Friday, October 31, 2008

Herding Cardigans

The past few days have been so fun to watch Cardis do their job. Herd animals!

My remaining four Pygmy goats have started to find NEW gates OUT of their pen and then come and go at will. Little to my knowledge! Most days when I would return from work I'd go and open the ONE gate I know and call them as they all come marching back into the pen, feeling obviously smug that they once again 'pulled one over' their owner.

Well I wanted them to take heed and pay attention. Enter Oliver. Wow were those goats mortified yesterday when they started heading to MY gate! I've never seen them run so fast and wow was the Oliver on them like stink on S*&)! Oliver also got to chase two calves back into the pen via the fenceline feeders and he couldn't believe i was asking him to move such big animals! he'd run towards them and they'd start to run, and he'd slow down and look over his shoulder and I'd say "Yes Oliver! Get 'em!" and he'd barrel after them again for a bit, and turn over his shoulder and make sure it was still 'ok' to chase them! He's so much fun!

Apparently though with all of Oliver's maneuvers and barking and working, the goats must have forgotten how scary it was as when I came home again today...they were out again.

Well ok, maybe ONE Cardigan isn't scary enough.

So today I let out the seasoned pro, Sadie, and just for fun Ell. It was Ell's first time herding anything and I KNEW she wanted to, but I didn't know if she'd be ABLE to. Well they both passed with flying colors and those goats were so shocked as to the tag teaming, they ended up being herded right to ME! Yup! Ell and Sadie worked those goats right up to me and actually the girls kept the goats RIGHT next to me all the way to the barn! Talk about an "easy, breezy, beautiful way to work goats!" I kinda like this herding ability thing ;)

Ell and Sadie did too! They worked when allowed to, held back when asked and didn't push or move too fast. All with zero training and a handler with no experience training or working dogs. WOHOO!

Photos from AI weekend

Hooray for photos!!


Here is Gail Former getting ready to scrub the ewe, while she watches Maureen Koch shear the belly wool. Maureen's brother Johnny is in the background trying to get out of the photo. NO SUCH LUCK BUDDY!

Theresa Gygi was the 'lab tech assistant' and thawed our 'little buddies' for us and made sure everyone went to the right ewe...thanks Theresa!!

Getting a better close up of Maureen and the serious business of shearing


Jeff Gygi (theresa's hubby) watching and waiting for Martin to get done so he can wheel the ewe over to me where he and I worked together stapling and spraying and injecting.



Another shot of Maureen, Gail and Johnny, with LeAnne Reichert (on the far left) and Carol Wagner (in the vest) joining in on the help


A better shot of Marin Daly of Super Sires doing the Laproscopic AI

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Maggie!



Forgot to mention with the busy weekend going on that Vermillion's Maggie May is now the proud mother of 11 puppies! Father is Olynmawr's Good as Gold (Dewi). There are 2 brindle boys, 1 brindle girl and 3 red boys and 5 red girls!

Maggie is the bitch that I co-own with Barb Peterson. Maggie was bred to Trudytales About Last Night (Fudge) this spring but she didn't take. She'll be bred next summer sometime to Fudge again hoping for black and white girls!

For more information regarding the puppies from Maggie's current litter you can contact Barb directly at scwt.cwc@gmail.com

I'll keep you updated!

More Testing!

I've been a testing fool the past few months!

I just got my certified results back for NORMAL - Thyroid in both Zoe and Ell! It has already been sent to OFA for their records. I can't find Zoe's CERF copy (it was normal) but have been in touch with the doctor who looked at her and I"m getting a copy sent to me. Both girls will have their CERF's done again next June and also there will be a Cardiac vet there as well to do their Cardiac. Then all that is left is hips/elbows!

Zoe also was tested to see if she carried the fluff gene as her mother does. She was unlucky to get the gene from her mother so she is a fluff carrier. Just have to be diligent who to breed her to. Ell's dad was coated so she is also a fluff carrier. While it doesn't affect their structure at all, its nice to know.

On another note, Sioux Falls dog show brought Ell RWB both days, one was on a 3 pt major, the other just a single point. Oh well. She is still so young, she's got a great future ahead of her!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Shetlands for sale

I have decided that after my micron results came back on the ram lambs that I will be offering WhitePine Lyons, the black/shaela ram, for sale. He has very nice horns, silky soft, very crimpy fleece and single coated UK style to it. He was a single born 4-5-08 and is overall my nicest ram lamb with horns of the year. I was going to keep him and use him for breeding but his father, Jazz is still softer than he is and Lyons cannot help in my fleece improvement program more than his dad Jazz can.

That is why I am offering him for sale.

He is out of Wintertime Jazz and Bono Creek Lavender Brown. He is 62% UK, F2 Jericho, F3 Drum Ram, F4 Drum Jings, F4 Jamie, F5 Gordon. He is registered with NASSA and can be found online. Lyons was the ram lamb I showed at WS&WF. Please email for price, photos and any more information you might need.

I still have WhitePine Rico, the F2 Orion F4 Lightning, F5 Holly, F5 Jamie, bersugget small scurred ram lamb available, also registered with NASSA. He is as soft as Lyons, but I am still waiting back on his micron report.

WhitePine Romeo is the tiny scurred black ram lamb out of FirthofFifth Barish and FirthofFifth Rahu. Romeo is an F2 Timothy, F4 Dillon, F5/F7 Greyling, F5 Lightning.

After much consideration, I am offering up several ewes that I had planned on breeding. If they do not sell, I will keep them and breed them.

Minwawe Sterling, a black krunet and 100% domestic lines. She was bred to Jazz this year and gave me an incredible spotted katmoget ewe lamb with perfect conformation, although she herself isn't perfect. NASSA registered.

WhitePine Denver, a black smirslet ewe lamb. She was born later and is not big enough to breed this year. She is also NASSA registered. Out of FirthofFifth Barish and Minwawe Dixie Cup.

I think that's it, although there could be more if you inquired :)

Monday, October 27, 2008

AI weekend

Well I"m back from a long weekend at our AI 'camp' at Paul and Carol Wagner's farm near Manitowoc, WI (near Lake Michigan). We did close to 100 ewes in eight hours and everyone's sheep were done within the time frame for the AI to be most fertile.

Unfortuantely we were unable to AI Bono Creek Lavender Brown as she had a lot of damaged tissues around her uterus and Martin could not get through the tissues to get to the tubes to insert the semen. She will have to be bred via ground breeding.

River Oaks Eliza had the sponge come out a day early and Martin said that we shouldn't run the chance of wasting the semen as she didn't seem 'receptive' to do the AI.

So I had 10 ewes AI'ed out of 12, and there were a few changes....since the straw from Lavender was already thawing, I had to last minute swtich FirfthofFifth Booto from Jamie to Orion.

