Sunday, September 27, 2009


Jam had another wonderful practice session today. He is once again a fully functional obedience dog. All brain cells firing on command. Oh he has a few crooked sits and a bit of a lag on the one part of the figure 8 exercise and he looked a little panicked at the very end of the 3 minute down, but oh what a good boy he was! If he does it good the first time we stop right there. I've learned about the Collies, you do not drill a Collie. They get bored and frustrated and quit. So if they get it right the first time we take it. It'll never be a perfect 200, but if it's a qualifying score I'm totally happy. Better to have a happy dog than a high in trial. Not that I'd turn down a high in trial score, of course :-)
Harold is the first naturally talented dog I've had since Murphy back in the early-mid 90's. He learns everything super fast, works happy all the time and just will not quit. He loves to work. His off leash heeling is better than his on leash, his focus for such a young dog is spot on and he has the fastest sit I've ever seen in a Collie. For such a big guy he is very agile and turns tight and does this almost sliding into a sit. And of course the non stop wagging of the tail. Today he proved he can jump the 20" required in rally advanced/excellent. And in true Harold style he cleared it by a mile.
Jam, Harold and I will be traveling to show next weekend so let's hope that those planets remain in perfect alignment.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Walmart, Saturday and the joys of laundry

When I moved outside the town of Manchester I was pleasantly surprised by a Walmart. Not a big Walmart, it's the baby Walmart, not a Superstore by any stretch of the imagination. But it has a pharmacy, a few groceries for emergencies (since the Fareway is closed on Sundays) and most anything else a person might need from a Walmart. There have been times when I couldn't find what I WANTED at this Walmart, but it serves it's purpose.
What I love about this Walmart is that no matter what time of the day or evening there is always either an open checkout lane or no more than one person in each line. Ahhh...nirvana in the form of shopping checkout. In Cedar Rapids the Walmart's have 40 lanes, at least 30 of which are always closed, and of those open 10, half are usually self serve. It's one of those things about life that I don't understand.

Well it is Sat. and I am lovin' it! Woke up to nearly zero visability with fog, I know it's bad out when I can't see the barn! That's clearing off now and the sun is peeking out here and there. It's about 66 degrees out and that little bit of fall nip is in the air. Love it, love it, love it!! I am definately a sweatshirt and jeans person. Unfortunately the weekend always brings chores and today it's laundry. Ugh. Hate it. I know that it spontaneously generates in the dirty clothes hamper because there is no way I have that many clothes! Oh well it beats doing dishes!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Check out my bestest friend Jean's website!
Her new puppy pics are posted here and they are so snuggly and adorable!
Ebbie's black boys are real bubba's--tons of bone and mushy faces--dang it I wish I was in the market for a boy!
Danni's babies are in one word: awwww....
I have at least 3 favs right now and can't wait to squeeze 'em in person.


Brain cell sighting! Brain cell sighting! Jam and I had a really good work out tonight. He did all of the novice obedience exercises, including a fairly solid long sit for just over a minute and a long down for 2! This is good news as I was convinced we had lost the brain cell capable of doing the figure 8 exercise. That cell miraculously appeared and then his long sit went out the window. Apparently both of these brain cells are on the same circuit and he had system overload. We are entered in Lincoln to give it a whirl in novice obedience in 2 weeks so I'm hoping to re-wire that circuit board in his brain and have all systems on hot standby! There's a match on Friday night before the show so I'm going to use that as a test drive. I figure if he can do heeling outside the cow barn with all the mooing, staring, stamping, slobbery, stinky activity AND pay attention outside the dog yard with the rest of the crew running and barking and generally being obnoxious, he can pay attention to me in a fairly quiet obedience ring. But then, this IS Jam we are talking about.
If we can manage a leg of his CD I'm going to put him back in rally excellent--yes, yes I know my friends, I know what you are thinking, but he can do it. I want that RE on Jam, it earns him the last point he needs for his AWCA Versatility Certificate. I have visions of a CDX but am realistic and just am not sure I won't explode his brain trying that one! :-)

Monday, September 21, 2009


Poor Trace. He has a pretty rough life.


