Thursday, October 6, 2011


It's here again.  I've skipped a few weeks due to vacation and other stuff.  I'll post about vacation soon - it was great!

1. If you won the lottery, what would you do with the cash?
I'm actually super prepared to answer this one because we've been buying lottery tickets at work for a year and we have weekly discussions about how much we'll each win and how we'll use it.  So, my answer really depends on how much I'll win.  Let's say it's like $100M.  I'd set $ aside for family members and friends (college funds, houses, cars, pay off debt).   About $500K would get spent on vehicles for me:  a big-ass RV and a little Mini-Cooper to pull behind it, a Suburban with all the bells and whistles, a smaller camper to pull behind the Suburban, and a nice sedan for every day driving.  I'd buy the Suburban first though so I can pack up myself and my dogs when we move to our new farm somewhere around New England, maybe PA or NY.  Or we'll live in the big RV for a bit while I find the perfect farm to buy.  My farm would have a nice house but not super big and a little guest house for friends to stay in.  Nice barn, new fencing, nice flock of sheep, a couple of horses.  100 acres would do it, I think.  I'd travel a lot in the winter when I couldn't work dogs.  I wouldn't live extravagantly or anything though.

2. After winning the lottery would you work a day job?  
No effing way.

3. Do you have any auxiliary dogs?  If not, what would you chose?
No and I'd get one when I win the lottery.  Some cute little dog from a shelter.  

4.  Do you have a favorite crock pot recipe (or other recipe) to share?
I rarely crock pot but I do have a mean chocolate cake recipe.  I'll post it later though, I need to find it first.

Eta: Recipe is below

Sour Milk Chocolate Cake
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs beaten
1 cup soured milk (milk + 1 tbsp lemon juice and let it sit for 15 mins+ until it gets nice and soured)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup cocoa
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup boiling water

-cream butter and sugar, add eggs, milk and vanilla
-sift dry ingredients and add 
-add boiling water

bake at 350 for 50 mins (check starting at 45 mins) in a greased and floured pan.  Try not to overcook.  I usually make it in a bundt pan or 9x13 pan; I don't like it as much in regular layer cake pans.
For frosting I usually use the buttercream recipe on the Domino confectioners sugar box.  You know, the make your teeth hurt kind!

Friday, September 9, 2011

TMT - short version & Off To England!

This is the short version of Tell Me Thursday without pictures!  :(

What's the biggest thing that grossed you out this week?
Dunno.  I actually can't think of anything.  One of my coworkers who is a heavy smoker has a horrible smokers cough and she's currently hacking away.  That grosses me out on a daily basis.

What do you feed your dogs?
One meal a day is raw and one meal is kibble.  Currently they're eating Taste of the Wild (lamb).  Grain free is best for one of my dogs (Abe) so they're all grain free right now.  Some days they get all raw, some days all kibble, and kibble when we travel.  Sometimes when we travel they get Honest Kitchen or, as my sister calls it, Prison Gruel (that's what it looks like).

If you could move anywhere, where would you live?
Ireland for sure, maybe Scotland, maybe I'll say the Lakes District of England after I get back from there.  Somewhere with temperate weather, lots of green, and nice views.

What is the funniest thought that occurred to you (or happened to you) this week?
Probably seeing my friend's puppy covered in mud when we took dogs swimming on Sunday.  The puppy won't swim and the water is low and the bank is very muddy. I have some great photos but I'm not on my computer so I can't post them.

If you couldn't have your breed of choice, what would be next on your list?
Some medium sized rescue dog with a great personality.  Or a Papillon.  Or a nice field bred Lab.


I leave this afternoon for England - yay!  I'm spending 9 days in the Lakes District and renting a house with a group of friends.  We'll have 4 days of sightseeing and then 4 days at the World Sheepdog Trial.  Hopefully I'll be able to blog but I'm not sure about pictures.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Digame Jueves

1.  What 5 things can't you live without?
Aveda Lip Saver (this lip balm is the bomb!  lol)
my iphone (or any smartphone)
my sister
my dogs
some sort of ponytail holder

I'm pretty sure I can live without anything else (you know, except for water and food).  

