Saturday, January 31, 2009

Are They????

It's now been a month since Lauren was bred, 2 1/2 weeks for Claire and 2 weeks for Phoebe. My daily question from friends and co-workers is "so, what do you think? Are they"? The answer is....don't know! Lauren is showing some good, positive symptoms and Claire also indicated she could be expecting before she left for NJ. Phoebe has started to act different, but since false pregnancy symptoms are the same as true pregnancy, I won't say any of the girls are pregnant until the vet has confirmed it. My girls have fooled me way too many times! Of course, we are anxious and hopeful. We're stockpiling newspapers just in case!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Wintry Mix

Tuesday was the type of weather day no one likes--first snow, then freezing rain and temperatures that stayed low enough to make it raw and nasty. David and I got home just fine on Tuesday night, but Wednesday we decided was better spent at home. Our little mountain is just high enough that getting down can be an adventure! We saw very little traffic, usually the vehicle going down the road coming back a few minutes later. Old girl Sophie fell twice when I took her out in the morning and refused to come back in without lots of coaxing. The puppies and Lauren spent lots of time out in the storm and were covered in ice. Phoebe wisely stayed in her kennel on her cot.

The kennel gate

Tucker, the "pupsicle"

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Switch

On Sunday, we took Claire and Gibson to Ellen and brought home Phoebe. Gibson got "all purtied up" for his first set of shows this upcoming week-end. He doesn't have much patience for things he doesn't enjoy so I got soaked when he jumped out of the bathtub twice, then it was steady complaining to have his nails filed and his coat dried. He was good for the drive to DE and was immediately comfortable at Ellen's. Gibson and Claire are now on their way to NJ for his debut and hopefully, her championship. Everybody, keep your fingers crossed and send positive thoughts the judges' ways!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Happy Birthday, Lauren!

Lauren turns five today! To celebrate, she'll get extra loving, a birthday cookie and a big spoonful of canned food in her dinner tonight. The dogs never know when it's their birthdays, of course, but they do know when they get something special!

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Great Adventure

Gibson's trip to PetSmart on Sunday was quite a success! The only downer was that he got car sick coming and going. But, once he was at the store, he was interested in everything and not intimidated or nervous over any new experience. The store was having a large adoption event so there was lots of people, dogs and a few cats. Gibson has been with our cats of course, but was interested to see cats in crates that couldn't be chased. He really enjoyed seeing all the dogs and seemed almost baffled that not all the dogs were interested in meeting him and playing. One dog approached him, seemed friendly and wanted to play, then suddenly started snarling and barking at Gibson's face. Gibson just took a step back with a quizzical look on his face, trying to figure out what exactly the rules of the game were supposed to be! He got to see children, which he hasn't before, and found them to be loads of fun. Gibson almost dragged me down the toy aisle, where he nosed just about everything on display and even picked up a couple of rope toys. We would have bought him a new toy, but he quickly lost interest, wanting to explore the other aisles. All in all, a very good trip. Now, we need to work on walking on a lead some more. He's very good for the most part, but if something catches his attention, he wants to dash off to explore.
Today, Gibson and Twister got de-barked. Twister re-covered faster than Gibson, he was able to walk into the house, although his legs weren't completely steady and his head was a bit heavy on his neck. Gibson had noodle legs and body so I had to carry him into the house for a long afternoon nap. He only weighs 58 pounds, but it felt like closer to 75! Now, both boys are completely recovered from their morning ordeal and are ready for supper and a romp in the little bit of snow we have.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Winter Break

Yesterday's temperature when we got up was only 2 degrees. Just 24 hours later and it's a balmy 32--heat wave! The boys and Jewel are spending the day in the big play yard for a much needed day of exercise. They find this perfect weather for games of chase, tug of war and just running to their hearts' content. Jewel is able to outwit her brothers by running through the trees, cutting sharply around then grabbing their tails. She also like to hide behind one of the larger trees, popping her head out from side to side while the boys try to figure out how to flush her out. Tucker has been racing from one end of the yard to the other, leaping over the pack of pups when they are in his path and happy to really stretch his legs. Gibson will get a special treat later this afternoon and will make a trip to PetSmart in preparation for his first shows in a couple of weeks. Hopefully, it will be busy and he'll get lots of attention and see some other dogs besides collies.

Friday, January 16, 2009


Like most of the country, we've got extreme cold. Doesn't seem to bother the dogs, though. David had closed them in the kennel last night and usually they generate enough body heat to keep the water buckets from freezing but this morning about half the buckets had a good layer of ice. Of course, as soon as I opened all the kennel run doors and let the icy windy in, the water started freezing anyway. Sadie has developed a fondness for crunching ice--she started grabbing chunks out of the bucket as I was breaking it up! Jewel was fascinated by the hammer, thought it would make a good toy! Once everyone had breakfast and a good romp in their runs, they have settled down in the sunlight outside for their morning snooze. Sometimes I think they must be miserable in this cold and we should set up crates in the house for all eleven dogs, then I wear my sweater made of collie fur yarn. I don't have to have it on for long to realize the dogs' coats are more than adequate, even for this weather! So while they are sunbathing, I'm huddled by the woodstove, trying to work up the courage to go back outside again and do all my errands!

