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Too hot....

♥Jun. 18th, 2017 // 08:15 pm
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I spent much of the day in the hammock. Jo is also too hot, poor thing.

The last couple of years, we've had a paddling pool on the patio for Jo to go in after her walks. It's not entirely satisfactory, as it's bigger and shallower than she'd like it to be, and takes so much water that I don't like to change it often, so it gets very icky. I did some noodling around online last week, and discovered the existence of something called a plasterer[']s['] bath, which is used to mix stuff up in and sounded like a very good size: 4'x2'x1' deep.

Jo does seem to like it, but it doesn't like being left full of water....



(It looks even worse now, the other side's also bowed out. I suspect it's going to die a death next time she climbs in!)

Bizarrely, GB seems to have bonded with one of the mares: when we brought them down the hill, he stood in the corner of the stableyard watching them, and when we put the boys to bed he was calling to her. Most unlike him, he's much too old to suddenly develop a taste for the ladies!
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Jo 3, crate 0

♥Jun. 4th, 2017 // 11:30 am
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Yesterday, we took Jo to the vet to check that there wasn't anything physically wrong with her. She's now got a clean bill of health and a pack of over-priced woo-woo pills, made from milk protein and designed to mimic the way that babies get stoned on breastmilk.

Needless to say, they made absolutely no difference last night when we moved the crate back downstairs and put her in it at bedtime. Mike, who is apparently softer-hearted than I am, gave in after fifteen minutes of banging and crashing. I needn't have bothered going downstairs to get her, though, because fifteen minutes was apparently all that the crate could stand as well:



I've ordered her a new dog bed for in our bedroom, and I guess the crate will be off to the tip on our next trip.

In better news, I did an hour's weeding yesterday with no ill effects, and the drive is now looking neater. Somewhat to my surprise, the spare sweetpeas that I put out there a couple of months ago are doing pretty well even though they got swallowed up by nettles and grass coming through the fence very soon after planting. Hopefully now that I've been able to give them some breathing space they'll bulk up a bit, because I think they would look nice growing over the fence.
Link8 kisses // Who loves you?

Sigh

♥Jun. 1st, 2017 // 03:50 pm
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Jodie )

Horses )

Wrists )

Oh, and grandad got thrown out of an expedited discharge from the hospital because he was causing trouble, and it looks like he's about to be thrown out of the latest home as well.

Still.

The ducks are laying well and the horses are busy getting fat.

The tomatoes and tomatillos are flowering, and I'm expecting the veg patch to suddenly explode into life any day now.

Mrs Farmer gave me a couple of evergreen honeysuckle last week, which I've planted next to the front fence in the hope that they'll grow over it and look / smell lovely, and the dahlias that I thought had been lost by the courier have arrived and been planted out.

I've just realised that the Pilates book that I bought months ago and never actually looked at not only goes through the exercises but has some ready-made routines in it, which helps with my vague plan to give up on classes in favour of doing it myself at home with an occasional (monthly?) private lesson to check I'm not getting bad habits.

Even with the good things, though, I'm feeling rather brittle and balanced on edge, which isn't a good way to be if you then have a wobble.
Link9 kisses // Who loves you?

Last night...

♥May. 31st, 2017 // 02:02 pm
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Jodie discovered new and exciting ways to break out of her crate. Sigh.

We're currently planning on moving the crate upstairs: if she insists on sleeping outside our door, she can at least do so in the box. Maybe that will make it less attractive and we'll be able to convince her to stay on her nice comfy sofa. Maybe.
Link3 kisses // Who loves you?

Pooch problems

♥May. 30th, 2017 // 07:36 am
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We've had a busy weekend of lovely visitors, but Jo seemed to be coping very well with it all until it came to bed time....

Three nights ago, I went to bed and left her in the living room with visitors under orders to cover the sofa, turn off the lights and close the door when they went to bed themselves. I've done that before, with no problems, but (in retrospect) it's always been people she knows better.

This time, though, she kept wandering upstairs and being brought back down again, then (after the door was closed) she started trying to bash the door open. Mike went down a couple of times to try to settle her, but she'd got herself worked up by then and when she started scratching the door he gave up and let her come in our room.

The next night, we didn't want a repeat performance and there was a thunderstorm forecast (which was indeed impressive), so I brought her up with me when I went to bed.

Last night, visitors having left, I put her to bed as normal on her sofa. Ten minutes later she started crashing into the door trying to get through to us, so we came back down, assembled her crate, and settled her in there instead.

Shortly afterwards, there was another crashing noise as she disassembled her crate followed by a panting at our bedroom door. We decided to leave it at that for the night, if only because we were tired and she was worked up again, and at least she didn't try to get through our bedroom door.

