Friday, February 24, 2012

Cold weather = Lambs!!

Never fails. Really!

We have had an incredibly mild winter this year. Moderate temps (for MI that means high 30s to low 40s) and very little snow. It's been kinda weird. But then yesterday I got a text alert saying that the area was under a winter storm warning. Half an hour later I got a call from my brother "hey, Domino had twins". Of course! The one winter storm for the whole month of February coincides with the birth of a surprise set of twin lambs.

This happens almost every. single. year. We can have a great stretch of weather, then it turns seasonably (or unseasonably) cold and nasty and Voila!! Lambs are born.

I'm hoping that this is the only set for now. Our ewes lambed late last year so I was a bit lax in penning up the ram. But Domino had lost her lamb in a freak accident so she was, umm, ready again before the other were. I guess we'll see. On the bright side, the temperature is still hovering around 30 so the new babies will be able to handle it just fine.

And now for a couple pictures (because there is honestly nothing cuter than a lamb...)

Love the ears on theses two - they're courtesy of the Blue Faced Leicester ram :-) . And really, really love the calico coloring on the one baby

See all that snow in the background? that is the most snow that the barnyard has seen all winter!!

Friday, February 17, 2012

TMT on Friday - Again...

Because my Thursdays are just way too busy right now

Jorgen would like to know what skill would you like to have that you don't currently have?

Right now it would be "math whiz". Sigh. Math makes me shudder. If I could write a 40 page research paper to opt out of math class I would. I'm not talking about basic addition, subtraction, multiplication or division. I've got those down. I'm talking about negative numbers, variables (sheesh, why do you have to replace numbers with letters?), etc, etc. Those have a way of making my head swim.

2. If someone were going to play you in a movie, who do you think it would be?

At this point? No clue... I know, highly creative of me.

3. Kelsey wants to know what is a quality that you admire in a dog but would never fit with you?

Bouncy go, go, go dogs. They look like they're having so. much. fun. But all that nervous energy is way too much for me.

4. If you had just enough money to pay someone to do one chore for you, what would it be?

I could ethically figure out a way to pay someone to complete math classes, I think that would be my choice. But alas, neither my pocketbook or ethics will allow that.

5. Are you a procrastinator, a doitnower (I made that word up), or something in between?

I'm either one or the other - I love getting things done ahead of time. I like having everything accomplished and not needing to worry about them anymore. Unfortunately, if I don't get things done right away I usually wait until the last minute to get them done.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

It's Febrrrrruary

I've become spoiled by the mild weather this winter. Today we're actually having a seasonal but not-to-horrid day (temps in the high teens with a cold wind and some snow) and I don't want to step outdoors! It just seems COLD. Poor Kipp wasn't liking the cold on his feet this morning either. I think it must have been a touch icy because I've never seen him bothered by snow before - he usually LOVES it.

On the knitting front, I've been working on knitting up my latest design - Candy Hearts socks. I started them last Monday and I'm halfway done with the second sock already!

I also went through my and restocked my Reflections Yarn Etsy Shop today. I'm having a free shipping sale there until February 24th - just enter the coupon code "shipfree" to take advantage of this offer.

I did a couple of short searches with the dogs today. My youngest brother graciously agreed to head out in the snow and wind to play victim. I had him hide in the hay barn today. A place like that can be much different than the woods or fields for the dogs to search through. The scent can travel and pool in weird areas and is often harder for the dogs to hit on and follow to the source. And they're searching around equipment and big round hay bales instead of the much more open woods and fields.

But they both did great today. The wind was strong, and they both hit scent pretty quickly. For Kipp, J was hiding on top of a couple hay bales, but under a pickup capper that had been placed there. Since the capper was laid across two bales, there was a gap where J was able to slide underneath. Kipp hit the scent and jumped up on the bales (no small feat for a dog that is only 18 inches at the shoulders!) he then followed the capper around to the gap and slid underneath to access J and gave his bark alert.

J then moved to a different spot while I took Kipp back to the car and got Kenzi. Kenzi was ready to go (especially since she had to sit in the car while Kipp was out working) and took off as soon as I told her to search. She also hit scent right away as she got to the hay barn. This time J was standing in a 2 ft gap between a row of bales and the wall. Kenzi followed it in nice, but then stopped and alerted about 8 feet away while J was still out of sight. I told J to go ahead and reward here after she had barked several times. It was a new type of spot for her to work in and she had focused, ignored all the distractions and had worked very nicely so I wanted to have her rewarded for that. Besides, it was quite possible with the way the wind was today that J's scent had pooled where she was.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

TMT - on Thursday for once!!

