Yesterday after Mollie visiting us, we decided to get all the children in the car and go to the woods for a long walk. We loaded up Henry, Ysobel and Millie also for the jaunt. The video shows Henry running up the side of the Motte of the ruins of a Motte and Bailey Castle. Then we are down by the river Taw and the last bit is me helping Tilly climb up a very steep bank. The last bit is not edited, but had to be split, as when I caught Tilly and threw the camera to my husband, he filmed us climbing up the bank upside down, so I split it and rotated the second half of it, so we could watch it the right way around.
In the video you can hear our second child Alfie protest that his sister pushes him, but looking at the evidence I feel he doth protest to much. Alfie is 13 years old and a little bullish at times with his siblings. Which brings me to a story about a little bull, who thought he was a big bull.
At the farm my husband works, he milks just over 200 cows. Maiden heifers they AI (Artificially Inseminate) and each year he runs on a Friesian bull calf and when they are around 12 months old, he runs them with the maiden heifers after using AI for a couple months, to catch anything that has returned or has not gone in calf yet. The bull goes in with them indoors in January and stays with them until they then go out.
This winter the Friesian bull calf they kept back last year, before going in with the maiden heifers, has thought himself a big bull. David has told me that every time you passed his pen he would charge at the gate and roar at everyone and everything, thinking himself a very big bull.
Then came the day that he was put in with the ladies, 60 maiden heifers and after two days in with the 60 maiden heifers, he stands at the back of the shed now and does not charge at the gate no more. David told me he does not roar any more either, it's more of a whimper now when you pass him. The moral of this story is, be careful what you wish for.
A few blogs ago I mentioned that Jessica and Treacle love licking and nibbling my husband, Davids hair and the video shows Jessica doing just that. David is encouraging her to nibble him, but often David will be lied on the sofa and Treacle and her will happily just lick and nibble the top of his head. They lick my hair occasionally, but they seem to like licking and also nibbling David's wiry textured hair more.
Please excuse the misspelling of Jessica's name in the credits.
Are we mad ? This morning I had to get up an hour earlier for milking. I am now cast back into getting up in the pitch black, just as the mornings were getting light, as I set off for work, the powers that be go, "Don't forget to put your clocks forward for British summertime." Utter madness.
This morning when I got to work the cows wondered what the hell was going on and the poor semi feral cats who come in the parlour at the end of milking for a bit of waste milk, only two made the shout of the regular seven or eight that normally appear as the last cows leave the parlour. Tonight they were on the ball though with Mr Cat coming across the rafters of the parlour two rows of cows before the end of milking, taking up his usual place of sitting on a beam enjoying the heat from one of the strip lights, before descending to take up his place for milk when I had finished milking.
Mr Cat as I call him is a very handsome mostly black cat. He has a little white on his chest and is a big feral cat, but what makes Mr Cat striking is his white whiskers on a jet black head. He's at the top of his game and tonight came in yelling for his ladies, but no reply. Poor Mr Cat, I think he must be wondering why the ladies are not succumbing to his charms as usual. Recently the farm that I only milk every other weekend for now, has caught all the females and a couple younger male cats and they have all been neutered. Mr Cat though has been elusive and still has his manhood in good order, as I could see as he climbed across the rafters in the parlour above my head tonight, I don't call him Mr Cat for nothing. Lol
I forgot to mention last time I blogged that Mollie was coming to visit us on Saturday. Mollie is from Smudge's litter born last year in February and Reggie is her Dad.
Rhian and Russ had been on holiday in the area for the last week and popped in to see us Saturday morning on their way back home to Wales. It was lovely to see them and catch up with Mollie who is a beautiful girl.
I managed to get a couple photos of the visit and as you may notice by my facial expression in the photo of Mollie with her Mum and Dad, I was not expecting to be in that photo. Thanks Russ and Rhian for taking the time to visit us.
Still twiddling my thumbs waiting for the grades for Toby's and Treacle's MRI scan. Now just over four weeks ago I had them scanned. I did ring up last week and they said, they may be graded the end of this week and if I rang them today, they might have the grades, but I'm going to wait at the moment as getting them in the post, you can prepare yourself better. I get the letter with the BVA post mark on them and seeing that my heart rate will just speed up a little. I then bring the letter inside, putting it on the side in the kitchen and make a cup of coffee first, get the heart rate stable. Then I open the letter, this ritual will not change the result, but neither will ripping the letter open as soon as it is given to you.
Three years of waiting on Toby to use, rests on this last health test result. It is not the end of the world if the result means I should not use him as a stud dog. Don't think the world is going to spin off its axis, I will just have pick myself up, dust myself off and re-examine the situation.
Last night I was messing around with some of the children on the floor and looked up to see Ysobel looking down at us from a sofa, looking very beautiful, so quickly got a few photos of her.
Ysobel is such a lovely Cavalier and is Primrose's and Belle's Mum. Ysobel came to us at around 18 months old, from a small show breeder. We bred four litters from her and she was a wonderful Mum and an amazingly quick whelper. With one litter she gave birth to three pups in 15 minutes, which is very fast. She is now retired from breeding. Although she was heard to have a very slight heart murmur at five and a half years old, her heart murmur has not progressed and she is very well in herself with no health issues. She still loves to run and jump about and loves digging, especially if it's a rat hole.
Ysobel is not a, in your face dog and one of the dogs that I probably don't blog about that much, so tonight I thought I would let all those who have pups from Ysobel know, that she is very much alive and kicking at nearly eight years old. Her birthday is the 23rd April, which happens to be St George's Day as well.
Smudge is around five weeks pregnant now and is looking very well. Her due date is around the 26th to the 28th April, which does not seem that far away. Her scan revealed she is carrying a good size litter again of around seven pups and you can now see her starting to full out by the day.
