Monday, April 25, 2011

Weekend at Ronnie's

This last weekend Dianne Deal was in town again to teach lessons and hold a handling clinic at Ronnie's farm in Yelm. 

Ronnie is a elderly farmer I have written about several times before.  We met Ronnie through my dear friend Cindy.  Cindy has known Ronnie for 25+ years.  He has come to depend on her for help with vaccinating his flock and general care.  I am blessed that Cindy asked me to join her and had the opportunity to meet him. Everyone that has enjoyed time on Ronnie's farm owes it to Cindy and her long standing relationship with Ronnie. 

Ronnie is a character.  His giggle is infectious. 

I have found the way to his heart, is truly through his stomach.  After a couple years of bringing him home canned peaches, applesauce, jams & what not...I found the one thing he cannot resist.  My cinnamon rolls.  Needless to say, I will make them for him regularly.  Anything to see him smile.  It will light up your day. 

Ronnie has graciously allowed us to use one of his pastures, haul our sheep in to work and spend the weekends enjoying his amazing acreage. 

Many of us got the first sunburn of the year under blue skies and a lovely view of Mt Rainier through the trees.

Jorgen came to help with the sheep chores over the weekend during the lessons and clinic. 

Ronnie adores his dog Merckx & enjoys Jorgen's company. 

We like to give Ronnie as much help over the weekends we are there as possible, so he does not have to worry about anything and he will invite us back.

Often, throughout the weekend, we would see Jorgen sitting with a contented smile on his face, with an exhausted dog at his feet.  You have never seen such a happy team. 

Saturday evening after the clinic, I stopped by Jorgen's RV to invite him to dinner with the clinic crowd.   I found him sitting on the steps, surrounded by his tired dogs, munching on a salad with a Guinness in his hand, waiting for his steak to finish on the barbeque.  He was grabbing a quick bite to eat, then planning on doing the nightly sheep chores before turning in.  I wish I had thought to grab my camera - such was the look of contentment. 

Jorgen wrote about his time on Ronnie's farm on his blog...he says it so much better than I ever could. 

Click here to read Jorgen's blog Strider, Merckz & Ben "Sheep Chores"

 Shot of a small amount of Ronnie's sheep and lambs Friday morning

A few of my favorite snap shots from the weekend.  

Mindy & Shep - this just makes me smile. 

Erin with her new dog waiting for their turn at the post.


Too many things happened over the weekend to cover adequately without putting you to sleep.  Needless to say Dianne worked wonders for us.  I am proud to say she bestowed us with the proverbial gold star on Friday during my session with Brynn.  She was quite pleased with the progress Brynn and I have made since she was here last.  During our sessions this weekend we worked on the outrun and fetch issues, loosened up her eye driving with some exercises I need to work on with homework.  

Dianne also worked Bea a couple of times, just fun stuff, no pressure & just to keep her engaged and having fun.  Bea is happily hooked on sheep.  Bea is not so worried about being perfect, like she was before. 

Look Ma, four paws off the ground! 

Happy pup

We also found out that Bea is a magical pup.  She can levitate sheep too!

At the handlers clinic I learned a few things about myself.  The clinic was set up for us to run practice trial runs and then judge each other on our runs.  I ran Brynn in the clinic.  Our first run in the morning was dismal.  When I sent her on the outrun, I set her up for 'comeby' then when I sent her, I said "away" she ran, hesitated, almost crossed, then I yelled at her...she looked confused, ran some more and I called her back.  WTF?  So I set her up again, she ran tight and hesitant, came in too tight on the top ...then I panicked.  As usual - then telegraphed my anxiety to her through my voice, whistles and general all around demeanor. 

The afternoon run was better, but still not good.  Again, I decompensated....anxiety got the best of me and we did not do as well as I thought we should.

One thing that seems to help me - ditch my stick.  I need to poke it in the ground and put my hands in my pockets if possible - for some reason that calmed me down a bit.  Whatever helps, eh? 

Is it my ego that is allowing the anxiety to get the best of me?  I do not know for sure. 

I have severe issues with anxiety already, in my personal life.  Going to the post is a challenge for me.  I find it so difficult to concentrate on nothing but the sheep and my dog.  I am worried about what people think, if they are criticizing me, my dog or my handling.  Notwithstanding wondering if they are laughing at the size of my butt, visible panty lines or rolls of back fat?  ARGH!    I am more aware & in tune with what is going on behind me than I am of my dog & sheep on the field. 


I do not know how to shut that off.   How do you distance yourself from that?  I wish I knew how.  Till I figure it out, it will just have to be time at the post and miles on the training field. 


cheyne923 said...

Thanks for the wonderful link to Jorgen's blog. Did you know that he gave you a shout out on Feb 18?
Deservedly so--your shots are wonderful and commentary is witty, even when you get self-deprecating. I'm in awe of your effort and talent, your blog brings me a lot of joy in a time when I've been sick a lot. Melinda and Jeeves in Chicago

livin life said...

I think more people struggle with the same issues as you...they just don't want to say that outloud. ANTs....automatic negative thoughts. Kill your ants, girl...kill your ants!

Anonymous said...

Love the photos of Ronnie

Ferreh Hiatt said...

thanks for posting the pictures of one of my favorite skylines! Evergreens, mountains, and Mt. Rainier. Nearly made me mist up a bit. Dammit, I need to get back out there!

fairywhisper said...

"Is it my ego that is allowing the anxiety to get the best of me?"
-Your ego is causing your anxiety.

Honestly at trials, nobody is really watching all that much. I've come to conclude this. I watch my friend's and the people I know are amazing handlers. I think most people do the same.

If you want to not worry about OPL(obvious panty line) switch to a thong ;)

fairywhisper said...

Oh thanks for the picture of Cam she sure is a sweetie.