So there were six ewes bred to Heights Orion:
FirthofFifth Booto - fawn katmoget F1 Timothy (all moorit based lambs expected)
FirthofFifth Evidence of Autumn - a mioget ewe (all moorit based lambs expected)
FirthofFifth Rooibos - fawn - (all lambs will be moorit based lambs)
RYL Rachildas - white ewe (all lambs will be white or Ag grey but carry moorit)
Underhill Peep - musket - (all lambs will be moorit based)
Justalitl Black Lambo - black - (all lambs will be black based but carry moorit)

The following four rams only had one ewe bred to each:
Campaign Timothy x Justalit'l Shasta Ag grey flecket smirslet ewe (all lambs will be black or Ag grey)

Willowcroft Jamie x RiverOaks Lucy - all lambs will be black based (possibly moorit if Lucy carries it)

Shirehill Minder x Underhill Ulla - all lambs will be moorit based and either katmoget or Ag musket

Greenholme Holly x Justalit'l Chloe - all lambs will be katmoget, either black or moorit and possibly polled.


I still have 10 straws left for a future LAI, with all of the above rams but also including one straw of Heatheram Lightning and just for pure curiousity, one Drum Jings straw. I know! TWO WHITE RAMS but I may or may not use them, only time will tell if the proper ewe presents herself to be bred to either of them.

Photos of the LAI helpers and sheep will be posted probably tomorrow when I have more time and some REST! Overall it was a great learning day and was great to see all my friends and to make new ones!

Micron reports in

My three own lambs that I sent to Yocom-McColl were a vast improvement on their mothers, when bred to Jazz. Although not as soft as Jazz, they are definitely softer than their mothers (who are both 5 years old).

Lyons, my sheala ram lamb was AFD 23.6, SD 6.7 and CV of 28.4, with fibers over 30 microns only 14.2. His mother was much higher so am happy with the improvement overall.

Centennial and Castle Rock were twin sisters of out Jazz and Justalit'l Chloe. great improvements on their mother, Centennial came in at AFD 25.1 5.7 and 22.7 with 16.4 % over 30 micron. Her twin Castle Rock was 25.7, 7.1 and 27.6 with 21.5 % over 30 micron.

I also microned the 4 ram lambs that I got this summer. Burma, the natural colored ram lamb came in at 26.9 AFD, 7.4 SD and 27.9 with 17.9% over 30 micron.

The polled moorit gulmoget ram Barkley microned at 25.6 AFD, 4.8 SD, 18.8 CV and 13.3 %> 30 micron!! Quite nice Juliann, but unfortunately I lost him.

The two UnderTheSon boys although very correct structure (including nice big horns) microned higher than I hoped, but lower than expected.

Arapaho microned at 26.7 AFD with 6.3 SD and 23.6 CV with 25.9 %>30 microns.
Mohican the fawn katmoget was 26.6 AFD, 8 SD, 30.2 CV with 27 fibers %>30 microns.

None of the above ram lambs are softer than my two yearling rams, Barish and Jazz. I was hoping to use all the Shetland boys on my girls this fall, but will now probably only use Jazz and Barish again as they are finer fleeced.

The boys above, while their conformation is stunning, will not help create finer fleeces with the ewes I was planning on putting them to, however would be vast improvements over most of the other flocks that I've seen around the country.

I will maybe hold the ram lambs over until spring and retest as yearlings. There may be a select few ewes that I feel are soft enough to put under the rams, hoping that the ewes fleece traits come out the stronger type, but that's yet to be determined.

Back to the drawing board........

Friday, October 24, 2008

Oh Eliza!

We trudged out to the barn this morning in the wee hours of the night, in the rain and in the fog and in the dark......to pull sponges on ewes. I've been diligently watching the girls and they've all stayed in.....This morning I'm going through the girls, pulling sponges, giving hormones and we come to ELIZA and there is no string.....so I reach in a little bit thinking it must have gotten sucked up in there and nothing. Then dad finds one right in front of the feeder and exclaims...."well this can't be it". Yup it was. All the other girls had their sponges in. So it had to of happened in the last 18 hours because I fed them before going to dog class last night and everyone's sponges were in. I"m taking her with anyway and Martin is going to check her out, but it doesn't look good. What a bummer!

She'll probably get put with Jazz then this fall when I put the breeding groups together in a month or so. She'll have to wait her turn for the NEXT AI, and hopefully by then we'll have new rams imported to use! I guess she didn't want to be AI"ed this year. D'oh!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Mac Attack

Mac was only supposed to be here for socialing for a couple weeks. I mentally prepared for that idea and didn't want to get attached. Mac has an amazing personality. Very outgoing, loving, inquisitive and loves to be scracthed, played with, talked to or to investigate anything electronic..he loves watching the printer and the paper coming out...he just can't seem to grasp it ;)

Mac was a show potential puppy and I took him to Puppy Kindergarten and Conformation classes. I told Barb that since I was still trying to show Sadie, that I could show Mac also since I was already going to the shows.

Mac now has 7 minor points.


Mac is shown fresh from outside and its been raining so no grooming has occurred. He also WAS stacked but since I live alone it has to be 'as good as it can'.
Mac has a very pretty outline and level topline, nice angles in the rear and nice bone. He has a very straight shoulder, which is why he walks wide when coming and which makes him look like he has a short neck. Fronts are a bear to get right in Cardigans because of the dwarfism so no front is really perfect (that i've seen anyway).

From the front Mac looks pretty good. This photo makes him look really leggy but I think he has the right amount of leg.

He is now co-owned by Barb and myself and will be looking for his forever home if its not here. He'd be wonderful I think as a therapy dog and needs something to do like obedience or agility. He loves to please.

I'm not afraid to show photos of both fronts and sides of my dogs and welcome any suggestions or comments. Its a great way to learn about the breed and to see what is out there. You don't see many photos of Cardigans' fronts and its a shame.

The Big 'O'

Oliver came to me all the way from Finland. He and his brother McCoy made the journey over here and after a heart failure (from me) as they didn't arrive on the flight they were supposed to, our friend Cindy, found them on another flight and picked them up in Chicago. She kept them for a week or so and then they headed off to McCoy's mom's place for about a month until I could go down to pick him up. We hadn't decided yet who was going to get which one, but I always like Oliver better. I think it was because of his head. While his planes aren't level I was drawn to those big eyes, and huge ears and the overall look of him. I'm glad that he was the one that was coming to me.

