Elsa at work
Keep ’em moving.
Going in for the bite.
Get around, Elsa! Note my shadow…
I wanted to post a few pictures of Elsa at work. She has learned so much since she arrived on July 2 of last year. Many times those first few weeks, I wondered if she was going to work out for us here. Now it seems like she’s been here for a long time! Elsa enjoyed working the steers on Friday. Rarely will a yearling turn and challenge a dog! She was quiet almost the entire time… barking just a tad more as the day went on and the temperature and miles increased! She does a great little bounce and bite technique. I captured the bounce but all my bite photos were a tad too blurry to share. It is hard to take good photos when your subject is moving, your horse is moving and there is a delay on the digital camera! I’m not ready to take my *good* camera along on horseback yet, so it is just a matter of taking lots of pics and trashing 3/4 of them! So here’s some photos of “Elsa Dear” hard at work.
Once again, we were on horseback today. This time to gather the steers off our BLM lease ground. We will be selling them on Monday, so we have to gather, retag, and weigh them. Today was a big gather, though 2 weeks ago we also gathered this pasture and brought home our cows and calves. It went well. Elsa was dog of the day. This pasture is way too big for Lucas to handle! Lucas’ disappointment was as big as Elsa’s excitement. And Elsa pretty much had a perfect day. Heeling steers is an entirely different ballgame than heeling cows… and Elsa handled them expertly. She goes into a high bounce, comes down, tilts her head, and bites! Good girl! If she could move yearlings all the time, she’d improve her confidence immensely! The photograph above shows the early hour of the morning… and Elsa returning to me. She’s a difficult subject to photograph. She rarely gets in front of me unless she’s moving cattle! And here we’ve just begun our day, so as soon as I stopped to take the picture, she quickly turned and came back to get behind my horse. Pay no attention to my horse’s ear in the photo! I took many pictures today, most didn’t turn out as the delay on the camera often foils my perfect shot… but I’ll post some more tomorrow. After waking up at 4 am, I believe I’m ready for bed!
With all of the rain we’ve had, it has turned out to be a good grass year! The stock should all be fat and happy! Our haying season has begun as well, turning all this great green bounty into winter feed. Daniel is our mower man, happily cutting hay down all day long. As long as his music and air conditioner continue to work, Daniel remains a happy camper quite content to slice through anything green! Victoria is our hay raker. It is her job to turn the hay with the rake and speed along the drying process. It also throws together windrows so that Brandon, our baler extraordinaire, doesn’t have to make as many passes across the field to bale the hay. Vernon spells Brandon at times, and fills in on any other job necessary. John, my father-in-law, is amazing at stacking the hay into neat, orderly, and solid haystacks. Everyone irrigates, too. I’m the useless one in the process, seeing as how when I get close to hay, I have relatively impressive allergy attacks! With three places to hay, the new Mills place, our home place, and our Christopherson lease, from here on out it will be a circle of water hay, cut hay, rake hay, bale hay, stack hay, and repeat.
When the pups were small, we played a game I called “Puppy Soccer”. It encouraged their chasing skills and was extremely fun to watch. I videoed it once and put it on YouTube. You can find it there or search my blog for it. I wondered if D would remember it… Dally has played it on occasion, though it is not the same without 9 brothers and sisters! I sent the ball rolling and it took D a grand total of .5 second before he was on the chase! Dally saw the action and quickly joined in. They are captured above in the split second of pause before the ball rolled again and they were on the chase. Excitement was building and Dally went in for the kill… unfortunately, she did kill it! D was so excited for the game, he continued to try to play it with the flattened ball. Fetching and returning it to me to throw again… it just wasn’t the same… and 5 minutes later he lay down, defeated by the airless ball. Ok, D, next time I go to town, I’ll invest in a $2 ball for you again! Just don’t kill it!
I’ve only met my English Shepherds…well, I’ve met two 8 week old pups…but my pack are all I know personally. The internet has been an amazing resource for learning of other English Shepherds. And between the 12 I’ve met, their ability to take things in stride has been remarkable. D came to us at one of our busiest times of the year. We spent days cowboying in the badlands and bringing pairs home, sorting them, branding them, and relocating them. D had to be kennelled so we could leave safely without him following us. He took it without whining or barking. When our work was done, days after D arrived, he joined in our new daily routines. Since D belongs to Bryan, I felt he should be partnered with a male here as well, and asked Daniel to be his temporary owner. He now thinks he should be able to go with Daniel anywhere. They are a good team! He has been in the pickup, the tractor, and the excavator. A simple invitation and D is his partner! D dog and Daniel, a winning combination!