Today, the crate has been reassembled, and cable-tied to prevent easy disassembly. She's had two sessions in there so far, a shorter one with me pottering in the kitchen and a longer one with me upstairs. There were a few small exploratory thumps the first time but the second time she settled down and just looked mournful.

I don't really want to have to go back to crating her every night, if only because I can't imagine it will be great for her leg to sleep curled up rather than stretched out on her sofa, but I suppose we'll have to for a little while until she forgets about getting to go upstairs if she makes a fuss....
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All change

♥May. 10th, 2017 // 03:19 pm
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I've just got around to taking the LJ links out of my style sheet. I guess I've really given up on it, now! One of these days, I suppose I should switch to using a modern style: I'm still on a legacy LJ S2 style....

I had Quilt Club at weekend, including a class on Sunday (fortunately, it turned out that the speaker / tutor was far better at the latter than at the former) where we did a modern take on log cabin blocks.

This is what the class produced:

(Mine are the six entirely beige/grey ones about just over half way up the left hand side of the table. "That fabric's very... grey," said Teddy in disapproval when I showed it to him.)

I've done a bit more on it since, and am probably going to do a bit more again shortly. It's been quite interesting, and I'm enjoying it far more than 'proper' log cabin blocks on account of not having to be super careful about cutting the fabric to exactly the right size.

Mostly today I've been gardening. I've potted on almost all the tomatillos and most of the small chillis, and I've planted out the tomatoes, aubergines and peppers in the polytunnel:


(We did have a frost last night, but the thermometer in there recorded a low of 0.0C with the doors open, so they should be safe.)

Unfortunately, I did it a bit on autopilot and forgot that The Plan was to put one of each tomato variety outside thus leaving a grow bag spare for the big chillis, so they'll have to go in the conservatory instead. Which means that it's a good job that I didn't have enough compost to pot on all the tomatillos, as I'll need pots to do that!

Now that I've watered them all in, the polytunnel smells even more of wet dog than it did before (from the old carpet underneath): lovely! Hopefully the bits of the irrigation system that are on back order will arrive soon, so that I don't have to do too much hose-pipe watering.

(Jo was very helpful: after coming in the polytunnel once and knocking half a dozen plants over she decided that it wasn't a good place to be and scampered around the garden instead, where she's probably dug up something that she shouldn't have. On the plus side, she did hear a delivery driver that I didn't, so I was able to dash out and get the package. It's amazing how quickly the driver ran back down the path and through the gate when she bounded into the front garden barking.)

Jo and I are on our own today, as Mike's taken his mother to Belgium for an overnight stay. My grandad's had a partial hip replacement, the op seems to have gone well but he's quite confused and groggy. He should be ok as long as he doesn't pull any of his usual hospital tricks (eg, pulling his drip out, ordering taxis to collect him, attacking the nurses), but the chances of that aren't great given his past form.
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1 dpi

♥Mar. 9th, 2017 // 08:06 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1201986.html]

I'm getting to the stage where I have to decide what I'm actually going to do with them....



I've vaguely thought about making a bag from them, in which case I'm pretty much done. Or I could go on and make an actual quilt, in which case I'm very much not! Decisions, decisions.

Jodie's sofa has arrived, sooner than we expected. It didn't arrive in Ashford on today's lorry, and when they did some digging they found out that it was actually in Dartford. Rather than drive it to Ashford to then drive it here, they just brought it directly. It's rather bigger than the old on, Jo looks positively small curled up in the corner of it!

We've given up on the Dettol automatic hand wash dispensers, because they start having hissy fits after a couple of years and spew soap everywhere until you take the batteries out. However, we've still got three soap refils: does anyone use one and want them?
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Oops

♥Feb. 13th, 2017 // 04:43 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1198772.html]

For a lovely change, although the wind's bitter, it's been lovely and sunny today.

I celebrated by taking GB for a little ride in the school, where he was doing really well (to the extent that I had to remind myself not to push him too hard), and then we trimmed and tidied up the willow fedge.

After lunch, Mike had to work so I took Jo out for a nice, long-ish (for convalescent pooches) walk. As we started back down the hill opposite the house, Mike appeared on the drive and frantically shouted "Hydrotherapy!" at me.

Oops. We'd forgotten that Jo had a swimming lesson in, um, fifteen minutes and, of course, I'd had no signal when Mike tried to call me to get me to come back early.

The ducks got a rather hurried lunch and then we headed off in the car and only arrived a minute or so late. At which point I looked at Jo and just about managed to see her under the layer of mud.