From the minute I first saw him (he ran into the kennel when I came to the xpen to great him) he had a soft temperament. No one will ever know if he was like that in Finland, if it was the trip over, or his stay at the other houses before he came to me. Since he can't talk I guess I'll never know but I spent a small fortune on trying to get him well socialized, having him take week long trips to other people's homes and places of employment, taking him to the bank, the feed store, everywhere I went. He has the exact opposite personality from Sadie too. Oliver doesn't like new people, but he loves the ones' he knows. Even if he hasn't seen them in a long time. He is my lap dog, and is always trying to get onto my lap, and at night he shares my pillow and lays watching me. He's such a great dog that way. He also loves to play ball and is the fastest and smartest dog when it comes to finding the ball. I can't even spell it anymore as he knows what it means!

Oliver due to his shy temperament wasn't working as a show dog. His front really never turned out and after his brother was found to have HD at such a young age, we xrayed Oliver and he also had mild HD. He was neutered. He also had no contract and no guarantee so I was out the small fortune. The money wasn't the biggest deal, but there were high hopes for him considering his prestigious pedigree.

Now Oliver is another performance dog, but he excels at obedience and rally. He has received his RN in three days, three qualifying scores. He was the first title on a dog (getting his RN before Sadie's NAJ).

Oliver worries a lot. We've tested his Thyroid, its normal. I've increased his food and changed it a few times and I cannot get him to gain weight. His heaviest he was 34 pounds and I think he was a pudge then, so I think 32 or so would be ideal. He is currently 28 and I can't for the life of me get him to gain weight. He doesn't have worms and eats like a pig. He's very active and runs constantly in the backyard. He is my watch dog and alerts me to when there are new cars coming down the road.



Look at that pretty head and neck. A gorgeous red brindle color.



I think his back is roached because of his hips and having to compensate for the lack of socket. I'm having his hips redone for OFA just to see if there is any difference and if they have gotten worse.



His chest just never 'came in' and he appears wide because of it. His front right foot turns out a lot (I've seen quite a few Cardi's that if they have one that turns out more, its usually their right one..any idea why?) and his nails get wore down more so on that foot because of it.

He is my fastest dog. He runs like the wind and I can't believe he has HD (no clinical signs) the way he runs.

He's my buddy and an amazing sheep herder. If I ever have sheep out he takes to them like a duck to water and moves them beautifully.

Both he and Sadie are going to the national next year to do their herding instinct tests (which i know they'll pass) and Oliver will do rally or obedience there, and Sadie will do agility.

Up next. Mac!

Sadie Girl

Sadie was originally a show puppy. After her accident she and I proved that we 'rise from the ashes' so to speak, and win again. We did, back to back days in Shakopee. After those shows Sadie got a 'mental' issue where she would walk and act normal around or outside of the ring. You walked through the picked fence to the ring and she'd start limping. It really was a sympathy ploy I think. NO matter how much running and jumping and streching we did outside of the ring or prior to the ring, she would fake it. She was excused twice from the ring for being 'lame'. She sure was LAME trying to fake it!

Since then we have gone on to AGILITY! Yes you read it right. She sure isn't sympathy limping now, but I KNOW she really loves to run and jump in agility. Its her calling and I think ultimately what she enjoys the most. We even got our first agility title! NAJ! We typically had been jumping 8" and her third leg was moved up to 12" as she was a bit hefty then and the lady who measured her said she had a 1/4" of backfat on her withers (she was a 1/4" over 11") Sadie also has her CGC.

When I am at home brushing or blowing coat, grooming or doing nails, I do ALL my dogs so as not to have any 'favorites' or to leave anyone out. After I had groomed Ell and Zoe and did their nails it was the Princess' turn. She really glared at me so the photos I got were of her looking AWAY from the camera mostly as she didn't want to be on the table. *sigh* Silly girl.


I have always had a special place in my heart for my first dog. She's my heart dog and nothing will ever change that. IF she were still in conformation events I would have to say that her biggest fault would be her high rear. And yes, it was like that before her accident. Just check her show wins on my website and you'll see that. She also lacks some rear angulation in my opinion. But I love her overall type.


Showing off her nice neck (and ignoring me)


Sadie's best thing is her front. Its quite nice I think. Its the nicest in my house, although she is the oldest also (almost FOUR years old!) so she's had more time to grow into it. Sadie is also moderate in size. Her ideal weight (which she is at again!) is 28 pounds. There are many bitches that are getting too big in my opinion and I don't think they are able to do their 'job' anymore of herding cattle.

If you can't critique your own dogs, you'll never learn. Up next is Oliver!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

AI this weekend

Our Laproscopic Artificial Insemination is this weekend in a tiny town near Green Bay Wisconsin. I have twelve 'ladies in waiting' that are slotted for the trip. Most of them are getting quite experienced in the art of trailer travel. An update to the trip are hay nets for hay (for on the way home, on the way there they cannot be fed) and lights to dine by in the evening after AI is done on Sunday sometime.

The entire AI will be at Carol Wagner's wool mill and I was hoping to have some fleeces to take with, but am behind in skirting so they'll just have to wait. that is what winters are for right?

I'm excited I get to see Maureen Koch, Gail Former and Theresa Gygi again, as well as meeting LeAnne Reichert for the first time, as I missed her at WS&WF. Martin Dailey is our tech so it should be a good laugh working with him again.

I am heading out Saturday morning at some point and will get to Carol's after dark. Sunday will be a LONG day with many ewes to AI (I think there are at least 75+) and then either head back sunday night part way or stay over and go back Monday morning. Its a nine hour drive.

Ell and Zoe are headed to Sioux Falls, SD this weekend to go play show dog with Erica and Mary Morris. Both only need a major to finish (Ell needs a 5pt major or a major and a few single points) so let's hope that the judges like my girls better and give them the nod. It'd be nice to have Zo-Zo finished, but I guess why rush? She's gotten all her points in the last 3 months!

I'll keep you posted on both accounts!

Monday, October 20, 2008

NEGATIVE! Yippee!!

The results came back from the quarantine group that contained the sheep from MFF, PA and Becky Utecht. I'm happy to report that all 10 ewes are negative for CL, OPP and Johne's! I know Suzanne up in AK will be happy to hear the results as we also did Snow Cloud! (she was in that group yet)

I decided to test that group for CL as well. After reading what horrible things it can do to a person's flock, I had to test for it. I also had read online that BFLs are more prone to OPP so was glad to get the girls tested and proven that they are indeed negative for it. All new animals will be tested from here on out!

The lambs from this year will be tested for CL and OPP after they turn 6 months old (the soonest you can test for it)

I can now sleep again, resting assured that my animals are negative from these terrible infectious diseases

Reserve Champion!

