Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Dog Day @ JP's. Getting loaded up to leave, and This %&#@! Truck!

In an effort to have the opportunity to get to see everyone and say my goodbyes before the move, I had planned a day this past weekend to get over to Julies place to visit and work dogs a bit. Sunday was predicting rain, but hey, sugar melts and shit floats, so I brought a life vest just in case and went anyway.

I didn't get there until about lunch time, so not long after Id gotten there, we decided to head over to the Backyard Grill.
Had to have one more of their famous Backyard burgers and some more of those wonderful crispy chips, cause chips, unless they come in a bag, are non existent where I'm headed.

Lunch was great as usual, good food, good friends, good service and good conversation is always a fine mix. Laura surprised me and presented me with the most lovely beaded lanyard.
The best I can describe the stone that is in it is to say it looks very much like Jasper, but what ever it is, you can sure enough see the dedication, and delicate, intricate work that went into its design. It is beautiful, and I will be proud to wear it and tell folks that my friend made it for me. That's the nicest thing about having it, I didn't buy it, but that it was made for me by a friend, with me in mind. Every time I put it on, for many years to come, it will not only remind me of Laura, but of our friendship, and the laughing and good natured joking we did at the grill that day. Oh, and the checking out the guys, seems we have similar tastes for men in uniform. LOL

Of course, after a hearty lunch and with a light drizzle setting in, we drove back to Julies with our desert grasped firmly in our hands, spoons at the ready, for yummy ice cream, and talked about taking a nap instead of working dogs. Ive always wondered if the Backyard grill doesn't some how slip a little some thing something in their burgers, as every time we go there, we leave there talking about wanting to take a nap, must be some pretty strong stuff to make us not feel like working dogs!

But, being the troopers that we are, we decided to work off our lunch by taking the dogs for a nice walk to the back 40 of Julies place. The dogs love the walk, although we humans are really the only ones that walk, the dogs are pretty much full bore the whole time, stopping only for picking up choice pine cones to entice us to play, and rolling in things that should be better left alone.

It never ceases to amaze me, but every time we do it, I am in awe of our dogs. Most times its more, but on this day, between the three of us gals, Julie, Laura and myself, we had a whopping total of 21 dogs, all running free together. A motley mix, of young and old, in tact, neutered, spayed, working dogs and pets, and never a fight or dispute. Everyone gets along very well. I don't think in any other dog venue Ive ever been involved in has that kind of thing ever taken place on such a grand scale. It just speaks volumes of how steady our dogs temperaments are and the caliber of training they have, as well as the respect that the dogs show to each other. How three people can control 21 dogs off lead and usually traveling swiftly past us in all directions is just amazing and so enjoyable to participate in. I love watching the dogs just get to be dogs, running in a pack, and enjoying just being a dog and doing dogie things.

When we got back from our walk, it was time to get serious, though we were still contemplating a nap, and get to work. I had brought Hank, Chris and Bear with me, and they know when ever they go to Julie's they are gonna get to work, so they were on the ready, and chomping at the bit to get after it.

First up was Hank, the big dog that does everything bigger. The round pen didn't afford him the room to do much, so much to my trepidation, we moved out to the big field with him. I should have known he could handle this, he works on my field and never looses his sheep. Hank is all about keeping them together and if one starts to squirt out, he is on it. Of course the first thing we noticed when we got him out there was that he has been doing way to much circling, as I had been concerned about a month or so ago, so he just needed to be shown that there are other ways of controlling the sheep, other than to keep circling them. My contention is that he is ready for more, and he can take a bit of pressure, so I'm happy to see that its time to move along with him and get him doing different things and mixing it up some.

Ever ready Chris was up next, Julie is able to get the most out of a work with Chris, or, Chris I should say is able to get more out of a work with Julie, so I asked her to handle her, and they did a good bit of driving, and I found out why I'm having such a problem with Chris returning to me on the drive when I talk to her while driving. It actually stems from me calling her back after I send her on an outrun, and if she doesn't kick out like I think she should, instead of stopping her, repositioning myself, and resending her from where I stopped her, I was calling her back and having her start the whole outrun again from my feet. Its the old OB training coming back to bite me in the ass. When you start something and it starts to get ugly, in OB work, you get the dog back, and start all over again in the same place you originally started at. Apparently this doesn't work so well with stock dogs as well as it works for GSD's. Live and learn eh?
We spent a really good amount of time, being as it was such a nice cool day working Chris, and I think she and I both learned a lot. Now if I can retain and utilize all that Julie and I talked about, it should get Chris and I back on the right path and driving much better. Julie gave me a lot of info in that work.
There was one time during our work, that I became very afraid for one of the sheep. It had run off away from the herd, and Chris took off after it, over a little hill up into a corner where we couldn't see her or what she was doing. I quickly called to Julie who was in my mind meandering up there looking as if she was in no big hurry, to hurry up and get up there, because I could just imagine Chris up there in that corner ravaging that poor sheep. Julie, didn't see the urgency, and just kept, much to my nervousness, walking steadily up there, seeming to be in no big hurry. Had that been me, Id have been running as fast as my chubby body could have carried me to stop the blood lust that Id imagined would be going on up there in that corner.
Much to my surprise, and appreciation, as well as jubilation, Chris chose to do the right thing in this instance, which a year ago, she wouldn't have been able to do, and here she came back with that sheep, all in one piece and no blood, fetching it back to Julie. I WAS BEAMING! I just wanted to hug some one! My little girl is finally "choosing" all on her own, to do the right thing, and that has been a long hard hurdle to cross. I couldn't have been more proud of her. That was a biggie for me to get to see and a big help in pushing me towards learning trust my dog more. what a reward for us both.

