Free Stuff

I started out of bed yesterday focused on a specific project. I was going to hitch the trailer to the John Deere and head down to the red cottage to clean up the wooded area around the fire pit. Always keen to accomplish as much as possible in every trip… I made a note to backhaul some wood from the lumbershed to build some shelves in the tractor barn to store and stack miscellaneous stuff.

Well I got engrossed in cleaning up an area in the tractor barn big enough to accommodate the shelves I envision building. I got this really brilliant idea to get rid of a bunch of old junk. I decided I would just haul it all down to the road and put up a “Free Stuff” sign, and let people pick through it the next week or so. So I got me a couple cans of spray paint, took a cardboard box, and made me a sign which would have made Jackson Pollock proud. The background was a spattering of reflective orange glow-in-the-dark safety paint… and when that had dried I painted in neat white the “Free Stuff” announcement. I repeated the artwork on the opposite side of the box. That way people driving the road from either direction might see the advertisement. Clever, eh?

Then of course I proceeded to haul cartloads of stuff down to the road. The haul included a couple of old kerosene heaters, five or six lamps and light fixtures, a rough lamb skin and wool rug, two old ink jet printers, a couple VCRs in dubious repair, a stack of black T-shirts, a box of plumbing fixtures, a ceiling fan still in the box, a vintage 60’s lawn chair, a box of galvanized ductwork, an old weed whacker, a box of billiard balls, three two-story martin houses, an old suit case full of glassware, six wooden legs from some now defunct coffee table, a couple of big old stereo speakers, an amplifier… and a bunch of other stuff. I think you get the drift here.

Oh, and I optimistically made up a jar to which I affixed some paper labels on which I wrote “Tips” and “Honor Jar”. Who can tell, people might actually leave a dollar or two if they find something they like.

Aside from my “freebie” experiment I also wrestled with the organization of our ponderous recycling effort. I sorted through about a ton of bottles, milk cartons, water and juice bottles, tin cans, and aluminum cans.

I never did get to the project that I’d set as my goal for yesterday. I expect I’ll be working on that later today. But yesterday was hot and I had done a good bit of work outside. Late in the afternoon I retired to the house to work on my blog (yesterday’s “The Riddle of Sides”). You must know that I have a humble and diligent work ethic. I like to write something every day.

About 8:30 I noted a collection of somber clouds on the western horizon. We might have rain! It struck me that I should get a plastic tarp or something to put over the junk down by the road. So I walked down to see how much if anything had found a new home.

It was gone, all of it. I mean to say somebody took every last stitch that I had hauled down to the road. They took the honor jar. And they took my Jackson Pollock sign.

I can’t pretend any remorse for the stuff being gone. I put it down there for that purpose, after all. It is certainly an amazement to me though that the junk from my barn has been hefted down the road in the back of a pick-up truck or under the lid of a hatchback to become somebody else’s junk, in their barn. I don’t doubt that some of it will see good use. I might have hauled this stuff to the dump and paid to be shed of it.

There you go. Recycling at it’s finest.

Continuance

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The transition from the weave poles to jump #4 sets a flat trajectory on an angled approach. The handler will want to shape the dog’s approach to open it up just a bit. Being inattentive to the approach might lead to the dog circling round to the wrong side. This is clearly the job of a Front Cross with a little serpentine Post to draw the dog up more square to the jump.

Note that we routinely practice the pipe tunnel to dogwalk transition with the handler going to the right of the tunnel entry after the dog is in. Then, as the dog curls out of his exit from the tunnel the handler will make a simple presentation of the ramp from maybe 10′ away.

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This sequence shows a fairly technical serpentine, beginning with the wave poles at #4 and finishing with the #5 and #6 jumps. Note that the approach to jump #5 is a blind approach and needs to be managed by the handler. The real question at jump #6 will be which way to turn the dog. The left is the natural turning direction.

I’ll be especially interested in how my students handle jumps #9 and #10 on the dog’s exit from the pipe tunnel at #8. While the jumps are presented at a considerable angle this is nonetheless a long sharp line for the dog and calls for the handler to hurry his step.

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The test in this sequence will be the handler’s lead-out from the dog on the table. I’m guessing that dog-on-right is fraught with peril; and the dog might easily incline towards the tire after jump #3.

Note the managed approach to jump #7. I don’t really care how people do this. I’m always looking for the gutsy speedo’s who say damn the torpedoes and close with a bold running effort. I like, on the approach to jump #7, two slow steps on a Post with the handler taking off running out of a Blind Cross to end the sequence with a flourish.

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The opening line of this sequence is really interesting. I don’t know if I should even say how I would handle it. Oh fart! Let me give you a clue then. This is a serpentine with low flat lines.

History Lesson

Pyrrhus, Greek King of Epirus must have been a scrappy young man and every inch the warrior king. He died in a street fight when he was 46 years old. In 281 BC a Greek colony in southern Italy asked Pyrrhus for help against Rome. Pyrrhus crossed into Italy with 25,000 men. He won a complete but very costly victory over the Roman army. His remark ‘Another such victory and I shall be ruined’ gave name to the term “Pyrrhic victory” for a victory obtained at too great a cost.

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: BudHouston@hughes.net. And Check out my new publication the Idea BookAgility Training for a Small Universe available at www.dogagility.org/store.

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