Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Happy Boxing Day!

Settled in for a full day of soccer

Max is pulling for Celtic.....

Cap, not a fan of the green & white, looks like a Dundee United supporter!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

'Second Verse, Same as the First'....

‘A little bit louder, a little bit worse’!

North Carolina is perhaps more beautiful in December than it was last month. We traveled across for a clinic Dec 1 & 2 just outside of Durham, NC—Thank you Christine Koval for the wonderful hospitality. It was an excellent weekend on a beautiful farm with good people, nice dogs and spectacular weather.

The celebration Saturday evening was a Rural Hill reunion of sorts.

Vic was there with her famous martinis, a little bit dirtier. Dee’s smile was even more infectious plus the way she bangs her glass is intoxicating. Ginger reminded us that still waters run deep and Alasdair was a real cream puff. No, there is no such thing as too much double entendre. Christine needs no word play-she was fun, charming and a wonderful hostess.

Wish we had written a song but ‘Who the eff is Lisa’ is a high bar, plus song writing requires more cerebral thought & less vodka.

We will be in North Carolina for several more days but it is already an excellent trip and one we hope to make again soon!

Christine & Ben holding for Kathy's DL
Kathy Owen's Johnnie

Ginger Bruton's Sweep
Sally Glei's Lena
photo of Christine's Ben behind the tree--while the picture did not turn out, it struck me as interesting & mysterious, as if it were a painting


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Best intentions,,,

I planned to update more regularly, even had pictures...alas, i plead the mother of all excuses: pc virus

With all the travel & upcoming holiday the earliest appt. i could get for pc is next week. I am limited to my phone but wanted to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving!

We had a great holiday & so much to be grateful for in our lives. Family & friends visited over the weekend and we indulged many culinary delights. Alasdair enjoyed obscene amounts of dessert & we watched a fabulously ridiculous amount of football
(including Brady bliss).

Will post once computer & data are sorted. Hope to soon pen ' i love my new 
Macbook pro'!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Macallan 18 yr. old Scotch, never intended as a shooter...

One of the many certainties presented over a hectic 2 weeks.

After a brief stint at home, Alasdair and I went to Lexington, KY. As he headed back to Missouri, I rented a car and set out on a journey.

My plan was to visit Christine at Rural Hill, see my family in SC and catch up with my girlfriends from Clemson Nov 15-18
As I arrived in the Carolinas it felt as it always does, like home.
The foliage was spectacular.

Rural Hill was great fun. Thank you to Dean Holcomb, the set-out crew, Dr. Ben, Millie & all the volunteers.  I brought Max & Cap along for this trip with the hope of garnering some points & mostly to spoil them after a difficult few months; we managed a bit of both.

Congratulations to Alan Higgenbottom won both days with his 11 year old Vic!
71 dogs ran Open I & closer to 50 Open II. Max and Cap were in the top 8 Open I & neither got the breaks in Open II.  I was pleased with their performance. They had not worked sheep in a week but both ran not so bad. The weather was superb, the organization and hospitality were excellent and the encounters in the corn maze, epic.

I was often in the company of Canadians and once again, humor and laughter prevailed.
In addition to the title, many other truths came to light….

Vic Wilcox makes a brilliant dirty martini, virtue is its own reward, brie and blue cheese mix well, Dee’s smile is infectious, envy slays itself, what happens in the corn maze, stays in the corn maze, lawn men are guileful, scotch combined with dog toys are not for the faint of heart, there are not many better endings to the weekend than watching football & snuggling a border collie.

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Song for Canada.....-

I intended to take lots of photographs on my maiden trip to Canada. 
Alasdair wanted to take me to beautiful Banff & Lake Louise along with an excursion to visit Stormy. The princess' had planned a wine tasting..... 

The trip did not go exactly as planned. In fact, it went a bit off the rails.

Not many pictures as there was no camera. 
No RV, no trip to Banff  & Lake Louise, no visiting vineyards, no Stormy.

