Sunday, 15 February 2015

Where has the time gone

I knew it had been a while since my last blog, you can imagine my surprise when I realised its been nearly TWO YEARS!!!!!!!!! So much has happened in the last two years I really don't know where to start, we still have a dogs which is a good start, our two girls are both in High school now(very scary to know your baby is in high school). The girls have also worn us down and we all have horses again, this has been a step in the right direction for all of including the dogs, even though they didn't think that at the start when they realised they had to walk home after moving stock. I have been fortunate enough to take on a job at our local sale yards, where I help unload sheep truck, move sheep around with the help of my dogs and also help the cattle sale. I have also found contact stock work on a few farms as well as the local lamb marking contractor. These jobs enable me to take my dogs to work with me and gives them more experience both in the paddock and yards. Jamie has settled into farm life well over the last three years, placing twice in the cropping competition at our local show with wheat and canola . His main passion is still working with sheep and cattle which he now does with his dogs and horse. 
Our three favourite things in life.
Over the last two years our dogs have changed a little, I made a decision I never thought I would make and I sold my boy Sonny. It was very hard but he has gone to a great home where he lays around most of the time but still gets to help with the cows for a few days a week. Sweep has proven to be a great asset to our work team and breeding program, he will work cows and calves with force then go onto lambs in the next paddock with ease and calmness that is needed with lambs. Mist too has played a huge part with our dogs, with producing a very even line of pups to different sires, she has also shown us she is a very useful member of the working team.
Sweep with his daughter Floss who is out of Mist, pushing ewes and lambs up at the draft.
 Minnie who is our Mist/Rees daughter is a great mixture of both parents and is very handy in both the paddock with a huge cast and outlook to go further, in the  yards she has force and cover and has proven to be very good at backing. She has produced some very nice pups to different sires and they too are a very even type of pup. 
 Young Gooch who is now 2 is my main work dog and never gets left at home, he is very much like his father Sweep in so many ways. He is happy to work in the yards, with force and cover and will also back in the yards and in trucks, in the paddock is where he excels with a big cast and great outlook. Like his father Sweep he  is able to adapt  
the force needed when working cows and calves and then back to working flighty merino lambs, there can be days at home this can happen from one paddock to the next.
Gooch at about 15 months taking Shawn sheep back.
Gooch helping me move 1500 heavily pregnant ewes to there new paddocks over some steep country, I couldn't see him or the lead at this stage but not one was left behind.
Our young up and coming dogs are very exciting for us, they range from 17 months down too 3 months old. Friends of ours used Sonny over there  bitch which produced a very nice litter of pups, all of which are showing traits of both Sonny and Fox. I was fortunate enough  to get Bluefox Rubix from Amy late last year when Rubix was about 14 months old. Rubix has great presence with the right amount of eye and cover needed for a good work dog, he is also very happy too walk straight in on his stock. I have been taking him on small musters as well as working in the yards with Gooch.

Rubix showing some of his fathers style.
Bauers Pippa has been a long awaited pup from Mist and Redgate Sam whom Allen Munns imported from the UK in 2010. Pippa while still young is showing a good mixture of both Mist and Sam, she has not done much at this stage. Only seeing sheep every few weeks and helping in the yards on small easy jobs, I am looking forward to getting her into my work team very soon. We also have Bauers Jean she is only three months old and is out of Mist by Munns Jock, she has just switched on and we are liking what we see. Photos of her to come.
Pippa when she just switched onto sheep.
Bauers Henti who is by Munns Jock and out of Lyster Lucy has recently had pups too Sweep, Henti is a tough little bitch who has a huge heart. She excels in the paddock on cattle, she has a don't back down attitude to work and will take on any cow that comes out of the mood. She too will also drop back enough to work lambs, she is a great dog too have in the yards for force however she will not back LOL. I will post some better photos Henti soon, it only came to my attention while looking through the hundreds of photos I have of the dogs there was none of poor Henti. We do have one male pup still for sale from this litter.
Henti and her pups not long after they where born.