The last photo tonight is Jessica splayed out asleep. You know it's nearly a year ago she had her leg amputated. It was the 14th April last year we found her on the doorstep and as she jumped up in through the door, we then saw her back leg just hanging only attached still by a few bits of skin and sinew. Amazing how she copes on three legs. It certainly has not stopped her up. She is a funny little thing, a real character.
This morning Smudge had her scan to see roughly how many pups she is carrying. Over the last few days by palpation of her stomach, it was obvious that she was pregnant, before she was scanned and I told the vet that I was pretty sure she was pregnant and the scan was to just check all was okay and give me an idea of how many she is carrying. The vet then had a feel and agreed that just on feeling her stomach, it was obvious that she was pregnant.
We then scanned her and she looked rather full of puppies, with what looked like at least seven pups, which for a Cavalier is a good size litter. Smudge had nine pups with her first litter and six with her second litter and all reared easily by her, so we know Smudge has the fertility and ability to carry and rear easily a big litter. Very good scan and as usual for Smudge and like her mother Millie before her all fetuses we could see looked equal in size and a good size, making us think she took from her first mating, so she could be around 31 days pregnant. The gestation time for a dog is 63 days which is 9 weeks.
So Henry is a fertile, thankfully and the title of this blog reflects the fun I have with our children merging names together. Smudge's and Henry's pups we laughing refer to as Hudges. Henry and Smudge conceiving a good size litter together makes me a bit more confident that this is a good pairing. For me fertility is one of the markers of good health. Really looking forward to seeing this litter on the ground.Ordered the rocket fuel as soon as I got home. Rocket fuel is the food I feed once a bitch reaches six weeks in pups. The last couple years I have been using Lily's Kitchen's Puppy Food. You can buy bitch specific food, but any quality puppy food will give your bitch everything she needs coming into whelp and whilst suckling her pups.
Just thought I would mention something I was not so happy at the vets with, was the price of the scan, which was £51.38p. Now just under twelve months ago I had a scan done and it cost £36.94p. That is around a 39% rise in price in less than twelve months, which I do not understand seeing as we are meant to be in zero inflation at the moment. Lol
A couple weeks ago I received an email from Liza about Harvey. Harvey is from Smudge's litter born last year with Reggie being the Dad. She had been in contact just before this email as it was Harvey's first birthday last month on the 24th, with photos and an update to say all was well with Harvey. This email was to tell me that Harvey had gone lame.
I hope you are well. I have some news regarding Harvey …he is fine …but we have just returned from the vet and he has been diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia in both hips. I noticed last week that he was preferring his right hind leg more than his left and when he was running he was skipping every now and then to not use the leg . I took him to the vets Tuesday and the vet manipulated his hip and was in discomfort. We decided to X-ray today as his left muscle seemed a little more underdeveloped than his right so he has been favouring one side over time. I do feel sad as I wish I had noticed it earlier but I genuinely did not as it is really not obvious and he is still incredibly active. I have had a little read and it is a complex issue that will likely lead to possible Arthritis. We are seeking specialist advice as soon as possible as I will do everything possible to see if there is anything we can do to give him as much comfort as possible and ward of the inevitable. I was wondering if you knew anything about this condition as any advice would be warmly welcome. Sorry to be in touch with this news …I know they all hold a special place in your heart but thought you should know.
I'll keep in touch with news
Liza & Harvey x"
It is never a good feeling to get an email about a dog you have bred, that has a health problem, but you cannot bury your head in the sand and on reading this email I emailed Liza straight back to offer some comfort and to tell her about a pup we bred a few years ago that had a similar thing happen. He went lame and they took him to the vets. An x-ray was done and very mild hip dysplasia was noticed on one hip. It turned out though that it was not the hip dysplasia that was causing the lameness, but a soft tissue injury and I hoped this was the case with Harvey.
Unfortunately hip dysplasia is common in dogs. I do believe it is hereditary when we see young dogs with shallow hips and unformed femur heads, but when we get into the grey area of dogs with mild to moderate dysplasia with healthy formed skeletal structure, but the femur head is not sitting totally flush in the hip joint, more often as not has been caused by slack or over tight hip flexors, I think we might be looking at a negative aspect of domestication of canines and this type of hip dysplasia is more a result of environmental pressures on a growing dog than an hereditary cause.
The last couple weeks I have kept in touch with Liza and this morning after emailing her to find out how things are and to tell her Harvey's litter sibling is visiting us soon, I found this email from Liza in my inbox.
Just got back from the specialist (I'm having to use my phone as my laptop is dying!)
It's good news ... Borderline hip dysplaysia on right and very mild on left! He has no serious worries at all and feels that he won't suffer longer term and no sign of damage and they are not troubling him at all. The carrying of the back leg is to do with his hip flexor... It is very tight and this could be because it has been working too much to correct the hip or perhaps there is a tear. Apparently dogs with hip dysplasia don't carry/skip the leg. I am so relieved, I can live with myself again and stop reliving the last 9mnths of every ball I have thrown! We now need to relax the hip flexor to prevent damage. The vet said to go back in 6mnths, keep exercising and hopefully it will correct itself but I might give him some physio to help stretch it.
I am so happy ... Best £180 I've ever spent .. If I did not go I would always worry !
Thanks for your support x
Can't wait to see the Mollie pictures This is where I find cheeky Harvey in the morning once I come back from my shower "
Thankfully it looks like Harvey has only very mild hip dysplasia and that the lameness is more to do with a soft tissue injury, probably from him being a very bouncy energetic boy. Being a smaller type dog, I would be reasonably confident that this is just a blip and that Harvey will be back on track once his soft tissue injury heals. Thanks Liza for getting back to me and for the lovely photo of Harvey, oblivious to our worrying about him.
This diagram shows the hip flexor group in a human. I could not find a diagram of this for a dog, which showed this group as well as this. This group is the same in dogs, the difference being that they walk on all fours.
