Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hitchin' a ride!
We have pups available. If you are looking for a working dog , email us at close@handhillsbordercollies.com or give us a call @ 208-215-4630

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Puppy update
The puppies are great! So cute, and full of action. They were four weeks old on Sunday.
The Boys


The Girls

Friday, December 4, 2009

California Clinic
To say we were warmly welcomed to Antelope Valley would be an understatement. We had a great time and met
fabulous people. Sally Douglas was our host, her place is beautiful.
Sitting in the middle of a picturesque desert, it provided amazing photographic opportunities. Sally opened her home to us, and shared it graciously with everyone.
The clinic and lessons were great. It ran like clockwork. A big thank you to Mike & Sport who worked their tails off making sure the sheep were sorted and ready to go for Norman.
Pat Gannan did a super job, doing all of the scheduling for the clinic, and the photographic sessions. I appreciated it so much.
We were able to steal the last tidbit of sweet light from the desert, for an image of he and his lovely wife.
Terry Kenny, of Task Farms, provided the sheep for the clinic, taking the time to bring fresh sheep on Sunday. It was a pleasure to photograph him and his wonderful hat.
Congratulations to Spike, he landed himself in heaven! He now lives with Dr. Bob Schooley of Torrance, California. Bob is a doctor of veterinary medicine, and the nicest man you will ever meet. Since Spike is the nicest dog you ever want to meet...they were meant for each other. We wish them many happy years together .

We want to thank everyone, we enjoyed you all. We hope you had a great time, learned a lot and enjoy your beautiful images that we created together.
P.S Thanks Kathy for the great cooking, I left CA wearing a different size!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

On the road again
This time, we're heading to Llano, California. Sally Douglas will be hosting Norman for a clinic and private lessons. I have photographic sessions booked as well. I can't wait, the desert is beautiful, hoping to create the next, best image ever!
We just drove through Las Vegas. It is 65 degrees and I am roasting! I still have snow pants on from this morning. When we left Utah, it was a cool 22 degrees. I can't be bothered to take them off. Whining to Norman to open the window seems easier.
Yes, we're driving. Call us crazy, but driving for two days seemed easier than leaving all of our dogs behind. Besides, think of all the quality time we are having together.............."I'm hot, can you roll the window down!!!!"

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Puppies for Sale
Our new litter of puppies are doing great. Hanna (the Pirate) really surprised us. We were hoping for 5, thought she would have 4, and she had 9. How's that for fast addition. We don't know where she was hiding them, as they are all a nice size. Some have blue freckles on their heads, and legs, like Jake. Some are really black, like Hanna. All are adorable.
Needless to say, we have a few pups to sell. So if you know of anyone looking for a new, little, working partner. Send them our way.........They must be able to pass a polygraph, go through a background check, have 5 pieces of ID, and let us meet their Mother........just joking........sort of!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Travel Hounds USA
We are pleased to announce that Travel Hounds USA, is now carrying our complete line of artwork.
Their retail store is located in Phoenix, Arizona. They also have a fabulous online store, that carries everything your dog may want, or need........Ok they don't carry sheep, but everything else!
Vist their online store at http://www.travelhoundsusa.com

Sunday, November 8, 2009

And then there were NINE!
Well, we're finished. She did a great job. What a nice little dog. She is all cuddled up with her pups, happy as can be. We have 5 girls, 4 boys, all basically the same size. Some have more white on their faces and some are really dark, and a couple have little tiny freckles like their Dad.
Feeling very blessed..........
They have arrived!
At least some of them. 3 puppies alive and well, all girls so far.
?? more to go......

