Monday, November 16, 2009

Binnaburra Tuff

A rather dodgy clip from my still camera- part of Gordon Curtis and Binnaburra Tuff (Jendara Tuff x Binnaburra Connie) running in the Open Final at Albany. They ended up with an 81 for this run, with 89 in the first round, and won the event. We don't usually have commentary at trials- but this was the Albany Ag Show and there's a fair crowd, so it works as a demonstration event too.

Sorry about the quality- dicky satellite broadband keeps dropping out.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Albany Sheepdog Trial

Albany Three Sheep Trial
Albany Agricultural Show

12-14th November 2009

judge: Peter Gorman
1) Grant Cooke Grassvalley Magpie (collie) 82
2) Jenny Nolan Rocky Edge (collie) 81
3) Simon Leaning Fleetfeet Axle (kelpie) 80
=4) Ken Atherton Olboa Merle (NZHDxcollie) 79
=4) Rick Janitz Boylee Elly (collie) 79
Nan Lloyd and Driftz:

Nan's latest recruit, a nameless little Ramulam Gus x Rocky Bear pup:

Euroa Nan (Stoneridge Harry x Glenview Ruby):

Germaine Seymour and Euroa Nan:

judge: Glenice Webb
1) Malcolm Seymour Glenview Ruby (collie) 77
=2) Rick Janitz Jandoree DotCom (collie) 76
=2) Ivan Solomon Perangery Beck (collie) 76
=2) Tony Boyle Bellview Dale (collie) 76
5) Nick Webb Morillo Doff (collie) 73
Euroa Nell (Stoneridge Harry x Glenview Ruby):

Malcolm Seymour and Euroa Nell:

judge: Ken Atherton
1) Gordon Curtis Binnaburra Tuff (kelpie) 89 + 81 = 170
2) Peter Gorman El Shamah Ellie (collie) 81 + 86 = 167
3) Simon Leaning Fleetfeet Axle (kelpie) 88 + 71 = 159
4) Grant Cooke Pendalup Candy (collie) 78 + 78 = 156
5) Malcolm Seymour Euroa Nell (collie) 78 + 68 = 146
6) David Lacey Pendalup Blondie (collie) 91 + 44 = 135
7) Sarah Somers Willeen Archie (collie) 76 + 46 = 122
8) Jenny Nolan Nolans Ceri (collie) 77 + Rtd = 77
9) Jenny Nolan Grassvalley Ella (collie) 74 + DQ = 74
=10) Sam Weaver Daheim Queani (collie) 73 + LS = 73
=10) Yvonne Haynes Boylee Ceilydh (collie) 73 + X = 73
=10) Ivan Solomon Perangery Jill (collie) 73 + DQ = 73
There were a number of special prizes that I missed due to being held hostage at the tractor exhibits by a certain two year old.

This final trial for the year also decided the standings for the 2009 3 Sheep Dog of the Year:
  1. Peter Gorman and El Shamah Ellie
  2. Ivan Solomon and Perangery Jill
  3. Gordon Curtis and Binnaburra Tuff

Dave Lacey and Pendalup Blondie, both originally Sandgropers, now Banana Benders, at the pen:

Pendalup Blondie (Braiston Don x El Shamah Ellie)- our Tess' littermate:

Tess and Blondie's litter sister, Grant Cooke's Pendalup Candy- just delivered 9 pups and trialling already:

Keeping it all in the family, Tess/Candy/Blondie's mother, El Shamah Ellie- 2009 3 Sheep Dog of the Year:

Ivan Solomon's Perangery Jill:

So we made it to Albany- just. We haven't started shearing yet because of the recent rain, but R has been flat out sorting out and loading lambs, and organising for harvest, so it was a last minute decision for him to take Friday and Saturday off. We ended up arriving in Albany on Friday night with the caravan so we'd be there bright and early on Saturday for the majority of the Open runs. I'd entered just Queani, Bill and Fred in the Open, and R hadn't entered anyone, so he was purely spectating and BabyJ-wrangling. I did suggest that he ask about running Fred, but he decided against it. I think we all regretted it, but at least I offered!

