Playing With Little Cows

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Yesterday I told you about the interesting experience we had getting to the ranch sorting event. What I didn’t get around to telling you was what exactly a ranch sorting event is and what we did once we got there. So here you go- part two of the weekend recap.

First of all, here is a quick explanation of what ranch sorting is, as best I can tell.

You have two small rounds pens, with an open gate between them, like this:

SortingSetUp

 

Starting out, there are twelve calves in pen A. Ten of the calves are numbered, 0-9. 

SortingCows

 

The goal is to get all of the numbered cows from pen A to pen B, one at a time, in numerical order. A different starting number is chosen every round. So if the judge calls out “THREE”, for example, you and your partner start with cow number 3, then 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 0, 1, 2, leaving the two unmarked cows in pen A. If any of the cows go through the gate out of order, it’s called a “no time”, which basically means you were disqualified from that round. Oh, and you only have 60 seconds to get all ten cows to pen B. Yeah, no pressure or anything.

Here’s a video of Mr. B doing it for the first time:

http://youtu.be/PU6pXvxo6mk

 

He did really well, especially since he’d never tried it before. They got seven of the ten cows that time.

I didn’t participate this time, but I hope to in the future. I just wanted to see what it was all about this weekend and see how it worked. I took Sally to see how she did with the crowds (and so I would have the option of giving it a go), but I decided against it when I found out partners were randomly chosen. It’s one thing if I had Mr. B or Ryan in there with me, tell me what to do and not hating me if I screwed it up. It’s a whole other thing to be in there with some poor stranger who was stuck with me and my cluelessness. So maybe next time. I have a better idea of what I’m doing now, and I know what skills I need to practice with Sally before we go into the ring.

This weekend, though, I stood on the sidelines with Joey and watched the boys do their thing.

SortingJoey

 

We watched the little cows sneak snacks between rounds,

SortingFattyCow

 

and admired the hunky cowboys.

SortingMrBWaiting

 

We even got to watch Mr. B take Sally for a spin in the last round. 

SortingMrBSally2

 

Despite the travel troubles, it was a good day. I’m really looking forward to learning more about it and giving it a try.

Have you tried or learned anything new lately? How did it go?


My Dog Needs A Job

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Happy Tuesday! Today I’m hooking up with Adriana and Katie for a Tall Tails link-up in the hopes that I can get some help from the blogging community!

 

Let’s start with a photo for reference, and a few pertinent facts:

PrettyJoe

  • Joey is a Pembroke Welsh corgi.
  • Corgis are working dogs known for their herding instincts.
  • Even though he is a stellar chocolate lab herder and an up-and-coming Chihuahua herder, Joey is not a great cow herder
  • We can’t even work on improving this right now because many of our cows have babies, and mama cows are mean and aggressive.
  • The lab and the Chihuahua are both really sick of being herded.
  • Joey is 8 months old. Which makes him a puppy. Which means he has puppy energy. And the ever-reliable puppy obedience.

Basically, Joey is a little asshole. He’s playful, he’s got a lot of energy, but to him, “playing” means herding. He herds other dogs, but he also tries to herd humans. It’s annoying as hell because it means he is constantly underfoot. I trip over him all. the. time.

Disciplining him for this behavior hasn’t worked. We can’t seem to make him understand (or care?) that this behavior isn’t acceptable. We can control it a little bit; we’ve managed to teach him that he can’t try to herd Daisie when she’s coming through the door, but we haven’t been able to control it completely.

We hoped that through normal socialization with other dogs that he’d learn not to be a little jerk. Other dogs have told him in a few not-so-subtle ways that they weren’t down with being nipped at, barked at, and made to go in a different direction. Daisie tells him – loudly, often, and with the hair on her back standing up – that she doesn’t like this game, and one time Charlie got so annoyed he pinned Joey to the ground. And the little moron still doesn’t get it. So we need to find another solution.

