January 6, 2008

Blogging took a holiday over Christmas and New Year’s. Many events have occurred, the most important of course being celebrating the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, with family and friends. We were able to travel to central Idaho to spend time with Craig’s family over the holidays; our visits there are too few and too short.

On this trip, we also met with a trainer of border collies to interview candidates for the job of replacement for our experienced herd dog, Mac. After she sized us up, she must have decided we were okay folks, and she brought out one of her favorites who has since become ours – Harvey. He is a 2 year old and ready to go, yet with a calm disposition that is well suited to the kind of situations Craig works in on the west side. When we practice agriculture in urban settings, we need a dog who can handle lots of people without getting defensive, who obeys commands promptly and who looks the part of rugged sheep (and goat) dog.

We take our responsibility to care for our animals seriously whether anyone is watching or not, but there is extra pressure when untrained eyes are watching. For urban folks whose primary connection with animals is as pampered companions, livestock handling is a mystery. Mac is starting to show a little “hitch in his git along,” and has earned the right to retire to the farm. He’ll be handling lighter duty with my few head of sheep and enjoying house privileges while Harvey takes over on the road in King County and points west.