Saturday, April 30, 2011

Jackal Training Update

I took video today of both closing a door and fetching his leash and I'll have it up sometime tomorrow. I had a really long day at work and I just want to sit on the couch and do nothing lol.

I'm a little frustrated with myself because I knew I wasn't in a good mood for training and I did it anyway when I could have just done it tomorrow . . . it didn't go well. I'm sure most of it was me, but Jackal also did very poorly with his new trick. Could he really have made a lucky guess the other day and not actually know the vocal cue?? Since he appears confused I'm going to wait until I'm not so tired and back up a few steps to see if I can tell where we went wrong. I'm also going to leave his other tricks alone and just focus on the freestyle routine because he's having trouble working on several different things at once. I guess he doesn't multitask any better than I do lol! I'll post the video tomorrow. I'm off the next two days and the weather is going to be horrible so I'll focus on Jackal indoors. :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Jackal is AMAZING!!

Picture taken 4-25-2011.

I love my dog! He never fails to amaze me with his intelligence and desire to learn. I was reading Mango's blog about their most recent dance practice and decided I really need to buckle down and work on my freestyle routine for Honey's Dancing With The Doggie Stars contest if I want it to be any good. I started working on one of our tricks (old trick, new cue), but he was way too excited so I spent some time doing some active tricks like jumping all four off the floor, spinning, leg weaving, figure eights and jumping over my leg to burn off some energy and excitement. I don't think I've ever seen him spin so fast lol!

Once he was a little calmer I started working on his trick again and he picked it up quickly. Then we worked on last month's trick fetching his leash to make sure he still remembers it (especially considering I still have to get a video!!) and he did fantastic. He's bringing it to my hand really well now even though he sometimes still drops it. He was so excited that when I put up his leash he tried to fetch my Ethernet cord LOL!

Next we worked on our brand new trick. We've made it through the beginning stages and he loves it. I think every new trick he learns becomes his favorite lol. He does it all the time now without a cue, but I have to ignore it because he needs to do it only when I ask. It's really hard though because he's so cute.

The trick involves both paws and I initially taught it with him facing me. The end product will have him in heel position however so I decided to work on that today. He was very slowly catching on in heel position, but I quickly realized his confusion stemmed from the fact that I couldn't cue him without a voice cue. The trick involves him using his paws separately so I have to teach a voice cue for each paw. I sat down in front of him and asked him to do the trick with only his right paw while I used the voice cue. We did it about ten times and then worked on his left paw. When he seemed to understand I stopped using any physical cue at all and asked him with a voice cue to alternate between his left and right paws. He did fantastic. And just to test to see if he was just doing it himself I asked for his right paw twice in a row and he did it!! I'm so excited and proud of him because normally he ignores vocal cues but he totally had it on this. Sorry I can't tell you what the behavior is, but suffice it to say he's AMAZING!

Edited to add: I forgot to mention I found Jackal an outfit for his freestyle routine last weekend. It's a bit small on him, but it works. :) Now I just need the rain to stop so we can practice outdoors and I can build props.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sometimes I Really Hate Spring!

I'm so sick of storms and tornadoes. It was bad again tonight, but everyone is okay. My parents are fine. Their cell phones are working a lot better and they have a generator set up so they were able to track the storms tonight. I'm glad we can talk, but I still want to visit. :( Thank you all for your wonderful comments. We are all okay and I appreciate the prayers and thoughts.

