Months of This

It’s that time of the year when all Jai and I want to do is lay on the couch underneath heavy blankets, with a fire in the background, and wish she knew how to cook dinner.

When I say ‘cook’, I mean open packaging. I’m letting my stove biodegrade into mouse habitat, as nature intended.  Cooking is for people with families who have expectations beyond kibble.  My family is on all fours these days.  Their expectations are more When, not What. They will eat anything. Really. It’s disheartening to buy expensive treats only to watch the gusto with which Biz consumes coyote shit.

I WISH I had raised my children on a kibble, by the way.  I mean a high quality crunchy pellet – not Old Roy or anything.  They should make a kibble for kids. Kiddle. Taste of the Wild, maybe, featuring a feral looking toddler, crashing through the brush to get at a bowl of brown nougats that claim to include bison, carrots and …peanut butter? Or Duck, Sweet Potato and Ice Cream.
A complete meal. In a bag. As I like.

That’s the stuff I think about on the couch with Jai.

Biz and Duke want to be worked.  I need to run. It’s snowing,

I can hardly wait until June.

Duke and Biz

Yesterday I worked Duke and Biz at DDs. She has better sheep for us. She has advice. My sheep are better suited for baiting coyotes. Or practicing your publicly decreed “GODDAMNIT”s. My own advice tends toward, “Let’s save our Goddamnits for the spring…”

Biz out of the box came with a nice wide outrun. It took very little from me to make her outrun longer and prettier. She likes to stay wide, often too wide; or she flies in and busts through the sheep. I’ve been lulled into a false sense of security because of her beautiful big outruns and that she is a fast learner…but now that I’m starting to try and put a drive on her, it is obvious that like me, she has no flanks. That’s our challenge now – putting flanks on her and helping her learn that she can work at the proper distance and be comfortable. I should say that, in my office at work, I am exactly the same way. I send email. I approach a meeting like Biz approaches her sheep. I don’t like subtle adjustments. I wish Biz and I shared an office. I’d make her go to all the meetings…

Duke – you can’t hurt his feelings, which is nice, BUT he also DOES CARE about what you think of him. So, he takes corrections, but he doesn’t lose heart. I love this. I have never had this (in a sane dog). Every time I work him he is better. He is so young, I figure it’s only a matter of some confidence and additional time before he is harder for me to train. I started out deeply afraid of him. I like sensitive dogs because I don’t tend to have much of a bubble and would prefer not to spend my training time ramping up corrections, or crying, or both, usually. Duke, not being an especially sensitive dog, worried me. Initially, though Lavon was able to get him to flank both sides, because of his timing and bubble – he was naturally mostly just a sheep chasing machine. It required timing to even insert oneself into his very rapid sphere of influence. As I’ve said, timing for me is more geologic.

Duke is not sensitive, but he does like approval. There is a moment at the end of his training, when you have to break his eye contact with the sheep and say, “DUKE! That’ll do!” …he doesn’t want to let go, but he does. And he is a good boy. He knows it. I love that moment.

Eleven

“The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.”
― Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution

I’m sure the punchline is in this dude’s last name.

I am not a farmer and my cultivation of perfection is limited to things I can do without getting John Deere involved.  The only reason I was posessed by rural seed-mongering demons to even consider owning 11 acres was the random delusional thought of, “That’s where I’ll put my sheep! How happy and productive we’ll be!” alternated with, “That’s 11 acres between my “GODDAMN IT, LIE THE FUCK DOWN” and the next neighbor…which isn’t precisely true, since I have a tiny neighbor dwelling across the canal.  He has 100 ferel cats and some chickens. He seems, so far, immune to my screaming. I have the cats to thank for that.  And Inez, my Great Pyr, who barks incessantly at them.

The reality is: I have 11 acres that promises itself to weeds and burrs tall enough to eat my 6 bitter sheep if I don’t find someone to farm it by next spring.  This is not as easy, this quest for Perfection and maybe a few ton of Alfalfa,  as ole M. Fukuoka makes it sound. No one wants to farm my shitty 11 acres.  11 acres is just enough to fit a tractor on, but not worth the trouble of doing so, apparently. 11 acres is more suited to the sort of cultivation of perfection that might include abandoned automobiles and goats.