This handsome little boy is still for sale, he is currently 4 weeks old.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Kithbrook Fundraising Workshop for STAI

On a very hot (41 degrees) and windy Friday afternoon we loaded the dogs into the car and headed South, our destination Eroua in Victoria to run our first dog handling school. Jamie was approached last year by James Ryan to run a school at his farm as a fundrasing event for STAI, for those who do not know what STAI stands for it is Sheepdog Trials Australia International. STAI is a relatively new organisation that has started to run fields trials in Australia, similar to the ones held in most counties around the world, such as the UK, US and Europe.
A great group of people and dogs

Saturday morning started off much much cooler then the previous day with us all looking for jumpers,the dogs on the other hand were super keen to get going. The morning started with Jamie giving a little demo with his young pup Cap, then it was onto getting started with the dogs and there owners. At this stage Jamie was looking to see where the dogs and handlers were up too. There was big range in dogs and ability of handlers, we even had a blue cattle x kelpie dog having a go.


As the morning rolled on a little surprise package entered the yard, it was in the form of a little red & tan Kelpie bitch called Nina. If you haven't guessed by now we are all for the Border Collie and have been for many many years but this little kelpie was by far the best kelpie we have ever seen. She was cool and calm on her sheep and for such a young dog she handled the whole weekend like a dog much older then her age.


After a well earned cuppa and little break for the dogs it was into the bigger yard, the aim for this yard was to get the dogs thinking distance and they didn't need to be right up on there stock bustling them. This was picked up very quickly by most of dogs, with only a few needing a little more work on this.


With everyone coming along in leaps and bounds it time to venture out into the paddock for the start of driving work and a demo from Sweep on how to drive as well a near prefect single shed. Most of the attendees at the school had never seen driving or shedding and it was great to hear there positive response to how Sweep did.
Sweep with sheep under full control

Jamie and Sweep showing a single shed

With the demo finished it was time to go on with the dogs and handlers in the paddock on the start of driving, it was great to sit back and watch this to see the progress both dog and handler made.

Jess may have been an old girl but she showed us old dogs can learn new tricks

Jaz, Jamie and Spy talking driving

Nina showing her style in the paddock

Jasper showing us he could slow down

Another old girl Rita at the start of a drive.

While all of this training was happening it left a few dogs to sit and watch there fellow canine friends learning new things, this let to some rather funny shots and one little guy who couldn't stay off my chair.

Spy loved crawling through fences

Gooch thought he could see more from here

Spy knew he could see more if he stood up

And Gooch thought if he looked cute I wouldn't remove him from my chair.

All in all we felt the weekend was a huge success on all fronts, with a good amount of money being raised for STAI which has set it up for another year and all attendees going home happy and with some new ideas to work on. 

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Sonny the farm dog

Over the past few months I have come to totally rely on my boy Sonny, with Ziggy being to young and Nell out of action this left Sonny to do everything. Not only has he been doing stock work he also thinks sitting in air conditions truck and tractors is a pretty good way to spend the hot part of the day.

In is heavy work load he has also had time to sire a litter of 10 pups to a outside bitch who is owned by a good of ours Bianca Godson. Ace had 7 girls and 3 boys pretty good effort I think.

Sonny and I have been chopping and changing what stock we work, on any one day we can start with cows and calves, go onto young ewes, then rams and to even confuse him more freshly marked lambs. All I can say he tries his hardest to every single time, even if its at the end of the day.

