a night in bedlam
Last night was exciting, too. I was invited over to Jon Katz's farm for dinner and fiddling, and Gibson was invited to join his dog Rose and herd sheep. For those of you unfamiliar with the man, Jon is an author, photographer, and blogger just a few miles northwest of Cold Antler. His website, Bedlamfarm.com, has a blog as well and probably just as old (if not older) than CAF.
We started the visit with Gibson getting to work the sheep in his main pasture, and what a sight it was to behold! After Rose had them penned, Gibson had a chance to be let off leash and circle the pen. He seemed collected enough, and after a while the whole lot of ovines were were let out and off they sprinted. Gibson. Was Thrilled. He had never been set loose in a big open space with so many sheep before. Even in the heat, helped and sprinted and acted like, well, a year-old Border Collie, but I had never seen him so damn happy. But even in the fray he stopped and lied down 80% of the time. He and Rose had a calm time together in the field. Actually, I don't think either of them ever even looked at each other the whole time sheep were amongst them? A testament to their breeding, focus, and souls.
Afterwards Gibson gulped water and rested in his crate and I joined Jon, and his wife Maria, for dinner on their screened porch. We told stories, I played some fiddle tunes, and enjoyed the conversation greatly. It was wonderful to talk to another writer, specially one so accomplished. The shoptalk of promoting books, farm websites, facebook, blog videos, was a nice change of pace from my usual routine.
The view from his place is magical, and makes my little carved-into-a-mountain homestead look so very small in comparison to their 110 acres. (My whole farm is less land then their scrub pasture). But despite their great fields, summer flock, and Rose's ability to work sheep: Jon and Maria were humble and kind. Gibson and I were invited back to practice herding again, and next time I'll snap some photos of him with the big flock if I can remember to bring a camera.
I'm off to bed soon—getting up extra early drive to a herding clinic in Greenfield, Mass. There Gibson and I will watch novice sheepdog handlers go through the ropes of a faux trial. While we'll just be watching, it's always great to be around folks who love the sport, the breed, sheep, and share this crazy life. I'll enjoy being soaked in all that camaraderie.
photo of rose by jon katz