Because I seek all my wisdom from The Google, I typed in “Eleven Acres” to see what wisdom would spring forth.  Results: U-Pick Fruits and Vegetable Farm (Spokane, WA).
Fukuoka, Google.  Aside from the limitations this puts on my ever using the field for anything other than encouraging PICKING by OTHERS at the EXPENSE OF MY AND MY DOG’S PERFECTION (except Scout, who might thrive under this scenario), the thought of all that actual FARMING makes my inner food groups turn on eachother and scream ONLY MEAT!!
I planted a garden this year and with the happy exception of a bounty of tomatoes, rising above the sea of weeds, the rest is a huge rotting FUKUOKA, PLANTSTRESS, YOU AND YOUR 20 pound Cucumber!

I take my perfection in 2-3 hour doses.  Then I like repose.  I’m an immediate gratification person.  If I have to wait for something, It will lose value until it’s only real redemption is compost or an illustrative example of something I’ll never try again.
Usually.
I’ll probably have a garden again next year.  I’m looking into which weeds you can eat.
And which are suitable for U-Pick.

Start, Drive, Neutral, and WTF

This weekend I, with DDs help, started Duke.  He’s only nearly 8 months, but he seems ready.  He has been breaking out of the yard and joining me in my big pasture when I work the other dogs.  He isn’t insane about it, like a puppy; he usually goes around and, with some fierce reluctance, will call off.

I’ve been afraid of opening this door formally for Duke. Like approaching that suspicious unattended, yet attractive package at the airport. Sure, it could be full of cash or cool clothes in my size— or it could be motherfucking snakes. One thing I am NOT: A puppy trainer. Biz is easy, and she is training us both. Duke has more….velocity.

Long story short, he was very good. The second day even better.

DD thinks I should be working him regularly, so that is the plan.  He doesn’t really have a stand, or lie down – he prefers to sit, if anything – a nice compromise, sort of dashing even – but, style points aside,  he takes correction and he really really really wants to work.  He had been on sheep a few times in the last couple of months, and was always very interested, but fast and focused on the moving wool to the exclusion of much else. He required precision timing…instead of the sort that comes with a sun dial, which is what I have.  Now Duke seems to be actually working and letting someone help him figure it out.  On or off the field, I couldn’t like Duke more.  I’m sure within the next few months he will scare the living shit out of me and be the source of much crying and cussing, but so was my new industrial strength weed whacker, and that turned out okay. I’m also certain in the end Duke will be completely different from my other dogs in a really fun way.

I’m teaching (ha) Biz to drive by taking my current 6 crazed sheep across the lane into a big mint field. I’m hoping the combination of large unfamiliar ground, coupled with mint being a popular ingredient to serve with lamb, will keep their pace more moderate and unsure, this giving Biz a chance to feel them and appreciate driving the way she really values an outrun and endless fetch. So far, so good. If not, I’ll add garlic and some wine.  I may anyway.

Jai and I are building confidence.  We watch movies together and snuggle.  We run longer distances in prettier places.  We do happy work in the pasture where everything is Ok and corrections are for lenses, not dogs.   Jai takes on my emotions and the last year there have been too many for a sensitive border collie to absorb without gripping something.  I envy her that outlet, sarcasm and wine don’t cut it like a good pair of canines.  I also envy her ceaseless optimism and ability to eat an entire plate of cookies in the time it takes me to shut a cupboard not 15 feet away and still keep her girlish figure.

Scout continues to wish she had her dead mother stuffed in the attic.  Or that I’d let her work the chickens more.  We compromise by me never looking under the bed in her room.

Pup Dates

It’s hard to write about working my dogs when I’m….actually not.  I have a 10 acre pasture full of tumble weed, a dog who is seemingly so sensitive that if she had thumbs and a thesaurus she’d probably be the worst poet since the fifth Bronte sister no one ever talks about – Midge Bronte – a psychotic fleabag who loved unwisely and constantly,  and was so full of worms that she scooted across all the best carpets in London during The Season, always requesting the same waltz because it soothed her “stinky third eye”….  She rhymed easy syllables and was always really shittily sarcastic about including the word ‘Wuthering’ ..which she claimed to have coined in reference to her sister’s bad flatuence.
She didn’t really exist, except in my head.

Biz is coming along or dragging me along, more correctly.  Someday she will trial.  If she ever learns to drive. Right now we don’t see eye-to-eye on the importance.  It’s enough to outrun perfectly, lift nicely and fetch the shit out of those pellet dispensers.  Then it’s time for a swim.

Duke…ahhhhh…Duke.  He’s going to need someone bigger than me.  Or I haven’t ruled out a gorilla suit.  I don’t think there is even a USBCHA ‘guideline’ against it.

