Sunday, May 20, 2012

Welcome Sweet Springtime!

I love Springtime when you can see things springing to life all around you.  Birds come back north and do their courting and nesting.  Flowers and trees blossom and grow their leaves.  Of course, you also get to start mowing, trimming edges, and caring for the strawberries.  Here in Michigan Spring, like Fall, is an unfortunately short season sandwiched between a short summer and a seemingly endless winter.

When I still bred Collies I knew that Spring pups were whelped at the most natural time of year.  They grew the best and were ready to show at the best specialties the following year.  Now I look for substitutes because I still love to watch young things grow and guess what they’ll be like at maturity.  My Miniature Silver Appleyard ducks hatched a brood in April and we’re now watching three breeds of baby chicks grow.  Most will go to new homes, but the ones we like best will stay for a while and provide fresh eggs in numbers that allow us to give most away.

I’ve been asked why a Collie person would talk about breed specific legislation.  The answer is quite simple.  Breed specific issues like puppy mill issues reflect on the whole world of dog breeding.  That means all of us and it gives the public a really bad view of the sport.  One of the nice things about this blog is that I write about what interests me and there are no deadlines or censorship to deal with at all.  You get my opinion on what interest me, and also what I think should be thought over by others.

Phyllis and I don’t spend much time on cruises or vacations because we have too many “critters” to care for and can’t seem to train and keep house and livestock watchers.  In addition to the already mentioned chickens and ducks, we have dogs, cats, cage birds and two horses that we board at a stable.  It does keep you busy but that’s okay because we enjoy them all.

Many of my Collie friends have had interests in other types of animals.  Al Forthal was a real master at breeding and racing Homing Pigeons.  Steve Field bred shorthorn cattle and also kept chickens which would fly into the dog pens to pick up leftover feed.  He told me “the ones who fly out fastest, live the longest.”  It was survival of the fittest (or fastest) for sure.

Glen Twiford of Windcall fame, in addition to fine Collies kept a number of exotic birds and bred them in aviaries at his home.  Glen also had livestock on the family ranches which he helped work before moving to California.  The videos of his Collies working sheep, that he showed at one of the CC of A symposiums was a real pleasure to see. This was Collies doing what they were meant to do before it became a “fashionable” thing at herding trials as part of the dog show game.  The Collies were a plus because they found that Border Collies, while fine herders, were too small to intimidate Coyotes.

One of the tings we sometimes forget to do in the dog game and possibly life in general is to give special people an “attaboy” while they’re still here.  As I get older and many old friends are gone, it becomes more of a reality than ever before.  So my hat’s off to Glen Twiford, who I know has been under the weather a bit lately.  A man of many talents over and above Collies , and a very special person.  He judged at the highest level and won at the highest level and did it all with class.

I’ll keep the blog going in spite of mowing, trimming, gardening, and dog grooming but at my pace and about my interests.  Some topics may raise some eyebrows, but that’s ok.  Those muscles need some work.

Think About It!

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