Monday, 31 October 2016

No problem

According to my beautiful and oh so patient wife one of us has too many magazines. Looking at this pic I tend to agree, far too many horsey magazines so I told her to have a clear out.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Wood you believe it.

Not having enough to do Pronto our lovely Andalusian horse decided to make a meal of his stable door. Yours truly to the rescue armed with lots of enthusiasm and little know how set about the task ably supervised by several Berners
one of which Mr Bear was definitely not paying attention. 
Like most of Rock HQ the door wasn't quite square and the wood I had was just over 2 inches in old money wide so an executive decision was made to have the planks going across rather than down. The only reason apparently for downhill wood is that water drains better that way but as we live in an area devoid of rainfall, ahem, that seemed like a lot of sawing for a little gain.
Having the planks go across also means that should he start chewing again only one plank needs replacing. Win Win as yours truly is concerned.
Spotty paid a little more attention to detail than his brother.
And was never in the way, well hardly ever.
In the rubbish heap I managed to find the two hinges from the old door so in true BOGOF fashion I knocked up a second door
so by end of play the stables were as good as new. Well almost.
That left just enough time to engage in a bit of Halloween shenanigans with the apprentice and rug rat mkII.
Whilst the later part of the evening was spent making a fuss of Elf who tomorrow becomes a tri paw.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Making room

Unlike last Saturday where we celebrated Rocky's 10th birthday with lots of friends and dogs, this Saturday was spent out in the rain re-engineering the old kennel block into a fab weather-proof almost straight depending on how you look at it bale store.
Like a butterfly emerging , yeah right, the new walls holding up the old roof
were quickly knocked into shape
and it looked quite good as far as yours truly was concerned.
Even the complicated bit, making and hanging a door went well with the step to nowhere used as a workbench.
Naturally I had a few Berners a supervisors, this happy chap is Noel, honestly he is there somewhere under all the mud.
End of play and the job was done, a fully functional door fitting the right sized hole, the gap at the bottom allowing for the different heights of concrete between the bale store and the runway which as you can see requires clearing.

Given a couple more hours then this corner might have got tidied up with some nifty corner woodwork effort but for the time being its good enough.

Friday, 28 October 2016

It might be news to some but yours truly has given up eating meat so having three large freezers of the stuff is a bit of a waste. As the year has gone on these have been emptied slowly by various means until the huge chest freezer is now empty. I cooked this bacon joint up and tried some and as can only be expected found it delicious.  I'm not going to start eating meat again,  the way the food industry produces the muck and treats the meat donors is despicable,  but I am going to finish this and thank the generous soul who gave her all for it.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Finding a new level

 What was the kennel block way back in 2007 has had several incarnations and aside from the roof is in a pretty sorry state of repair.
 The main purpose it serves now is as a wood store and storm shelter.
 It's very eclectic design is the fault of a friend from a previous life called Karl who came to stay a few months after I had severely wrecked my left arm in the lamest of falls. Unable to build a kennel block as we had a lot of dogs way back then (Five! now we have 18) he volunteered to do it for me provided I gave him all the stuff needed and some money to fly to Burma where he had bought a bride.
 Karl was many things apart from being a good mate, but a builder of kennels was not one of them. Neither could he saw straight, measure, use a spirit level or knock a nail in true.
 So in an effort to recycle the roof and recreate a new building on the concrete pad yours truly set about building a bale store. This is needed to store forage over winter, currently we stuck 60 bales in the stable, but this will be needed for horses over winter so their food has to go elsewhere. Limited to only 60 bales is a bit of a drawback too as this is around a months feed for the critters, so if we have a hard winter then we are always going to be hoping no roads are blocked for more than a couple of weeks. (1947 anyone?)
 The photos show how off true, how unlevel and non upright the old building is/was, the centre wooden post is the true vertical.
 Karl had an issue with using levels so used to guess whether or not things were straight and used the same technique for cutting wood to length.
 The "new" build is coming on nicely and is more level and neat than anyone could have hoped for.
 End of play saw a new front, side and the old door way blocked off. Surprisingly it didn't collapse on me as I removed various key pieces in an effort to straighten things out. As to Karl's whereabouts that's uncertain. He took the money we gave him and headed off to Burma where he sought his fortune planting palm trees in a patch of jungle he bought off a village elder. I presume he's still tied to a tree over there waiting for someone to pay the ransom.
Elf is still a quadraped but only until Monday next week. After much consultation and seeking advice from our friend in a parallel universe in Oz its been decided that the best outcome for her will be achieved by making her a tripaw.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Paws for thought