I just got an email from a gentleman who purchaed birds from me last year. He bred some youngsters from the pairs I sent him and he showed them at the National Young Bird Show (NYBS), this past weekend in Louisville, KY. Its around 5,000 pigeons that were born in the 2008 calender year (hence the young bird part). People from all over the world come to this show. Within the show itself there are breed clubs that have contracted with the show to hold their annual or regional shows there. The National German Trumpeter Club (NGTC), which i am a member of, hosted their annual young bird show in conjunction with the NYBS. I was pleasantly surprised to hear back from him that a youngster from the birds I sent him was Reserve Champion of the NGTC show! WOOHOO!! I've yet to ever receive the Champ or Reserve Champ in that club, so a win for him was a win for me, and I'm glad that the breed was finally recognized and given its due.

What a good feeling

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Field Roads and dogs

I love my dogs.

They are like my children. (A good child prevention too I might add!)

I typically have them all out to go for a walk to get the mail everyday. Our driveway is a half-mile long, so round trip of a mile. Some evenings I'd take them on a walk down the gravel road an extra mile. Especially when Mac and Sadie were trying to lose weight (they don't get to use the scale option that I posted in a previous post :))

Yesterday was a gorgeous day and I took my camera with to try and capture the dogs in their glory. They moved amazingly like a pack of dogs (except Mitcham, who is about a half-step behind me wherever I go), and trying to get them on video or camera just didn't work. They are such happy dogs here. Running and smelling and coming back to me to check in and then to run back down the road. Our field roads are about a mile from the closest gravel road so I felt totally safe with them on there versus the gravel road where I leash them. You can never be too careful there!

I'll let the photos speak for themselves. And see if they enjoyed themselves :)

Left side - Oliver, Mac, Zoe. Right side - Ell, Sadie.


here Mitcham got in on the action.


Mac, Sadie and Ell in the backyard.


Its hard to get a photo of Mitcham..........I have to jump back a few feet and try and take a photo!


He's growing up so fast! Can you tell it was windy yesterday? Enough to part his hair :)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

What I'm doing

After the past few days of letting all the new information about what people are doing for breeding groups settled in, I thought long and hard about it. On the one hand, I realized that people have a hobby (perhaps the sheep) and hobbies bring them joy, excitment and a range of emotions. Its also typically a money pit. I should know. I have two hobbies that are money pits. I knew this going into them, but I enjoy them and so feel that the emotions and friendships that I've acheived are well worth their weight in gold. I have the dogs. I knew from the beginning that the dogs would be a money pit. Kind of like kids (so I've heard).

I also have pigeons. I've had pigeons since 1993 and a small chunk of my income (ok pretty substantial) would always go to the pigeons. In 2006 I had my first year where I felt comfortable even selling pigeons for breeding, and sold them at lower than average prices. In 2007 I had quite a demand and sold quite a few at current market trends. Those sales paid for my trips to the shows and hotel/food etc. It also paid for the minerals/vitamins/pro-biotics as well. They've never paid for their food or housing but even if they can pay something back I'm happy about it.

The sheep were really supposed to start as something for Sadie and Oliver to herd. I had just acquired ducks and the two of them loved to move them across the yard, but I wanted something larger for them to herd. I also knew from learning, that Shetlands were not the greatest at flocking (ok I'm being nice, they actually suck LOL, trying to spread out into the area to cover the most ground...they are such pigs). After I really fell for them I thought perhaps it was time to try and 'make a go' of this financially as a second income. Granted the first few years are 'building up' years and a lot is invested, but I was ready to do it. The cattle were a second income, why couldn't the sheep be? My mindset was then made up. They were livestock, here to eventually create a profit between fleece, meat and breeding stock.

Now that the cattle are increasingly becoming more expensive to maintain, my dad and I are cutting drastically back to a handful of breeding cows. I'm putting most of my eggs in one basket with the sheep and hoping that in lean years when there was no market for my animals, I would put most of the Shetlands under the BFL ram and get market mule lambs. This year however I was able to move out all of my for sale sheep that I had offered for sale. There are a few ram lambs left that didn't sell yet, but if they do NOT sell, I will gladly take them to the butcher in the spring for more lamb brats and breakfast sausage (hey that stuff is GOOD!)

I've been really nervous now about breeding 30 ewes, when everyone else has just a small handful they are breeding. I worry that there will be no market and I"ll have an enormous amount of lambs left over to sell. However, after talking with Rayna about it and my parents, I realized that if everyone else is only breeding a few lambs, that most will not have many for sale, and hopefully people would direct them to me, who will have many to choose from! If no one else is breeding in large numbers, there won't be as many lambs available next year, hopefully bringing prices back up again. If I'm completely wrong (which I"ve been known to be many times), I will take most of my mature ewes next year and breed them to the BFL for market lambs the following spring. I would only breed my best ewes and lambs to the Shetlands next fall.

I had thought about doing that this year, but with the massive AI I am doing, I will hopefully have 12-24+ lambs that are are all over 60% UK, and from an array of Shetland UK lines. With those lambs, I had hoped to keep most of them and they would 'replace' their mothers here. Their moms could either be bred back to a different F1 ram lamb line, if sales were good and numbers back down, or they could be bred to the BFL if no one was interested in buying them.

Livestock, for me growing up was very utilitarian. Its true I had 'friends' among the animals and I cried, well like a little kid (I was one once you know) when I had to sell old "April" or "Blackie", or when 'MY' pigs had to go to market. I balled and balled and balled but it didn't bring them back to me. It was a hard part of life I had to deal with. And even though I was very sad, I was very happy to have the money to buy NEW animals with, or pay of bills with or buy things with.

When I was in college I had a few of my favorite cows left. April, Daisy and Blackie 2 (yes how original). They were 9, 10 and 11....all getting up there in age. Some hadn't been bred the year before and were extremely fat...they didn't settle by AI or by natural breedings with the bull. The ones that did calve, had weak calves, or the calves were always getting sick, the mom's didn't have enough milk etc. I just couldn't keep them here as pets when they eat at least a round bale each per month (I'm just guessing). That's a lot of cash for a young kid with school debt and a new car. They had to go.

I typically don't go to the sale to watch them sell them, but I had to say goodbye again. I always take photos of the animals before they go to market. I have several photo albums plum full of photos of animals that I've had to sell and didn't want to. I sometimes even yet get teary eyed looking at the photos, but glad that I have those photos to remind me of them so I never forget them.

Anyway I went to go see them at the auction barn. They were out back in the 'butcher cow' pens....where all these holstein dairy cows were packed in there like sardine's and my tiny little jersey/red angus cow April and my hereford/angus cows Daisy and Blackie 2 were all in the mix. I nearly wept then and there. I said in a soft voice " Hey girls" and all three lifted their heads above the huge beasts next to them and faught their way over to the fence to see me. I lost it. Those trusting, amazingly smart girls had found me. I almost opened the gate to take them back home. I can never do that again..............