2. How do you transport your dogs?
I have a 2002 Ford Explorer with lots of miles on it.  It's still running great though (knock wood) and I'm going to stick with it until it runs no more.  I can fit 4 border collie sized crates in it and my own stuff so it's a good size for me.  I've been driving an SUV for about 11 years now and can't imagine anything else.

These are not pictures of my car but this is what happens when you pack 3 dog, 2 people, and 2 people's worth of stuff into a Honda CRV.  That squished up pop-up crate?  That's poor Jill.  It's a good thing my dogs are good travelers and don't mind too small crates...

3. What role does obedience play in the training or running of your dogs?
I like an obedient dog in general.  There's no way I could live with my dogs without them being pretty obedient and it's something I teach early on.  Sit, down, stay, dogs know this right away.  On sheep, I guess I like an obedient dog too.  I think I made Abe a little too obedient but I'm fixing that and he's really thinking for himself now (sometimes a little too much but that's ok).  I now have to stop and think when he doesn't obey  me because chances are he's right for not doing whatever he's not wanting to do.  You'd think I would have learned this lesson already since Jill (now retired) was pretty good about showing me that she was usually right when she didn't want to listen.  She was sort of bullheaded sometimes though, while Abe's the most biddable dog on the planet so I think it's been easy to forget that I need him to do what's right when I'm wrong.  

4. At what point do you start putting commands on your dog?
On sheep, I guess it's when they are consistently flanking correctly off of my body language (that's when I add a flank command) and walk up and lie down is sort of right away, as well as "that'll do".  Maybe that's part of my liking an obedient dog?  I started Abe on whistles at about 11 months which felt really, really weird since he was so young but he was ready for that next step in putting commands on him.  I'm looking forward to starting a new dog since it's been about 2 years now.  

5. Do you talk to strangers in elevators?
Not if I can help it.  At my current job I work on the first floor and only go on the elevator about twice a week, if that, to go to the 2nd floor cafeteria so currently I don't have to engage in awkward elevator rides very often.  


On another note, I had to make my comments moderated due to continued unwanted comments so if you post something and it doesn't appear that's why.  Sorry!

Oh, and the title, Tell Me Thursday...I think I have the right translation (I didn't even look it up!).

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Blah, blah, blah Thursday!

It's Thursday again!

1. How do you teach recalls to your dogs?
Lots of rewards for coming to me from day 1, a long line, letting the other dogs help, walking them down if I need to. There was only 1 dog that I was somewhat unsuccessful with. Uh, well, then there's Jet who always takes the time to decide if he'll come or turn and go the other way. It depends what's in it for him in either direction.
2. What is your favorite Restaurant or type of food? Clearly I have food on the brain much of the time.
Hmmm. I love the Cheesecake Factory and I love that you could eat there for a year and never eat the same thing twice due to the voluminous menu.  Plus, I love the cheesecake.
3. What is your favorite interest outside of dogs/livestock/sports?
Until I moved into a rented house I loved gardening. Since I moved, I don't know. That's something I need to think about and perhaps do something about. Oh, I do like to take photographs. That's something.
4. Describe your path from where you started out to where you are now! This question was suggested byPippin.
I started out taking lessons with Jet and then Dash with my friend Shelley who lived up the street from me and then moved to Carol Campion. I stopped working Jet because he's an evil gripper and trained Dash who was NOT an easy dog. Then Carol let me work a young dog named Jill that she'd just bought and didn't really want to train so I took lessons with Dash and Jill and worked them when I could. I started in Novice with both dogs at the same trial, eventually bought Jill from Carol, and ran both of them up through Ranch. Looking back, I know I should have moved Jill up to Open but never did before she tore her cruciate and required two surgeries. I semi-retired her after that. I got Abe about 2.5 years ago and he got 1st at a farm type trial when he was 11 months old and ran in Nursery for the first time when he was 16 months old and he was running in Open when he was 20 months old. He's been easy and Carol helped us along with a couple of months of training and trialing him.
How did I get there? Lots of help and knowledge imparted to me from lots of people but especially Carol Campion. I credit her with most of what I know. I'm sorta glad that I never had an easy dog until I got Abe because all I learned from Dash and Jill (and Kit who I started and sold along the way) is really valuable.
5. Is there a dog that you raised that, if you knew then what you know now, you would have raised them differently? Question posed by Jodi.
No, not really. They're all pretty well socialized and well behaved. Maybe I would have done things differently with Jet because I think I get the border collie mind better now than I did when he was a puppy.

