Sunday, July 31, 2011


The dogs get free run of the farm about twice a day, in small groups so I can keep track of who is off doing what.  It never fails that at least some of the dogs head out to the cows.  After all they are herding dog breeds.  Two of the younger dogs are usually the best behaved around the stock and are easily called away.  Charlie just turned 8 months old and is just starting to really show interest in stock.  He can wiggle his way under the gate and up until the past few days has mostly spent that time nosing around and eating cow poo.  The cows pretty much ignore that behavior.  Trace has shown mild amusement at the other dogs and their various approaches to the cows.  Most of the dogs have had exposure to livestock or are in herding lessons, and for the most part ignore the stinky things.  And yes, for the record, when the wind is just right and especially in all the humidity, they stink.  You get used to it, but they stink. 
This early evening run brought surprises in the form of Charlie AND Trace picking out cows to stare down.  Followed by going into the pen and backing the cows off and then into the other part of the yard.  The cows for the most part just mosey on, but there are a couple of really crabby ones in there, an angus and a brown one (yea, I'm not up on my cow breeds).  The brown one challenged Trace and he went after the cow's nose and when the cow turned he grabbed a leg.  The cow took off and Trace seemed very pleased.  I almost hyperventilated.  I decided to praise him effusively instead of reprimanding him given that he called off once I said "here".  I ran to get the video camera and found out the batteries were way LOW--dang it!  I did manage to catch a couple of short clips, but missed the really good stuff. 
Trace is headed back to herding lessons ASAP!  Such a good little short dog! 
Until next time...

Saturday, July 30, 2011


There's a whole lotta nothin' goin' on here.  Oh sure, the daily chores, the ever present lawnmowing project, the Iowa Amazon (aka garden), but other than that, not a whole lot to be said really.  Beijing and I have been working steadily to train for his upcoming attempts at both this BN and CD titles.  Once he completes those titles he'll be heading back home.  I have attempted to make John forget he left Beijing here and was hoping he wouldn't request him back.  Yea right.  I am only placated by the promise of a Beijing baby down the road.  :-)
Some of my best laid plans for the summer kinda went south with the addition of the rescue Collies.  I put a few of my dogs on the back burner to get the others housebroken and some general manners.  That's been accomplished and now that all but 3 are spayed/neutered they are all officially available for adoption.  Now, I move on to my dogs.
Jam is an unbalanced dog with 2 BN legs, 1 U-RO1 leg and 1 RE leg.  Apparently my "puttering" has affected my ability to complete titles before moving on because now all he need is to perfect his stays and Jam is off to the CD ring.   Spice is also off balance with 1 BN leg and is actually ready (again) to attempt that CD.  With Spice it's always a tweak this, tweak that, try this, try that type of training.  It would have helped the poor girl if her mom didn't try and do trials before the dogs were truly ready.  Bad dog mom.  Then there are Harold, Reid and Trace just waiting in the wings for more rally and perhaps trying that BN.  In reality Trace only needs a solid stay and he's ready for CD work as well.  Reid is back in WI teaming up with Sahra to work on his BN--thanks Sahra! I've been dabbling with Declan and Charlie towards those RN titles.  But I'd like to get some more points on Declan before I switch gears and put that money towards rally.  Fingers crossed--it's 5 pt majors in Albert Lea--I'm not greedy, I'd settle for one--hahaha!   Charlie can't do anything until I get him registered.  He has a ABCA registration but I need to get him done in AKC and UKC.
If everything works out I'd also like to get Spice's U-CH and an Int. CH on Harold this year.  Hopefully as the rescues get adopted out I'll have more time to work with my kidlets and make some things happen.  But at the end of the day, with or without titles I sure am blessed and very happy to have the crew that I have. 

So while there is a whole lotta nothin' going on, there is a whole lotta too much going on as well.  No wonder I'm tired.

Until next time...

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Yes I know--it is not my best side.  I treasure this picture of myself and Ben taken last year.  We had a blast at the zoo that day--this was taken during what I'm sure was an intriguing discussion of monkey antics. 