Lots of hosing her down with the shower did help somewhat, but the water in the tank was rather murky after she'd been in it for a few minutes. "It's a good job I like you..." said the hydro lady, before conceding that it didn't matter too much given that the next (and last for the day) dog was the one with something of a problem controlling his bowels.
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Quilty

♥Jan. 31st, 2017 // 10:21 am
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1197186.html]

(LJ app still letting me post to my LJ even though it won't log me in. V mysterious!)

It has stopped being quite so cold, for which I am very grateful. It is rather misty, but I suppose you can't have everything.

I seem to have been quite busy, with living room redecoration arranging, pooch wrangling, failing to find a new horse, and several quilt-related things.

...living room redecoration... )

...pooch-wrangling, failing to find a new horse... )

...several... )...quilt-related... )...things... )

The down side of my being out at weekend was that Mike had to horse wrangle by himself when they were coming in to bed. They behaved on Saturday but on Sunday went charging off, spraining a couple of Mike's fingers in the process. They were also behaving like idiots list night, trying to get to the new mares (even GB!): possibly they've come into season. To be on the safe side, even though it's going to be a bit slippery I'm going to just let them run down the hill on their own tonight rather than try and lead both of them in along the road.
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Brr

♥Jan. 18th, 2017 // 06:47 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1195675.html]

It's been quite chilly here (yesterday, on the evening weather forecast, they mentioned that the afternoon had been sunny with a high of 13 in Scotland, and sunny with a high of 1 in Kent...), and we think that last night may have been the coldest since we moved here: the ducks' water bucket, inside the duck house inside the stable, was frozen over this morning, and when Mike did the animals' water this afternoon the garage tap (which gets the sun, unlike the stableyard one, which he didn't even try) took a while to run: both pretty much unheard of. (The weather station seems to be broken, so I don't have an exact figure. At least -10, maybe -12?)

Mike bought new carrots for the horses a couple of days ago, and yesterday I forgot to put some water in the bucket to store them (carrots keep better under water if it's -- ha ha -- warm weather). This morning, they were rather frosty looking, and the bucket of water from GB's stable that I poured over them had ice floating on the surface, with the end result that the carrots in the boys' dinners looked rather... chilly.



It turns out that the new people in the flat, who we've still not spoken more than a few words to for largely weather-related reasons, actually have three horses, all mares. Bugs was very interested in going to say hello when I brought the boys in past their field yesterday.

Jo had her first (this time around) swimming lesson today, a very easy session to get her back into it but she seemed happy enough and the physio was happy with how she looked in the water.
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Pooch update

♥Jan. 11th, 2017 // 12:57 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1194084.html]

Jo continues to look slightly less silly every day, and her leg seems to be healing on schedule as well.

We've just been for our 'walk': a few minutes down the road and back, but at least it's getting her out of the house. In another week or so, she'll be cleared to lie on the ground outside, so we won't have to keep tying her up in the barn, and she'll be back to swimming lessons.

I do hope that we don't get lots of snow tomorrow. I'll feel very mean if we do when she's not allowed to bound around in it!
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Picking up the pooch

♥Jan. 6th, 2017 // 09:35 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1193938.html]

After a rather rushed early morning (the farrier, and Mike being in London, meant I had a fair bit to do with the boys), I headed off to collect Jo from the vet.

Shortly after I got onto the A2, a couple of policemen, car parked across the road, waved me back off it, which made my heart sink: that meant I'd have to brave the Canterbury ring road to get back on track, and the Canterbury ring road locks up at the drop of a hat let alone the addition of all the traffic from the A2.

Fortunately, it wasn't actually too bad: getting to the ring road was slow, but it moved well once I was there, and I was only about ten minutes late to the vet.

Jo was, as ever, very pleased to see me, and nearly dragged the nurse across the waiting room. The poor dear looks very silly.

On the way home, I realised that I'd actually been incredibly lucky with the drive there: the car accident that caused the closure was just being loaded onto a flatbed, and there was a long line of parked cars sitting on the road behind it. When I got to where I'd been waved off the road, there were three police cars and lots of flashing signs: I must have got there very soon after they closed it, and was just too late to miss being stuck there for an hour or more and just too early to miss having the ring road full of diverted traffic.

Jo's putting a reasonable amount of weight on the leg now, but she's obviously sore and struggling to get comfortable when she lies down. Hopefully she'll feel better in a few days. I'd forgotten quite how silly she looked with her leg shaved!
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It feels very odd...

