Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Phew Christmas is over

Oh! yes it is lovely for the children to be showered in gifts and the expectation are so high for so many.

My own children were suitably spoilt too. On Christmas day though, my boys wanted to go outside and continue building their tree house and what a construction it is. I love it when they work together on a project, I stand back and listen to them chattering and bouncing ideas from on another. They are very confident at using tools, both manual and electrical, skills so few have these days. I will put a picture on when they are happy for me to do so as this is their project.

The cattery was completely full over Christmas and we had dog boarders in too so, coupled with my own animals and puppies to tend I have been very busy but it is all good for business and keeps me out of mischief :)

The puppies are stunning with their gorgeous, thick, fleecy coats. Some have gone to their new homes, the families are very pleased with them and they have settled well. I still have some available but puppy sales are always slow around Christmas, partly due to previous campaigns and partly due to the weather.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Sorry I haven't been on for a while!

I thought I was busy before but adding the two litters of puppies and project managing the dog boarding building has exhausted me.

We are getting there though. The puppies are starting to leave home and lots are sold. I love having them in the house as they get oooodles of  attention and the resulting puppies are confident and very lively, just as puppies should be.

We have had our first dog guests, Maisy and Leo. They were lovely and it all works very well as they were snug with the under floor heating and thoroughly enjoyed the space to run and play in the run.

Christmas is my only neglected area as we have no decorations or tree up in the house. This is on the agenda today.
Of course I have bought my boys gifts as if you cannot look after children at Christmas that is a travasty.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

We are open!

We have our first guests arriving in the dog boarding tomorrow.

I am so pleased with the building. It looks fantastic and we have had a steady flow of people viewing it and everyone has been suitably impressed by it. I do think the space the dogs have, under floor heating and the over all feel of the place helps.

Whilst we have sold a number of our lovely puppies, we do have some still available. This is never a good time of the year to have puppies available. They are stunning though. I am particularly impressed with Lulu's litter, our first multi generational litter. They are very chunky and their coat is quite fleecy already and lovely colour.

Just heard the forecast and snow is on it's way.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Growing up fast

These are boys. 5 weeks old now. Fully wormed and eating well. They wrestle and play lots. They are getting ooodles of attention from my boys and the steam of visitors who come just to see them.

Having puppies in the house has mixed blessings as yes they do make a lot of mess and smells but they also get lots of attention and used to family life with a busy house hold so they leave here very confident and ready for their onward life.

We have had a lot of interest and many are secured with a deposit paid. Yes I am  mindful of people potentially buying for Christmas but I do think in reality that seldom happens.

Monday, 5 December 2011

They are so soft coated

These are two girls from Lulu's litter. They are lovely puppies. Full of fun and boisterous, just how 3 week old puppies should be.

The cattery is almost full for Christmas and we have bookings for dog boarding business too.
No laying in here on 25th December and my lovely boys have offered to help me on Christmas morning to sort all the animals before our festivities begin. They are stars!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

All go

The roof is almost completed on the dog boarding.
The windows and doors will be in next week.
I have appointed a plumber and electrician but most importantly I have had many enquiries.

It is not easy to know which is the best media to utilise to launch a new business so I am trying to cover all with adverts in the Derby Telegraph and the free sheets. I have posters and business cards to distribute. I have activity on my website and have an entry going into and Yellow pages. Fingers crossed :)

I did manage a little lollop on my beautiful horse this week. Well it was a lovely day. He looks fantastic as we clipped him at the weekend and he has such a lovely shine. He now has a heavy tog rug on to keep him warm but at least he won't sweet up too much when my eldest takes him jumping.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

3 weeks old already!

They are up on their feet now, wrestling and playing and  thankfully, still sleeping quite a lot.
I gave them their first meal on Saturday and they loved it. They all tucked in.

The builders have been here, all weather, for what seen like an age now. It is certainly taking shape though. The roof timbers are almost complete so the tiles can go on next week. I have appointed a plumber and electrician and the gents who are doing the exercise run are all set to go.
It has been a huge project for me and significant investment but I have had quite a number of enquiries already and have embarked upon a fairly extensive advertising campaign so finger crossed.

The cattery is almost full for Christmas which is of course great news. Many of the bookings are for 1/2 or even 3 weeks. My eldest son did say he would get up early on Christmas morning to help me. Lets see if he does :)

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Soooo cute!

This is one of lulu's puppies. They are multi generational, that being Labradoodle with Labradoodle. They should be non/low shedding.
They are very chunky, this one in particular. 

How life moves on!

 The puppies are fast approaching 3 weeks. They are up on their feet, eyes and ears open and becoming very playful. I wormed them at 2 weeks and will again at 4 and 6 weeks (routine)
They are just adorable and most of them are sold. Funny isn't it? There are many black dogs around so many people do like them yet in my experience they are always the last to go and this litter is no exception. The most confident of the litter continues to be a very curly black girl.
Bea has filled out just a little, she has unlimited food and is just a fantastic Mum. She loves all the extra attention when visitors come to view her babies too.

