Thursday, August 11, 2011

It's Tell Me Thursday over at Crooks and Crazies...

...and that seems to be the only time I post anymore, but it's better than nothing, right?

Questions for today:

1. In sheepdog training (or lets call it *any* type of training), how do you keep from taking yourself, your dog, your lack of progress too seriously? posed by Ann

That's a tough one. Right now, the fact that I have essentially no money and can't trial and have dogs who are fine for doing the chores means that it's pretty easy to just blow off lack of progress. I keep saying I'm going to just put the youngster up for a few months. But I find I can't really do that. So simple chores still happen. My lambs are over at Robin's, the ewes need to gain weight, and it's been freakin' hot, so easy enough not to worry about progress. I've just got Ranger who needs training; everyone else would really just need tuning up, so there's not a lot of pressure to do anything. Of course, that's sort of a cop out, but I imagine if I had trials as an incentive, I'd work harder with Ranger and probably what I consider a lack of progress right now really wouldn't be.

2. How many crates do you have? For reals.

This may not be an exact count, because I'm not sure how many are in the garage (2 or 3), so let's say approximately 24, not including cat crates. That's really just a little more than 2 per dog, and my crates double as chick-raising crates as well, so they do multi-duty around here. And then there's Jill's indoor X-pen, which is her de facto crate in the house.

3. How do you keep your dogs in shape?

We used to take long walks to the river several times a day, but I got to the point where I just couldn't take the gazillions of ticks they (and I) were picking up, so now we just don't exercise. Since we're not trialing or doing anything terribly strenuous at home, it's not a big deal, but I at least need to do something over the next month to get Pip and Phoebe in a bit better shape, since they will be the set out dogs at Donald's trial, and it's really not fair to them to expect them to work three long days when they've been slugs most of the summer. That said, Pip, after a couple of months of soundness (no doubt as a result of doing next to nothing overly physical), was limping again the other day. Sigh.

4. Who is your favorite movie/tv star eye candy at the moment?

Well, that's a tough one since I haven't been going to the movies or watching much TV. But Liam Neeson always qualifies as a fave of mine, so he's got my vote for this Tell Me Thursday.

5. What is your livestock situation? Have your own? Borrow? Herd the cats? (You can subsitute other equipment for livestock if you don't work stock with your dogs).

I have my own: sheep and chickens (because, you know, Lark and Pip LOVE to work the chickens, and they do come in handy when the chicks and some of the big chickens are slow to go in the coop at night). I have a small flock of sheep--seven mule ewes, six tunis ewes, the BFL ram, and 20 lambs, a good number of which I will be keeping back for the breeding flock this year, assuming I have enough pasture to justify it. I have a Suffolk ram lamb coming sometime in the next week or so. I have more chickens than I have sheep; it's easier to count crates than to count chickens....

Sorry, no photos today--for some reason Blogger isn't allowing me to upload and I have work to do so can't fiddle around to try to figure it out or just to outwait the dam* system till it decides to cooperate.


Laura Carson said...

YAY! You're #1! lol! I can't wait to see your new suffolk ram. :)

Somehow it makes me feel better that I'm not the only one with slugs for dogs this summer.

Julie Poudrier said...

You'll get to see him up close and personal over Labor Day, lol!

He might be getting here tomorrow; Joe wasn't sure when he'd bring him by, but he picked him up in MI yesterday.

Now I gotta figure out what to do with him when he gets here. I guess I'll get a wether or two back from Robin.

Doniene said...

I have a few questions - are you and Laura trying to set a record for owning the most crates? Do you stack them together? What would you do if they all had animals in them? How long did it take you to collect them? WOW I'm amazed LOL!!


P.S. Glad Phoebe likes "Happy Trails" - tell her to come back and visit any time.

Julie Poudrier said...

Let's see. If the crates all had animals in them, I'd probably be on an episode of Hoarders, though when the hens get broody, it is possible to have all spare crates full of hens and chicks!

