Friday, 30 December 2011

Last Post for 2011

I hope every one had a very Merry Christmas, time has gotten away on me and I didn't realise how long it has been since my last blog. We have been very busy with puppies, end of school, Christmas and branding, we have found some time to relax at the dam with the dogs.

I was asked not so long ago if our dogs are apart of the family and is this good for work dogs as she had been told that work dogs are work dogs and should not be played with!!!! My answer to this question was yes our work dogs are a part of our family and yes we do play with them I think a good work dog is a happy work dog, our dogs play a huge part in our lives and I have even been told by my 9 year old that I love the dogs more than them!!!!! Of course this in not true I love them the same. Over the hotter months when the house dam is well used for swimming and playing in our dogs are there with bells on and boy do they have fun either swimming, tubing,stalking, running or just watching what is happening.
Sweep loves the tube
Pearl loves to stalk

Jayde loves to sing

Lucy, Nell, Don & Lass love to stalk as well

Poor Chris has to watch from the bank after burning herself

Lucy has to keep an eye on all the happenings at the Dam

We have also had the privilege of exporting a pup this year to New Zealand, our little Rees/Bella boy pup has gone to live on the North Island . His two sisters have also left the mainland and are now living in Tasmania.
Bauers Reeson

Bauers Ruby

Bauers Molly

December has seen the start of branding with roughly 1500 little calves to brand we have started a little early this year. Mustering of the cows and calves is very hard on the dogs they have heat and very cranky cows to deal with,at times the poor dogs can have 5 or 6 cows trying to protect there calves. I haven't been able to get any good action shots yet of the dogs working we still have a few more paddocks to muster so hopefully I will get some then.
Jamie, Rusty & Lucy pushing the Angus cows along

Jayde our little Jillaroo

Cows and Calves

All the Black Cows
Don bringing the sheep to Jamie

Mist has surprised us with a very healthy litter of 8 puppies, this is our first litter along with Jamie Sturrock of our dogs we imported from Wales in 2010. We have 7 little girls and one lonely boy both Mist and her puppies are going great they are nearly 5 weeks old now and are all getting into mischief . Trying to get 8 little squirmy puppies to sit still while I take there photo is no easy mission they had myself and the girls laughing at there antics
Chris with her lap full of Puppies

Jayde with her lap full of Puppies

Wait for me girls
Puppies trying to escape!!!!!

Showing some style already.

As 2011 draws to a close and new year is about to begin I sit here thinking about what we have achieved with our dogs in the last 12 months and where we are heading in the future. I think the most important thing to remember when we have this wonderful breed of dog is to always try and improve on what you have, to enjoy your dogs and the people you meet.
Happy New Year 

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Puppies, Training and Fires

Summer is well and truly on its way with thunderstorm brewing in the afternoon and the heat in the middle of the day but still no decent rain. Swimming season is in full swing with three afternoons a week at the pool and swimming carnivals on the weekend, this does not leave to much time for training dogs. I have been working on Nell extending her cast and getting her out on cattle when I can, she is coming along nicely. I have had two bitches out on maternity leave for a while now, Bella has had three puppies and Mist is due at the end of the month. Bella's pups are now three weeks old and are just starting to get around I love this stage of the puppies when they are just finding there feet and voice boxes, they are just starting to play with each other.

Bauers Rex
Bauers Ruby
Bauers Molly

Jamie was training his dogs and I couldn't help but take these photos of his young dogs quietly waiting for there turn. Don loves the camera and was very happy just to sit there while I was snapping away, Lass was very keen to get back out there and help.
Bauers Lass
Bauers Don
Craiglea Sid

Hopefully next time I will have photos of rain and green grass, it is a very worrying time of year for all rural people has any thunderstorm can result in a fire. Since September there has been around ten fires in our district, we where very lucky last month when a fire on neighbouring properties burnt about 30 000 acres, it jumped the fire break on our boundary, luckily Jamie was there with help put it out very quickly before the fire got to big. I went back to fire a couple of days later and took some photos and Liz (our neighbour) sent me the last two photos. It must be so very hard for the owners and mangers of properties who after so many years of drought and such a wonderful year last year to see all of the grass gone and just chard ground in its place.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Mirrakay Bill

