Monday, 22 September 2008

Sheepish Art

I've had an arty week this last week. My friend Dave had his MA exhibition of glass animal footprints on Wednesday night (photos to follow as they are on my work pc), and Ellie held an exhibition of her lovely fleece creations. Ellie is a fellow Shetland Sheep fan and keeper and is buying some of my fleeces. I'm thrilled to think that they will be turned into such fabulous creations.

Her exhibition showcased items for a journey through life, beginning with birth:wouldn't you just love to snuggle a baby up in one of these little cradles?

Or hang a mobile like this above their cot?

This fabulous tent was to symbolise buying a first house. Those aren't skins (Ellie is vegetarian) but cotted fleeces and large pieces of felt. I was told that the cotted parts of Rosy and Rebbecca's fleeces were useless, but Ellie says that a cotted fleece can make a great rug.

The blanket on a lovely snug bed represents getting older and beginning to appreciate creature comforts. I so want to make one of these for our bed at home, it's beautiful and so warm.

The final stage is of course death. This is actually Ellie's coffin that she has made for herself! Talk about going off in style!

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Look who we met!

It's Fox's 3/4 sister Holly (No Stopping Holly ISDS 290940)! They have the same dad and their mothers are also half sisters... I think, all gets a bit complicated! Anyway, we bumped into her and her choc lab friend up on Askham Fell, which is behind our house. Funnily enough she's tiny, the same size as Whisper is now. She's 17 months and training to be an agility dog. Her owner says she's great but proving a bit slow to mature... hmmm, family trait?

Chris and I took the dogs for a stroll to collect some mushrooms and do a spot of migrant spotting, and boy did we hit the jackpot? A fantastic view of a male Hen Harrier, one of Britain's rarest birds, hunting in later afternoon. wonderful!

We also found this miserable little harebell... the last of summer?

Fox and Whisper weren't too bothered about the birds, except of course those grouse that fly up from right under their noses. Luckily neither of them chase for more than a few yards, it was good to see that Whisper does this naturally, it means that she may be able to come out beating with us next Autumn when she's a little more sensible. Fox is good at putting up grouse and pheasants and has been on a few shoots.

Whisper found it all very tiring after a while, but looked very happy! She and Fox were quite happy to jump back into the car... especially since I'd taken the crates out to clean everything!
"We need bigger crates with more headroom mam!"

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Looking good girls

I'm really pleased with the girls at the moment, they look great! After a bit of a skinny patch post shearing, it was cold and wet and they simply shed a bit of condition, they have now fattened up nicely and are looking ready to meet their tup soon! I'm planning to put Barney in with them the second week in November with a view to lambing mid April... well, that's the plan! I spent some time with them the other day just sitting about in a rare moment of sunshine :o)

Rosie certainly looked happy catching a few rays.

Not a great photo of Rosie's fleece, but then we were just in the middle of the field and I was pushing my luck trying to part her fleece while she was grazing! I'm still disappointed at how pale she has gone, maybe a vitamin drench will help her colour? I've had to lay off using it because of the bluetongue vaccine, the vet said that they couldn't have ANYTHING else, not even vitamins for two weeks!

Robina is still looking quite the little show girl, I hope that the Agricultural Fairs run next year, this time round most were cancelled due to rain :o(

Oh stop looking so smug Rosie!

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Highs and Lows

I've not been a good blogger this past week or so. Lots going on but not much to inspire writing really. There have been disappointments, the major one being missing the International Sheepdog Trial because of the monsoon rains. The trial still ran but we didn't travel down because of the conditions. We also missed Sasha and Paddy's wedding because Chris was too ill.

There are positives though. Chris cooked an amazing Sunday roast last weekend which we enjoyed with Kath. Take a look at this leg of lamb and tell me your mouth isn't watering! We had veg and potatoes from our allotment, hopefully next year we'll have produced our own meat too.

We have also had some sunshine today! The village looks lovely and green. Chris and I took the dogs for a lovely walk out on the fell and went mushrooming. In the last couple of weeks we've enjoyed giant puffballs, parasols (like the one in the photo) and today we found a field mushroom. There ought to have been many more field mushrooms, but I suspect that someone else got there first. Mushrooms seem far harder to find nowadays. My parents always used to take my sister and brother and I mushrooming and we'd come home with a good haul. Most of the fields are now improved and overstocked so I expect this has a big influence.

I've always been encouraged to eat wild foods, but you do have to know what you're picking!

Whisper is growing and beginning to show her sheepdog potential. If she's anything like as stylish on sheep as she is when herding Fox, I'll be very pleased. At the same time however she's a little horror and goes completely deaf on walks. It's not even as though she's ignoring her recall command, it's like she didn't hear it at all, lol! She is looking to Fox far too much instead of listening to me so she's going to have to have some more solo time; just me, her and a longline ;o)
Yes Whisper, it does sound like a bit of a bore, but who knows, you might enjoy it!

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Holiday week!

Yippee! A week off to enjoy with Chris, my friends and the dogs. Kath and I celebrated the joys of days off and a rare sunny day by letting our pooches have a good play together. We were ever so slightly nervous of letting Rolo, who is the same age as Whisper but less than half the size and who has just recovered from a hairline fracture to his leg, play with my enormous hounds but all was just great and they got on just fine. I'm always amazed at how careful Fox is with smaller dogs. Rolo must have been shattered as for every stride one of my collies took, he had to take about 5! Once the dogs were all played out, we had a run up to the stable yard where Kath works a couple of days a week and keeps her horses. Chris and I were treated to watching the eventers being toned up in the swim pool. That's Kath on the outside of the pool while yard owner Carol gets dizzy in the middle.I was busy working the swing bridge.

There are some really lovely animals at the yard, including a mare who Kath is desperately trying to afford to buy as her London 2012 hope! Good luck Kath, wish I could help with this one.A future eventer who Kath does own however is Oliver. Remember the little orphaned foal? Here he is out in the field with his foster mother, and looking very fit indeed. He has plenty of bone and lovely movement. Kath recons he'll make around 16.2 hands! Can't wait to see his progress.
Unfortunately, Mum is rather fussy about who Oliver speaks to over the fence, but his little friend Oscar wasn't against the idea of a scratch and a bit of a fuss. Chris is getting to know the horses as he has just taken a job at the stables as a bit of an odd job man until the doctors get him back on his feet properly. New medication means that he can't drive so that pretty much rules out his current work .