The Derby Telegraph did a little feature on my business which was in the paper today. Thank you :)

Dog's paws is coming along very well and should be completed very soon. I hope so any way as I have bookings already. Some of the work will have to wait until the ground dries out but the heated units and exercise area will be ready.

With the weather being abnormally warm it is difficult to know what to do with the horses as my boys rode last evening and the horses were soooo sweaty so they will need to be clipped again but I don't want to do it as the weather may turns very bad.  We do put rugs on them though when we remove all of their hair and rugs are so efficient these days. Animals

Saturday, 19 November 2011

So cute!

Now 2 weeks old. Eyes are opening and one little black girl is desperately trying to walk. She has made it right across the room a few times. She has obviously got an independent character.

I have taken deposits for a few already as people have patiently waited for these puppies to be born. They either know other dogs bred by us and obviously like them or people have recommended us, either way I am safe in the knowledge that these families really do want a dog. Not just any dog, the right dog for them.

They will be ready to start to leave home from 16th December  which means by spring 2012 they will be ready to go out and about and have lots of adventures. If the training is carried out correctly they should have obedient and energetic young dogs. What fun they should all have, not least of all the puppies :)

Who had a Birthday then?

What lovely, lovely friends and family I have as, yes I had a BIIIG Birthday this week. This cake is just too nice to eat and so thoughtful. My home is like a wine bar and a florist shop and I am also going, one day, to have a whizz about in a Farrari.  (my lovely, kind, big sister and neices).

What a beautiful sun rise this morning and did my dogs make me smile?.

Toffee and Jess thought they were racing each other on an imaginary race track. Gemma (my old girl) got all giddy after I had groomed her. She put her tail between her legs and off she went. All my other dogs followed. A sea of dogs wrestling and running with such freedom and energy. Just having fun with not a care in the world. Lucky dogs :)

The builders have been here working hard all week and they are here again today (Saturday). The building is almost ready for the roof which means the electrician can start soon. It is enormous and each dog unit is very generous. As my aim is to ensure the dogs comfort and welfare whilst in my care, having space is but one factor to be considered.

We shall be open for Christmas 2011 :)

Monday, 14 November 2011

8 days old

The whole litter are doing very well. The noise they make at times is unbelievable. They cannot walk as yet but boy, can they get around the room!! Their coats are lovely and getting more curly. This is important as in my experience the more curly the coat the less likely hood that they will shed.

Bea is such a proud Mum and clearly is enjoying the extra attention.

Pippa is in season again so I will have to keep her well away from Oscar (my only male) as she will want to be mated when her hormones are right and she will not mind that he is a Labrador and she just a little terrier :)

I am hoping to get out a little on my horse this week.
The builders are busy moving the dog boarding forwards.
I do have a few cats in but it is not too busy.
The 2 French exchange students I had here last week have gone home now.
All in all a slightly quieter week!!   At the moment anyway :)

Friday, 11 November 2011

Dog's Paws Open for Christmas 2011

Yes I am very pleased with how it is all taking shape but I took a lot of comfort from the council inspector being impressed by it too.  She inspects all South Derbyshire's boarding facilities so is able to make an objective judgement.

I have been granted a licence which means I can now take bookings.

Having a number of dogs of my own I have set the boarding up in such a way to attempt to address the needs of the dogs.

They have their own spacious unit, with a small run attached. It will be heated from under the ground and they will have lovely thick bedding to sleep on.
I will feed only quality food and they all have their own, constantly fresh water supply.
Regularly they will have the freedom to run wild in our safe, large run.

One of the most important facts is that this is my business, at our home. My boys and I are in and out all the time so the dogs, as with all animals in our care will have as much or as little attention as they would like.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Maternity unit

As we love to give all puppies bred here the best of starts in life, with each and every puppy getting lots of handling, love and attention, I don't, in the ideal world have more than one litter at a time.

OK, so we don't live in an ideal world!

Lulu, who until 10 days ago didn't look pregnant is whelping at this very moment. (03.20)

As the uterine buds sit just beneath a dogs spinal column and if the dogs is fit and muscular, the puppies will be held high until they absolutely cannot any longer. The bitch does seem to become pregnant over night. This is a safe place for the puppies if the bitch should be struck by predators. OK so there aren't too many around these days but nature does have a way of protecting and ensuring survival.

Lulu's puppies are multi generational (Labradoodle and Labradoodle) Hugo is Dad if you would like to view him on

Lulu wasn't sure what on earth to do with the first couple born but is getting the hang of it now. (Thank goodness) She is also being less clumsy with them.

Bea's litter are all doing very well. They are in the next room and are very noisy.

Our home is going to be filled with fun and joy as the puppies grow and develope.

Monday, 7 November 2011

All go

Bea has done it again and delivered a beautiful litter of gorgeous Labdradoodle puppies. Chocolate, Golden and Black. Boys and girls. They look sooo health with beautiful shiny coats ( I'll get some pictures later).

