Face your Dreams

Turn your face to your dreams.turkey

Yesterday (with snow and a dramatic drop in temperature in the forecast) I dug out the North doors – that side of the Home Barn is sinking so those doors are always stuck in the mud, they are the bane of my life- but I got them dug out and then closed, creating a nice pen so I could bring the three Plonkers in out of the fields. Weather is coming!


I always move pigs slowly. They look very robust, pigs do, but they are actually fragile creatures and do not respond to change very well, they will froth at the mouth and  breath heavily and get very over excited. But Weather is coming and they needed to come into the barn so I opened their gate quietly and let them saunter across the unfamiliar field. Ton: I put behind me (he is hopeless at herding pigs) and Boo: I put behind the pigs. Boo is always excited knowing he can do some work and immediately goes on point  and looks from the pigs to me, his eyes darting back and forth, to me- to the pig,  to me – to the pig, until I nod to the pig I need him to move, then like a rally car he gets in behind that pig and matches his stride.  His head down, but his eyes up.

I wait. There is no point in moving an animal (or a human for that matter) unless he is LOOKING towards where he is going – his goal (or in this case My goal).  So I let them run around a bit (Boo keeping pace like a trotting horse at a reasonable distance) then wait until the lead  pig is looking towards the side barn door, his body angling towards my goal, then exactly at the right moment I say very clearly in my teachers voice “Bring Him up BooBoo” and Boo instantly dives for the pigs ankle, at that precise angle – the pig jumps sideways and  leaps through the door. The right door.


So the moral of the story is make sure you are always facing the direction of your dreams in case some little ankle biter gives you a nip and you JUMP FORWARD! Imagine if you were facing the wrong way! And you leap through the wrong door.  Horrors!

Of course the Plonkers had a welcoming committee. Everyone loves a welcoming committee.


Once all three of the Plonkers are through the door they meander through other barn doorways and little corridors that I have fastidiously and carefully created using smoke and mirrors and then into their new home.  It is on the North side  ( the one I call the Black hole of Calcutta) but it is just for a few days until this cold front is through.  And they have piles of straw to sleep in.


Speaking of straw, while I was working in the barn settling the new kids in and mucking out stalls and making big beds for cows and little pigs,  Sheila was spending a good deal of time stacking straw into the North East Corner of the double bed that she shares with Poppy. How does she know this is where the Front is coming from? There will be a little snow but a lot of cold cold wind and a terrible drop in temperatures.  And she was methodically picking up straw in her mouth and using it to plaster that side of the barn.  Later, Poppy came into the sleeping area to see what Sheila was doing and was shrieked at by Aunty Sheila. “Get out – you are making a mess!” Poppy did not argue and leapt out of the way – she has never been one for housework has Our Poppy.


Above is Violet our beautiful girl.

And below is Geraldine our other beautiful girl.


How on earth are we going to tell these two apart by spring!?


I hope you have a lovely day.


49 Comments on “Face your Dreams

  1. The world’s sheepdog trials lost a great team in you and Boo… Who knew, looking at either of you (Celi in the London years and Boo just last year) that you would have economical, disciplined and fuss-free pig herding as your joint effort. I have a suggestion for telling the peahens apart: How about large bird rings, brightly coloured bracelets for the beautiful girls. One pink, one purple? If not bird rings, then broad rubber bands; nothing tight enough to hurt them, but too small to go over their feet.

  2. That Boo has found his calling and enjoys playing his part. We had snow flurries yesterday and today. I can see it on the hills in the distance, I am about three fields below the snow lines so it has to be very bed before it interferes with my life. Mind you the cold air goes for my chest and sends blood vessels into spasm. My spray is now in residence in my pocket and a spare in the car and in my bag/purse.

  3. Molly and Tahiti look like real characters, the Plonkers are looking good too. Hopefully Violet and Geraldine will keep their current colours (lilac and bronze). Hope the nasty cold snap moves on quickly. Laura

  4. Whoa, that Boo is something else! I wish you could give me a crash course in teaching dogs to heel so i could sharpen Dolly, our heeler’s, herding skills. She is great at running naughty pigs back into their enclosure. But, not so fabulous with herding the goats back into theirs. She nips their heels, then jumps and nips at their faces. She doesn’t exactly know the direction she is herding them in, so they end up going every which way until finally they run, with relief, back home. And I know that it’s me who needs to learn how to teach Dolly, as she always wants to do what we want her to do. I’m just not sure how to train her. Suggestions welcome! 🙂

    • Yes, you need to put her on a leash for a while and run WITH her shouting the commands as you go. Another very good command is DOWN from a distance. Practice three times a day without stock until she gets to listen to you. The old dog trainers often tie a young dog to a well trained dog collar to collar – same idea. Except we are tying her to You!

      • Such fabulous ideas! Thank you Celi!!! I will begin training her! What commands to you shout to Boo to get the animals and lead them towards you? How does he know where to lead them, and where are you as you give the commands? Thanks so much Celi! xo

        • You will be beside your dog when you command him for quite a while yet.You can make up your own commands and practice ONE until you get it right then go to the next one- just don’t forget them I don’t actually mean to shout more your Big teachers voice. it is a different voice from everyday. The first one I would teach her in an empty field. Go Out, or away the back or whatever then DOWN. Use a big down sign. She needs to move further and further back from you and then Down and wait. This is my most useful command. I wish I could pop over and we could train them together.. sigh.. damn space!!

