There is something mystical about Red sometimes, spiritual. He has a calm and centeredness about him that is unusual in any dog, especially a border collie. He is a spirit dog, for sure. He is very content to sit and be still when he is not needed, and keep an eye on things from a distance. When I call for him, he is always there. When I don't need him, he waits, for hours, if need be. It was beautiful to turn and look at him, sitting in the mist, watching the sheep from a distance, content to wait.
I had my first major brawl with a horse this morning, I was out in the far pasture with the dogs and the sheep, and I saw that Chloe was out in the brush behind us gorging on scores of apples that fallen from an apple tree that had previously been barren. Apples have sugar and too many are not good for horses, so I went to lead her out. I used the clucking and other noises we are told gets horses moving, but she quickly got irritated and kept avoiding me, running away and then circling around.
She would run one way, then the other, she seemed irritated at the thought she ought to go back to the other pasture. I came up behind her with my arms out, tapped her on the butt, but she kept running out and circling around me. She very clearly had a mind of her own, she was visibly irritated with me, she even snorted and pawed at the dogs, clearing them out of her way.
This went on for 10 or 15 minutes.
Eventually, Maria came out to the back pasture and the two of us began moving towards here. She snorted again, and then took off at a full gallop back across Lulu's Crossing and towards the near pasture.
Maria brings a bridle when she needs to move Chloe and usually the sight of the bridle will get her going. She clearly knew what I wanted, and just as clearly was letting me know I wasn't going to get it without a fight. When she ran out the donkeys followed, and then the sheep. Interesting how independent minded ponies are, and how disinterested they are in being told what to do.
They are like donkeys in at least one respect, I think, and that is if you press them long enough and continuously enough, they will eventually succumb and flee rather than fight. The nature of prey animals. You just have to keep telling yourself that you are as smart as they are, and just as stubborn.
I saw the last flower in our hanging garden pot by the back porch yesterday, it told me it was time to begin to let go of light and color. I am a warrior for light and color, both have become precious to me, and our long, dark and cold winters challenge me to let go, be prepared and accept the dark seasons.
The flower seemed to be defiant, it was the only one standing on the pot, it was holding it's color to the last, and i am grateful for it. The Fall is very beautiful here, a riot of colors and feeling, but there is no question about what follows, life is so much about letting go.
Maria has made six Intuition Goddess Dolls for the Bedlam Farm Fall Open House on Columbus Day Weekend. The dolls help people strengthen and develop their own intuition. It is believed that such dolls have special powers of inspiration. The symbols on them were taken from images of goddesses throughout history, and are authentic. Maria is thinking of scenting the dolls with magical oils and scents that also enhance intuition. They are original and amazing creations, from an original and amazing mind.
The Inquisition Dolls will cost $40 apiece and Maria says she will make some more after the Open House. There seems to be lots of interest in them. If you have any questions about the Intuition Goddess Dolls, you can go to Maria's website or e-mail her at [email protected]
Video: I like to think of it this way. Fate is not seeking ribbons or trial victories, she is finding herself, just as I am trying to do, just as Maria is trying to do and as most of the people reading this are seeking to do. It isn't about form or procedure, it's about figuring out who she is as a working dog.
She is learning to stand her ground, the essence of the working dog. At this delicate age, she could easily lose her confidence of the strong-willed ewes frighten her or continuously back her down. So we are working carefully to give her a chance to learn her own power in a way that does not harm her or the sheep and we are turning a good corner in that.
The sheep come out to challenge her, she is just beginning to develop her eye and she is constantly strategizing. She has the space and is encouraged to back away, but she does not ever run off. If she did, we would stop and change directions. I am reinforcing her eye, giving her praise at the right moments, she is getting stronger almost every day.
One of my favorite parts of the process is to see Fate figure things out, to stand back and watch her make choices and decisions. Very few dogs in America get to make any decisions any longer, they are so confined and controlled. Fate gets to make decisions every day, and I see her grow smarter and more thoughtful.
I will be patient, give her time, there is no rush. When the sheep stop challenging her I will know she's there. In the meantime, she knows no fear or hesitation and she is gradually learning how to control the stock. This is the essence of who and what she needs to be if she is to fulfill her own destiny, my goal with every dog I own. Come and see this ancient process unfold.