Lulu is due at any moment too. Another night duty ahead:)

We have two French pupils staying with us at the moment. They are 13 year old girls from a school in the centre of Paris, they live in the suburbs, so they were wowed by our home. Thankfully they love dogs and animals.
It is lovely to have girls in the house even though their English is not great and our French leaves a lot to be desired. We do have fun though with the dictionaries on the table and we all sit and eat and try hard to converse.

I actually managed to get my horse out for a hack this morning. I did just walk him as his shoe is loose. It was lovely though and he is such a good boy as wagon and busses go whizzing by.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Making progress

Just a few more courses of block work to go. once the roof is on the electrician can get going with the underfloor heating.
The rain hasn't helped but we did need it.
The boys are enjoying their riding as they attend the clinics organised by the Meynell Pony Club
My youngest is training at the Derby Athletics club. He is hoping to be involved in competition next year.

I have had lets of very positive feedback with regards the cockerpoos as they have settled well.
I will breed another litter next year as they clearly have great natures.

All go as ever at West Farm!!

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Clearly a trip out!

My boys went for a hack with one of their friends from pony camp.  Her big brother very kindly guided their way. Alstonfields Manor was our destination,where they live and run a B and B. A warmer welcome you couldn't wish for as Jo and Rob have the most beautiful home with a lovely walled garden. The views are stunning across the valley. A great setting if you were getting married I thought.

Ok, so the view were some what restricted today as the heavy fog covered all. It didn't stop us hardened horse rides though, our these walkers.

The children loved the limited vision and just leaving their horses to pick their way through the torain.

What a memory they will have stashed in their bank.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

It's all go!

I am shattered but what fun.

My boys are on half term so, as always they are priority and when my middle sons asked "would you pop me to Alton Towers to meet my friends?" "of course" I replied.  He had a great day.
They had a show jumping training evening at Hargate Arena too this evening. My youngest son is out on a sleepover and visiting Water World tomorrow so he will be having fun too. He had two friends here for a sleep over last evening which was very entertaining and all 5 boys played outside for hours.

We have quite a few cats and small pets in who all need some TLC which my boys are happy to help me with.

Dog boarding is going very well and starting to take shape. The outer skin is almost complete so the layout of the units is the next step. Under floor heating goes in early next week.
I am managing the project and sourcing and ordering materials. This saves me significant amounts of money but does add to the pressures of life as when the builders run out of or don't have materials when needed the book stops with me. Arrr!!

Winter is well on it's way and our horses are now clipped, having winter feed and hay. They are very fit and looking great as they have worked well over the summer.
I am hoping to have some time to compete at dressage over the winter. This is a great way to keep them fit. My saddle fitter is coming in the morning to check our saddles. This is something many horse people over look but really is so important to a horses way of going. The farrier is here again too. new shoes!!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Who is this?

Would you recognise her?
Toffee has been to the poochy parlour. She definitely feels good as when I brought her back she ran and ran and ran all my other days playing too. It was such fun. Dogs do recognise each other visually as their greeting to Toffee as she jumped out of the car was very different to their normal greeting. They all had to have a good sniff of her too.
She went to a lovely lady called Mel hall to be clipped. She is very thorough, calm and gentle with the dogs. Toffee was very happy when I went to collect her.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Dogs Paws is taking shape

The prep is now complete and the concrete booked. I have ordered the blocks and all the remaining materials so it is full steam ahead.
We have our fingers crossed that the weather will be kind to us as we have quite a team ready to get going.

I had a couple of days off at the weekend and went to Bristol.
What a lovely city. The screanary is stunning, architecture beautiful and the city is steeped in history. I learned a lot and thoroughly enjoyed it and whats more, I will return.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Busy days!!

 Dog boarding is well underway now we have final sign off from council.

My youngest son has named it          Dogs Paws    Just need to find a logo now.

I am spending quite a lot of time pricing and sourcing materials such as concrete block, under floor heating systems, self filling water bowls etc, etc What fun.

The area is dug out and weather permitting the concrete base will be laid soon. The builders are (I hope ) very efficient and we should be able to take bookings for Christmas.

The cattery is a little quieter which is no bad thing.
All of the Cockerpoos have lovely homes which is great and so very rewarding.

Winter is nearly upon us so we start feeding hard feed regularly to our horses and putting hay out although grass is still growing. The ground temperature needs to drop below 7 degrees to stop it.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

What a picture

My eldest son took this lovely photograph out of his bedroom window.
Until the weather broke today the puppies were getting some fresh air out in a pen. They had more room to run and let of some steam too. Toffee is refusing them food but is happy to play with them. It is lovely to watch.

Worming of horses done today, rugs on and feeding hay. Winter is on it's way.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

All go

Let Me Out!!

Help! Red won't let me get up!
All the puppies are such good fun now. They are very lively and wrestle all the time. I am forever finding new things for them to play with so they leave each other alone a little. Today I gave them some new shoe cleaning brushes and they loved them. I think they liked the feel of the bristles on their gums.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Good news

I have been granted final sign off for the building of my dog boarding units.