♥Jan. 5th, 2017 // 10:24 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1193484.html]

... to be making my evening snack of cheese and biscuits without the sound of scurrying feet when I open the fridge, and the sight of a very politely drool-dripping pooch sitting next to me while I make it....

(The night nurse says she's fine, though, and is eating and accepting of cuddles.)
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Vet news

♥Jan. 5th, 2017 // 01:15 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1193395.html]

I took Jo down to the orthopaedic vet this morning, and he thinks it's either a tear in the meniscus of the knee or (less likely) an inflamed tendon.

She's stayed in for surgery, and if it is the meniscus then he'll remove the damaged part and she should be better for two or three years, after which it will become painful (if she's still around).

Just as she'd finished growing her coat back, she'll be back to looking silly again. And then there will be the rehab.

Edit: it was a tear, she's out of surgery and waking up.
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Pooch update

♥Jan. 4th, 2017 // 06:16 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1193097.html]

Jodie's continued to be varying amounts of lame since we went to the vet last week, so today she went in for x-rays.

We've just picked her up, very happy to see us. When the vet showed us the x-rays, there was obvious swelling on the joint that had the surgery, and the vet said there was quite a lot of movement in the joint (just like before the surgery). I asked what it meant and she said "Well, I've never seen one of these repairs fail, so I'm not sure," which rather implies that she thinks it has.

Off to the people who did the operation tomorrow, with orders to prep for her going into surgery the same day.

Poor pooch.

Various other stuff is also sucky, so I'm feeling rather glum at present.
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Pooch

♥Dec. 28th, 2016 // 05:41 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1192726.html]

Jo was still lame this morning, so I booked her in to see the vet.

The pain is in her knee, and she's not showing any signs of an infection (unlikely after such a long time), so it's either that the joint's developed arthritis from the op (certain to happen at some point) and she tweaked it yesterday morning or that there's something gone wrong with the repairs (worrying).

She's got a weekend of pottering around but no walks, and pain killers, and we'll see how she gets on. Hopefully she'll improve, if not there will be x-rays.
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Worrying

♥Dec. 27th, 2016 // 03:35 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1192650.html]

Jo's limping, on the same leg that she had the operation on over the summer. Somewhat ominous, hopefully unconnected.

Vet tomorrow, if she's still not right in the morning.
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Oh, and....

♥Dec. 21st, 2016 // 07:59 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1190725.html]

While we were out, Jodie took advantage of her muddy feet to get rid of the crisp fresh laundry scent on the just-changed bed linen.

Sigh.

And the ovens on our year-old Aga have stopped working. There's an engineer coming tomorrow.

Sigh.

Saw the first bluebell shoot of the year, though!
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Agitated pooch

♥Nov. 7th, 2016 // 07:11 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1185687.html]

Mike's in London today, which always makes Jo a bit worried. What's worse, although she's only just starting to realise after I had dinner on my own, is that he's got a dinner meeting so he won't be back for a few more hours yet. It'll be interesting to see if she wants to go for a run in the field while I'm doing the boys or if she'll go and camp out by the drive to wait for him.

While I was eating, she jumped up and started barking at some nearer-than-usual owls.

Just as I was about to bring the boys in earlier, she suddenly started proper barking, of the 'there is a person on the property' variety* from the front garden. When I went over, I couldn't see anyone around but then, a few minutes later, a woman drove down the hill and got out to ask if I'd seen her lost sausage dog, which made me go 'aha', as Jo sometimes also barks when people walk past with dogs. I told her what had happened and she drove off down the road to look for him, but came back a couple of minutes later dogless. Hope she manages to track him down!

We're having a bit of a spate of lost dogs recently (I've had a couple of texts from Not-Very-Next-Door Neighbour, as well as the one Mike found), hopefully it won't last.

* This is pretty much the only thing that really gets her going, and she keeps it up until she's sure we know about the intruder. For a generally very quiet dog (other than this it's just an occasional woof when she's very excited), this is a remarkably good choice of things to complain about! It was slightly embarrassing the time when she decided that Mrs Up The Hill wasn't allowed in her own field without permission, though....
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Flax attempts

♥Sep. 26th, 2016 // 06:05 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1178961.html]

This year, a big field near us was planted with flax. It looked very pretty when it was flowering, and then it was time for harvest.

They cut a bit of it it (and presumably stripped the seeds off at the same time), and then stopped for a few days. Then they cut a bit more. Then they finally decided that they'd got it right and cut the whole field.

A few days after that, they made square bales with some of the straw. The bales looked kinda crappy. A few more days, and they tried making round bales, half of which just immediately collapsed.

A few more days, and they went 'sod it', burnt the collapsed bales and harrowed the rest of the straw across the field to rot.

