Thanks for visiting my blog. It's rather flattering to have someone read your minds meanderings. I hope it's entertaining and sometimes educational.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Back pain

I came home from Maine with a back pain and I thought it would go away overnight but it got worse.  I had a massage last night and I felt good when I got home but this morning I could barely walk down the stairs. That sorta worked itself out.  But I spent most of the day sitting again, yesterday too. It's the only position I'm totally comfortable in.  I can get up and walk around for 20 minutes and then the pain starts again.  And this too shall pass.  I canceled all my lessons for this weekend though.  I doubt I could stand up or load up the ducks or build the pens.  I can wait until next weekend.
     I went to license my dogs and found out that I didn't do it last year.  Probably because they didnt' have a rabies cert and the dogs were  lumped together and they wouldn't let me pay for 3 dogs and not the 4th.  So I got hit with a $25 fine on each dog and 2 yrs fees and so I told them to take Dually off the books so I could license the 2 they had certs on and I told them Mikey was gone.  Saved some Money. I came back to look for a cert on Dually and I can't find it.  I just need to find one and copy it because I know he is vaccinated. Damn town.

   Tomorrow it is going to rain and I'm wondering if that will mean that I need to go in the cellar and start putting stuff up in case it floods.  There is still tons of snow around the base of the house and nowhere for the rain to go if it comes down heavily.  JOY.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Training in Maine

    So I was so shook up last night that I didn't post about training yesterday so I will today.
    I put Dually on a long line with a pinch and I let him dive in all he wanted but it didn't really stop him on Fri, so on Sunday and Monday, I put the pinch on and he dove in and I told him in no uncertain terms that I didn't like that. That seemed to affect him and he did it much less.  On Monday, I had the pinch and the line on him and I sent him to gather ducks which were against the wall. First time was perfect, scooped them up and brought them to me. Second time he dove in and I chased him off. I sent him again and it was perfect. So rather than beat a dead horse we moved on to something else.  I just did some balancing in the middle of the arena and he grabbed feathers once. I think I need to catch him quicker.  He seems to just get too close and can't help himself. So we got them together and drove them off straight and I did a couple of That'll do's which normally makes him dive in but I had worked on that on Fri and Sat and he didn't dive in on Monday. We quit on a good note after only a few minutes of work and then I brought him in a little later and did it again.
     Same with Dare. I worked on his outrun with someone in the arena and he is freaky right at first but got used to it and started to work better. short correct sessions and then leave.   NO MORE DRILLING DIANE.  They don't get it. They think they are doing it wrong no matter what they do.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Today's Near-death experience

   This was the first time I have ever thought there was a good chance I was going to die today.  I was on my way home from Maine this afternoon and I was 5 miles from home on the Mass Turnpike.  Tooling along at probably 75 in the high speed lane and I felt thump,thump thump really fast and I thought it was something I was driving over, so I decided to pull over but never had time.  And then all hell broke loose and it sounded like my rear fender was coming off.  I had a tire blow out, but luckily for me it was a rear tire.  If it had been a front tire, it would have been bad. scary bad.   I had a split second I thought to decide where to pull over and that was my error.  I pulled over to the left off the fast lane side.  I knew I had to get out  of there, but there was so much traffic that I couldn't move.  Nobody was slowing down at all. I pulled off as far as I could get but my tail end was still a little in the  lane. Nothing I could do about it but hope for the best. I was looking in the rear view mirror and calling 911 at the same time.  The state police got there  pronto and pulled up behind me, and told me I had to get over to the other side.  I must have blanched because he said no really you have to pull it over.  He put his lights on and pulled into the lane and the traffic slowed a little and I pulled in front of him on 3 tires and a rim and he helped me over to  the other side.  I got to tell you my hands were actually shaking and I don't get shook up very easily.  The reason it was so scary is that I had pulled over right after a rise in the road and the oncoming traffic couldn't see me until they were practically on top of me. I was lucky today.The Police couldn't believe no one had hit me.
   The turnpike truck came to change the tire, but because I  had all the dogs and crates and we probably couldn't get to them,  they called a flatbed for me.   The driver took me to a tire place which of course was farther than AAA would be free for.  The guy at the tire repair said 90% of these trucks have a problem with the spare tire cable and he might have to cut it so I opted for a new tire instead. $194. big tires.  And then the tire sensor was completely sheared off and that was an additional $111. And that he had to order so I have to go back tomorrow and get it.
     I was glad to finally get home and Dare flew out of the truck when I opened the back.  The tire was on his side and if I can get him back in the truck it will be a miracle. He hated to ride in it before and now it will probably be worse.

Monday, February 14, 2011


 It was  50 today and I was outside without a hat or gloves or jacket.   I tried to get on the roof again since it is dripping into the kitchen and there are stains on the living room wall, but I'm just not brave enough.  The ice up there is 5 inches thick in some places and solid even though it was warm today, it needed to be 80 to melt that. So instead  I drained and filled the duck tank which hasn't  been done for 2months. Clean water what a concept.  Ducks don't care.  I removed a tarp over the sheep hay and made them eat the stuff on the ground that they have been wasting. They aren't  going to be happy with me tomorrow morning. Wasteful piggy animals. NO LAMBS!
      I Straightened out my mail issue which was they weren't delivering it. I had put in on hold in Dec and with all the snowstorms and the mailbox being boxed in, I thought they were just holding it because of that and they thought they were holding it because I asked them to in Dec.  So I shoveled out the mailbox and I should be good to go tomorrow.
   The dogs are kinda grumpy, no work, no exercise and still no  place they can run because the snow is too deep.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Dare and his non existent STOP!

  I worked him for a short time in the small duck pen today before I started lessons. I had him on a short line with a pinch collar.  I just wanted to reinforce the stop without a lot of force.  Just did a few minutes of walk up stop walk up etc.  He was good but I did  have the pinch on him and he's always good with a line on. 

    Lessons went well.  The ducks were acting better than yesterday  Poor Fri lesson people had very recalcitrant ducks.  I made the duck pen a little bigger today and that helped a lot too.  It's all a learning process at the arena.   I did talk to Lee about lights in the arena and she is going to be on it as soon as the snow melts and she can get a truck in there.  Right now that is out of the question.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mass Save--No lambs yet

  Since someone was curious, I'll report.  They replaced all the bulbs that I hadn't already done with the saver bulbs(you know which ones I'm talking about) I found out he gets paid per bulb he replaces. We talked at length about the warm air hitting the roof where it shouldn't be getting thru. Bottom line was that a contractor wouldn't be interested because it's too small a job so live with it.  He suggested using insulated boards to enclose the crawlspace which I may or may not do and he suggested the same for the cellar door to the bulkhead which I will definitely do. I think that is a brilliant idea. Cellar will stay warmer, I think a lot warmer. Also suggested pulling the soffit(sp) down over my bedroom and cleaning out any leftover squirrels nests.  And insulating the hole I have in the closet so the warm air doesn't get up there and create ice dams which is what it is doing now. That may also be due to the theoretical squirrels nests.  We also talked about the doors and how to keep them more sealed.  All good info although not as much maybe as I expected. Most of this work needs to be done in the warmer weather.

     Today I sat down with my receipts to try and sort them for tax purposes.  yikes what a project. I need to keep more on top of that throughout the year.  My back is killing me and I only did it for 45 minutes. Not even close to done.  And then I have to go back thru them and add them all up. Not fun.  I have been putting this off for  a year and a half so it has to get done this year.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Pork chops with an apple/onion sauce

   I pulled a recipe off of food network by Anne Burrell. It was easy and good. It called for fresh rosemary which I fogot to buy so I trekked out into the yard and dug down 2 ft in my herb garden and Voila a fresh albeit frozen piece of rosemary.   I also made mashed potatoes and broccoli and I had a strawberry sundae with chocolate chip ice cream or dessert.  I had dessert twice.

