Wednesday, 26 December 2007

What a pleasant Christmas it has been so far: plenty of time to relax, fabulous food and the company of family and friends. It's just a pity that the beautiful frosty days couldn't last just a little longer; if we were never going to get snow then the least the weather could do was do stay dry!

Never the less, we managed to squeeze in a few lovely walks between the showers. There was even proper Christmas cake with all the trimmings for Mam, Dad and I during our stroll after checking the sheep today.

The girls were less fortunate having broken into the little food stash that I left and eaten everything: they had to make do with just hay. They were most miffed when I left without providing sheep nuts; even though they have no need for them at the moment.

Rosy, Rebecca and Rachel are now getting really quite tame and come running when they see me arrive in the Landie.

Rosy is getting a little bolshy however and even put her little hooves on my leg today in eagerness to reach the bucket that she had already emptied. Fox waited in the Landie rather impatiently.

Chris cooked up a wonderful Christmas dinner centering around a three bird roast of Guinea Fowl, Pheasant and Wood Pigeon. Delicious with roasties, plenty of seasonal veg and red wine gravy, mmmmm!

Fox managed to destroy both of his new toys during the course of the day, but seemed to very much enjoy the process!

It's so relaxing to think that there is still a week and a half of fun to go before back to work. If you call fencing fun...

Friday, 21 December 2007

I've not been great at this Blogging thing. I lost this one for a time, but suddenly decided to start over this morning. Perhaps it ought to be a New Year's Resolution to manage to update this at least once a month. Anything would be an improvement on this year's efforts!

It's a shame I've been so slack because a lot has happened in the last year and it would have been good to record it here. Fox is really coming on with his sheepdog training now and we have just purchased the first of our very ow flock!

At 19 months, Fox is now a very big, powerful and handsome dog. He's grown into a lovely character too... now we just need him to CALM DOWN when greeting people and realise that he is really quite large! He hasn't quite realised how big he is and can be a little clumsy.

The sheep that we've bought are Shetlands, just like the ones that I used to show with Jennie Hill years ago. They are co-owned by Chris and I and our friend Wal who is a Reserves Warden at Cumbria Wildlife Trust. So far three are in residence on the land, which is 30 acres of rough grazing near Crook.

Their names are Bartistown Rosy, Rebecca and Rachel. Rosy is the grey and Rachel is the one with white socks.

There will be five more joining them in the first week of January. If I keep this blog up I'll post photos of them!
The village is very wintry at the moment. No real snow as yet but the frost is so thick that it may as well have. It temperatures are staying at freezing point all day. In fact it's 11am now and the water that I put out for the birds at 9 is already solid.

Must wrap up warm and get out with the dog.

Saturday, 6 January 2007

It's a nail-biting evening in the Holden-Wilde household as Liverpool play Arsenal in the FA Cup 3rd round. So nail biting that I'm trying to work out why this Blog has not updated properly (the front page is still the original one that I changed yesterday) and Fox is curled up in a ball on "his" armchair. The current score is 3-1 with the enemy in the lead. Things are not looking good and I'm surprised that we can't hear our friend Neil gloating from two doors down.

We're all feeling pleasantly sleepy today after an excellent lock-in at the Queen's Head last night, complete with a traditional glass balancing competition. Shame I didn't take my camera really. Fox was with us of course and behaved impeccably all evening!

Today we've had the long-line out and have practiced the recall and "lie down" at a distance and to a whistle. Fox was generally very good which is encouraging since I've booked our first sheepdog training session. Very exciting, but we'll have to see how we both get on. I've got a month to train him and make sure that he doesn't show me up!

Friday, 5 January 2007

Today I took the day off so that Chris, Fox and I might be able to get some quaility "nice weather" time in. I'd built up plenty of TOIL before Christmas so it seemed a good idea to get out and about.

We had promised Ruth that we would have a go at building a path to her Yurt through the mudhole that is now the field. When we got to Shap summitt however, it became clear that Ruth and Hilary's valley was not enjoying the same sunshine as Askham. We were thus forced to sit in the Yurt and relax with a coffee. When the sun did come out Ruth and Hilary decided to make a break for it and move the fell ponies to pastures new. The path would have to wait for another day.

Chris and I took Fox out for a good long walk. I say walk, but really a walk isn't enough for Fox who has to feel as though he is working. If his brain hasn't had as much activity as his body then he can be really hard work in the evening!

We played training games, trying to introduce some control to an otherwise manic and mindless game of fetch. At almost 8 months old, you can see Fox's ability and willingness to learn increasing all the time. The only problem is that adolescence is also advancing quickly and the sudden presence of testosterone means that he likes to play dominance games and has developed selective hearing at times. Back to the long-line for him I think!