Bear, my wonderful Bear, was up next. I still cant say enough about how lovely this dog is for me. Every time I take this dog out to work, he makes me so proud. I am in awe of him. We make, I feel, a good team, and I just love working with him. Julie worked with he and I on outruns, he has always been a bit tight on his come bye, and she showed me how to get him straightened out on that and man he was doing some pretty outruns to the CB side within a few minuets! Little adjustments can make for some large improvements! Bear likes to drive,and so he got to do a bunch of that, which was pretty to see. He has such a lovely way with the sheep, plenty of quiet power, and he moves so stealth like around his sheep, He has a nice bit of eye, and style and is lovely to watch work. I think sheep like Bear, everything he does around them is nice and easy, so unlike Chris who can unsettle her sheep because she wants to do everything in high gear.
Two such different dogs, its hard some times to make the transition from working one to the other, so much to remember, such different methods of handling such distinctly different dogs. They both teach me so much every time I work with them.
Julie told me I should be running Bear in PN and that is our goal for this summer. I thought myself he was almost ready, but it was good to hear some one of Julie's experience say what I was already thinking.
Keep an eye on the trials out west. I have a feeling you'll be seeing Bear and I start to make our mark in the trialing world this year. He is a perfect dog for me, and I can see us doing well and working together for a long time to come.

OK. Now the truck. It must have some kind of sixth sense, and knows what needs to be done before I take her on the road for the long haul, because Bobby has been under that truck more in the last two weeks than he has had to be in the last three years! First, we had to plug a tire on the front passengers side. Then, we had to plug it again. It wasn't holding air, and we found two holes at two separate times within a few days of each other. Where the hell have I been driving to get two holes in the same tire in a week?!
Then, he changed the oil for me, and replaced the air filter, filled all the things that needed to be filled, greased and lubed everything, checked belts and we thought she was set to go.
Then, she showed me that last week she needed a new mid shaft bearing, so Bobby crawled back under there and replaced that.
Then yesterday, I called him from town and said, Riddle me this! What does it mean when the steering wheel starts to vibrate violently when in third gear doing about 35mph but that smooths out after ya get past 40mph?
His standard answer, can you get it home? Me, yea, Him, then get it back here and I'll drive it and see.
I got her home and he took her up the road, came back and told me it was a universal joint that needed to be replaced. Great. Some thing else! It sounded like a lot of work and an expensive part to me, but I am not a mechanic, so was pleasantly surprised to hear that the part only cost 15.00 dollars and Bobby could slip the old one out and a new on, in under less than an hour.
Its good that he is so handy. Gonna miss that little perk.

So yesterday, we got my trailer loaded, and I'm all set to go. Not much left to do, but visit with my daughter today and the grand kids, and I'll be on the road in the morning. As much as I look forward to getting back home. Its going to be difficult to pull out of the drive way. Leaving home and husband, no matter the problems we have suffered in our marriage, we are still good friends, actually, better now than ever, and we do still care for/about each other, and knowing this will be the last time I see him, well, it does tug at the heart strings, it wasn't always bad, we have lots of good memories, and I will miss him, I'm sure.

Its kinda sad to see, when looking at the trailer all loaded up and ready to go, that my entire life doesn't fill up a four horse trailer. What does that say about the gypsy in me spending a good portion of my life, drifting from one town to another, one relationship after another. About the non materialistic person I have always been?
My kid, my clothes, my horses and sheep and dogs, and a few boxes of memories. I guess as long as I have the memories, that's what must make me the happiest.
So, I guess here we go again, one last hurrah, to make a few more memories before finally settling down, with the knowledge that this is the last stop for me. Knowing that this last stop is where I have convinced myself that I need to quit making such bad decisions about the men I put in my life, and that its time to start laying down some deep roots.
So folks. Tomorrow morning, I'll be saying good bye to NC and heading home. Where I know in my heart that I belong.
Pray for us that we have a safe and uneventful journey, and make it home safely.
I say this with tears in my eyes, as I prepare to leave the good friends I have made that mean so much to me behind, the farm Ive come to love, the husband that should have been so much more that I know he is capable of, but to stubborn to change.
Trading the green, wet forests of NC for the high mountain desert that I call home.
For those that I didn't get to see before I moved on, know that you have enriched my life with your friendship, and I will cherish the memories and always carry the hope that some day we meet again.


Darci's Mom said...

I thought you were leaving on Tuesday. Enjoyed your blog, so proud of Chris. Damn truck! Thanks to Bobby 'she's' road worthy again. By the time you read this you will be leaving for "home". I have prayed to the Heavenly Father to ride "shotgun" for you (to be your Guardian Angel). Remember to not drive faster than your Angel can fly! Be safe my little one! I look forward to hearing from you, along your journey. I love you.

Dancing shepherdess said...

Have a safe uneventful trip. Take lots of pictures, stop and smell the roses a bit too. I am glad that you are going home, and I hope that you will have a spare room for visitors.
Safe trip chicky.

Jodi said...

Safe trip, and take your time. While I am sad for you for leaving NC, I am selfishly glad you're coming back out this way! You can prepare for your pro-novice debut with a run in our Novice trial in June. Heck, it's free, and you're mentioned in the entry form! I'll send it to you! See you soon!

Loretta Mueller said...

I am very excited for you to! I know it is hard but you will realize it was all worth it when you get home :)

Prayers to you for safe travels!!


Karen said...

Have a safe trip home Darci. I was glad to be able to meet you at Julie P.'s. If you feel like your load is too heavy you can drop Chris off here in Tennessee!

Darci said...

We landed in Knowxville Tenn. yesterday evening, driving is to much like work! Chis is at Julies right now, she has a late date with Robins Zac. I'll tell her to lock her up good and tight if she see's you comming! LOL Dont want an empty crate at the airport!

Laura Carson said...

Safe journeys, friend. I sure do miss you already.