Monday, November 23, 2015


Looking through blogger photo albums I came across this older photograph.  Did you know this photo was edited and used for a book cover?

For some bizarre reason that feels more impressive upon stumbling across the photo now, than it did at the time.   The book is a romance novel that revolves around a lady and her LGD's who arrive at an Idaho ranch to help protect some sheep.

The book is The Other Side of Hurt by Judith Schiller.   It is only available as an ebook right now and can be found on Amazon and I think on Smashwords.  It's a good and solid story and a fast read, and the dogs are key to the story.

The author and I connected during the writing of the book and still stay in touch due to our shared connection of the dogs and writing.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Evening Gather of Sheep

A typical scene on an evening gather for night penning (photo taken last week).  We have traveled the prairie land behind us to check for any wayward animals, meanwhile the ewes begin to head in. 

There was a break in the cold weather this weekend and I spent the time working on a couple outdoor projects I'd really like to accomplish soon.  The first is building new shelters for the livestock guardian dogs.  I have three of them done and material cut for the fourth.  I managed to make these with material on hand - including wool for lining.  I’ll take a couple photos in the near future and share what I did.

The second was removing wire along a stretch of fence in the area where we are going to winter the flock this year.  The fence line runs right along the south side of a long, and generous, L-curved, bush which will shelter the ewes well this winter, especially if they can tuck right into it on that South side - which they can if we remove the wire.  We want to remove that stretch of fence next year and re-route it anyway.  Removing wire turned out to be one hell of a job though.  I thought I’d be at it for a couple hours but it took most of the day and I’ve still got two wires to go.  Rolling up high tensile wire is the pits.  That wire has amazing strength and memory of its curl. 

The stock dogs hung out with me all day while I tackled the fence job.  They’re all sound asleep now - it’s a quiet evening of contentment here.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

White Dog Duo

Lily has annoyed and charmed Oakley into playing with her.  Fancy that these two are the only two white dogs on the place right now - our white dog duo.  Nice to see the dogs playing, a sign that they're well rested and not over taxed with working. 

(Photos taken a couple days before snow arrived). 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Coming Off The Easel

A couple pieces have come off the easel recently.  Recall this piece from a week ago - it was giving me trouble at the start...

... here’s what it turned out to be.

I’m not sure on the background, I had it in mind to do something to it but now I kind of like the bright blue so long as the background is minimal, like I have it cropped in this photo.  On the original the canvas is a larger size and the blue is too much.  

The other completed piece is another needle felted one although I can’t share it with you just yet as it’s a gift for someone and I also forgot to take a photo before it left.  When it’s received I’ll ask for a photo!  It is a good piece, one I really wish I had a photo of.  I also touched up the Kelpie sketch and sent it off to the lady who took the reference photo.  A productive week.

We received a blast of winter weather a couple days ago, and our landscape has been transformed into a winter white one.  I’ve officially settled into the studio again - just when I have to leave it.  I’m traveling for meetings next week.  I plan to do a post or two while I’m away, but we’ll see what I manage to figure out while on the road.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Stock Dog Story

The comments about seeing a Border Collie photo got me thinking how I've never shared the  early story of the stock dogs.  I do have a Border Collie, in fact I have two and a half Border Collies.   The Border Collie in the post Let's Just Sit For A Moment, and the Just Watching And Waiting post, is Jayde.  Jayde was the go-to dog for several years and is mentioned often early in the blog.  She and Cajun have tackled many jobs with me.  She is ten years old now, although it is not her age that slows her down, it is swollen joints.  She is semi-retired from stock work, meaning occasionally I give her short jobs to do but don’t ask her to work long days or do long gathers.  She joins us in all the other activities though, surrounded by Kelpies and all. 

The other Border Collie, Fynn, is fully retired to the couch, he is thirteen years old but is in better shape than Jayde as he did not work nearly as hard as she has in her life.   When we moved here eleven years ago, five dogs made the move with us.  Fynn was the youngest dog of that pack. 

The next oldest dog in that pack was a Border Collie cross we adopted from an animal shelter - that dog, Chance, was the reason we bought our first five sheep.  At the time this place was a crop farm one end to the other.  That dog and those five sheep ended up being the leverage for a lot of changes here (hence the name Dog Tale Ranch).  I started teaching Chance and Fynn on the sheep, or trying to.  Chance loved it, Fynn enjoyed it as long as no one got upset and stressed him out.  The moment things looked dicey though, he’d leave you high and dry to move sheep yourself. 

Fynn is now the oldest dog of my current pack, and out of that original pack of five, he is the last dog  who is still with us today.  Jayde arrived a couple years after we moved here, when we were changing over from crop farming to raising sheep.  I wised up and bought a trained, started dog to show me the ropes of sheep work.  Cajun (a Kelpie) came along about three years later.

Oh, and the half border collie - that’s Coyote Mic, she is a Border Collie / Kelpie cross who looks like a Kelpie.

While I have leaned in the direction of the Kelpie in recent years, the door remains open for the right Border Collie.  I love both breeds and I love that I have experienced both types of dogs and amongst them, dogs with such different working styles.