Personally, I buy into Cesar Milan’s theory that dogs need jobs to be happy and healthy. I think that’s why Joey is being such a little jerkbutt; he needs a purpose, and he needs something to direct his energy into. We need to figure out how to channel his energy into something more positive than torturing his friends and sister. It’ll be good for him and everyone around him. 

JoeTongue

But, really, what can a little corgi pup do? Mr. B and I are still open to ideas, but we would like to start him in agility. Only one litttttle problem with that idea: we are totally clueless about agility. Since we live in such a rural area, there aren’t any agility classes anywhere near us. According to Google, the closest such place is an hour away. Joey needs to do this regularly, so that won’t work. Not a huge deal – we have plenty of space to create his own little course, but we have no idea how to teach him!

Last night, I ventured into the internetland and spent two hours with my good friends Google and YouTube trying to find some information on how to start training an agility dog. And you know what I found? A whole bunch of nothing. Ok, ok, it wasn’t nothing, but it wasn’t what I was looking for. I found some great resources, like Bad Dog Agility that will be very helpful once have a good foundation. Unfortunately, I can’t find any information on how to establish that foundation. So here are my questions to all of you: what resources can you recommend for agility newbies? Do any of you have experience with agility? Where do we start? What are the basics? What does he need to learn before we start him on obstacles? What obstacles do we start on?

We aren’t looking to participate in agility competitions or anything like that. We just need an activity to do with him to stimulate his mind and help him burn some of this crazy puppy energy. Help!

"Help us? Please? My parents are clueless!"

“Help us? Please? My parents are clueless!”

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5 Things That Are Making Me Smile Today

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I’m in a blah mood this afternoon. I blame the weather. I was perfectly perky this morning when the sun was out, but since the grey clouds rolled in, I’ve lost my oomph. Maybe I just need a nap. Either way, I’m not dwelling. I’m going to switch my attention to more pleasant things.

So, *drumroll please*, here are 5 little things that are making me happy right now:

happythingscollage

1. My nail polish. (It’s Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in Grey Area) I’d show you a photo of my nails, but I’m a sloppy nail-painter. Just trust me, it’s a great color out of the bottle, too.

2. This cute little fuzz butt. Look, he’s sticking his tongue out in his sleep!

3. Nutella. I don’t get excited about chocolate, like, ever. But Nutella? Yum. Just Yum.

4. My new dryer. It doesn’t fold my clothes and put them away for me, but it’s still pretty awesome.

5. Pennsylvania Macaroni Co. I made a trip to this heavenly shop in Pittsburgh’s Strip District last week and now my fridge is filled with yummy cheeses (fresh asiago and d’affinois) and sun-dried tomatoes and Margharita pepperoni. 

 

Hmm…now that I look at this list I think I know why I’m out of sorts. 2 of my 5 happy makers are edible, and they are the ones that perk me up the most. Seems I’m hungry. So now I’m off to stuff myself full of cheese and other assorted yummies. 

 hangry

 

What are some of the little things that are making you smile today?

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If Our Dogs Could Talk, They’d Probably Cuss.

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Today I’m participating in my very first link-up! Look at me, spreading my little bloggy wings. 

Tall Tails Link Up

*First, a little disclaimer. This post contains a lot of cuss words. It’s all in good fun, I promise, but if you are easily offended it’s probably best to come back tomorrow.

Still here? Ok, good. 

Those of you who know me know that I have a mouth on me. On the right day, I could make a sailor blush. I’m working on it (I swear! Heh. Pun totally intended.), but it’s not easy, in part because Mr. B also has a mouth on him, too. I truly believe that there are few things more powerful than a well-placed swear word from a mouth that never cusses. I really do want to be one of those people. It’s just so fucking hard.

Anyway, the other night Mr. B and I were talking about who-knows-what and I took notice of our foul language. I asked if he thought our dogs would have potty-mouths on them if they could talk. I often narrate Joey’s or Daisie’s thoughts for them, but in my idealistic mind, they have pretty clean language. We determined that if they could talk to us, they’d also have horrible language. We even figured out what they’re favorite swear words would be.