I never thought when I started my blog that I would to say goodbye to two old dogs so close together. This week was a hard one for Jamie and I, poor old Bill had a very rapid tumour growing in his top jaw and we had to make the hard call of putting him to sleep. Bill had just turned nine this month and has been in the family since he was six months old, he was the hardest working dog you could ever want he would give Jamie 110% all the time even if it wasn't needed at times. Bill could work everything sheep, goats, cattle, pigs and even week old chickens, he is dearly missed already.
I have thinking of all the good times we had with Bill and a couple of moments have really stuck to me, as a much younger dog he would give our girls doggy back rides we would sit the girls on his back while one of us had a hold of him then the other would call him and off he would run with a giggling child on his back.
There was one weekend he had been let into the house yard for a relax but he must of caught the sent of some goats in the river behind the house, he brought about 30 billy and nannies to the back fence of the house where he held them until we finally noticed him with his little prize.
Bill could do all stock work in the paddock mustering, catching fly blown sheep or lambs and even in the yards. When working in the sheep yards though he refused to back sheep he wanted to bulldoze under them which worked just as well as backing, we don't know why he would back he had never been hurt while on a sheep he just had it in his head he was a bulldozer.When working cattle there wasn't much he could not stop he loved his cattle work just as much as sheep. For many years he was Jamie's main mustering dog, they could go out together and muster a paddock with no other help.
Bill also tried his hand at three sheep trialling, we ended up calling him 2nd ribbon Bill he could never get that first place. He took a lot handling around the course Jamie made it look very easy but believe me it wasn't!!!! Jamie kindly let me use him this year for the trials and yes we got a 2nd in the encourage at Longreach, even though he was eight yrs old and had slowed down a lot he was still a handful. But this is what made Bill he never gave up and you always knew he would there when things got tricky.

We semi retried Bill at the start of this year as we was getting very sore with arthritis and he went into full retirement after weaning, we are happy he had a few good months living in the house yard as our way of thanking him for all the hard work he did of us.
Thanks old man for all your work hope you had fun!!!!!

Sunday, 2 October 2011

World Trial

A lot has been happened since my last post, Jamie has been to the UK and back again, the International and World Trial has been and gone and the Australian Supreme has also been on. On the home front as been just as busy with Jamie away the girls and I had a bit more work to do, I would not suggest to any sane wife to let there husband go on a three week holiday without you!!!! My phone bill is going to be huge,daily calls to the UK are not going to be cheap.

Jamie went with a good friend Jamie Sturrock to the UK, they attended the International Trial in Scotland after landing in Glasgow they picked up there hire car and headed north. They where luckily enough to be able to share a cottage with a competitor from the English team and Kim, there where many hours of funny stories and dog talk. The Welsh well and truly dominated the International with 1st and 2nd, E.L Morgan and Spot winning and Kevin Evans with Greg 2nd, Spot  impressed us as a young on Aled Owens DVD he was a very pushy little pup with a high work drive. Kevin's Greg also won the Welsh National we saw Greg last year when we selected Rees, he was a very stylish young dog like all of Kevin's dogs. Greg is a full brother to the dam of our Rees.

After leaving the International the Jamie's headed down to England where the World Trial was held, along the way they where able to call in and see different dogs working on there farms. They called into Jim Croppers farm which is where my Bella originally came from , they where able to see her sire who I believe is getting close to 14yrs. It is always good to see where our dogs came from and there parents. They also stopped at Kim Gibson's farm to see her dogs, the day they where there the tail end of a hurricane which hit the US went over the UK, it caused a lot damage to the World Trial venue with the roofs of the grandstand's being blown away(more on that later). They both really liked Kim's dogs and I would like to thank her for all of her help while the Jamie's where there.

The World Trial from what I have heard was WET,WET,WET some of the photos I have seen are just mud as far as the eye could see. Back to the grandstand because of the wind a few days before there roof of the grandstand was missing, this left the Jamie's in torrential rain for quite a few hours one day cant say they weren't dedicated. Jamie loved the World Trial he said the course was hard, the sheep were out of sight on the finals on the 1st outrun. Jamie would love to one day compete at the World Trial for Australia will have to work on this one!!!!! I think we will have to find some very willing sponsors to help.
The Irish well and truly dominated the World Trial with James Mc Gee and Becca winning and Michael Gallagher and Cap running 3rd. We saw Becca in the 2008 World Trial she is a lovely bitch and was well and truly the Best Bitch in the World.  It was great to see Michael and Cap run 3rd, Cap is the sire to our Sweep it is a great feeling to know that his sire is the 3rd best dog in the world.

After the World Trial they headed down to Wales to visit with our good friend David, they stayed with David for a couple of days in more heavy rain. When it wasn't raining they saw Davids dogs working and a visit with Kevin Evans to see some very stylish dogs. I have some photos off Jamie's ph of the World Trial they are not the best.

While the World Trial was on in England our own Australian Supreme was being held in Western Australia, a big congratulations to Geoff Gibson  who won with Charlies Dusty and Rhonda O'Connell who won the Improver with Camra Shade, both of these competitors are from Queensland. I do believe the  Australian Supreme is being held in Queensland next will have to mark this in the calender, it would be wonderful to see a live score feed from the Australian Supreme it was really good to see all the scores coming in from both the International and World Trials.

