Last year, I gave you three gift ideas for the shepherd in your life. I thought I would add to that list for those of you still doing your holiday shopping. So here goes:
- Lamb Cam – During lambing season, we do round the clock barn checks to see if new lambs have arrived or if laboring moms are doing well. It is so hard to leave the warmth of the bed to walk out into the night air. Time and again, we have said, “wouldn’t it be nice if we did not have to actually go to the
barn?” I have talked with other shepherds who use video cameras to monitor the activity in their barn. There seems to be two ways to go with cameras. You can either buy an expensive system through an agriculture supply company (here or here), or you can purchase a much less expensive home security system (here or here). When purchasing a camera, you want to look for one that has the following features: Wi-Fi wireless enabled, IR LED that enables night vision, weatherproof (if it will be outside), and an added bonus is pan and tilt capabilities. You may also need to purchase an adapter that allows you to connect to your internet through your electrical line, if your barn runs on the same electrical line as your home. How to Geek has a nice article that explains this connection. The advantage of connecting your camera to your internet is that you can view the live video stream from your cell phone or computer.
- Sheep Dog Training Book or DVD – If your shepherd has a border collie then she/he may appreciate some training tools. Good sheep dog
trainers are scarce. I am fortunate to have one that lives only 2 hours away who works with me and Kai on a regular basis. Even still, it is key to seek the wisdom of other talented trainers and their different techniques. I find that I like having a book at home to refer to and to give me ideas of how to work with Kai. The book that is on my wish list is one that is hard to come by and it is expensive, Julie Hill’s The Natural Way. She also has a training DVD. Both can easily be found in the U.K. but are more expensive here in the United States. Here is the only online source I found in the United States that offers both the book and DVD. If in the United Kingdom, you can purchase them here.
- Training Line for Border Collies – One more valuable item to a shepherd training a new border collie or one who needs to rein in an older dog, are the Palomine Lines. These lines are amazing, they do not freeze when wet, they are easily cleaned when dragged through mud and manure, they are light weight, and come in a variety of lengths and colors. You may choose between different lengths, different widths, and different sizes of clips. I have both a 30 foot and a 50 line. Kai tends to be a bit sticky when wearing. He tends to hang back at times instead of walking up. The 50 foot line is a great way to keep him walking up. He can also be over protective of that weak spot and keeping him on a line for training sessions allows me to pull him in closer instead of running 100 yards away to the gate in the field. In the above photo, you can see Kai has an orange line trailing behind him. This is the 30 foot line.
- MicroSpikes/Snow Foot Gear – If your shepherd lives in a place where there is snow and ice, then Microspikes are a must have for navigating icy farm conditions. These little gems fit over your work boots and give you traction and control when walking on ice and snow. During my December dog training sessions, Kai and I have been working on slippery, snow covered fields. My trainer loaned me her Microspikes and they are amazing! They are more pricey than the snow gear I have been using, but do not come off of your boot! I have had some that I am constantly walking out of, or that break and no longer snug closely to my boots. This year, Microspikes are at the top of my list.
- Moleskine Day Planner – I love my little black moleskine day planner! It features full page monthly calendars for long term planning and then features one week at a time on a two page spread. It is a great way to keep your shepherding life in order from sheep dog training sessions to sheep festivals to scheduling with the fiber mill for wool processing. Here is my favorite.
Happy Shopping and Merry Christmas!
Be sure to check in with your shepherd before making a purchase to see what her/his needs and wants are. These are just a few things that may make life easier.