Saturday, 26 January 2008

Busy old day!

It has been a long but enjoyable Saturday. Last night our friends Paul, Steve and Andrea popped round for a beer, and left at about 1am (or at least Steve and Andrea did, Paul slept on the sofa) so we didn't get the earliest of starts to today. Despite the dismal weather however, I got up and took Fox out for a good long stroll. We wandered through the woods, Fox enthusiastically chasing after the scent trails of rabbits and deer, and I taking my time examining the footprints of the trail makers. I remembered that I had left a badger skull hidden in a wall somewhere nearby and so we set out to rediscover it. I soon spotted the gap in a wall that I had hidden it below and, sure enough, it was still there and intact. I pulled it out and examined it. Badgers have immensely powerful jaws and features of their skulls reveal the adaptations that make this possible. A large ridge down the top of the cranium allows a large surface area for the jaw muscles to attach to and a large space behind the cheek bone shows where that huge muscle mass passes through to join the lower jaw.
Badgers are real tough guys and, if hit by a car, that huge ridge of bone often prevents them from being killed if struck on the head. I accidentally hit one once and, when I got out of the car to either help or put it our of its pain, it simply got up, shook itself and marched off!

Fox and I strolled on and came to a spot where an old railway sleeper bridge had been swept away in floods a few weeks before. Thankfully the dead sheep that had been trapped underneath it had now been moved, but it was quite astonishing to see the position of this huge lump of wood and remember how high and powerful the river had been.
We saw that a brand new and bridge had already been installed in its place. No doubt the influence of the Penrith Anglers had something to do with this! You don't see many footpath bridges repaired so quickly, especially not in the middle of winter.

On our way home, my friend Kath called to request an opinion on a new dress and a hand feeding her horses. Happy to oblige, I headed into town, made all of the right noises about the dress (which is rather elegant!) and helped choose invitations for her forthcoming 30th Birthday Party.

Then we got back to our normal selves and treated ourselves to a visit to the Slacks Equestrian Supplies sale where Kath purchased a smart new rug for her rapidly growing colt Jack Daniels.

Donning our wellies, we stomped up to the horses field where we were keenly greeted by Fizz and Jack Daniels. Jack is getting really quite big now and will soon be leaving his mother.

By this time it was getting towards dark, but I had one more visit that I had been looking forward to making. Our new neighbours, Emily and Iain have a Border Collie puppy who is simply gorgeous, but a little mischief, just as Fox was.

I've been attempting to help by relating my experiences with Fox and putting them in touch with people and websites that helped me with the learning curve of owning and raising your first BC. It looks as though the new parents are coping very well with their energetic little bundle, as she looks really healthy and full of life. She will be much smaller than Fox was, but quite solid I think. She is beginning to show signs that her ears might end up pricked... but they haven't made up their minds yet!


Corinne R. said...

That badger skull is amazing, you can just see how powerful those jaws must be...I wouldn't want to run into one that was still breathing!

Jenny Holden said...

They are pretty tough!
I hand reared one a couple of years ago. When she went back to the wild she was about the size of a cat and her idea of play was getting a bit too rough for me!