So you see. I do have a heart. Its not that I like to take them to market, but its a part of reality for me, a part of the farming life I've learned to deal with. Its makes more room for the productive, healthy, robust and new, better animals. That's what I have to keep reminding myself. There is no room here for sentimental livestock. Someday when I'm rich, maybe....just maybe there can be.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I'm so glad!

TO ALL MY DEAREST FRIENDS

I'M SO GLAD I FOUND OUT ABOUT THIS!

The correct way to weigh yourself



I can't believe I was doing it wrong all these years.

WE MUST SPREAD THE WORD.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Breeding Groups

I've been quite surprised by the amount of blogger friends that are going to be breeding their ewes this fall in minute numbers. WHY?! I heard numbers like 3, 4 and 5. Yes the economy sucks. Yes everyone is pulling back a bit on spending, but that feed that you'll be feeding the 'extra' sheep all winter is going to add up. Do you really make that much money on your fleeces?

I agree selling NASSA registered stock for less than 250 dollars is ludicrous but yet most people did it this year. Why? Everyone was already doing a 'fire sale' for various reasons this year. Its a pity that everyone would pull back and breed less ewes. Maybe its better to sell them off than to feed them for ANOTHER year without any type of profit?

Get a crossing sire and produce market lambs! That way you are not feeding an extra mouth and you will get some revenue coming back to you when you sell the lambs next fall to market. I think that's the best idea ;)

I will be breeding 12 ewes to AI this fall. When I initially started the AI endeavor it was made clear that this would be the last massive AI for awhile until new semen came in from the UK and I really didn't want the semen to 'run out' here and be left with no way to improve my flock. Next year I hope to use several F1 rams back to the ewes. Any 'extra' sheep that I cannot sell and don't want to breed to the purebred Shetlands will go to the BFL ram for market lambs.

I'll be breeding a minimum of 30 ewes/ewe lambs this fall including BFLs. Next year I would assume it would be around that many again for purebred, and probably 10-15 for Mule lambs from the BFL ram to the Shetland ewes. Time will tell. This year I was going to breed all of my NCWGA registered ewes to the BFL but I had an opportunity to sell most of that stock to a petting zoo in Chicago so won't have that extra revenue next year, but it did save a TON on feed costs and pasture stress.

What are your plans for next year?

Intelligence of Dogs

http://www.petrix.com/dogint/index.html

This lists the top 79 most intelligent dogs. I think the Cardigans are TOO smart and they'd rather do it their own way first, so they are lower on the list. Mine at least are too smart ;)

FWIW The Cardigans placed 26th and the Briard tied at 30th.

Thought for the day

I have always loved the Harry Potter movies and I watched the first five of them in a row, the past few days at night, before I crash into bed. There was a great quote in the movie that I've changed only because we are not "Dark Eaters", so yes its paraphrased a bit for those checking ;)

"The world isn't split between good people and bad people. We've all got both light and dark inside of us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That's who we realy are." - Sirius Black

Monday, October 13, 2008

MItcham update!

Mitcham, the Briard, is doing well here! He has never met a stranger, and is the biggest (or will be the biggest) cuddle bug I'll have the pleasure of living with. I thought Oliver was a 'daddy's boy' but Mitcham has him beat! If I'm in the kitchen at the counter making supper, he's between me and the cupboard looking up. If I'm laying on the couch, he's on my chest laying on top of me. If I'm sitting in a chairs, he's on my lap, lounging. He really is an extended part of me and I love it! The hair is getting longer and the grooming will soon start in earnest. He likes food so that's always helpful during training as well. The Cardis are not much for legs (duh) but Mitcham uses his legs like arms, like a monkey would, batting them at you for attention, to grab something or to hang on to a Cardi in play. I've got to get used to that part yet :)

Photos! Thanks to Sarah Keth for 'gently prodding' me into getting some new ones taken.





He's such a happy boy, and afraid of nothing. My hat is off to Denise Simenauer of Dior Briards and Nicole Johnson of Reine Briards on their amazing techniques of socializing them to all sorts of animals, people, noises, sights and smells! I'll definintely follow their practices when puppies are expected here!

Something about me

It seems as though thoughts of what I've written down in my blog has upset a select few people. Its unfortunate to say the least, as I never mean to offend anyone, and this IS my blog, not theirs. They don't have to read it. I thought about putting a disclaimer on my blog, but why? Everyone knows that this is my blog and my thoughts and opinions, not anyone else's. I may get heated at times, or very adamant about things. However, those that know me, TRULY know me, and have taken the time to get to know me, will realize that I'm not a fighter, not a mean person and really just want to laugh, smile and have everyone get along.

Its amazing that Shetland people come from all walks of life, all sorts of histories, childhoods, professions and beliefs, and yet I haven't met a Shetland person that I don't like! Its true we may differ on what the proper Shetland should look like, or feel like, but at the end of the day we are grown up enough to realize that we can agree to disagree and be friends and laugh about things not sheep related or sheep specific.

My first few years in Cardigans was pretty rough. If anything could have happened to me and my dogs, it did. I felt like the unluckiest person alive. Shows were very stressful, I couldn't relax and was always nervous (very unlike me). I wanted to get out of the breed. People were very untrusting and it seemed that I had to keep 'proving' myself to some people. The last nearly two years have been very different. I've met many great new friends at the FM Kennel Club, and through the North Star Herding Group Club. I've met interesting people at different shows (top dogs in their respective breeds, grooming next to me.....great time to listen and learn!) and the shows have been extremely casual, laid back and fun times.

I was told by a good friend of mine that I was competitive and that she wasn't like that and would never show her sheep. I was 'almost' offended as I didn't think I was competitive either! I was there for the social ties......as I loved meeting new people and talking sheep with other 'like minded' folk. And then ANOTHER shetland shepherd told me I was competitive! In the least! I just wanted to show my sheep to others, get their opinions on them and listen to what my friends had to say about them.

My first Shetland show this year brought me in the middle of the pack in both classes. While I never expected to win, I was happy to see that my conformation was close to what others were breeding for, even if the fleece type was different. The showing part was the last thing on my mind...I just wanted to talk sheep and LEARN from those who have been in the breed a lot longer than I. I ask a lot of questions, do a lot of research and try to breed to what I believe is the standard. I won't change my breeding program just because one judge one weekend doesn't necessarily like them. At the end of the day you have to be happy with what you are doing and seeing the progress that you do get.

I have only been in Shetlands now since October 2006. I've already been nominated for the NASSA board and will gladly accept it, if voted in. I've recently also been added to the BFLBA board and am happy to help where I can.

