At a farm show many years ago, I came across Nok Out, an odor eliminator which is better than anything I've ever seen (and believe me, with this many animals, we've tried plenty!). It has no real odor of its own, and the demo lady had me dip my fingertip in pure ammonia and then smell it (like I needed to, but I went along with the show). Then, with some fanfare, she spritzed this stuff on my finger and - bam - ammonia totally gone.
"I wish there were no weeds in our garden!" But as I plucked the offending plants, I realized that my weed-free fantasy would not be a good thing.
Without weeds, how easily gardeners could become complacent, accepting the bounty and beauty without a need to fuss over and, most of all, to protect. Weeds require us to be alert, attentive, contemplative, aware on behalf of our garden.
An email came in this morning from the PennVet Working Dog Center, noting that the TSA will be closing its Canine Breeding & Development Center in San Antonio sometime in early 2013. Along with the news was a request to write to and contact my representative and Senators and urge them to stop this, at least until a full investigation can be made. (Read about it here) Notably absent, unfortunately, ...
For all the arguments that abound re: training equipment, it all boils down to one very simple point: equipment helps us to either train or restrain the dog, and sometimes both. In order to be fair to the dog and honest with ourselves, we need to be clear what we are doing and why.
It's going to be a great summer, with a brand new litter of four pups to raise and enjoy. On June 19, our lovely girl Spider presented us with 4 puppies - 3 males, 1 female. Their puppy names are Dozer, Little Al, Gru and Agnes (of Dog).
A woman showed up at one of my seminars and literally spent most of the first day arguing with me on nearly every point. Or, more accurately, she argued her points. I stated my case and repeatedly let the dogs do the arguing for the validity of my points. She was so dreadful to have in the audience that I actually prayed on Saturday night that she would not return on Sunday. But she did.
Our lovely girl Spider is clearly a dog who believes in efficiency. After a pleasant visit to the vet's this morning for x-rays, she came home and decided that today was the day for her first litter. She rested a few hours, and then set to work.
As someone who has lived with pigs for the last 13 years, I have to say they never fail to amuse, delight and most of all, impress me. Whether it was the litter of piglets who resided in our living room last winter for several months or the 5 bachelor boys currently in residence out in the barn, pigs are part and parcel of the farm. Hard to imagine life without them.
I made an interesting discovery while looking through Small Animal Clinical Nutrition (a must have for serious students of the dog). Found this explanation of why clients may choose to cook for their pet. Made me laugh --
"Other people choose to cook simply because they feel guilty, as if they don't care enough. This is a minor concern in the United States but is more important in countries such as France."
Looks like winter's grip on the farm is loosening. The redwinged blackbirds are back, staking out their territories with their distinctive calls. I saw a killdeer working some snowy fields - a surprisingly early return, I thought, until the next day when the rains had turned the snow into puddles seeping into the ground. The willows are already blushing with their thoughts of spring, and the maples are running hard and fast. They say this will be a great year for maple syrup.
Today, I had a most delightful conversation with Judy Baker of SYSTEM SAVER. For several years now we've been using and recommending wholeheartedly this wonderful product, and can't say enough good things about it. It's one of those wonderful deals in life where good people produce good things that do good work.
System Saver made a life & death difference for our dear donkey Shrimp (sent home in Dec 20 ...
It's been a year for the winds of changes to blow hard and long. On every level, the winds are blowing, and I keep trying to trim my sails accordingly. Some days, I don't feel like a particularly skilled sailor, and yet on other days, my metaphorical sails fill with a snap, and I revel in the exhilirating sensations of soaring along propelled by forces outside myself.
In the lexicon of farmers who spend their days with cattle, there are poetic descriptions. A first time mother-to-be is a "springing heifer." A cow with a newly born calf is said to have "freshened." These are apt and lovely descriptions, as I learned one morning many years ago.
The snow is fiercely beautiful in its silent demand that we abandon our restless, hurtling ways of moving too quickly through the moments, always racing elsewhere to there, rarely here.
Move too fast in hard falling snow and you are blinded, the tiny flakes combining themselves into a force that will not yield to man or machine, that will not give to haste, opening only to to deliberate shifts downward in our pace.