Sonny has always a very natural dog with a great feel for his stock, I was very lucky with his cast I never had to teach him. He always went wide and now has he gets older his scope is getting bigger and bigger, Jamie and I where playing around one day and seeing who's dog could cast the furthest. I set Sonny up to go left around the top of the ridges, he left my side on a good angle he went out along the top of the first ridge behind the big tank on the hill out of sight for a little bit, a second over whistle was given and he just went wider and longer looking all the while to see where the ewes and lambs where. By this stage he would have been about 700 meters from me then he went out of sight my god they where a very tense couple of minutes which felt like hours, then we could see a slight movement in the top far corner the sheep had started to move still couldn't see Sonny. At this point I thought I had better start making my way down the Hill, by the time I made my way down a nice easy 3 min walk down hill he had 800 ewes and there lambs coming towards me and he was quite committed to bring them back up the Hill but I was more than happy with his efforts and called him off now all we had to do was walk back up the hill this was easier to do going down, must say had my little chest puffed out the way home.

Sonny at top of hill he picked up the sheep on the far tree line and down to the right. We measured how far he went and it was just over 900 meters :)

Sonny is also quite happy to help with the farming he loves nothing more than to sit up in the tractor and truck. He is also a very good overseer of all farm going ons and is quite happy to give his thoughts to Farmer James.

I think we need to spray that paddock today Farmer James

I hope you have your truck licence

I give my tick of approval Farmer James on your first crop of wheat

A very good herd of replacement Heifers Farmer James

The girls are doing a very good job raising the poddies Farmer James

Sonny is also a very good mentor for up and coming dogs, he helps the young pups just starting off by keeping the sheep together and calm for them. He loves showing them how he cast around stock and just loves to back them up when they start on cattle.

Sonny giving Gooch some advise for when he starts on sheep

Giving Mist some tips on how to work cattle

Helping Mist with the sale steers

We also have a two new additions to our family, two little Sweep sons have made our place home cant wait to see how they go, stay tuned for an update on Cap and Gooch.

Hope you all enjoyed reading about our new friend Sonny.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Farm Change

Some people do the Sea change, some people do the tree change well not us we have done a FARM CHANGE. Not long after my last blog we made a huge life changing decision, we have downsized, moved states from sunny Queensland to New South Wales and are now on a small Sheep,cattle and cropping farm.

 The little house on the hill

We arrived at Dunedoo mid April with the knowledge that weaning, shearing and planting NEEDED to done. The thought of this made me jump out of my skin and Jamie a little a sad. While he learnt about combines, spray rigs, groupers, arguers and repairing all the forementioned farming equipment. I got to do the stock work with my trusty dogs at my side Sonny and Nell, who up until this stage had only worked cows and calves and had only trained on a handful of sheep. We managed to do all the mustering and get all the sheep into the shed for shearing. Dipping, drenching and needling were also on the cards. At this point I found out that Sonny is a underdog not a backing dog, however after a few lessons he soon learned to back and is now a handy yard dog.   

All the while Farmer James was going round and round in circles.

 After we caught up on planting and stock work we finally got a chance to play with our youngsters Minnie, Tina and Ziggy all I can say we were happy. It had been a long wait to finally have these pups up and going from our Imported dogs Mist and Rees. All the work and expense has payed off and we couldn't be happier with the three young pups. Tina has gone to her new home leaving Minnie and Ziggy and at 10 months old both are working really well. They are starting to do small jobs around the farm, anything from moving small mobs of 300/400 sheep by themselves with little to no command too working in the yards.

Bauers Minnie
Bauers Ziggy

For a small farm we have a good variety of country from the bald hill in the middle of the farm to the flat farming country surrounded by undulating hills, to the scrubby hills along the northern boundary. Having the smaller sized paddocks means we are able to nearly stand at the gate and send the dogs around what ever stock is in that paddock, the hill is a different story it can be a little hairy riding the four wheeler up there.
I found this peaceful spot while checking the boundary fence.

Looking out from the shearing shed with oats and canola in the background.

The sea of yellow

The bird life is also very exciting with pairs of King Parrots enjoying the grain.

