Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Dog Show: National Owner-Handled Finalist, 2017

Ramen received his formal invitation last week.

He is a finalist for the 2017 National Owner-Handled Series!

As I've mentioned before, the top 10 dogs in each breed (measured October to October) are invited to the National Owner-Handled Series Finals.  Ramen is #5.

The finals are held in conjunction with the AKC National Championship in Orlando, FL in December.

I would love to go, but things outside of the dog world are taking precedence.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Dog Show: Buckhorn Valley, 2017

My original plan for the Buckhorn Valley Kennel Club was to bring Ramen's two sisters, who ended up being in the midst of Heat Season at the registration deadline.  Personally I think it's rude and risky to bring a bitch in season to events/activities for intact animals.  So while our girls would be out by the show dates, they had not had any recent practice and weren't going to get any. The drive to breed is strong, which means the attention to other things is difficult for both genders.  So I entered Ramen for the last weekend in October.

Of course Ramen's breed competition was one 8-month old female in high season. sigh.

Her handler warned me ahead of time and we kept them further apart than normal in the ring... but let's just say that Ramen liked her very much.

At almost 3-years old, Ramen has a good idea about the Heat Season now.  It's fun watching him mature, but I do kind of miss my innocent "kindergartner."  ;-)

The two split the Best of Breeds and Ramen was awarded Best Owner-Handled both days.

The judge on the second day violated ring procedure by asking which was the Owner-Handled dog prior to making her selections and the group judge was talking to the steward during our out-and-back.  So while judges are humans and humans make mistakes, these things contribute to a common story in the sport... that judges award professional handlers, not dogs.

My position has always been that Professional Handlers are Professionals.  They handle many different dogs, nearly every weekend.  They are much more experienced so they should win more frequently.

I am not a professional dog handler.  I am an Owner-Handler and a professional project manager.  I enjoy working with and exhibiting my dogs and I am continually striving to do better.... but I do not exhibit multiple dogs, and I do not do it every weekend.  So while I am much better than I was 4 years ago and I am a good handler, I am an amateur in the conformation ring.

It doesn't really bother me that the puppy defeated Ramen.  She is a very nice dog with a great handler.  It does bother me that the ring procedure was violated, which gives the impression that the handler was chosen, not the dog.

Overall, I'm happy with Ramen's performance  He remained happy given the intense distraction and several other professionals (handlers and judges) mentioned how much they like his attitude, movement, and structure.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Fiber Arts Friday: More Pink

I have completed my 5th Pussy Hat.  Have I mentioned that I'm not a fast knitter?

Back in January, I decided that I would keep a Pussy Hat in progress at all times... for as long as was appropriate.  So while I was contemplating casting on a different, non-pink, hat as this one was nearing completion, the anniversary of the leak of Trump's Access Hollywood video passed, as did the firing of Harvey Weinstein.

These are just two high profile examples of how women are often treated, as illustrated by the #MeToo event.

So I continue to knit pink.  #6 is in progress.

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Dog Show: AKC Rankings

There are several rankings in AKC Conformation competition.  Three of which I've been paying attention to:

This ranking is based on number of dogs defeated in one's own breed in a calendar year.  We generally don't have a lot of breed competition in our area, so I am happy to see our dogs anywhere on this list.

Ranking in the Top 5 as of October 31 results in an invitation to the Westminster Kennel Club show in February.

Ramen in currently ranked 16th.

This ranking is based on the total number of dogs defeated in a calendar year.  So this includes group placements, Reserve Best in Show and Best in Show.

Ramen is currently the #2 All Breed Tibetan Mastiff and has been since February 2017.

Ramen has been closing the gap on the #1 All-Breed Tibetan Mastiff.  However Bravo was awarded a group placement last weekend, so the gap will be widening.  ;-)

So far this year, only Bravo, Ramen, and Gemma have been awarded group placements.  Bravo and Gemma were both with professional handlers.