Bad News

The small town where I grew up was basically destroyed by tornadoes last night. My family that still lives there is okay, but the town itself has been devastated. They won't have power for a week. All of the businesses are destroyed or shut down (because of no electricity). Over eighty houses are damaged or destroyed. Four people died. My hometown is basically gone. :( They aren't letting anyone into the city so I can't go see my family. They are okay though and that's what is important.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sunday Stills - Wildflowers and Flowers

I'm cheating today because I'm busy and will be using archive pictures of my flowers for Sunday Stills. I've posted some of them before, but some of them are new. :)

My first broccoli of the year! :)

Edited to add: Duh! I forgot to say Happy Easter!!! Hope everyone has a fantastic Easter Sunday and that your Easter egg hunting isn't rained out like it is around here. :) I was tempted to hide some with treats in them for the dogs to find, but it is nasty outside. Maybe I'll do it around the house for fun.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Honey's Dancing With The Doggie Stars Competition

I'm a little late in posting this, but Honey is having a dancing with the doggie stars competition where we all make up a one minute freestyle routine and I think I'm going to give it a try. The deadline is June 15th so you still have time to join if you want! It's going to be a lot of fun. It's all amateur because only dogs who have never made a freestyle routine can compete. :) Click the banner above to see more details.

I've decided on my music and theme (I can't dance so we're going for a themed freestyle). I have to build some props and work on choreography. Those are going to be the hardest and most time consuming for me. I'm also teaching him a couple of new tricks that will go great with our theme. :) I have to keep reminding myself to keep my goals small and easy to accomplish. It's very easy to get caught up in it all and try to move too fast. Our first session was today and he did fantastic!

I can't tell you what we worked on because it's going to be a surprise, but I did also work on his April trick, closing a door (our first session, I'm such a procrastinator!) and he did great. I had previously worked on having him target his nose to a piece of paper so I started out reviewing that. Then I taped the piece of paper to the door. At first I opened the door, but then realized I was moving too fast so I closed it. He didn't want to target the paper on the door because he was watching my hand (which made me realize he was targeting my hand and not the paper at all), so I taped the paper to my knee. I put my knee directly in front of him and he immediately started targeting it. So after a few times of doing that I moved the piece of paper to the door. He was trying to do his shy trick (his new favorite apparently) so I finally turned my back and ignored him (my way of forcing him to use his brain instead of randomly cycling tricks). Eventually he touched it and I clicked. After that it was easy! Good boy!

Next I'll work on him pushing the door harder and eventually I'll open the door. :) So anyway wish us luck. Next month I'm going to work on his tricks for the freestyle routine so unfortunately we won't have a poll! Sorry! It will be worth it though. :) Let me know if you decide to join. It's going to be a lot of fun!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

More storms, but not bad this time.

First off I have some pictures of a rainbow (or rainbows) from the storm yesterday. It was so cool. I hadn't ever seen anything so bright and pretty before. The pictures don't do it justice.

Double Rainbow!

The color wasn't as sharp in this one, but it shows the gray clouds.

Turned the camera over to get more of it.

UFOs! This is why I don't put much stock in UFO pictures because with my flash on it looks like I have them all over the place lol, but really it was debris from the wind.

And then today we had another storm, but don't worry it wasn't nearly as bad as it's been. We just barely got the edge of it. I did get inside just in time to avoid an interesting hailstorm. I haven't experience many of them in my life so they always leave me in awe. The hail stones weren't huge, about the size of skittles and thankfully it didn't dent my car. Here are some pictures.

Those pictures were taken under the cedar trees so it wasn't as thick. I wish I could have gotten one of it covering the road, but it was too far away to get the camera focused. Here's a video.

And just because I love him. Jackal!

Doesn't he look comfortable??

Looking through the slats of my couch at him buried under my pillow.
I was laying practically on top of him lol!

This whole week is going to be rough on the storm front. Please keep the families in your thoughts who have lost family. I heard on the radio today that in one state (not my state so don't know details) there were twenty three deaths in one night! These storms have been rough. Hopefully the ones later this week won't be as bad.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

All Clear

Whew! The storms are passed and we are okay. The winds were awful! I think the only thing damaged further was the horse barn, but it doesn't really matter. They were going to have to total it out anyway. It flipped some of the chicken hutches (like rabbit hutches), but we'd already moved the chicks and quail back into the basement, so everything is okay. I'm exhausted and I'm going to bed now.

