Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Request

A friend in California asked me if I could post some pictures of Cardinals, because they don't have Cardinals there and she thinks they're so beautiful. They're a favourite of mine as well, between them and the Chickadees, it's a coin toss. They're really difficult to photograph though, because they're very shy - the most shy of all the birds that come here. It's not easy to get close enough, even from behind a window. The shyness seems to go with the bright colour. A natural defence? So, I considered it a challenge to attempt to get a few decent pictures to post.


Female Very bonded with their mates, super parents, beautiful song and very cute babies. Nothing not to like about these birds!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Had A Little Lamb, Little Lamb, Little Lamb

We have very good friends we initially met in 1987 when they bought a puppy from us through a newspaper ad. It would have ended there except that dog was lost when he was staying with relatives while they were away, and was never found. They came back to us for another puppy, and we sold them one that "could finish". Would they be interested in having him shown? Finish he did and then came co-owning a bitch, travelling to dog shows together, lots of fun times and a friendship that has lasted for 20 years! It didn't take too long before they realized that conformation wasn't for them though, and Sue really found her niche with herding! They have their own successful herding facility for lessons and clinics. Licenced herding trials are also held there every year. Of course you need the livestock and it's much easier to breed them yourself and that means ..... lambs! This year I finally managed a visit while there were still lambs that were really young!

Some of the sheep, none with lambs, neutered males and females without lambs.

Sue keeps Indian Runner Ducks as well, also used for herding.

An older lamb, still cute but....

Cuter! This guy and his sister below are just over a week old. He is the only coloured lamb on the place this year - I told Sue she should keep him intact and she says she's been thinking about doing that. I just love his colour! He was so relaxed too. Adorable!

Here he is in the stall, you can see why I love his colour! Anything remotely merle, ticked or roan does it for me!

This is his little, and I mean little, sister. She is smaller than normal. Her mother didn't bond with her - when she was born she got stuck somewhere where her mother couldn't easily get to her. Now she doesn't want her and butts her away when she tries to eat so Sue has to pin the mother against the wall so the little one can get to her.

Here she is in the pen....cute OVERLOAD!

Sue's still got a few Shelties and it's always nice seeing the old girls! Both of these girls come down from our Dream and share the long life gene that runs in that family - both these girls are close to 16 years old. This is "Courtney" Ch. Prairieview Coloured By Night who is sired by our BIS Ch. Whitegates Beam Me Up, C.D. and many more titles. I finished Court and she was so much fun to show. She's the dam of Sue's superstar herding Sheltie, Kip.

And this is Dare, Ch. Blueprint's Dare To Dream (herding titles) who is out of our Ch. Whitegates Only In Dreams, a Dream daughter. Dare is still so beautiful. Dare's dam just passed away recently at almost 18 years old, I did a post on her here. Nothing better than the old girls - not even lambs! And a changed course of lives stemming from the simple answering of a newspaper ad.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Signs of Spring

Sunday was the first day of Spring, and even though it's still overcast all day long, all the snow is gone and there are definite signs of Spring around here.

While the light wasn't great today, that always seems to be the best conditions for the dark coloured birds, animals or dogs. I took this picture of a Common Grackle today, and it doesn't look so common to me. These birds and the Red-winged Blackbirds are one of the first Spring arrivals, and both have appeared.

The chipmunks are awake again! I watched this one gathering bedding of dead leaves and twigs. I think it's too early to be nesting for babies, maybe just refreshing its own bed after a long winter.

And of course, the Robins, the traditional harbingers of Spring.

Okay, not a sign of Spring, these red Squirrels drive us crazy all year long, but now I know why recently this particular feeder is being completely emptied every single day! The feeder is at least 8 to 12 inches from the pole, which has nothing for them to hang onto...these guys can get into anything.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Cat Thing.... over. After my camera was stolen at the store, I had finally come to a point where I wasn't looking over my shoulder all the time, a little more relaxed. Still, I wasn't sure if I wanted to continue, not just because of that, there were other things as well. But, when asked if I would stay on for the month of March, I figured I would give it one more month. That first day in March was a good day, I met a foster person, the store was a little busier, the cats were all good. Done with my shift, I go out to the (almost empty) parking lot to come face to face with the imprint of another car's door in the driver's side door of my brand new, not-had-it's-first-oil-change-yet, car. No note of course! That would be too easy - and too honest! The repair will have to come out of my own pocket and I'm still seeking out estimates, trying to keep it under a grand. Just six weeks of volunteering - camera, car. Expensive cats!