 A rule of smallholding often tested at Rock HQ is that any animal if it can hurt itself, will do so at any opportunity, however unlikely or bizarre. Which is why yours truly was found taking Elf, mother of many very handsome Berners, to the V E T with an unexplained limp acquired after a night in her purpose built quarters in the Swiss Chalet style kennel block.
 No I wasn't expecting good news from the V E T and quite frankly fully expected to be making yet another financial donation to their off shore banking, but the news delivered was quite simply about the worst that could be given. Elf has somehow managed to snap or sever both tendons in her left back leg, she has a small but deep cut on the inside of this leg. At a loss how to explain the cause of the injury I listened intently as the V E T went on the explain the options. Either we operate and screw the tendons back in place, put a cast on her leg, change it weekly and after 8 to 12 weeks cage rest, ie complete rest, the hopefully the tendons will have reattached and we can begin physio. If its doesn't work then the other option, or the one we could opt for thus by passing all the above is amputation right up to the hip and a three legged life for Elf. That's fine until she hurts the other leg. Option 3 wasn't worth considering as that is death by injection. I did ask if there were any other options like permanently setting the leg in place like the surgeon planned to with my left arm if they couldn't have rebuilt it. No. Either way Elf needed to go under the knife. Tomorrow.
So the rest of the day we have been preparing for tomorrow when our lovely quadra-ped becomes a tri-paw. But as I was driving along pondering life as a tri paw amongst the clan I did wonder about the amputation option and whether a less drastic chop could be done and blade effort fixed to her leg like the runners have. A quick look at Google and it seems like that is not such a stupid idea so I have asked the V E T to wait a few days while more research is done.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Maximum security

 Stallag 14, once home to a wide variety of takeaways for Mr Fox, is a bit empty and very big. Far too big for the two surviving runner ducks donated to the cause by a follower of this blog a while ago (get well soon you know who you are!). Having a six foot six high fence all around of two inch steel mesh this seems the ideal place for long range pygmy goats who have exploited to the max the rule of smallholding that states any animal can pass through any hole half of its body size.
 The pygmy goats would be hard pressed to escape from this, although foxes have found ways in. It also has two very sturdy hen houses that will make ideal goat houses. The only drawback (actually there are two, the second will become apparent later) is that someone has to clear the decades debris (read chicken shit) from the new goat prison enclosure and then wheelbarrow two and half tons of Herefordshire gravel 50 metres from its drop off point and lay it in a four inch deep carpet. Step forward that man!
 So yours truly under the watchful eyes of vermin cats using Stan and a paw warmer began the task of transforming the mud bath into a  prison palace for goat kind.
 Thanks to my bionic left arm pushing a laden barrow uphill was no problem. Pushing 66 of them became and issue.
 The 72 or so it finally took to complete the task was in all honesty a bit wearing, but
 with the help of Spotty the action Berner is was soon done.
 They were no help, cats can't even count properly.
Anyway end of play saw drawback number two appear. How to persuade errant pygmy goats to give up their long range wanderings and stay in one place. After much swearing, climbing fences, falling in mud, arguing with stinging nettles and so on four were captured and safe inside the slammer. The other four watched from the cliff with interest. Of course my beautiful and oh so patient wife was very happy with this effort from yours truly, so happy in fact her words filled me with joy. "That's great, hows the bale store coming on?"

Monday, 24 October 2016

Bleat Bleat ...Booom!

 In an effort to downsize we only have 9 pygmy goats on the pretence that smaller means less work and less damage when they inevitably explode. So here we have a pic of a highly volatile situation of the med bay containing 8 UXGs (unexploded goats) The reason for their confinement (normally they are long range, three are uber long range) was that the herd leader Autumn, she who is addicted to fence and the cause fo many a tramp uphill to extract her from her latest fix, was found headfast under the "mobile shelter". Mobile in this case means move it if you have a crane big enough.
Thinking she was suffering from hypothermia, as the day she chose to get stuck was the first night we had a frost, yours truly carried the stricken beast back to base and placed her behind sand bags in the warm of the stable with a deep litter of straw and a few blankies to keep the chill off. The strength of her bleats of complaint gave some hope but by nightfall she duly exploded and ceased to be. Autumn has fallen. The others ran riot after the all clear and are now back out foraging. Or are they........?

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Making a small difference...

 Those that know yours truly know that there are more K9's than a normal person has sharing his life and recently we have become very involved in rescuing Romanian dogs. The communist regime over there treated people appallingly and as a consequence the animals were left to fend for themselves during mass population moves. Dogs, who were family pets were abandoned and had to fend for themselves and so they bred like rabbits leaving thousands of unwanted dogs roaming wild. This poor lad was a pet, or a working shepherd dog and has been abandoned.
 Hunger drove him to seek food in a motorway service bin and he got hit by a car bowling him over into a drainage ditch where he awaited death.
 Thankfully Amicii dog rescue found him and with help of passers by fetched him out of the ditch
 and to the vet and then the Amicii rescue shelter. This is where we got involved and paid for his vets bill, bed and board
 and a few weeks later here he is.
 A very happy, very loving
 very large Romanian Shepherd dog with the founder of Amicii, Fodor Dora, a university lecturer who has devoted her life to saving as many dogs as possible.
 Rio is on the mend, painfully thin still and mangy but well on the way to recovery
and soon will be joining our Romanian girls in the endless battle of the sofas.