FoulMouthedPups

Daisie Mae probably wouldn’t cuss often. There’d be a “god dammit” here and there, accompanied by an eye roll, but it would mostly be when someone disturbed her nap. The word she’d use most often though, would definitely be “fucker“. Specifically, “mother fucker“. It would almost exclusively be muttered under her breath, directed at Joey and thrown over her shoulder with a sideways glance as she walked away from him.

That mother fucker stepped on my head. Again.

That mother fucker stepped on my head. Again.

She has very little patience for his enthusiasm, energy and general puppy-ness. Plus, he’s kind of like a little bulldozer and thinks nothing of plowing her over. He tries to herd her, playfully nips at her ears, pounces around her, runs her over, and tries to steal her toys/chews/food. Daisie is a lazy little thing who is used to being an only child. She tries to express her displeasure to Joey but the little moron just doesn’t get it. So she often just gets up, gives him a dirty look and walks away. If she could talk, I swear she’d be muttering “mother fucker” under her breath as she retreats.

Joey, on the other hand, would likely overuse the word “shit“. Specifically, “Oh, shit!” It would almost never be used in “Oh, shit. She’s mad.” because he tends to not notice (care?) about that sort of thing.

Mostly he would use it in excitement, as in “Oh, shit! Dad’s home!” or “Oh, shit! Stick!” or “Oh, shit! Charlie!” but it would also be used to express an uh-oh moment. “Oooh, shit! Wall!” or “Oooh, shit! Chair!” as he comes barreling through the house like a little madman.

Oh, shit! How'd that happen?

Oh, shit! How’d that happen?

There would be the occasional “Oh, shit! Screen door.” or “Oh, shit! So close.” as he bounced off the side off the couch in yet another attempt to get up onto it. It may even be used in “Oh, shit. Here comes Mom. She’s going to take away this awesome bone that I stole from Daisie.” It could also be used to warn us “Oh, shit! Oh, shit! Someone’s here!” but even then it would mostly be more along the lines of “Oh, shit! Daisie is barking at something!

So yeah, those are the kinds of things Mr. B and I ponder and discuss in our spare time. Deep, I know.

Am I the only one who vocalizes their pets’ thoughts for them? If I am, just lie to me and tell me it’s normal, k? If your pet could talk, what would their favorite swear word be? 

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More Vacation Pictures (And Why We All Got Fried To A Crisp)

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If you stopped by yesterday, you know that the entire week that we were in Clarksville, VA the weather was amazing. Sunny and scorching hot – perfect boating weather. So it’s really no surprise that a few (ok, one) full day on the water would leave us all a little crispy. Fortunately, we were wise enough to pop down to Food Lion and stock up on SPF 50. (If you know my family, you know that’s huge. We all tan easily and rarely burn, especially in the middle of July, so we rarely use anything stronger than SPF 15. SPF 30 max, and that’s only when we are reintroducing our skin to the sun after a long Pittsburgh winter. Please save the sunscreen preaching…I know.) We all made sure to reapply liberally and often the rest of the week, and by the time we got home, most of our burns had mellowed to a golden tan or slight pink. And honestly, with stuff like this in our backyard, how could we not spend the whole week outside??

Despite how gorgeous it was, we spent most of the week with this view of the house. My parents brought their pontoon boat and jet skis, and Mr. B and I took our boat, so everyone spent most of their time in or on the water.

Despite how gorgeous it was, we spent most of the week with this view of the house. My parents brought their pontoon boat and jet skis, and Mr. B and I took our boat, so everyone spent most of their time in or on the water.

 

Joey joined us on the boat most days. He preferred the relaxed atmosphere of the pontoon. He curled up in the shade and napped.

Joey joined us on the boat most days. He preferred the relaxed atmosphere of the pontoon. He curled up in the shade and napped. He was in heaven.

 

We spent a lot of time relaxing in a few of the many little coves.

We spent a lot of time relaxing in a few of the many little coves…

 

...and in the middle of the lake on some of the most beautiful water I've ever seen.