*Sorry about no paragraph breaks.  Somehow the formatting gets screwed up when I copy from Laura's blog and I have to take out all formatting or I get all different fonts and highlighting.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Finally a great swimming spot for the dogs!

I thought I'd never find a nice, safe, empty, convenient swimming spot for my dogs but I think I might have.  Yesterday my friend Laura and I took our dogs there (well, some of our dogs anyway).  Abe didn't get to go because he's back to acting like a troll and I think Jet and Dash deserve a break from him.

Some random pictures...

Great White Egret (there were also lots of geese and a couple of Blue Herons)

Laura's puppy, Hype.

Jet, Dash, Kai and Wick


Dash and Jet

Wick taking a running leap into the water

Lots of birds in the distance

Dash hunting for something (not sure what he was after).

Friday, August 19, 2011

This is this Thursday (like, yesterday)...

I'm playing along again with my friend Laura from Crooks & Crazies.  

Who is your new dog?  Where is he/she from?  Why did you chose this particular dog/breeding?
My newest dog is Creekside Abe and he's about 2.5 years old.  He came from Fiona Robertson at  I didn't know Fiona before I got Abe but I'd seen her run her dog Tap plenty of times and liked her a lot and she and Fiona did/do really well together.  Fiona had a blog going in September 2008 when she ran Tap and Tap's mother Pat (yes, Pat begat Tap...Fiona is so clever at naming her dogs!) in Wales at the 2008 World Trial.  Tap was in heat and Fiona had a literal border collie stud buffet in front of her and bred her to Kevin Evan's dog Mirk who is a super nice dog and oh, by the way, had won the International about a week before.  I immediately emailed Fiona and was lucky enough to get on her list of people wanting puppies.  Fiona does a great puppy blog (the model for my own puppy blog) and I got to see pictures of the puppies from day 1 and Abe was the one I wanted all along.  I picked on looks because all things being equal, I go with a dog I like to look at.  Actually, I liked his brother Remy's looks better but I wanted a smooth coat.  I was lucky enough that Fiona matched him up with me (I didn't give her much choice!) and I couldn't be more grateful.  He's one of those once in a lifetime dogs (well, on sheep of sheep he's a bit of a troll) and I am having a blast with him.

Extreme close up!

Working recently at Lyle Lad's farm in OH.

What traits drew you to this dog or breeding?
I liked Tap a lot - she's very natural and quiet and kind to her sheep - but really it was just good timing and I'd seen video of Kevin with Mirk and thought he was really nice.  I really didn't give it much thought!  Now I know what sort of dog I like and it's a dog like Abe but maybe with a tad more push.

What's on your feet right now?
Dansko sandals that my sister bought me for my birthday last year.

What are you reading right now?
I started A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness yesterday.

What upcoming trials are you looking forward to?
I'm looking forward to watching the World Trial in England next month but after that I'm looking forward to the Fescue & Ivy trial in OH in Oct.  It's a challenging and tough field and I'm hoping that with another year of maturity Abe will do better there this year.  If not, I'll still love running him!

This was last Thursday...

I was too lazy last Thursday to play so here goes for last week...