You can see there is a lot going on in a hip.
Tomorrow morning I am out the vets at 10.30 am to get Smudge scanned to see how many pups roughly she is carrying. She is pretty obviously in pups now feeling her tummy. She is just over four weeks pregnant to our Henry and has just gone off her food a bit, as she normally will eat anything and everything.
The photos below are ones our oldest Bert took this morning of the dogs before going to school. I milked this morning and I found them on the camera earlier and had to find out who took them.
The last bit of this blog is a video taken last night of Treacle cleaning Henry's ears and then Smudge's ears. Treacle tends to like doing this and the dogs tend to like the attention as you will see in the video. Dogs are very tactile animals and interactions like this are common in a pack and strengthen bonds within the pack. Treacle will even clean my ears and for some reason Treacle and Jessica love licking and nibbling my husband David's hair. He has very wiry hair and I think they like the texture or maybe he just tastes nice. Lol
My Mum says, "You're never to old to have one planted on you by your Mother." Looking at Bert's face when I planted one on him, after I presented him with his birthday cake, at the age of fifteen you might not be so comfortable with it though. Bert was playing to the camera (Well, I hope he was), because he still likes to give his old Mum a peck on the cheek before going to bed.
You might wonder, where is Henry ? Look closely and you will see him. Well, just his paw in the bottom left hand corner of the photo.
After we had Bert's birthday tea, my husband David and me were sat at the table, as the children dispersed. Primrose jumped up on David's lap and I caught this lovely photo of her next to Bert's birthday cake and I thought it almost looks like she is thinking, "If only I had opposable thumbs, as I could just cut myself a slice of that cake. Sometimes my life is a dog's life."
I just got home from milking this morning after publishing this blog last night and thought of another caption for Primrose's photo below. Primrose thinks, "If I had opposable thumbs. Today a slice of that cake with a cup of tea, and then tomorrow I take over the world !"
The rest of the photos tonight are the wind down after all the excitement of celebrating our youngest and oldest child's birthdays over the weekend and today.
Tilly has enjoyed her 6th Birthday today. Tilly is the youngest of our six children and our oldest child Bert has his birthday tomorrow. I found out I was pregnant with Tilly, two days after I was forty, she was not planned, as our first child Bert was not planned either. This pregnancy though finally stopped my husband just thinking about getting a vasectomy and he got the job done, else I'm pretty sure we would not be celebrating our youngest child's birthday today. Lol
When we told the other children they would be having another sibling, our oldest asked if I could try and have the baby in his month of birth. Our other four children, two girls were born in June and the two other boys were born in October, so Bert thought it would be nice to have a sibling born alongside him in March. My due date was around the 7th April and with me so far always giving birth early, I thought he might be lucky. I went one better than born in his birthday month and gave birth to Tilly on Mother's Day the day before Bert's birthday. So when people ask how many years between our first to the sixth, it is easy to answer very accurately as nine years minus one day.
It's hard to believe this July my husband, David and me have clocked up nineteen years together. I remember asking him about having children and he told me he always imagined having a couple. I told him I never imagined having children but neither had I not imagined not having children (Being the last of six children I was lucky that the rest of my siblings had already all bred, so no real pressure on me to keep the bloodline going). I did ask him though if I could not have children, would he want his own that bad ? Because I told him that I did not see myself wanting to go through fertility treatment, as I know how hard and painful it can be especially for a woman. I would rather adopt in that case, as being brought up by a stepfather from the age of three I felt love was just as important and in some cases more precious than a blood bond, but I did say though that if you found out you could not have children, your ideology might change, because I think until you are confronted with the fact you can not have your own birth children, you cannot truly answer that dilemma. I certainly never planned or imagined having six children. As they say, "Never say never."
Today has been a busy day and also a climactic end to the Six Nations Rugby Tournament. My old Mum was triple Tena Ladied up and sitting on the edge of her orthopedic chair, ready for three rugby matches back to back. She was going nowhere and woe betide anyone who dared get between her and the television screen. You might of guessed, that my old Mum is a real rugby enthusiast.
I got to watch the Italy v Wales game and you might of thought Wales had it in the bag, but I left for milking at 3.15 pm with the Scotland v Ireland game at 3 : 17 in the first half and I thought Ireland might just do this. England playing France, I thought it would be hard to get enough points difference and I just come in the door to see England beat France, but not by enough points to lift the title, but my what a day of rugby which ended with Ireland doing enough to lift the title. I think more points were scored today than in the rest of the whole tournament, good to see tries being scored instead of games being won on penalties. What a warm up for the World Cup later on this year in the UK, bring it on.
Today I have been making cakes and I've had one of those cake making days when everything seems to go wrong. That is meant to be a red cricket ball cake, but as you may of observed, that it is pink.
I did not have enough red food colouring, to get it to look red and to top it, when I was trying to do the white stitching effect my piping bag decided to split, so the stitching is a bit haywire. All I can say though in my defense, is that the sponge tastes nice, as I made the shape by stacking two sponges and trimming around, so spare bits to taste and I put the rest of the trimmed off bits in the base of a trifle. Our son Bert is not worried and thinks it funny.
The other cake I made is for Tilly's Birthday tomorrow and she wanted a horse head. By the time I had done Bert's cake I was running out of steam, so just got a blob of brown royal icing and moulded it to a fashion into a horses head with some black royal icing for its mane. Tilly seemed happy with it, as she helped make it, putting the brown blob in its eye to make it look "more realistic" she told me.
This is not much of a dog blog tonight, but I am going to end with photos of the hopefully parents in waiting Smudge and Henry, who look a bit loved up with each other still. Henry does seem to be doting on her lately.
