Friday 11 November 2016

And Dream of Sheep - Bet

Howdy Ho Everybodies!!

Oh I know, it's been such a long, long time since I've bloggity blogged and I do apologize for the lull.

The Musher took us all on a FABulous adventure that involved Timbits, chicken mcnuggets, and oodles of baa baa sheepy things!

I have absolutely no idea where we went but it was a long drive.

Musher... I have to pee again
And then we arrived at this magical place called Sheepcation!  Ok, actually it was Chris Jobe's place outside of Medicine Hat (although I didn't see any hats anywhere) and our whole merry band of Coolies were welcomed with open arms.

It was wonderful, relaxing, out in the middle of nowhere and chock full o' sheepy things!

Chris actually runs a business that trains us coolies to manage wildlife called Canine Solutions.

These particular sheepy things came armed... scary sheepie things... look at the one in the front, those crazy eyes!  This is certainly some wildlife that screams "MANAGE US".

I pretty much thought that we would hold meetings and planning sessions, maybe write a white paper or two, set some policies and procedures and set up a committee, but this was paws-on management style, and right up Zac's alley.

sneaky, sneaky herdy herdy, move along sheeps, nothing to see here
Since I'm much older and wiser, I opted for the paws-off management style of delegation and napping a lot.

Excellent work there Zac, let me know if you need anything that I can delegate to someone else.
Each day there were different challenges for the Musher and Zac, and for me as it's hard to find a decent cup of coffee and donut out in the middle of nowhere.  I'm pretty sure that part of management is having people bringing you the coffee and donut.  I wrote that up in my overall review of the experience, so I hope they improve on that part next time.

On day one is was a few sheeps, then more sheeps the next day.

Then on the final day there were 90 sheeps!!! NINETY!  NINE, ZERO!

That's a lot of sheeps!  The Musher was pleased with her performance, and even prouder of the amazing job Zac did.

Even the judges of Canada's Got Sheeps were amazed at the performance

Amazing!  Good form!  I gave them the golden buzzer thingamabob!
I was sorry to leave such a wonderful place

As we drove off in the sunset, I marked my calendar for the next time we could return and you should too!

Oh wait... you don't have a calendar?  Seriously?  If only you knew of a place to get a totally awesome calendar that you could not only write things in, but gaze upon equally wonderful and amazing things.  Perhaps a calendar that long time and very dear supporter Anne Trygstad says: " The photography is terrific, and it's so cheerful and upbeat"

Where could you possibly get such a wonderful calendar?


Clickity click right here to get your copy while you can!
Minions are standing by to take your order right now, don't delay!

Frankly, what with all of the wackiness and silly things going on all over, don't you want to gaze upon wonderful things that make you smile?  I know you do, so buy yours right now!

- Bet

Sunday 23 October 2016

2017 Calendars on Sale - Bet

Howdy Ho Everybodies!  See that biggie big arrow up there?

It's pointing to the tab that says 2017 North Wapiti Calendar and if you clickity click that tabby thing then it'll take you to the page that will let you buy your 2017 North Wapiti Calendar!

Isn't that easy!?!?  We like to make things easy, especially when it means you'll get to hang a little slice of North Wapiti on your wall and gaze upon us all year round!

Here's just a tiny taste of what you get to gaze upon in December!

Decorative fall leaves not included
So get to clickity clicking because supplies are limited.  Act now, operator Minions are standing by.

Oh, and North Wapiti patches are still available too, so get them while you can also, because once supplies run out... they run out, then there won't be any more, then you'll be sad, and we don't want you to be sad.  Don't be sad.

- Bet

Wednesday 19 October 2016

Need Help Ensembling! - Bet

Howdy Ho Everybodies!

I have a biggity big favor to ask everyone and it's SUUUPER important!

As you know, we all go for walks.  When I say all, I mean EVERYONE, practically.

As the wintery winter comes our way, it is getting darker earlier, and since our walks now resemble more of a herd, it's a little hard for the Musher to keep track of everyone.

This is how it looks:

Fortunately the FABulous people at Head-Lites have provided us Border Coolies and the Pretty Sled Dogs with these ultra blingy, totally handy, and wonderfully bright Head-Lites collars so the Musher knows where we are.

I'm purple, Zac is green, and Twig is pink

The problem is that none of the Head-Lites collars that we have will fit around the massively hugey huge necks of Cricket, Bear, and that big fat cat Bait.

Well, problem solved because those adorably wonderful Head-Lites peoples have offered to send us sizes that will fit them all!  Yes, they even have a size for that big, bloaty cat thing Bait (he's getting a small dog size... he thinks he's a dog... he's not a dog, seriously, he's not a dog).

Here comes the help we need.... what colors do we get them?  We want your choices, so in the bloggity blog comments, or on the Facesbooks, please go look at the different stuffs and things and then comment on what you think would match the furs of Bear, Cricket, and Bait!

Here's the linkity link for the collars... click this

Get commenting so we can order them!


- Bet

Tuesday 6 September 2016

This Is A Public Service Announcement.

This is Lily.....


Lily is a guardian llama. She guards the flock of sheep I've been working the last couple of weeks.