Friday, November 6, 2009

Puppies
My Hanna (the Pirate) is expecting. She is actually due tomorrow. We bred her to Norman's Jake when we were at Soldier Hollow. We have been waiting to announce this breeding. We wanted to make sure she was in pup, then we thought we would wait until she whelped..........well I just can't wait any longer!
I have already named my pup.........even though Norman says he doesn't recall my name on the list.....to which I say there
wasn't a list, since we never told anyone! That means one would be available for me.........I will keep you posted.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Stock Dog Gems
Thank you to Nina and Dennis of Stockdog Gems, out of Escondido, California. They are now carrying our Art, including the Limited Editions, prints, and greeting cards. I encourage you to check out their web site, http://www.stockdoggems.com/. They have a beautiful selection of jewelry and gifts. All of their items are very unique. We are excited to be a part of their outstanding business.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Clinics
A big thank you to everyone who attended Norman's last two clinics.
We enjoyed seeing our old friends and meeting new ones. The progress everyone made was excellent. A special thank you to Tom Cooney for passing the word about our clinic, and to Dave and Ursula at Lead Me On, their hospitality is always over the top.
I enjoyed photographing the dogs at the clinics and will share with you some of the art I created, as I finish it. The first piece is of Mary Ann Lindsey's dog Hemp. Enjoy!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

videoWe are offering Spike for sale.
Here are a couple of videos of Spike, the dog Norman has for sale. You can view Spike's photographs on the "dogs for sale" page, http://www.normclose.com/.
If you have questions, feel free to give Norman a call at 208-215-4630.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009



What a summer it has been!
As you read in my friend Lynn's post, my Gale was a little superstar this summer. It is our first year in the open, and she made the double lift, ending up 9th at the Canadian Finals. My double lift performance came to a climax when I was running in the shedding ring, tripped in a rabbit hole, and ended up doing a hoof inspection. Believe it or not, Norman said that actually wasn't the most embarrassing part!..........Back to Gale, she ran very respectably at Soldier Hollow, and she was awesome at Meeker, that's a whole story in itself. So, you may ask, where did you get such a nice little dog? I purchased Gale from none other than Norman. Yes, the infamous Norman Close that I am married to. That is how Norm and I met. I bought my Kate from him as well. Gale is the last dog that I actually had to pay Norman for. Now I keep my eye on the ones that I want and wait for him to have a weak moment. While he is still in a weakened state, I quickly move them to my side of the kennel, making sure all the while that he realizes what a favor I just did for him.

Bless his heart, he takes good care of me, with good dogs, and lessons to go with it................




Dogs for Sale

Speaking of buying dogs from Norman, since my side of the kennel is also full, he just had me put a new one up on the site in the "dogs for sale" section.

http://www.normclose.com/

Meet Spike. He is a little beauty, honest and fun to run, you can call Norman for more details 208-665-1670.



Art
I am so thankful that my art was well received. I appreciate each and every one who stopped by our booth, to look at, comment on, and buy my art. It means more to me than you know!
The Painters Chair Gallery in Coeur d' Alene is still hanging my work. As you may remember, it went in on a trial basis. Fortunately, we have sold 4 pieces there, so it looks as if it will stay.
We have a couple of new, limited edition prints and a new card out. In case you didn't get to see them on the road, here is a little peek. "Sheepish Smile" is now an 11x18 canvas print. It is limited to 500.

"Our Old Place," is an 8.5 x 11 watercolor. It is limited to 250.
The image on the top is called "The Dusty Trail." It is of our good friend, Randy Dye's Sweep. At the moment it is a greeting card. Look for it to become a limited edition watercolor. I will post it when it is released.
It's great to catch up with you all.
Take Care,
Vickie







Saturday, August 29, 2009

This is Lynn, blogging for Vickie, who is at the Bar Pipe Ranch in Okotoks, Alberta, Canada competing with her dog Gale in the Canadian Border Collie Association Championship Sheep Dog Trial. The finals and double lift are tomorrow, and Vickie and Gale are in!

Thursday, August 13, 2009


The Painter's Chair
There is a beautiful art gallery in my hometown of Coeur d' Alene called The Painter's Chair
http://www.painterschairfineart.com. It has long been my goal to have my art hang in such a handsome place and, God willing, if I live past Friday night, I will be able to say I have seen that through. The gallery has accepted my art work. It will hang for an event called Art Walk. It is tomorrow night from 5 pm to 7 pm, there will be wine and hor devours. If you are local, and love art, I hope to see you there. If you are local, and are not so fond of art, well you can come for the small tidbits of food and wine......... kind of like Costco, but without the hair nets. If you are not local, well then, this sneak peek is just for you.......... This is called "Cutting Reflections", named that for the reflection of the cow in the horse's eye.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


