I'm heading into this trial season with ZERO expectations, which matches my actual discipline these past few months. For once they jive! Usually I have no RIGHT to any expectations, but my mind fills up with DELUSIONAL FANCY served on the Expectation platter regardless.

I've just been particularly lax with my training since last fall.

This spring I finalized a divorce, bought and remodeled a new old farm house, moved my stuff out of two previous residences and missed my children.

It's a big old house.

I have MORE acreage! And sheep! And Lavon LOVES TO WORK DOGS.

I bought more chickens. Instead of training my dogs, this spring I spent a lot of time sitting amidst chickens, watching them. They are like living amongst cranky old women. Chicken body language is all snarky gossip. They look like feathery puritans – all judgement and cackle.
I don't particularly like eggs and I'd never kill one for meat. These chickens are like belonging to a book club or going to parties that always end by 9 pm. They are what I imagine belonging to a church that serves koolaide and hellfire must be like.

This winter and spring I ate shit COMFORT food (and I'm talking the kind of comfort that really means SLOTH) and I drank as if the polar ice melting were beer and I was the only thing stopping California from sliding into my liver.

I didn't run or write.
I didn't work dogs. I walked dogs on the canal and in the desert and I raised the puppy Biz.

I did practice my whistles in the car while I drove. I downloaded Neil Young Unplugged and learned all the songs, particularly Long May You Run and Pocahontis.

It's been a good transitional spring, but I've been on hold in too many ways. I miss the discipline of running and writing and working my dogs.

Just about a week ago I started regularly running and working dogs again. 

Surprisingly, Lavon is still willing to help me become a better handler! Last fall he got a little irritated with me because, according to him, whenever he told me something designed to help me and my dog, I would argue with him. I would justify why I was doing something in a certain way, rather than listen to his experience telling me how I should be doing it, or how I might try it for better results.

I tended to get a little pissy with him,

"I'm only going to drive Jack down the fenceline one time because I think he's tired. IT'S NOT WORTH KILLING MY DOG OVER, LAVON!"

"I don't like shhhushing Jai on because she gets all amped up and she will grip and it's NOT WORTH KILLING A SHEEP OVER, LAVON!."

"NO, LAVON! YOU sound like fighting magpies. My whistles are fine. IT'S NOT WORTH KILLING …UH…TIME OVER, LAVON!"

So, here we are.  This weekend is the first trial of our summer. It's in Wyoming and Lavon is the judge.

My stop whistle is 

"With your chrome heart shining, in the sun, long may you run…"

Not really.