1. In sheepdog training (or lets call it *any* type of training), how do you keep from taking yourself, your dog, your lack of progress too seriously? posed by Ann
If I'm not having fun, I quit for the day.  If I'm getting frustrated, I quit for the day.  If my dog is getting frustrated, I quit for the day.  I try and remind myself of this every time I'm training and it seems to work pretty well.  Training dogs isn't how I make my living so it needs to be fun and rewarding and if it's not, I'm probably taking it too seriously.  

2. How many crates do you have? For reals.
I have 10 wire/varikennels and 4 soft portable ones.  I had more before I moved but my sister  made me get rid of a few (oh, how I miss them but they got a good home with my friend Valerie who probably didn't really need the either but you know how we dog people are about collecting crates!).  That's 3 dogs - 14 crates.  Wait, no, there are 15 total.  My puppy sized crate is at my sister's house in her basement...I must remember to get it back!

3. How do you keep your dogs in shape?
Frisbee & Chuck-It!!!!  I'm not afraid to admit that I'm a sheepdog person that lets her dogs play with frisbees and tennis balls.  It won't ruin them, it's good exercise...I just don't see the problem.  I live in a suburban/urban neighborhood and they need exercise and chasing the frisbee is exercise in my book.  They also get walks and hikes and work sheep and go swimming.  The summer has been brutal here so they've been doing not much for the last month though.  

We love the frisbee, yes we do, we love the frisbee - how about you?

4. Who is your favorite movie/tv star eye candy at the moment?
Hmmm.  Off the top of my head I'd go with Alexander Skarsgard, aka Eric Northman from True Blood.  

5. What is your livestock situation? Have your own? Borrow? Herd the cats? (You can subsitute other equipment for livestock if you don't work stock with your dogs). 

I have generous friends who let me come work their sheep - that's pretty much how it's been ever since I started with sheepdogging.  I've never had my own though I did recently spend about 14 months helping a care for a small flock of sheep.  I loved taking care of the sheep - but I ended up getting pretty much  screwed over (y'all know the story!!!).  It's ok though because even though I have less sheep access now I'm not being manipulated and used so it's all good!  I would like to have a small flock of my own but the time and responsibility is just too much for me to deal with as a single person (actually I know I could maybe manage it but I don't want to be that tied down).  I've got a lot of nice people who are looking out for me though and Abe gets as much work as he needs!

***I don't know why the f@ck the text looks like this but I can't figure out how to fix it!  I blame Laura Carson!***

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Tell Me Thursday, 2nd Edition

My friend Laura is playing this "tell me Thursday" game again so here it goes...

She wants to know:

(1) How did you get into border collies (or whatever your dogs of choice are)? What started it all?

Back in Sept 2001 I had a black lab named Toby that I did agility with and on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend I was at an agility trial in Granby, MA sitting around with some friends watching runs.  I said (I am quoting this because this is exactly how it went down), "Maybe someday I'd like a Border Collie to do agility with."  It was just something that came out of my mouth with no thought behind it.

My friend Robin Ohrt said "Pam O'Day has a Border Collie puppy that she's selling, he's really cute and in a crate in her van, you should go look at him".

So, blah blah blah, I finally went to look at this puppy and went and sat it the parking area with him. The parking area is actually a field and we sat and watched some horses pulling carts in some sort of formation and I played with the cute, black and white, 11 week old puppy who looked like a little panda bear. I reluctantly gave him back to Pam so that I could think about it and then the next day met her at Tails U Win in the parking lot and took possession of the evil genius soon to be named Jet. That was almost exactly 10 years ago.

Jet is actually from Louisiana and pretty well bred (working-wise) and came from a guy named Rodney Cotton who is a old-timer dog dealer who imported a lot of dogs and sold them on. Pam was getting 2 female pups from him and he mistakenly shipped 1 male and 1 female so that's how Jet ended up for sale. A bunch of people had passed on him because he wasn't high drive enough. Never having had a border collie before I didn't what sort of border collie he'd be but he was cute and a nice addition to my life after having dealt with my mom's death a few months before.  Thank you Rodney Cotton for being unable to tell boy parts from girl parts!