…and in the middle of the lake on some of the most beautiful water I’ve ever seen.

 

Even Joey enjoyed floating around.

Even Joey enjoyed floating around.

 

The guys did a little fishing. My brother caught a nice this nice bass...

The guys did a little fishing. My brother caught a this nice bass…

 

...and Mr. B caught some catfish that my brother fried up for dinner.

…and Mr. B caught some catfish that my brother fried up for dinner.

 

It was delicious. Even my dad - who claims he hates seafood so much that he hadn't eaten any in 45 years - tried it. He liked it so much he went back for seconds.

It was delicious. Even my dad – who claims he hates seafood so much that he hadn’t eaten any in 45 years – tried it. He liked it so much he went back for seconds.

 

We explored the lake a bit and found the (huge) dam...

We explored the lake a bit and found the (huge) dam…

 

...and on the North Carolina side of the lake we found this cute little beach where we stopped to have a picnic.

…and on the North Carolina side of the lake we found this cute little beach where we stopped to have a picnic.

 

Everyone had a blast with the jet skis, especially Mr. B. This was the first time I'd really seen him cut loose on one, he's crazy!

Everyone had a blast with the jet skis, especially Mr. B. This was the first time I’d really seen him cut loose on one, he’s crazy!

 

They even used the jet ski to pull Mr. B on a wakeboard. Everyone reported back that it's much easier on a boat - for both the driver and the boarder.

They even used the jet ski to pull Mr. B on a wakeboard. Everyone reported back that it’s much easier on a boat – for both the driver and the boarder.

 

And of course, there was a lot of tubing and wakeboarding. You know, because we weren't sore enough from the sunburns.

And of course, there was a lot of tubing and wakeboarding. You know, because we weren’t sore enough from the sunburns.

There was also a lot of eating. My parents’ boat has a grill, which was super handy. Plus, my brother is a chef. He didn’t do a ton of cooking but he did make us some delicious roasted chicken one night, and his salsa verde was ahhh-mazing. Weirdly, it’s great on top of a hamburger. I didn’t get any pictures of that though because I was too busy stuffing my face. Oops.

 


The Shaved Corgi

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After watching poor Joey pant and pant for the last month, we finally decided to help him out and relieve him of the mass of fur that he carries around. The poor little fella was just so hot.

Yesterday I dropped him off at the groomer looking like this:

JoeyHairBefore

 

And when I picked him up an hour later, he looked like this:

JoeyHairAfter

 

He also got his nails trimmed and he smells soooo pretty. I feel bad stripping him of his gorgeous coat, but that’s not as important to him as his comfort, I’m sure. It’s going to make vacation much more enjoyable for him too. It will be hot and sunny all week at the lake, but he will be cool and comfy with his new ‘do.

I’m not going to lie, I’m also hoping his spiffy new haircut will mean less dog hair everywhere, but since he’s still pretty fluffy, I’m not going to hold my breath. Oh, well. We love him anyway.

What is everyone getting into this weekend? Mr. B and I are leaving for vacay tonight so we will be at the lake and on the boat for the next week. Not to worry, I’ll still be here on the blog 🙂

 


The Shiz I Do For Wine: Pulling Weeds

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Earlier this week, I ventured up the hill to pull weeds at the vineyard. As I mentioned before, I thought the grape vines were a lost cause, so I haven’t been too concerned about them lately. Big mistake. The weeds were jungle-like in nature. It was so bad that I’m not even going to offer up a photo because it’s just embarrassing that I let it get that bad.

Something I should mention: I hate to pull weeds. Hate it. I put it off until I can’t avoid it anymore. I’ll find all sorts of other horrible chores to do, just to avoid it. Oh, poo, can’t get to those weeds today, have to organize the spice cabinet and clean out the basement! Dang!  I’m not even sure why I despise it so much. Sure, being bent over like that isn’t exactly comfortable, but it’s not awful unless the backs of your legs manage to get sunburned. Maybe it’s the risk of running into a big nasty spider or, God forbid, a snake? I don’t know, but I hate it.

