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I’m still standing

Ack! I am sorry to have worried people with the long quiet – I didn’t realize quite how long it had been and then people started getting worried. Everything is fine here, it’s just been a busy time! What have I been up to?

1) Working Sid! He worked for four hours, a new record, at the State Fair one Saturday. He was freakin brilliant and handled everything with grace except for some worry when we were among the various steam engines. I had a bit of a nervous moment when we decided to cautiously try looking at the goats. I was worried that Sid would distress the goats and was prepared to leave quickly if they looked alarmed. What I was not prepared for was the fact that the goats all started moving towards us in their little pens, even climbing up on the panels to get a better look. We skedaddled before we could find out what, exactly, the goats were intending to do. It just seemed easier on everyone that way.

He also worked for a couple hours at Carter Mountain Orchard another Saturday, and was mostly brilliant. But we clearly need to work harder on his “Ignoring Other Dogs” skills.

I’ve added a banner to his harness handle that says “IGNORE ME I’M WORKING” which is helping HUGELY reduce the number of people who decide to try to distract him while he’s working, but I’m still kind of bitter about the die-hard dog lovers who just have to coo and call to him. It’s extra embittering because it means I don’t feel very much like I’m part of the wider community of Dog People anymore since they’re the ones who absolutely insist that their desire to interact with Siddy is more important than my safety.

2) Doing Chickenstuff! I set 24 eggs in the incubator a little over 10 days ago, so they’ve still got a while to go. I candled them at the 10 day mark and three had not developed, so I pulled them. There’s a couple others I’m not sure about, so I’ll be candling them again here soon to see if those eggs have developed at all and if not, pulling them to make room for hatching, which should happen between October 21 and 23 (there’s a bit of a range of dates that I was setting eggs). Meanwhile I’m waiting (im)patiently for the silkies I bought earlier this year to finish growing up, but I think I have a good breeding trio of blues and a black rooster (Belphegor).

This weekend we’re building some breeding pens for chickens, renovating existing chicken pens, and generally winterizing them all. If you’re local enough to want to help out let me know, we will feed you after we have used you for manual labor!

3) We are pretty sure Mr. Thomas a Beckett has a home! The last remaining problem is that it’s in Boston. I have a ride for him on October 26th or 27th up to Ruby, NY, but we still need to get him that last 200 miles, so if you are between Ruby, NY, and Boston, MA, and would like to help Mr. Beckett get home, please click on “Contact” up there and let me know!

4) Cleaning out my yarn stash with the help from maid sailors maid service. The time has come to admit that I do not knit enough to reasonably keep all the yarn I have, so I’m going through it and selecting a bunch to send off to friends who are busier knitters than I am. This has cleared out a bunch of room in the yarn closet, which let me clean off a good chunk of my work table, but there’s still more to do (mostly getting dog paraphernalia somewhere else to live) so that I can set up my sewing machine and serger. Of course, in the middle of this the eggs in the incubator are going to hatch and my room is going to be filled with baby chickens again…

5) Knitting. I know, I just said I don’t knit much. But when the weather gets cooler, I get the urge to knit things, and since fall has descended upon us most emphatically, I’ve taken up yarn and needles again. I also need to go ahead and clean out my stash of dyeable stuff by actually dyeing it and then possibly seeing about selling it as I must admit that, realistically speaking, I am not going to wear that many silk and cotton scarves. Although it is getting colder…

I think that’s everything! Well, not quite, we also hit up the Fall Fiber Festival and Sheepdog Trials at James Madison’s Montpelier, which was a hoot and a half and I bought a very small and reasonable amount of yarn and also a lambskin to use padding out some spots on Sid’s harness that I’m not entirely happy with. Watching the border collies move sheep around is always great. Usually it’s quite warm for the fiber festival and the sheep are kind of somnolent; this year it was cool and damp and the sheep were belligerent and giving the dogs and shepherds a lot more trouble than I’ve seen previously. And there was a visit to Blackthorn Kennel so Sid could run around like a lunatic and Daniel and I could hang out with Christine and admire her chickens. Sid still desperately hopes that Christine’s dog Coal will be his friend, and Coal just keeps ignoring Sid while Siddy gets more and more frantic licking his face and wagging his tail and generally acting like a kid with no friends sucking up.

I think that really is everything this time… I will try to behave myself and not go so long without updates!

6 thoughts on “I’m still standing

  1. “What I was not prepared for was the fact that the goats all started moving towards us in their little pens, even climbing up on the panels to get a better look.”

    Obviously the problem is that they can’t read the “IGNORE ME I’M WORKING” banner.

    1. Haha, oh snap!

      You gotta be careful of those goats, that’s for sure.

  2. Yay, Sid! Good dog!

    It doesn’t help much with the boors who can’t follow simple directions, but your ‘leave working dogs alone’ lessons are being passed on to a small corner of southeast New Mexico.

    I’m a speech therapist. When I give a language evaluation, one of the pictures is a street scene, a police officer directing traffic, people waiting to cross. One of those people is a blind man with a guide dog.

    For years, I’ve stopped evaluating for a few minutes and explained how guide dogs help their people get around; I’ve searched the internet and saved a few pictures so I can show the student what a guide dog with harness and person looks like. I’ve also explained strongly that, if they ever see a guide dog working with a blind person, they must never, ever try to interact with the dog, because it would be dangerous for the person.

    I get specific, and tell them not to talk to the dog, or pet him, or make kissy noises, or even wiggle fingers to catch their attention. It’s a long, drawn-out explanation, but I don’t think there are any working guide dogs in this area of NM, and I want them to remember years down the line when they may meet one.

    I didn’t know about stability dogs. Now I can give my students another type of example by telling them what Sid does for you, and my warning has changed to explaining that, if they ever see a dog working with/helping a person in any way, they must never, ever interact with the dog, because it could be dangerous for the person. I’m including the picture of Sid in his harness, so the students have more than one reference for ‘working harness’.

    It doesn’t change the thoughtless people who won’t leave Sid alone, but I thought you might like to know that your words are spreading. So, thanks for helping to educate the next generation.

    1. Yay! Thank YOU for passing the lesson along to kids. To be honest, kids in general are great, at least the ones of reading age. It’s their parents who often decide that the “IGNORE ME” sign does not apply to them! You could always be subversive and tell the kids not to let their parents/guardians/caretakers bother the dog, either! ;)

      I’ve used a couple harnesses on Sid, there was the “training harness” we used for public access work before I could put weight on him, as in this post:

      That’s actually a pretty common style of vest/harness for many service dogs, so throwing that one in would give the kids a more general example than the mobility harness I currently use (you probably have these pics?):

      1. Thank you for the vest-pic; I missed it the first time. Yes, I have the other two with the leather harness.

        You could always be subversive and tell the kids not to let their parents/guardians/caretakers bother the dog, either! ;)

        Good point; I’ll start adding that to my spiel. Though, as I said, they’re not likely to see a service dog in this corner of New Mexico. That’s the main reason I take the opportunity to make the picture a teaching lesson; around here, the kids aren’t likely to learn by experience.

  3. “IGNORE ME” sounds like a great message. I was just thinking about this the other day, about the “DO NOT PET ME” type vests. First thing I learnt while parenting a toddler is to order them around (when such a thing is needed) in positive sentences, not “do not”s, because their teeny brains don’t process “do not” – they just hear “PET ME” instead. So I was thinking – how about a custom vest saying “HANDS OFF”? Or something of that ilk.

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