     So I was worried about the sheep last night. I was sure that somebody was going to lamb in the biting wind and they wouldn't be able to get in the barn because the door slammed shut.  I was up at 4am to check.  No lambs and the barn door was still open.  I can't seem to get the tank heater for the ducks plugged in the morning although it was pretty dark out there. It's light now maybe I will go check. 

     I am awaiting a Mass Save rep today to go over my house for leaks and upgrades .. Cant' wait to hear what he has to say.  They do help you financially to get your house more "green".

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


     Why is it that they never come when you want them to come? I had planned that all my lambs would be born in January so I could wean them and the ewes would be dry and ready to work by the Apr/May clinics.  I know that Sparks was breeding them, I saw him but he must have been shooting blanks.  So they are pregant but I'm guessing now that my next years ram bred them this year. He is young but enthusiastic.
     Brownie is just starting to look big, Olive too and she is bagging up a bit. You never know with these sheep how long it might be  before they lamb after you start to see bagging. Sometimes it's a month.  I still can't tell if Pony is bred.  I'm pretty sure Sophie is and Pinky and Crazy legs too. So minimum of 5 lambs.  Sophie and Olive are first timers so they will probably only have singles.  It would be nice if I could tell when they were ready so I could put them in the barn . There is a lot of snow out there and no place for them to get away and lamb in a clean area.
    Today , although it is snowing big huge heavy flanks, is dump day.  I am not a big fan of the dump, but you gotta to . It's beginning to look like a redneck lives here with trash all over the front porch.  I need to build a trash area. I'll put that on the list.  (Gr)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Close working ducks

I lazed around all day yesterday until  dark and decided to catch up some ducks and work in the barn.  First off a light was out(of course).  I took a bulb out of the tackroom but it wouldn't work in the outlet so I started out one light short. I didn't laze around all day either, I was up on that stupid roof again trying to get some more ice off of it. I took a sledgehammer to it . And again today same thing.
      Anyway back to ducks, I worked Dare first.  He was fast and I tried to get him to concentrate and slow down.  I worked on me more than him, being quiet and praising instead of getting him hpyed up.  I was better and he was happier.
      Dually is quieter and slower but he continues to dive in.  I didn't say anything I just bopped him when he did it. Not sure that is the right approach either because it seemed to make him watch me  more. I was trying to teach him to take them out of the corners when they were socked in there, but they kept coming out too easily. They stuck in the corners for Dare but not for Dually so I guess Dually was going around and Dare was going in straight.
     I sent out 40 flyers for the upcoming clinic today and I'm very gratified at the immediate response I'm getting. I decided to go with 7 days of clinic instead of just4 and I'm glad I did. 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Facing Dare's Fears

  I had a  couple of lessons to give today  which worked in my favor.  I was able to work Dare with some other people in the arena with us.  He really hates that apparently.  I  had Donna set out the ducks in the ring and lift it on his outrun. He was brilliant.  Hmmm so I sent him again and again he was perfect. I screwed up and forgot to tell Donna to lift but when I did he had overflanked so he came back and picked up the ducks and brought them to me.  I quit then and decided to do it again later.
       We worked Donna and Bob's dogs and then I worked Dually.  Ducks are our nemesis.  He just loves to dive in on them and often bites ---Hard--- He was pretty good. Not great.  We worked on the fenceline on the drive and holding the ducks on the fence but using our flanks to make the corners and then immediately flanking back out to hold the line again.  He was better going one direction than the other. He took his short away flank much better than his short bye.   He didn't seem to take his short bye at all, but I had a line on him and made him take it.  Then I did a little balance work with him. He fetches ducks beautifully. Keeps them on a line and straight to me.  It was nice.
        I had Donna and Bob hold the ducks between them with their body pressure and Dare couldn't to the outrun. He left my side , but stopped halfway and came back.  Too much pressure apparently.   I sent him again and urged him on and he went but he ended up circling in between me and the ducks and not using his brain, much like I saw him do at the trials in Fla.  I let him get the ducks without my interferring.  He had pushed them back to the fence and so he had to work hard to get them off but he did it.  I sent him a 3rd time and he was better, but I had to help him lift the ducks by stopping him and walking him up.  If I had left him alone he would have split them and made another mess.  After that I decided to just do balance work around Donna and Bob and he had a hard time with it.  We worked thru it and it's something I definitely want to do much  more of.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Snow Duty

