Tuesday, 28 February 2012

The Collie Clan

Of course no blog would be complete without sharing some of my regular dog clients with you, in this instance Finn, Kyah and Merlin, and three more beautiful collies it would be hard to find.

My first visit to meet the Clan went well, at least both their owner and I thought so; we sat and chatted for a while and then took the dogs on a  favourite walk and all was well with the world.

It was duly arranged that I would make the first of my solo visits to them the following Monday.

Of the three dogs, Merlin, the youngest had also been the friendliest at our first meeting and I had no reason to suppose that anything would be different this time round, that was until I opened the door..............

Finn was happy to see me and Kyah, the more timid of the three barely cast a glance in my direction as I walked into the kitchen.  Of Merlin however, there was no sign, just muttered grumblings coming from somewhere in the vicinity of the dining room.

'Hello' I finally, found him under the table and sank down on my haunches for a better look.  Troubled eyes glared at me balefully as he examined me from his position and the grumblings went up a notch.

'How about a treat?' and I proffered a dog biscuit, which I had been reliably informed, no dog could resist (and which incidentally no dog walker worth their salt should ever be without) only to be met with a look of complete disdain as he contemplated a leaf on the carpet which he obviously found far more interesting, thereby leaving me in no doubt that I needed to up the anti if I were to befriend him this side of Christmas.

Back in the kitchen I surveyed the treats that their owner had left out and chose a particularly enticing one that he obviously couldn't refuse.  Or could he?

Two minutes later, and yes he could.

Finn of course hadn't gotten to a ripe old age without a bit of cunning thrown in here and there and what better to practice on than a strange human, who to date, hadn't actually done anything more interesting than sit on the floor for the better part of ten minutes, talking to a dog who patently didn't want anything to do with her.  Wisely he waited until Merlin's grumblings had reached a certain pitch and then he walked purposefully in between us and lay down.

I like to think he came to help me but in reality he came to help himself to the treat that was clearly going begging and which he enjoyed with a twinkle in his eye.

Post note:  Merlin is now, it has to be said, my best friend, who welcomes me with happy barks and who loves nothing more than cuddling up to me when I sit on the floor with them;  him on one side and Kyah on the other.

And Finn - well Finn has pole position on the treats - who said you can't teach an old dog new tricks!

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Spring is just around the corner

Mum says not everyone can wear green!

The first of the lambs have been born!
Most of them have little knitted coats and/or are being kept in the barns at the moment
What a time too, night time temperatures have dropped to -10
and even the days were bitterly cold less than two weeks ago.
  And now, well Thursday was the warmest yet, up to 17 degrees, sunny and bright.

 Nature has finally decided to call time on winter and the first of the daffodils and snowdrops are out. As for the blossom I don't think I've ever seen them in full bloom quite this early in the year, but another frost will almost certainly wreak havoc on them.

Monday, 13 February 2012

A week in the snow..........

A week on and the snow is still laying in the fields at the back of the house but for the first time in days the temperature has finally risen to1 degree.

Birds have had a really hard time with the ground frozen and with food scarce, if not impossible to find, each day has become a battle to survive.

Like many other people I've put fat and suet out for them along with bird nuts and seed and of course replenished the water for them on an almost hourly basis during the worst of the weather.

The feeders have attracted a number of birds that I wouldn't normally have seen at such close quarters, all eager to replenish their stocks.  Sadly many of their number will have perished but those that remain are feeding as quickly as I can replace it.

Further down on the river the swans are looking less confused as the hard ice, that for the last ten days, has blanketed their world has recently started to thaw and there is movement once again on their patch of water.
Each morning and evening for the last couple of days I have seen them flying in and out at roosting time, their powerful wings the only sound - who can fail to be moved by the sight. 


Whilst winter to some means hardship, to others of course it's a time to be enjoyed, normal mundane walks become a source of adventure as well-known paths merge into one another and once leafy hollows are filled with the dark, throaty bark of dogs as they find new energy, their constant enjoyment and fascination with this brief spell of  winter,  mingle with the annoyed chatter of squirrels as they search for food.