Points are awarded for Best of Breed, Group Placements, Reserve Best in Show and Best in Show.  These points are awarded regardless of competition and are tracked from October to October.  The Top 10 in each breed as of October are invited to the Owner-Handled competition at the AKC National Championship in December.

Ramen is currently ranked 5th and Gunnar is tied for 11th place.

There are also rankings tracked for Top 20 in Group (no TMs in the Top 20 of the Working Group), Grand Championship (dogs that have at least a CH title by Breed), and Juniors (Handlers between 9 and 18 years old).

Monday, October 2, 2017

Alpacamundo Monday: Silas is Healing

A few days before shearing last May, a herd-mate was feeling amorous.  He forced Silas down and shattered his right, front leg.

After speaking with our vet, Hubba made a splint with PVC pipe, cotton batting and vet wrap.  It took a couple of revisions to get it to stay in place.

Silas wore the splint most of the summer and got the the point to where he was quite mobile on three legs.

We reduced the support the splint provided over about last six weeks and completely removed the splint a few weeks ago.

It took about a week for Silas to realize that he could put weight on his foot and about another week to start using his leg for walking.

We're not out of the woods yet, but his prognosis is excellent.

He looks a little funny with one leg un-sheared.  :-)

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Dog Show: Arapahoe Kennel Club, 2017

Last weekend was our first time entering the Arapahoe Kennel Club.

Hubba got wind that a few other Tibetan Mastiffs would be entered and managed to convince me to enter both Ramen and Aspen.

It turned out to be a good idea.  Seven TMs were entered and six where exhibited.  This means a 4-point major was available for the Best of Breed, as well 2 points for Winners Bitch and Best of Winners.

Our Cane Corso friends helped with holding dogs ring-side.  I entered Aspen in the Bred by Exhibitor class and Ramen in the Best of Breed class.

It was cold and rainy.  Our breed rings were outside.  The dogs thought this was a grand idea.

Ramen won Best of Breed on Saturday and Owner-Handled both days.  He also placed 3rd in the Owner-Handled Working Group on Saturday.

Aspen showed well.

Ramen loves dog shows.  He loves it so much that I have to work to calm him down.... pretty much the exact opposite challenge for every other Tibetan Mastiff I have ever met.  lol.

It's hard to be mad at a 130-lb dog that is leaping in the air because he's ready to get started or galloping around the ring because he's so happy.  It makes it difficult for the judge to assess his structure and frustrates me because I know how well-built he is.  However, his joy is infectious.  I love how much he loves it.... and as I always say, fun is the most important part. :-)

We are now working on using less-exciting bait, in hopes that this will help calm him down... and we'll save the super-exciting bait for the other dogs.  ;-)

With these placements, Ramen now has 1 major, 2 defeats, and 7 points toward his Grand Championship.  This should also improve his ranking on the Owner-Handled list and maintain his 2nd place ranking on the All-Breed list.  I will be watching for the September rankings, due in a couple of weeks.

Aspen currently has 1 major, 3 points, and 1 judge toward her Championship.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Dog Show: Peak-to-Peak Working Dog Specialty and Evergreen Kennel Club, 2017

The Peak-to-Peak Working Dog Specialty and the Evergreen Kennel Club were held the weekend after Cheyenne.  We entered Ramen in the three-day show.

A friend who has been working with her Tibetan Mastiff also entered the show.

Ramen won Best of Breed two of the three days.  Our friend won one day.

This show is held on the same grounds as the Greeley Kennel Club show.  So Ramen has been to this site many times.  Each day he got audibly excited as we turned down the road to the venue.

I have to say, it's really fun having a dog that enjoys the entire event.

He has his doggie friends and people he enjoys seeing.  His favorite is a sweet Tibetan Spaniel that belongs to his dam's breeder.  They were camped just outside the entrance to our grooming area, so every time we went outside he had to go say hi to his best little buddy.