I really hope that it was the first time they'd grown flax....

ION, Jo is still doing really well, and pretty much officially better now. She even had a little run around with her boyfriend in the woods today, and she's been to the beach a couple of times as well. I had our first riding lesson in *ages* on Bugs, and he did very well (although by the end of it he was distinctly unimpressed with how much he was having to do). Ang's leg has started to get bad for the winter but, as ever, he's having good days and bad ones. We're going away for a few days (note to self: must decide where we're going and book hotels; ferry and sitter are both booked), so hopefully he'll continue to be fine while the sitter's looking after him.

We've gone straight from 'too hot to do anything in the garden' to 'succession of visitors', with added torrential rain for a couple of days: the garden is distinctly jungle-like, and I really must get out there and do some weeding....
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So, pole dancing!

♥Sep. 2nd, 2016 // 01:59 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1175501.html]

Bruising aside (my shins have gone an interesting colour, too), the pole dancing class was quite interesting. About a dozen people, four of us there to try it out and the rest who'd been going for about a year. Lots of tattoos and piercings, one bloke who was terribly intense about it all and spent the whole session hogging a pole and much of it hogging one of the two instructors. (It was nominally two people per pole, but in reality there were two people with a pole each, the beginners with two between them, and everyone else in a very cooperative gaggle between the other two.)

We started with a fairly high-intensity warm up, and finished with stretches. In between, there were poles. It was quite interesting watching the more experienced people doing their moves (and occasionally failing spectacularly at them; one of the poles had a circular crash mat around it, which seemed sensible), but we got rather more time to do that than I would have liked: the instructor would show us a move a couple of times, watch us doing it for about thirty seconds, and then wander off to help other people for ten minutes while we practised it a bit more and then went "Ok, we can do that now, um".

I think that even without the bruising (and I noticed that the instructor was also covered in bruises, so I don't think it was just that we were crap!) it wouldn't be for me: not very structured and a mix of it being a solo thing but requiring cooperation (in sharing poles and in, eg, sticking your arms under someone's bum to support their weight while they try a new move) that I don't think I'd really get on with. Still, it was fun to try! I had thought about trying their aerial hoop class, on the grounds it might be less bruisy, but I think that the same would apply there.

Today, I'm a little sore in the shoulders but happily was able to get my boots on without too much agony.

Jo's been for her swimming lesson this afternoon. It was a different person in the tank with her, and she was a bit nervous about that, but it went well. On the way home, we had a short walk and met a very sweet spaniel. The owners asked if they should hold his collar, and I said it was fine as long as he didn't charge at her. What he actually did was walk up to her and then, when she ignored him, drop his ball in front of her to see if it would make her like him!
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Things from the last ten days

♥Aug. 26th, 2016 // 07:37 am
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1174446.html]

It's too hot. We had a thunderstorm last night, but not much actual rain: Jo was alternately terrified at being downstairs alone and then delighted when Mike went to fetch her up to our room. The trees are dropping leaves, it's been so dry.

Mike is on his third migraine day in a row, which is not so good.

As part of Project Get Bugsy Fit, I've been not having a chance to / being to hot to / putting off cantering him when he's being ridden, but I did so this morning and he was pretty much perfect, which is a relief: I was worried we were going to be back to titting about.

Jodie's been discharged by the orthopaedic vet, who was very pleased with her x-rays. She's still having swimming lessons, and she can start to go off the lead at the end of her walk in a couple more weeks. Yesterday at the vet, another dog owner said how pretty she was and then asked if she was a crossbreed. I was confused, and the other dog owner explained that she looked like one because the hair was a different length on her back and one of her legs. Pretty sure that that's not how genetics works....

We had a barbecue, and the weather was much better than it might have been, and people came and seemed to have fun. On Sunday, we have more family invasion: Mike's mother and aunt-from-America are coming to stay.

I've spent far too much time curled up on the sofa with a book, and must instead get on with gardening, making passata, and making Christmas cards and presents. Just as soon as it's less hot....

Almost inevitably, I'm feeling under-challenged by my new Pilates class. I'm going to a pole dancing try-out session next week, and am seriously considering trying out Physique 57, which seems to be BarreCore on steroids and has a lot of online classes, with a week of free access. (There is a barre class that uses my current Pilates studio space, and I think a couple of people in the class have been: I might ask them how hard it is / where the instructor trained.)
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Some people! Grr!

♥Aug. 15th, 2016 // 01:33 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1174125.html]

I've just taken Jo out for her (far too short, far too sedate) walk.

