collie) 78 + scr = 78

Denise Scudds and Badgingarra Cody, planning strategy:

Open Yard:

1 Neil Kristiansen Badgingarra Toppie (collie) 92.5 + 96.5 = 189
2 Neil Kristiansen Bellview Shadow (NZHDxcollie) 93 + 96 = 189 (decided on rerun)
3 Nigel Armstrong Yarralonga Blue (kelpie) 95 + 92 = 187
4 Ken Atherton Ramulam Gus (collie) 91 + 95.5 = 186.5
5 Gordon Curtis Binnaburra Tuff (kelpie) 92 + 91 = 183
6 Nigel Armstrong Yarralonga Darkie (kelpie) 92 + 89.5 = 181.5
7 Neil Kristiansen Badgingarra Casey (collie) 92.5 + 88.5 = 181
8 Neil Kristiansen Karrawarra Shona (kelpie) 81 + 96 = 177
9 Tony Boyle Bellview Dale (collie) 91 + 78 = 169
10 Tony Boyle Craig Black (huntawayxkelpie) 80 + 85 = 165
11 Nigel Armstrong Yarralonga Delta (kelpie) 81 + 83.5 = 164.5
12 Andrew Gorton Boylee Ella (collie) 87 + 67.5 = 154.5
13 Rod Forsyth Binnaburra Milo (kelpie) 80 + ret = 80

Open Yard Course

Rod Forsyth and Binnaburra Milo in the Open Yard:

Open Utility:

1 Gordon Curtis Binnaburra Tuff (kelpie) 90 + 88 = 178
2 Nigel Armstrong Yarralonga Darkie (kelpie) 89 + 87 = 176
3 Neil Kristiansen Karrawarra Shona (kelpie) 97 + 74 = 171
4 Ken Atherton Kiwi Knight (NZHD) 97 + 73 = 170
=5 Richard McGuire Boylee Fred (collie) 96 + 71 = 167
=5 Ken Atherton Ramulam Gus (collie) 82 + 85 = 167
7 Neil Kristiansen Bellview Shadow (NZHDxcollie) 96 + 66 = 167
8 Neil Kristiansen Badgingarra Syd (kelpie) 98 + 61 = 159
9 Marianne Rogers Christies Cocoacina (collie) 91 + 53 = 144
=10 Neil Kristiansen Badgingarra Toppie (collie) 84 + 59 = 143
=10 Rod Forsyth Binnaburra Wal (kelpie) 80 + 63 = 143
12 Marianne Rogers Bellview Obie (Bernie- collie) 89 + LS = 89

Rod Forsyth and Binnaburra Wal, Open Utility finalists:

Penning at the trap:

Special Awards:

Best Cast, Lift and Draw- Novice Utility Andrew Gorton, Boylee Ella
Best Cast, Lift and Draw- Open Utility Richard McGuire, Boylee Fred

Judge's Award- Novice Yard- Dorrell kids for their work in the shed
Judge's Award- Open Yard- Gordon Curtis, Binnaburra Jess

Best Lady Handlers:
Novice Yard- Sam Weaver
Novice Utility- Denise Scudds
Open Yards- Karen Buller
Open Utility- Marianne Rogers

Patron's Trophies:

Richard McGuire Boylee Fred (utility)
Andrew Gorton Boylee Ella (yard)- I think!
They even gave out rosettes!

(sorry, I couldn't help myself)

Karen Buller works Gus (a collie-kelpieX) in the Open Yards:

Molly, the Office Dog:

Tony Boyle's Craig Black, Open Yard finalists:

Headless dog in the let-out yards:

Oh, hi! It's Phil Dorrell's Ramulam Patch (a Kiwi Knight pup):

Karen Buller's Badgingarra Barney in the Novice Yards:

Nan Lloyd's Kumbark Zinc:

One of Denise Scudds' future stars, a Badgingarra pup (is this one "Help"?):

Wendy and Denise put their feet up at the end of a long weekend:

R's Yarralonga Charlie, posing for the camera:

Showing his best side:

The obligatory BabyJ report:
He had a rocking weekend,

but eventually started to sag,

and had to hit the sack.

Time to go home.