Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Off In A New Direction

Okay let’s do this. 

The idea of mixing my artwork and writing to showcase livestock guardians, stock dogs and the sheep, was stirred up quite some time ago.  Animals and this lifestyle dictate and consume my days though and for the most part this a very good thing.  This lifestyle demands a fair bit of time and attention, yet because I live this lifestyle I have this lifestyle's perspective to share.  This has been the dilemma for several years and despite encouragement and signs that direct me toward pursuing artwork, I have put that off, waiting for the right time.  Then that radio clip I was thinking about on the walk to the bus, happened, and the realization that I’m just waiting for the right time because I’m damn scared to start something new, this artful something in particular, could not be ignored.

Changing this blog into something else doesn’t feel right and in order to pursue an art blog I feel I need a fresh platform.  Knowing I can’t keep up with a second blog I have decided to end this blog and start up the other.  I will remove this blog entirely in a few weeks time. 

I would love to have all you readers join me at the new blog but for anyone who wishes this blog would carry on, the Crooked Fences Newsletter is the perfect alternative.  The newsletter is a spin off from the ranching with sheep website.  Each month in the newsletter I recap what took place here on the ranch, share some personal musings and write about life with the dogs.  It’s free and when you subscribe it comes to your inbox each month.  You can subscribe here.

As for the new blog venture - well, it will be mainly artwork, with some photos and essay.  It will be more random, more about being and less about what we’re doing on the ranch.  In my artwork I create what I know so the subject matter will lean heavily towards the dogs, dabble in the sheep, and trickle through my thoughts about this way of life. 
                                           
Maybe I’ll see you there:  Dog Tale Studio


Sunday, July 26, 2015

Morning Ritual

The early morning hours and late evening offer a gorgeous cool reprieve from the heat.

This is a slice of my morning ritual.  Most times I head out with the adult dogs for a long bike ride or walk.  I return, drop off the old timers (the two border collies who are not in this photo), add the pups and head out again for a shorter walk that the pups can manage at this age.

It is kind of as peaceful as it looks; I rarely miss a morning walk.   


Sometimes I mix it up and take the pups with everyone right away.  That will happen more as the pups grow up and can keep up.  We don’t always walk the same route.  Sometimes we go down the road, sometimes we head out on a pasture trail. The route I take depends on where the flock is.  We go where the sheep are not.

In the evening I’ll gather the training sheep and sort them to work/train a couple dogs.  Then do a second short walk with everyone.  This is us hanging out in the yard afterward.

All the adults
and the pups too
[Hhmmn... The images look better in iPhoto, uploaded here they look a little blurry].   

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Kelpie Trio

They are becoming less ‘BJ’s pups’ and more their own little individual selves. 

We took the pups to the veterinarians today for their second set of vaccinations.  We survived. 

They are twelve weeks old and beginning to look like young dogs with an ample dose of puppy.  Given that we live in such a rural location, they really are like good ole farm dogs in that they don’t see much of the urban world.   We all had quiet a surprise when, while taking a short walk prior to our appointment, a little poofy, doll of a dog, escaped from his owner and came barreling down on us at full speed.  The poof dog got the scare of his life when three puppies, erupted into a ‘what-the-hell’ surprised and panicked volley of barking.  Poof dog ran right through us and under the nearest vehicle and hid.  At the time it was minor chaos for us and the dogs, but looking back it’s a tad funny, although the owner of the poof dog looked very shell shocked and I guess we probably did too.  One of the sagas of when country dog goes to the city. 

It is becoming more apparent that the pups need time apart.  They depend on each other too much and do things accordingly.  I’m just not sure how to handle that as it means doing a lot of things three times over.  It makes me question the choice to hang onto to the three of them until older.  Nonetheless, amidst the challenges are plenty of gorgeous moments of puppy, and this will net me some great (and maybe some tough) learning experiences.  All to be looked forward too.

BlackJack

Prim

Speed

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Day to Day

Allen and I are making good progress on the perimeter fence.  We have more posts pounded in the ground and we’re getting set to roll out another half mile of woven wire.  Allen is the only person I know who works just as hard, or maybe harder, in the heat.

On account of the heat and being busy, the days are melting into one another.  It feels as though one day has gone by when it's been three days since I posted.

I am still keeping Diesel free of his drag object during the day but wearing it at night.  This seems to be working although it is tough to know if the dogs are getting along or if the heat just has them sapped of energy and thus not interested in picking fights with each other.

The ewes graze early in the morning and late into the evening.  We hear them from the house, calling to lambs and talking to each other.  They repeatedly return to the weedy patch and to my amazement are nibbling on the thistles there.  The lambs enjoy a romp on a favourite slough side rock pile whenever the ewes are grazing in this paddock.  [I haven't been out with the camera for a few days.  I dug up a couple file photos for this post.  The scene is very similar today].






Saturday, July 18, 2015

Holy Dragonfly

If a lot of insects make you cringe, this post probably isn’t for you.

In this area of the prairie we are plagued with mosquitoes every summer.  We always notice when the Dragonfly's show up and enjoy seeing them (they eat mosquitoes).  But never have I seen them like this. 

This is at 5:30 am on a foggy morning and I’ve just headed out, walking the stock dogs.  There was a light cloud of dragonflies along this tree lined trail, however, I was amazed at the cloud of them that emerged from the trees a moment later, when birds flew through. 

Even though the air was thick with them, they seemed to lift as I walked through, not flying near me, and I was not bothered by them at all.  I don't like a lot of insects but these had plenty of space to be in and I stood, amazed at the sheer number of them.  I have no idea what their presence represents but hopefully it results in less mosquitoes.