Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Dirt Digger

Okay, so maybe most people are already done their planting, I however just got flowers planted last night.  What can I say... I've been busy!  There is something so satisfying about digging in the dirt.  Placing these delicate green plants into the moist soil, to see them mature and bloom over the course of the summer.  

I had fun last night.  I felt renewed and rejuvenated.  Plus it was entertaining.  My mom decided she was going to buy all the flowers from a local senior center's sale.  She bought all the odds and ends left over.  You should have seen me trying to make a theme or make each flower bed somewhat uniform.  Challenging and enjoyable!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

New Dog, Old Tricks??

Last night we had our first Thunder Boomer of the season. We have had wonderfully warm days, which in my neck of the woods mean tornado and severe thunderstorm weather. Tessa is a bug eyed freak show with any hint of major rain, wind or storm. She tries to burrow underneath your body, or if you happen to be so lucky as to be sleeping she'll jump up onto your bed and climb on your head. Rather like a stinky, panting hat. I don't enjoy storms for this reason and have yet to figure out how to get her neurotic behavior to stop.

As Reba ages she seems to be developing this irrational fear. Reba lives outside and couldn't have learned the behavior from Tessa, so the question I ask is, "Why do dogs become afraid of storms as they age?" Reba is not nearly has bad as Tessa. She leans towards panting heavily and wanting to hide in her crate or be close to her human. But I do worry she'll develop into the wild eyed demon much like Tessa.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Shuffle the Deck

The horses are in great disarray these days. Izzy had gone to Calgary to spend time with my friend to get started. Unfortunately my friend's mountain bike bucked her off and broke her collar bone. So now Izzy will make the trip home. I was in a bit of a quandary with what to do with her. I do know I sure don't want to take the first rides! Jason, Roxy's trainer, is a superstar who's willing to trade off the young horses. This will give Roxy a bit of a break and allow Izzy to get started. We'll be doing two weeks on and two weeks off for each horse. While not ideal it solves my problem.

I will admit to being a control freak and didn't want Izzy to go to a stranger who I'm not 100% sure will do a great job with her. She's a wonderful horse and deserves a great start. Her papers came back with Iza Cuttin Jac as her official name so it seem fitting she head to the cutting trainer.

Whiskey remains out in Brownfield with Hook and the broodmare band. Here's hoping she catches and it's NOT twins!

A Love Story

When Reba walked onto my place I had grand plans for her. I wanted to have a champion working dog (Working on it!) and with her great bloodline I wanted to have a foundation dog for my future program.

Making the decision last fall to not travel and compete this year, instead spend the time at home developing dogs and horses, I knew this would be a good time for Reba to have her first litter of puppies. I was still in researching mode when Reba came into heat in February so planned for her next cycle. (Which I figured would be around August.)

Never being one to follow the pack, Reba had other ideas. She came into season early (in my opinion). This of course caught me off guard! I hadn't been checking her so had no idea how far along she was... until a friend came to work his dogs at my place and Reba was abnormally friendly. Calling Louise I made arrangements to drive up to High Prairie. Where Reba would meet her future husband.

Lad is a lovely dog who ran an open run in Europe before he came here where he is predominately used to work on a sheep farm. I think he'll be a nice cross with Reba and I like that his bloodline is a fresh to Alberta.

With fingers crossed, I wait. In July I'll ultrasound Reba to see if she's in pup, and with a little luck in the middle of August we'll have some little Border Collies make an appearance.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Muddy Paws

My dogs while not perfect are normally fairly well behaved.  They have good listening skills (for the most part) and a wide enough range of basic commands to be practical.  There is something I've discovered... Something that seems to turn my nice little girls into sneaky demon dogs...  That thing, is rain.  

When it rains my nice little Reba becomes a jumping fool.  Thursday I came home in the midst of a rain storm.  Reba always runs and greets my truck, then while it idles down I open my door and pet her, before shutting the truck off and heading into the house.  While Reba waits for me she sits at the driver's side door or runs around the parked truck in circles.  

When it rains Reba has taken to jumping (paws and all) on to the side of the door.  (This I might add did not impress me much!)  Hollering at her to get down she cocked her head and did it again.  Next, I got out only to have her leap at me in joy not once but twice (both complete with a scolding).  She never jumps on me but there I was with a big muddy print on my thigh and another two on my rear end.  Of course I was wearing Khaki's...

She was so happy with herself to have me home it was hard to keep my mad on.  Next time it rains I'll be watching for her...

On The Road Again...

Saturday was a beautiful sunny spring day here.  It was also our date day.  Er, Whiskey's date day...  I hitched up the trailer, loaded the horse and my two Border's (Tessa and Reba) and hit the road.  

Whiskey's future boyfriend lives 2.5 hours from me, close to where I once lived in the heart of ranch country.  As we neared our destination I noticed some very black clouds.  The area I was headed into had been in a severe drought for years so the sight of clouds and water in the fields was a bit shocking.  

Even more shocking was the slimy slick gravel road I had to traverse to get to Brad's.  It was so bad I actually scared myself.  I eventually gave up and put the truck into 4 wheel drive to try and help it hold the road without fishtailing so badly.  (Fishtailing with a trailer attached is an ugly feeling!)  Poor Whiskey got the poop shook out of her!

Once at Brad's he hopped in and directed us to the section (250 acres) of land the horses were hanging out on.  Because it was so wet and we didn't want to risk getting stuck in the field (in order to exit I would have had to climb a slimy hill.) I ended up walking Whiskey in.  Once she caught sight of the herd I pulled her halter off and watched her go.  I had to wonder if horses remember each other because she went loping up to Hook (the stallion) nickering and squealing.  They greeted each other before the boss mare chased Whiskey out of the herd (normal).  

The herd seemed to settle although I'm sure there will be some messing around of pecking order with the new arrival.  They have enough space to move so I'm not terribly concerned about it.  Tessa and Reba enjoyed a run through the field getting nice and wet and muddy.  All to better baptize my truck with...

Today I spent a good chunk of time at the truck wash.  You see I had mud caked onto my truck and trailer an inch deep in places.  There is something satisfying watching clumps of dirt be pressure washed off.  Which sparked a mini cleaning binge.  Once home I took the pressure washer to the dog and horse water buckets cleaning them and then setting them in the sun to dry and "sanitize".  

Feels good to have a productive day!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Simple Comforts

For the past six months I've been struggling with some medical problem.  I've been on a variety of medications which have worked with a modicum of success.  This past weekend I felt the worst yet.  Taking a couple of days off work I went to see a new doctor who has been able to get me into a specialist.  Next week!  While this is exciting, I'm still not feeling up to my normal chipper self.  

What this means for the animals is unintentional neglect.  I feel bad about my lack of engagement.  I really do.  But don't have the energy or at time even feel well enough to leave the house.  To help mitigate my guilty feelings I've been bringing Reba into the house.  My little "outside" dog has taken to laying by the back door.  I'll go to the bench and sit for her to come to me for some petting action.  

With Tessa and Reba always teetering on the verge of war this entails some work.  Both dogs need a lot of prompts and correction to help them understand they don't "own" me or the house.  I'm the one who says who goes where.  With consistent work my girls seem to be developing a permanent truce.  They have both been reduced to the rare growl at the other.  Right now as I type I have Tessa sleeping on the left of my chair and Reba sleeping on the right.  I view this as a victory for me!

This means I get the emotional comfort and satisfaction of having my dogs around without stress.  And I don't feel so bad that I can't run with them, work them and on some days play with them.  My poor Border Collies are learning patience while I work on getting back to the owner they used to have.