Black Acorn Dogs

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

No, YOURE a Nerd!

Nostagia is such a funny thing. I'm eating Nerds candy, and their tangy goodness brings back memories. My childhood best friend and next door neighbor was Shelly, and Nerds was definitely on our favorite candies list. They were a new candy when we were young -- who guessed they'd still be around today? It was also in the earlier days of bottle deposits, and we used to troll around for empty discarded bottles to turn in for candy money. Of course, back then we could get one candy bar for every five cans or bottles we found, so we usually made out pretty well... you'd be amazed how many people toss out nickel bottles even in a small town. I wonder how many kids today would still even do this, collecting dirty old bottles and hauling them by foot a half mile or more for five measley cents each.

Anyway, we used to mix the Nerds with water into little coffee scoops and drink it. We called it "chandelier". Kids are so weird.... doncha love it?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Agility Match and Snow!

Ebony had her first agility match on Saturday, and it was GREAT! Although I've competed with Melissa's dogs, and Ebby and I have competed in other things like Rally and herding, this is a big deal for me since this is what I've wanted to do all along. We ran a Gamblers course, which I only wanted to do for the practice (Gamblers course is a game where you get different points for different obstacles, and you only have 30 seconds to accrue 21 points; at the 30 second mark a whistle blows and you have another X seconds to complete the "gamble" which is a distance challenge where you the handler can't cross a line marked on the ground and have to direct from the distance). We didn't come close to qualifying, but I got what I wanted, which is that she was exuberant and focused and plain old happy to be doing it. Lots of energy! Then we ran a Jumpers (fast past because it's only jumps and tunnels, no other equipment) course, which is the one I really cared about. Wow, it was fantastic! She was tuned in, had plenty of drive, and we pulled off the one or two tricky handling areas on the course. The course was Open rather than Novice, which means it was even the next level of difficulty from what we'll be doing in a real trial. The only "bad" thing was that she skipped the last jump even though she was heading right for it, but I think it was purely because she was getting too tired. The biggest thing we need to work on right now is conditioning, and I think she's ready for the big time! Looks like we're going to register for our first trial March 30 and April 1! For those who know the difference, we'll be starting in USDAA.

On a different note, we got our first snow yesterday, though it was only about an inch. The dogs thought it was the greatest thing since sliced beef. Ben, especially, had a blast in the snow, and even this morning when we got up, he dashed around in the snow on the deck, rolling in it and sliding in it and generally just kicking it all over the place. Where is the video camera when you really need it?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

We had our first herding trial last weekend... and Ebby earned her HCT! Whoo hoo... she's a herding dog!

HCT stands for Herding Capability Test and really just tests to see that a dog has some interest in the sheep (or ducks, or cows, or whatever) and tries to do something with them other than eat them. I have some video that I'll post when I can get it off the camera (or at least grab some stills), but here's the one shot I have in the meantime:

A couple other Shiloh Shepherds came out this weekend to try their paw, er, hand at the HCT, and one of them earned a leg without ever having seen a sheep.

Sabine and Tessa:

Mary and Teri:

There were a couple other Shilohs doing more advanced herding, but those images are locked up on the other camera too.

Clean Glasses

Joe, you will be pleased: one of the items I recently picked up from Freecycle (well, the only item actually) was a couple of bottles of lens cleaner for eyeglasses. Also, someone gave me a nice cloth for eyeglasses a while back. So now I can have nice, clean glasses all the time, and they will make me think of you.

Friday, January 05, 2007

As Much Fun As a Root Canal

Got my first root canal this morning. So far, so good in that there is still no pain yet. Whoo hoo!

I had an agility lesson with Melissa on Sunday. It was fairly muddy out, and the first time I tried to make a fast pivot, I went DOWN. And when I say I went down, I mean that all I remember was seeing my feet against a backdrop of sky. I was completely unhurt, but it was certainly amusing, and I decorated myself with a fair amount of wet mud. Melissa's comment? She never said "you okay?" or anything... just deadpan said "You'll probably want to get some cleats". I've been laughing on and off all week thinking of that.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


I've discovered the joy of Freecycle. Freecycle is a nationwide network of little local groups where you can post things that you want to give away, and then anyone who is interested in your stuff can offer to make private arrangements for pick up.

We are saving things up for a garage sale in the spring, but there are some things that are just not worth hanging onto either because of their size and bulk or in a few cases, because they have a select audience. I've already gotten rid of Xena Season 1-6 on VHS, a weight bench with mismatched weights, and the toneau cover for my Toyota Rav4 which I forgot about when I sold the Rav last April. Next on the list is a huge box of cassettes, huge box of VHS tapes, and a VCR. I really hope those go, but if they don't, it's a heck of a lot easier now to stick them out on the curb for garbage day since we've already sorted them, boxed them up and let go of them psychologically. Freecycle is great because we HATE throwing away useful things, and this means that either our stuff finds a home with someone else who wants it *OR* the lack of response indicates that no one else wants that crap either, and we can chuck it in good conscience. So far the two things we've had no response for were a spare tire, which I'll hang on to anyway, and our old entertainment stand, which will probably go out to the curb tomorrow.

It's also interesting to see what people get post to rid of; I've think I've already seen it all. A bottle of lotion someone didn't care of the smell of. A sectional couch that appeared to be in great condition. A package of paper plates, or a few 2 liters of soda left over from a party. A chest freezer. A cat that needs a new home. There are some very basic ground rules, like you can't Freecycle anything illegal, but other than that, if people have it to part with, they'll post it. For the good stuff, the trick seems to be that you have to be FAST. I got seven responses to the weight bench, and three for the Xena tapes on VHS. Heck, I didn't know if anyone still used VHS.

We still have a boatload worth of things in the garage, but we've managed to get it to a point where we can, like, walk around in there. That's worth a lot all by itself.