We had a much sorted 72 hours prior to our arrival. We did make it in time for the clinic and lessons, albeit looking more like the Clampetts than professional dog trainers. We drove into Lee's looking very tattered with our truck, 8 dogs & well used U-haul in tow.

Travels aside, Canada was great. 
Lee, Brian, Carley & Kristi were tremendous hosts. 
In addition to working with good people and nice dogs we had several princess wine tastings--who needs vineyards.  We laughed, wrote a song for a special Albertan and ate cake. 
We beat many a joke to death. We listened to bad music and ate delicious lunches. We left BC with timeless quotes & profound lyrics.
Canadians are wily. They are also hellava lot of fun.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Bling & Ferrytales....

I mentioned when I initiated the blog that I was technology challenged.

Fortunately, a certain Canadian is not only wily but exceptionally handy...

She added some much needed eye candy including pictures + links.

Great time meeting new people and seeing new dogs in Washington. Thank you Sue MacDonald, Susan Crocker and her daughter Alison for everything!

The ferry trip however, proved less than ideal. The crew directs one where to park on the boat and unfortunately they were not using their regular fleet. 
Under their careful guidance they maneuvered us so that a steel beam about 12 feet high demolished the arm of our awning!

Will try to sort this today and off to Lee Lumb's tomorrow.
My maiden trip to Canada, I am excited.
Rumor has it Canadians not only love sheepdogs, they enjoy a good party.
They have planned a wine tasting tour for Friday afternoon. A bit dangerous on the eve of a clinic followed by 2 days of lessons. 
Really, how much trouble could we get into...??!

Monday, October 1, 2012

2012 US National, The Finale

Geri Byrne & the entire Klamath crew of committee members & volunteers put on a brilliant National. Thank you all for your months of hard work!

We advertise our National as an 'International Style' course and the 2012 Oregon committee made it happen!
It was a great test of the dogs. Special thank you to Lana Rowley for her vision as well as Geri Byrne, Herbert and all that supported the scope of the big course.
As a comparison the International is 200 yards further on the 1st outrun & 100 yds greater on the 2nd than we had this year still on a 30 minute clock.

With the drop post only 100 yards in front of the handler, everyone had great hearing for the turn back.

We were also very fortunate the sheep did not 'noon up' in the ring in the afternoon.

I ran just after the introduction ceremony late morning. Cap listened well & turned back just as he had done in practice
(which as we all know does not always happen!)

He worked well off of his sheep and I was fooled at the 2nd fetch gate missing it after a controlled 2nd fetch.
Cap balanced very nicely around the drive. My sheep were wilder in the ring than other lots, not sure why- he may have been too positive on the drive and we timed out at the shed. He did everything I asked & more. I am so proud of him--Thank you Cap!

Jack Knox ran just after me. Jack had difficulty on the 2nd outrun & 2nd fetch. he pulled it together remarkably and had the best drive as well as the only shed & pen!
Congratulations to Jack & Jim not only on their performance here but winning Soldier Hollow.

Sonia Craig ran 2nd to last in the hottest part of the day and finished 3rd. Amanda Milliken & Roz ran not long after Jack and also had a very good drive finishing 4th.

Congratulations to Brian White & Scoop for making the final in his first Nationals appearance & moreover, for putting his dog before personal achievement.

The past two months have been exceptionally challenging for me personally. My health took a turn as a result and if not for Alasdair's encouragement to train hard prepare properly my success would not have been possible. He is my mentor, greatest supporter and I am eternally grateful.

Neither would I have been able to do it had I not left my job with a Fortune 10 firm, change my life and pursued the dogs. That inspiration came from Bear and Max. Bear although no longer with us is in my heart every day. This win is dedicated to him.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

2012 National, Day 2....

Wednesday was another day of tremendous weather in Klamath. The morning started brisk and clear with a good run by our new leader, Deborah Milsap scoring 152.
Overall the scores remained low with a number of RT's and disqualifications and the Open field finished at 4:00. Another stand out run was Suzy Applegate, who made a good job of a difficult Suffolk finishing with a 150.

