Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Blogging Friends Forever Award

Nancy K. at BLUFF COUNTRY SHETLANDS has nominated my little blog for the Blogging Friends Forever Award!

I have been a fan of Nancy's blog A Shepherd's Voice and of her beautiful HST Shetlands for a while (especially Dreamer), so am very chuffed that she likes my blog too!

Now I have the difficult task of choosing which of the many lovely blogs that I follow to pass this on to... this is anything but easy because I follow many wonderful blogs which keep me sitting and reading a computer screen for far too long most nights! So basically, if there's a link to your blog down the side bar of mine, consider yourself rewarded :o)

I do however have a few ideas of who deserves a special mention...

The Rules: As these things go, there are rules, and now I must follow them:

(1) Only five people are allowed
(2) Four have to be followers of your blog
(3) One has to be someone new to your blog or live in another part of the world
(4) You must link back to whoever gave you the award.


First has to be Michelle at Boulderneigh.
Michelle was the first person to comment on my blog and welcome to this odd world of on-line diaries that we hope folk will read! She also happens to have some very lovely Shetland sheep. Thanks Michelle, here's to many more years of great reading and blogging :o)

Then there's Rayna at North Star Shetlands & Friends. I really enjoy the variety of critters who share Rayna's life; gotta love those rat pups and beautiful horses!

Louise Amos's Sheepblog always has great tales of sheepy antics. I enjoy reading about the dogs and their training, especially since some of them are from the same characterful breeding lines as Fox, and about a job that I would really fancy myself! It's always nice when Louise calls in on her travels and we get to talk dogs and training.

I've really enjoyed the great stories and photos on Wrensong Farm, even if emus do occasionally feature! Jasmine the donkey however is welcome over here any time she likes. The images on this blog are simply superb.

Last but certainly not least is my friend Cally's blog. Cally and I now have several links: we met when I taught her class at uni; then my Chris joined the degree so they were class mates and went to Gambia together; following her graduation Cally came to work for me as a Water Vole surveyor for the summer and she has now found an interest in training sheepdogs and helping with the sheep. Cally is new to blogging, so go say hi :o)

So there we go, awards handed out... now I can go back to my usual border collie and sheep talk. Fox thinks it's about time we talked more about him!

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Smali Flock family planning

Today was glorious again and I woke up in the happy knowledge that I could spend all of it with my flock. As I drove down the farm track I watched for the girls coming running to the fence, but there was no sign of them. I got out and spotted them all sunning themselves on a little grassy hill. Barney (AKA Todhill Immortal Memory) was asleep in the middle of them all. I hoped that this sleepiness was due to a rather "active" time in the earlier hours!

My friend Ruth had hung up the leftovers in her horse Willis's hay net for them, but they didn't touch it until I shouted them over with a bit of feed. They're not on extra rations yet (though they soon will be to ensure they stay in tip top condition) but I wanted to get a close look at them all.

The girls enjoyed the novelty of hay for a while, but presumably they are not that hungry since they wandered off to graze without finishing it. Barney took the opportunity for an inspection!

Rosie was flirting with Barney, nibbling his horns and rubbing her cheek against his. Her persuasion soon paid off and hopefully she will now be due around the 12th April next spring! I'm really hoping for patterned grey lambs from this pairing.

I'll have to do some more swatting up on genetics!

I took a couple of fleece photos for those who like that kind of thing! Barney's fleece (top) is extremely fine and crimpy. Rosie's quite so fine but has a lovely luster and crimp. Please forgive blue fingers, I had to treat Barney's front foot. He was a real gent about it: let me put a halter on and pick up each foot in turn to check and treat him.

I must say that I felt rather proud of my flock today. They are looking rather fit, although Rebecca and Rachel still have a bit of catching up to do after being sheared so late. Even Ruby, who has been inclined to be on the skinny side for much of the summer, has put on weight and looks very well. She assures me that all that hay will come out of her fleece easily!

Gula says "don't worry, all this moss and gorse will come out easily too!"
Yea right! Looks like shearing will turn my fingers into pin cushions again next year!

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Picture Perfect

While the sun was shining, I thought that it might be nice to have a photo of me with Fox and Whisper... easy eh? Just get one dog either side et voilà!
"Come on Whisper, come up here with us...
OK Fox, now you squidge in...

Bit closer and sit down...

No you two, SIT DOWN...
WHISPER!OK, now just look at the camera...

Friday, 14 November 2008

Tree Chair

The sun came out and Chris and I took our two little horrors out for a stroll. The light was really beautiful and the colours of the autumn trees were simply glowing. Under one of these trees we found something rather odd...

Someone had left a computer chair under one of the big old trees. Fox investigated...

"I think it's here to help me reach the Squirrels Mam!"

"There's one..."


Hmmm, nice find Fox, but it is perhaps more likely that someone was drawing this beautiful canopy!

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Joe Brown

While we're on the subject of Kath's horses, she was thrilled to get this photo by e-mail the other day. This is a very special horse called Joe Brown who is looking rather well considering that he must be in his mid twenties now. Kath and Joe took the Gold Medal for Great Britain in the European Junior Three Day Eventing Championships, in Sweden back in 1996. What a team :o)

Monday, 10 November 2008


No, not the city, it's Kath's new addition. After buying Mimi fell through (see older posts), Kath was looking for another lovely brood mare, and here she is. She has a foal at foot and one on the way to a rather super sport horse.

She has an injury which is why Kath has her as a brood mare. She's far to lovely to be wasted. Hopefully she will recover enough to hack out, but it's unlikely that she will ever be able to compete.

Meanwhile, Oliver is growing like a little mushroom. I'll try to get new photos of him this week.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Frosty Walk

I had intended to post a video of Whisper's first proper lesson on sheep. However I filmed it using my new video camera and the file size is just huge so I'll have to do some shrinking!

Meanwhile you'll all just have to enjoy some frosty photos taken in one of our favourite walking spots. I know there have been lots of photos in this location, but it is lovely and en route to work every morning, so it's handy!

This was Whisper's first experience of real hard frost and to begin with she was quite taken aback. As far as Whisper is concerned, the best thing to do when faced with the unknown is bark at it. This drives me crazy, but I'm beginning to accept that this is just an integral part of her character: though I'm still hoping that she will grow out of it! First she barked at the funny white grass; then she barked at the scrunching sound made by my feet walking on it; then she stepped on herself and barked at her feet for being cold. After those first few moments however she forgot all about it and carried on as usual, making Fox and I shudder as she happily flopped her bare little belly down onto the freezing ground.
Fox and Whisper have become really good pals and play some good games together. I think Fox is a little miffed that she is already almost as quick as him. Pound for pound, Fox has the real advantage when it comes to tug of war games, however, Whisper is quick, clever and cunning and has a rather powerful scissor bite. Fox has his work cut out to beat her once she is latched on to a toy or stick!