The Plan …

I have to bring the pressure canner to be checked this morning at 10:00 and while I’m in that area, I need to go to Wal-Mart to pick up some soda for Wally (he’s having a holiday lunch at work tomorrow).

When I get home, I’ll drive down to the far back field (20+ mowed, flat acres) with all three dogs.  I’ll tie two of the dogs to the ATV, then walk back up to where the sheep are fenced (about a mile walk) with one of the girls and walk back down with the sheep.  Bringing the sheep down will be a good exercise for the girls (especially Split) and will be good exercise for me.  Two different kinds of exercising at once.  Talk about multitasking

Once we get back down to the flat field, I’ll work all three dogs and then (if I still have any energy) use one of the girls, walk the sheep back up.  The only glitch in taking the sheep out of the ElectroNet with one of the girls is Liath.  I’ll need to get hold of her before sending in one of the girls to bring the sheep out.  I still don’t trust bringing one of the girls into the fence with Liath.

I can get a lot of driving time in with Fern on the back field and if I split off sheep, I don’t need to worry so much about where the sheep are going to go.  In the field where they are now, they now know all the escape routes and use them.  It’s distracting to have to keep track of where the various groups of sheep are while I’m trying to work a dog.  There is oodles of grass in both this flat field and in the adjoining field so the sheep can eat to their hearts’ content while I’m working.  I’ll be glad when the Christmas Tree Farm is done so I can bring my panels and pen down to that field and set up a good-sized course.  I drove out to the Christmas Tree Farm yesterday afternoon and set up the panels, but the course is quite small.  On weekends, half of the flock will stay at the Christmas Tree Farm and half will stay with Liath.

Over the past few years, I’ve been very, very lazy about just going out and working the whole flock.  Using a large flock has its training benefits, but working small groups is extremely important.  I have found that I am paying more attention to where the sheep are going rather than watching the dog.  I have also found that I’m getting better at reading sheep.  Shedding is starting to get to be fun for Gel (and me) so sorting sheep has become both viable and easy.

I haven’t had much luck in tracking Split’s papers down so I’m going to forget about them.  I know she is from working stock, maybe not from dogs who were (or are) actively working, but from dogs who were bred to work.  Quite frankly, I don’t think I need to know anything else about her pedigree.  She is what she is.  I highly doubt I’ll breed her (or Fern for that matter) so what difference does having her papers make?  There are too many Border Collies, just like her, who are kept from achieving what they were bred for to consider adding to that population.  To think of what might have happened to Split if we hadn’t taken her home.  That would have been a huge waste.  Wally and I are blessed to have her with us.

Until later …