Saturday, December 25, 2010

Jan and Don - A Portrait of Love

Hoke and Cricket's daughter Jan, with her owner Don, on Christmas Eve out visiting. A few weeks ago, Jan nearly died after finding a tasty treat tucked away in Don's shop - D-Con rat poison packets. Several of them. She was already bleeding out when he rushed her to the ER vet in Corvallis, who is an angel. She stayed with Jan all night, giving her blood transfusions and vitamin K injections and draining the blood from her lungs and abdomen several times. Even the next morning, it wasn't a done deal - Jan still had a long ways to go to exit the proverbial woods. Don jumped every time the phone rang, according to his wife Donna, but then wasn't sure he wanted to answer it and hear the news if it was bad. He told me over and over that he just couldn't bear losing that little monster, no matter how many pairs of his shoes she ate. But, that's ancient history (except for the shoe-eating part) now, and Jan's fully recovered and helping Don move his cows when needed. The other day, she went under the fence to corral two young calves that had been pushed thru the fence by the older cows. She fetched them back and pushed them back thru the fence neat as a pin for him, saving him a lot of time and effort. While that is an important part of why Don has her, it's only the small part. The biggest part is to be his devoted and loving companion, and she goes everywhere with him. EVERYONE knows Jan! If I'm driving Really Big Red locally, someone usually asks me if I'm Jan's breeder (signage on the tailgate helps). She's a looker with those eyes too, and believe me - she knows exactly how to use those eyes of hers.

It is truly a match made in heaven, and Don tells me that every time we see each other. They are getting ready to head to Vegas in the RV for the winter as usual, and Don can't wait to do so. He's going to find some obedience classes to take while he's there and he's looking forward to being able to spend a lot more time one on one working with his little angel in red. Maybe he can start by teaching her to NOT eat his shoes.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Xmas 2010, Take 16

If you've ever tried to take the yearly Christmas picture for your cards, and that shot included small children or animals of any kind, you know that you better have a really big card for your camera (or a lot of film for your old-fashioned type camera) - and more importantly, a LOT of patience. Cricket, Hoke and Ho Dog are all pretty good about staying put, but baby Sybil, Gizmo and of course Gem the BC - not so much. Gem especially wanted no part of things. Last year, her first Christmas with us, we resorted to using a leash to tie her down. This year, we tried to just let her stay on her own. You will see the results below. But the biggest surprise was Sybil - other than a few hiccups, she was really pretty good. Gizmo can take it or leave it; we pulled him off his down pillow where he was all snuggled down and comfy and put a silly collar with bells around his neck and THEN insisted he stay put with a bunch of workin' dogs. To say he was insulted is like saying it rains just a tiny bit in the Pacific Northwest in the winter. But, in the end, it all worked out (except for Gem) and Dale got the shot for the cards. Now I guess I gotta go start the cards. If you're expecting yours before Christmas, well - maybe.

This was about take 16. Sybil gave up, Hoke was annoyed and Gem, as usual, was gone

One of the few shots that actually had Gem in it, standing still enough to not be a blur or just a tail disappearing behind the tree

Sybil's first Christmas. Did you just go "Awwwwww"?

The final shot that made the cut for the card picture. No Gem, of course. We had given up by then

Pen 'em, Hoke!

Hoke trains the sheep to the new sorting pens. I train Hoke NOT to eat sheep IN the sorting pens. It all worked out in the end

The approach

The line up

The End

All I Want For Xmas..... my two front teeth, and by golly, I got 'em!! Sybil shows off the new choppers in front of her first Christmas tree

Pack Walkin'

Dale took some shots a few days ago of the morning pack walk returning. We do a round of the pastures twice a day, usually for a 45 minute +/- moderate-pace walk with everyone but Gizmo (he's old and French and the good Lord knows that his dainty little paws cringe at the thought of actually touching nature in any way, shape or form). Ho Dog is usually finished about 2/3 of the way, so we drop him off and pick him up on the way back. Sybil still has the urge to eat or at least put in her mouth anything and everything she encounters at mouth level on the walks, and yesterday, that included a very unhappy mouse that she snatched up somewhere. The lower pastures are overrun with mouse holes and trails, so it's no surprise she found an unwary or slow one. Of course, having Jazzee in her background makes her a natural born killer of small vermin, so I shouldn't be too surprised.

It may not look like it, but this is a steep uphill final run to the gate. Just ask poor Ho Dog back behind me here

The cameraman has been spotted

Monday, December 13, 2010

New Wilson Motors Mascot

Really Big Red moseyed up to Wilson Motors in Corvallis this morning for regular servicing, and little Miss Sybil came along for the social aspect of the trip. Unfortunately, the pix of her in front of her fave ride, the bright 'Give Me A Really Big Ticket' red Mustang GT didn't come out. The one of her in ultra hyper mode in the waiting area did. I think maybe she was considering that nice Ice Blue Fusion Hybrid. One thing for sure - EVERYONE had to come by and say 'hi' to her and comment about what a perfectly well behaved puppy she was. She was unfailingly polite to everyone and offered up a paw to special new pals. Never jumped on anyone or chewed on the rug or furniture (mostly because she was too busy receiving adulation from everyone) or did a big one in the showroom. I was quite pleased with her, and more so in light of the fact that because I was late abed this morning, we missed our morning packwalk, so she didn't get her exercise like she normally would have. Didn't seem to bother her, either way.

Everyone agreed she could be the new Wilson Motors Mascot. Don't think that includes the GT, however. Pity, that.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Those Crazy Border Collies

Gem, the 2 year old Border Collie, in full on hyper mode

Christmas Chaos

It's kinda sad when you have to use your UTV (the puttputt, aka the Polaris Ranger) to haul all your Xmas stuff to the house! Here is the utter chaos that must be made into calm beauty sometime before Xmas. Then, on January 2nd, it all comes back down, goes back into the boxes, and the puttputt hauls it all back to storage once again, to slumber peacefully thru the months until called into action once again after Thanksgiving.

Why, oh why do we do this year after year after year?! No kids. 5.5 dogs who only care about the contents of their stockings and whether or not any of the decor is edible. You can't really see the front of the house except from the front of the house so we don't decorate that part of the outside. And not too many decorations survive our Decembers outside, so we don't do a lot except under the cover of the porch roof by the back door. It's the magical transformation of an ordinary (sort of) home into a display of lights and glitter and glass for a month that chases away the cold, damp grey outside and melts into a warm, colourful and cozy place to sit and enjoy a hot cuppa and listen to timeless Christmas carols - THAT'S why we do it every year.

Utter and complete chaos

I never know exactly what is in those boxes until I open them up. However, the big blue boxes contain the tree - THAT much I do know