Poor Bella--she finally has a name! Okay,okay, we all know she is Bella, I knew from the moment I was told I could get a Beli puppy that she would be Bella. Bella also thinks her name is Izzybella, Bell-Bell, BlueBella and Quit Digging. Which she has, sort of, kind of, for about 2 days anyway. As of today she has her full registered name: Cornerstone's Aqua Blew In Town. Kind of a play on her waterdog activities (aqua), her color (blue) and the fact that she's "New In Town" having come the distance from Florida. Anyway, it's unusual and that fits her to a T.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Whew what a night! I was out working the four legged kids when three of my landlord's kids showed up. They really love the dogs and this used to be the house they lived in before they moved to the other farmstead. First to back track a bit I was shocked the first time I saw Josh driving a tractor, the truck and now the gator, because he's like 10 years old. And I think he drives better than I do! He's the oldest and brought his sisters Hailey and Olivia with him. It hink Hailey is around 8 or 9 and Olivia is 5ish. There's another brother at home, but he's around 3ish, so I guess he was with mom. Anyway, they provided much needed distraction work for the "boys". Jam got to practice his stand for exam with the three of them playing judge. For Jam this is hard work! He adores, ADORES, Olivia and the feeling is mutual. So standing still for her to be the judge about killed him. He also did some nice attention work on his heeling and figure 8's with the kids running around and calling his name and such. Then the kids asked if they could take some dogs for a walk. I've let them do it before and it is absolutely the cutest thing. Jam goes with Olivia (of course), Josh loves Trace and Hailey took Dora. She wanted to take Bella because she had spent the whole time playing with her but I explained that Bella wasn't a well behaved walker--understatement! So off they went and I worked Harold. Poor Harold, he had to do his workout in the field with the kids and the other dogs running around. But true to Harold-fashion he was focused on me. Olivia took Harold for a test drive after Jam pooped out on her, but gave up when he wouldn't pay attention to her.
I'm not really a kid kind of person. I actually do like having them around and spending time with them when it involves the dogs, but have had no itch at all to ever raise them. Raising the furry kids is hard enough and no one looks at you funny when you leave them in a crate or put a training collar on them. Funny thing, human services frowns on doing those things to human kids. ;-)
So I had a great time tonight, even though I didn't accomplish everything I wanted to, the extra added distraction work and "judging" was a nice change from how quiet it is to train around here. Usually the most commotion is the barking and running around of the other dogs and the mooing of the cows. Although, I have had much success in using the cows as distraction for long sit and down work.
Well back to the grind, I have another 1000 word essay due on Sunday and will be spending part of the day with my Aunt Judy, so I'd better get at least the outline done, huh?
Until next time...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Those Ugly Brown Dogs...

"Jam" (Ch Oak Knolls Strawberry Jamboree, RA, CGC) and "Spice" (Oak Knolls Pumpkin Spice)

My first Collie was smooth and blue, my second smooth and tri, third-smooth and blue, fourth-smooth and tri. Do you see a pattern? I had never wanted a sable smooth, I just did not like the look. Riley (Am/Can Ch. Wild Wind's After Midnight) changed that as he became my first sable smooth, but I did not want another and if I was going to have a sable it would only be rough and only be a nice dark mahogany shaded sable.
So what do I have in my yard? Sable #1 Jam--smooth and sable and probably the best temperamented Collie I have had, ever. He gets along with any and all dogs (okay, he doesn't really LIKE Bella but at least I never have to worry he will eat her), is the clown of the group, keeps a karma-like balance in the pack and has become my best buddy. I don't think about going places without Jam even though sometimes he has had to stay at home--and let's just say, he hates that! Jam does not appreciate being treated like a dog, he doesn't "DO" outside, the kennels and only barely tolerates the floor. He is a couch and/or bed dog and must be treated with the respect due his position in life. Yea right.... So Jam and I have had our ups and downs in training and showing. I knew he wouldn't be an easy dog to train, I saw him show in the breed ring, but I knew in my heart he was a performance dog at heart and we could come to a working compromise. Which means of course that I compromise and he gets cookies. :-) He's earned his RN and RA and his CGC, and I know that most people think we won't get any further, but I am bound and determined to move forward. I'm stubborn that way. ;-) And now I've just dumped a bunch of bucks into three upcoming shows for more humilitation, uh I mean, competition. Before we go into the ring I may need an adult beverage and/or a tranquilizer and he might need to have cotton stuffed in his ears to keep his brain from floating away.
Onto Ugly Brown Dog #2, Spice. Okay, it's mostly my fault on this one. I wanted a Shortcake puppy and said I would take any color and any coat as long as it was a girl. This was the only girl in the litter so she came home long hair and all. She's not really an ugly brown dog, she's actually an ugly brown spotted dog (sable merle). :-) Now some people, including myself at various times, have stated that Spice doesn't seem all that bright. I have to agree with Amy on this one, I think it's an act. Because she gets what she wants. Of course how do you say No to a dog that is so sweet, so loving and so self absorbed? She still goes to the mirror every day and looks into it, cocks her head and fluffs herself. Not to say that Spice won't get dirty. I will relate the last cow herding adventure in a later post. Needless to say, she has plenty of herding drive and I attribute only about 10% of my current gray hair population to her cow adventures. Can you say-no more off leash for Miss Spice? Spice did me proud a few weekends ago and picked up her first point and her 2nd BOVwin. So as with Jam, I've just dumped a bucket of dog money into a couple of shows for her before the end of the year. She is due to come in season in Nov. and if everything drops into place she'll be having the first litter of Collie puppies that I've had in 6 long years.
Ugly brown dog #3 is Harold. I'll tell Harold's story in another post too. It deserves a whole post in and of itself. He's a special dude. Of course he is actually what I wanted in a sable, he's rough and he is going to be a dark sable. Best of all he loves to work and loves people. He's earned his RN and will be joining Spice, Jam and me on the road the next couple of months working on his rally titles. Do you see the pattern of where my extra money goes? :-)
I have one tri smooth Collie in the house, the rest are all brown. I had to get Cardigan Welsh Corgis to get another tri and another blue in the house! I hope this doesn't mean my next CWC is an ugly brown dog.
Until next time...