I don’t know when my next trial is. Probably when I have a dog who will compete and not merely run.  When I feel competent enough to help her/him.  Fortunately the women in my family tend to live long lives…

How’s it Wagging?

I read an article recently which articulated deeper subtlety in the language of a dog's tail wag.  Namely, a wag with a bias toward the dog's RIGHT indicates acceptance and that it's okay to approach and a wag with a bias to the left of the dog's body is negative and a signal to keep distance.

(Link to dog-wag article)

I mean, color me WTF.   I'm not too many years into understanding fairly obvious signs, like "As soon as you let me off this leash, I'm going to bite a lawyer."  

I read this article a week or so ago and since then I have been attempting to study my dogs' tail wags.  My (brief, limited) findings, in general,

Jai wags constantly, her entire back half meets her entire front half.
Jack wags slow and low, no detectable bias.
Pat swishes his tail a bit then rams you with his head and side of body. The tail is just a brief turning indicator.
Scout wags the very tip of her long flowing tail. It's more like a rattlesnake rattles.
Biz doesn't really wag. She waves. High and arched. Maybe a bit more to the left.  I don't believe this is a Stay Away attitude as much as Biz is always on the ready for action and tail wagging seems like a leisure activity.  

The bias is not easy to discern.  I mean, it's not like they stop wagging at the center point. It's very nuanced.  Tail wagging is not the first social cue I suck at, to be sure, but it's in a realm I normally feel safe – a social environment where everyone eats on the floor without talking.  Where the most important things are smelled or tasted, not discussed.

AND, now I'm feeling a little SHEEPISH about what my dogs might be READING in ME…

I mean, if they can spot a slight tail shift to the left at 500 paces, how have I ever thought I'd been fooling them all this time humming a happy tune while nearly peeing myself on the way to the post? If nothing else, I'm sure they can SMELL my sweat.

It's pretty clear that while I have other issues to work through on the field – timing, depth perception, that some of my favorite words can get me DQ'd….one of the biggest and most difficult obstacles I have is my own EMOTIONAL state and, now, in how many ways I am transferring that to my dog.   Holy Right Brained Shit.

In practice vs trial my dog can be a completely different animal.   Delusions are built upon the kind of work Jai does at home – she has feel, she is fast, she is very intelligent, she loves to work sheep.  She rarely grips and she can work up close and at a great distance.  At a trial, often she looks like I've dropped her off at the 40 yard line of a pro-football game in play and asked her to score the winning touchdown. She stands there wagging and licking her lips, as if to say, "Did you forget that I don't have thumbs? Again? This is big and scary and nothing is shaped right."

I think that we did fairly well at the Trailing of the Sheep SDT this year because I didn't think it was possible to get through the course, so I mentally excused myself from the pressure and just ran my dog without expectation or stress of failure.  The sheep were very difficult, R/Ts and DQs were outnumbering scores, I had a dog drug hangover from the night before.  Jai got through the course, I felt pretty relaxed, and we earned our first Open points by coming in 6th.  

The concept that our emotions affect our dogs, that our verbal communication is the least important, is nothing new.  Anyone who lives with a dog realizes this, to some extent. 

I used to try to occasionally sneak out of the house to go for a run. Alone.  I had SHOES on the FRONT PORCH a day ahead of time, clothes in the car.  I'd tiptoe around, I'd pretend I was picking up, cleaning, meandering closer and closer to the door….and the moment I even looked in a door-ward direction, I'd have every dog in the house standing there, staring and wagging ( I assume to the right), whining and ready to go.  Every time.  Yet if I was really just cleaning the house, even going in and out of the front door to get the mail, take garbage out, etc., no dog ever more than lifted his/her head from a nap.  

That always flummoxed me.  That and how Scout bends spoons with her mind.  Both are examples of how forked we are.

Trying to work as a team with your dog, you really begin to understand the depth of this silent physical language.  Our trainers tell us from day one – your dogs pick up on your energy, good or bad.  What is surprising, and I think increases the complexity 1000 fold, is how much more subtle, physically, they are, and how hard it is for (some of) us to transition to that communication world.  I barely pick up on a vigorous hand gesture from a livid human, let alone a slight tail posture. 

Visualize your perfect run, Lavon has told me before going to the post. Picture every part of it and how it should look.  Watch enough runs so that you know the pressures on the field, you see how the sheep are moving, you understand the places where you will be challenged.  Picture in your mind how you will help your dog in these places.  KNOW your run before you run it.