  5. I love your determination, yet thoughtful ways of easing into winter. Your images today are spectacular. The plonker series especially. What little “hams” they are in front of the camera!

    • They are so funny. – they are hating today as i have closed their doors (because of the snow) and they cannot stand on their hind legs and watch the day go past.

  6. I’m amazed at Boo. And you, of course, miss c. We got loads of unexpected snow last night and it’s 10 degrees here this morning. I’ll be sending it all your way, as it sounds like you’re ready. I definitely am not. I have a cold.

  7. I laughed out loud before I got halfway through this. You have such a lovely sense of humor about you. The pictures of the girls at the gate are priceless. I’d put it up on my wall for a smile each time I passed it by. We are getting cold this next week too but no snow. I’ve finished an enclosure hoping to protect my porch plants since they can’t come inside. Maybe you could put a television in the barn to give them all something to look at since they are stuck inside. Put on animal planet or the travel channel. :)) Thanks for the morning chuckle and I hope you all stay warm. You have some wonderful and brilliant animals.

  8. Some really wonderful shots today…especially love the piggy girls giggling at the boys over the top of the gate, the all black and white animals shot and the beautiful shot of Geraldine. Hope everyone stays warm and toasty. It’s actually going down to freezing here tonight in the south.

  9. Oh my gosh, the welcoming committee, so adorable. Thank you for the wonderful post, I will try and jump forward towards the dream. Oh the cold weather, yes its here too in MN.

  10. I love the pictures today and love love love learning how you go about training Boo and how you manage each of the animals and especially I love learning the characters/particular dispositions of each of the species. For instance, learning that pigs are truly fragile in nature in contrast to their looks and how this fragility manifests itself in frothing and panting. Fascinating!

  11. Ooooh we are getting a bellyful of snow here in Chicago…white-out conditions.

  12. Working dogs and their owners are amazing to watch. You and Boo have done very well, I’ve never heard of anyone herding pigs. I love the way you narrated it… like a rally car… I could see it in my mind. Absolutely we must be facing the right direction of our dreams; no looking back.

  13. I love the way you get inside the minds of your animals and work with them in such understanding ways. It must save a lot of drama and trouble for everyone.

  14. Very nice little parable about facing our dreams, Celi. Very memorable. I love, love a working dog. They are amazing creatures. xx

  15. Always have ideas and dreams for the morrow and face forwards to embrace the best possible at any given time – and DO remember there are big ankle biters also: it is your life: live it with enthusiasm and imagination and have fun!! One of those gorgeous plonker photos just has to go into the new calendar . . . the top one is gracing my computer . . . don’t think one could have a grey thought with that in place . . .

    • *smile* Well, my erstwhile Facebook gravatar will just have to do until I learn to handle my new camera after exams 😀 !!!

        • Oh dear, why is WP playing games on your site – it is on: I can see it at the moment and it also has come up on every other WP site I have visited this morning!! On all the old and all the new comments. Butterfly [have always been dubbed that throughout my life!] with red hibiscus . . . sheesh . . . . and Celi, reading your post this morning, your top line has come up as a shadow every three or four lines throughout the post . . I wonder whether others are experiencing the same . . .

    • What a nice gravatar you chose, Eha! So beautiful. I am glad that all the others are visible again. I think, WP has improved the colors a bit – or is it just me who sees that? I’m still thinking of changing mine but could not decide yet which one to take… – Btw Eha, just saw in my mailbox that you emailed me, but have not read yet (haven’t been at home yesterday)…

  16. Because my sister had twin boys some 41 years ago, I entered the world of twins. In the case of identicals, parents were advised to paint the big toenails of each twin with different colors. Would the birds countenance that? And since their little feet are so close to the ground and buried, at times, beneath straw, perhaps a full set of painted claws might be in order. Orrrrr, you could teach the birds their names and when you called them, their response would give away their identities. Sixty-eight and partly cloudy here in sunny Sacramento, California but due to go down to 43 tonight. May my love scatter over the hearts of the Fellowship and especially the heart of the Farmy Marmy. Gayle

  17. The big storm pretty much missed us. The Lake’s warm temps saved us who live near it. The northern burbs, though, got smacked — nearly 2 feet near the Wisconsin border. There’s only about 2 inches, if that, on the pavement here. I didn’t even bother with it. I’ll go out in a few minutes with some salt and coat the front walkway. Next comes the cold. Bet you’re glad you got so much done to prepare the barns. Bet Sheila is, too. Have a good Sunday.

  18. Poppy’s girls are a fun pair. Poppy never had to make her bed, Sheila has always done the work, and her way is the proper way. No one else can do it to her satisfaction and high standards. Boo is such a good boy. I hope he isn’t missing his buddy too much.

  19. That is me a nice shot of Geraldine! 🙂
    I love the way how you move the plonkers, but I think I’d need to stand by personally to better imagine all that procedure… Well done, Celi!

    PS – I had my comment ready yesterday, but forgot to send it!

    • I think I will sell them on soon – they have never really recovered from the pneumonia.. I have done the best I can I think – they need to go somewhere with a warmer barn.. c

  20. How marvellous to have two specialist herding dogs. And meteorological pigs. As you might guess, I’ve saved a couple of welcoming committee pics to see what kind of dialogue I can dream up.
    Stay warm and safe
    ViV xox

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