Sunday, May 31, 2009

Trial Weekend

We couldn't have asked for a better weekend: outdoors with moderate temps, a lovely breeze, and NO rain. The courses were great; the Flexible Flyers club put on a super trial.

Gail showed up to get her dog Sizzle measured. I pressed her into videotaping our runs.

On Sunday Jack and all four dogs came to the trial. It was a wonderful outing for everyone. Brisco loves to survey the scene, so I put him in a crate at our setup where he could watch the rings.
Marilyn and Barb ran their dogs as well. Marilyn had TWO Q's--one a first place--with Austin. Her Advanced Gamblers run was awesome, a textbook run. Her Masters Jumpers run...well, let's just say that Austin saved her butt!

Cosi Q's in P1 Pairs on Saturday. A wonderful weekend with friends and agility.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Discriminations & Distance

In agility class last night we worked on discriminations (tunnel/A-frame) and some distance work. I was thrilled to see these two challenges in class as they're always something we need to work. Cosi was excited and running well. After class we practiced weave poles. We only did a few passes, but we reached a milestone. I've been working on his staying in the poles, no matter what I do. Around pole #7 I spin 360 degrees. It used to pop him right out. HE STAYED IN! I repeated it a few more times spining at various poles; he stayed in every time. Wahoo! I hope this means he's getting it.

My back is still bothering me pretty badly. I was hurting after class and today. I'm up to buying Icey Hot gel by the gallon instead of the tube. Sitting is the worst. I can't sit for more than 15 minutes if I want to be able to walk. Driving is horrible.

I got engrossed in a computer video project at work today (I was making a tutorial), and I ended up at my desk for an hour and 45 minutes. I realized I needed a break, but could barely get out of the chair. I looked like the Hunchback of Notre Dame when I tried to walk. My left leg is so weak, I can't move it correctly to stride.

*sigh*

The trial this weekend is outdoors, the worst scenario for me. I've been hobbling along on indoor soccer arenas (nice and f-l-a-t surfaces). I'll load up on Advil and bring my tub of Icey Hot gel. It will be good footing for Cosi, so I'm excited to get to run him outdoors.

Did I mention I start physical therapy on Monday? Maybe Jack can take me in on a stretcher.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cosi's Dream


Cosi as a young dog at his breeder's house was often seen with puppies.
Here he naps as a youngster checks out his face.

What do dogs dream about?

Yesterday was a lazy day for us. In the afternoon we snoozed on the bed as the ceiling fan created a delicious breeze. I woke up to see Cosi in his favorite sleeping position, on his back, all four feet in the air, the breeze blowing on his belly. As I watched, his feet paddled a bit, then he began to wag his tail. He was having a happy dream.

That was one of the cutest things I've ever seen.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

One of Our Favorites

One of our favorite walks is to go to a local retirement community and walk on their beautiful campus. It's a 15-minute drive from our house, so one of the benefits is that everyone gets to "go" somewhere. Brisco, especially, enjoys going places. We start out...here's Brisco in the lead.


But Cosi says, "Hey, Mom, drop the camera and let's walk!"


We walk past the lovely chapel. The gardens and landscaping are spectacular.


This is a fun place. We walk under these archways which naturally create a bit of a wind tunnel. It's one of the places where we can cool off during the walk.


Then the path opens up, and we're off! This is the reason I love coming here. There are paved pathways all over this community. I believe there are around 15 miles of pathways. No skateboarders. No kids on bikes. And the driving speed limit is 15 mph, so no cars zooming past. Many drivers will roll down the window and ask me about the dogs. It's quite a pleasant and relaxing a walk because you don't have to be "on guard."



There's a RR station depot. I put the dogs on this bench for a quick photo op. Then we're off to find the ducks at the pond--Mike's favorite part of coming here!

Mike, Cosi, Jenny, Brisco


The pond has a gazebo in the shade, a lovely spot.

Mike starts checking; he's on alert for the ducks.

Like a little kid at an amusement park, he can hardly contain himself! He loves to "talk," making noises that aren't a growl, not a bark. Just talking. It's a hoot to watch! I love to give him opportunities to be himself and have fun. Here he peeks through the fence to get a better look.


After the pond it's on through the housing development. The evening was warm, and a lot of people were "porch sitting, " a lost art these days. We said hello to a lot of folks as we walked through the development. As you come back to the main part of the campus, the formal gardens come in to view.
There are rose gardens, trellised flowers, and fountains. People often have their wedding party, graduation, or family portrait photos taken here. The formal gardens are spectacular in every season.

That's our favorite walk. Hope you enjoyed it too!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Tribute

To those who have served...remember the brave, courageous people who fight to keep our freedom. Here are two close to my heart.

First, Joel Wiebe who served in the Canadian Army. He and my Anna were married before he went off on his first tour. He died in Afghanistan in 2007. He and Anna visited us in 2005 and toured Gettysburg. Here's a picture Jack took of him at the Visitor's Center. I often look at those pictures and remember what a fine young man he was.




Second, my dad who served in the US Army in WWII. My dad has given me many gifts--the love of books and classical music, a good joke, and discussions from the heart. Here's to you, Dad. I love you.



Monday, May 18, 2009

Ta Da!

I finished the vest. My first garment. It was super easy. I'm eager to try the pattern again, tweaking it to see if I can get better results.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

It's Grrrrreat!

Cosi and I have two wonderful runs today at Westminster. Our teamwork was really on today. Because my back is hurting so much, I didn't run as much as I have been. Instead I directed and got where I needed to be.