To all who have asked me - NO - I don't have a cat now! I must admit to being overly sensitive when the cashier at the store said to me "Aren't you the cat lady?" (Cringe - No, no, NO!, I'm (so!) NOT the cat lady!). Then the funny look when I explain I don't even have a cat, I have dogs.

One thing I learned - really irresistible cats are quite few and far between and they do tend to go quite quickly (although never as quickly as they should! - people get stuck things that don't matter like sex and colour - just like with dogs). Elmo was by far the best cat, there were two others that I really liked. All males! Having never been around a clowder of cats (I just googled that - I knew it wasn't a herd or a flock - but seriously, I didn't make that up!!) I hadn't really thought about the personalities of males vs. females, but they are a bit like dogs in that the males tend to be more affectionate, even-temperamented and just more endearing. Why is it more people seem to want the females?

Anyway, I feel for the cats because a lot of them are not at all outgoing, they have a lot of disease issues that are especially risky in "clowders", like respiratory things, feline leukemia and feline HIV. Nasty stuff. People are particularly irresponsible with cats for whatever reason and because they seem to survive better than dogs as ferals, it's all a huge problem. Cats really do skew shelter and euthanasia statistics because of shear numbers, disease and adoptability issues. Dogs and cats should be counted and considered separately for the numbers to make any sense.

Terry really likes his volunteering, is still at it and has things on the go but I feel I would be far better off just declaring the same five hour cat time each week as "Whitegates grooming hours" - imagine the spiffy dogs I would have if I just committed the same time to grooming my own dogs?

Yes, for me, charity begins at home.

And remember, a "cat clowder" isn't a soup!

I took a picture of this girl because of her big, bright green eyes. She isn't "wide eyed" or scared, her eyes always look like this. The picture doesn't do the true green colour of them justice (no way I take my new camera anywhere near this store!). I just saw on the rescue site that she has been adopted. Like a lot of the cats, she was not very outgoing but you could tell with time and patience, she would be okay (and she is still a kitten), as long as someone gives her enough of a chance. The missing ear tip is common - if they are from a feral group they are "ear tipped" when they are spayed or neutered so if they can't be tamed enough to be adopted out, they are returned to where they were captured and that way no-one bothers to trap them and bring them in over and over again - they know they've already been altered.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Moving On

I was going to call this post "Grief". But I changed my mind, because I don't want to get stuck there. I have learned a lot over the past weeks, about myself, about other people. About grief.

I hadn't lost anyone in my life yet that I was as close to as I was to Joan (and that makes me lucky, I know) and I realize she was ready to go and had lived a very long time, but the world will always be a little bit different to me without her in it.

With all the arrangements looked after by others, I sat down and did the memorial site, two days later it was finished. I had never thought about doing something like that, it had never crossed my mind. It just got done. It turned out to be a real comfort to many in the family, particulary those overseas (Switzerland, France) and to her grandson, his wife and three great-grandchildren in Japan (they are all okay). Terry and I are the only "dog people" in Joan's family and the comments left on the site blew the rest of the family away, as they had no idea just how well thought of she was by her friends and peers. And all this approximately 20 years after she had had any real involvement in the dog world. It meant a lot to them. And to us.

Then I sat and wrote my own memories and thoughts and that took another tearful day. It turned out writing and rewriting that piece was as therapeutic for me as doing the site. It helped me a lot.

This year has been a really bad one so far, in big ways, in little ways, every way I turn. So now instead of giving up on the whole year, as I have already been thinking, I am going to think positively that these bad three months are just leading up to better times ahead. So even though bad things seem to keep happening, I'm going to take it and keep getting up, keep moving, hoping that around the next corner the road is going to be much smoother. Please.

Joan with two Collie puppies in 1957.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Joan Pavey

Our family is saddened by the passing of Joan Pavey on March 5, 2011 at 91 years of age. Terry has lost his mother and I have lost my mother-in-law, good friend and one of the most important persons in my life. We are holding our many fond memories close.

I have set up a memorial page for her here:

New pictures are still being added to the memorial page as I receive them, so check back to see the latest ones.