Aside from socializing with his doggie and human friends, Ramen loves it when people clap.  So please, if you ever see us at a show, clap for Ramen.  :-)

CH Colorado's Big Bowl o' Ramen
© Nor Cal Bulldogger
A professional photographer was ring-side and captured this great photo of the two of us in the Group Ring at the Peak-to-Peak Working Dog Specialty.

Ramen now has 3 points toward his Grand Championship.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Dog Show: Cheyenne Kennel Club, 2017

This was our first time entering the Cheyenne Kennel Club Show.

Cheyenne is a short drive from our home and the Dog Show was held on the famed Cheyenne Frontier Days grounds.

I entered Nobu.

She is sensitive to loud noises and was nervous at her last show.  So I wanted to practice with her at a smaller show.  Cheyenne was the perfect choice.

We spent a lot of time relaxing in the grooming area, relaxing near the rings, and talking to anyone who was willing to spent time with her.  She made a lot of progress.

Most people we talked to had not seen a Tibetan Mastiff in person.  It was a great opportunity to talk about the overdone "Chinese Mastiffs" versus Tibetan Mastiffs who are working Livestock Guardians, as well as the difference in appearance between males and females.  Much like the African Lion and Lioness, male TMs tend to be larger with more rough around the neck, which we also call a mane and adds to the lion-look most people comment about.

Nobu was the only Tibetan Mastiff entered, which means she was able to have Group experience both days.  The size of the Working Group and my choosing to enter the ring toward the end allowed her time to get comfortable with being in the ring and the audience clapping... no matter how much one practices, there is no real substitute for the show environment and this was invaluable.

I realized on the last day that her concern with being in the ring is associated with the duct tape used to hold the mats down.  I'm not entirely sure why... there are mats with duct tape at our conformation class.  My guess is that the show-site-duct-tape was new and shiny.... so shiny duct tape is on my to-acquire list for practicing at home.

This show was incredibly clean and well organized.  I'm looking forward to next year!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Alpacamundo Monday: Fresh Hay

Fresh, Second-Cutting Hay was delivered (and stacked) on Saturday.

It was cold and misty.

The alpacas are ready for winter.  I greatly appreciate my Hay Grower.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Dog Show: Greeley Kennel Club, 2017

For this year's Greeley Show we decided to bring Gunnar and Ramen.

Ramen needed one point to finish his Championship and Gunnar is slowly working on his Grand Championship.

One of our friends helped with the handling.  She is the first person to handle Gunnar in the ring that was not me.  Gunnar adores her, so I figured he'd be willing.  Which he was... to a point.  :-)

Ramen won Best of Breed both days, over his father.  This gave him the one point he needed to complete his AKC Championship and 1 point + 1 defeat toward his Grand Championship.

The Greeley Kennel Club Show was our first and remains one of my favorites.  It's a large show, extremely well run and supported.

The Greeley Kennel Club Show was in mid-August, so since I've taken so long to write about it, I can share that Ramen is now officially recognized by the AKC as a Champion.  We have received his certificate and official photo.... I keep reading the part that says he was bred by me and Hubba.  :-)

Introducing CH Colorado's Big Bowl o' Ramen!  Our second Champion and first Bred-by Champion.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

One Month?

So it's been a month since I've posted anything.

I've been busy.

Super busy at the Day Job, which is great!

Super busy with Dog Shows.... I have three to post about and another coming up next weekend.

Not too busy with fiber-ing.  Haven't had much energy for fiber between everything else that's been going on.

One thing I have decided is to not continue with the link-up for Fiber Arts Friday.  I love Fiber Arts Friday, but I haven't spent the time promoting it.  So I will continue with my own Fiber Arts Friday posts, as I have things worth writing about.

I hope you've been well.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Fiber Arts Friday: Results

I finished my shawl on Monday.  Dropped it off at the fair on Tuesday.  Judging was Wednesday.  The fair opened on Friday evening.  We went on Saturday evening.  :-)

There are two options for entering knitted items in our county fair.... Spinning and Weaving and Needlework.  I opted for Spinning and Weaving for two reasons:

  1. I wasn't certain how big my finished shawl would be at the time of entry, so I wasn't sure which class to enter.
  2. I was using hand-spun yarn.