I don't like Lily. Lily doesn't like me.

Mostly I don't like the way she eyeballs Zac.....

Zac doesn't like her either.

Thankfully she is always locked away when we work sheep. Today though we were sharing a fence line and Lily was not happy about it ...... And hence my public service announcement....

When you see a llama make this face, you should not continue to take pictures .....

You should run!

It's about to spit .....

I could have lived my whole life and been happy not knowing that.

Thanks Lily.

This isn't over yet!

Wednesday 31 August 2016

What Goes Around Comes Around!!!

For my 17th birthday, my parents bought me a car. Well, they wish they had bought me a car, but what they did was give me $1500 for my first vehicle - mostly I think 'cause my Mom wanted her car back!!

Anyway, 17 year old, cowboy boot wearing, horse owning, country music obsessed me quickly talked by Dad into a truck. I had visions of something black and shiny but instead let him talk me into .... this.....

No, this isn't my exact truck - I shamelessly stole the photo from an ANTIQUE car web site *sigh*

I expressed my dismay at the colour and he assured me that we could paint it (we never did) and that it ran well was most important.

Regardless of that horrid colour, I loved that truck. It carried bales of hay and straw, saddles, friends and all sorts of other things.

After a few years Mom and Dad had concerns about it's reliability and derailed my plans to move out of the house by talking me into buying a newer, more reliable car.

I don't know that a '77 Camaro was really a 'safer' vehicle for an 19 year old, but I ADORED that car despite the fact that the gas gauge dropped as fast as the speedometer rose when you floored it at a stoplight (not that I EVER did that).

When Mark and I got married, we didn't have the budget to afford 2 cars, so the gas guzzling muscle car left us.

Over the years a variety of vehicles have passed through my life - mostly SUVs and minivans. None were loved like those first vehicles and, other then the dog truck - which really wasn't a everyday 'personal' vehicle - none a truck.

About a year and a half ago we traded in my little Toyota Highlander for a brand new Toyota Sienna. It really was a lovely van, well,  maybe for someone that lives in a city - not for me though.

My issues and frustrations with it were many - no offence to Toyota. We just weren't a good match. I was constantly having to jump start it due to the cold or leaving doors open to give airflow to dogs; having the wheels taken off to wash the mud out of the hubs and stop the shimmeying; swearing at the stow away seats that where so far in the back that you couldn't talk to a passenger sitting in them from the front seat; etc, etc, etc

It was meant to haul groceries and kids, not shedding sled dogs, muddy border collies, muddy bikes, heaps of vegetation for the garden, bales of straw and an assortment of other oddities.

After a shove from Mark a few weeks back (who was sick of me complaining about the van), I took the plunge and came full circle in my vehicle owning life. Yup, I bought a truck. She is beautiful, needs no paint, and has features 17 year old me could NEVER have dreamed of.

Please excuse the cat checking it out. We have discussed that. 
It's been a long time, but I think I'm ready to love again!!!!!!!

(PS. Thanks Mark - and I appreciate you breaking your left arm rather than your right so you could still sign and finalize the paperwork yesterday!!!)

Monday 8 August 2016

NorthWapiti's Wolverine

NorthWapiti's Wolverine
August 1, 2005 - August 8, 2016

Wolvie was certainly not the next dog I expected to be writing an obituary for. But kidney failure hit my handsome boy fast, hard and unforgivingly. What a nasty bitch of a disease.

Wolvie was simply a beautiful dog - beautiful in body, beautiful in his mind, and a beautiful worker. He did his job exceedingly well, without drama or fuss. I don't ever recall raising my voice at him or having to reprimand him for anything.

In 2012 he and I road tripped together to the US Siberian Husky Nationals in Utah and had a great trip. He was a perfect roomie and took everything (other then a cool bath that he complained loudly throughout) with complete professionalism. I was so very proud of him and pleased to have him 'representing' the kennel there.

A consummate gentleman and a great friend. I can't believe he is gone.

Sunday 31 July 2016

Blueberry Picking Time - Bet

Howdy Ho Everybodies!

I hope you are all out enjoying your beautiful weather, or hiding from the oppressive heat, or cowering from the flash floods, or whatever you are doing, but having fun or somethings... and stuffs.

We all went out for our ceremonial Blueberry picking festivities!!!

We ran, but the Musher rode her trusty fat bike... erm, that seems a bit harsh... her full-figured bike!

Twig:  Is this it?  I don't see any blueberries, are blueberries a vegible?

Because blueberries are tasty, tasty to bears, we go along to alert the musher if any bears come along.

Twig:  BEAR!!!!!
Bet:  No Twig, not THAT Bear, real bears

Twig: There's no need to yell at me, you just said "bear", and that's BEAR!

Zac: This is kinda nice... when do we herd the blueberries?

Bet: You don't herd blueberries, you just lay in the blueberries and keep an eye out for bears

Zac: There's one right there!

Bear: Did someone call me?  Is there food?

Twig: See, I told you there was a bear!

Twig:  Oooh, excuse me, must be the broccoolie
Zac: I'm not coming over there, stay downwind

Bet: Is ANYONE keeping an eye out for bears?  

