Those things go together, right? Well, they did this weekend.
Lucky me to discover this Gray Tree Frog hiding out in the day lilies. They are small, can take on the color of the substrate they’re on, and are only noticed if you are looking closely. Every time I find one in the garden it’s like finding a jewel buried in the sand.
I am assuming that not everyone will be as thrilled as I was to find a nest of baby spiders on a bud of my lipstick plants. But I was. I first thought it was a tent caterpillar nest, whose machete-like mouths can strip a plant of leaves in a day. I went to clear it off and when I touched the web the babies streamed out of the egg case. Three days later they were all gone. I wish them well.
The best part of the weekend was the Cedar Stone Farm sheepdog trial last weekend. I’m not sure how it could have been more lovely. Perfect weather, gorgeous site, gracious hosts, wonderful people chipping in as volunteers to make it all work. And lots and lots of great dogs. What a treat to look at scenes like this all day:
Maggie and I had some really good runs. She got 5th on Friday, although her score wasn’t all that high because she went all wonky on me on the second drive panel. (I was told that there were lots of echoes in that area, that whistles bounced around up to four times each. That fits with her behavior–she literally stopped and looked at me like ??What??? But she recovered and got the sheep to the lip of the pen, and it was a really nice run otherwise.
Her next run was her best ever. She got 47/50 on the first part, and we finally did a smooth drive all the way around. Our nemesis–time–got the better of us though, because we ran out of time just before getting our drive points. (You have to finish all three legs of a drive to get any points at all. Argh.) Running out of time was all on me, I have to learn to keep the sheep on a straight line without ever stopping Maggie. When she stops, the sheep slow down and then she has to ‘pick them up’ again, and that takes too much time. Most dogs need to be stopped and slowed down much of the time; Maggie is the opposite. But I’m not fast-thinking enough to steer her yet without slowing things down. Fast thinking has never been my strong suit (ah, the joys of writing when I can mull and reconsider…), so that’s my number one priority before the next trial. But I was thrilled with her run. It’s more fun than I can express when it all goes smoothly and you, the dog and the sheep are all in perfect sync.
Speaking of going well, here’s Gordon Watt showing us all how it’s done during a practically perfect run with his dog (and Reserve National Champion) Storm. Their job is to split the four sheep into groups of two, and hold one group off of the other. Look at Storm’s commitment to pushing the sheep away. Inspiring.
I hope part of your weekend was inspiring too. Did you discover any magical creatures out of doors lately? Tree frogs? Baby spiders? Unicorns?