In Open Jumpers With Weaves we had a dropped bar, which NQ'd us, but his weaves were spectaular. (BTW, **no** dog Q'd on this course in Open JWW in all height classes.)

In Excellent Standard the beginning was a tricky part. It was a figure 8 of jumps. The judge had to put a stinkin' double in there; Cosi found it and dropped it. Otherwise, a good run. I was especially thrilled about the end. #1 - He wanted to go weave again. He's seeking weaves like other dogs seek tunnels! #2 - Many dogs were missing the last jump, the tire. With two rear crosses, it was clear as a bell to him where he was going. A.w.e.s.o.m.e.

Here's the video. It's both runs in one video. Jumpes is first; Standard is second.



Friday, May 15, 2009

Bunnies

They've left the nest--all 8 of them--and are ready to be on their own.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Knitting

I've taken on a new project--knitting my first ever garment. I've made hats and scarves, and I'm the Queen of Socks. Socks are my favorite because they're a quick project with so many variations (cables, patterns, lace, etc.) that I don't get bored.

When we went to the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival, my sister and I chose a butterscotch colored yarn for this project. I found a vest that you can knit on circular needles. For you newbies out there, knitting in the round means NO sewing of seams. The only sewing on this vest is at the shoulders. Most other patterns would require you to make three pieces (left front, right front, back) and sew them together.

I began it last weekend, and it is a very simple pattern so it's going quickly. I think the final touch will be using the wooden buttons Kathy made for me on the one shoulder.

Here's my vest in progress. I've finished the body and am working on the left front shoulder piece.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Silwy Wabbits

It's baby bunny season again. For the third year in a row they've decided to put the nest in our fenced in yard. Never mind that they have tons of space outside the fence. No, they need to put the nest in where the dogs potty, run, and practice agility.

Jack is so soft-hearted. All God's creatures are under his care. Every morning he puts a milk crate over the nest so the dogs don't bother the bunnies. Then around sunset, he removes the carton so mama can come be with the babies. *sigh*

We've successfully (?) raised three litters of bunnies using this method. I guess it's fortunate we don't have a cat.

I've photographed the nest. Not too much to see just yet. It's mostly fur and grass and three wee bunnies. I have to admit they are the cutest things...the only thing cuter is a Sheltie pup. Right?



The bunny nest as of 5/10/09.


The nest as of 5/12/09. Here you can see two bunnies huddled together.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Herding

To me there is nothing more thrilling than to see a dog do the job his breed was meant to do. I'm no fan of the sporting dogs (sorry all you Lab folks), but when I watch a field trial on TV, I get goosebumps watching that dog and handler work to find the "duck." If there's herding on TV, I'm glued, mesmorized by the intelligence and skill of both man and dog.

My all time favorite YouTube video is "Extreme Herding". If you haven't seen it, click here to check it out.

Brisco and I actually went herding back in 2002. Well, if you call three sheep and a totally green handler "herding"! =:O)

Kathy arranged to have a herding instinct test on a Saturday, and then on Sunday we'd have a small trial. Brisco, to my knowledge, had never seen sheep in his three years. Here's a picture of the trio of sheep we were to herd. I call it, Brownie & His Posse.

We entered the field together, and the instructor--with the staff--gave Brisco direction. I, like an idiot, just stood there. Here's Brisco working to bring back a stray:

Here's Brisco keeping the gang together. Notice how he's facing off with that sheep!


When we left the field, I remember Kathy saying, "Who knew the little guy had so much eye!" It was a wonderful experience I'll always remember.

My next goal is get Mike and/or Cosi on sheep. I think Mike will have a lot of instinct. Cosi, on the other hand, may be a gripper.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Lull in the Action

Rain, rain, go away. It's been raining for 4 straight days now. Enough, already!

This weekend we are not going to a trial, a lull in the action. Actually, I'm glad for the respite. I'm hoping there will be a break in the clouds, and we can get out to practice in the yard.

Brisco and I always practiced in our little yard, and it ended up being to our advantage. Because of space considerations, we practiced tight turns, ignoring equipment that was next to what you were to take, and that made us a great AKC team. AKC courses are traditionally more twisty, tight courses, emphasizing control over speed. I would grin as I would walk a course and hear exhibitors complaining, "This is so tight!" I knew then that we would Q.

Cosi, on the other hand, loves to blast through everything. I'm hoping some time in the yard will improve our team work.
Cosi at the Run For Fun trial last summer.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Jamie's Visit

On Friday Jamie and I visited Kathy's farm in southern Lancaster county. It was wonderful in that Jamie was interested in Kathy's art and studio, and I was excited to see the new critters. Here are the dog, sheep, and goslings at Kathy's:













Even though it rained, we had a great visit. Jamie left envious of Kathy's farm. I know Jamie has often wanted to have a farm and sheep. =:O)

On Sunday we went to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. Sensory overload! So many things to see and touch. We bought yarn for projects and patterns for future projects. We watched the parade of breeds which had a funny incident. One of the breeds shown had a ram, ewe, and lamb come into the ring. The ram and ewe were on leads, but the lamb was just following mama around the ring. Well, they had to stand there for about 15 minutes until the other breeds were brought in. This was too much for a baby lamb to endure, just standing quietly. I now understand the word "gambol" as it was leaping, kicking, and running around the ring in the most charming way. It was the comic relief for the the show, and the crowd loved it. At one point the lamb noticed the lovely flowers at the end of the ring and stopped to munch. What a hoot!