1. Robin wants to know what your ideal number of dogs is?

2-3. A youngster that needs training, a middle dog that is pretty well trained and an oldster.

I like to have 3-4 years in between dogs so the older ones are lower maintenance and I can spend extra time with the youngster. Also so I don't have all my dogs getting old all at once.

Right now Kenzi is 3 and Kipp is 7 so I'm thinking about the possibility of adding another dog in the next year or so...

2. Lora wants to know if you find that your dogs are better or worse after time off from training?

I think it depends on what I'm training. I like doing stupid pet tricks just for some fun, no pressure training. The dogs like doing something and who cares if you get it wrong? So we do those pretty frequently.

When we're doing "real" work, I like to take some time off every now and then (a couple weeks here and there) and the dogs seem to come back with more enthusiasm and they never seem to regress much.

3. What is your favorite power tool? What power tool do you wish you had?

Cordless drill. So.very.versatile! I dunno on the second part. I've got a dad and a couple brothers with well stocked shops so I think I could find anything I needed there...

4. What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to have a farm/ranch. I still want to have that farm or ranch! Currently working on a degree that may be to prove versatile enough to have that farm/ranch and a work from home job on the side.

5. How many of your friends are not "dog people"?

A few (I've got knitting friends too!!), but all of my non-dog friends get the dog thing. Or at least they get how important the dog thing is to me. That works for me. I think good friends respect your interests because they're important to you, not becasue they really care about them. So as long as they don't call me crazy for hauling dogs around in the back of my car, or getting out in all kinds of weather to train, etc, etc, I'm good with that!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Feeling right

I'm more of an artistic person than a technical one. I love something that you can feel when it's right. Maybe that's part of my issues with math. It's black and white and you either have it right or you don't. One number is off and the the answer is just wrong. You write a paper and get one work wrong and you're sill okay.

I think the whole "feel right" thing is also one of the things I like so well about stock work. I can feel it when it's right and my dog can feel it when it's right. It's just natural. And then we both can respond accordingly.

I had Kipp out a couple times on Saturday. The first time it was only okay. He was a bit too wound up at first and the sheep felt it.

Then I took him out a second time. After running him with Kenzi and Logan for 20 minutes. His sharp edge was a bit worn down, he was working nice and it just felt right. The sheep were under control and he was adjusting his speed to the what the sheep needed. I was most impressed by that I think. I mean 3 months ago if the sheep wasn't moving, he'd try to plow right in and grab on tight. Saturday it was like he figure out "hey, I don't have to be in their face or gripping to make them move!" and lo and behold he adjusted accordingly.

I love to watch him actually think, figure it out and respond properly. And I love that it feels so right to me when things are going right.

Friday, February 3, 2012

frugality and good books

1. Julie would like to know one frugal tip this week.

Umm, don't have a social life...

I think I'll go with the ones I'm using a lot these days. Buy a good water bottle and a good insulated travel mug, then USE THEM. Cheap coffee costs $1/cup anywhere. Expensive coffee made at home costs 50-75 cents. If you're cheap like me you can do it for 20 cents a cup (including creamer) And water is going to cost $1/bottle from just about anywhere.

In that same vein, carry a snack. Vending machine/gas station snacks will cost at least $1. You can buy that same snack in the grocery store (in that same single serving package) for about 35 cents. Or make a peanut butter sandwich for about 25 cents.

It would be cheaper yet not to drink coffee, but it's one of the very few things I treat myself to.

2. What are you reading this week?

Aristotle's Rhetoric. It's wordy as all get out - it seems he uses three pages to say what could be said in one. But it is rather interesting.

FWIW, I'm reading it for school, not because I'm trying to look exceedingly smart or something :p

3. Barbara wants to know: do you hit the snooze button on the alarm clock, and if so how many times?

Umm, yes... Usually a couple times. My dogs are well trained - they don't move to get up until I actually start getting up :D

4. If you had to travel in a sedan (or if you already drive a sedan type car) and you had five or six dogs, how would you handle it?

I'd rotate which dogs I'd travel with if at all possible and I'd try to fit a couple crates in the back seat. My two will both fit in a 30 in crate - it's a bit cramped, but it will work if we're not making a long trip

5. How much do you filter what you put on your own blog?

It's the internet and everyone can read it, so I do filter it. But what I write is still pretty reflective of me.