The Wal-Mart here may be one of the originals--you can walk from one end to the other in approximately 12.6 seconds--but the Fareway store is the best!  Again, it's not one of the newer and larger Fareways, but the employees are helpful and courteous, the meat counter is superb and they have the best deals.  I capped off my day with a trip to the Fareway armed with my coupons for specials on pop (6 - 12 packs for $10!) and found next to the soda, a special on Honey Nut Cheerios - 3 Family Size Box on sale for $3 a piece.  Yea, I have enough cereal to last me until 2012.  Yea!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


During a pleasant chat with my aunt this afternoon I had an epiphany of sorts.  We were discussing the heat (of course), the air conditioner's attempting to keep it cool and the fact that I haven't been outside for more than a few minutes since Monday.  The epiphany was more of an "oh crap".  Who loves the heat more than Sahra? ;-)
The garden.  Uh oh.  Thoughts of way too much produce by the weekend floated thru my brain.  I forced Jam out the door with me and went in search of vegetables. 
I call it "The Iowa Amazon" aka my garden plot.  Even in a good year I hate weeding.  This spring I had great intentions and did all the good prep work to keep weeds to a minimum.  Those good intentions ended up being only that I'm afraid.  There are weeded areas of the garden, just not the whole garden and definately not the pea bed.  Jam took a look, gave me his "no way" face and trotted off to dig around in his version of nirvana...the burn pile.  Let's just say I will never be afraid of being homeless and penniless.  As long as Jam is around I am sure he can dumpster dive with the best of them.  He's had three years of practice digging around looking for that one teeny tiny piece of edible whatever that was not incinerated.  Now back to the rest of our story.  It was a mess, but the garden yielded another round of yummy veggies.  I think I may have picked the last of the peas, the vines nearly screamed at me "Hey--we are COOL weather crop you idiot--turn down the thermostat".  I think I may have been a bit overcome by the heat, because the garden and I had a lovely conversation while I navigated my way through picking here and there.  I got to pick my first big cucumber!  Yea!  Beets, the peas, another mess of pickling cucs, a zucchini and because I am a klutz, three onions of really good size, because I stepped on them.  The landlords are on a short vacation since fair is over and the school year looms ahead and I was told to use up some of their garden so it doesn't go to waste.  Lettuce and carrots are courtesy of them for tonight's salad. 
After the success this year I have decided to triple my herb production for next year.  The chamomile has taken off and I harvested more flowers for the dog's herbs.  I think I may have enough to harvest to do some herbal tea mix to add to the Christmas bounty.  It's worth that trip thru the Iowa Amazon and so far--no snakes!
Until next time...

Monday, July 11, 2011


I have to begin with the fact that we had drenching rains and winds that rivaled the force of a jet engine on takeoff.  If I had been sleeping I may not have noticed anything at all.  But then again at the present time there are three storm phobic and two storm sensitive dogs living in the house which pretty much makes sleeping through a storm impossible.  Of course two of the dogs are in crates in my room and the other is loose, so make that definitely impossible.  I didn't get the opportunity to awake to a large Collie head panting in my face and shaking the bed because Pixie is on prednisone.  Bless her heart she made noise in her crate twice last night, once being the 4:45 a.m. wake up call, to be let out to potty.  This is when I saw the lightening and turned on the t.v. to flashing Thunderstorm Warnings right in my back yard.  Now that you know that bit of seemingly useless information let's talk garden.
Jam and I trudged out to the garden around noon-ish because I knew there would be zuchinni and peas ready again.  And you know those zuchinni, once they start growing they apparently do some weird vegetable mitosis and can reproduce themselves almost magically overnight.  Just a hint to my Minnesota friends going to the Lake Elmo show:  bring a bag or two, I'll be begging people to take produce off my hands by then.  But I digress (and often) the garden took a bit of a hit.  My poor peas were soaked and laying en masse around the ground.  This did not stop them from producing another pea harvest however and I am hoping this afternoon's warm weather will perk them back up.  A handful of the beets were totally uprooted so I picked those.  They are a bit small but it's okay, I'll put some of the tops in my salad.  Other than that the garden is thriving.  I'm still iffy on the beans.  The tomato plants are loaded now with fruit waiting to grow up and the peppers have oodles of flowers so my fingers are crossed for a them.  I need those different types of peppers, my onions and the roma tomatoes to do my salsa.  The zuchinni as predicted were there and I picked two and there are two more that need another day.  But no more or they will develop into baseball bats.  That is one of those magical zuch tricks too.  Oh and the pickling cucumbers are producing!!  Yipee!!  I cut some more oregano and chamomille flowers along with basil and sage to dry.  Next year I want to really expand that herb garden.  Did I mention my poor catnip died?  Yea, it was my fault, I pulled it up when I was weeding.  I was so irritated because it was doing great and I hoped to not only put it in cat toys for friend's cats for Christmas but it's also a great bug repellent plant.  Dang it!
Until next time...