Just as we got up to the top of the hill and went into Mrs Farmer's field, a man came up behind us with three spaniels. As it happens, I know the dogs: two of them are boisterous and friendly, and the third is just plan nasty and has gone for Jo several times before, so I did the extended version of the 'my dog is poorly' routine (she's just had major surgery, she's not allowed to run, she's very timid and will run if other dogs come too close to her) and said I'd do a slow wide loop through the field so that he could go down the path and get ahead of us.

Instead, he stopped dead and waited until we were about a hundred yards ahead before letting the two nice dogs off the lead, at which point they inevitably charged straight at us, while he occasionally called them back, after which they came charging straight towards us again.

I sped up, and we got out of the field and into the woods: still a bit of a way to go before the path split in two, slightly worrying, but I was half way there before I heard him come through the gate. The next time I looked back? All three of the dogs were off the lead and charging towards us. Fortunately I reached the point where the path splits then, and they stayed around it to see which way they were going.

I suppose I should just be glad that he had the sense to go the other way at the junction, but I'm bloody furious.
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Swimming lessons

♥Aug. 4th, 2016 // 08:27 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1172580.html]

Jodie had her first swimming lesson yesterday. Much to my relief, it involved her walking into a tank at floor level before the hydrotherapy nurse closed glass doors at either end and then slowly filled it with water: I'd gone dressed on the assumption that I'd have to persuade her to go down a ramp into a pool, probably by going in first! She was a bit bemused by it all, but took to it pretty well, and the nurse was pleased both with how she did and with the progress she's made since her op. (We also popped into the main reception area, to weigh her, and everyone was very pleased to see her and impressed with how neat the scar is. Everyone at the vet likes Jodie!)

I've finished making the rest of the quilt blocks that I started in my last class. I'm vaguely thinking a snake-like table runner....


Oddly, we had no eggs today. On the other hand, yesterday Mike reported that Esk was behaving oddly and, when I went clambering around behind the barn, I found her next to a little scrape in the ground with two of her eggs in it, neither of them just-laid. I've a vague memory that she went through a phase like this this time last year, as well, and the others copied her a bit. Guess I'd better check the front garden as well.
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Harvesting

♥Jul. 31st, 2016 // 10:25 am
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That, with the addition of a veg-box aubergine, a jar of passata, and some pasta looks a lot like dinner. (Sadly, our aubergines aren't yet doing more than flowering and I'm still at the 'look! a ripe tomato!' stage rather than the 'better make another batch of passata' one. There are no plans at all to make pasta any more from scratch than Mike already does!)

We had our first visit from the new farrier today (the old one having retired for the sake of his back). He is approximately twelve but seems to be competent. Bugs didn't have a hissy fit, and GB didn't bite him (although the last of those says more about GB's mood than the farrier!).

Speaking of, GB has (sigh) started growing his winter coat, so here's a picture of him in his three-weeks-of-the-year summer best:

Bit more white every year....

Jo's also growing her coat back, and now looks a lot less silly than she did.

She's doing really well, and has her first swimming lesson on Wednesday. However, I could almost suspect that she's been reading ahead on her aftercare notes, because she's not supposed to do the spinning around in circles on the spot exercise for at least another couple of weeks. She thinks she's better, poor thing. We are up to twenty minute walks, though, which she enjoys except when a squirrel crosses her path and she's unaccountably not allowed to go and chase it.
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Other things

♥Jul. 25th, 2016 // 05:17 pm
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My parents came to visit, but they've gone away again now. While they were here, we had the hay delivery, so that's all sorted for the winter now. They left on the day of quilt club, so the nautical quilt didn't get shown and told.

There was a wren in the kitchen the other day. Somewhat surprising, but I managed to catch it in a shawl and it flew away when I took it outside. Also a cricket sitting smack in the middle of our duvet.

Magrat The Duck was lame one day. Worryingly, the traditional treatment of Frantic Chase Around The Garden Then Being Cornered And Picked Up didn't provide the usual 100% cure, but she was fine the following day. ("I heard a tremendous amount of quacking this morning," said my mother, "and when I looked the white duck was standing on top of one of the brown ones in the pond, giving her a tremendous ducking!" No, mother, you have the wrong consonant there....) She's also been doing her Houdini tricks again. Several days of setting up the stop-motion camera in various places failed to catch her in the act, but then (when we'd narrowed it down to one corner of the garden) Mike spotted the hole under the fence that she's been using. It's now blocked with a log, which should be enough provided that the hole isn't part of an active badger run.