It is positioned in such a way that it will not affect the cats who are staying with me and the dogs will have a great exercise area and lots to look at. they will have under floor heating and self filling water units too.

Life will have to change a little as I will need some help to ensure we deliver a high standard of care which is always my priority.

My aim is to be up and running in good time for this Christmas.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Duke came to visit

Duke is dad of the puppies, of course and he came to visit today. Red was interested to meet his Dad but he wasn't too bothered. What a lovely natured dog he is though. My own dogs went a little mad but he was completely un phased by them. He strolled into our house and wandered and said hello to all.

My house was full as we have our "Because we would like one" party, which was great fun but he wasn't bothered and chatted to all.

The weather held off and we managed our game of rounders. we had a lovely mix of friends and family and all seemed to mingle and chat. The evening was very relaxed and all seemed to have enjoyed. in fact we have been asked when are we holding another. It was so lovely to spend a decent amount of time with my family as they all stayed over and spent most of Sunday with us too.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

And again

Been playing

The special effects available on my computer are fantastic. You can cut and tweak a quite ordinary picture and make I look quite special. Whats more I didn't need my boys to show me how to use it :)

This is, of course one of our 4 week old puppies.

We played on our  horses this evening. Warmed up in the menage then the boys wanted to do some jumping in our fields. I know you may think we have had some rain but our ditches are bone dry, to the extent that the horses could walk through them. We built a nice little cross country course. What fun and it makes all the hard work of caring for the horses worth while. We don't have stables so I will need to clip their hair off as they will sweat and then get a chill as they will go into the night air and get cold but when they are clipped they do not sweat up as much so dry quicker.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

4 weeks old today

Playing hide and seek.

 As you can see the puppies are so cute. They are very active and 2 can squeeze through the barrier and chase Mum around the porch. Toffee has had enough of them feeding off her now and as they have sharp claws and teeth I cannot blame her.

I have been log chopping this morning, preparing for a cold winter. Chain saws are great at making a big job so very easy.
The grape vine is almost stripped which I do every autumn.
I have been collecting the apples and pears in the orchard and giving them to the horses. They love them. They have had some grapes too.

The cattery is still very busy which is great but only one rabbit in today.

My boys and I are having a "because we want one" party. We have family coming down from Yorkshire and our local friends are joining us. We are kicking off with a game of rounders. We have not had the best of years so what better reason to have a party.
I hope the weather holds out.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Boy! have we had some rain?

Yes I know we needed it but some very heavy showers.
The good thing is that temperatures are still quite high so the ground warm and the grass will grow, which means the horses eat and I don't have to put out hay. I am for ever trying to keep the costs down of our expensive hobby but we do love it.

The dogs are all great at the moment. Gemma the old girl is particularly lively. Not sure why but it is lovely to see as she flies around our yard winding everyone up at then sits on the cheese stone and watches them.
I have told her she is getting a little round and needs to watch her weight but she is a Labrador and won't listen. I will keep a close eye on her though as she is very aged and clearly well loved by both myself and my boys.

The puppies are very active now, trying to run and wrestling well.
Their coat is sooo soft are they are all getting quite fluffy.

Friday, 16 September 2011

So peaceful

The weening process has started. They have just demolished a goodly helping of puppy food and need to rest and grow.
Worming happened this week too so all clear now.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Come on play!!

Three weeks old and  so very mobile and playful. They wrestle and roll around, squeal and  snarl. it is hard to believe they are only 3 weeks old.
I feed puppy food to Toffee as it has the perfect balance of nutrician for production of milk and they are tucking in too. Soooo cute

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Looking at you!

They are all up on their feet today. Red is the most adventurous as she managed to get across the room with no concern that she was alone. As you can see eyes are all open and I know they can hear now as they jump at sudden noises.

Winter must be near as I have been chopping logs today. Well! it is a great way to get fit and take out a little frustration in life.

The horses have been on edge today as the wind gathers strength. I hope the forecasters have it wrong as 80 mph will cause damage. We had a willow tree down last week. I don't mind as it caused no damage and it will give me burning wood for next winter.

Friday, 9 September 2011

"Laid back"

What a life! I couldn't resist showing you this little chap. He obviously takes after his Mum with this pose. Their hearing is developing as they are now startled by load noises.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

looking good

Toffee continues to be a great Mum and the puppies are all growing well and developing as they should be.
2 Weeks old today and their eyes are just starting to open. They look as though they are winking at us.
Their legs are getting a little stronger but still not strong enough to lift their bellies off the floor.

I just love their little, leather look noses.

Sunday, 4 September 2011


Last night I went to a friends birthday party. They were playing indian music. I knew nothing about bollywood dancing but I do now. I had such a great evening, danced and  laughed for hours. I was, of course in great company.

