I continue to work too much.  This week I was also fighting a nasty bug of some sort, but I awoke this morning to find it had lifted and that I was feeling fairly energetic for the first time in days.  What a happy coincidence(?) that this occurred on my day off!

I had a lot of catching up to do around the house, still do in fact.  But I accomplished a fair amount, including 847 loads of laundry (or thereabouts) and finally canning the three 11 quart baskets peaches I bought ages ago and that were starting to mould and rot even in the fridge.  I didn’t get through all the peaches, but put up 7 quart jars (about two thirds of the peaches).  The remainder will probably only yield another 2-3 quarts.  I would really like to have closer to 20 put away for winter, but it may be past peach season at the market already.  I’ll know more tomorrow.  Ten is sufficient, if I ration them carefully. I will also put up pears and apples, and have a lot of stewed fruit and whole blueberries in the freezer already.

I also spent a lot of time with the dogs today, trying to make up the long hours they’ve been spending locked up in the house.  I first took Kestrel and Ross to the conservation area and hiked with them for a good hour.  They ran hard, but by the time we got back to the car, they were both just trotting and sniffing.  I take that as a sign that they’ve shaken out at least the most urgent of their beans.

Kess of course could keep going and going, being just a year old and still in that ‘ever-ready bunny’ stage.  Hannah was over that phase by 9 months of age, but Mira was in it until she was two.  Hopefully Kess will settle before that!  She’s a little too fidgety for my taste, although I know she’ll grow out of it.  That’s her chronic disease, which manifests as a need to expend energy even after she’s been run.  I have yet to find a homeopathic remedy that has any noticeable effect on her, other than the first remedy I gave which caused her to break out in a rash (typically a good sign in homeopathy, as it means inner imbalances have come to the surface).  Since that first remedy, nothing has affected her that I’ve been able to tell.  Mind you, there’s not much to “fix” in her – just being a bit too hyper and her propensity to eat my laundry or dig holes in the yard.  There are many remedies that have these two symptoms in them, but she doesn’t display enough other symptoms to really narrow things down further.  Perhaps they will surface with time.

After running Ross and Kestrel, I took Hannah and Mira to the beach and let them swim.  They are both really strong swimmers, and will nicely take turns retrieving the ball.  Today there was a bit of a chop, but nothing either the dogs or I were concerned about.  Mira started shivering after not too long, which tells me we won’t be able to swim for too much longer.  The lake must be cooling off already with the cool evenings (it is supposed to go down to just three degrees about freezing tonight), and the days are no longer warm enough to counteract that effect I’m sure.  Even mid-day I’m in long pants and a fleece or light jacket.

Mira did something annoying at the beach.  A woman walked by collecting shells.  The dogs ignored her, as they typically do strange people.  But then the woman stopped a few feet past us and bent down to pick up something out of the sand.  As she was bent over, facing away from us, Mira charged up behind her and alarm barked at her.  Actually she first looked strangely at the woman’s posterior and approached it like she didn’t know what it was.  Then she alarm barked.  I called her to me and apologized to the woman, who didn’t seemed phased at all.  Mira really only yapped once or twice, and then immediately came to me, so what happened was much more obvious to me than to the other person.

I suspect Mira simply didn’t recognize the woman’s butt to be human (she was quite a heavy set woman and had a large floppy hat on her head, further adding to the strange silhouette as she bent over), but it still irks me to have a dog of mine charge up to people and bark.  Mira used to do that a lot as a pup, but now rarely reacts to people.  It’s always good for me to be reminded that there’s still a spooky dog under the fairly normal appearance she typically puts forth these days.

Tonight I took the dogs to the farm to do some training.  I started with Hannah and found myself still very short tempered with her.  Last weekend’s lesson was so stressful and I still obviously haven’t let it all go.  I had been really angry with Hannah – displaced anger, stemming from my stress over her not performing well in front of our trainer and then me getting yelled at for our poor performance.  I get yelled at, then take it out on my dog – not fair to poor Hannah!  I was still short with her tonight, which is never good.  It makes me mad that I have allowed the criticism I received to harm my working relationship with my dog.  It’s going to take some time for me to feel good about working her again, which really sucks as we had really been having fun up to then.  I made a point tonight of just doing really elementary work with her so that we could be successful and I could keep my temper in check.  Mostly I put her in the round pen with a group of weathers and started teaching her her whistles.  After about 10 minutes (too long!) of giving a whistle, followed by the command, she still wasn’t responding to the whistles.  I stopped the lesson and we’ll continue on Monday.

I gave the same lesson to Mira, and within 2 minutes she started correctly responding to whistles.  I wonder why she is getting it, and Hannah is not.  I suspect it has something to do with me, but for Mira to pick things up far more quickly than Hannah is telling that something is amiss.  I’ll have to put some thought into it and see if I can find a better way to help Hannah learn.

I worked Kess in the round pen only tonight.  I was going to do more, but noted that one of the ewes that I had been working with had a sore on her udder and I didn’t want to have the puppy chase her around, especially with the thistles that are growing in the field.  There wasn’t enough time to switch up groups (we were almost out of light) so I just worked on her sides in the round pen and called it quits.

Before leaving I took all four dogs for a short walk in the big hay field off the side of the barn.  It has recently been cut and bailed so now we can walk it.  I like letting the dogs decompress after working, and it also ensure that they are empty with well stretched legs before the 45 minute drive home.

On our way back to the car, just as we approached the edge of the field, I noticed a large white object in our way.  Was it a tank of some sort?  A small shed?  I couldn’t remember passing anything at that spot.  Then I realized what it was.  So did the dogs.  It was a cow.  Where did she come from?  Obviously she’d gotten through the fence somewhere, and was now in this open pasture enjoying the clover.  Before I could call back the dogs, they were off like a shot after the poor beast.  Four border collies went charging forth, and one cow went bolting back to the barn.  Fortunately the dogs all did call off after they’d gone a short distance, and the cow stood in the courtyard by the barn gate, waiting to be let back in.  It was a bit of an eventful end to our evening, but all’s well that ends well, or so they say!

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