The sheep were more workable than last year, but not much. Apparently the Novice and Improver sheep were recently shorn and pretty runny, but the Open sheep were older ewes, rumoured to be unworked by dogs, and they took on every dog right from the lift, chasing a number of dogs down the ground. They really fought the dogs around the first half of the course, but once they went through the race, they generally took the bridge and pen without too much trouble. It was a much better spectator event than last year, when sheep were jumping fences madly before some dogs had even left the post, and I think the stronger sheep gave a battle worth watching for farm and town people alike.

And it was hot- hot and muggy on Thursday and Friday, but on Saturday the wind came in and blew the sheep around, while the sun was hot enough to fry black dogs silly enough to run around more than they had to. No sunburn here though (apart from R's porcelain ankles)- we were prepared!

Even forgetting the weather and the sheep, I really wasn't expecting much from my little team: Bill has been sitting around the house like a fat furry ornament since the Royal, Queani went out loading lambs with R last week and came back lame on that front left shoulder again, and Fred- well, he's not my dog and makes sure I know it, especially when R is around. We've been a bit worried about Queani in particular recently, because she's gone from a real "easy keeper" to really lean even on skinny-dog rations, and has thinned her coat out like she's just had pups. She's been as active and alert as ever, hasn't lost any enthusiasm for work and her coat and eyes are bright, but it's odd in a dog her age. She's overdue for a season, so I'm hoping that this is just a hormonal issue. She might end up coming to Perth with me next week for a vet check anyway.

Queani- cool, calm and collected before her Final run:

In the end, Queani was my best performed dog- she held her ground against some tough sheep and didn't bite them except when I asked for it, and apart from a few arguments about which way she should go, and when, which cost us time and points, she worked calmly and pretty competently to pen for a 73, which just scraped us into the Open Final. She didn't do as well in the Final, seemed to be struggling with her anticlockwise side again, and we had one big difficult sheep who took off over the fence while we were at the race.

Bill, reconsidering his unsuccessful game plan:

Bill- well, he had a wonderful time, far away on Planet Bilby, whereever that is. He'd been in a bit of a mood on Friday, and I thought he would have to bustle these sheep to prevent them taking him on, so I tried to gee him up and get him excited before his Saturday run. Perhaps I overdid it a bit. After a nice cast/lift and a draw where he got a bit confused by the loudspeaker calling his name, he basically barked and leapt around the course like a loon, didn't stop or even pause for breath for the whole run, and the sheep took the obstacles for refuge from the obviously crazy dog as much as anything. By the time we got to the pen he was exhausted and even more fruity, and just wouldn't stop moving long enough for the sheep to look in the pen. We ended up with one of them making a break into the fence and retiring (as per the judge).

Fred was unlucky- I wasn't sure he'd even run for me while R was in the vicinity, but he did a nice cast, brought the sheep down really straight and confidently. As soon as we took off on the carry, one big sheep came trotting towards me with the apparent intention of searching my pockets for oats, walking just a foot or so behind me most of the way. I'm pretty sure there was a pet lamb history somewhere behind it, because by the time we got to the race I was hissing at it and trying to subtly threaten it with my stick to get it away from my knees. Of course the other two were normal sheep who couldn't get far wnough away from me, so they'd break towards the outer side of the race while the big pet would trot over to me for comfort. Fred had no chance of getting them working together, and I retired.

R brought Fly, Tess, Muddy, Finbar and Moss/Moffy for the "experience", which they certainly enjoyed- all day fairground noises, SideShow Alley not 100m away and then an exciting Friday night when the fireworks exploded literally overhead an hour earlier than expected, just 5 minutes after we'd let the dogs loose for a run. Fortunately no-one took off running, and those who initially cowered on our feet soon bucked up when Muddy and Bill were set into action chasing a toy. Moffy absolutely could not have cared less- the louder the better is his motto.

Moffy and Fin:

Fly, chilling out in the crate:

Fin- much more keen on sheepdog trials than fireworks:

Tess-puppy-free and happy to sit back and let her sisters and mother do all the work this time:

So that's it for our trialling year! I don't know when we'll start again in 2010 (or even when I'll be up to it), but for now it's on to real life stuff- canola swathing starts tonight, shearing starts Monday, I've got another three weeks of work, and then sometime after Christmas and New Year we'll be meeting Baby?. And then the fun begins...