Twig:  Yep, he's right over there

Bear: What?  Do you guys need something?  Did someone bring sandwiches?

Bet: Twig, go guard the bicycle, I'm going to go check on the Musher

Twig: I think I heard something... it might be a Bear!

Twig:  HEYYYY!  Where did everyones go??? I think I heard a bear!!!

Bet: Yes Twig... it's BEAR?! ugh, seriously?

Twig: Hey, what are these blue berry things?  Nom nom, hey, they're pretty tasty!

Twig: Nommy nom euuuw... Bear, when was the last time you had a bath?  Move, you're stinking up the berries!

Bear: That's not very nice, I was up guarding all night, I haven't had time to freshen up

So, the Musher picked some berries, Twig ate so many she's pooing blue, and Zac wasn't exactly thrilled with the whole adventure-less adventure.

I just went home and took a nap because ooosh, that's exhausting work.

- Bet

Friday 8 July 2016

Herding Trials as Explained by Bet

Howdy Ho Everybodies, and what an exciting time we've been having lately!

Normally in the summers, we just lounge around and wait for it to snow, but now with a house full of Coolies, the Musher has a warm weather thing to do!  Herding Trials!!!

Oh no!  Not that kind of herding trials, although those baa baa sheepy things do deserve to be put away for good.

I'm talking about the Herding Trials where we Coolies go out and make the baa baa sheepie things go where we tell them to go.  Full disclosure: after the movie "Babe" the baa baa sheepy things changed their stupid secret code, so that doesn't work any more... stupid movie.

Anyhoooo, where was I... oh yes, the herdie trials!

The Musher took Zac to a herdie trials thingamabob the other week.

Ok, I must admit that calling her "The Musher" when she's herdy herding is a bit weird, so maybe the Merder... um... that sounds oogie.  The Husher!

Ok, so the Husher took Zac to the herdie trials doohickey the other week, and since she's never done herdity herdy herding trials, she should have started out at the 'Novice' level, but Zac is a professional herdie herder Coolie, and he's been trialed at a higher level with his previous owner, Noelle Williams.  That means that they had to compete at the 'Pro Novice' level.  Wow!  No pressure there at all.

Zac assured the Husher that he had her back, and he sure did!

This is how the herdity herdy herding trials work:  You start off with 90 points (you may want to go get a calculator now), and if you make mistakes, they take points off.  The judge assigns an allowed time to get through the course.

Everybodies starts at the post.

Probably not what it looks like
The handler must stay at the post until the sheep have negotiated the second set of drive panels, after which time they need to move to the pen.

I have no idea what all that means, so let's take a look at the professional Husher drawing of the course, which I'm sure will make everything crystal clear.

Umm... are those rabbits?

Ok, how about a drawing with subtitles:

I'm pretty sure those are rabbits, but whatever...

Ok, so the first part is the "OutRun", where the Coolie runs out to the rabbits... I mean sheepie things.  The goal is to have the coolie run around and behind the sheeps without disturbing them.  Disturbed sheeps tend to flee willy nilly.

The goal of the "OutRun" is to run out, but not too far bendy and wasting time (lose points), and not too straight and freaking out the sheeps (lose points and sheep poo all over).  The Coolie has to do the outrun all by themselves, if the handler has to correct them... yep, they lose points.

The Lift is where the Coolie makes contact with the sheeps and begins to move them.  This is supposed to look like the sheeps up and decided to move on their own, perhaps a group decision to go get some coffee and croissant (as sheep like to do).

The lines that the sheeps move in is very important.  They need to move in a direct line between each obstacle.  Points are taken off for being off-line or if all sheep don't negotiate an obstacle.

After the lift, the Coolie needs to move the sheeps (with direction if needed) in a straight line to the handler, moving the sheeps through the Fetch panels.

The sheeps then need to 'Turn the post' going around the handler and in a straight line to the first set of Drive panels

Note - a sheepdog's instinct is to bring the sheep to the handler, so 'driving' the sheep away from the handler - or cross the field is a trained skill.

The sheeps go through first set of drive panels, across to the second set and then to the pen, where the handler will have opened the gate and waiting.

The sheep are driven in the pen and the handler closes the gate.

There are commands for each of those maneuvers, either by voice or a whistle.

So, the voice commands for all of that are:
"Away to me" - Circle counter clockwise
"Come By" - Circle Clockwise
"Walk Up" - Move straight on the sheeps
"Lie Down" - take a load off, hang out
"Time" - take your time or slow down
"That'll do" - basically a recall, stop herdy herding

The commands can be nuanced for more detailed instruction, like Awaaaaaay to me means wider circle, and bring me a laaaaaaaate means go get her a latte.

There are other types of trials that include a shed

Ok, not that kind of shed, a shed is where the Coolie has to peel off a certain number of sheep from the herdy herd that they're herdy herding.

A Double Lift is when the Coolie has to run out and get one group of sheeps and then go back and get another group of sheeps.

So, how did they do???

Very well actually for the Husher's first herding herdy herdity herd trial!

Day 1:

Day 2:

They did FANTASTICAL!!!!

And now for my favorite command:  Bucket!!

- Bet