Sunday, July 31, 2011

Buddy Blows Me Away

I have been sent some recent photos of Buddy Richardson, one of Molly's puppies earlier this year. I had to post this photo - I just think it is beautiful!

Buddy is taking to the stage in October at the Northern Bernese Mountain Dog Club Open Show at Tingley West Yorkshire and will be in the Minor Puppy Class. He is so beautiful.

Nunnery Farm is expecting arrival of a little Bernese Mountain Dog on Friday ..... Baby Elf Skelton

Drainpipe: Show Me The Way To Go Home

I have been waiting to post an update on Drainpipe for the last few days because although he has grown enormously over the past 10 days, and that would have been worthy of a post in itself,  I planned to try and reintroduce him and try and place him back with the ducks and chickens. I never like introducing new ones to the existing lot because I find my feathery friends are not friendly at all - at least not to each other, they do not accept newcomers lightly and in my opinion and can be very cruel during the initiation ceremony, sometimes killing the new ones if they are placed straight back with the others. This was not going to happen to little Drainpipe!

If I am introducing a new chick or duckling  I would put them in the isolation unit inside the hen house from which they can see the others and the others can see them and leave them there for a few days before letting them out (under my supervision) and monitoring the introductions. Even with these steps there are usually some quite ugly scenes before all settles down and the pecking order is adjusted taking in the new members and so I was prepared for Drainpipe to get some stick from the others and because he was such a special fella I knew it would upset me if any of the others attacked him but also knew that his place is really outside with the freedom to roam, grab his own food as and when he felt like it and being able to dip in and out of the pond whenever the mood took him. So I took a deep breath and walked outside with him.

I put some food down for everyone and then put Drainpipe down - he seemed to join in without any fear (living with 5 dogs and a Sheep in Dogs Clothing (aka Dave - who we will discuss tomorrow!) for the first part of his life have probably helped develop this attitude!)) the other hens occasionally pecked him to move out of the way and the other Muscovy ducks grabbed him quite aggressively from time to time - this worried me because I immediately knew he was not going to be accepted by them just now and he needed someone who would accept him and provide protection if he was to go back at this stage. His mum, the white Indian Runner duck constantly called and I thought she may want her little one back but every time he went after her she would run away.  Things were not going to plan just yet but I was not about to give up.

I stayed in the background watching him as he was ignored and/or pecked and tried to grab a bit of food here and there and whenever another bird moved he would follow until they realised and then turned on him. It was very sad to watch but after a few hours I decided to leave him alone and check every 20 minutes or so. Each time I checked he was sat alone - but unharmed which was all I could ask for really. There was never going to be a reunion with his mum and dad - too much time had passed but I hoped he would be accepted by someone. So when I looked out of the window and saw this...

Dad and Drainpipe (the small blob)

I was and still am gobsmacked!

I noticed his dad was affording him protection during feeding time and then I noticed him encouraging him into the water and over-emphasising the pecking of food which ducks and hens do to teach their young how to do it - usually its mum who does all this but not this time - Drainpipe's Dad had one thing in mind - to get his little boy back and his family back together.
Drainpipe and His Mum

And he did just that!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Dartmoor Diet

Libby the Beautiful Teeny Weeny Dartmoor Pony joined Nunnery Farm in December 2010 and settled into life here very well.  She was bought as a pony for my little boy and things were going well.

Even though my little boy is still too small to ride her she enjoyed walks up the lane with the dogs and a friend's daughter was able to ride Libby from time to time so all seemed well until ....

Two friends dropped in for tea! These two were beautiful Gypsy Vanners - they are adorable ... but still boys in a field with my Girl!!

Libby and the two BOYS got on extremely well - I phoned a lady who knew who the owner was and she came to collect them shortly afterwards but it is to date a mystery as to whether 1 will become 2! Libby and the Boys seemed to get very close during the time the boys were in the field with her!

