Shadow Pictures

Right now I’m sitting at my desk with one Border Collie (Rusty) at my feet under the desk and the other behind the chair. Ginny has never been gun shy or afraid of things in the sky but this thunderstorm has her rattled too. Rusty is terrified. So I left the loom where I was weaving and I’ll wait it out with them. We don’t often have thunderstorms here.

I had planned to write this blog post about our walk Across the Road in yesterday’s sunshine.


Guess who with something in her mouth?


Ginny watches the Ball and Rusty watches Ginny.





Ginny constantly drops the ball in the water but this year she gets herself. Last year I was fishing it out for her.



I don’t say much about Maggie because she usually wanders ahead and does her own thing out of range of the camera. I called her over to get a photo.



The late afternoon sun gives light to other subjects as well.



Ginny found a ball that we lost at some point in the tall grass. Now the grass is gone and she saw it in a dried tractor track. It’s a good thing because the ball on the right isn’t in very good shape at this point.


Across the Road Again

No big story here. I’m just sharing photos from this evening’s walk with the dogs.

DSC_9959First Ginny had to find her toy. She knows which toy we take on walks (the one that floats). While I stayed near the gate she ran through the bushes, around the garage and found it at the barn.

cattle egret The sheep are in the pasture closest to the road right now.

DSC_9981It’s dry and dusty now.DSC_0032


MaggieMaggie coming when I call.great egretEgrets in the alfalfa field.DSC_9999

DSC_0057 DSC_0066 Ginny now expects me to help her out of the canal at the steep areas.

DSC_0089 A field of green beans.


Dogs in Our Lives

This post started as a way to show what Rusty looked like at the age Ginny is now. Ginny-7 monthsGinny is 7 months.Rusty-6 monthsI got Rusty when he was 6 months old.

This post has evolved into photos of the other dogs that have been in my life. I am clearing off my old computer before I get rid of it and I found photos that had never been transferred. Then when I searched dogs on my computer I found old scanned photos too. So here you go.1970s dogsThis is my mom sometime in the mid-70’s. Murka is the German Shepherd that was our family dog. Blue is on the couch–he was my mom’s dog that she found somehow. I have forgotten the story. Katya or “Kat” is on the table. She was my half-Keeshound (supposedly the other half was coyote) who was very loving but timid, especially of men…like Bonnie and Maggie, who both came to me later. I had Kat through my moves to Utah and Arizona, but she died before I came back to California. Then there was a no-dog period although mom had Blue.k&dogs-w (1) When the kids were young and we lived at the dairy we had Brandy and Flash, both rescues of one sort or another. Brandy was given away by someone who also gave us a huge bag of all the flea and anti-itch things that didn’t work on her and Flash was found in a parking lot by a veterinarian I used to work for. I got him as a puppy.Benny and Flash-1999-300 Brandy died while we were still at the dairy, but not long after we moved to our current location in 1999 we got Benny, rescued in the Safeway parking lot. Doc, Benny, Flash 2003 Doc, on the left, showed up as a lost dog and was later identified by his owners from just down the road. They took him back but I told them that if they ever wanted to give him away I’d take him. They moved and didn’t want him. He was a wonderful dog, but was killed by a big truck on the road when he chased Benny, who is the only dog we’ve had that would leave the barn to run to the road.Sam, Rusty, BennyI got Rusty after Flash died, but while we still had Benny. My son and DIL got Sam the next year.DSC_2022This is what Sam looks like now. He outweighs Rusty by at least 50 pounds. That’s his buddy, Kirin, who is even bigger now.DSC_0149 Bonnie came later. She is the only dog that I have given away but she went to a life that is much better for her. That’s a long story that Rusty has told in his blog.DSC_1945Rusty’s role is as a herding dog. He helps me when I need it but doesn’t have nearly as much work as he’d like.MaggieBenny died a few years ago and I wanted to get a dog as a buddy for Rusty. That’s when I got Maggie through Dog Spot Rescue. Rusty told that story too.DSC_1685 So now there is Rusty and Maggie…Ginny and toy - 7 months…and Ginny.



digging hole for toy

Ginny is the only dog here that likes to play with toys. While I was working in the garden she dug that hole specifically to bury her - Version 2 Rusty has the last laugh.