The competition in the Spinning and Weaving department was exceptional and I am humbled to have been awarded Reserve in the Non-Woven class.

Now to prepare this piece for it's ultimate destination, The Rocky Mountain Raptor Program, and to start thinking about next year's entries.

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Fiber Arts Friday: Submitted

I spent most of last weekend finishing my project.

It was close.  But one good thing about summer is that blocking only took a few hours.  :-)

I'm always amazed by how nice things look after blocking.

I dropped it off at the fair on Tuesday.  I find the results out tomorrow.  Fingers Crossed for good comments.  :-)

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Fiber Arts Friday: Making Lace

With only a few rows to go, my lace panel is looking good.

I'm not claiming victory yet though.... I have a lot of YOs to get past and time is getting short... I need to be blocking by Monday if I'm going to make my submission.

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Fiber Arts Friday: Tour de Fleece, 2017 - Aborted

Five rows into the lace section, I had made several mistakes. But this dropped stitch was really bothering me. Even in the unblocked state.

It took me a few hours to work up the energy to rip it out and about an hour to put back on the needles..... I'm so thankful I put in a life line.

With about three weeks until my submission date, I've decided not to spend any time spinning.... not that I have been...  But my Tour de Fleece is officially over.  :-/

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Fiber Arts Friday: Tour de Fleece, 2017 - part 2

Since I'm not likely to spin every day, and I have three (really four) unfinished yarns, I thought I would use my Tour de Fleece time to focus on completing them.

First up is this lovely cashmere that I'm spindling from a cloud.

Starting Weight (yarn + spindle): 7/8 oz
Weight To Go:  5/8 oz

Saturday, July 1 - 10 mins or so in the car

Sunday, July 2 - 0 minutes

Monday, July 3 - 0 minutes

Tuesday, July 4 - 0 minutes

Wednesday, July 5 - 0 minutes

Thursday, July 6 - 0 minutes

Well, Lanterne Rouge was the right team for me this year.... I'm spinning even less than I thought I would.  It's not even worth taking a picture.... my spindle looks the same as the before shot. :-/

Are you spinning?  How's your tour going?

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Fiber Arts Friday: Tour de Fleece, 2017 - part 1

At the end of every Tour de Fleece, I have big plans for the next one... ideas like spin the number of minutes as km they race, or spin an entire braid one day then ply it the next.... and then the time comes for the next Tour and I think, how am I even going to spin every day this year?

So, this year, I know that spinning every day is really not likely.  So I am joining one of the official, moderated teams.... Lanterne Rouge.

The description for the team is as follows:
This team is for people who want to join the Tour, but won’t be able to spin every day.
In the Tour de France, there is opportunity for everyone, even cyclists who can’t “keep up” with the pack. In fact, the last rider to complete the Tour without being disqualified is awarded the distinction of “lanterne rouge”.

I plan to make a weekly post of progress, but expect it to be light.

Guidelines (NOT RULES) Copied for the TdF Ravelry page:
  • Spin every day the Tour rides, if possible. Saturday July 1 through Sunday July 23th. Days of rest: Monday, July 10th and Monday, July 17th. (Just like the actual tour.)
  • Spin something challenging on the challenge days (usually the toughest high mountain stage: this year, it’s Stage 9, on Sunday, July 9th, when the riders will take on 3 mountains with a steeper than 10% grade, and Stage 15, on Sunday, July 16th, when they will face high altitude and steep grade!
  • Wear yellow on Sunday July 23th to announce victory. Why not wear yellow on any day you feel particularly successful? (Yellow is the color of the race leader in the Tour - but here we are all ‘race leaders’) Other colors if desired: Green (sprinter - think FAST), Polka-dot (climber - as in uphill), and white (rookie).
Are you participating?

