Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Party on!

What a long weekend! Chris and I are shattered, and I seem to have picked up a dose of tonsilitis :o( We have however had a great time and caught up with lots of friends and family.

Friday night was the Ullswater Foxhounds' Summer Ball (yea I know, Chris and I at a Fox Hunting do! LOL!!). The company, music and food were all excellent and the bidding wars during the auction, very amusing!

Chris was feeling naked without his trustee cap, but luckily Kath was there to give comfort in his hour of need!
The next morning, with Chris nursing a hangover, we drove down to his parent's house on the Wirral, near Liverpool; luckily I knew that I'd be driving and had been very sensible! Chris's brother Robert and his band were playing at a club so we went along to meet their new lead singer, who looks scarily like my little brother!The band are called The Essence and can be found here (can't find page at the mo!)

Sunday was a very hot lovely day and luckily this was the chosen date for a Wilde Family BBQ. It was great to get to know Chris's family and friends better. Some of them even appreciated Chris and My taste in food and tucked into their Cumbrian venison burgers :o)

We're looking forward to Chris's brother, girlfriend, Lisa, and their kids coming to visit in a few weeks time.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Rolo's here!

This is the latest little pack member...


Rolo is Kath's Border Terrier x Parson's Jack Russel Terrier pup. He is a bit of a little terror, but such a great little character. He's a very smart little dog who I think already believes that he is a Rottweiler and not a very small terrier. Luckily he's still small enough to get tired quickly and is such a little cutie when asleep :o)

He has had his jabs now so will be playing in the field by the end of the week with Fox. We're only slightly concerned that Fox might stand on him and squash him: there's a bit of a size difference at the moment!

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Wear a yellow ribbon

We're back from our very first show! The sky managed to stay relatively bright for the Cumberland Show this weekend. Sadly only there were only three Shetland breeders, including us, present, but there were some lovely animals present.

David and Joy Trotter took the red rosette with their handsome tup and then it was our turn in the ring for the ewe class. I'd made a last minute decision to take Ruby and Gruna. Rosy still had marks on her from the antiseptic spray which was used when she got a couple of nicks being sheared (not by me I might add!). She had also decided to use my car as a scratching post the day before the show and had big black streaks right down her side! Since Lenice was the judge I couldn't take Robina.

Ruby has lost condition since being clipped, probably because it has been so cold and wet: none of the girls look at their absolute best, I have to say. She is still pretty though so I decided on her and Gruna because Gruna is quite easy to handle and I'm chuffed with the way her fleece has turned out after I rood and clipped her: it looks rather like a lamb fleece again :o)

They weren't keen on going in the ring but we persuaded them, and I was relieved that mine weren't the worst behaved in the show! I roped my friend and work colleague Cat in to handle Gruna. Thanks Cat!
It was stiff competition since the Rivendell and Fosterfield flock both have some super animals and in the end the Foster's grey katmoget ewe was a very deserving winner. She has excellent confirmation and her katmoget markings are super.

We didn't go home completely empty handed though: Gruna was given 4th place and I got the Novice Handler rosette :o)

Below is the interbreed competition. I simply loved the Greyfaced Dartmoor sheep and they were in the pen next to my girls. I very nearly bought some of these before I got my Shetlands... and still might in the future...!

Sunday, 13 July 2008

New Arrival

Meet Todhill Robina, the latest member of the Smali Flock. I picked her up yesterday from Lenice and am extremely pleased to have her. Robina is a Grey Katmoget Yuglet Bersugget Socket... or something like that!

She and Ruby will be off to the Royal Lancashire Show with me next weekend so wish me luck!
After admiring the girls, I also managed to get another one clipped today... all by myself! Now before you judge me over the below evidence of my efforts, please remember that Gruna had actually already rooed some large patches of her fleece. I started off today seeing whether the rest of her fleece would simply roo. The result was that this worked really well at first. I worked from where it was coming away around her tail and got most of her back done. Then it was taking ages and I didn't want to hurt her so I hand clipped the rest...

You can see where the wool that rooed early has already become bleached by the sun. The fluffy bit on her bum is where it rooed. The shearing didn't go too badly at all, but I'll wait until she has been rained on and then look at what needs tidying! Interestingly she looked moorit as a lamb and is registered as such but I can now see that she has an awful lot of grey fibers in her fleece. What colour does this make her? She's the same shade as a lilac border collie!

Rosy says that she's had enough of me and my examining her and her friends to see who is now what colour and who will go the the shows; she'd far rather pretend to be a goat!

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Family stroll

Chris, Fox and I finally found some "us" time and had a lovely long walk along the local lanes and over the fields. We crossed the very wobbly bridge across the river Lowther. Fox really doesn't like this bit of the walk! He doesn't mind doing a spot of posing for the camera though. What a handsome lad :o)
The boys take a breather at Knipe.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Shearing Day

finally a break in the weather! Chris, Al and I took the opportunity to get some shearing done. Because the storm clouds were looming, I did very little of the shearing myself since Al is so much more experienced and quick.

The girls aren't daft and certain flock members were not going into the pen for anyone. Luckily Chris is a super sheep catcher and managed to catch the escapees in the field while Al and I got on with the pen work.

We managed to get Rosie, Ruby, Gletness, Geherda and Gula done before the first big drops began to fall. The others looked very smug as we reluctantly released them from the pen with their jackets still intact.

Rosie does a good impression of Shaun the sheep!

Thursday, 3 July 2008

A good lesson!

At Woolfest, Lenice Bell kindly invited me to come up to visit her and have a lesson in shearing.
So today I travelled up to Eaglesfield (less than an hour away as it happens) to see Lenice on her lovely farm and meet her beautiful flock.

As promised, Lenice had a few sheep ready and waiting for me, so we got stuck in. Interestingly, this is a horned Shetland ewe.

After watching and listening carefully for the first couple, I was handed the shears and had a go myself. I found the most difficult thing the initial opening up of the fleece, especially the scary bit where you're going up the neck, but after that I don't think it went too badly, although I felt a bit awkward and my sheep didn't look nearly as neat as Lenice's.

Guess which one I clipped!

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Proper working sheepdog!

I'm soooo pleased with Fox. He had his first experiences of proper sheep work yesterday and today, gathering for Thomas Lowther, one of our local farmers. Yesterday he was generally good as he brought in the tups and wethers, but boiled over a little at times and charged in; then realised that he was being an idiot and backed off again. Today he was a star and first gathered a field of over 200 ewes and lambs, drove them down a track and across to the common. The next job was another group of 200+ ewes with twins and triplets, who were out on the fell land and needed bringing in to have their feet done and lambs worming. Fox brought them out from between the longhorn cattle, who were also in the field, and covered any that tried to break away. He turned the lambs with his body without putting a tooth on a single one which was a relief since Tom said that his previous shepherd's dog had a bit of a habit of nipping their leg tendons leaving them lame. Fox is knackered but happy now :o) It's a shame that the only photo I had time to take was this one of him driving the flock ahead of him.