Ginny’s Favorite Things

Rusty and Maggie don’t fetch. They don’t see the point. Ginny, on the other hand, has learned the fun of getting people to throw things for her. She is obsessed with this $10 toy.DSC_4024 In fact she is so obsessed that I can see the focus that Rusty has for herding is the way Ginny acts with this toy. Hopefully when the time comes Ginny will be able to think about sheep with the same concentration.DSC_4027 Right now it’s fun for her…DSC_4032 …and it’s good for me to have a way to help her burn off energy with something as easy as standing in one place and throwing something.DSC_5292 Ginny also loves to swim in the canal Across the Road. In a recent blog post I described how Ginny is always on leash now on our walks. Swimming in the canal is an exception. So far when I let her go into the water (which did not work well on leash) she hasn’t tried to run off and chase birds. But I don’t let her off for long–only while she wants to swim.DSC_5410 I decided to combine the Toy and swimming.  DSC_5413 I started by throwing it right close to the edge in case I was the one that had to retrieve it.DSC_5416

DSC_5418 It became obvious that I would not be the one going in the water so I threw it a little farther.DSC_5421


DSC_5427 And farther.DSC_5432 No problem.DSC_5439 On one throw however it was much closer to the far bank and that’s where Ginny got out…DSC_5440 …and then left the Toy.DSC_5441   I told her to go back for it.DSC_5449

DSC_5446She brought it back by walking along the bank until she got to one of the above-water crossings.

I think she would make a dock-diving dog or whatever they call that sport where dogs (many border collies) jump to retrieve favorite toys in water.  That would be fun if there was something close by. But we may have to stick with the canal.

Ginny Gets Smarter (or Maybe it’s Me)

I used to take all three dogs for walks Across the Road. Rusty and Maggie get to run off leash once we’re on the dirt roads and away from the main road. At first I let Ginny go too because she stayed with them and I knew that she would come with them if I called. Then Ginny discovered Birds. That was the end of the predictable behavior. Well, there was a new predictable behavior; hear the killdeer, run back and forth across the field after them. The killdeer fly in short bursts, land, change direction. Ginny would follow. I would follow her and it was only luck that I would eventually catch her. It only took me three episodes of this to realize that Ginny couldn’t be off-leash anymore. I tried to take her on our walks using a long-line, but that didn’t work for me. No matter which leash I used (long or short) I wasn’t getting the behavior I wanted (walk nicely next to me) and she wasn’t getting the exercise I thought she needed.

This was all about two months ago. I complained to a friend about my lack of control of my puppy and the poor job I was doing of training her. Here is the light-bulb moment. She told me what I think I knew but wasn’t admitting–that I needed to work with Ginny separately and not when the other dogs were around. Duh!

I started to take separate dog walks. Maggie and Rusty still get to go off-leash Across the Road…Ginny…but Ginny walks on a leash.GinnyI found my sheepdog training flag that I had forgotten about. Carrying that has helped her get the idea of not pulling on the leash.GinnyShe stills gets the chance to look for ground squirrels at times. GinnyFor more exercise…Ginny …we go on a bike ride.Ginny IMG_2979    These photos were all taken about a month ago but…baling hay, ginny…this one was taken last week. Ginny wasn’t too sure about those balers.

Weaving Class Gone to the Dogs

I taught a Learn to Weave class this weekend. There were three people who worked diligently all weekend and finished their samplers.IMG_2356 I don’t make everyone use the same yarns. Willard used Jaggerspun Green Line, an organic Merino yarn.IMG_2359Ruth used Ashford Tekapo yarn. I didn’t get a photo of Marion’s piece until our group photo but she used Imperial Stock Ranch Erin yarn.IMG_2361I wish that I had a separate classroom that could remain set up for classes and Spinners Night Out but we just have to move everything aside to turn the shop into a classroom.IMG_2365

And this time we made room for dogs also.

IMG_2360This is Bear, who came for the weekend. I don’t usually invite dogs to functions here but made an exception for Bear and her owner. Bear is a Leonberger and this is what Wikipedia says in addition to describing a “generous double coat”: “When properly trained and socialized, the Leonberger is vigilant, loyal, and confident in all situations. Robust, adaptable, obedient, intelligent, playful, and kindly, the Leonberger is an appropriate family companion for modern living conditions”. Evidently that goes for weaving classes too although at times I think Bear was a bit bored with us.

IMG_2358 “Mom, can’t we go yet?”IMG_2368

Can you tell from this photos how large bear is? It’s not just the camera perspective.

IMG_2363   And then there is Rusty who gets to come in the shop when he hears gunshots and needs to feel safe.IMG_2370At the end of the day.