Some might think I"m too inexperienced to run for a board after only having the sheep less than two years. That might be true, however I have may years of experience with other elected offices in pigeon clubs and have been on their boards, and other elected positions. And the clubs are basically on the same structure, with the same issues. I've been raising pigeons since 1993, and have been on a board or elected positions ever since then. Fifteen years is a long time, and while I NEVER think I know it all, I'm always willing to learn and I love to ask questions. Forgive me if I've already asked you the same question twice :)

Since June of this year I had a great discussion with a fellow CWC breeder. I was always impressed with her attitude in the ring, always very competitive and truly stood behind her dogs. I respect that about her. I was just happy to be in the ring. After a little 'jesting' I told her I would be more competitive so when she DID win again, it would be worth all the more glory as she truly earned it. Since then I have noticed that both of my girls, Zoe and Ell have received all of their points.

Last fall when I started showing Zoe, she was always getting RWB. While not to complain as her 2nd day out, she was RWB on a 4 pt major, but I hadn't really 'won' anything, let alone points. It had been nearly a year since Sadie had gotten her last 3 points after her accident. I was just enjoying myself.

I guess my point with the last few paragraphs is to say, I'm more competitive now because others are, so when other's win, they deserved it even more, and when I win, I truly was giving my all and believed in my dogs and my abilities as a handler. While its fun to win, nothing would change my beliefs or goals. If I don't win today, there is tomorrow. If everyone else wants to be competitive, I'll gladly join the ranks and be competitive as well. Although I'm just as happy when someone else wins, and a gracious loser when I don't get the ribbon.

Performance events are much more mind boggling. I've been training with Sadie for two years. We never competed because I was a nervous wreck. She could tell it. At practice, it was all friends watching and offering advice on what I could change, what I should change and what was good. It was fun to see Sadie in four tries, get her three legs for her NAJ title. Two years of driving 70 miles one way for practice once a week. It was always more about watching Sadie move and how much fun she had at it. So we only have one Q out of four tries for our NA title. Big deal. We have much to learn yet and much to practice on. Sadie will be 4 in November. Four years have flown by and we have many more years ahead together.

Personal differences are almost a given, and while we may not agree on subjects, I would like to think that being competitive goes hand in hand with good sportsmanship and I do believe that we as a group (either Sheep or dogs) are quite sportsmanlike in and around the ring.

You don't have to like my dogs or sheep, or like what I say, and when I smile and say hello, I'm not doing it because I have to. Its because I want to. And we could perhaps talk about other things besides sheep or dogs, if given the opportunity, don't you think?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Paranoia

I last blogged about sponges. I've heard such terrible stories of having ewes lose their sponges and have to be taken off the AI roster as their heat cycles were altered. I've heard of people using crazy glue to dab the end of the string that is attached to the sponge, and attach it to the skin next to the 'back end'. I didn't have any glue of any sort so just prayed that they would all stay in as they were all just past the pelvis when I inserted them (thanks for the long fingers God!)

Anyway the last two nights I've had terrible nightmares about losing all the sponges. Tonight I scoured the floor of the pens that the ewes are in and couldn't find any sponges. I thought perhaps one was lost and then ingested by another sheep, so had to gather all the girls up without stressing them, to see if the strings were still hanging out the back end. I broke down and got some rolled oats and alfalfa pellets to feed them. Those girls didn't move an inch when I went to lift tails and examine to see if the strings were still there. Most of the strings are long enough you can see them with the tail down. Phew. All 12 are still in and accounted for! I hope this AI is over soon.....its too stressful :)

Mac came home today. He was happy to see me and hasn't left my side. Oliver is less than enthusiastic about the situation, but the girls are all happy he's home and were playing quite rough with him (which he loved).

I have Zoe and Ell entered in Sioux Falls and then no more shows I don't think until St Paul. Maybe Shakopee, but I'd enter only Ell, as Zoe just needs a major to finish. There will be four bitches for sure at Sioux Falls on Saturday that just need a major to finish, so we'll see who the lucky one is that gets it that day!

We had another two inches of rain in the last 24 hours. I think I need to start building an Ark or have our area rezoned a continental rainforest :)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Sponges are in!

This evening my dad assisted me in putting the sponges in the 12 ewes that I've decided to use for AI. While most of the ewes I've decided on who to use them on, I still am tossing a few up in the air. On one hand I can improve fleece. On another, depth of color or density of fleece. On yet another I can improve stucture. Some I want their line (pedigree). Others I like the fact that they are poll carriers. Since they are some of the very last straws of these boys and there is no 'green light' yet for future importations this is a serious deal.

I've decided to use at least 6 Heights Orion. The ewes that will go to him are mostly based on histograms (low SD and CV) with some higher AFDs. I'm hoping to improve fleeces with these girls first and foremost:

Justalit'l Black Lambo Aa/Aa Black F3 Holly F3 Timothy
BonoCreek Lavender Brown Aa/Aa fawn F2/F3 Jamie
FirthofFifth Rooibos Aa/Aa fawn 25% UK
RYL Rachildas Awt/Ag white illget F3 Lightning
Underhill Peep Ag/Aa musket F2 Greyling, F2 Jamie
FirthofFifth Evidence of Autumn Aa/Aa fawn F3Holly F3 Jamie

Campaign Timothy for solid (no iset) dark blacks or moorits:
Justalit'l Shasta Ag/Aa horned smirslet flecket F3 Gordon
River Oaks Eliza Awt/Aa White 18% UK

Willocroft Jamie for deep color and structure:
River Oaks Lucy Ab/Aa Grey Katmoget F3 Dillon F3 Holly
FirthofFifth Booto Ab/Aa Fawn Katmoget F1 Timothy

Greenholme Holly for the poll gene:
Justalit'l Chloe Ab/Ab fawn katmoget F2 Minder

Shirehill Minder for possible poll gene:
Underhill Ulla Aa/Aa moorit F2 Jamie

That will leave me with 7 extra straws...1 Orion, 1 Lightning, 1 Jamie, 2 Holly, 2 Timothy for a future AI.

If any of you think that a ewe might be put to a better animal, do let me know. There are other reasons than listed why I'm using a certain ram to a ewe and would welcome any discussion of them privately.

$2.89 a gallon gas!

I thought I'd never see the day it was below 4 dollars again...I'm so glad its going DOWN....a lawn care/landscaping business and one who drives all over for dogs and sheep and pigeons.....every cent lower is welcome! HOORAY!

More rain

Another two inches today of cold, steady rain. Its currently 39 degrees and there has been rumored talk about wet, heavy snow flakes falling in with the rain. Yippee! I'm sure not ready for it yet!

In the past week we've had now 7 inches of rain and its reminding me more of spring, with flooded ditches and swollen rivers and creeks, than fall. The cow yards are more muddy now than they were this spring, and the driveway is an obstacle course trying to get in and out onto the main muddy gravel road. You know its rained a lot when the sandy soil is holding water!!

