Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ziggy and the Blobdobber

It is an ordinary weekday evening. Across paddocks piebald with shadow and golden evening light, the dogs race and wrestle, spraying the air with dust. 

There's the usual crowd, longlegged Elvis in the lead, with Fly, Bill and Fred doing their best to keep up, and  Fred's pups tagging along: Kevin and Mabel, and their cousin Copper.

But today, there's something new in the Pine Tree paddock. 

Something mysteriously aligned in long rows.

Mysterious piles of something pink. Something kind of squishy, something unidentifiable. 
A mysterious trail of heaped, squishy, unidentifiable something...
Ziggy knows exactly how to handle such a something.
(and just in case anyone non-agricultural is wondering, it's blob dobber foam. The GPS was on the blink, so R had to revert to the old fashioned method of marking the areas of paddock he'd covered when topdressing)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Woolorama 2011


Wagin: the Land of the Giant Sheep!

Well, not this year. The heavy, stroppy old ewes and wethers we all anticipate with fear and loathing were gone this year, replaced by some of the teeniest sheep I've ever worked in a trial. Many of them were smaller than the dogs working them, some I could have picked up with one hand, and all of them were little dynamos, pinging off the pressure of dogs and handlers left, right and centre- on more than one occasion, right through the middle of the tiny gap between let-out gate and fence. Rather than leaning on the dogs, they needed plenty of room and a gentle touch. To their credit, they were remarkably fit and forgiving of dogs that stirred them up, and they lacked the suspicious natures of the usual Wagin sheep, so they were quite happy to trot through and over obstacles without much persuasion.

We had a bit of a "blah" weekend. The kids were coming down with a cold, R had been flat out all week, I'd come straight from a busy couple of days at work and frankly we were both feeling pretty apathetic about the whole trial experience. As I stood at the post for my first run, with Bill, I honestly could not remember what I was there for, and had a brief moment of panic about what I would do if Bill got the sheep into the D. As it turned out, I ran fine on autopilot, and Bill got us to the bridge for a 55, which sounds utterly pathetic but was enough to get us 4th in the Novice. He did better for a 65 in the Improver, and was working well in the Open when his patience was over-tried by one obnoxious sheep and he had a whisper in its ear, so I retired before things got ugly.

I ran Fly in both Improver and Novice, which shows how little I was thinking about the whole event. I'd actually anticipated that the usual heavy Wagin sheep would suit her as they did last year, but surprisingly she handled these little runny sheep much better than anyone expected. She was still putting far too much pressure on, and overworking generally, but she seemed to be thinking and trying to work with me, which is an improvement, and we got most of the way around the course in the Improver before I messed up after the bridge and decided to retire. She has reverted to sticking on her cast though, so we'll have to go back to sorting that out.

Queani was on pretty good form again- we drew runs in the middle of the day for both Improver and Open, when the temperatures were hottest, the ground was dustiest, with gusts of wind and willy-willies battering judge and spectators alike, and the sheep were the most difficult. She penned twice, according to my program, but in all honesty I can't remember the details, except that she put the sheep over the bridge twice in the Improver. I was happy with her anyway.

Torbay Trim (Boylee Fred x Tig imp UK)
R's young dogs did okay- Trim was working unusually tight and was a bit fired up, Bonnie was a bit too casual, and Tom worked well but had a bit of bad luck and copped some tricky sheep, as did Tess in the Open.
Pendalup Tess (Braiston Don x El Shamah Ellie)
There was a bit of a treat for the triallers this year, courtesy of the Woolorama organisers and some sponsors, Midalia Steel. The Woolorama crew had built us a brand spanking new brick shed, with purpose-built office area and even a real loo! And Midalia had provided the gear to install shiny new sheepyards at the let-out, designed with trials in mind, including possibly a future yard/utility event.

Spiffy new office

Rocky Judy (Ramulam Gus x Rocky Bear) plugging the sponsors

One of the highlights of the trial was some new trialling youngsters making very impressive entrances into their careers: Ivan Solomon's Mac (Nolan's Jim x Perangery Jill) winning the Novice with Somerville Tully close behind, Neil Eastough's Grassvalley Tinky, who penned for 67 after a very professional run, and of course Tinky's full sister, Peter Gorman's Grassvalley Floss, reportedly only 7 or 8 months old, who ran a brilliant 86 to make the Open final and then nearly chucked it all away with some youthful exuberance as the pen gate shut. It's good to see that pups are pups, no matter how talented and expertly trained and handled.
Mac's Mabel (Boylee Fred x Daheim Queani), with hood ornament

Mac's Kevin (Boylee Fred x Daheim Queani): "No flies on me!"

Two young sons of R's Badgingarra Jake- massive pups!
My biggest thrill and disappointment for the event was the dog highjump. We'd left our best jumping dog (Spanky Angy) at home with a wounded ear, so we weren't really into it this year, but I've always find it hard to enthuse about the high jump when every year it is won by the same dog, a local kelpie who seems to be a professional high jumper, making appearances at all the local shows to carry off the prizes. Not this year! Nope, this year the famous Sam B turned up as usual to collect his booty, but he hadn't reckoned with the soon-to-be-famous Patch Dorrell (aka Ramulam Patch- Kiwi Knight x Perangery DJ), from far-off Gairdner, who took a moment in between his runs to casually leap a record-breaking 2.something metres up and over a vertical wall. I was thrilled to see a trial dog win it, and disappointed that I missed it (I was so sure Sam B would coast in again that we went sightseeing instead of spectating).