     Today was clean up day.  I went to Walmart to get some Calcium Chloride to put on the roof.  But first I stepped thru thigh high snow to get to the ladder that I conveniently never put away after I cleaned the gutters this fall.  If I had put it away I would not have been able to get it out and in place, so kudos for me for procrastinating.  So the ladder was all ice covered and I knew how steep the roof was from prior experience,so I put my yaktraks on and went up.  Now normally I hate going on the roof.  I don't think I have been on my porch roof ever in 30+yrs, but Iwent up quite easily because the ground is a lot closer now than normal.  LOL.

   There is a darn lot of snow up there.  I used a shovel and a hoe to break the ice on top.  It was kinda slippery even with the yak traks .  I shoveled off about 6ft up and then I was actually relieved to get on the ladder.  I'm ot keen about ladders either. I threw about 10 paper bags of calcium chloride up there and Hopefully , they will clear the ice dams.  Then I went out the bedroom window onto the back porch roof and shoveled that off. I was worried that would collapse while I was on it, but I got lucky and hoorah I didn't fall in.  I threw some more bags on top of the bedroom roof and called it a day untill....
      I went outside to play with the dogs and check on the sheeps hay.  On the way back in , I looked at my lovely porta potti and the roof has started to cave in.  Great--  I shoveled that off and it's still collapsed so who knows what that will look like this spring.
      Tomorrow I am going to truck ducks over to the arena and work both dogs.  And then it's going to snow again ...Yay F'ng Yay

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Day of Ice

   I shoveled 5in first thing this morning.  But it continued to come down ,another 4-5 inches and then it sleeted and it hardened.  Late this afternoon I could barely shovel it. I just shoveled in front of doors and gates.  I'm getting tired of shoveling paths.
     I decided to bring the sheep in the barn and work them.  I used a goat panel to sort the preggers out and then used the goat panel kitty corner to stand behind so the sheep couldn't knock me over. It worked great as long as I didn't have to go out and help/correct the dogs.  I worked both Dare and Dually.  All I could do was flanks and 2 step walk ups.  Worked a little on Outs with Dare.  Dually was ok  on that but Dare completely forgot how to out straight.  It so small in there that I really couldn't help him much on that either. I feel I have lost his trust due to my losing my temper and I need to work very hard on regaining it.  I think next time I will work the ducks and not the sheep. I think I can get more done with the ducks.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Yay it's snowing again (just kidding about the yay)

    It's coming down in very tiny small fine flakes right now. Not much accumulation but that will change.   I need to go out and feed and make sure they have hay for 2 days just in case I have trouble getting to  them tomorrow.  I also need to shovel snow into the water tanks. One good thing about snow is I haven't had to pull the hose out of the cellar since I got home from Fla. It's a royal PIA.  Unfortunately the tank heaters have been going pretty non-stop and they can get to be expensive.  I haven't seen my electric bill since I got home and when I left I had to leave my electric heat on in the house which I never use.  The pellet stove keeps me warm all winter.
       If I was ambitious, I would load the trash from the front porch and put it in the truck and take a trip to the dump  today too.  Sigh   I would rather just stay in and bake something yummy.  I started to reorganize my tiny kitchen last night. I think I freed up some more space by putting the microwave on top of the bread box.  Unfortunately, I can now see directly into the microwave and it really (no I mean really)needs cleaning. 
      And the dogs are desperate for exercise. They get kinda grouchy when I can't do anything with them. I should have bought those snowshoes when I had the chance. AT least I could walk out to the back field while they bounced around looking for mice under the snow. But now it's over my knees to walk back there and not easy.