The hollyhocks and gladioli are just starting to flower, and looking very pretty (other than the one that the horses can reach, which looks rather sad). TWWOTV asked what the hollyhocks were, and explained that until the flowers started to come out she'd been worried that they were giant hogweed. Because, obviously, we wouldn't notice eight foot dangerous high weeds in our front garden.

Jodie is doing really well, and looks much less silly now that the hair is growing back: it's still short, but at least she's the right colour now! She's walking for about ten minutes, three times a day, and will probably be coming off the painkillers and starting hydrotherapy in the coming week (I don't know for sure, because the vet hasn't returned my call from Saturday, grr). As far as she's concerned, she's completely better, which means that she wants to go chasing bunnies and thinks nothing of spinning 360 degrees while simultaneously jumping up in the air when we get back from leaving her alone for ten minutes. We may have to start crating her when we go to take the boys up the hill (although the surgeon said that she could start doing that towards the end of this week, thankfully).

The boys are fat and lazy, and have done very little work in the last week or so: it's been too hot and too full of flies. The horseflies, at least, seem to be stopping for the year. I've only had two bites in the last four days!
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Jodie update

♥Jul. 16th, 2016 // 04:15 pm
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We've just got back from the vet, where Jo had a check up and her dressing removed. The vet's very pleased with the progress: she's walking well, and there's no swelling. When the nurse took the dressing off, we were amazed by how neat the incision looks already.

The only, very small, concern is that she's got a red splodge right where she had a little cancer removed a couple of years ago. The vet thinks it's probably just that the skin there is thinner so it's reacted badly to being clipped, but we'll keep an eye on it.
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The pooch returns

♥Jul. 14th, 2016 // 11:56 am
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She looks very silly, with one leg shaved:



She's obviously sore, but was very pleased to see us. The nurse noted that she'd not had a wee this morning, even though she'd had a chance, and indeed that was the first thing she did when she got back in the garden.

She's now restlessly lying down in different parts of the living room, presumably trying to get comfortable. She's failing miserably in this, because she keeps lying down on the bad leg....

(Oh, god, Mike's playing Pokemon Go!)
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Jodie

♥Jul. 13th, 2016 // 03:40 pm
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Jo's had her surgery. when I spoke to him earlier, the the vet said that it had gone pretty well: there wasn't as much damage to the joint as there might have been, so her recovery should be good. They did crack her bone slightly when they were doing the work, but that's pretty normal for this kind of surgery.

I've just spoken to the nurse, and Jo's now awake and looking around. She's not tried to get up yet, but she's sitting up and they're going to see if she'd like some dinner in an hour or two when she's a bit more awake.
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At least he managed to get back down the stairs again afterwards

♥Jul. 13th, 2016 // 11:58 am
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This morning, when Mike fed the boys he just left their doors open so that they could occupy themselves until I got back.

As we drove off to take Jo to the vet, he said "And I did remember to close the gate so that they couldn't get into the field." "Did you close the garden gate?" I asked. Umm. Well, the ducks weren't out, and after all it wasn't all that likely that Bugs would walk down a gloomy, narrow corridor and up a few steps just to see what was in the garden, right?

Jo is safely at the vet, they seemed very nice and asked lots of detailed questions (Will she be happy to go to the loo on a lead, or should she be let off it? Does she prefer to go on grass, or will any surface do?). She's probably in surgery now, I should here something mid afternoon. We talked through our particular layout and routine with the vet, and he's happy for Jo to come to the stables tomorrow, as long as she's on a lead / tied up, which is a huge relief, but he says three weeks before she can go up the hill to the field.

After dropping Mike at the station, I came back to at least one very muddy pony (it's hard to tell with GB) safely in the stableyard, and some extremely irate ducks in their house, and then I mucked out, and then, in a fit of keen-ness, I went up the hill and poo-picked the field up there so that it'll be Sunday before we have to leave Jo alone while we do it again: given the trouble I had getting the wheelbarrow through the mud by the gate so that I could put the poo into bags for Mrs Up The Hill's new compost heap, it's a good thing that we decided to leave the boys down here today. It was just starting to dry out, but now not so much.

(We were hopeful that our hay would be cut this weekend, but it now seems less likely. On Monday, the five-day forecast was dry all week. On Tuesday morning, it was for rain every day. On Tuesday evening, it was for rain on Tuesday but then dry. Now, it's back to dry, after this morning's rain clears up. I'm not sure that they know what's going to happen!)

And then, finally finished with all the jobs, I came back to the house and noticed this on the lawn:



Sigh. It can wait until tomorrow.
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Plan B

♥Jul. 11th, 2016 // 04:07 pm
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I phoned Mrs Next Door's recommendation for a dog surgeon this morning, and they said "Hmm, Wednesday?", so I called our vet, told the receptionist this, and asked if they'd heard from their surgeon. "Take that appointment!" she said, so I called them back and did.

