Category: Dogs

A bunch of stuff!

I’ve been very, very busy lately, and I’m just poking my head up for a moment to say that yes, I am alive, before dropping back under. (Although. I am on twitter, now, and I am able to update there a lot more frequently than here, FYI.) In the past few weeks I’ve written the bulk of the first book in the Quantum League series, and now I have to switch gears to write my installment in the Infinity Ring series. So I’m going from a magical-heist novel, to Golden Age Baghdad, and I’m having way too much fun with both of them.

Before I go, I just want to say a few things.

First, if you have emailed me in the last few weeks (or *ahem* months) I’m sorry if I haven’t gotten back with you. I hope to get caught up on my email soon, but I’ve been saying that for a while now.

Second, I am behind on a few things people are expecting from me, and have been expecting for quite some time. You know who you are. Thank you very much for your patience.

Third, Icefall will be out in paperback on February 1st (officially – you’ll probably spot it before then), and the ebook price has dropped recently as well. Just in time for Christma- Oh, wait…

Now that I have said those things…

Do you remember the 12 year old composer I’ve mentioned before? Well, he just won first place in the student competition of the National Association of Composers for a piece inspired by the green violin in The Clockwork Three! Here is his acceptance, and a performance of the piece.

And here are some more wintery photos from the last couple of weeks. First, a couple of the lake by my house:

And one of Muppet, who treats snow like Scrooge McDuck treats his money bin:

And a couple of deer, as photographed from my bedroom window, hence the slight blurriness:

And finally, the other day we left the house, a single Oreo in its plastic sleeve on the kitchen counter, and we came home to this. There was no one home but the cat. I think Oreos should include “No opposable thumbs necessary!” on their packaging.

And that’s all I got for now.

You can almost feel the fur coats…

The other day, after we’d had a heavy snowfall, I took the dogs for a walk in the woods. The forest had a very Narnia feel about it. I imagined Mr. Tumnus with his parcels and little umbrella around every tree (and it also made me think that I need to get a lamppost like Neil Gaiman). Look at the photos below, and tell me if you agree.

The dogs had a good time, too, following invisible trails of scent, collecting snowball boots on their legs. They both love the snow. Love it. Muppet will literally burrow through it, while Coral bounds across it like a deer. Here are some pics I snapped of them.

Coral

Muppet

And early this morning I woke up to find we’d had a few little night visitors right up against the front porch.

I think they must have come by at different times, or the place where the tracks intersect would probably look quite different.

Why I moved.

I mentioned in a previous post that I had recently moved from Northern Utah to Northern Idaho. When I tell people this, I get one of two responses. Either they’ve been here, and they understand, and they nod along saying something to the effect of, “Oh, I’m so jealous.” Or they’ve never been here, and they ask, “Why Northern Idaho?”

To answer that question, I enter into evidence the pictures below. I think they make my case.

A day on the lake with one of my dogs, Coral. She loves to swim.

She was a bit cold and shivering after a dip in the water, and nestled up to me to get warm.

‘Nuff said, right?

 

“I’m a dog, I’m a workin’ dog, I’m a hard-workin’ dog!”

Something I don’t think I’ve mentioned on this blog is that I love dogs.  I am what people call a “dog person.”  For most of my life, I’ve never been without a canine friend and companion.

And because I love dogs, I also enjoy dog-related activities and events.  I meant to write a post about the Soldier Hollow Classic Sheepdog Championship way back last summer right after it took place, but somehow it just kept slipping down the to-do list. But I recently finished copy-edits on my next book, and so I have a little bit of time.

Many don’t realize that right here in Utah we have one of the largest sheepdog competitions in the world.  Over 25,000 people came out last year, with handlers and dogs from 15 countries and 5 continents.  I’d heard about it for years, and I always wanted to go, and last year I finally did.  It was amazing and fascinating to watch the teamwork of the dogs and their handlers.

The main competition takes place on this hillside.  You can see the group of sheep in this photo, just up and to the left of the cabin.

The dogs start out at the base of the hill with their handler.  The handler has to stay by the post, and from there they shout or whistle commands to their dog.  They have a whole system of communication, a language they use to tell the dog where the sheep are, and where they want the sheep to go, and how they want them brought down the hill.

When the trial begins, the handler releases the dog.  The timer starts, and the dog shoots up the hill to find the sheep.

Once the dog has located the sheep, the dog starts to drive them, weaving back and forth and circling to keep the sheep all together.

On the way down the hill, handler and dog have to work together from a distance to guide the sheep along a course, through several gates. This is where the communication is essential, because the dog doesn’t have the same vantage point on the hill that the handler does.

But mind you, at the highest level of the competition, the sheep are free-range ewes, and they aren’t exactly used to dogs, let alone anyone telling them where to go.  And there’s a lot more of them.

Once the dog has brought the sheep successfully down the hill, the handler and dog work together to separate out a few sheep with red collars from the rest of the flock. Again, not an easy thing.

Once they’re separated, the dog drives the sheep into a pen.

When the gate shuts, the timer stops, and then the hard-working dog hops into a basin of water to cool off.

And then…

The gold medal last year went to a dog from Canada.  South Africa took the silver, and the U.S.A. took bronze.  If you want to see some video of the event, with the dogs in action, watch this:

It was really a lot of fun, and I plan to go again this summer.

Oh, and as for the title of the blog post, some of you of a certain age (my age) may recognize it from Sesame Street. If not, perhaps this will jog your memory: