Off The Easel - LGD Art

Actually, it has been off the easel for awhile and a couple other pictures have been started and finished since, but I forgot to share it with you earlier.

This one came together easily and I always wonder why some artwork is like that. What is it about any particular dog, or scene, or project, or any matter of life, that helps it come together or makes it fall apart? 

To take you back: here’s the start of it...   LGD Art in Progress

... and the finish:

Playing With The Camera Again

Allen and I forego the traditional purchase of gifts around birthdays, Christmas and other holidays. Instead we wait until we’re ready and able to purchase some item we’ve wished for.

This time around it’s a new lens for the camera. I think this one was more my want than Allen's but he graciously made it happen. I’ve tried it out a couple times and it sure is something I have to get used to and practice with, but it’s almost like a new puppy - I’m so excited about the opportunities.

LGD's and Night Penning

I’m night penning the flock in the small paddocks near the yard where I often work the stock dogs. With several hundred sheep bedding down here, these spaces are getting well fertilized. A simple example of the sheep working for us.

The guardian dogs are in one place come morning and evening and it’s a simple matter to walk out and feed them.

Oakley has returned to duty and the worry about him not wanting to go back to work after a month up at the house with us was not needed. He seems happy to be back at work and hasn’t once thought to come back to the yard with us. He has to re-grow new skin on his hind leg so he’s still healing but it all looks good and feels as though there isn’t much more for us to do now except let him finish healing.

Meanwhile the odd couple, Zeus and Diesel, are still together and staying with the rams. It feels like we’re under working a great dog since Diesel has tremendous potential for handling a good deal of work against predators and the small band of sheep he’s with hardly seems like enough for him. For now, I won’t try rocking the boat though. The two packs feel stable and all is well.

Where We Go While We're Getting There

What a beautiful day, in deeper ways than warm sun and light breezes in October. It was a much, much needed day of simplicity which brought to light all the places I’ve been while I’m getting there.

My good friend Jill came out to work dogs today and we each had a smooth and lovely go of it with our dogs, during that time we also had a deep and lovely conversation. The kind of conversation that cracks you open a little bit. The kind of conversation I was searching for without knowing I was in need of it. It contained lots of bits about dogs, snippets about ego, and learning to accept what is in front of us because we are where we are.

Afterwards I just couldn’t bring myself to face another afternoon of working on fencing on my lonesome, yet the day was so gorgeous I needed to be outside. I headed back out to work my young dog, Mic, for a spell, then I set about making a simple bird bath from stone I have been collecting. Whenever I’m out and about on the pasture and come across a stone I like, either because it’s flat, or it’s coloured, or stands strong, whatever the reason, I pick it up and bring it home. Eventually I make use of them.

I’m so pleased with it and working with the stone, without worry of the final product, was the most fluid way to carry the morning forward and further sooth my fretful mind.

The stone dish at the top is too flat to make a deep bath for the birds and with winter coming up it might serve better if it held bird feed instead. I hope the birds like it. It reminds me of how remarkable it is to live in a place that serves up such simple and natural materials in abundance.

Re-reading this post I am reminded of another time I set about a simple task with stone: A Task of Elemental Basics

Prickly Beauties

I have a love, hate relation with these prickly beauties.

Thistles are like the scourge of the prairie and area farmers almost have an apoplexy when they see them. But as with all things of nature, they know where they belong and when. We have patches of them scattered about the farm, in spots bare of grass, in places where we left too much residue from hay feeding. In places nothing else will grow.

They’re the first plants to show up after stress in an area; they’re opportunists, which is one of the reasons why I like them.

I love how they expose and share their velvety softness, among their thorny spikes. They stay in flower late in the season and despite their opportunistic persistence and seeming uselessness otherwise, they still give back. 


He pushes almost all my buttons. Give an inch and he’ll take a mile, and he doesn’t forget that you gave him that inch. He’ll expect you’ll give in again at anytime, he’ll demand it. He is arrogant. He is comical. He is sly. He thinks for himself. He loves to be with me or with Allen. He’s been one of the more difficult dogs I’ve had the pleasure of knowing and after five years with him, I’ve reached a place of deep respect and admiration for him. Allen and I joke that if it comes down to divorce, the one thing we’ll fight over is who gets Cajun (and BJ).

Working with him is no longer a tug-o-war for control but rather a give and take of the control both of us desperately seek. There is a level of deep understanding in that realization because really that give and take is the way the working relationship needs to be for every stock dog.  I understand Cajun better now, and I think this gives him great relief. I highly doubt he understands me better because right from the get go his understanding ran as deep as it needed. Dogs are like that.

Stay or Go

We had a long day of sheep work yesterday. Lambs have been selected for sale, tagged appropriately, and those who will be leaving have been sorted from the ewes. It took 24 hours for the crying between the separated lambs and ewes to die down.

I have favourite lambs every year and this time around I’m very glad this little gem is staying here.

She's a nice little female who already weighs 90 plus pounds and she's got style. She’s even more adorable in person. Somehow knowing she is here lessens the pinch in my heart I always feel when we sell lambs.

LGD's I'll Never Figure It Out

The livestock guardian dogs have fascinated me from day one but I don’t think I’ll ever figure out how they align themselves as a pack or why some of them fit into a pack so well and others never do. I’ve reached the conclusion that, despite what all the books tell, it isn’t necessarily about age of the dog, or sex or whether they are intact or not. Sometimes it’s none of the above - sometimes it’s about personality and stability. I suppose it’s not much different than humans - some play well together, others do not.

When I had the flock at the yard to weigh lambs, Diesel headed back out with the flock thus putting himself back with the main pack. Zeus was still with the rams and Oakley is still up at the yard with us. Diesel has been on his own with the dogging sheep for about seven weeks. Meanwhile Lily, Pippa, Whiskey, Lady, and Oakley (until his predicament) were gelling well as a pack. The pack felt good to me.

I was sincerely hoping Diesel would slip into the main pack without fuss. That he’d feel the stability and realize he was now odd man out, not ruler of the roost. Alas, it didn’t happen. Right away on the first day, Lily was upset with the new arrangement. Within two days we had trouble and Pippa and Lily were pushed out and Lily got injured, making it dog number three to take care of right now. Diesel (assuming it was he) is once again, unscathed.

Next we tried putting Diesel with the rams and Zeus with the main flock, but Zeus refuses to leave his bunch of sheep, and returns to them, even though Diesel is with them. This morning, Zeus and Diesel, two unlikely bedfellows, were sleeping tightly curled up together. This evening both came bounding over, seemingly very happy with their new found partnership to each other and thus convincing me I’ll never know how these beautiful creatures make decisions about the way of their world.

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