Up as normal "down on the farm" All the dogs are great. The puppies are growing and looking quite curly. I saw a cockerpoo yesterday and they really are cute, little dogs and very friendly.
Bae and Lulu came into season and married so hopefully we shall have labradoodle puppies is 9 weeks.

The cattery is still busy. All the people holidaying who can avoid the school holidays.

My boys enjoyed the cross country so much at horse camp that one went on wednesday and the eldest is going to Eland lodge (british event yard) today.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Chilled out!!

Toffee, just having an afternoon nap.

A washing mountain

The puppies are all doing great.
Toffee is very chilled and allowing us to handle the pups, which is going to give them a great start to their life, living with us humans. The only sense available to them at this age is smell, as eyes and ears are tightly closed so they will be having a good sniff at us.

Pony camp finished and what a fantastic week it was.
My boys are shattered and all in one piece but have achieved great things both with their horses and socially. They grow in confidence and maturity. Whilst at camp they have to care not just for them selves but their horse too. They are all in squadrons so working as a team is very important. Every time I went to camp (which was often) the atmosphere was great, friendly and all, clearly having fun.

Everything washable the boys took to camp is now on my utile floor, waiting to be washed. I have done 6 loads but fear many more to go.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Cockerpoos have arrived!

Toffe has safely delivered her litter of Cockerpoo puppies and they are sooo cute.
She started in the early morning and the last one arrived at 10.30
She did a very good job, made little mess and no fuss. They are all feeding well so fingers crossed as if there are to be any deaths they happen within the first 24 hours.
She is a star and is letting us pick them up which is great grounding for the puppies as by the time they leave here they will be briming with confidence. Just as puppies should be.
She will not let the other dogs anywhere near though.

pony camp is going very well. I managed to sneak up most days to help out which is great as I get to see how the boys are doing too. One of my boys was flying across the cross counrty course this afternoon and the other show jumping, 4 foot jumps. They are so brave but most importantly they really enjoy it.
The atmosphere is fantastic. Strict rules for their and the horses safety but they get the relax and have fun too.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Sooo much excitment

My eldest two boys are off to Pony camp tomorrow and they love it.
They get to ride twice every day for a week, doing show jumping, cross country and dressage. They have a one day event competition at the end of the week.
They are amongst 43 children so there is lots and lots of socialising to be done too.

The amount of "stuff" they need for themselves and the horse is huge. They have to pack for all eventualities. It gives to boys a chance to grow their independence and certainly gives them an opportunity to demonstrate their sense of responsibility.

Pony camp is over 100 years old and is run in the very traditional way with reasonably good boundaries/rules. Children attend from as young as 11 to 18 years. They all muck in and help one another. It is a pleasure to be a part of it and I thank, enormously the team of ladies who organise and run it all voluntarily.

Our animals make us smile

Jess, our lovely cocker spaniel, caught my eye as she stood on her hind legs, stretching as high as she could, in the middle of the paddock.  Then I saw why. A butterfly danced above her. It dropped a little lower, she stretched a little higher. They "danced" for what seemed ages. It was beautiful as the butterfly was certainly choosing to be there, teasing.
Whilst I watched with amazement and pleasure, had Jess caught hold of it, it would be no longer.
I wish I had a camera.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

keeping in touch

This is Tom, one of the Jackapoo's we bred a few months ago. What a little cutie!
It will be interesting to see if his coat goes curly, as his Dad is a toy poodle but didn't go curly until his second hair cut. Tom's family clearly love him (although I know he drives them mad at times) but as a breeder I love the feedback and to see what lovely dogs our puppies turn out to be.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Play time!

I run my dogs 4 times a day.

At the moment I don't let them into the field as the moat is almost completely dry and has very, very smelly, black silt in the bottom, they come out plastered and the smell makes you feel nauseous.

They have plenty of room on our yard though and they love to play ball. They are very even tempered with one another and often have a wrestle together.
 I have just read a great book by Ceaser Millan who is a dog handler . well worth a read to try and understand the psych y of dogs (and humans).

The cattery is completely full and every small pet unit occupied I even have 6 hamsters and 2 gerbils in the house so not much time for me at the moment.

I did have a great ride on my beautiful horse yesterday though so I cannot complain.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Looking good

Due in just 2 weeks and looking good. Toffee is definitely eating for more than just one.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Looking good

Toffee is looking great and very round. She is due in two weeks and she has definitely slowed down.
Jess (our 5 months old cocker) is her best friend and she still wants to play but Toffee just can't. I have started to separate them as when Toffee gives birth she will not want Jess around for a short while anyway.

Jess is most disgusted and howled the whole time. I shall put her with Poppy, my young lab and see if she settles with her. Dogs!!!

I have been down sizing my horses. My youngest son decided he would like to do athletics instead of riding  and as my 15 year old son is now too old to do pony games I have parted company with my 13.2hh boy.:(

Life is so very busy and my boys and I had acquired a lovely, now 3 year old to back and break in but no one has the time so he has gone to live with a lovely lady who is intending to event him.