Monday I received an update for a Poundlane puppy and that puppy was Bayley, who is from Millie's last litter some three years ago. It only seems the other day that Millie had her last litter of pups. Although Millie just before her fifth birthday was examined by a cardiologist vet and a murmur was heard, over two years later she is in good health and her murmur seems to have not notably progressed. Reggie is the Dad of Bayley. It is actually Bayley's third birthday today along with he's litter siblings Ruby, Lottie, Lola, Lindsey, Meg and Scrappy. Happy 3rd Birthday to you all and hope all is well with you and your families. So the first update tonight is for Bayley.
It's that time of the year again, here are a few photos of Bayley as he approaches his 3rd Birthday.As you can see he is very hansom and very like his mum. He is an absolute darling and thoroughly spoilt, we couldn't have asked for a better dog.
I didn't watch Crufts on principal this year. I find the treatment of the dogs too upsetting. I read with interest, Cora Wade's Pet Chronicles on Crufts it is absolutely shameful that the treatment of the dogs is allowed to go on where are the RSPCA Inspectors.
I hope Toby's MRI Scan is good news and you can go ahead with the love match with Primrose. I would love another Cavalier but there is not enough room in our bed for another little body☺
I still very much enjoy reading your blog, being a country girl myself.
Glenda's email asks about the RSPCA at Crufts, but the RSPCA gave up with Crufts a few years ago and now do not attend the show. Thanks Glenda for letting me know how your hansom boy Bayley is and hope you had a lovely day on his third birthday.
The next update is from Bayley's litter sister Ruby and came to me yesterday.
as it's Ruby's birthday tomorrow, 19th March - can't believe she is three years old already, I thoght you would like an update. She was one of Millie's pups from her last litter and we feel so privileged to have this lovely girl in our lives. Ruby is still a bundle of fun and very energetic although she has calmed down since her early puppy days!
Although she is still mega fun and I think she still thinks she is a puppy as she still likes to wiggle and jump up as a greeting as well as taking my hand gentle in her mouth as a greeting!!
Also another titbit of information is that my husband, who was a died in the woods, not very keen dog person, is now entirely won over by Ruby and often calls her 'his little dog!!' Here are a few recent pictures of her and a short video of one of her favourite games. In these pictures Ruby is showing off her good hips - one of the favourite ways she likes to lay down! She is beautiful inside and out and we love her to bits!! Hope you and the family are all well.
Love, Lisa, Daniella and the rest of the family.
Thanks Lisa for the photos and the lovely video of Ruby. I have now sat and watched that clip more times than is surely healthy. It makes me smile each time I watch it, which can't be a bad thing.
Nice to hear of Lisa's husband's conversion into the house of Dog. First commandment is, though shall have no cats before your Dog and has given me an idea for my next blog. Hope you all had a lovely day with Ruby on her 3rd Birthday.
Next update is from Tracey who has Roxy and Charlie. Roxy is from Lucy's first litter with my sister's Poodle, Rollo being the Dad and she was born 3rd December 2010 (That's hard to believe, over four years ago now). Charlie is from Ysobel's last litter, with Reggie the Dad and he was born 31st July 2013.
I hope this message finds you all at Poundlane happy & well! Roxy & Charlie are still as adorable as ever & still turning heads wherever they go! The time goes by so quickly & here we are already in spring I so love this time of year as everything all looks so pretty. We are off with the dogs to the lake district at the end of the month & can't wait! Not sure if our travels will bring us back down to Devon this year but if we do we will most definitely drop in again. I hope you like the pics & I'll call you soon to catch up with you properly.
Take care Jane
As always Tracey, lovely to hear from you. Thanks for letting me know how you all are and have a lovely time in the Lake District.
Last update tonight is from Felicity, who has Lottie, who is from Primrose's litter born 9th/10th May 2015 and Reggie is her Dad.
"Dear Jane, David and children,
Hope all is well with you and doggies. Just thought I would send you a quick update.
Lottie is fine, just as loopy and bouncy as ever! She started her first season on 31st January which lasted about three weeks and finished around 23rd February. She kept herself very clean (unlike my sofas, discovered cream is not the ideal colour to have with pup on heat!!)but never mind, a few old sheets covering them soon sorted that!
Lottie’s coat had started to get a bit matted because of her still being in Vari kennel in my room at night, and was it obviously getting at bit restricted for her in space, so a few weeks ago decided she really needed to go to the groomers, so please see the attached photos of her rather dramatic but necessary hair cut! I think she feels so much better for it, although as a result, I had to buy her a coat as she was shivering on our walks!
As of last week, I purchased a nice large pen (second-hand) for Lots to sleep in at night downstairs, she’s still getting used to it and does whimper a bit when I leave her to go up to bed- and I’m guessing this may take a while so will have persevere!
Lottie had a bit of an upset tum and runny bottom the week before last, so put her on a chicken and rice diet for a few days which did the trick andthankfully ‘number twos’ were back to normal last week. I had just started changing her ‘Lilys’ food from the puppy to the adult food so that mayhave been the cause.
Just going back to Lotties season Jane, – and given your knowledge and experience- how long should I now wait before having her spayed?? Clearly hormones etc need to settle down, and on ‘looking up’ the ‘do’s and ‘don’ts about spaying, have found after 8 weeks (at least) from the end of a season? Would be very grateful of your thoughts and advice!!! I asked in my vets the other day when I was getting some more flea/worm treatmentand the nurses there said that could take Lots in for an ‘initial assessment’ prior to having the spay op.
I recently found a local lady dog sitter (and a friend of my Mums) who Lots has started going to occasionally, only the lady has got a very small house and therefore only takes two dogs at a time and gets very booked up, so will have to wait till the end of March now before she can look after Lots again.
We have recently been in touch with Sue and Colin who own Lotties sister Dottie and hopefully we can arrange to meet up nearer the summer so that the sisters can have a ‘reunion’, so that will be nice.
