Your dog and you in the Countryside

March 10, 2016

More and more commonly I am being bombarded with images and newspaper stories about livestock attacks by out of control dogs. Call this a rant if you will, but I think that is unacceptable.
Dogs need daily exercise, so it is great that people are taking their dogs out and about for adventures...however...dogs have natural prey instincts and enjoy chasing things. This includes sheep, cattle, deer, hares, birds and basically anything else that moves. I'm fairly sure that  maybe 90% of dogs these days wouldn't have the foggiest idea about what to do if they actually caught up to these animals that they're chasing. To most it is just a game. But this doesn't change anything.
A lot of people don't know that sheep can have heart attacks VERY easily. Being chased round and round a field by a dog, or several dogs is enough to kill a sheep through stress. More importantly, at this time of year ewes out in the field are likely to be pregnant and can very easily abort their lambs if being chased and stressed out. This is not okay. Of course there's the animal welfare issue, but let's remember that these animals are some farmer's income. They're his wages. They put a roof over his family's heads. Is it right that some people think it's okay to allow their dog to chase sheep? No it is categorically not.
Aside from all this, a farmer is perfectly entitled and within the law to shoot a dog that is found worrying his livestock. I know I wouldn't be able to live with myself if Bosun got shot because I didn't have him on a lead. It's just not worth the risk people.
Now I grew up in the countryside and all of this is second nature to me. I know however that there are some people out there who want to walk their dog responsibly in the countryside but simply do not know how. So I have put together a few little tips to help everybody and their four legged friends have a happy, safe and legal experience in the countryside.

  • Keep dogs on a short, fixed lead around livestock. No dog's recall is 100% all of the time so the safest thing for you, the dog and the livestock is to have him on a lead.
  • There is only one exception to this rule, and that is if cattle begin to chase you. If you find yourself being chased by a herd of cattle, then the safest thing you can do is to let your dog off the lead quickly and get yourself to safety. Your dog can outrun the cattle, you can't!
  • Never walk your dog between a cow and her calf. They are extremely protective and you could endanger yourself. Walk around the outside of large herds of cattle.
  • Pay attention to signs. Some permissive footpaths might be closed during lambing season or spraying works for safety reasons. Take notice of signs because they could save your life.
  • Clean up after your dog! Dog mess spoils the countryside for everybody and can spread disease to farm animals. If your dog goes to the toilet on the path, clean up. Leave nothing but footprints!

I found this helpful little Q and A about dogs and their training around livestock.
Read Adam Quinney's story about vicious attacks by dogs on his sheep on his farm.

I hope you find this useful. Bosun is on the lead permanently at the moment! He is nearly eight months old and at that adolescent stage where he doesn't listen to a single thing I say. So until further notice, I am not giving him the opportunity to wonder off!

Do you have any stories about livestock and dogs?

The Winter Crown by Elizabeth Chadwick

March 04, 2016

My Review

Historical novels like this are definitely one of my favourite genres. It wasn't until after I'd finished this book that I realised it was the second in a trilogy and I definitely have not read the first one. Doh! But it still stands alone as an entertaining tale anyway.

This is set in the 12th Century when Henry iii was on the throne and follows the ups and downs of Eleanor of Acquitaine, his wife. I find the characters in this book are extremely well written and believable. It's well known that Eleanor of Acquitaine was ahead of her time in terms of power and influence and this comes across in the book. It is important to know that although she is influential and that her title as Duchess of Acquitaine is important to her, above all her children are her number one priority and I think Chadwick strikes just the right balance between fiercely protective mother and Queen.

The story does tend to jump from year to year which is fine as long as you keep an eye on the titles of the chapters, which are years, otherwise you could find yourself getting a bit confused.

Over all I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who likes something to sink their teeth into.

Has anyone read the other books in the trilogy?

Spring Cleaning Round-up!

March 01, 2016
The visitor season is fast approaching. Come 21st March, my time will be taken up with showing visitors to the Chillingham Wild Cattle a good time! So my philosophy is that a clean house is easier to clean. Although I'm sure that's not a revelation. There's probably a lot of people that have already realised that. Anyways...
I have been spring cleaning the house, de-cluttering and scrubbing everything down to within an inch of my life. Something that has really helped is Pinterest! There are so many helpful hints and tips to make keeping your home clean easier. This is going to help me so much during the visitor's season when I'll be back to full time hours and have less time for house work! I thought I would share some of my favourites here with you.

  • How to Clean your Bathroom like a Pro - When I first read this I thought...well...surely there's only one way to clean a bathroom? But No! This article revolutionised my bathroom cleaning routine! An amazing tip to make sure your toilet brush doesn't get all ganked up and disgusting, and the introduction of micro-fibre cloths! Oh my gosh these cloths are amazing!
  • How to Fake Clean a House in Twenty Minutes - This article basically describes how to make your house presentable in twenty minutes, you know, when you have those last minute guests dropping in and the house is a tip. I get quite a lot of those and while I do try and keep the house as tidy as possible, I can guarantee that someone will want to pop in just after Bosun has thrown a tantrum and destroyed one of his toys all over the floor. So this article tells you how to fake clean a house, basically where to stash things last minute to create an illusion that your house is tidy. I love it!
  • Keep Dust Down - Some brilliant tips on how to effectively dust your home. It's totally true that before I would just be wiping dust off of surfaces, and then the dust would just settle somewhere else. Not any more!
  • How to Make your Home look Professionally Cleaned -  I really like this step-by-step to do list of chores to do every day. I feel like putting chores down on paper makes them look a lot more manageable and makes you feel like you've achieved a lot more after you've ticked them off. I love to-do lists! 
So I hope you've all learned a little something from these tips. I would recommend following these blogs too because these ladies have some of the best home-making tips out there!

Who else is spring cleaning?

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