The dogs have been inside all day, except for potty breaks, but even the dogs are complaining about the rain, and refusing to go onto the grass to go potty. It does make for a good snuggle on the couch with the dogs....Mitcham on my chest, Zoe and Oliver on my legs, Sadie at my feet, and Ell on the pillow by my head. I think I need a bigger couch :)

Correction to last post

It was pointed out that I didn't properly quote the standard, so here it is directly from the standard

Medium length but dense as it is double. Outer hairs slightly harsh in texture; never wiry, curly or silky. Lies relatively smooth and is weather resistant. The insulating undercoat is short, soft and thick. A correct coat has short hair on ears, head, the legs; medium hair on body; and slightly longer, thicker hair in ruff, on the backs of the thighs to form "pants," and on the underside of the tail. The coat should not be so exaggerated as to appear fluffy. This breed has a shedding coat, and seasonal lack of undercoat should not be too severely penalized, providing the hair is healthy. Trimming is not allowed except to tidy feet and, if desired, remove whiskers. Soft guard hairs, uniform length, wiry, curly, silky, overly short and/or flat coats are not desired. A distinctly long or fluffy coat is an extremely serious fault.

As with The Bible, the Constitution or a simple blog entry, two people read and interpret the same exact paragraph quite differently, thus creating opinions based solely on their own subjectivity.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Testing your animals - another long one!

Sheep, cattle, dogs, whatever.

You should test your animals if you are going to breed them.

Its that simple.

This year I decided to test my sheep for OPP and Johne's, two infectious diseases that are transfered through contact or through newborns nursing from infected moms. I couldn't take the risk. It stated that around 25% of all sheep/goats in the USA have one of the diseases. Some flocks its higher, some lower. I'm happy to report that after $500 worth of testing all adult animals on the farm, that they are all NEGATIVE. I have 10 more that I purchased over the past 2 months that I have to test as well. They've been in quarantine waiting for the vet to have time to come and take blood samples. This group will also get tested for CL. The lambs from this year, once they are 6 months old will be tested for all three. Three negative tests 6-10 months apart will give you a "free" status for your flock.

Why work your butt off for years...blood, sweat and tears....only to lose animals to some disease that you really could have prevented? In an earlier post I commented on how I'm closing my flock. I don't think that that will ever be a total reality but I will have to have agreements with all future prospective sellers that if the animal is found to have OPP/Johne's/CL that they take the animal back, or refund the money as I won't keep an animal that is positive for that. Maybe even have them do the testing at their farms but I would pay for the testing.

Either way I'll be glad to know that my flock/herd are free of these diseases so if something comes up and I question it, I will know that it isn't something as scary as the above mentioned diseases.



Cardigans are a breed thankfully void of many diseases. I thought I remember a collie friend telling me once that collies have EIGHTY FOUR known diseases in the breed! EIGHTY FOUR!!!

Cardigans to my knowledge can be tested for hip displaysia and elbow displasia (OFA or PENN-HIP), PRA tested if not proven to be from clear lines, CERF"ed for eye problems, tested for Thyroid and Cardiac. The latter two not being huge problems, but again, why not test your breeding animals anyway, just to KNOW that your animals are free of it.

I know first hand about hip displasia. Oliver was found by a friend all the way over in Finland. There was a massive amount of money involved in the purchase of the dog, shipping him here and then finding out that he was of poor temperament when I got him at nearly three and a half months of age. By nine months of age his litter brother couldn't walk and I had Oliver's hips tested. He was mildly displastic. Add to that his poor temperament and then having his front never 'come down' into the proper space (he's wide and flat chested....looking back at puppy photos he was the same then as is he is now!)

There was no contract. No health guarantee. Oliver's breeder told me it was MY FAULT that he had hip displasia! I know for a fact that it wasn't ME who was doing it. The stud dog (father) of Oliver lived in Poland. The breeder took him in to get his hips done and the Federal Vet in Poland asked why he was getting done...Cardigans didn't have hip displasia!!!!!!!! THE FEDERAL VET SAID THAT! UGH! The breeder told me he was "OK" and I haven't heard from her since. Unfortunately she has a litter sister to Oliver who in my opinion was the pick puppy of the litter. She's a multi national champion and she is going to get bred....to pass on the crappy hip displasia.

The breeder of the bitch we found out later had indeed been tested. She was give an B/C rating. According to the chart they use, that is borderlin displastic!!!

BORDERLINE!!!!!!!! B/C rating is borderline?!!!! Why breed from it! The bitch breeder also kept a litter sister to Oliver and it too is a multi-champion and she has had a litter already, and she looks just like Oliver in the rear. God help that ladies' breeding program.

Now it is true that you can still get a displastic dog out of two parents that are OFA Excellent. But the percentage is reduced GREATLY with each generation that is tested. I know in Briards and German Shorthair Pointers that if they are NOT tested, the dogs cannot be used for breeding. Period. End of Discussion!

I wish all breeds of dogs did that....it would make a better world for the dogs.

Some people in Cardigans keep dogs intact and breed from dogs that have PRA or Hip Displasia. I know of one breeder who breeds PRA carriers, but she is VERY diligent in where those puppies go. She tests them all, she spays/neuters all PRA carrier puppies and places them in pet homes. They will never show any PRA signs as they are carriers and if spayed/neutered cannot breed and make more carriers or potential PRA dogs. She is met with much resistance to this practice but I applaud her testing of every puppy.

Some people use fluff, or coated Cardigans in their breeding. while the fluff or glamour coat is indeed a cosmetic thing and not a health issue, we'll end this debate now. Sure you can test to see if your dog carries the coat factor, but it doesn't hurt the dog any, and unless you are showing the dog, then its the only time it counts as the standard seriously faults dogs that are fluff/coated dogs. Ell's sire is a coated dog. He will never be shown. But man is he put together nicely. Ell is a fluff/coat gene carrier. If bred to another coat carrier they 'could' produce coated pups, but knowing this now, I will only breed her to a proven non coat carrier so as to not get any fluffs, or just realize that I will get some fluffy puppies. They aren't any less healthy than a normal coated dogs. And I use that term losely. I've seen some wickeldy curly coats being shown and being considered 'normal'. Sadie has that kind of coat and I think it goes back to her line.....Some say its a Finnish line, but Oliver came from Finland and his coat is normal.

Some people claim to test all of their dogs, yet breed to dogs that aren't tested, buy from people who don't test their breeding stock and still claim to have such healthy dogs. Anyone should realize that a dog that tests "FAIR" on OFA from untested stock could be nearly borderline displastic itself. A "FAIR" on OFA from four generations of tested stock to me would make me feel better as I can see that all of their ancestors were tested. From what I've read, researched, studied, and gathered my opinion of anyway.