It sounds so new-agey and contemplative.  I've only ever tried this, sort of, once (and Jai and I did have a decent run), because I am just too jittery and scattered leading up to my run to picture anything in sequence.  I prefer to spend my time in the porta-potty and looking at the running order over and over.  (Plus I think I know WAAAAY more about running a dog than Lavon.  When I was telling him about the tail wag thing, he asked, "Which part is the tail, again?")
(ha ha ha…not really. But he does call their feet 'soft-shell hooves' and when asked how his dogs are bred, usually answers, "By humping…")
(No. He doesn't.)

Aside:
I have often wished he'd say the secret to a great run was animal sacrifice.  "Kill a chicken on a full moon before each trial."  
I love my chickens. BUT I don't need a great run. I would just like a score more regularly. So…maybe animal inconvenience. I could yell at my chickens.  Make fun of their unfortunate molting,

"I can see your yummy parts!"

….But now I can see why this pre-run ritual of Lavon's makes sense.  It is calming. It forces you to concentrate on the mechanics of what you are about to do so that this is present in your mind when you walk to the post and send your dog.  Your mind and your emotions are more centered on the function and communication, rather than freaking the fuck out and worrying about peeing yourself.

Anyway, this wagging thing really highlights the complexity of the subtlety in communication between human and animals in a way that is both intriguing and OHSHIT-afying.  I'm sure you can get a dog around a course without understanding the intricacies of what they are telling you and what you are telling them, and what you are both telling the sheep, but it won't ever be what it can be, which, for me, is the whole point to having sheep, trialing, and trying to discern a bias in my dog's wag.

 

The Original G and H

As one of 800,000 (plus or minus) government employees on furlough, it's a good time to be thinking about compromise and The Big Picture.  It's a better time to Think Globally and Act Locally.  Usually I only apply this to breakfast, but I'm GROWING as a person…..

I really believe most of us hear what we want to hear.  We sift everything through a filter of what is familiar and comfortable to us.   If a trainer tells me,

"You need to correct your dog! Make him(her) know that you mean it! You asked for that flank 3 times. You need to ask once, and then get on his(her) ass."

I think that means I should probably get a new whistle. Clearly Jack didn't hear me.

"You need to work on things up close. He is slicing his away flank every time. You won't get nice flanks far away if you can't get them up close."

This means that Jack has a nice come-by flank.  We'll practice that more because it makes us feel good and then I don't have to yell as much.

"He(she) is reading the livestock and responding instead of listening to you because that is what your dog has had to do in order to compensate for your off-timing; it's what he's been allowed to do because of your lack of corrections." 

My dog has tremendous natural feel and talent. 

But, really – I have tunnel vision.  I tend to focus on small details in my work that are often detrimental to the bigger whole. Like in sorting sheep; I focus on the 5 lambs I want – just the lambs, as objects.  And the gate, as hard to keep closed.  And my stick as not being long enough.  Not the process. Not how the entire flock is tensely moving from one end of the pen to the other and the motion is nonstop and when there is a brief pause in the motion, because I've remembered to STOP MY DOG so I can locate my 5 lambs… the only way to accomplish anything is to muscle things through or not through the gate. I only intermittently remember to yell LIE DOWN GODDAMNIT and only then when I am being run over. 

In the end I will have 6 or 7 of the biggest, ugliest, nastiest ewes.  The 5 lambs I wanted, meanwhile, will be with the rest of the discards, looking quixotically at me, chewing. Always chewing. It's such a big Eat Me gesture. 

I also do not insist on getting what I ask for
from my dog, even when I am wrong.  This is why my dogs feel that everything is just a suggestion and, with my inprecise timing, my suggestions are really just chatter.  Or rap music.

"Come bye! COME BY

What the fuck are you doing, Jai, I said come by!

AWAY! DID YOU HEAR ME? AAAA-WAY

YOUGETOUTOF THAT, NOW, DO YOU HEAR WHAT I SAY?"

…Who knows?

Also, I have totally misunderstood the
mechanics of shedding. Though many fine trainers have told me in many different ways, the How and Why of what happens in the ring, my approach has been more like a tag-team wrestling match. Or viking invasion.  I'd move, my dog would move, the sheep would move, we'd all move faster in the other direction, some foul language, a foot stamp…more movement…and after a period of time we'd all be tired enough to either quit, grip, or something approaching a shed would happen. It was exhausting and never felt good. It's what I imagine shopping on black friday feels like.  I hate shopping.