This little escapade happened a couple of months ago now and I thought Libby was getting a little larger and didn't pay much attention to it thinking that she was obviously pregnant due to her antics with the boys. Then my friend (who knows lots more than I do about ponies) simply said to me that she was too fat to tell whether Libby was preggers so she has gone on the Dartmoor Diet.

Libby is not impressed!

She is now on a friend's stud farm being exercised daily and in October - when the fat has subsided, we will know whether there will be a Winter Baby at Nunnery Farm!

.........Watch this Space!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Break In Transmission

Nunnery Farm internet is going down this afternoon and will not be back up and running for at least a week. As soon as it is fixed ... I'll start reporting the antics, by then I am sure there will have been many!

So long, fare thee well
Pip! Pip! Cheerio
We'll be back soon

Y'all come back now!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

It's Me Dave .... Help ............... Petition Needed

Me Looking Like a Dog
Right I am in sooooooo much trouble!

I have been put in the field on more than 4 occasions .......... but honestly, it is rubbish. I wait until she has gone to bed then I hurdle the wall, trespass through the next field, and walk up the drive.

My Pack

Anyone else would think this genius .... not her!

I now sleep in the front porch if it is left open, otherwise I get in the dog kennel which no-one uses.

Startled - A Dog in Sheeps Clothing

But last night I slipped in, crept into Minnie's bed and sat quietly until everyone had gone to bed. I was only discovered this morning and apparently I am being moved into the bottom field on Saturday because I made a mess.

I have to be caught first ..............

Love Dave x

An Update From Drainpipe

Me, Drainpipe
Drainpipe is doing exceptionally well.

I have been terribly concerned with his eye and have been fanatical about bathing it and keeping it moist, just in case the eye lid did still exist under the scabs. I know he has got the film still glossing over his eye.

Me and Minnie .... Aim High!

As I have said I have been watching Drainpipe's eye like a mad woman and each day I have noticed a little bit more of the pupil has become visible. Today my suspicions have been confirmed - Drainpipe has regained sight in his eye and can see out of both eyes, this is an absolute miracle and nothing more than luck due to the random way the skin was ripped off.

Molly My Friend
The long and short of this situation is that Drainpipe doesn't think he is a duck he has been with me too long now. I have tried on more than a couple of occasions and Drainpipe absolutely refuses to remain with the ducks .... I don't bloody well believe it..... another one for the kitchen!

So Drainpipe is the second member of the Nunnery Farm I Was Born To Be Different Club... I thought this club would be exclusive! Hmmmmmmmm!

There are currently only two members (to date):

Dave The Lamb
(Founder, Chairman and Global Membership Secretary)

Drainpipe The Duckling
(New Member and Second In Command)

Me, Sat on Minnie - Normal Behaviour?!

......... and as the old saying goes, if you have to tell people you are................

What?.......Me on my new friend Minnie!
 ............ you aren't 

So here at Nunnery Farm the fashion seems to be .... odd is mod!!

Me Swimming in the Dog Water Bowl

Maybe we should set up a Nunnery Farm It's Fine to be Different Club........................ Views!!

Love Drainpipe x

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Drainpipe Goes Swimming

Now for those of you who do not have a 2 year old, may I say, Well Done!

For you who do, or who have at some stage had one, you may well understand the events of yesterday.

It went like this:

Drainpipe was playing with my little boy and all was going well

Me - Come on put the duck in its box we need to get going.

2 year old - No

Me - Come on we are going to be late, the swimming lesson starts in half an hour.

2 year old - No

Me - Right, give him to me and get in the car.

2 year old - No.

With that the 2 year old was on the floor with no intentions of swimming or anything else. Negotiations had begun. We now had 15 minutes to get there and the journey took 10 plus we needed time to get changed and generally mess about so this meant that we were now officially late. I was getting used to punctuality and myself no longer walking hand in hand. Everything these days needed to be negotiated and then usually negotiated again.