"Rebecca"
This is the second of my Limited Edition prints. It is 20" x 28" in size, there will only be 250 printed.
I made this image at Becky Maloney's farm. Norman was busy with lessons, and I was left to my own devices. It was a rainy, cold day, with glimpses of snow off and on.
I loved this piece the moment I created it. This smart little ewe stood there with her eyes shining. Her beautiful, hand-grown, wool sweater was wet, and messy with hay and thistle.
In just one look, I knew she could teach my dog, and I, a thing or two. Her jewelery tells the story of her travels, and her life. If you look closely at her yellow tag, it says Munson 332. As it turns out, she actually belonged to Cheryl Munson, She had come to Becky's farm for lambing.
When Cheryl saw my image, she knew the ewe, "Number 332, I believe she went to Ken & Sandy Johnson's place." It's a small world!
Rebecca, as I fondly named her, is probably teaching their young dogs a thing or two.......

Monday, August 3, 2009

Now then, where were we?
Oh yes, we had arrived home, had a rest, and then headed out to several fabulous trials and clinics, including Sue Wessels's Dirt Blowing Trial, the Hilltop Trial, put on by Wendy Schmaltz, and Lee Lumb's Cold Stream Clinic & Trial, where Norman was a clinician.
And we went to the Calgary Stampede. We have had several nice successes: Lucy won the nursery at Cold Stream, and Jake placed in the Pro-Novice at the Dirt Blowing Trial & at Cold Stream. Hanna was 9th out of 80 in the 2nd round at the Stampede; Gale ran really well for her first year in open; Gwen brought a check home at the Hilltop Trial; and, if memory serves, at the Dirt Blowing Trial as well. We have also had our share of failures and near misses. Norman was seventeenth at the Stampede, missing the top fifteen by inches. But all in all, we are very pleased with our dogs.
Limited Edition Prints
So here is what's been keeping me really busy, I have released 6 new prints, along with an entire line of greeting cards. My work was accepted into a Gallery in Coeur d' Alene, and at The Club at Black Rock. I will have a booth at Soldier Hollow and Meeker, I have been in high gear preparing my art and I am thrilled to share it with you all. You can view it, and order it, at www.vickieclose.com but in the meantime, here is a sneak peek. This print is called "The Dirt Blowing Trial." It is of Lora Withnell's Nell. It is a limited edition 10x 20.
Lora asked if I would photograph her dog at the trial, turns out little Nell was quite the subject. This is one of several great shots of her.
Dogs for Sale
We have a couple of dogs going up on our sales page today so check them out at www.normclose.com then click on "sale dogs."
More news to come.......

Friday, May 22, 2009

Home, Sweet Home!
It was a beautiful trip. We arrived home today, and we can't thank you all enough for such amazing hospitality. It was fun, down to the last mile. Speaking of miles, Norm drove around 6,000 of them, and is ready for a little nap. The dogs are happy to be home. Our cat, Scooter, was pleased to see, at least some of us. The trees are sweet with blossoms, there is still a lot of spring left here. I thought we may have missed it.
We can't wait to work our dogs and get to the next trial.............