Monday, January 12, 2009


Gibson has commemorated his new name and show dog status by cracking his hard head against my nose! I was bending over to get his food bowl as he jumped up--WOW! It's not broken, but does it ever hurt! Good thing Gibson is such a sweetie and a good show prospect..

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Week-end of Mixed Results

We had a very fun week-end, although it didn't end on the high note we had hoped for. Ellen stayed with us for the Mason Dixon Collie Club and Collie Club of MD shows. We had a good time, we talked dogs and we got to meet Danny, CH Travlers Greased Lightning, owned by Cathy Keefer. Ellen suggested he might be a good match for Phoebe, and we had to whole heartedly agree! I went to the Mason Dixon show with Ellen on Saturday and got to know Cathy and Robert, plus spend time with Danny. And, I won the fleece vest I really wanted at the raffle! After the show, we relaxed at our house with chili and football. Before it got dark, Ellen, Cathy and Robert got a tour of the kennel and met the dogs. Ellen thought both Cyclone and Twister have matured so nicely, that they belong in the show ring! David got home from a basketball game in time for a lively conversation on names for the boys. Twister will keep his call name, but will be registered as Hillcroft Rock the House. Cyclone has been re-christened as Gibson and will be registered as Hillcroft Hard Rock. At this point, the boys are still available, but to serious show homes so they can pursue their championshiops. Gibson will start his show career at the end of the month in NJ.
On Sunday, Claire was entered in the CCMD show, hoping she would finish. She's in a beautiful, bloomy coat and went to the show with lots of attitude, very showy and with that "look-at-me" stance. I thought nothing could go wrong and today would be our day! Unfortunately, as Claire went into the ring, things didn't go as hoped. For whatever reason--in heat hormones, too long a break from the ring, unable to maintain her attitude--she didn't win her class. So, we'll try again next week-end. Dog shows really demonstrate the saying--"hope springs eternal"!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Things that Make the Puppies Go Hmmm...

Winter clothes and accessories cause great delight out in the kennel. The long collie nose is perfect for sticking into coat pockets, looking for a stray treat or a glove to play keep away and tug of war. The puppies also enjoy poking their noses into the tops of my kennel boots and snuffle about. My new thinsulate gloves are especially fascinating to the two smooth boys (one of my fleece gloves has mysteriously disappeared!). They constantly try to pull the gloves off my hands while I'm cleaning their run which makes it very hard to wield a pooper scooper!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

It's Catching!

As if there's not been enough excitement this morning, I have two more girls in season! I've been misting and brushing Claire for two weeks, getting her ready for the Collie Club of MD show this Sunday, hoping she'll get her last major and championship. I thought my brushing skills were remarkable as she has just blossomed! This morning, I discover it's because she's in heat! I check Phoebe, and she's in season, too. I've never had them cycle together before so Lauren must have had some strong hormones to pull them into heat a couple of months early. I've got to keep an eye on the baby girls as they'll probably be in heat, too, now. We won't breed them now, of course, but I think I'd like to breed Tucker to Claire. Ellen is staying with us this week-end for the shows, and she said to "put on my thinking cap" and we'll talk Friday night about other possible studs. Spring should be fun!

Early Morning Excitement

Oh, the joys of country living on a mountain! We've had freezing rain and rain that is freezing to the grass and trees since yesterday. Shortly after I got up this morning, the power went out for a second, came on, went out again, then came back on. Then there was quite a bit of light up by the road. Well, it's trash day for the neighbors and I assumed it was the truck headlights shining through the icy trees, but it was a snapped power line! Lots of smoke, sparks and what looked like flames. A quick call to 911 reassured me that fire trucks were on the way, but I was concerned that the fire could possibly spread onto our trees and down towards the kennel. But, our fire volunteers and Novec crews not only know what they are doing but are speedy! Within an hour, the show was over and the road was clear. I've not gone up to see the resulting damage as tree limbs are falling left and right. We had two very powerful wind storms last week which I'm sure stressed the trees and the thick coating of ice is causing what I call "a woodstove windfall"! Sadie and Jewel had a limb down in their outside run, the big play yard has a woodstove worthy limb in it and our big oak tree in the front lost a huge limb that will provide us with about two days worth of wood just as I started this entry. Hopefully, the worst will be over (or down) by the time I need to leave for work this afternoon. Right now, it sounds like guns periodically going off in the woods!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Home Again

I met Ellen this afternoon and brought Lauren home after her "date" with Rocky. They had four breedings, but only time will tell if it was successful. So, now we wait...