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Sahra and John traveled down from La Crosse this weekend with Lolli and Gwen and I had a blast!  It was basically just a relaxing weekend with just a trip into the local farmer's market.  The best parts of that trip were the blackberries and pecan caramel rolls along with a successful meet and greet of two of the rescue dogs.  Hope and Joy made their public debut at the marketplace and were a hit.  It always surprises me when the first person that sees them says "oh look, a Smooth Collie".  Alot of people don't know what they are or assume they are shaved down roughs.  Joy was hesitant at first but caught sight of a kid and drug Sahra over to say HI.  With every kid she met she relaxed just that much more.  Hope was the one I was concerned about especially with her limited eyesight.  Once again I am proven wrong by a dog.  Hope was the social butterfly and all but turned herself inside out to see the booths, the people, the kids and oh yea all those people.  She loves people and attention.  They made a fantastic impression, we got to tell the story of the nine rescued Collies and I gave out some business cards to people that may consider an adoption.  One especially wonderful lady who just lost her old dog was interested in becoming a foster home and I can't tell you how much rescue organizations of all breeds need more foster homes.  For breeders it's a great way to give back to the breed we love and from personal experience I can say that the dogs give me back so much more than I give them. 
We got to enjoy a few of the pecan rolls while watching the full first year of NCIS on DVDs.  Yep, a marathon of Mark Harmon and forensics interspersed with long walks, shaving poor Kit's testicles (it's to keep him cooler) running groups of dogs in the yards and kennels and oh yea eating.  I love it when Sahra visits.  She cooks.  Nuff said. 
We also celebrated Beijing's birthday that is on the 14th.  Three years old and celebrated with a candle in a meatloaf.  Yep, the dogs had a good time at the birthday.  You can see pictures on the Allstar Collies Facebook page.  We managed to shove Beijing, Gwen and Trace into party hats and onto kitchen chairs at the table. 
Oh and the garden is starting to produce!  We had zuchinni, onions and pea pods sauteed with our own meatloaf.  And today we put my fresh thyme in the swiss steak.  I see tomatoes getting ready to ripen and definitely more squash and peas to be picked tomorrow.  Oh and got to harvest some of my German Chamomille flowers to dry for the dogs. 
Until next time...

Monday, July 4, 2011


Here are some photos taken by John Jola and his various assistants (me and Jean!) from the Hawkeye Kennel Club shows June 25/26th.







REID again - a pictorial of proper movement for those bloggers that need a remedial course in Collie Movement 101 

Sunday, July 3, 2011


Jam ate an unauthorized burger for his dinner.  He doesn't look one bit sorry about it either. 

Friday, July 1, 2011


I just cannot let the day go by without complaining about it being HOT.  I realize that I live in Iowa and that having summer days like these isn't unusual.  I realize that once the heat is gone and we are back in the winter deep freeze that I will complain about it being cold.  Perhaps it's just human nature to complain about weather extremes.  Are we just not happy unless it's perfect outside?  Yes, that is it. 
The alarm clock was set for 3:30 this a.m. in the hopes that the daily low of 77 would be here and the dogs could run for a few hours.  Not so much.  It was somewhere around 84 degrees with a 94% humidity level.  It sucked the breath out of me when I opened the door.  And there was no breeze to be felt at all, a strange event at the farm.  Dogs went out in groups for an hour each and then back in.  They are fed now and I'm going to move them to the kennels for an hour or so while I run to town for groceries.  I'm thinking popsicles. 
See, it was a few more than one word.  Until next time...