Only one thing for it.

Me - Right get up and get in the car with the duck.

And with that, we were on our way.

Drainpipe in Footwell 
And so we got to the swimming baths, had the lesson and came home again.

Back Home

Monday, July 11, 2011

Bye Beryl ... And May I Say, Thank You x

Happy Days

I had noticed recently that one of my girls, a Silver Laced Wyandote, was looking rather old and tired. She had become unsteady on her feet and occasionally lost her balance and needed her wings to steady herself. This is always a little upsetting to see and a sign that, in the race nature sets us all, old age had finally tapped her on the shoulder. 

I bought Beryl and her 4 sisters at a local poultry sale about 3 years ago and knew at the time that the reason they had been put into the sale was probably due to them being over 2 years old and that their egg production either had or was about to start to decline. This happens once a hen reaches 2 years and whilst not a problem to most poultry fanciers, can mean only one thing for those after serious egg production - replacement!

Big Girls like these are not the best layers and although they do lay for a while each year, they prefer to go broody and sit for the rest of it.  

For me, having only 2 people and a baby to collect eggs for, this is and has never been an issue. Most eggs produced here at Nunnery Farm, go in the Honesty Box at the end of the lane and my reason for keeping hens is purely for my own self indulgence which is watching different pretty breeds bumble about the gardens.

A Lady

Relying on their looks rather than their egg production the 5 gorgeous hens sat in their cage and waited patiently. When it was their turn I bid and I won. So the Wyandotes joined the hens 5 and set up home at Nunnery Farm.

They have given me plenty of eggs really over the years and more than that - hours of entertainment and so when I saw the first of these old ladies showing signs that her journey was almost complete it saddened me but at the same time brought a happy feeling - not many hens in today's world live out their lives to the end, and literally fall off their perch! Even a commercial free range egg layer is replaced when she is 2. Where does she go then?

So yesterday I went to check the hens and noticed she was trying to get into one of the lower nest boxes with a struggle. I knew this was the end, she wanted a quiet place to just lay down and sleep. I gathered her up and brought her inside one last time. She had a little cucumber and fresh water and was quite perky but tired.

An hour or so later I took her back to her house and her friends and as she wanted put her in the nest box she had tried to get in to earlier. She ruffled her feathers and sat back quite comfortably. I brushed her cheek, she closed her eyes.

Good Bye x
Forever At Nunnery Farm

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Drainpipe Befriends Minnie

Drainpipe Duckling, Nunnery Farm's newest addition really did have a nasty head injury when I brought him inside the kitchen last Sunday evening. He had been unable to re-connect with his mum and had made it obvious to the others that he was without protection and in doing so became a target. The geese are my main suspects, mainly due to the shapeof the wound Drainpipe had on his head. It was not a barrage of pecks which would have come from the hens but more like something had grabbed his fur and ripped it. Drainpipe had no fur or skin left on the right side of his head. His eye, although still there, had no lid and I doubted whether he would regain the sight.

So after spending a few hours with him I warmed an old woolly hat in the tumble dryer and put Drainpipe inside in his new cardboard box style home and watched him snuggle down. I went to bed and was realistic in my beliefs that he would probably not be with me in the morning.

I got up the next day and could hear no sounds coming from Drainpipe and put off checking him straight away but then I took a deep breath and peered over the sides of the box and was met by a crusty head tilted to one side and a few chirps. I smiled.

The worst was over, he had survived the shock, the wound had started to scab over and amazingly his eye was wet so the little film he would use to blink was unharmed. He was unable to close his eye when he had a snooze but chose instead to tuck that side under his wing so he is managing and appears to be unaffected by his earlier trauma!

A few days on and Drainpipe is the new Dave. He is not at all happy being left in his box and makes so much noise that there is no option but to lift him out. He Potters around on the floor and is keeping very close to his new best friend Minne the Great Dane!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

What Do You Get When You Cross A Lamb, A Duckling And A Nightmare?


