Oh my it’s been hot!  I think it’s finally cooling off however.  I’ve done my best not to complain about the heat, considering that most of the year we’re complaining about the cold.  But it’s been hotter longer than it’s been in a very long time and that’s made doing any kind of physical activity a challenge.  That said, I did find myself adjusting to it and my energy levels picking up a bit by the last few days.

Still, I’ve done very little with the dogs.  I’ve hiked them a little, and taken them to the farm and worked them a little.  A very little.  That was more because of circumstance than heat.  The sheep had all been mixed together into one big flock – the working group and the main flock.  The main flock comprises the ewes with lambs, and some of the lambs are still fairly small.  This means ewes with big udders, and bad tempers.

I don’t like pushing around ewes with big udders (I assume it can’t be good for them to have to run fast unnecessarily) or small lambs who could be trampled or get heat exhaustion in this weather.  I tried to sort out some of the working group but it was pretty much impossible without some kind of containment or shoot set-up. The sheep were being kept in the barnyard with its attached side field which makes a U-shape with a narrow channel about the width of a one lane road at the bottom of the U (the barn yard makes one side of the U and the small pasture makes the other).  When I brought a dog into one side of the U, the sheep would stampeed to the other.  The channel is too small for the dog to get ahead of the sheep so we have to go all the way around to the other side of the U, at which point the sheep stampeed back into the baryard.  The pressure is very intense and it is very difficult work for the dogs.  It’s also stressful on the sheep.  I decided not to put anyone at risk in the heat and just went for a hike.

This weekend I’m farm sitting so we’ll get to do more.  The owner of the farm ran the sheep through this shoot yesterday and separated out the working group and put them in a separate pasture.  So now it will be easy for me to get a suitable group to work with.  And it’s cooler.

On Wednesday a friend of mine came to the farm with her young dog to take a lesson.  Not with me – with the owners.  She had picked up this dog from the pound as a puppy last summer.  They said he was a Shepherd mix of some sort.  When I met him he was about 7 months.  I took one look at him and told her I thought he was a Kelpie, and not a Shepherd at all.  Or perhaps a Kelpie mix, but mostly Kelpie.  She has since taken him to a duck herding clinic and he did fairly well.  On sheep this week, he did quite well.  Definitely some genuine herding instinct in this dog.  First time on sheep and he immediately did a gather and brought them back.  She was pretty excited and plans to continue with training.

Other than that, not too much else to report right now.  I’ve been spending a lot of time at the books, both researching for my work and preparing courses to teach in the fall.  I’m working more than full-time hours right now, and I’m not even getting paid!  This isn’t exactly how I had envisioned life as an academic.  I’m discovering that this notion of having summers “off” is a fallacy.  But at least I am working from home almost all the time.  I go into town roughly once a week for meetings and that’s it.  It’s lovely.

The dogs are generally doing well.  Ross seems to be relaxing a bit, although I am still unhappy with the condition of his coat and the droopiness of his eyes.  His thyroid is definitely still off.  We started him on a new homeopathic remedy but I don’t think it is doing anything.It can take months to reset a thyroid, and so I am being patient.  I really want to get his blood tested and possibly get him back on thyroid meds but until I have an income again this is not an option.  His hypothyroidism is very, very marginal so another few weeks shouldn’t hurt his health in the long run.  But it does affect his moods and I don’t like to see him moping about.

I’ve been doing a lot of research on the thyroid lately and am wondering if my own thyroid has been off as well.  I’m am currently reading The Thyroid Solution, which is an interesting lay-oriented book written by an MD.  I have a lot of the symptoms – mostly mental – typical of low grade hypothyroidism.  Much of it is resolved now, with only a residual level of fatigue and slightly sluggish metabolism.  I was diagnosed as having adrenal malfunction, but the adrenals and the thyroid work very closely together and typically if one is off, so is the other.  I wonder if going on thyroid meds would have sped up my recovery.  I’ll talk to my GP about getting tested when I go for my annual physical in a few weeks.  I suspect I’m too close to normal for test to pick up any imbalance. When I was really unwell I had a whole battery of tests done and everything came back “normal.”  My diagnosis was then ‘depression’ due to ‘stress.’  Fortunately I knew better and kept changing doctors until I found one who actually helped.  You really have to be your own advocate in health, both for yourself and for your animals.

No health issues to report in any of the girls.  They are all doing well, and are stable and happy.  Kess seems to be maturing a bit and is showing more interest in being affectionate with me.  This makes me happy.  She mostly spends her time in isolation, off in her crate or lying in the kitchen or out in the yard while I work in the dining room. This is her choice and I’ve let her be.  I started to tie her to my chair for a while but stopped.  I figured if she wanted to be off on her own that was fine with me.  Now she is seeking me out of her own accord with greater frequency.  She’ll be two in August.  I think she’s starting to grow up!

I was supposed to be at a trial this weekend, the one I didn’t get into because I sent my entry in too late and it was full.  I have since decided to scrap the trial season completely.  The next one is the August long weekend but they only have one run for novice classes and it’s a 6 hour drive.  I wouldn’t mind going and watching the rest of the trial, and then the really big trial  that starts 2 days later.  But I don’t have the time right now to go and sit for a week watching a dog trial.  I have too much work to do.  I will likely go and watch the Nationals in late August, and that will be it.  They are being held 3 hours away and I can go just for the day if I wish.  We’ll see.  Otherwise there’s a trial in late October which I might try and compete in.  I’ve decided that I may have to bite the bullet and put Hannah into Open so that we can actually attend trials.  There are simply too few around here that have any novice classes.  Only three this year, and the only one that was convenient in terms of location or date was the one this weekend.  So shooting to run Hannah in Open in October is my new goal.  At least it gives me something to work towards!

Now I’m off to market and then to pick up milk.  I’ve been getting enough milk lately to make yogurt and cheese!  Cheese making is really exciting.  But that’s a different post.  I’d best get going or I’ll miss the organic potatoes.