All of our young dogs are coming along nicely, we have shown them cattle since Jamie has been home and where happy with how they went I will make sure I take the camera next time. Jamie has been working on a double fetch with Rusty and Lucy both seem to be taking to quite easily, I will start with Sonny in the next day or so.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Moving Cows and Training

After Jamie hurt his shoulder I was needed to go out and help move our Santa cows from one paddock to the next, of course I jumped at the opportunity to go work my dogs on a large mob of cattle. Because the mob we where moving were older cows with some calves on the ground already I could only take Sonny as the others are too young to work cows and calves yet. We about 500 cows to put together in 1300 acres then move them onto there next paddock, we came across about 100 cows at one water point Jamie and started them down the fence towards the gate they had to go though. Not far from the water was a patch of timber which is hard to ride through on our motorbikes, Jamie warned me that the cows could bet us through it and get back to where we started if we where not in control. Jamie took the lead and the wing and Sonny I had the tail and the wing, I sat just out from the cows and put Sonny on the tail just to keep the slow ones on the move and to also make sure none went back. All points covered and the cows kept walking in the direction they where meant to be going.
With this group in there new paddock it was onto the large mob whom had been pushed onto another water point in the middle of the paddock there was about 400 in this mob and they had to walked down the road in the middle of the paddock with no fences. Jamie took the lead, Jeff(our stationhand)had one wing that left myself on the other wing and Sonny, Lucy and Rusty on the tail. Some of the cows tried to run away down the creek which was not far from the bore so I sent Sonny to bring them back, he did with ease and then took his position back at the tail to push the cows through the creek crossing. Lucy is getting stronger every time she goes out for  little dog she is not scared of the cattle at all. We walked the cattle nearly 2 kms down the road until we reach the gate they had to go through, the dogs where very happy to see the trough.
Sonny going to tuck the wing back in while Lucy and Rusty keep them going.
Just Keeping the mob moving.
Sonny Cooling off before putting the cows through the gate.
Just before Sonny & Lucy are told to "push them up" look out cows.

I am kicking myself I didn't take a normal camera with me that day, I took all the above photos on my phone but it takes a while between shots before you can take the next on so I missed the dogs pushing the cows, next time I will make sure the camera goes in my red box on the front of my bike that always seems to end up in my photos.
Jamie, Bill, Rusty, Lucy and Sonny on my motor bike one afternoon just chilling out. We do this every afternoon .
I have been working with Sonny and Nell this week, Sonny has been slowing down early on his cast in the training paddock and when we go to trials. He feels the pressure from the sheep early in small spaces and does not want to upset them I have found this very funny with him because as soon as he is in a bigger training paddock or out working he will not do this, I have noticed he is slowing earlier and earlier, I felt this is not good so I have been getting him to run the whole way until he is behind his sheep. It is working he has worked out that yes he can run the whole way behind his sheep without upsetting them. I will keep working on this with him so he realises that he has to do it every time. I have also been working on Sonny's driving he as picked up driving fairly easy but still feels he needs to bring the sheep back to me if he gets to far away, I have just been pushing the length further and further every time we drive the sheep away. Judging where my dog should be while so far away is proving to be hard for me, I am having trouble guessing when I should be stopping him maybe I need glasses so I can see him better.
Young Nell has also been put into training she is nearly 11 months old now and I just felt she can handle it. I have been working on pulling her off balance which she is not liking very much but will do it. We have also tried little drives with me walking along side her, she is picking this up but still wanting to head the sheep. I am really enjoying training her she has a great temperament and wants to work with me.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Spring is nearly here

I love this time of year the days are cool but not cold the nights are great not to hot, the garden is already starting to look better after all of the frost's we had over winter. I was looking through my photo's and came across some of our station in various stages of drought, flood, green and now brown. This time last year we where WET and it was just the start of a very wet and sad summer of devastating  floods and cyclones, we where very, very lucky while we received record breaking rain falls we didn't have the huge downpours which caused the flooding over large parts of Queensland. With all the moisture we  have a great body of feed for the cattle, however it has hayed off and now grass fires are a huge worry.
This was taken in February 2009 and things only got worse!!!!!

Same paddock 12 months later.
This creek is just down from our house no one had seen it this high.

Now we are back to brown again.

Not a lot of training has taken place the last couple of weeks we have had a steady stream of visitors and tiding up the cattle work has left very little time for training. I have had Sonny around our National course which I am very pleased with, no were near to the standard which I saw at the World Trial in 2008. I did however get the fetch gate both drive gates and had a minor hiccup with shedding, lots more practise there I think. Sonny is still only learning as well and we both have a long way to go but I am enjoying the challenge of something new, we have both seen a major improvement in how our dogs work in the paddock as well after we have been training  to do this course. We where a little unsure if our merino's would suit the course as they can be a little flighty at times, after only a couple of times they have taken to it very well. My next project is to work on Nell, she is well and truly ready for some training.I didn't get any photos of Sonny working sheep but I did take some when we where feeding the bull I don't think he liked them getting so close to his motorbike.

Sonny pushing a bull over to the feed bins

Little Ben may have taken control of his way ward ears finally they have stood up and he is looking rather handsome with pricked ears.Ben has started working sheep and we are both very happy with how he worked I will leave him now for a few months. He found it very tiring posing for the camera.