My lady dog sitter had recommended a place called ‘Toplands’ which is a special doggie exercise field on a country park estate about 20 miles away from my house, so this Wednesday as the weather was good, Lots and I had a drive out there. Lottie had a wail of a time!!! Have never seen her run so fast! There were about nine other dogs there when we arrived, so she had plenty of playmates. I was a bit cautious at first although she is over her season,there was one male Labrador who seemed a little ‘excited’ in the ‘meat and two veg department’ (to put it politely!) but he didn't show any interest in Lots thankfully!
I hope the ‘union’ between Smudge and Henry turns out well, I expect you are all excited about the prospect of those pups!!
As I said above Jane, would be grateful of your advice as to having Lottie spayed – thankyou!
Hopefully hear from you soon,
Best wishes, love Felicity and Lottie.x"
Thanks Felicity for getting in touch and when spaying a bitch the preferred timing is two months after a heat or two months before a heat, because there is less blood supply to the area, so lowers the risk of a major bleed. A bitch can be spayed any time, but when it is elective, it is preferred to do it either two months after or before a heat for the reason explained above. Thanks again Felicity, good to hear how you both are getting on, not long now until Lottie's 1st Birthday.
Updates done now down to what's going on at Poundlane. Thought I would share this photo of David and me on a rare occasion caught sat down together. I had just come in from milking on Tuesday evening and David was waiting for the rice to finish cooking for the curry he had cooked from scratch for tea. Don't take long to get company when you sit down in our home and in the photo with us is Primrose on my shoulder, Treacle on my lap, Belle between us on the back of the sofa and Jessica lying between us.
You might notice the bruise I'm sporting at the moment on my right upper arm. The bruise is the result of a cow catching me, but you can't blame her, because she had squat the end of her teat. Which I could not see at first, but certainly new about when I wiped her pre-dip off. She is okay, but the teat needs time to heal, so with her being a reasonable way on in calf, we have dried off the quarter, which means we will not milk her on that teat and the teat will dry up, but often in cases like this, the teat end will heal and by the time she calves again, the quarter will be okay to milk on again.
Cows are big immensely strong animals and over the now 27 going on 28 years I've been milking cows, I've had my share of near misses with them, but on the whole, luck as been mostly on my side, touching wood now. I've had a few squat fingers and bruises, but know of others that have been less fortunate. Part of my luck I hope is down to the fact that I understand the strength of the animals I handle and respect that.
One of my most memorable bovines though is not a cow, but a bull and one of my most memorable near misses was with Simon. Simon the Simmental bull. Simon is one of the biggest bulls I have ever had the privilege to know. I have yet to see a bigger Simmental bull than him, even at shows. Such was his presence and size that when milking, if someone like a sales rep had come into the parlour to ask where the farmers I worked for were and at that time Simon came in, they would stop talking and would seem a bit concerned. I would say, "Don't mind Simon, he's just come in for some meal." Always they would comment on his size.
Simon was on the farm I first milked for and at 18 months old started his life with his herd of around 70 Frisian ladies. Everything was bred to him, due to the farm had stopped breeding their own replacement Dairy cows, but buying them, so all offspring from the Dairy cows were reared for beef. Simon reigned for just over 10 years getting all but everything in calf. Anyone knowing anything about bulls, will know a bull reaching nearly twelve years old, running with a herd for ten years getting cows in calf is a fair bull.
I remember Simon going in the field for the first time with his ladies. He was blowing fire, roaring at the first cows as they appeared on the horizon noticing his arrival, but once around 70 of them lined up and charged down towards him, his bravery left him for a moment. He soon though was swooning the ladies and proving his worth and it was not long before he decided to become an annoyance to me in the parlour.
They had a six abreast parlour, which is were the cows come in alongside you and jump up on platforms about a foot and a half off the floor into a half stall with a fed bowl to the side and you put a chain around the back of them to stop them reversing out, Simon never had a chain around him, because it did not fit and before long Simon decided he liked the idea of coming in the parlour and stand in a stall for best part of the milking, stopping me being able to use that cluster. The attraction to come in the parlour was food and Simon loved his food and would do anything for food, when he decided he had, had enough food in parlour, he would knock up the release bar with his head and leave at his own speed. You could have him lied down, give him a bucket of food and he would happily let you trim his feet. He has a couple funny stories about trimming his feet before we realised he would happily let us do it when lied down with a bucket of food, of course you could only do two at a time, depending the way he was lied, but patience is better used than brute force with a bull.
Once he refused to go in the cattle crush for his Brucellosis test and once a bull refuses you leave 'em be and try again another day. I was unaware of his refusal and when a vet turned up on farm as I was getting the cows in to milk, to redo his test and no one was around. I just got a bucket of meal and Simon happily followed me into the cattle crush. I dropped the bucket at the right moment and the vet took blood from under his tail. The farmer I worked for turned up, just as we had finished the job, amazed that we had got him in the crush, because he had really not wanted to go in it a few days earlier. I would of loved to think it was me that got him in the crush, but I had to give credit where credit is due and that was to a bucket meal.
The near miss I had with Simon was in the parlour. Simon could open the parlour door, so you had to remember to put the chain on it every time you let cows in. One day I had let cows in, with all stalls full and busy, I was between two cows to turn around to see Simon looking at me, I had forgot to chain the door, he had let himself in and I had no where to go. Right behind me was two milking jars and either side of me a cow and no stall for Simon. His head was inches from me and if you know anything about animals you keep to the front of a horse and the back of a cow and you won't go far wrong. All Simon needed to do was toss his massive head and I could be gone.
My biological father was a butcher by trade and did home slaughters for people. One day when my Mum was still married to him, he was called to a farm to slaughter a Hereford bull. The bull had killed the farmer and his wife wanted the bull destroyed. The workman spoke to my biological father about what had happened, as he had witnessed the bull killing the farmer and it was very sad. The bull had not killed the farmer in anger, but the farmer had gone in with him and due to his good temper was giving his head a rub, but had misjudged how close he was to a wall. The bull stepped forward enjoying his head being rubbed, forgetting his own strength and leaned his head and full weight against the farmer against the wall, crushing him to death. So with that story in my head, I found myself in much the same situation with Simon.