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

2009 Bluegrass Classic
The Bluegrass is officially finished, and the winner is Alasdair MacRae and Star. Someone had insight when they named that little dog, now didn't they?
We had a great time at the Bluegrass..... Except for that little problem of not winning. Norman seems to have accepted the fact that he did not win, but I am still in shock and disbelief that I did not win, or at least place in the top two. I was fine being second, but 6oth that's ridiculous! They say to achieve you must believe, to which I ask, then what? There I was, soaking my little dog in the tub, saying "I believed, I believed"..............
The first day top handlers were dropping like flies, people that have "Been There, Won That" were really struggling. Fifty five percent of the runs retired or disqualified. Norman ran his Gwen early the first day, and it was difficult at best. The sheep were a quadrillion yards away (unofficially) and they were three wild, little things that would run in at least two directions. There was no helping your dog at the top. Other than a "steady," your dog was on his own. Norm learned that the hard way. When he quit whistling, Gwen brought them, and he got around and got a score. I ran later in the day, when it was nice and hot. I watched dog after dog lose their sheep, and have to retire. I looked at my little Gale and she was licking her lips. She could see the sheep, the set before hers, jump back into the set-out pen. She looked worried. I was worried, she had never run out that far. I gave her a hug, and out on the field we went. She made it out and brought me sheep, I got around and got a shed, with no time to spare. She was tired, she had to fight the entire time. I was thrilled with her both days.
Norm got around with Lass the second run, and it seems fitting that she would be on the front page of the paper. Unless you live with Lass, you can't really know her. She is like a beautiful, witty, independent, little actress, that you can't help but love. The title of the paper should have been, "Testing Norm, Instinct and Skill." She would push hard for the panels and then lay down as if to say, "I know, I know, I got it!" We had to laugh at her, she is supposed to be getting more biddable at 10.
Gwen had a really nice second run. She had a beautiful outrun and lift. She looked good. More like the dog we see at home. It put Norm on the board and he ended up 12th.
My pirate was a little super star, we had a nice run in the ranch. My goal was to keep her calm and steady, have nice lines and make all the panels, and we achieved that. I had the pen gate open when I timed out and I didn't get my drive points, but it was worth it. We were working together, she is becoming my partner. I gave Norman a big hug for my new little dog......
I learned so much at the Bluegrass about sheep, and dogs, and handling, and whistling, but I guess the thing that became the most clear to me is this: the real trial is won, not on the field, but rather under the tent, when true champions like Tommy Wilson and others, willingly share their knowledge, act with integrity, have good things to say about people and their dogs, and win and lose graciously.............

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

But wait there's more!
Off to Quakertown PA, to Leslie Whitney's place for the clinic and lessons.
Another beautiful town with amazing architecture. Leslie's farm is charming with an old barn and a big welcoming house. She has great sheep, something for every level. We enjoyed working her Scottys.
Her husband Kevin is the master of the barbecue and we were treated to a tasty rib dinner. One of our highlights was meeting Fran Sharon and Nancy Obenier. We have spoken on the phone often, as they have both purchased dogs from Norm. They are a great pair, keeping things light and fun. The clinic went really well, I learn so much watching Norm teach other people. I am starting to predict what he will do with a dog, but he continues to amaze me when he teaches the people. He reads them well, and is careful not to overwhelm them.

