Welcome To Smokin J Border Collies

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Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
I've trained working border collies for over 14 years and trialed in USBCHA, WCDA and AHBA events. My partner, Mike Franklin and I work dogs in Calico Basin, Nevada. This blog is solely for the purpose of sharing my love of working border collies. I do not have stud service or puppies available. Please contact me at smokinjbc@msn.com and I will be happy to share my recommended working breeders. If you are interested in teaching your dog to be a sheepdog in the Southern Nevada area, please feel free to contact me.

Friday, October 16, 2009


Today's blog is going to ramble a little bit, so bear with me. What can I say? I'm just lacking in focus (and employment) right now.

The following picture is a good example of what happens to good old sheepdogs when they retire. They go to the Las Vegas Farm Festival, and despite blowing off every whistle during the sheepdog demo, they receive a pet for every sheep they've ever looked at. Literally.

These little girls were very polite and asked me questions like "Is she a fox?" or "Does it bite?" Honey, if she did bite, asking me in the middle of giving her a huge bear hug is probably a moot point. If she was going to do it, she would have by now.

This is another one that is not a biter. Despite appearances, this is the biggest marshmellow posing as a viscious Doberman that you'd ever meet.

He may have big teeth but the only thing lethal about this dog is his ability to clear a room with his farts. Unfortunately, he also loves to share the couch with me so that poses an occasional problem.
One more random pet pic and I'll tell you about Nano. Warning.... the cuteness....it burns.

Pretty adorable huh? And he's only our second cutest cat. The current cutest cat holder is Le Petite Kitty Claire, who has not allowed herself to be photographed in her full awesomeness. As soon as I procure a picture of the ruler of the house....I mean Kitty Claire, I will share her extreme adorability with you. It doesn't just burn, it's a nuclear holocaust of cute.
Ok...so what is this NaNoWriMo thing?

NanoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It starts November 1st and you have 30 days to write the equivalent of a 200 page novel, which is about 50k words. You are supposed to start with a new idea, not work on previous material and you "win" by submitting your word count to Nano by November 30th. There is no judge of your material, just an automated word counter to verify you did the work. You could probably cheat and write one word 50K times, but where's the fun in that? If you "win" you get a nerdy winner's badge, you can see my badge from last year in my sidebar.
2008 was my first time participating in Nano and I had a great experience. Just the satisfaction of completing a novel, or at least the first draft of a novel, was incredible. Although most of the work you do is solitary, there are local Nano writers groups all over the country and this year, I will participate more in the group and at least go to the Kickoff Party. Even if you don't participate, the NanoWrimo.org website has great writing forums where you can share tips, discuss frustrations and find inspiration.
I hope some of my friends from the Border Collie boards, so many of them excellent writers, will participate and earn a Winner's Badge too ( I admit, I bought a coffee mug to match!). I am very excited this year, I suppose one benefit of being laid off is that I won't have to cram in words before work. If anyone is interested in doing this together, feel free to email me at smokinjbc@msn.com or just check out the Nanowrimo.org website.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Laid Back (Off )Days

I have not been keeping up on this blog- just so much has changed since my ironically optimistic last post in June. What can I say? Things just have been in the toilet recently.

However, there is nothing like hard times to re-think your priorities and realize how much importance you were placing on things that, in the end, matter not nearly as much as your family, friends and your own well being. So although I am still grieving for a job I loved, the opportunity to start again is not completely unwelcome. At least I keep telling myself that.

The best part about not being employed (the worst part being way too much time to obsess over the last six months) is how much time I can spend with the dogs. Rhett & Leary no longer have to cross their old-lady legs waiting for me to get off work, Nellie is THRILLED that I'm available for pets and only has to see a crate after she rolls in something unsavory and gets a bath and Jet is becoming a little hardbody from plenty of sheepdog work.

The other good part is that I've seen alot more of my family too. My sister, brother and I took a little hike last week and Lindzay took some great pics which I thought I'd share with you all. Lindzay is a landscape architect and she's in the same boat I'm in- what can we say, the Vegas economy is in the pits!

Here is the start of our hike, in Red Rock Conservation Area. If you have been to Vegas and not visited Red Rock- you've really missed out on the best part. It's still unbelievable to me that Red Rock is only twenty minutes from the strip.

I kinda like the sepia tones for these first two pictures, old-timey which is appropriate because we first stopped at this little homestead ruin.

Right in front of the little homestead was this lush green meadow (ok, swampy wash- we take what we can get, meadow-wise in Vegas). Jet and Nellie were the official guides for this hike and they thoroughly approved of the homestead stop.

Nellie is 9 years old and Jet is just barely 2 but they so far have been really good pals. I keep expecting that to change but I will just enjoy it while it lasts.
Let's get going lazy humans!

After a nice, pine lined walk and then a grueling rock scramble from hell, we finally got to our destination, Fern Canyon. Remarkably, it actually still had water this time of year and Jet was the first to find the little waterfall.
Hmmmm, it's like a hose. Coming from a rock.

I'll have to consult with the water-pro on this one....

Nellie knows exactly what to do with waterfalls, she's cool like that.

What can I say- the dog has issues! I hope I'm as spry when I'm the equivalent of her age.

Well, the dogs had a blast, we were all beat but in a good way. I really liked this picture of these old ponderosa (I think) pine roots and the rocks. We don't have much in the way of trees and water in Vegas, but what we do have is worth admiring.