He is so lovely he followed me onto the trailer when they came to collect him. Loading a horse into a tight, confined space is some thing that proves very difficult with many, well established horses never mind, unbroken youngsters.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Barney came to play

Barney's family are moving house today. A stressful day without having to think about dog, cats and rabbits so all the animals have come to me for the day. Jess and barney have spent the last hour charging around, rolling and wrestling. He should go home tired!

Monday, 1 August 2011

Who is a pretty boy?

This is Rocky. he really doesn't t like women but is great with my boys.
He has quite a vocabulary most of which I would not repeat . he loves being read to and enjoys my sone piano playing. A fun fee paying guest.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Back to reality

Actually it is always great to get back home from any holiday.

Marian has done a great job looking after my business and our home. She even said she enjoyed it and would do it again so where next for us? :)

We certainly have plenty of animals in so she has been very busy.
The cattery continues to grow and the small pet units are full at the moment too.

Toffee is starting to look round (due in 4 weeks) but it hasn't slowed her down yet as she chases for the ball as fast as the rest of my crew.

We have a stunning parrot in at the moment who is not too keen on women and makes a racket when I go into our lounge where he is but he loves my boys. He likes being read to and enjoys my youngest sons piano playing.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Where are we?

Florida. Busch Gardens to be precise.

My boys and I are on holiday with another family. We have been to every theme park and water park in Florida, Orlando. It has been fantastic. Great company,weather, food and the service you get here is second to none. The standards are so high and every detail is addressed to  ensure we have a fabulous holiday. They are the masters of que management and entertaining you whilst you wait.

I have been particularly impressed by the rides themselves also the simulation rides. You truly believed and had to remind yourself it isn't real. I especially felt this in the Harry Potter ride where you feel you are truly flying and you are there by yourself.

Busch gardens is my favourite park as it has a good mixture of rides, not too busy and animals who appear to be happy in their confinement. My boys, being animal crackers clearly enjoyed it too.

It has been many years since I/we have had a good holiday but now we have managed this one we are off again!! (some time)

Saturday, 9 July 2011

The puzzles of life

My dogs love to play ball.
I use the very hard rubber balls as they do not tend to chew them.
I have several on the go and throw them, a sea of dogs chase.
Some one gets it back to me. Some are better than others at giving it.

Poppy will give it but not when the other dogs are close, which is almost all the time. So she keeps it in her mouth.

This morning they have all had a good run around and are panting quite a lot. I collect big buckets of storm water as they do prefer it to tap water. The buckets are full. WOW have we had some rain.

Poppy stood over the bucket, clearly desperate to drink, with a ball in her mouth. She half dropped it and caught it, over the bucket several times. It was so funny to watch her puzzling how to do it.

Her thirst eventually got the better of her and, SPLASH!! in the bucket it went. Once she had quenched her thirst she spent quite a while working out how to retrieve the ball. She could clearly see it under the water. She pushed her nose a little way in several times, I think to test it. She physically stood tall, took a deep breath and plunged her head in. It took her several seconds to bring it out but her did it.

What a clever girl.

Poppy does stand out for me as a particularly bright Lab. I continue with puppy training and she makes me look good. She is such a natural and seems to know what to do before you ask. She loves the close work and walked with me off the lead, glued to my leg. Oscar, my male lab on my other leg.


Monday, 4 July 2011

We would like some cherries

The starlings, every year get there first. The eaters are ready now. As I walk outside the squark is deafening. The whole tree comes to life as they eat in their cherry frenzy. They know exactly what they are  doing as they will leave the cooking cherry tree until later.

I also watched with fascination as the heron sat on the netting, in the middle to make it dip down so it could get to our fish in our pond.

My eldest son and I have been working our big horse and getting him ready for camp. What a privilege to able to share such a rewarding hobby with your children.
He has also decided that he may be interested in helping to back and break our beautiful youngster. This is him Ace, he looks like a beached whale but obviously very relaxed to be flat out like this.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

A fabulous day

Last week was trips week at my boys school. They were all over the place, at different times and needing different equipment. What fun they have had though!

Yesterday the junior school did a Peak district walk. It is my youngest s last year as he moves to seniors in September. I love the occasion. There are about 70 boys ranging from 7 to 11 Lost of teachers and quite a number of parents.

It was a perfect day for walking and everyone did enjoy it. Non more so than myself. It did mean an exceptionally early start at the farm as we have lots of cats in and my dogs of course. My boys are all shattered too so is was a bit of a struggle to get them all up and focussed on their day :)

We started out from Chatsworth house and walked for 6 miles although it didn't seem that long.
Of course we parents and the teachers chatted all the way. At one point we were climbing a hill. The pathway through fern. The long line of children looked like ants.

It is ok having a few hours off but the work doesn't get done by itself so when I returned I had to catch up. I do enjoy it though and even found time to pop to The clock Tower in Shardlow to have a bit to eat with a girl friend so even more chatting :)

I got to bed at midnight so after a 5am start I was shattered and slept like a long. All that Peak District air too :)

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Stop the express train!!