Monday, September 14, 2009

I never grow tired of this view. I grow tired of the 1 hour one way daily commute to work, especially the drive from the highway down Mt. Vernon Road to the office--it's the pedal on the right people and it makes your car GO, and I do complain alot about the mowing involved. But after 14 months of living the country life it's definately become part of me. This is the view from Aug. 2008, the landscapes pretty much the same, just add in a few pieces of agility equipment and we had to move the fence in few feet after the semi couldn't make the swing this past spring to pick up the cows. I'm hoping that by next year at this time that far area across the drive will be split into a couple of areas, one for the agility play things, the other for more dog running areas. I was thinking about putting some goats or sheep over there, but found a better spot closer in--although my motto is "either a rider mower or sheep" because I am NOT push mowing all this again next year. But as you can see, it's pretty remote, very peaceful and both the dogs and I are enjoying it immensely. Now if only there was a way to transport myself to work in 60 seconds instead of 60 minutes...

Sunday, September 13, 2009


So here is a picture of Bella, by DC Cornerstone's My Dear Beli, HXAsd, HXBs. HRDIII-s, HTDIII-d out of Cornerstone's Sing A New Song.
First, I'm trying another new blog. I updated the XP version and the Internet Explorer version on the computer last week so I think this will work where before it didn't want to. I'm so bad about keeping up on the computer maintainance (just ask Jean) but was forced into it when St. Leo University moved the e-college classes to a new server and I couldn't access any of the tests for my writing course. For those of you wondering, nope, I doubt that taking this writing course will improve my blogging skills as it's designed for research style papers, but I will strive to at least make somewhat of an attempt at being less wordy. Hahaha!

Okay, onto news about the littlest one at Maiwae, Bella. She is 5 months old now and has firmly placed herself into the pack. Trace tolerates her but really isn't impressed by her. I'm sure that will change once she comes into heat, but for now he finds her less than amusing. Jam can't stand her either, she's very pushy about sucking up to him and unless she's going to offer him a cookie, well you know he could care less. Her favorite "tricks" are dig a hole under the kennel run so she can bounce from one run to the other during the day and my personal un-favorite, curl herself into a ball in the water pan and then lay in the dirt trench she dug along the sidewalk. Perpetual motion and perpetual mud.

I've held off with announcing much more about her for various reasons but figure since I know she's a keeper it's okay to do. She doesn't have a registered name yet because I am having a terrible time figuring out something that truly fits her. Her daddy is the first CWC to earn a DC and has multiple advanced herding titles and when I found out that he was siring this litter I knew I had to have one. My heartfelt thanks to Jean for connecting me to Rita Hellegers and working on my behalf so Bella could come to live in Iowa and to Rita for sending her to me. Bella has loads of prey and play drive and I cannot wait to see what she can teach me.

Bella will likely not make her ring debut until 2010 as the show season for me is winding down, the "Boys" (Jam, Trace and Harold) are all working this fall on obedience and rally and Spice is due in season in the late part of fall with, fingers crossed, puppies in early 2010. More on that later.