Except for when it comes time to weed the vineyard. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t love it – but for some reason, it just sucks less than other weeding. Maybe because I have a cute helper?

DaisieHelperVineyard

 

 

And yes, only one helper, though both of the fur-babes join me. Joey doesn’t count as a helper because I spend far too much time trying to decipher the up-to-no-good look on his face and figure out what the hell he’s up to.

UpToNoGoodVineyard

 

 

Maybe it sucks less because I get to pull weeds with a great view?

VineyardView

 

 

Even Joey enjoys the view.

JoeyEnjoysView

 

 

Nope, still not enough of a reason. 

It must be because the end result is wine.

That’s really the only reason that makes any sense.

I pull weeds for wine….wine that I won’t get to drink for months.

It seems I’ve reached a new low. I’d better pour myself a glass of wine and contemplate this new revelation.

 


Because he’s just so dang special…

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…Joey is getting his own site! 

Wait...what? Where am I going?

Wait…what? Where am I going?

Joey just can’t help himself. Being fabulous is just what he does. He finds new ways to entertain me and make me smile and wonder what I’ve gotten myself into on a daily basis. RuralRookie was never intended to be all about Joey, but I find myself wanting to share his latest escapades with the world on a regular basis. So, you’ll still see Joey here on RR, but his main home will be JoeytheFarmDog.com. There, all of his cuteness will be on full display all the time.

Oh. Ok. Let's go!

Oh. Ok. Let’s go!

 So go, check it out, but be sure to come back and visit me here at RuralRookie!

I hope there will be snacks. I'd hate to think I got all dressed up for nothing.

I hope there will be snacks. I’d hate to think I got all dressed up for nothing.


Mr. B’s Dream

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So you may be wondering why Joey is a farm dog and why Mr. B wanted a cow horse. See, our little farm isn’t done growing. Mr. B has a bigger dream.

He wants to raise club calves.

“What the heck is a club calf?”, you ask. Well, a club calf is a registered baby cow, who will be groomed and trained and then sold to a kid, who will show him at local fairs and 4H shows. Mr. B wants to breed show cows, then train and groom their offspring to be award-winning show stock. This is why Joey is a farm dog; Mr. B specifically wanted a herding breed to help him herd the cows we plan to own one day. Same with Annie- he is teaching her how to work with cows. Someday she will be able to help him separate cows or calves from the herd, or move the entire herd, hopefully with Joey’s help.

Aren't they just precious?

Aren’t they just precious?

We don’t have any cows of our own…yet. Someday soon we hope to, but for now we are helping Mr. B’s uncle with his beef cows. Calving season is coming up, and they are expecting 20 or so calves this year. 

Mr. B and a calf he named Molly.

Mr. B and a calf he named Molly.

It should keep us pretty busy and give us good practice for when we have a few of our own. Good thing, because I could use the practice.

Me and Sweet. That cow behind me isn't as mean as she looks. She's actually so sweet that I named her Girlfriend. She's my buddy; she just wants to know what the heck I'm doing with her kid.

Me and Sweet. That cow behind me isn’t as mean as she looks. She’s actually so sweet that I named her Girlfriend. She’s my buddy; she just wants to know what the heck I’m doing with her kid.

And they are just so dang cute! 🙂

One of the first babies born last spring.

Randy? Or Ralph? The first two born last spring were twins, and we never were very good at telling them apart. 


The Corgi Energy Barometer

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As Joey demonstrates, it’s all in the ears.

Perky, well-rested corgi:

With all that energy, he has no problem holding his ears up high.

With all that energy, he has no problem holding his ears up high.

Sleepy corgi:

But when he's tired those big ears get very, very heavy. And in this particular case, eyelids too.

But when he’s tired those big ears get very, very heavy. And in this particular case, eyelids too.

 

They give him away every time. When we see his ears droop, we know he’s about to crash. It’s very effective way to gauge his energy levels. Plus, it’s freakin’ hilarious.