Herbert and Tricia Guidry had nice runs around the course but did not finish and both are on a 137, currently 11th & 12th place. Official scores can be found at

The nursery started with a very good run by Lyle scoring 163 and the current leader. The sheep were used in the Open before being moved to the nursery. The field is beautiful and tricky. For the less experienced dogs it is challenging to show them the sheep prior to their run but many dogs nailed the outrun and made it look easy including Joni Swanke's Sage and Ron Enzoroth's Pete.

I ran Queen, Alasdair's Star X Don. This was her 5th trial and she and I have only been together 4 weeks as we switched (Alasdair running my Jim while i have Queen) mid August. Given short duration of our partnership and her age i was sensitive to asking for too much. She had a good outrun and we put together a nice fetch, good turn and after releasing the pressure to go around the post a Suffolk started to put hard sideways pressure to the left leaving us witha  3-1 split. I decided to retire.

The handlers tent proved exciting late afternoon and included making plans for a BC wine tasting tour. Thursday begins with Vickie Close in the Open at 8:00 am.
Nursery Field

Tricia Guidry's Tipper

Lee Lumb's Gus

Herbert's Juno

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

2012 National, Day 1....

A gorgeous morning bled into a lovely afternoon with highs in the low 80's, and a not a cloud in the sky. We started promptly at 8:00 am and finished 38 runs by 5;00 pm
Each lot of sheep was set evenly and timely at roughly 400 yards with a handler/dog team on foot. The field is mostly flat with ample room to cast left or right.

The clock was cut to 13 minutes and the panels were just as deceiving with sheep as they were last night when walked the course at the handlers meeting.

The sheep required more pressure than years past and most packets a bit more difficult to shed. Overall scores were lower than previously in Klamath.

Erin O'Brien had the high score of the day with judges on equal points for a total of 150. Don Helsley had a good run without a pen on 148 and Amanda Miliken completed the course also on 148.

I sadly managed to miss both the drive away and cross drive panel but Max ran well with good lines.  We finished scoring 143.
Haley Hunewill, Michelle McGuire and Beverley Lambert were in the 130's to round out Day 1 top seven. Open begins tomorrow at 8:00 & the Nursery at 9:00. Diane Pagel is updating scores from the handler's tent at

Scrummy dinner at Nibblys, great steak, chardonnay and decadent desserts of many splendor.

Monday, September 24, 2012

And so it begins.....

The Field

The Sheep

The Players

Excitement & Anxiety abound....
The field is gorgeous. The organization and hospitality tremendous. The sheep are a bit different than years past, more breeds included in the cross wools.
A change in the judging has Alasdair & Micheal Gallagher judging the Open qualifying, Bevis Jordan and Bruce Fogt judging the nursery.

Clock will start in the morning with 14 minutes, right hand drive, split, pen.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Testing, Testing.....

My friend from Canada has been encouraging us to update our News & Events on Blogger rather than our website for months. By 'encourage' I mean cajole, mock, badger--she is no novice to the needling process. I  conceded to her insistence back in May. I have been distracted this summer and did not follow through. It was not intentional and I thought it was a non-event. After all she lives in Canada; how could there be repercussions?
Yesterday I received a very concise e-mail from her with a not so veiled threat referencing my commitment & reminding me I will see her in less than 2 weeks. I had been under the impression Canadians were a peaceful people. Hmmm.

Her recommendation is well founded as Blogger has some great offerings: supports video, data is stored, update alerts, etc.. That is the good news....
The bad news is I am technology challenged. My 9 year old niece can blog, no problem. I had to watch the YouTube tutorial (yes, really). Still you will note the absence of any bells & whistles. Hopefully, I will become more proficient in time.

My goal is to update our blog from the National as well as our excursion afterward which will take us to Washington & British Columbia. Ideally with pictures. Lofty ambitions for me. Canadians are wily.