Thursday, October 19, 2006

Working Dogs

Today we had a fortunate event. After Julia went to school, The Farmer and I discovered we both could make a bit of free time to take a walk. As I said yesterday, I just love Fall. When I wasn’t sleeping last night, I thought about the luxury of a long walk but never thought it would happen. At first we were going to the top of the hill but then we decided to go further. The dogs, Phoebe and Ness, just love a day like this.

Right now, the sheep are split into three distinct groups. This is so that they will all have enough to eat - we don't have one big spot of land that can feed them all. Up until the end of November, they will still be grazing grass. One group is close to our house – grazing on our neighbors pasture. Pretty incredible sight, isn't it with the color?

One group is down at the home farm where Mark grew up – they are being chaperoned by the infamous Jeremy (the guard llama).

And the third group is at another local farm where The Farmer hays and cares for their land. This spot is amongst the woods – a virutal oasis of grass in the middle of nowhere. I mentioned that I hadn’t been there in awhile (about a half a year to be precise – and it’s only about two miles from our house). So we lengthened our walk much to the delight of Phoebe and Ness.

Now if Paisley had been with us, she would have been “with the sheep” a half hour before us. But Ness and Phoebe didn’t know where we were heading. Then they caught on. We decided to give them a go to see what they would do.

The Farmer has been dropping subtle hints for about a half a year now. Phoebe is “my dog”. Border Collies tend to have one person they focus on and I am it as far as Phoebe is concernend. (Ness is his dog...) When Paisley was alive, Phoebe was terrified of the sheep. But now that Paisley is gone, she seems more interested. A fascinating development to say the least. She is seven years old – a bit old to start learning…… but maybe we'll start taking some lessons.

Phoebe and Ness seem to be working as a team together. It’s interesting. They’re not very talented or polished but today it was quite amazing. We felt like we were in Scotland – we were far away and we sent the dogs out. Here ‘s what they did.

I still can’t get over the power of a Border Collie amongst a bunch of sheep.

Phoebe is slightly overweight. Oh well, aren’t we all? Here she is trying to recuperate in front of the fireplace tonight.

What a great day for us all. A five mile walk and we saw two bow and arrow hunters (deer season opened yesterday) and one car with a friend of ours and her son. We are so lucky. This wouldn't happen in NJ where I grew up. I count my lucky stars every day.


Anonymous said...

We have a dog called moby. We know that he is a mixed breed, sheltie and a blonde dog (we don't know what kind) last week my neighbor stopped me and said give Moby a very good treat tonight. You've got a great dog! The conversation proceeded to Moby doing a certain stance and a insistant bark in the yard. My neighbor checked on him via his window and said not more than five minutes later a big deer came through our yards. The neighbor is a hunter, a loves venison, and he got shot deer on his property. He was thrilled. This dog seems to have a thing for deers and squirrels. Two entirely different barks and stances, we are looking forward to learning lots more about this dog.


Anonymous said...

My parents' dog is half Kelpie, an Australian cattle dog. She was seen rounding up a group of teenagers out for a walk beside the river bank one sunny day. She kept behind them & kept them moving much to the amusement of my Mum.

Anonymous said...

My friend Susan has a Border Collie named Molly. Whenever we visit and are preparing to walk out the gate to go home, Molly comes behind us and nips at our heels and tries to herd us back into the yard. She's very dedicated. She really needs a flock of sheep, but where we live in Montana, they would be mountain lion fodder.

Anonymous said...

Hi There
I live in Western MA and am loking into Border collies. Do you have any contacts at all?
IF so please email Laurie

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