The Tour starts tomorrow.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Fiber Arts Friday: Revising Plans

After double-checking the stretched-out length of each section, and therefore the likely blocked length, I believe I have surpassed my desired length of 60 inches.

So now to finish at the right number of stitches after the last section, fix a dropped stitch and add a life-line before embarking on the lace portion.  :-)

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Fiber Arts Friday: World Wide Knit in Public

Well, we didn't make it to the Farmers Market, so I did not knit in public last weekend. But I did steal a few minutes to knit in y comfy chair.

Did you knit in public?  If so, what did you think about it?

Friday, June 9, 2017

Fiber Arts Friday: WWKIP Day

I thought World Wide Knit in Public Day was last week so was going to bemoan my being unable to even knit, let alone do it in public last weekend.  But it's tomorrow!

Will you be participating?

I'm planning to go to our farmers market.

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Dog Show: Laramie Kennel Club, 2017

With shearing less, I was able to attend the Laramie Kennel Club show for the first time over Memorial Day Weekend.

This was our first out-of-state show, but Laramie Wyoming is actually closer than several of the shows in Colorado.

We brought five dogs.

L-R: Colorado's Big Bowl o' Ramen, Colorado's Quaking Aspen,
KayaKyi Bala (Noodle), Shang-hai's KayaKyi Susitna (Wasabi),
Colorado's Leap of Faith (Nobu)

I know that a lot of people bring this many dogs to shows all the time.  But for me, the first time required a lot of thought about the logistics of making it happen.

Colorado's Quaking Aspen

I had to increase our inventory of show collars, show leads and holding kennels.  Then make sure that everyone had enough practice at class and similar types of venues.... to stand still, while a stranger physically examines you, and looks into your mouth, while an audience is watching, is a weird idea... especially for working Livestock Guardian Dogs.

Colorado's Big Bowl o' Ramen

I'm happy to say that they all did beautifully.  They were calm and quiet in the grooming space and handled the ring well.  Aside from Nobu who did not like the slippery floor in the exhibition building, they took the event in stride.  I'm very proud.

Colorado's Leap of Faith (Nobu)

Our friends with Windy Pine Cane Corso helped with handling in the ring.  Hubba kept us organized ring-side and took a few blurry pictures while holding dogs.

Colorado's Leap of Faith (Nobu)

Ramen was awarded Winners Dog (WD), Best of Winners (BOW) and Best of Breed (BOB) both days to achieve both majors required toward his championship title.

KayaKyi Bala (Noodle)

Wasabi and Aspen split the Winners Bitch (WB) awards for one 3-point major, each.

Colorado's Quaking Aspen and Colorado''s Leap of Faith (Nobu)

Nobu was awarded Reserve Winner's Bitch (RWB) both days.

Noodle, our lead livestock guardian, performed very well for her conformation show debut at 6 1/2 years old.  She defeated Wasabi in the American Bred class on the second day.

The show chairman mentioned to me how happy she was to have us there.  With it being shedding and mud season, it's a tough time of year to show Tibetan Mastiffs but I enjoyed the show and would like to attend again.

Colorado's Leap of Faith (Nobu)

As always, the dogs are happy to be back at their day job.  :-)

Friday, June 2, 2017

Fiber Arts Friday: Progress

As a Program Manager I like to see progress toward a goal...

Although, now that I'm well into this project, I don't think I will need all 35 sections to achieve the desired length.

How do you manage progress on a large project with a deadline?

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Fiber Arts Friday: Swatching

4th version. I think I like it now

Homegrown, sheared by me, handspun by me, Huacaya Alpaca.

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Fiber Arts Friday: Shearing Day, 2017

As I mentioned last Friday, we sheared our herd last weekend.

Several friends came to help.

We had a lot of fun.

The herd looks great.

The food was delicious and the weather was perfect.

We finished the day off with a dog party.  :-)

The harvest will be skirted later this summer.

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!