The final highlight of the trial was the very tight Open final, where a number of high scores and variable sheep meant that it was anyone's game. Watching the top triallers in the state try to control their nerves and their dogs to hold on for the best score possible was a real thrill, and as it came down to the last few runs, no-one was sure if Ivan Solomon and Beck's early run could be beaten. But Grant Cooke and Candy, who is not always an easy dog, kept her head and managed to nail it.

The grail
Eventual victors, Grant Cooke and Pendalup Candy (Braiston Don x El Shamah Ellie)
One of Candy's pups, Grassvalley Jet (G. Moss x P. Candy)


1) Ivan Solomon Perangery Mac collie 80
2) Ivan Solomon Somerville Floss collie 74
3) Marianne Rogers Christies Cocoacina collie 59
4) Sam Weaver Boylee Bill collie 55

Trim's sister, Torbay Badger
Jim McNabb's Cobber
Swagman Frankie

Ramulam Maddie

1) Tony Boyle Boylee Mustard collie 94
2) Peter Gorman Grassvalley Milo collie 89
3) Ray Sutherland Swagman Cyndy collie 85
4) Tony Boyle Bellview Dale collie 84

Boylee Mustard (B. Pepper x B. Salt)- a new perspective at the bridge

Ramulam Ripper (R. Jacko x R. Malley)


1) Grant Cooke Pendalup Candy collie 90 97 = 187
2) Ivan Solomon Perangery Beck collie 88 95 = 183
3) Ken Atherton Ramulam Gus collie 90 88 = 178
4) Gordon Curtis Nolans Minnie collie 85 91 = 176
5) Ray Sutherland Swagman Cyndy collie 88 74 = 162
6) Wayne Hall Hudsons Tasha collie 86 74 = 160
7) Peter Gorman Grassvalley Floss collie 86 70 = 156
8) Judy Jones Bellview Teddy collie 88 64 = 152
9) Tony Boyle Boylee Mustard collie 91 56 = 147
10) Peter Gorman El Shamah Ellie collie 90 47 = 137
=11) Grant Cooke Grassvalley Moss collie 91 X = 91
=11) Wayne Hall Boylee Wal collie 91 R = 91

Pendalup Candy
Perangery Beck
floss runs.jpg
Grassvalley Floss (G. Moss x Pendalup Candy)- probably the youngest dog on the ground- 8 months-ish?

Christies Duke- probably the oldest dog on the ground- at least 12 or 13, I'm sure
Faraway Royal (Nolans Roy x Glenview Laydee)
Mac's Finbar (Boylee Fred x Fly imp UK)- maybe next year, Finn?

Remember wee Janie (Bellview Teddy x Glenview Ruth)? She's raring to go!

Monday, March 07, 2011


Fred vs. Ranger
I think the old dude still has it...
This is Ranger, the new rescue pup. He's super-cute, super-sweet, super-fast, super-springy, and in order to stop him ending up as landfill, we're helping him look for a new home. See here if you can help!
"Take me home!"

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Blog Inertia

It happens to us all, sometimes. Life gets in the way of blogging. And as the days go by, it gets harder to sit at the computer, find those photos, knuckle down and write something (anything!) before it all gets away from you and you’re overcome with blog inertia.

I'm badly afflicted, I'm afraid. I'm told the only chance for a cure is to sit down and get blogging. So here goes...

Christmas: At home. Quiet. Hot. Prawns. Kids had a ball.

The in-between week- down to Donnybrook for lunch with friends, and their awesome view
Smoke from the coastal firesdonnybrook view 2 
Can you spot the elusive menfolk?donnybrook view

New Year: Hot. Caught up with some sheepdog friends, played with some young dogs, drank some beer!

Summer rain: Not as much as Carnarvon or Queensland (thank God!), but enough to fill the dams, soak the garden and grow some weeds.
An inch in a few hoursP1380977 P1380981 P1380993

The artichokes flowered. 
The first corn was delicious (and now we're well sick of it). 

The grapes on the back verandah ripened, attracting bees, birds, and unfortunately for the birds, Robin.

The Ginger Biscuit turned ONE! And grew teeth, learned to walk, and climb, and boss the boys around. There's a lot I have to say about the end of my baby days, but I keep getting snot and tears all over the keyboard, so that may have to wait...

Secret visited:
And Bill was just so happy about that!
We played a bit of soccer.
  We played a bit of cricket, and taught the pups to field.
Farmboy, nearly run out by Wilson, lunges valiantly for his crease... or something like that.

 On the farm, we've been feeding sheep. 
Then feeding them again. 
The rams went out, then the rams came back in, a bit scraggier but much, much happier.
Bill, being recalled after holding sheep off the feeder bin
Some of us been driving around in tractors.
We've been running dogs, and checking dams. 
Tom, Charlie with ever-present nose slobber, Fred
We've been up to the city, then back home, then back to the city, then home, then to the city again. At various points in our travels, we've explored the underwater world
we've watched Australia Day fireworks in the city, 
we've helped Grouch in the garden, 
Less Ginger, more Shirley Temple these days
we've acquired a swimming pool.

And then we came home.
The Fred-Queani pups turned from quiet, sweet little cuddlebunnies into long-legged Attack Rabbits of Death. Their names are Kevin and Mabel. 
Jeff (formerly Wilson), Kevin and Mabel

I went back to work. The Farmboy started kindergarten.

The WAWSDA trialling season began with a bang.

And now, finally, we've sat down and blogged. Phew.
It won't be so long between drinks next time.
Rex gives you his word!