Jet at about age 8:

Really high drive Jet's not, but he's done okay as an agility dog and loves to play frisbee - he can jump amazingly high.  He's keen to work sheep too but the sheep don't appreciate being bitten so his sheepdog career was over pretty quickly.

Jet's mad frisbee leaping skillz.
So Jet started me into Border Collies.  Soon after I got Jet, my lab Toby died and I got another black lab named Ace.  Ace went to live with my sister when he was about a year old due to a shoulder issue that kept him from doing agility.

Jet and Ace modeling their fleece jackets...looking very metro sexual and hip...and not at all embarrassed.
Not a Border Collie but he gets a picture in here too...
Toby - the best dog ever who died way too young.  
After Ace left, it was all Border Collies after that.  Like potato chips I tell ya...

(2) How many dogs do you have? All dog math variations accepted.
Right now I have 3 so I don't feel the need for creative math (I'm good at it though).  4 is a good number for me but more than that is too many to fit in crates in my Explorer.  That's how I measure how many dogs I can have - by how many can go on the road with me.  In addition to Jet, I have Dash and Abe.  I'm sure #4 will come along soon although I'm happy with just my 3 boys right now.

Dash - very handsome and hairy!
Dash working sheep
Abe at about 14 weeks - first time seeing sheep.

Abe at age 2 .

(3) What do you do for a day job?
I work for a big insurance company and handle Assumed Reinsurance claims.  No one knows what reinsurance is but the short answer is that it's insurance on insurance, involves large losses (mostly asbestos and environmental claims but in the last few years a lot of the big settlements involving sexual abuse by priests - I know much, much more about all of these things than I really need to know), and large amounts of money.  I sit in a cubicle all day but currently I have a wall of windows and a nice view of the highway so it's not all bad.

(4) What questions would you like to answer (or ask)? (I'm assuming this refers to Laura)

When are you gonna get a new vehicle so we can meet at trials in between us???

(5) What was for dinner last night?
Toast with apricot jam and a Diet Coke.  I'd had a big breakfast and lunch so I wasn't all that hungry.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

For Laura - Tell Me Thursday

Today Laura would like to know two things.

#1. What is your most embarrassing trial moment to date?
#2. What do you prefer to whistle with and why?

#1. What is your most embarrassing trial moment to date?

I had to think about this one a bit.  When I was running Dash I was too busy trying to stop him to even think about being embarrassed.  When I was running Jill she didn't really do much to embarrass me.  Then I remembered a little incident with Abe in Nursery at the Bluegrass in 2010.  I'd finished my run and was getting the sheep out of the pen when one bolted away from the exhaust and toward the trailer where the judge was sitting.  There went the ewe, over the fence and into the area where the on deck handler was waiting to come onto the field.  Of course, Abe was all pumped up and made it even worse by generally running amok.  Thankfully the handler on deck helped me out.  Thank you  Mr. Scott Glen.  I'll slink off to the exhaust now...

#2. What do you prefer to whistle with and why?

This is an easy one.  The Baby Blaster made by Rob Drummond for Bordercollics Anonymous.  The Baby Blaster is the one on the right.

I've tried a lot of whistles and I do have a backup to the Baby Blaster that I also like, but I always go back to it.  I have a small mouth and it's the only one that fits comfortably.  I also like the sound that brass makes.

I can kinda sorta finger whistle but dogs + sheep + fingers in mouth = grosses me out so I don't think I'll ever do anything more than practice finger whistling in my house.  


So now I've blogged!  Yay me!  I'm going to try for more blogging this weekend to catch everyone up on my big changes.  

Monday, June 20, 2011


I need to start blogging again - so much to say, so many pictures...

Can someone send me some motivation?