I knew if he decided to step towards me any further, just toss his head, I would be lucky to survive such actions. I stood as still as statue waiting for Simon to decide what he was going to do and in that moment as he was watching my every breath, everything stood still and he knew he had me stuck, but he decided to let me run alive, walking on past giving me enough time to get a cow out and allow him a stall. He had decided twas best not to squat the hand that fed him and also was very good at scratching his bottom.
Simon was so huge that he over time bowed every doorway out of the parlour stalls. The only time he broke into a trot was when courting the ladies and one other time when half a dozen bulls being reared for beef got in the yard with him and his harem. He gave us a truly awesome display of his immense strength. These bulls were nearly ready to go and were all clocking in around a ton in weight each. Simon pushed one of them against a wall got his head under their belly and flicked them up in the air like they were as light as a feather. The bull landed on his back disorientated and was a little sore for a day or two after. Simon was such a lovely bull and he taught me a lot and the number one lesson with a bull is try to avoid ever getting yourself between a bull and a hard place.
Just a quick Mother's Day blog with a bit of video footage of Mother's Day at Poundlane. The first bit of the video does contain a lot of the use of the word "arse" so don't say, "You did not warn me."
Frankly I'm not gifted in the arse stakes, in fact if we are made by a God, I must of been at the back of the queue when arses were being handed out, so I'm certainly not all about the bass. Lol
The video starts with me jokingly showing my derriere to my husband because I had just tickle ambushed him whilst he was sat at the computer. My husband is almost tickle proof, but catch him unawares in the right spot and you can get a slight reaction. Me on the other hand, you only have to make a tickle motion with a hand and I'm running for the hills.
One reason I would make a shit terrorist is because get me in Guantanamo bay, put a rubber glove on and make a tickle hand motion and I'm going to be singing like a canary. I imagine on my release being meet by my comrades who forgive me saying, "We understand you telling them everything. They must of done awful things to you ?" I'm silent. They then ask, "Electrodes on the genitals was it ?" I answer, "No" They then say, "The beasts, did they waterboard you ?" I answer again, "No" They pry further, "Then what ?" I answer, "They tickled me," What ?" They exclaim and I reply, "Until I wet, myself." I break down and cry. The shame.
My husband in the video lures me in making me think he wants a picture of my arse, which I think is totally weird, as my husband does not even have a photo of my face on his phone and I then realise he is winding me up whilst filming the process. I really don't understand the phenomenon of taking photos of bits of your body and sending them to others.
The next bit of film is all the dogs watching me stripping down the two chickens we cooked for Sunday lunch and waiting for their scraps. Puffing, panting (It was pretty warm in the kitchen) and whining in anticipation. This bit shows that they all get on pretty well together and that being the tallest often is not an advantage.
Sorry about the noise of the children in the background, but they always seem to have a mad ten minutes after having dinner, so might pay to keep the volume down when watching the video. As I say in the video, "Don't you just love a quiet Sunday afternoon."
Tomorrow is Mother's Day and for those who don't do Mother's Day because they say it's, "Over commercialised" or you are a bigot ( I often find those who state commercialisim, you dig below the surface and it has more to do with them being a bigot), Grow up !
Mother's Day is a reflective day. A day for you to think about your mother and what she has done and does for you, and what you have done and will do for them. The bigots get Mother's Day mixed up with Mothering Sunday. Mothering Sunday is about your mother church, not your mum and is a Christian thing. Mother's Day is for us all, whether you're, "black, white or indigo russet", as my Mum says, and as I've said before, "You don't have to buy into the commercialism."If you are the perfect attentive son or daughter I guess you're off the hook, if you don't do Mother's Day, because every days Mother's Day for your mum. Sorry just trying to stop myself urging. Lol
For the rest of us who live in the real world, we need these days to catch us by the collar and think, "Shit, I've not spoke to my Mum for a while, I wonder how she is ?"
Tomorrow morning I get to miss being force fed breakfast in bed by my children, as I'm milking tomorrow morning. Not a fan of eating in bed (Which I've mentioned before), as there are only two things you should do in your bed, in my mind. You learn as time goes by that one thing is certainly better and more comfortable in your bed. When you're young you will try and do it anywhere, in the back of the car, at the dinner table, on the sofa, in a tractor, in a field under a tree and it don't matter how much you have of it, it never seems enough, often you are stopped before you think you have had enough, by your parents disturbing you, but get older and you learn the best place to sleep is in your bed, and the other thing to do in your bed, of course, is to read a good book. Lol
Now for two things that make me think I'm not doing such a bad job at being a Mum, because I could give you a list of things that I think make me a crap mum, but I would like to wind this up tonight. Lol
The first is the other day I had the radio on in the car and was playing a CD by "The Jam" and turned back to the radio just as the track, "Going Underground" (If you don't know the band "The Jam" you can listen to the track "Going Underground at this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AE1ct5yEuVY) was starting and something by "Rhianna" was playing on the radio and the children all screamed at me to turn back to "Going Underground."
The second thing is my youngest, Tilly who is nearly six years old, was asked yesterday in school to write down things that Mums give you. The other children wrote lists with things such as ipad, playstation etc and my little Tilly wrote, "My mum gives me hugs and kisses." That was it short and to the point my little Tilly is, I wonder where she gets that from ? Love is the most precious gift that can be given to a child and your child knowing that, is a precious gift for a mother.
So lets end with the Poundlane Mommas sending out our love, hugs, licks and kisses to all the mothers around the world doing their mothering best. Have a wonderful day !