The cattery is quite busy and I do make a point of giving every cat that wants it some TLC.

The dogs are mostly quite young and full of energy so need lots of exercise.

My phone is very busy as people are booking their cats in for the summer (almost full now).

Also this week my boys have "trips week" at school which means often they are in 3 different place at 3 different times.
My eldest is doing his work experience. SOOO grown up. He is on a stud/horse yard and having a great time. (it's miles away from here of course)

My middle son is doing his D of E in the peak district and I will find out this evening if he has had fun.

My youngest does different every day. Fencing, football, swimming gala, Peak district walk are but a few of the activities.

My boys are at the Derby Grammar School and never have I had cause to drag them to school and they are all achieving well but most importantly they are  HAPPY.

In between I try and keep on top of the housework:)

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

How dare they!!

This evening my dogs were disturbed just as dusk was falling. My middle son looked out of the window to see two youths, who must have come through my closed gate, walking down our drive. Our drive leads onto our land and our land onto the neighbours. There is no access road nor any rights of way. I shouted out of the window as by this time they were climbing our fencing into our fields. They told me they were on there way to Sinfin!!

The route they were taking was in the wrong direction and what is wrong with the highway?

I called the police who were here very quickly. I also called the neighbours as they were heading for his land. He called our other neighbours and as the light faded the fields were full of men with torches and tractors combing the area. If nothing else I do hope that they get a clear message that the rural neighbourhood watch scheme works very well.

Needless to say I have double checked everything is locked and I have left my dogs in various places to increase our security.

The police were very good in terms of combing the area and informing me of their ongoing activity. I shall have no hesitation in contacting them should I have any cause for further concern.

Friday, 24 June 2011

We should have puppies soon :)

These two got married this morning. They courted a little first of course. Toffee, you may not recognise her with her smart hair cut but she is our miniature poodle. Duky is a KC registered cocker spaniel. Both have the most wonderful temperaments and the resulting puppies should be lovely. As one of the purposes to cross breeding with poodles is to reduce hair loss, I have purposefully used a working line as they are much less hairy and toffee will add the curl and thickness of coat.

lots of people have made enquiries about the development of our dog boarding facility. They have heard about it through word of mouth or via the local paper so, thanks to the paper for the publicity.
The project is moving along nicely. The plans look great and I am sourcing under floor heating and self filling water pots at the moment.

Sunday, 12 June 2011


My eldest son had just had a great session with our big 17.3hh horse. We are getting him fit for horse camp in the summer.

He was turning him out into the paddock. We know he has separation anxiety so always let him go in a certain way as he often shoots off to his mates. except this time he spun into the handle of the open gate which impaled him, thank fully between his ribs and came straight out. He had an indentation the length of our index finger. He was clearly very shocked as he stood, motionless. He started to shake. My son was clearly upset and asked me to call the vet. Finch staggers a while then lay down, flat on his side and threw back his head. He was making strange noises and his eyes were rolling.

We all thought he was dying!!.

After what seemed an age he got up, shook his head and started eating grass.

4 days on he seems fine. He has a swelling which is close to where the girth sits but we shall tack him up and see how it goes today :)

Thursday, 2 June 2011

An update

Sorry again it has ben a while but life is sooo busy.

Sadly I have been to both my brothers and brother in laws funerals recently. They were very best friends. They were both lovely, committed family men who did no harm to anyone. They went about life with a quiet demure about them. offending no one and worked hard. They died from different caused within 6 weeks of each other. One 50 one 53 years of age. I cannot believe they are gone!! Life is so cruel at times :(

This is Freddie
He is clearly enjoying the early morning sun. He has just been groomed too. (I should charge for this service :))

My boys are great. On half term and we are having fun which is what it is all about. We shared many hours playing on our horses yesterday and what a lovely day it was. 
I am so privileged to be able to share a hobby with my beautiful boys.

Digging out in readiness for the dog boarding is now complete.
It looks fantastic!!

Monday, 23 May 2011

It's raining!!

At last, a decent amount of rain. It is throwing it down!!. This should help the grass and, hopefully hay won't be quite so pricy this year.  Also I do like to stop feeding hay before May as there should be oooodles of good grazing but it was getting close to being a poor year.
Fingers crossed.

Still waiting for my girls to come into season as I get lots of enquiries for puppies.
The cattery is so very busy. Lots of new customers as well as returning ones. We must be doing some thing right.

I have an architect and structural engineer working on my plans for the dog boarding. Well we do want it to be right and of very good quality.

I've started paining my outside windows today. trying to salvage old wooden ones for a little longer.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

The power of Vicks

Yes, Vicks to help you breath more easily when you have a cold.