Another Bad Storm

We're in the midst of another really bad storm. I'm sitting here in my house listening to my horse barn get repeatedly slammed against the trees. It sounds horrible. Like one hundred plus sledge hammers pounding on sheet metal. If the insurance company didn't plan to total the barn before it will be after tonight. :( We finally got a call from the insurance adjuster and he said he can't come out until Friday morning. That will be a full week from the original storm. I have a feeling tonight will add to the damage. The wind is unbelievable. I've never seen anything like it.

We just finished moving all of our young chicks into the basement. Chrome is scared. He's galloping around, but I don't have anyplace safe to put him. :( I hope he will be okay. Surely they know how to stay safe in a wind storm? Right? I'm so worried about him. Now I'm going to take the dogs and go hide in my closet until this is over . . .

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Wind Damage Pictures

I only got a few pictures yesterday and I didn't have a chance to get any today. I'm off tomorrow so I'll get some more. Here are the ones I took yesterday.

The arrow shows where the rail road cross tie on the right is supposed to be sitting on top of the left one. The left circle shows the gap where the barn used to sit flat on the tie. The circle on the right shows where it moved and is now sitting against the tree. You may have to click to enlarge the image.

A view from the front showing where the tie moved. It's supposed to be sitting on top of the one on the left because of the slope.

The bottom line shows where the cross ties are supposed to be sitting (where the gravel ends) and the second line shows where the cross ties are sitting now.

This shows where the trim has come loose and the arrow shows the gap between the cross ties. They were sitting end to end.

My feed shed hanging in a tree and sitting on my fence (which means the whole thing will have to be restretched). On the left you can see where the roof to the hen house has pulled back and is laying on the fence. My tack cabinet is laying on it's side. The feed barrels were knocked over. All of the food was soaked and ruined in the rain. The fence I made out of the round pen panels that goes down the hill also was twisted and torqued. I don't know if any of the panels are ruined, but the pins that hold them together are definitely ruined.

Closer up of the feed shed. :(

It's all thoroughly depressing. We have good coverage of our outbuildings so we should get enough money to rebuild them, but I have no idea how long it will take. We usually do all of our work ourselves and with my husband hurt that may mean I'm without a feed shed for a good long time. :( I can fix the chicken coop at least. Our neighbor has offered to use his tractor to try to push the horse barn back together. I don't know. I was in shock all day yesterday. I don't even really remember any details about work yesterday. Anyway I'll take more pictures tomorrow and keep you all updated on our progress.

Friday, April 15, 2011

It Never Ends . . .

We had really bad storms last night and the place is a mess. Half the roof is missing off of my hen house, my feed shed is hanging from a tree, all the animal feed is soaked and ruined, the horse barn is off it's foundation up against a tree/would be in the road if not for the fence/roof damaged, fence is damaged, round pen is ruined, shingles/gutters missing from the house, tool shed roof is off kilter, two smaller chicken pens are ruined, etc. All of the animals are okay though. We're okay. I'll post pictures later of the shed. I have to go to work.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

So Frustrated!!

Even a day later I'm still so frustrated, angry and upset about this!

Okay, imagine this. You have two cars sitting at an intersection. Car A is in the front and Car B is directly behind. Both cars turn right at the same time, one after the other, no delay at all. Car A pulls away from Car B going down this new road. Car B sets cruise control for forty miles per hour which is the speed limit and Car A is still pulling away. Suddenly Car A sees a cop ahead and puts on the brakes. Car B doesn't apply brakes because of cruise control and going the speed limit. The cop pulls over Car B and writes a ticket for going FIFTY THREE MILES PER HOUR!!!!!!! How is that possible!!!!!