"DON'T THINK OF IT AS DYING, said Death. JUST THINK OF IT AS LEAVING EARLY TO AVOID THE RUSH." - Terry Pratchett, Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch
Today I heard of the death of one of my favourite authors Terry Pratchett. I found him around twenty years ago by accident and my first read of his for me was "Reaper Man" I had entered the Discworld and felt no impulsion to turn back.
His satire is sharp and shows that he has a deep understanding of the human condition. I would advise anyone who enjoys satire to pick up a Discworld book. I always read his books as satire, but was amazed to meet someone who is a fan and just reads him as fantasy fiction and was unaware it was satire, shows how we see the world differently.
Most will know that Terry Pratchett is an atheist and a few years back when he learnt he had alzheimers, he did an interview which made some think he had found God, and this was his witty reply to the rumours. "There is a rumour going around I have found God, I think this is unlikely because I have enough difficulty finding my keys, and there is empirical evidence that they exist."
To many of us he will never be dead, as we pass our Discworld books on to the next generation. My two oldest children have already opened the door into the Discworld and have begun a reading journey of a life time.
"No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away ..."
- Terry Pratchett
Long may Discworld bring ripples of laughter across the universe.
Thank you Terry Pratchett.
We are now into March and the first two months of this year have been busy and a hard slog for me. The end of 2014 I was headhunted, now bide your laughing. I have certain qualities that I bring to the table that are of value to some. I tell you for some I'm an acquired taste and for others I may be a little to bitter. I'm not for everyones palate that's for sure and it can only be a fool who thinks they can please all the people all the time. I certainly have put some time into my blog in cutting the wood from the trees over the last few years and if you are still onside, then I guess you must have a very discernible palate. Lol
Now back to the headhunting, (You should of stopped laughing by now with the idea of me being headhunted). I relief milk for two farms. One I milk three times in the week for and two milkings every other week end and the other I just milk the whole weekend every other weekend. The one I just milk for every other weekend is the closest, being around five miles away and the other farm is more of a trek being fifteen miles away. The closest farm I milk for is a smaller herd milking after block calving this year 102 cows. This herd is an exceptionally well run herd of cows, being predominantly Holstein Friesian, but in recent years they have been crossing with the British Friesian. This also is a tb free herd and in this area that is pretty amazing. The only time they have had tb, was after the tragic foot and mouth outbreak in 2001 and their herd was culled due to being within the cull area of a neighbouring farm being confirmed with foot and mouth. As they started to restore the herd on farm, buying in cows, they had a couple with tb, but have now been tb free for several years , after restoring the herd fully. Lovely parlour and lovely cows, and with being that much closer to me, when at Christmas they asked if I could milk for them more, I would of been a fool not to accept.
Although I enjoy the other farm I milk on, the distance coupled with milking more cows through a parlour that is not the easiest to work in for my height. I decided to give notice to them, so I could do more milking on the other farm. Never easy to give in your notice especially if you like the people. I let Christmas pass and the first week in January gave Adrian my notice and he visibly and verbally conveyed his disappointent in losing me, but understood my reasons. So I handed in two months notice which I have just finished and to keep all parties happy, the last two months I have been milking all weekend every weekend and a couple extra milkings in the week.
Also their has been a bit of emotional pressure with Adrian offering to pay me more, which I felt very uncomfortable with and I told him, "If it was about money, you know I would of said something." As I had just asked for a pay rise a few months before, which they had agreed to. He also just before the end of the last month out of the blue said, "You are not really leaving us, are you Jane ?" You see the two farmers I work for, other than me milking the cows, they do the rest of the milking and finding a good relief milker is like gold dust. You can find tractor drivers two a penny, but a reliable relief milker who knows their way about cows and enjoys the job, well they are sparse upon the ground. So when you get a good one, you will try your hardest to keep them. Someone I used to milk for until they retired from farming said to me, "Whenever I come in the parlour and you are milking. However bad it's going, I always know I'm going to get a smile from you. Do you ever do being miserable ?" I suppose that's one of the things I bring to the table, optimism.
I sort of finished milking for Adrian this Sunday, because of the time of year I'm going to carry on doing every other weekend for him, until the cows go out, to lessen my feelings of guilt. It's a sort of weaning off process from me. Lol
So it's been a hard slog for the first part of this year and with the children and dogs needing their attention to, it was no wonder I got struck down with a nasty old cold the start of February, which my husband and me have still got irritable throats from. Things will get easier now though as the days stretch out and the weather starts to warm up which always makes life a bit more tolerable.
Let's get on with an update now for Lola. Lola is from Millie's last litter back some three years ago the Spring of 2011.
I hope that you and yours are well. I thought that I would email an update of how our lovely Lola (Millie's litter 2011) is doing. She is an absolute dream and we totally love her, and couldn't imagine being without her. She has such a wonderful personality and character and I am certain this is due to the love and care you provide your dogs. Not to mention, she is beautiful!
Here is a photo of Lola this weekend showing off her new haircut. She has just woken up and is slightly grumpy with me! She will be three on March 13th and time certainly flies!
We have been following the progress of Poundlane and there are some exciting times ahead this year. It will be really interesting to see the union of smudge and Henry and how this progresses.
We are also particularly interested in the union of Primrose and Toby. Since we have been following your blog in 2011, this will be the first litter of cavaliers you have bred. I have a couple of questions, firstly, is your waiting list full for this litter, and secondly, do you plan to breed any more litters of pure cavaliers in the future?
Will and I both love cavaliers and really respect the love and devotion you have to improving the health of the breed.
We're certainly interested in learning more.
