as cosy as can be

nodding off

nodding off

I wish I could sleep with the ease and abandon that our JRT does.

I know I’ve said this before and it has been more evident than normal during these recent and cold snow covered days.

all tucked in

all tucked in

Max likes the quiet so he can often be found tucked up in his bed away from all the busy stuff and when he gets left to get a really good kip, I can’t resist popping his scruffy fleecy blanket over the top of him to stop the cold from waking him from his lovely sleep.

He sleeps with abandon and makes little grunting noises as he sighs and gets himself settled down to the job in hand.

half an ear on what is going on

half an ear on what is going on

He has had a couple of extra long and really good run out over the weekend, a 5 hour yomp in the muddy regions of the Thames Path in West Oxfordshire and another charge about this morning getting absolutely filthy.

turned onto his back and the covers are slipping

turned onto his back and the covers are slipping

There are mole hills everywhere and although the moles will be long gone, that has absolutely no bearing on his attempts to dig them out or his enthusiasm for it.

He was also convinced that there were rabbits hiding in a warren he likes to bother and his excitement must have really worn him out.

completely abandoned to the art of sleep

completely abandoned to the art of sleep

Here he is enjoying his post breakfast slumber without a care in the world!

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there’s a slot going on….

roe deer slots

roe deer slots

When we walk the dog/dogs at the weekend, it is evident that the place is teaming with wildlife.  We see some of it but mostly we are left with only signs of vast amount wildlife that is in the area.

There are deer living in the trees, grazing on the crops and moving through the cover. Their footprints (or slots) can be seen everywhere, especially when the ground is soft.

tiny slot and a mammal print

There are badgers, muntjac, hares, foxes, rabbits, predatory birds, herons, pigeons, pheasant, owls and partridges to name but a few.

tiny slots from young roe deer or possibly muntjac

tiny slots from young roe deer or possibly muntjac

The deer are the ones that we look out for most as there is always a chance that you will see them.  We know some of their favoured spots and the regular routes that they take in their day. We see small groups, singles and larger family groups but lately they seem to have been even more shy than usual.  We know they are occasionally hunted in the area and that might affect their numbers slightly but they aren’t hunted a lot and should be quite comfortable in the area and certainly not small in numbers.

Deer are jumpy and shy at the best of times so they are never really relaxed for long. They are constantly looking out or moving on if they don’t like the look or smell of something.

slots that show assymetric growth from an injury or  something else

slots that show assymetric growth from an injury or something else

We recently found out from someone (who knows lots about this kind of stuff) that an injury to a deer when it is young or something else has interfered with it’s growth creates asymmetry in the antlers which can be seen in their hooves too.

uneven antlers

uneven antlers

The lop sided nature of the antlers is one of the things that hunters prize.

running

running

Deer look so serene when they are grazing or gently moving around their territory but they are spectacular when they running. They can move at great speed.

The photo of the slots above was taken this morning in the frost. The dips at the back of the hooves are the dew claws and although these tracks aren’t fresh (they are a few days old), the slots show that the deer were running when they were made. You don’t always see the dew claws as hopefully they are grazing or wandering about, rather than running from some perceived danger

We have a tracking book that shows all these kinds of interesting details that you miss most of the time and you could make it a lifetime’s work just studying the tracks and trails of any one species.

I find it fascinating and I love the fact that they have been out there before you in the silence of dawn or the depths of the night, quietly going about their business and sensibly getting out of the way when us humans appear making lots of noise!


An Old Boy

max and hamlet

max and hamlet

I have blogged about my sister’s terrier Hamlet before. He’s been around for ever. We think he is about 12 or 13 but no one is quite sure.

His eyes have recently become a bit milky and we think it has affected his sight but he is fit and generally very well. He is, however, very, very grumpy.

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having a cuddle

His grumpiness has got him into trouble in the past but it is kinda how he is and that is it. To be fair to him, he is only grumpy with other dogs, he clearly loves people and he especially loves men.  His diminishing sight and overall grumpiness hasn’t been an issue really until recently when Fizz came to join his household.

Pupinksy

Pupinksy

She’s young and has boundless energy, I think she jumps into view and scares the bejesus out of the old fella. She gets told off A LOT. Add that to the fact that Heston, who also joined this previously ‘one dog’ household is as tenacious in his attempts to annoy Hamlet as Fizz is in her attempts to annoy Heston and the end result is that no one in the household, especially Hamlet, was happy anymore.

We took him for a few weeks at the end of the summer to give everyone a holiday from each other and hoped that when he went home, order would be restored, Fizz would have settled down and the grumpiness would have subsided slightly.  Unfortunately for all concerned, it was even worse.

After struggling for a couple more weeks, my sis & Kit made the very difficult decision that perhaps Hamlet really needed some peace and quite and that a new home might be the ticket for the Old Boy.

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He is undoubtedly grumpy and he has nuclear rancid breath that could render you speechless from 20 paces but JC & I didn’t hesitate to offer him a home and told my sis that he could come to spend his dotage with us and Max. He wasn’t to go elsewhere under any circumstances.

Max, our 4 year old JRT, winds him up sometimes and isn’t always pleased about sharing us but we 4 all to rub along fine and have settled into a new slightly different routine but it seems to suit.

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There is still enough space for a cuddle on the sofa.

There is still enough space on the back seat of the car.

And there is still enough food to go around.

settling down to an afternoon nap

settling down to an afternoon nap

We have spare leads, spare beds, spare bowls and many more things that have made the transition an easy one. Also, we know Hamlet, he used to come and stay with us for his holidays before we had Max and he absolutely LOVES London.

We are all happy with the set up and I am sure that Hamlet and Max are happy, fit and well in this new arrangement.

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My sis called around over Christmas and it was the first time Hamlet had seen her and Kit in a few weeks. He was clearly DELIGHTED to see them and stood at the gate for a while after they had left which gave me a few moments cause for concern.

We subsequently went for a walk with them and a full quota of dogs and everyone had a great time.  Hamlet is still spritely even though he grumbled a few times it was evident that he was enjoying himself. I did think he is probably missing his original pack and you have to ask yourself if you have done the right thing for the old fella.

there will be snoring soon

there will be snoring soon

It was very clear at the end of the walk where he wanted to be and who he was going home with! He practically made a run for it!

He’s on our sofa dribbling and snoring quite loudly as I write!!