Hello, Good Evening and Welcome,

You are tuned in to Nunnery Farm - the place where if it can happen, it certainly will happen - and once again I can report  to you that everything that could go wrong did, in fact, go wrong.

A Duckling In Disguise
What a heck of a day. I have just got in and can tell you that I do not know how I found this duckling but I did. In fact I am unbelievably worn out, have sunburn that is just a mass of water blisters on my shoulders, my eyes are swollen and look like they belong to a bloodshot frog, my nose is blocked and my face is covered in scratches because I have terribly bad hayfever, and nettle stings because I jump like an idiot, and it itches and I scratch it, simple as that. I am really allergic to grass and trees and it went out of my mind to take any of my tablets before I jumped over the fence to get searching for it. I jumped down over the fence in a fashion that only an imbecile would be proud of and straight into a 3ft  band of nettles, then tripped  up. So mad!

Grass Covering Broken Drain

Right - where do you start. The whole field is overgrown with not big but massive thistles with arms that are about 3 foot long and I have no idea what to do even when I get to this drain. I am massively scared of frogs BIG TIME. So armed with a tea-towel and Asda carrier bag - obviously, I mean what else do you need on a duck drain rescue (cant believe it now) I scanned the field. I knew the duckling had gone down the drain which is the overflow on the pond. This then went underground and straight down the field in front of me so I figured if I walk to the end I would see a pipe or something to go on. Off I set, when I got there the end of the field was a sheer drop down into a little stream below. I thought right then that it had gone  because if it had come out and was even visible it was too dangerous for me to try and climb down. I felt sick.
Duckling Following Its New Mum (Me!) While I Hoover

I headed back up the field so disappointed but I just couldn't leave. I couldn't. I decided that I would just give the field another search, corner to corner and see what turned up. So slowly I walked backwards and forwards over the whole of the field and after this proved unsuccessful decided I would walk the drain line again, the old clay pipes were hundreds of years old, there may be a break in a part of it - so I started walking and parting the grass in a straight line again, on  my hands and knees in parts - praying to the God of Frogs not to let one be where my hands were going.

Guess What?
Safe and Sound
I found hole in the field which on closer inspection had slow water running through it. I had found the drain.

Now all I could think about was that I had to put my hand in this black hole and I knew I would touch a frog. Not only am I having the day from hell but I am now a contestant on I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. I bent down and was convinced I saw an eye - oh it was awful - I cannot describe the fear of putting my hand in that black pipe. I tried time and time again and even with Asda's help I could not start feeling around.  I started to do my best impersonation of a baby duckling and its an intermittent scratchy whistle. Nothing.

Then again, and again, and again. I figured if it was there I would hear it.

Then I did. I heard it - that made my heart pound and I waited and waited continuing to whistle and then it appeared - the Drainpipe Duckling with feathers all stubby and brown. Yeeeeeeeeeeeessssssssssss!

I scooped it up and brought it back home and as quickly as I could put it back with the other birds and its mum.

I made constant checks and then on my last check when I looked it had been attacked by some of the other ducks and now has a really nasty head injury. I guess it had been away too long. So, not to worry, it is the newest addition to move in and become a member of the hand reared brigade. One out, one in - only Dave hasn't really left. It is on my knee now as I type this and has followed me round the kitchen while I hoovered. Since most of my day has been spent dealing with animal rescue I thought it best to put in at least a quick hoover.

So there it is - mission drainpipe duck success

The duckling has quite a nasty head injury and it is far from out of the woods but you can rest assured that if it can be saved - I will save it.
Asleep on my knee typing Blog
Now where is the wine!!!

Dave The Lamb Found Safe And Well .....


Oh My Word - this is a nightmare of a day. Its not supposed to be a comedy and I woudn't mind but I am supposed to actually love animals .... what is going on!!!!!!!