Ever since Oliver's hip problems were an issue I've made note of 'guarantees' in the contracts that are in place with all dogs that I now have.

Mac. His mother was OFA fair, his dad not passing. Mac will never be used for breeding. In his contract it states that if he were to have Hip Displasia (HD) that he would be returned, replaced or refunded.

Zoe. Her father was OFA good. her mother wasn't tested, but her sire was OFA good. It states in her contract also that if she were to have HD she would be returned, replaced or refunded.

Ell. Ell's parents were not OFA'ed. However they have tested many of their dogs in the past and also guarantee her to be free of HD, or they will replace, refund or return her.

Mitcham. The Briard people are spot on! He is guaranteed to be free of Thyroid disease, HD in hips or elbows, SCNB (night blindess, occurs in Briards), and cardiac. If the were to show that he in fact has any of them, he will also be replaced, refunded or returned.

So even though I did not necessarily get puppies from tested parents, they have had testing in the background at least, if even spotty, and are guaranteed in a contract. this may not be ok for you, but is working fine for me.

I will not breed any of my dogs to animals that aren't tested. Mitcham will only be approved to bitches that clear all health clearances and are free of such diseases. My bitches will not be bred to dogs that aren't clear from all the mentioned above.

My biggest thing is this: IF YOU DON'T TEST, DON'T BREED! If you can't afford to test your dogs (as I've heard several Cardigan people say) than why have them? Why have that many? Even if I don't make any more money on my sheep for doing the testing, its good for piece of mind and for a sound breeding program.

Thanks for reading ;)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Photos of the Princess

For those of you who couldn't view these photos online, these photos are from back in June when Sadie earned her third and final leg for her NAJ (Novice A Jumpers aka Jumpers with weaves) title at the North Star Herding Group club. Sadie had a perfect score and 1st place in her division. She also had the fastest qualifying time of any jump height for that day in the Novice class! WOHOO!!




She looks REALLY happy. We finally were given the OK to start training again at the FMKC after a scheduling mix up which seemed to take WAY TOO LONG to figure out, but its resolved nontheless. I"m excited to get Sadie back into the performance stuff. She loves it!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Water Logged and weekend!

WOW! Last night it rained fairly hard and steady from midnight until about 4am. I checked the rain gauge (I finally bought one 2 weeks ago after ours froze and cracked last fall...talk about procrastination!) and it said about 1.5 inches of rain! That was plenty to make the cow yards go from dusty to sloppy. We were anticipating more rain this afternoon and within the course of an hour and a half we measured another THREE inches of rain! Not that we flood here, but the pasture is the lowest spot (the cattle one) and it was pretty much covered in standing water!

My poor new guinea hens (read below) were drenched to the bone so I grabbed them up and brought them into the big barn where I put them with the Old English Game Bantams for now as its the only pen with chicken wire on it. I sure don't want them flying around free yet until they know that this is home!

The girls (sheep) were not amused I made them stand in the rain for a bit while I went to go open gates and get the barn ready for them to come back in. Their fleeces sure look amazing however! :)

The girls (dogs) were brought into the house just as the first sprinkles were coming and its lucky they did! It was sheets upon sheets of rain and there was standing puddles of water in the grass (or at least it was squishy to walk on!) Its supposed to rain more tonight...And while the barns are high and dry, the pastures might take a bit to dry out...but the rain is ALWAYS welcome!

This past weekend there was a dog show AND the exotic animal auction. I had sent Ell and Mac to live with Barb (Mac's breeder) for the week as I knew I wouldn't make it to the dog show on Saturday due to the exotic animal auction.

Rayna and her mom Sue came to the auction as is tradition and I sold off most of my ducks and chickens and also my last lovebird! I now have only my two pet birds (Kipper the parakeet) and Baby (the hand raised cockatiel) left to place into loving homes. Kipper is seven, and Baby is five.

I happened to purchase a gorgeous pair of Saxony ducks...like the ones that I lost last year to the mink, and I also got a few guinea hens. The extras were sent home with Rayna and her mom. I kept a lavender, a pied and two pearl....and they all turned out to be HENS! My lone male guinea hen should sure be happy.....now if I can only catch him! Sue at the end of the auction also found a silver Swedish drake and a blue swedish drake, which I needed for the three hens I have left so I'm ok for male:female ratios for next spring.

I also did an impulse buy and purchased a Highland heifer calf, but after coming to my senses I sold her to my neighbor who now has 4 of them. she needed company and I needed to save what little money I had! I'm glad I talked myself out of her...even though she was adorable and it was a super deal.

The auction didn't get done until close to midnight and by the time we got home, had supper and got to bed, it was after 1am. I had a lot on my mind and had to get up by 5am for the drive to the dog show in Hutchinson, MN. I woke up, sicker than all get out and extremely tired. I figured that since Barb did such a great job with Mac and Ell the day before, that I'd let her work her 'magic' again and I'd meet up with her later to pick up Ell. Mac on Saturday was BOW for 2 more points and on Sunday Ell was BOW for 2 more points! Ell now has 10 points with 1 major and Mac has 7 points and on the hunt for majors.

Overall it was a great weekend! Now I just need to get over this sinus/head/allergy cold thing and we are back in business!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Ell is 1 today!

Ell, my youngest Cardigan, turned one year old today. I've only had her 9 months so I really haven't had her a year, it sure doesn't seem that long!

Ell and Mac are at my good friend Barb Peterson's house for a bit as I am not able to show this coming Saturday at the dog show as I have our bi-annual Exotic Animal Auction in Perham and I'm selling a lot of my well...exotic animals (mini horses, bantam chickens, ducks, pygmy goats, pigeons). I'm meeting Barb and the kids on Sunday morning to help show at the dog show. I'll be brining Ell back, but Mac stays with Barb for another week or so as she is showing him in Mason City the following weekend.

My house is eerily quiet. There is a LOT less barking, no morning or evening 'pack' howling, no more grumpy Oliver (he doesn't like it when Mac plays with HIS girls) and my bed is that much more empty. You'd think I'd welcome the extra room on my queen size bed, but I miss them all the same.

I know Barb is taking good care of them. My family celebrated Ell's birthday on Sunday and all the dogs got ice cream. It was Mitcham's first time eating it and he apparently wanted to savor it, while the other dogs pretty much inhaled theirs.

We don't do any hats or sing, but apparently they do at Barb's! I LOVE the photos Barb...thanks! It made my day! Ell's expression is hysterical :)







I miss my little Ell Bell!

A breed I can't stay away from

its true I guess that I would be first known for the fine wooled Shetland Sheep that I have procured and traveled across the USA and UK to ...