Yes, I'm Car B. And yes I am 100% positive that my cruise control was set for forty miles per hour (the speed limit). When asked the cop said he clocked the person in front of Car A going 37mph. Then he saw my vehicle 'traveling at a faster rate of speed than the rest of traffic' so he clocked me, but not Car A. The reason I was going faster is because the other two cars slammed on their brakes! I was not going fifty three miles per hour! I tried to explain it and he said 'he was just doing his job'. The only thing I can think is either he's lying or he accidentally clocked the guy in front of me and thought he got me. There was like six or seven car lengths between me and Car A. If we turned at the same time and I was really going that fast I would have plowed right over Car A. I would not be that far behind them.

And what makes it worse is everyone is telling me that if I go to court to contest the ticket that the judge will find me guilty and it will go on my record and increase my insurance, just because the judge is like that! WTF?! So now I have to pay a stupid ticket that I don't even deserve and I don't have that kind of money just laying around! Why do the law abiding citizens always get screwed? Sorry for the rant. I just don't know what to do.

If anyone thinks this is inappropriate to post on the internet, please let me know and I'll take it down, but I really could use some advice on what to do from here.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunday Stills - Four Points

This week's Sunday Stills challenge is to take pictures of the four points of the compass, north, south, east and west. I was really excited about this one and was going to do several sets, but alas ran out of time. Sigh. So here are mine out on the lease land.





I can't wait to see everyone's pictures. I might try this again sometime just for fun when I have the time. :)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Biking With The Dogs

I'm determined to get back into shape (and exercise the dogs), so I've taken up biking (along with a three times weekly Yoga/Pilates routine) with the dogs again. The dogs love running with the bike because they can go as fast as they want, however they tend to forget that we have to go back home and wear themselves out. I'll have to work on keeping them slower so they don't get too hot. We went two miles. I hope that wasn't too much starting out.

I actually got the guts on the return trip to get a little video since they were calmer and slower. It's pretty short.

They were hot and tired when we got back. :)

Does he look too hot? His tongue looks purple. I put him in the bathtub and ran cold water over his feet and then let him lay down in the living room again. He's fine now. It's been about ten minutes and his breathing is normal. In fact he's sound asleep. :)

Anyway, I'll try to take video tomorrow of us working on his March trick. It's cute.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Jackal's April Trick

We have a winner! This month I will be teaching Jackal to close a door. This could be either really easy or really difficult so cross your fingers for me lol. I'll try to get a video up of our progress so far with 'Get your leash' in the next day or so. :)

Thursday, April 7, 2011


I just thought I would post some pictures I took on the fifth so you don't all forget me lol. I hope you enjoy. I should be back to regular posting soon. :)

Sitting in my window checking out my seedlings. I wish the window wasn't so dirty.

Climbing on momma's back. Silly chicks.

Dogwood tree bloom.

Dogwood tree bloom.

Dogwood tree bloom.

Looking up through the Dogwood tree.

Honeysuckle vine.

Some sort of thorny tree growing on the lease land. It's around ten feet tall.

The thorns are almost as long as my finger!

And they are sharp!

My neighbor's sheep.

That's all for tonight guys.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sunday Stills - Your Camera(s) and Gear

This week's Sunday Stills challenge is to take pictures of our camera and gear. I took a few last minute pictures (I'm such a procrastinator) and I think they turned out okay. I despise taking pictures indoors because my lighting sucks, but here they are. :)

I took a picture of my camera in the mirror because
I didn't know how else to take it lol.
It's a Fujifilm Finepix S8100. :)

My camera case. My camera fits in it perfectly and there is a pouch on front and also a zipper pocket in the lid. I like it because it's small and easy to carry around. It also pads the camera when I hit it on something. :)

My tripod. It was cheap, but I love it.

Another view.

One last view of my tripod.

My battery charger. :)

And my rechargeable batteries. :D

Well I had fun with that. I can't wait to see everyone else's pictures. :)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Jackal's April Trick Poll Up

The poll for Jackal's April trick is up. Sorry I'm a day late. :)