Any given day's emails are a collection of odd amusements, worrisome reports, sad news, glad tidings, and requests out of the blue. Recently, I was contacted by an Argentinian journalist writing for a woman's lifestyle section of a publication. She wanted to know:
While I'm enjoying a winter respite, which happily includes snow, many birds at the feeders, and the luxury of not seeing any airports for while, it's just a few weeks till my 2013 seminar season begins.
Highlights from now through end of April, which is a busy month!
There's a really wonderful blog - Spellbound - written by a trainer, Jen. This is a thoughtful trainer, who really thinks about what she is doing, puzzles over the endless paradoxes and conundrums and mysteries and magic of training.
From the moment you land on the home page, it is clear how much effort and attention to detail went into creating The Family Dog. Trainers Leah Hatley and Justine Schuurmans are not just dog lovers, they are also parents, busy (and talented) women -- and on a mission to promote dog training for the whole family.
The Morris Animal Foundation's website offers a great opportunity to see what research is being done, and to support any of the programs that interest you. A look at the research projects listed shows a strong focus on cancer and health, very little on behavior (at least in dogs), but overall, more than 100 projects listed. At the bottom of the page, you'll see the link to Rese ...
I'm telling you - you haven't lived until you've stretched out in fresh sweet hay next to a friendly pig and wrapped yourself around her warm, strong body and dozed off listening to hens cluck and birds singing and the quiet sounds of a barn on a spring afternoon. Those seeking security, grounding and reassurance that all is well with the world on a deep and basic level would find it, I suspect, in the company of this remarkable pig.
Before I began teaching in British Columbia in mid-June, I had a day to be a tourist. I used the opportunity to visit The Raptors in Duncan, BC thanks to a tip from Carole Orr. My friend Suzanne Webb and I set off to spend the day with hawks, owls, falcons & eagles under the guidance of falconer & The Raptors' center staff member Devon Casagrande.
Norman Mailer was a well known philanderer. He loved women, or at least loved loving them. He worked his way through five marriages and countless affairs by time he married Norris Church. According to her in her memoir, "A Ticket to the Circus" Mailer actually wished to give fidelity and monogamy a try, wanted to see what intimacy and depth might be possible in a faithful relationship. That lasted about six years before he had an affair. But he did try...When people asked Norris which wife sh ...
I spent September 5th at the grand old Saratoga racetrack. Though I watched almost every race on the card that, I had gone with one sole purpose: to see the great racing filly Rachel Alexandra in the Woodward Stakes. Driving through Saratoga, a banner proclaimed, "Rachel Alexandra runs like a girl!"
Winter is a time for creativity, new projects, planning and making things happen. I'm pleased to announce that one of the winter projects is now ready to rock and roll: Quality of Connection Leads.
I designed these leads to promote handler awareness, softness & subtlety, and the connection (not the correction). Crafted from top quality leather, these leads feature tight braiding, brass hardware and fine details.
A sadly reliable part of my work are the scared ones, dogs brought to me because they were afraid, sometimes of specifics like tall men or loud noises, and sometimes just afraid in general. They are afraid for many reasons. Some are traumatized, some have limited capacity to cope, some simply do not understand the world. My goal is to find a way to help these dogs as best I can. Being afraid is not a good way to live.
Spring has truly sprung here. The resident woodcocks are back, winging their way around the farm in relentless circling flights, making the noise that long ago led me to dub the male Curly, as he sounds just like Curly from the 3 Stooges (wah, wah, wah, wah, wah...) The frogs & toads are singing their hearts out every night, a glorious chorus that blankets the marsh areas with a thrill of sounds.
JD Salinger died today. The author of The Catcher in the Rye, he was once acclaimed as an "important writer." All sorts of fame and fortune awaited him. But Salinger turned his back on all that, retreating to live a private, quiet life in Cornish NH. He wrote The Catcher In the Rye in 1951, and published his last work in 1965.
He fought hard for his privacy, and the price he paid for this was the label of "reclusive" or, as the NY Daily News labeled him, a "fugitive from fame." ...