Busy spring with some sadness

Spring is here.

The seagulls arrived several weeks ago and the ravens bailed soon after. Today the first Canadian geese splashed down at Cuddy Family Park. The Mallards have been engaging in boisterous duck sex for at least a week.

Bulbs are doing their thing. Ditto the rhubarb.

Tonight was week 11 of 12 for our Spanish class. Elizabeth still outstrips us in Spanish but we made a little headway.

Kate was honored with Select Bitch at a recent show for a 4 point major towards her Grand Championship. Very exciting as it was under Pat Hastings, a woman I greatly admire. At the same show a friend and I guided Mannie, 13 1/2 year old Cardigan, and Hefner, 8? year old Irish Setter, for their final show lap at the Parade of Retired Champions. It was bitter sweet. Kathy should have been there but was instead in the Emergency Room for Lou Gehrigs complications.

Smart Girl is showing her age – at 8 years old she is a positively ancient chicken. she hangs with the younger Partridges but never with the White Chanteclers. The White Chantecker rooster has been doing his mighty rooster thing with the hens so I expect we will hatch our first home grown White Chanteclers once its warmed up enough to let the broody hens have their way. They get so cross when I rob their nests. I’ve been letting the Chanteclers into the front yard so they can scratch up the dead grass as a kind of pre-raking. Bing and Kate are delighted with this arrangement as the hens kindly leave bite sized snackies for them. No kisses for awhile, thank you.

We bought a live 400+ lb hog from our sheep herding friends. Butchered and turned into a 257 lb carcass, with help, last Saturday. Hard work. Glenn at Glenn’s Wild Game is busy turning it into white packages of joy.

Elizabeth grows and grows and grows. It is difficult to convince our toddling whirlwind that she needs to be inside. She prefers to be out out out and who can blame her? The weather may be cool but it is oh so very beautiful.

Sheep herding has returned to the arenas. Bing and I sure will miss the open field work and I think the Shetlands will too – they liked being able to graze out of season. I think I heard Kate breathe a sigh of relief – she never felt comfortable without fences and would slink back up the hill, abandoning her flock, if I didn’t keep the pressure on her within her thresholds. My goal this summer is to build some more confidence in Kate and maybe earn another Q in HSA with her. She turns 7 in the fall so we have time. I don’t expect to advance to Intermediate with her – she doesn’t love herding with Bing’s passion.

I would really really like to get a handle on driving with Bing this summer. I haven’t entered him in Intermediate yet because he and I don’t have the same quality working relationship that he has with Suzanne. Problem is my talented High in Trial herding fool knows I’m an idiot compared to him when it comes to stock. Hard for him to do as I ask when I ask for the right thing at the wrong time. I am not worthy of Bing . He’s Q’d in Started 5 times (4 with Suzanne during the bad health summer of 2012, once in 4 attempts last summer when I returned as his partner). Clearly the human side of the partnership is lacking. If we can get driving down we’ll take a crack at Intermediate in July.

Scott got some of the transition strips installed in the never ending quest to bring our little house to a state of completeness. This summer we truly are going to finally get the trim painted. It’s a good thing we have aluminum siding. We would never complete all of our chores.

Sadness. Great sadness. Our good friend whom we met over 10 years ago passed away last month from complications of Lou Gehrigs. We met her when we were looking for a local breeder for Cardigans. She was a life changer thru Bing, our first boy with whom she entrusted us back in 2004. We’d been on her wait list for a couple years. He has taken us into new passions, new friends, and almost certainly guaranteed we’d not only become parents, but pretty good ones thru all of the things he has taught us. Kathy had a wicked sense of humor, simply didn’t play silly dog show games, generous with her knowledge and always glad to hear about an accomplishment. I had the distinct pleasure of putting a Pre-Trial Tested sheep herding title on her old boy Mannie when he was 10 1/2. She’d let me try him on sheep as a potential stud for Kate and he was a powerhouse. He earned his first Q after just 4 or 6 training sessions. What a dog.

She and I had planned a litter with her Lucy (Kate’s littermate) and an old school Rhydowen dog (Kentwood Rhydwen) and had just tightened up some of the loose ends before she died. We have talked it over with her husband Floyd and he is still game. So perhaps a last Wales Tails litter in Kathy’s memory later this year. My hope is this litter will bring me either my next herding partner or next conformation pup, perhaps both.

We are going to miss Kathy so very much. She was such a good friend.

Some pics in no particular order. Including one of the pig carcass – unless you are a strict life time vegan I want no hypocritical complaints about the pig.










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