Seriously, though, I have 9 border collies. I used to travel a lot--in the not too distant past--to sheepdog trials (and hope to again someday when I get my finances in a better situation). So I have 7 that are permanently in the van. I have an extra soft crate because one of the crates in the van is medium sized, which is okay for my smallest dog to travel in, but not to stay in while we're on location, so she has a bigger folding cloth crate for that.

I have a dog room (the sun room) in this house. Some of the crates are stacked in there. Some of my dogs are crated (e.g., the oldster who chews things and the youngster who can't be trusted and the epileptic dog who is safer in a crate should she have a seizure while I'm not here). There's also a crate in the bedroom for the thunderphobic dog (necessary if it's storming at night and I want to get some sleep).

Some of the older folding wire crates (tried to use them in the van; the dogs didn't like them and I think the plastic crates are safer) are stored in the garage.

I've collected the crates over 10-11 years I guess. Old crates get stored because you never know when you might need one. The crates that have broken doors and the like end up being used for chicken duty.

See? Getting a lot of crates is easy peasy! (And sometimes you can find them on Craig's List for next to nothing.)

Pippin, the Gentle Pup said...

Hey Julie,

What kind of van do you have? Our mini-van can hold at most 5

Julie Poudrier said...

Hey Robin,
I have a GMC Safari--the last of the boxy mid-size vans. It's the same as the Chevy Astro, which is what I had before I got the Safari. The gas mileage isn't great, but certainly better than a full-size van. I don't know what I'll do when this one dies. A friend of mine has a Town & Country, I think, older model, and she can fit a lot of crates in hers, but I don't think she can get as many as I can. I can fit 6 intermediate Vari-Kennels stacked, plus an intermediate (maybe with a medium on top, haven't tried that) or large at the back and still be able to access all dogs without moving a crate. Right now my configuration is a large crate (for Pip) behind my seat with a medium on top (for Lark), four intermediates stacked, and then a large at the back for Ranger. I can also fit another intermediate sitting sideways in front of the stacked crates, and a medium too, but by then I wouldn't be able to fit much else in there!

The nice thing about the Safari is that I can also pull a small camper/trailer so it's pretty multipurpose, but the sad thing is that they are no longer made.

I think Laura gets 7 crates in her older-model Ford Aerostar (I think that's what it is), but space is tighter than in my Safari.

I leave crates in the van unless there's a compelling reason to take them out....

Laura Carson said...

I can get up to 8 in the Aerostar, but that's with the two on the very end being medium vari-kennels. That doesn't count one in the wheel well though. So realistically I could get nine. But that's pretty much ALL I get in there when I put that many.

J's right - I have an old model Ford Aerostar - relatively boxy. I stack crates 2-high, and most everyone rides in an intermediate. I typically store between 4 and 6 in the van all the time.

Pippin, the Gentle Pup said...

We have a Sienna and it's pretty roomy, but the roof is sloped making stacking only possible in the middle of the van (so we can get 4 on the bottom and one on the top). We use wire crates though, so I wonder if we could in fact stack vari-kennels. If we could get 8 dogs in our van, we could actually go somewhere together (since we moved, we alternate staying home to tend the animals--we don't really have anyone to stay overnight here and we don't like to leave the dogs alone overnight). I might measure with the vari-kennel dimensions, though.

Julie Poudrier said...

One thing I discovered, thanks to Robin, is that the Kennel-Aire wire crates are as roomy as a VariKennel, but take up less space width-wise (they have straight sides instead of bowing out like the VariKennels do). The one I have for Ranger isn't made anymore I don't think. I wouldn't consider it sturdy enough for stacking another dog on top, at least not without something to provide support between top and bottom layer, but you might want to look at various styles of wire crates, or even consider some sort of custom insert. If my van didn't have the rear air conditioning vents at the back roof, I could probably get an extra crate back there....

It would be awesome if you could fit all dogs and travel together!