James, Will and Lola xx"
Thanks James for updating us on how Lola is and your email neatly brings me to "what's occurring at Poundlane." The two litters we hope to breed in 2015, we have decided to hold off waiting lists until the litters are born and up on their feet. These two litters if both go ahead as hoped, we want to retain puppies from both litters, so to avoid disappointment to people and pressure from a waiting list. The two litters in 2015, we will not offer to the public until we know the pups, we wish to retain. We are waiting on Toby's MRI scan result and if this is poor, we may mate Primrose with Reggie instead producing a Cavapoo litter. If this happens, details will be published on here and the "Future Litters" page. Information about 2015 litters can be found on the website page "Future Litters"
Smudge had her last mating with Henry on the 24th February and we will look to scan her around the 24th March to confirm if in pups. Fingers crossed that although we know Henry can walk the walk, that his sperm also know how walk the walk and in the right direction. Lol
A couple photos to end on. I made a cheesecake at the weekend. So, we had a cheesecake Sunday and a cheesecake Monday and Tuesday to finally eat that mother of all cheesecakes. The dogs did get a few licks of our cheesecake plates as they got put in the dishwasher, but could you imagine the backside carnage if they eat all that. The back house (utility) where the dogs sleep at night, in the morning would of been rough scat from top to bottom literally. Lol
Last week saw 1st Birthday greetings from litter siblings Kayla and Mollie. Tonight we have greetings from two more of their litter siblings Harvey and Flora. Harvey and Flora are from Smudge's litter born 24th February 2014 with the dad being our Reggie. The first update is from Harvey.
I hope you are all well. I can't believe it has been a year already. Harvey enjoyed his 1st Birthday ..we shared the blueberry muffin cake..I ate most of it and he also had some fresh chicken livers for his dinner. Harvey is a total foodie so this was his present ..his whole day is all about food. He always has his head in the bins at work, rummaging in empty packages to the point of falling in them quite a few times, where all we can see is his little back legs. There is nothing he won't eat - he even loves bananas, blueberries, carrots, all green veg. Today he was so happy and wagging his tail at a man on the platform at Liverpool St Station. At first I thought he must have dogs but Harvey was way too excited ..smelling the air and crying to go to him, jumping in the air, everyone was staring and for a moment it spooked me as Harvey was behaving like this man was the real love of his life. The man came over laughing and said …I'm a Butcher! Every day he makes me laugh. He is absolutely adorable and really lovely natured - thank you all again it has been an amazing year. Liza x"
Thanks Liza for letting me know how Harvey is and the appetite is from his Mum, Smudge. Smudge loves her food and from time to time, she gets a bit wide in the girth, so we have to restrict her diet a little, but last time we did that, we kept noticing her looking very full for the amount of food she was eating. We discovered that Smudge had figured out how to get in the composting box, just flipping the lid enough to get in, eat loads of vegetable peelings and get out, with us none the wiser, until one day I caught her making her exit from the composting box. We now have a brick on the lid which seems to of stopped her. His very keen sense of smell as you read on in this blog, you will also read is a family trait.
Next update is Harvey's litter sister Flora.
Just thought I would send a couple of photos now that Flora is a whole one year old. She is such a happy little dog! And of course we must send belated birthday greetings to her litter mates - Kayla, Mollie, Chester, Harvey and Jake. All is going well, and she is due to take her bronze award for " good companionship" on Thursday evening.
As ever Jane, thank you so much for her.Best wishes to you all , and all the best for the breeding plans for this year
Love from Lucy and Alan and 100 wags from Flora"
Thanks Lucy for the update on Flora and that all is going well. Good luck Thursday with getting her bronze medal.
The next update is a bit special and you will soon read why. Maddie is Smudge's litter sibling, so is Aunt Maddie to Harvey and Flora. I asked Alison's permission to use this email, as I felt such a personal email. Thankfully Alison was happy for me to share this.
Sorry it has been awhile not being in touch.
Life has been a bit frought.
In November I was diagnosed with breast cancer and I had to have a mastectomy, so a week before Christmas I had the operation. Thank God I was given the all clear after Christmas and at the moment receiving radiotherapy.
But I just wanted to tell you I truly believe that dogs can smell and know when a person is unwell. I remember you and I discussing this subject a few years ago and I wanted you to know what Maddie did.
Maddie has always been a "daddies" girl, she follows him everywhere and only ever has eyes for him, but back in April she started following me and when she sat on my lap of an evening she would cuddle up to my right breast, which for me was a bit uncomfortable, and even pushing her down she would creep back up. I had been telling Ray that I didn't "feel right" but couldn't put my finger on it. Even the doctor couldn't find much wrong with me, apart from the ailments I have anyway.
Ray noticed that Maddie was becoming a "Mummies" girl and put it down to me not feeling 100%.
Since having the operation she still sits on my lap but never attempts to go further up, and has gone back to being a "daddies" girl.
I am sorry this email is so long but I just had to tell you and that I firmly believe dogs can diagnose poor health and definitely cancer.
You bred a very clever dog. Thank you.
I was delighted to read you are going to have a litter of Cavaliers. They are sooo my favourite dog.
Hope all of you are well and mum of course.
Love to you all,
Alison, Ray and Maddie x"
Thank you so much Alison for sharing the above and wish you a full and speedy full recovery. It has been thought for some time now that dogs can smell cancer in the very early stages. Oncologists say they can smell cancer in the latter stages, so it stands to reason that a dog could smell it at a lot earlier stage. This article from the Daily Mail about Dr Claire Guest work here in the UK http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2700561/Daisy-dog-whos-sniffed-500-cases-cancer-She-saved-woman-research-revealed-uncanny-skill.html#ixzz3TGESltxI pretty much confirms that dogs do smell cancer.
This website address www.dogsdetectcancer.org is an American website that is training dogs to detect cancer and you can find lots of information on this site about studies done and ones that are being done and they are involved in.
For me the amazing thing is not that they can smell cancer, but like Maddie they seem to know it is not a good thing for you and want to make you aware of it, that is truly amazing.
“The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you,but he will make a fool of himself, too.”
― Samuel Butler
Me (Jane) with Puddin' and Teagol, waiting patiently to flush a patch of kale, December 2019
Hello, I am Jane!