In keeping with my new schedule, the first post of the month is always just photographs. Here’s a sampling of life at the farm over the weekend:

First, we had a joyous reunion with three other couples on Saturday night who we haven’t seen in a year and a half. They regaled us with ridiculously marvelous food and wonderful stories. We brought a “bumbleberry pie” (this version was strawberry, black cap raspberry and rhubarb) and flowers I arranged from the garden:

4th of July

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What a wonderful thing to be with dear friends (all fully vaccinated) after so long! Happily the fireworks noise related to the weekend was far enough away when we returned home that Maggie only once came over to the bed for reassurance.

Earlier in the week, Jim and I had our first successful overnight in our new camper. It was a far cry from the Cluster F of two weeks ago when it was 93 F degrees, humid and without a breath of air. Not to mention our attempt to destroy our camper by forgetting to set the blocks and watching it begin to roll away. (The slope of the site saved us; the camper stopped soon enough all on its own . . . but you can imagine what it felt like to watch a 3,000 pound huge metal box begin to roll away, with no way to stop it.)

This time we managed to get it right. We picked an easy site with an electric plug-in to keep things simple, and had lovely, cool, and breezy weather. It was all pretty perfect. (I brought some bully sticks for the dogs; they approved.)

Illinois

Maggie was a bit nervous about all the new smells, but Skip thought that getting to sleep up in bed with all the rest of us all was a gift beyond his wildest dreams.

4th of July

We missed getting a photo of a seemingly huge and bright red sun that evening (we were walking the dogs and I had no camera with me). I have never ever seen the sun so red; honestly, it was other worldly. (Smoke from fires in the west?) Here is the sky a few minutes after the sun sunk below the horizon:

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We’re not sure when our next trip in the camper will be. We were scheduled to go to the Land of Lincoln Sheepdog Trial in Illinois the coming weekend, but I had to pull Maggie because of her lame leg (more on that soon), and they had to change the schedule to allow only one run of Pro Novice, Skip’s class. It didn’t make sense to drive half a day each way to run one dog one time, so we’ll be home and we’ll keep practicing on fields within easy driving distance. The next trial is mid-August; all paws crossed that Maggie will be sound by then.

This morning this sweet little House Finch flew into a tree above me while I was taking photos of flowers. He and his mate like to find yummy things to forage right outside our living room; I watch them every night. I’m sure their nest is somewhere close by, all paws (tiny toes?) crossed that they are successful.

Illinois

Speaking of flowers, this insect kept teasing me while I was trying to photograph it on one of our lilies. I never got a good enough look or shot to identify it. Any guesses? Grasshopper-like legs but definitely didn’t look like a grasshopper from the little I could see of it’s front.

4th of July

Here’s another fun insect, a Common Whitetail Skimmer dragonfly. Gorgeous!

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Right now Maggie is in rehab, and I’m happy to say she is doing well. No signs of any lameness now, even when allowed to run free on walks. No playing with Skip and no working sheep yet; that’s coming up in the future, perhaps in a week or two. I let her do one tiny outrun and fetch a few days ago, but I’m taking it very, very slowly in order to avoid setting her back. The busy part of the trial season, August through October, is coming up and I don’t want to go too fast and end up starting all over again. She’s eight and a half, and many dogs lose their enjoyment of trialing around the age of nine or so. Basically, and understandably, they look like they are saying “This was really fun when I was young, but, you know, it’s not so much fun anymore.” The fact is it’s super hard work, so this might be Maggie last year to compete, and I don’t want to sacrifice it if I don’t have to. Of course, if she’s not sound, I wouldn’t think to run her, but right now things are looking good. It’s been two months since her lameness began, so hopefully we’re getting past it. (Diagnosis? Unknown, but best guess is soft tissue damage in the shoulder.)

I’m working both Maggie and Skip on the balance board now. (Skip because he doesn’t play with Maggie, and is thus losing muscle tone himself. He works sheep once a day, but normally he’d get 3 work outs a day rather than one.) I thought it’d be a hoot to get them both on the board and take a photo. Skip thought it was confusing, and Maggie, uh, just looked pissed off.

Illinois 4th of July

I’ll leave you with one other photo, flowers I picked and arranged for the house. You just gotta love flowers!

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What do you love this week? I’m all eyes and ears . . .



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