I've been going through somewhat of an existential crisis with training.   Why am I doing this again? I'm not really movinf forward…I'm moving sideways, and a little backwards… Sure it makes my dogs happy, but so does snausage and sleeping on the bed.  Lately, training has put me on edge and I dread trialing.

I argue with my dogs. I argue with Lavon.

The last of which led Lavon to setting up a lesson for me with his good friend and mentor, Don Helsley.

"Maybe
you'll listen better to him. Maybe he will tell you some things in a
way that makes more sense to you at this time than I can…."

I am a pain in the ass to train.  Many nights I claim it's
too windy or too hot to work dogs…or I would rather have a beer…
If
I do work my dogs I give him excuses for all my dogs' and my bad
decisions and behaviors.  I had kind of hit a rut of malaise about it
all. 

Enter Helsley.  I like Don because he really does not mince words. AND you really don't feel like he is open to hearing all your lame ass excuses about why your dog really needs to feel the success of a constant comeby flank.

"If you can't get it up close, you won't get it far away."

In watching really good handlers shed, it just flows so effortlessly.  The
sheep move slowly and the shed happens like choreography.  My attempts
look more like 5 sheep tossed in a KitchenAide mixer, at various speeds,
controlled by my dog, while I try to figure out where to stick my hand
to part the batter…until my dog grips, usually.   That's even how my
BRAIN processes it.  It's made me hate baking.

"Your dog should be laying down if you are moving. If you send your dog, you need to stand still. Otherwise…you turn it into a race." 

This was huge info. 

When Helsley sheds, he walks parallel to the head of the sheep,
smoothly catching their eyes, turning them, walking parallel to the head
again, turning them again. 

"Bring the sheep to your dog. If they get
too close or bunch up, move them off and do this again."

I realize that I've been afraid to approach the sheep. Historically when I would, I usually was also flanking my dog.  My theory was once we got them in that nice line, I'd step in, make a hole, and call my wagging, lip-licking Gripmaster 3000 into the void and we'd have a chase scene that ended in Thank You or

GODDAMNIT KNOCK IT OFF

THAT'LL DO

LIEDOWN

LIEDOWN

LIEDOWN

SWEETBLOODYJESUSONAHOMESPUNCROSSLIEYOURASSDOWN.<insert needle scratching vinyl sounds>

Well, best case scenario.

 Don gave me some exercises to help me and both my dogs – making the Big Picture small enough to make right. Walkabouts where we work up close on flanking squarely in both directions; and shedding, where I think about what I am doing – and all the parts that go into it, simultaneously – and quit fearing the shed as one would an IED.

I have nothing but time. 

 

Soldiers – Highlights from The Hollow

Sometimes when I'm at a huge trial, watching brilliant handlers run incredible dogs…I believe what I really understand about what is going on
around me is how a ferret would feel in this environment.  Or a bag of
squirrels readying for winter.

 There is just so much to take in, and so much noise surrounding it, plus snacks.

 Soldier Hollow draws some really great talent, and
tens of thousands of people who clap when a ewe stomps her foot or a dog
flops in the water tub, applaud like bait-crazed seals when sheep go through a panel in any direction.  

 Second billing to the "Ultimate Sheepdog Challenge" are a
Splash Dogs competition and much fried food.

 I ran Lavon's young Boot in Splashdogs, because it was hot and we were tired of being mere spectators. Boot loves to swim.  It was funny to follow a line of dogs whipped into a frenzy with neon
balls and flying stuffed squirrels, handlers yelling and running up and
down the platform, dogs circling and yipping or barking barking barking before, during, and after their jump. Five
solid minutes of buildup for a 3 foot jump, or even a twenty foot jump. 

 …And then there was us:

Boot and I make eye contact, I gesture up the stairs and say calmly, "Get in!"

Boot's jumps (12 feet and change) took less than 30 seconds from announcer
to me coaxing him out of the pool. That was the hard part – Boot likes
to get his money's worth. He took his victory laps, while the splash dog assistant frantically tried to call him to the exit ramp, he paddled around, relaxed.

 Boot was in it for the swim. He doesn't give two floaty shits about toys or drama, but the dog responds to a verbal invitation to Get In.

 Twenty bucks a pop! Jesus Inflatable Christ,
who can justify this sport? Not someone with a canal in their back yard!

