Monday, May 18, 2009

My Parents, SDT and Mother's Day

Last weekend for Mother's Day we dragged my parents along to the 'On the River' SDT in Acme, WA. This trial was a 3 hour drive north for us from our home in Orting, WA. My parents live in Everson just a hop skip and fart away from Acme.

Doesn't my father look pleased to be there?

Actually, he always looks like that. (Just kidding Dad, you do smile... occasionally). He may look grumpy but it is mostly bluster, all animals love him and his horses are the most spoiled equines on the face of this planet.

My dad has been helping PNW Border Collie Rescue out by doing home visit evaluations in Whatcom County (The most northwest county in the continental US). I really shouldn't pick on him too much...I come by my evil streak honestly, he will pay me back in kind.

Now that I have plastered my father's face all over the Internet it is my mother's turn!

This is my mom!

Let me clarify that a smidgen. My mother is holding the leash. The adorable dog in the picture is Shadow, the little Prince of Everson. I have mother to thank for my premature silver hair (which I am trying to grow out & presently look like a skunk with a white streak down the middle of my head).

Why didn't I plaster my mom's face all over the Internet? Because she scares me. She always has knitting needles near by and she isn't afraid to use them. Trust me, I know this.

Not only do I have my mother to thank for grey hair but she gave me my artistic & design abilities. My mom is a woolaholic and responsible for my bizarre addiction to sheep (that is a story for another day).

I have a very hard time thinking of a memory where Mom is not knitting. She teaches knitting and designs knitting patterns for Silver Creek Classics. Here is a link to a few of her designs. Two of the pictures on this page feature my oldest daughter Amy when she was approximately 10 years old (she is 21 now).

This is Amy now!

...with me and my mother. Uh oh...the knitting needles are going to get me now!

Wow, that was a big swerve down crazy lane. Let me get back on track now...

Both of my parents have visited my brother who lives with his family in Derbyshire, UK. While there they had the pleasure of seeing border collies racing around the hills tending their flocks of sheep. This was their first time seeing a sheep dog trial in the US.

At the trial we were happy to see Diane Pagel with her Lucy.

It wasn't until Lucy was close to Bonnie that Diane observed they were darn near mirror images of each other.

Bonnie is black and white with speckles & Lucy is red and white with speckles!

The speckle twins! Lucy told Bonnie that speckles are special.

The trial was held on near the banks of the South Fork of the Nooksack River in Acme, WA. Acme is a small area with stunning scenery at the foot of Mount Baker. (Yet another one of WA State's active volcanoes).

Jack Knox was the judge & said it was one of the hardest courses he had ever seen. What made it particularly difficult was the length of the grass. The grass was so long the dogs had a hard time spotting the sheep & the handlers seeing their dogs. It was difficult to watch because when the handler would send their dog we would lose sight of it, sometimes not spotting it until the sheep were lifted at the set out.

A shot from the viewing area to the left of the post down field to the set out. The grass is 12 to 18 inches long in spots.

A shot of a handler sending her dog from the post. The dog is leaping up while running, trying to spot sheep above the grass. From watching this I learned sending your dog on this course was a huge test in trust. The dog needed to trust the handler and where they were sending it without question, because many times they were unable to see the sheep at the set out.

It made me realize that I am NO WHERE close to that level of trust with Beth. It is truly humbling the amount of work and training that goes into this. I am in awe when I watch these handlers with their dogs. It is simply amazing to me.

My parents enjoyed the trial. I am not sure why we hauled the chairs out to the field though. No one sat in them. Brynn was the only one who was smart enough to use a chair. She climbed up in this one and got tangled in the strap and didnt care a whit....little goof.

Afterward we went to a fantastic little place called the Blue Mountain Grill in Acme. We ate so much food they needed a wheel barrel to haul us out.

What a wonderful way to spend Mother's Day!


DeltaBluez Tess said...

I love the pixs!!! What a great write up

Kasha said...

That was fun to read! Your parents look fun. I notice your mom is into dogs. That is really cool. You should see my blog for why I am a bit jealous.

sheepkelpie said...

Where do I start? I love your dad! He looks like real salt of the earth people. Your mom? Those sweaters??? She is very talented. Your brother lives across the pond and your mom is a wool-a-holic? No wonder you are living sheepdog life! VERY cool that your parents accompanied you to the trial. Bryn? Honey bun- that's her name.
Thanks for the pics and story.

Jodi said...

Great post! Brynn is huge now! Holy cow! Your parents are adorable! And yes, that trust thing is amazing. One time ... years ago ... my trainer saw me using flank commands while playing frisbee with one of my dogs -- and slammed me for it! Said, "How do you think your dog will ever trust you that there are sheep out there if he's looking for a frisbee every time you say 'Come bye'?" True. So true. Glad you enjoyed your Mother's Day!

Nibbles Treats said...

What a great day and a wonderful post. Enjoyed meeting the family - knitting needles and all!

Tinkerbell, Oscar and Tucker

Pat A said...

Great post. remember BT our cat taught the pups to climb and also how to jump from chair to table etc.
It is my cats that steal my paint brushes and chew them up.

Love the knitting. I have not done that for a long time.

Some day they will have trials near enough to here for me to go and watch.

We have one of those stinker dogs also. I have been trying to teach Cassie to open her crate door. Now she is smart but she just jumps up on the bed to let me know that if I don't open it for her, she will sleep there thank you.
Tonight, she broke her sit and ran into the bedroom. I called her to come back, She looked at me with her wicked grin and opened her crate door and went in.
I could not stop the laugh this time.

DeltaBluez Tess said...

can you email me