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Heaven isn't

350km on a hot day with a carful of puppies and and earful of toddler.

Lots of bush stops...

But worth it in the end because Evie and Squig have made it to their new homes, BabyJ's memories of this sort of trip will fade eventually, as will the stains on my car upholstery, and my sanity is essentially unchanged.

Bye, Evie!

Bye, Squig!

It's not that we're trying to get rid of you...

But there are people who really wanted to get to know you

There's some exciting stuff waiting for you, if you're ready to grab it

Enjoy your new life!

So that leaves us with Gem and Drift, who were just inconsolable in their loneliness.

The face of devastation


Just the two of them, alone:

Poor babies.

It took them full minutes to recover.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


Believe it or not, there's been more to life than puppies recently. Lots more. In fact, I can't remember the last time I had a full day at home with no visitors, events or major jobs to get done. I've been working extra days and clocking up a lot of kilometres to and from training courses and doctors' appointments, BabyJ's been spending a lot of time at daycare, and R has been struggling his way through the busiest time of the year with a shocking dose of hayfever.

We've had weeks of drenching, weeks of crutching, then weaning lambs, the spraying's been done, the hay's been cut, and sometime in the next week or two we'll start shearing. That'll take a couple of weeks if the weather's favourable, and then we're onto harvest. And sometime in and around all this important farm stuff, we'll squeeze in Christmas and I'll squeeze out a new baby. Hopefully.

Weaning: nothing to do with sippy cups and rice porridge, but the task of separating these-
lambs and the odd dry ewe:

From these- merino ewes:

So it turns out that after all my whinging about the Albany trial, we'll miss most of it. Serves me right, really- and as it happens, my whole vent was based on an error in the trial form and we're all welcome in Open. I'm hoping to make it for a day so maybe I will get to run a couple of dogs, and depending on weather and shearing, R and BabyJ might come along too. Possibly in our new ute!

It's probably a good thing we aren't making the whole trial, because at this time of year all the dogs are sorely neglected. The only ones that get any attention are the work dogs, and they've been practicing all sorts of bad farm dog habits rather than polishing trial ground skills.

Here's my current work team (or one form of it):
Muddy, Queani, Trim and Pink (Bill doesn't need to be tied up...)

Bill- still does most things for me- as long as no-one bosses him around in the yards, he's happy as a pig in mud, and generally pretty sensible. Nothing goes over or past him.

Muddy- good for yard work, anything involving backing, and helping out on mobs

Queani- my left hand dog (Bill's on the other side), she does everything- big mustering cast, usually sensible on a mob, does anything for anyone in the yards

Trim- up and coming. Doesn't listen to me very well at the moment, just getting some miles under her before hopefully trialling next year. Happy in the yards right from the start, like her sister Badger.

Pinky- off the trial list, she's apprenticed to Queani to get more confidence on the farm and hopefully later on the trial ground

Yard dog extraordinaire Jim (who'd think it of an imported dog?) and Queani take a breather in the force:

So we've been spending lots of time in the yards, and look:

Proof that BabyJ is absolutely no longer a baby, but a proper Boy. He climbed all the way up there on his own, while I was drafting (my favourite job).

If you're wondering, that "rock" is actually a spaceship that goes up, up, UP! In the SKY!
Not a potential spinal injury in the making at all...

He would prefer to be on the drafting gate himself, but big fast panicking crossie lambs are even more dangerous than rockclimbing when you're only a little FarmBoy, and it's no fun being shut in a "farm playpen" all day.

And speaking of spinal injuries, we did manage to get away for one day to the polocrosse:

They all made Jarrah and Blade look fat. Time to get back into it, R!

I liked this horse best:

I missed the sub-juniors, but I'm told it's a festival of little people on little ponies, in many cases led around the pitch by parents much fitter than me.

FarmBoy, now the proud owner of his first polocrosse stick, is pretty keen to get out there on Toffee and show them how it's done.

Just as soon as he gets his boots unstuck...