Day #11: NZ Date: 27th of February, Saturday; US Date: February 26th, Friday.
Brother Daniel came by lastnight and invited us to go with him and his wife, Sarah, to see the Sheepdog competitions today. We heartily accepted.
This morning we were up and ready to go, and had piled into Daniel & Sarah’s van with the kids at 10am. We drove out to the first set up sheep dog challenges.
1st challenge was for “Eye Dogs.” Most the eye dogs were small, and black & white, most were short haired, but a few were long haired. The Dog would walk to the middle of a circle with his “Shepherd.” The Shepherd would then use calls and or whistles to direct his dog to go up a very large hill, at the top of the hair were 2 sheep waiting. The Dog had to find the sheep and bring them down the hill in as straight a line as possible, and into the circle where the shepherd was, and with 14 minutes. Some shepherds got frustrated with their dogs, thank goodness they had a rule that if you swore at your dog you’d be disqualified. Others were very calm with their dogs. You could tell what dogs were fairly new at their job, and what was had a lot of training and experience. The latter group of dogs could do their job well and only require a series of Whistles for instructions.
the 2nd challenge, was for “Hunt Away Dogs.” These dogs were bigger, and looked like a sort of German Shepherd cross with their markings, lots of brown and most having a “black blanket” on their back. These dogs would start with the shepherd, again. But this time, the dogs would start at the bottom of another hill with 3 sheep. Their job was to drive the sheep UP and OVER the hill away from the shepherd, and again they had certain points that the sheep had to go between (like a goal), and the objective is to get the job done as quickly and in as straight a line as possible.
the 3rd challenge, there was another hill, with a series of flags. the flags were yellow, and they formed 2 rows going up the hill. The dogs had to keep their sheep between the flags.
The 4th and final challenge, the dog would again run up to the top of a hill, find his 3 sheep, and guide them down to the flat bottom-land, but then he had to continue guiding them through 2 rows of flags, and then through a set of fences (symbolic of a walkway or a small bridge). Then he had to try and drive them into a very small pen at the end of the course. Few dogs were able to accomplish this last task, the sheep would rather go around and around and around, than go in to the pen.
After watching a few dogs with each course, we loaded up into the van again and headed out. We stopped by a local “Fish & Chips” shop, got a big box of hot dogs, fish, joe-joe’s and fries. We then went to Daniel and Sarah’s home and sat down to lunch. The “Hot Dogs” are basically a corn dog that’s been “breaded” with the fish batter. The fish is really good, and again baked in fish batter. And the fries and joe-joe’s go great with it all! And Tomato Sauce.
We hung out and just chatted with Daniel & Sarah, and all the little kids of course. Daniel and Johnny talked about going hunting, but Daniel either couldn’t get a hold of the guys he liked to hunt on the property of, or the guy had plans that day and didn’t want them using his land that particular day. Hopefully they can go out hunting next weekend.
When we got back to the Donaldson house, I went for a short walk down to the mailbox and back. On the way back, I realized Kenny’s mini fox terrier, Wallego, had been following me. He looked so cute, and soon as he realized I had spotted him, he ducked under the fence. I coaxed him back out onto the driveway and once I put his little mind at ease that he was not in trouble for following, I got a few cute photos of his adorable face. Here’s one:
The Sunset tonight was stunning! Very red over the mountain.