Right I have got to dash because I know the drain goes into a 4 acre field in front of the house but I have no idea where or if it comes out at all or whether it is a seep-away and I just cannot leave it there. So I am going now to try and locate it and find the drain and hopefully find the duckling.

This is just fabulous ... I mean how can this day get any better!!!!

Update soon!!!

Nunnery Farm Receives A Rather Special Delivery

There was one extra for breakfast this morning.

A few months ago I found a nest belonging to the Muscovys wedged in the eaves of the hen house. Unfortunately the duck didn't manage to stay on the nest long enough for any of the eggs to hatch which is quite common with hens and ducks so even though it was a little bit upsetting knowing she had been sitting on them for at least a week I removed the nest and cleared it out.

Then about a week later I was cleaning them out and I moved an old cardboard box to throw it out and noticed that there was something at the bottom.

Another Muscovy nest - no wonder my duck egg production line had come to a complete standstill! Not holding out much hope for anything to hatch I put it back and left it alone. I checked each morning when I fed them and noone was in sight, that the eggs were warm which they were and they were always covered over and but I have never seen anyone actually on the nest.

Then this morning I saw this ...

But I am puzzled because I am not convinced it is a Muscovy. I have a pair of Indian Runner ducks and I am certain it belongs to them. I have not had an egg from her for absolutely ages but have never come across a nest either and as they are ground ducks - they never fly - I would have thought I'd have come across it.

I have checked in the Muscovy nest for a broken shell ... and nothing!

So who does it belong to???!!

I will let you know as soon as I do! 

Dave The Lamb Goes Missing

As all the Dave The Lamb fans out there will already be aware Dave was given his first lamb duty a few weeks ago which he refused to do. From being one day old Dave lived in the utility room of the kitchen in his caged area until he was strong enough to walk and then his cage was moved and he was free to move around. Whenever I was around Dave pretended to be absolutely content with his quarters in the utility room and whenever I wasn't Dave skipped over to the kitchen and took the bed of his choice.

Dave The Lamb  Work
 Dave then moved permanently into the kitchen but got a little too comfortable and after 6 weeks he was still showing no signs of wanting to move out into the field to be with the rest of the Nunnery Farm Flock. I took action and decided he had to have his bottles reduced so he would want to eat grass and I moved him outside the front door. I still fed him at breakfast at 6am and then 11pm with his bottles. Dave was not amused.  Eventually Dave stopped asking for milk and began to live outside - but not in the field as you might expect oh no, Dave set up camp right outside the front door and this is where he continues to sleep to date.

Dave the Lamb at Work
So Dave's new job was to go back into the same grassy area that just couple of weeks ago he refused to stay in. The grass was getting a little too long and because of the slope if perfect for the sheep to eat off. Dave was less than impressed when I pulled him out from his shady spot under the landrover and placed him over the wire into the lovely new green grass.
Dave Before He Left Home
Dave appeared to settle and after a couple of minutes I left him to it as he munched on his new food. It was a nice day and I thought I would check on him later. All was going well! After all, Dave was more than big enough to live out in the field now so maybe this was the first move to him living permanently in the field and me getting the space outside the front door back.

A couple of hours later I went out to check how much chomping Dave had done and disappointingly the grass looked no different. In fact the only difference was that I could no longer see Dave. I looked again - no Dave. He was nowhere to be seen. I started shouting his name at the top of my voice over and over again but there was no sign. Dave had gone AWOL.

Dave the Lamb Leaving the Work Site
Without |Permission

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Complete Meltdown at Nunnery Farm Feeding Time Once Again

I am currently in the middle of potty training and so I have to listen out for my little one in the morning and as soon as he stirs I get up and he goes to the toilet. This is working really well with the only drawback being once Kyle is out of bed he is up and a fully fledged member of The Wide Awake Club. I am not and never have been and want to go back to bed. Not a chance! Kyle like a coiled spring all bouncy and loud we go downstairs ....... at 5.30am! Oh Yipeeee!