Borders on Paradise
On Monday we headed for Turbotville, PA, to Dave Fettermin's trial. We were early, and it was a well-needed break as Norman started feeling really ill. It was kind of a mystery as to what the problem might be. He was feeling very weak and dizzy. Finally a toothache uncovered the cause. His tooth, that was recently worked on, had abscessed. His dentist called in a prescription and in a few days he was on the mend just in time for the trial.
Turbotville is home to many Mennonite and Amish families. It is a sight to see their hard working, fit horses trotting down the road pulling their carriages. Next door to Dave's is a very fancy, stone home with a beautiful barn and 2 fat horses. They would whinny at the trotters as they came speeding by. I wondered, who really had the good life? I couldn't help but ponder how soft and lazy my modern conveniences have made me.........
It was nice to see all our new and old friends arrive at the trial on Thursday and Friday.
It was a good turn out. There were 64 dogs. The field is set up on a hill, with a hard pull to the right. The first round we ended up in the middle of the pack. The second round, Gwen and Gale did much better. Gwen had a nice run going, but she had wild sheep, and when they came out of the pen to head for the shedding ring they bolted to the exhaust, an automatic DQ. Lass is showing her age. Gale had nice sheep. I was able to get around and ended up 5th with an 84. It was Jake and Lucy's 1st trial and we were pleased with them. Jake was steady and wanted to hold a line. Lucy was wild and had a hard time finding the line. It is neat to watch them grow up.
My Pirate, Hanna is little. I think she had the same problem as Lass, who is also low to the ground, I don't think she could hear me. She took the sheep on the cross drive and headed out with them in the exact same spot as Lass. She really didn't seem naughty, just overwhelmed. One thing for sure, she gets wound up at trials. Her little eyes get huge and worried. Hopefully we will work through it.
If you get a chance to meet Dave Fettermin, make the effort. He is a wonderful man and he and his wife Debbie put on a beautiful trial.
We're off to the Blue Grass. We will be there today around 2 p.m.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Catching up
What a busy few weeks we have had. Sorry for the delay in writing. We have met so many terrific people, and have seen so many wonderful things, where do you begin?
Old Chatham ended well. 73 dogs ran in round 2. Warren Mick pulled the older ewes out, leaving just lambs. The handlers and dogs were able to be more precise, giving Norman more to judge. Many retired or were D.Q. the day before. Beverly Lambert laid a beautiful run down and won the second day. I ended up somewhere around 20th. My out work was better than the day before, but I wasn't able to get a shed.
Off to Rob Drummond's house for 2 days of lessons.
Rob and Betsy Drummond are well known for their two businesses. Rob makes the Blaster Whistle (the best whistle on the market) and Betsy owns Bordercollics Anonymous. Their house is in Hillsboro, New Hampshire, and was built in the late 1700s, early 1800s. Rumor has it that our forefathers signed the Declaration of Independence, and then went to Rob and Betsy's house and hung out. I can't confirm that, but I can tell you it is old and fabulous. It still has the original door latches. We quickly abandoned the dogs and trailer and moved into their wonderful guest bedroom. It is a rugged land with weathered, wonderful, buildings. This is an image I made of Norm's Gwen. She is in a small building that was used to make "home remedies."
Lessons started for Norm at 8:30 a.m. The weather was red hot, in the 90s. The lessons went great, despite the heat. Betsy had cool drinks and refreshments to keep everyone going.
It was great to see Norm's old Cubb and Casey. Rob now runs them. We also finally met Natalie La'belle. We became fast friends on the phone when we sold her Kate.
Onward to Carol Campion's
Carol has a beautiful farm with the prettiest sheep I think I have seen. She has a big field to work in, with a river that runs in the front and a very old graveyard up on the hill. We could live there quite easily. Lessons began in the afternoon, more great people, nice dogs and fabulous meals. Larry, Carol's husband, is a great cook. We enjoyed a beautiful salmon dinner and easy dog talk.
Health issues started to creep up as Norman's Gwen ended up with an abscess on her teat. Fortunately one of Norman's lessons was a vet, and she was kind enough to write us a
prescription for an antibiotic.
Bev Lambert surprised me with a visit. She was on her way to work dogs with Sue Schoen and they invited me along. Bev gave me a history lesson on the way down to the field. There is so much history here, and she is a brilliant woman with a wealth of information.
It was a nice sized field and I was able to practice my first double lift. I dropped my first set of sheep off and gave Gale a look back. She turned around, and then I gave her a come-bye, and away she went, four hundred yards, picked the second group up, and brought them to my feet, in a perfectly straight line...I fainted.
Meanwhile back at the farm, a new set of lambs were born and Norm has been busy training people and dogs.
The next morning, we worked our own dogs at Carol and Larry's. It was wild, as their sheep are light and unforgiving. It was hard for our young dogs to know where to be. It will take them time to get the knack. Carol ran her Flossie for us and it was a treat, she is a nice little dog.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


Old Chatham, New York
I made this image today of Hanna (the pirate). Gale is much too private and preferred not to participate. I wish you all could see this place. It is wonderful: big red barns, a river, beautiful fields, old trees. It's the kind of place that seems honest and pure. I am quite certain that only good things happen here. It looks like a farm in a children's story book.
Norman has been judging the trial, and what a trial it has been. I ran my Gale in the Open. It was a thrill and a privilege to be able to run on this field. It is picturesque, but extremely difficult. The sheep are milking sheep, mostly bottle babies and are used to people handling them, but not dogs. I was way over my head, but managed to get around... kinda. There were 74 dogs. My score was a 41 and I am sitting somewhere around 18th. Lots of dogs have RT as the sheep run back to the set out, around those big wonderful trees I was telling you about. I was proud of my dog, we both learned a lot. Round 2 has started. Tomorrow I am up almost last....