 

Bootjump
  (photo by Ann Daugherty)

Still, Boot loved it. 

"That's my next open dog," I heard Lavon tell a splashdog spectator who remarked that Boot might have a knack for the sport.

"I mean in SHEEPDOG TRIALING!"

Lavon sounded sad.  Boot is also a very fine sheepdog, almost ready for Open; he just likes variety. We both do.

 "Maybe we should enter him in that contest over there!" I told Lavon, pointing to an arena where dogs were pulling little carts.  A few dogs had hats on.  I pictured Boot in a little driving cap..

 "We could have him pull TESS in a cart!"

 The crowd LOVES Tess. 

 Lavon shuddered.

 "Or he could give people in Funnel Cake haze a ride to the porta-potties! FOR SPLASHDOG CASH!"

 Lavon suggested that we instead return to the trial field to watch Amanda's run, because "She is so focused"…

 "What about me and MY FOCUS? I haven't shut up about funnel cakes for HOURS!"

 "Are you hungry?"

 "NO! That is what is SO IMPRESSIVE about my intensity!"

 People eat something that emulates it's exit strategy, deep fried.  With sugar. It's uncanny.

***

Shortly
before her run, late in the afternoon with Dorey, after a day of dogs running
and very very few pens, Amanda announced that she would "Pen or Die"…

 I didn't really believe that she'd die, because she
didn't dress for it,  but I never doubted that she'd pen. I've seen her
run her dogs, live and on numerous videos from various difficult
trials. 
Since I first heard her name a few years ago, I've heard people whinge
about the fact that she whistles almost constantly.
When I was really new to this I thought this meant something negative;
that
somehow her input style and intensity took away from the impressiveness
of her top scoring consistency.  I thought it meant that she was telling
her dogs every move they needed to make and therefore they were
mechanical. 
Now it's something I try to emulate.  Most of us aren't fast enough to whistle like she does, or right
enough.  Her dogs are fast and responsive and she is very precise.  It's really something to
watch.

***

Lavon ran his last competitive trial with Tess in the Finals on Monday, and it was good,albeit sad. She ran like a dog not ready to retire,  but Lavon wants her going out on top. Sadly, he didn't not want her going out on top of a cart, so, despite my coaxing, she was not carried from the field in a chariot pulled by Boot.

 

Dairy and Queen

We have two more weekends until Lacamas and Lavon would like to spend this one riding 'Jet Ski's' at a 'Reservoir'.
Yes.

The only man made body of water I appreciate is a bath tub. Furthermore,  for me 'Jet' and 'Ski' are two words that go together like 'Space' and 'Ship'.  Taken separately, why not.  Fast and Vast, quiet and transportive.  The stuff of cheesy meeting room posters. 

Combine these nouns and my sphinctor snaps shut like a partisan mind.  Whose doesn't? I will tell you whose: Aliens and Lavon's.

Jet skis are loud and dangerous and ruined my quiet childhood on the REAL lakes of Northern Idaho.  Lakes with secluded rock beaches and clean* water; miles from any other person, beer cans, or dead carp. 

Honey and Bucket
PLUS This: I used to live next door to a family who every year had the newest in snow machines and jet skis, dirt bikes and atvs…but no indoor plumbing.  THEY PEED IN COFFEE CANS IN THE WINTER!! Where are the priorities of these Jet Ski Enthusiasts?  Thank GOD Keurig has changed everything.

Spectator and Sports
Jai is getting fat, laying around the house watching me bitch about jet skis. Jack is still in repose, licking the ghost of his balls. Neither have been worked outside my 9 acre stubble field in too long.  Only Biz works sheep on any sort of aggressive schedule, because she is small enough to fit through the fence and I'm not fast enough to catch her.

Sometimes Lavon likes to spontaneously suggest we work in the
evenings.  Sometimes this is not convenient with my happy hour routines.  Sometimes I think instead we should watch Orange is the New
Black or sit in the yard, under the trees, and speculate idley on what
the fuck the neighbors are doing that involves so much mowing and a
little bench that overlooks clippings.  They could feed their one
unhappy goat those clippings. They never do. 

Shit and Shingle
This trial is coming up fast.  We should be going to the part of the desert that doesn't feature an artificial cavity full of seepage, we should set sheep instead of jet ski.

I think aliens probably don't even have sphinctors, but I don't know what Lavon's excuse is.

*Except the toxic mining waste and heavy metals

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