My eldest son loves riding my 17.2hh horse (a big boy). He is very bothered by flies and head shakes masses when he works. As he head shakes he lifts his head and goes very hollow through his back, making it impossible to sit to and work him properly. It is so uncomfortable and it makes the riders back ache after a while.
We have tried all the predictable methods to deal with the problem. Fly spray, mask, nose net, feeding garlic etc. Our trainer suggested using Vicks under his nose net, on his nostrils.  I must admit, we were sceptical but thought we'd give it a go as had nothing to loose.

Wow!! I cannot believe the result. I have just done some great work with him. Very intense and difficult for one so large and he was great. My son was my trainer and we were both amazed as we realised he didn't head shake once.

We are praying for rain as our grass needs to grow to feed our horses.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Been busy!!

I had an operation on my foot last Thursday. The surgeon told me 5 mins per hour, weight baring, for 2 weeks. I did well for a couple of days (whilst it hurt a lot) but I'm glad he didn't see me today!!

An early start to walk, feed and poo pick our dogs and puppies

Next- tending all our boarding animals (they all need a little TLC too)

Next- drop my youngest for his day paint balling with his friends

Next- home to help my eldest prepare for his pony games competition and the International Horse trials at Chatsworth House.   WOW what a setting and the children had a fantastic day, all smiling and no disasters thank goodness. They did very well.

Next- drop my middle son with my partner (the two of them went to the cinema and had a very tasty subway) They had a lovely day.

Chatsworth took up many hours however I did sneak a little sit down and enjoyed the Sue Carson Dressage demonstration. Fantastically elegant. I'm enthused and want to get on my horse!

Next -it's now evening so gather my boys, care for all the animals, both boarders and guests.

Next - Late evening Honey is leaving home (Jackapoo puppy) Mr and Mrs Dickerson and delighted with her and promise to keep in touch. Honey is going to have a lovely life attending many local council appointments with Mrs Dickerson.

Next- Very late evening   "Whats for tea?" asks my eldest son.

It is a great life and such good fun but at times exhausting.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Old or young?

I had  long chat with a lady yesterday who is toying with the idea of whether to have a puppy or a rescue dog.

I hope I wasn't biased, being a breeder but this is what we discussed.

A puppy comes as a clean canvas. It will have no bad habits and what it learns will be up to you. If training is started from day one, is correct and consistent then the resulting dog will be what you have created.
It will be very accepting of your life ie children, other pets, routine and life style.

A rescue dog is unknown and whilst it is very sad that they are in need of a new home they are an unknown. They will have had the all important ground work done and who knows how well.
They will inevitably be more "set in their ways" and have routines. That being said many go onto new homes and bring great joy but many don't.  It is a gamble!

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Miss mating

Jilly my chocolate Labrador came into season. I hadn't noticed but Oscar had. He told Buster, my partners castrated labradoodle, under no uncertain terms to stay away from her. I thought this strange as Oscar is such a laid back, cool dog. I made sure Buster was ok, turned around to see Oscar and Jilly tied (mated). Oh! No! As she was to miss a season, off to our vets we went for the "morning after" type injection. 

She seems fine and suffering no side effects and the resulting puppies should be reabsorbed.


May the 4th be with you :)

Tom is mixing with celebrities!!

Mr and Mrs Coppen called to collect their rabbit, Twist but who can resist a cuddle with a gorgeous puppy?

Mr Coppen will be known to many of you star wars fans as he was an Ewok in Return of the Jedi.

For more information about Mr Coppen visit

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Success! Dog boarding coming soon

Just in case I had any spare time I have just been granted planning permission to build dog boarding units. I hope to be welcoming our first guests in the not too distant future. The committee at the council meeting were all very enthusiastic with a unanimously positive vote. I guess they like to see progression and people trying to move business forward.

The units will be purpose built of course and to a high standard with under floor heating and self filling water holders.

We do have lots of experience with dogs so I am really looking forward to having boarding dogs and the way it is being positioned it will not affect our cat or small pet guests.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Hairy dogs!!

Toffe, our mop on legs went to the poochy parlour yesterday.

She was looking great as she flew around our yard with no eyes or legs to be seen but her coat was sooo matted. It was starting to restrict her movement and she gathered all sorts of rubbish when we went into the fields, so, yes she looks a different dog now. I'll put a picture on later.

This is our time of year. Out side!.

Today I am fencing, strimming, clearing the weed from the sides of the manege. I have various animals on the move, mainly coming in, for my business today and Jess has a vet appointment for second immunisations. We will no doubt ride and play with the animals too.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Please feed me.

A typical Labrador!  Rosie is willing Giant to drop some food. She sat there ages, waiting patiently just in case any should fall and plenty did.

Giant is a just 4 year old x race horse. He looks a little ribby at the moment. Partly as he is so young, is full thorough bred but also he is newly out of racing. He ran 10 races and was just too slow. With some decent spring grass in his system he will soon fill out.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

So cute

Tom (his owners have named him) makes a lovely cushion. :0)

3 weeks old now, up and waddling around. Eyes and ears open. Dreaming about who knows what, as they whimper when asleep.

One of the girls is hopefully packing her bags and off to France. Wow! lucky girl.