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Good Morning/Afternoon, depending on your time zone!
All is well, we are back on the road again. We left the outskirts of Toledo, Ohio, this morning, drove through Pennsylvania, and walked the dogs in New York. It is getting a bit harder to find places to walk 16 dogs. We are looking forward to a big, open, safe field, where we can all get some real exercise. We slept like logs/dogs last night. We are really enjoying the new trailer. It has cut our work in half. The dogs seem to be holding up, traveling is much nicer for them as well. Speaking of dogs, here is the scoop on the dog I lifted off of Norman. I am sure you recognize this little face as none other than the naughty little Pirate Hanna. She is quite the character, and I love working with her. Her whistles are opposite to mine, and I am quite dyslexic. She is a tight running little thing, and that is my specialty, to get a dog running tight and slicing their flanks, and she really doesn't understand my accent, but all that aside, I think we will do well together!
Almost to Buffalo, New York.........

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

568 more miles to go!
We have officially "Headed East." We have been on the road since Saturday and will arrive tomorrow in Old Chatham, New York. Thursday, Norman will be doing a day of lessons and Friday, judging Warren Micks' trial.
Today we have traveled through 4 states, including Chicago, Illinois. We both agree, we would rather die, than live in the city of Chicago, no offense. We are now VERY familiar with toll booths and are thinking of opening up one ourselves.
You pass by our house to get to the lake, and it seems only reasonable that people should pay to pass. It appears to be a great way to make alot of extra cash.
The trip has really gone well. We did have a seal go out in the pickup, but before we could walk the dogs and eat lunch the Dodge dealer had us back on the road again.
We have tons of catching up to do, so I will be getting it in gear, telling you all the news. Here's a sneak peek.........We have a new dog hauler/travel trailer. I will post a picture for you to see, and I have a new dog, I actually stole her from Norman. I will reveal the goods tomorrow. We're stopping for the night just outside of Toledo, Ohio. See ya tomorrow!


Sunday, March 22, 2009


Lead Me On Clinic
This is an Image I did for Kathleen Torkelson, Shoreline Washington, of her little dog Emma.
Kathleen and Emma attended the Lead Me on Clinic with Norman. They were great students and as you can see  great subjects. I love this print so much, I am making it a limited addition, signed print. The title of the print is Early Spring Gather. It will be available soon. If you are interested in it you can email me. 

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Lead Me On Clinic
We have returned from the Clinic in Olympia, Washington, hosted by Dave and Ursula, owners of Lead Me On Training and Boarding.
The people, the dogs, and the food were truly outstanding, the weather was not. It rained and snowed, however, we were left unscathed because of Dave's quick thinking. He and Ursula rented a U-haul and equipped it with borrowed propane heaters. Myself and the clinic attendees, for the most part, stayed warm and dry........Norman was not quite that lucky.
The clinic dogs made great strides in 2 days, it was exciting to see the progress. We are looking forward to seeing our new friends, and their dogs on the trial field this summer.
On Monday we drove to Becki Maloney's farm for lessons, and we were able to work our own dogs as well. It was such a treat after such a long winter. Her place is beautiful with wonderful fields to work in, and nice sheep.
I had my camera with me at the clinic, and my official "work" hat on. I am thrilled with the results, and will post a few of my client's images here in the next couple of days, as I finish them......Beautiful dogs, I am pleased to have photographed them and think you will enjoy them as well.
A huge big thank you to Dave and Ursula, our kind and gracious hosts. Cheryl Munson provided the sheep and sound system, we appreciate her generosity, she is a beauty. To all who attended and helped, the clinic was successful because of you. Thanks for a great time!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

State Photographers Competition 
I am back from the convention. It is always great to see my old friends, and learn all the new tricks of the trade. 
I was pleased with my print entries, it is dangerous to enter animals, and art in a traditional type competition, but they did well. 
I had 4 prints merit (score over 80) which put them into an above average category, I was third in a division called finished product. It was a framed art piece that I did in copper tones. I was second with my commercial entry that we named desert passage, and Lucy, the black and white print, won judges choice. Thank you to all of you who worked on naming my prints. My good  friend Lynard who prefers to be called Lynn was especially clever naming  my black and white print "EWE SHALL NOT PASS" I think the name got me 5 extra points! Here are the prints that scored high.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Competition Print #6 
Here is the last and final print. 
Now then, all my entries need titles, so if you have any ideas let me know. I have to submit them Saturday, so help me get creative!