We had to collect my landrover from the garage because it had a service  so after going for my car once reasonable hour had approached we planned to feed the animals. I wanted 3 of the dogs in before I went out to do the feed because they are crackers and send me crazy with their stupid behaviour so Bean, Meg and Minnie were coming inside and not causing utter bedlam today. Yesterday I decided that the 3 idiots had caused their last bout of commotion whilst outside with me at feeding time.  I planned to grab Minnie first of all, then Bean and then Meg. It is normally an easy move. Then the sheep and pigs etc would be so simple.

Not a Chance!

Minnie out foxed me and ran down the drive. She does a silly walk when she gets excited - why? No idea. So then came the walk as she reared up on her hind legs and walked like a dinosaur.  Great Dane's are really strange. Once Bean saw this both Meg and Bean both ran off towards the pigs. Oh well they may surprise me and actually not drive me insane I got on with it. I had a couple of sacks of food to take down to the stable with so I got Kyle and we went to do the animals.

As soon as we step onto the path Minnie takes up her usual dinosaur/reptor stance. Bean also rears up and with both dogs on hind legs they do a sort of boxing but at the same time start making a stupid high pitch noise trying to grab each others necks - just annoying. It takes me all of about 2 seconds before I start to lose it and shout at them - they just completely ignore me - I'm getting more and  more annoyed and we have not even reached the stables. So with massive bag of food on one shoulder, 2 idiots playing Kangaroo Boxing in rings around my legs and a 2 year old half wrapped around my leg we hobble off towards the field. After walking for 30 seconds Kyle thinks it would really assist us if he was to be carried for the rest of the way. Not happening. I carry on holding his hand but then he stops and without warning does a flop onto the floor - this was still part of his wanting to be carried protest. After asking twice to get up I gather he is no longer talking to me so I carried on to the sheds. I empty food into the bins and got the buckets ready.

Usually if I am feeding without the dogs I can shut a gate to keep the sheep and lambs separate from the yard and the pigs are held back too so I can fill all feed bins up with their stuff and open the gates then they come in nice and quietly. No issues at all when I do them by myself everything runs like clockwork. Today was not such a day.

So back to the nightmare in hand. The pigs were now awake having been woken up by Bean and Minnie's constant barking. The pigs are heading over to the gate squealing and I can see whats about to happen because the dogs are all lined up at the gate to get them and I have not even sorted the food out. Meg then starts playing her own made up game Snap A Snout. In said game of Snap A Snout the rules appear to be that she barks constantly then sits right back away from the gate so the pigs think she has stopped then when she thinks a snout is within reach she lunges through the bars of the gate grabbing any pig snout she can. This sends Bean into a frenzy who starts to howl (again obviously necessary!) she is now in full-howl mode sounding exactly like a wolf. It is so loud now combined with the pigs squeals and Minnie and Meg's barking that I seriously cannot cope. We have achieved total meltdown. The sheep burst through the gate and are swirling like hornets jumping over each other and me and then push into the shed. Just brilliant -there was no getting this under any sort of control any time soon so I grabbed the sheep food and threw it down then just as Minnie had decided to take it to the next level and jump into the pig field I got to the pig gate first and grabbed her out of the way and got their food down. Minnie is back on hind legs at this time for reasons known only to her.

With my stress levels through the roof I cannot tell you how mad I was.

Never again will those idiots do any animal feeds.

I took Kyle's hand and we set off back to the house. He had been busy filling his pants up with stones from the driveway while I made a right mess of feed time and then thought it would make me happy if he climbed inside the coal bunker and rolled around covering himself completely with soot. It really helped. Off we went to do some jobs inside the house before my next animal job which was rounding up a sheep that had arrived in our field about 2 weeks ago, catch it, load it and then get it moved on.

This was going to be a breeze after what I had just done!