Just a quick note for now.  Over the last two days it warmed up to above freezing, and then of course cooled off again.  Now it’s snowing.  The snow has a thick crust on top that is not strong enough to hold the weight of the dogs, let alone myself.  As you take a step, it momentarily holds you, then you punch through and are up to your knees.  Very tough going!  Not a whole lot we can do about, other than hope for a major thaw to get rid of it all, or enough fresh snow on top to form a new layer.  I think it’s time to go shopping for snowshoes.

I’ve been doing a little more basic training with the dogs and Kess continues to show me how quick she is to figure stuff out.  She’s also learned to keep out of Ross’s face, so today I have all four dogs out with me with no barriers to keep Kess and Ross separate.  

So far she’s showing good sense around him – if he comes near, she turns her head and avoids eye contact.  If he gives her his Darth Ross look, she gets up and moves away.  Not necessarily fair (yes, he’s a bully) but this is what is necessary to get along in my house.  The dog must be willing to submit, but have enough confidence not to be fearful.  A fine balance that few I’ve taken in have.  Of course both Mira and Hannah are like this as well.  They accept Ross as boss, but are relaxed around him.  The hierarchy in my house is very clear, and as such everyone gets along.

I am starting to get excited about this coming weekend.  We will start by visiting a woman I know through herding.  She gave me a standing invitation to work sheep on her farm anytime I’m in the area.  Unfortunately the snow is too deep to work, but we’ll visit and hike the dogs instead.  

After that I’ll stay with another friend overnight, with her two kids and their little dog.  That will require some management, but I expect it to be fun.  The next morning I drive the rest of the way to the conference where I will be staying with another couple I met through trialing last summer.  They have kindly invited me to stay with all four dogs on their sheep farm for the weekend.  The snow there is not as deep, so we might even get some training in!  The conference should be quite interesting as well.  I’m so excited.

More later…