Our girls have enjoyed the move, with both of them training 7 days a weeks for cross country running and athletics. This hard work has paid off Jayde made it to state cross country and only just missing out making the NSW team by hundredths of a second. Both Jayde and Chris are off to the State Athletics carnival in October, they are both competing in the 800 meters.
Jayde at the NSW State Cross Country

Chris fighting hard to win the 800 meters at Regional she only just missed out.

I am sorry to all my readers that it has been so long between blogs however from now on I will be able to keep it more up to date.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Times Flies when your having fun

I cant believe it has been so long since my last post, a lot has happened since my last Blog.
Branding is finished for another year, bulls are out of the cows and back in there winter paddock which I don't think they are very happy about, the puppies and dogs are going great and we have had a well earned holiday.
With all the calves branded and taken back to there paddock, saw us pack the car and boat for a well earned holiday at the beach. Now it wouldn't be normal for us to travel any where without some dogs. With the kids and our luggage in the car, it was time to squeeze 7 dogs in the wagon. Mist was going to enjoy a holiday with Rees at Jamies house, Don was going on the plane to his new owners down in Tasmaina that left us with 5. Our 3 little pups where going to have a holiday in a lovely puppie run at a friends house where they would safe and sound and very well looked after.

With the numbers down to just Sweep and Nell we left for Stradbroke Island. We should have twigged on what the weather was going to be like after it rained the whole way to Straddie. Little did we know that there was a low pressure system develping right above North Stradbroke Island. Out of the 2 weeks I think there may have 2 days without rain.

All the rain did not dampen our holiday. We all had a ball on the beach with daily walks with the kids and dogs, surf, sand and it was so relaxing. Oh and I nearly forgot daily visits to the yummy icecream shop. This was the first time we have taken our work dogs on holiday with us and it will be normal thing from now on, it was so good to have them around. Normally both Jamie and I are missing the dogs after about 3 days but having Sweep and Nell with us made it  a lot better.

Sweep chilling at the beach

A girl and her dog

View from Amity Point

Our trip home was also a wet one, just after leaving town we could see a inocent looking cloud towards home it didnt look to bad but has soon as we hit the dirt road down came the rain. Dumping 30mm in 15 minutes, towing a boat over a muddy road is very interesting to say the least. We arrived home safely a little wet but very happy to be home. The rain however did stop for one day (long enough to get the girls to town for school) then down again it came. Our girls where marooned in town for four days until we where able to pick them up. They where not very happy at all about coming home, way too much fun in town.

We where luckly with the all the rain that fell in January and February, we only had some minor fence damage. I feel for the towns, properties and the people who live in areas that where inudated with record flood levels.

To think only a few months before hand we where fighting fires and then to turn around to have water going through  homes is very sad. I keep thinking of the poem written by Dorthea Mackell "My Country" with its famous verus.
I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror
The wide brown land for me!

I think it very fitting at the moment with parts of Austrlia coming out of many years of drought then fires and now the flooding rain which is hitting large parts of the country.

 The inocnet looking cloud.
First sunset in a week.

Our lastest puppies are growing up and getting into all kinds of trouble. We can not go out into the training paddock without locking them up or they come out to help. They are all very keen little workers it is wonderful to see the last few years of planning paying off with this litter. We hope these three girls are the buiding blocks to even better things with our dogs. The girls are a pleasure to have around always wanting a pat or a belly rub, but look out if you leave any socks within view of them.



It is the time of year which the bulls hate. After being in with the cows for three months, its time for them to leave the cows and go back to there winter paddock. So it was back on the bikes with dogs in tow, I can never seem to get any good photos of the dogs working because when ever they are working we need to be working as well. Our young dogs are really stepping up with work, it is very hard for them working the cows and calves but they are handling themselves very well. Weaning time which is only a couple of months away will do wonders for them, they wont have to worry cranky old cows.
Sonny & Nell just keeping an eye on the cows

Very long grass, hidden logs and motorbikes not a good combonation

I think its time for this fella to be weaned he is nearly as big as his mum.