Jo's going in for a consult and then (unless they find a problem) the surgery on Wednesday morning, and we're picking her up on Thursday: it's their policy that they keep dogs in after a big operation, which is worry-causing for me but probably for the best as she'll have a nurse with her all night.

Conveniently, this gave me a good reason to phone Bugsy's vet and cancel Friday's big day out. I did so, and left a message asking him to call me. Unsurprisingly, he hasn't yet. I'll chase him in a couple of days.
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Things unrelated to lame animals

♥Jul. 10th, 2016 // 06:07 pm
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A good one: this morning, I had a lovely ride on GB. He was going brilliantly, and it left me feeling very pleased with how we got on.

A less good one: my upper back / shoulders have been a bit sore for a few days, which I'd vaguely put down to being stressed about lame animals until I thought about it a bit more. I was sore in what I think was the same way about eighteen months ago, which is what lead to the hypermobility diagnosis, and which I eventually decided was being caused by something wrong (for me) in the way my then Pilates instructor taught. (And, indeed, this was a part of the reason I moved to a different one not long after.)

That instructor (as well as working where I used to go to her classes) works for the place I've just started at and, quite conceivably, had a lot of her training from my new instructor*, which makes me wonder if there's some bit of positioning that the new instructor likes but my body doesn't. I'll have a chat with her on Tuesday, I think.

* Who I am liking, although I am frantically Waiting Until The End Of The Six-Week Class Cycle before I say "I thought this was an advanced class?"

This afternoon, I made a stripy top out of knitted fabric. I'm not madly keen on the fabric, but it was cheap (nominally seconds, though I can't see any flaws in it). The sewing went pretty smoothly, once I gave up on trying to backstitch my start and end points (which just resulted in the sewing machine eating the corner of the fabric; I was using a fancy stretch stitch anyway, so it was kind of backstitching itself), and apparently I am a high street size 16. Better go and buy a new wardrobe!

Lame animal update: we're going to be Firm With Vets, so tomorrow I'm going to call Jo's vet and ask if they have a date for the op and tell them that if they don't get me one by the next day then I'm going to go elsewhere (Mrs Next Door recommended a specialist ortho vets, who will probably be able to fit her in much quicker), and then I'm going to call Bug's vet and cancel this grand day out malarky at least until after Jo's op, and tell him I want him to come and give him the same injection as he's already had in the other leg to see if that cures it.
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Bits and bobs

♥Jul. 8th, 2016 // 08:41 pm
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Duck seems fine.

Bugs had a visit from the 2nd vet, who wants to see him at the surgery. Which will be fun. And expensive. I've been texting around people that the receptionist said might be able to do transport for two horses for the day, because of course GB can't be left on his own....

No word from Jo's vet about a new surgery date, so they're probably still playing phone tag.

In the last week or so, I've had five emails (that is, half of what hits my gmail account's spam folder after going through initial screening on Mike's provider) that purport to be from someone I know, though not from their email address, and that address me in an appropriate way for that person. I suspect that if I emailed the people involved, we could figure out which service has leaked their address books (there are, for example, some yearoftheteledu addresses in the cc's, and an address belonging to someone who used to swap to a new free email address every year or so when he started getting too much crap in his inbox), but I'm not sure it's worth the effort.

We had been planning to go to the Kent County Show but thought we'd have to go tomorrow because of the vet. As it was, he was gone by 2pm, so we thought we'd go for it: it's much quieter on Friday than on Saturday. There were a few things missing: not many heavy horses, and about half the cages in the poultry tent (which is also where the rabbits are) were empty. The horses were apparently all busy haymaking, and based on the fact that all the people working the poultry tent were girls in their early teens I suspect that most of the competitors hadn't been allowed to skip a day of school to attend. On the plus side, the flower arrangements were all lovely and fresh and looking at their best, and the cakes hadn't started to sag in the heat. Plus, fewer people. We had a nice time, wandered the shop, watched bits of a handful of horse classes and saw the pig racing:

(Number five won the Grand National, which means that Teresa May will be the next Prime Minister. Previous predictions included Farrage to be PM after the last election and a Remain vote, so I wouldn't rely too much on their piggy predictive powers.)

We bought very little that wasn't edible, and I several times uttered the words "Oh, I neededn't have bought that on Amazon the other day". In reality, though, the one I bought on Amazon was probably cheaper. This probably has something to do with why the shows are all struggling a bit: once upon a time, they were a serious shopping opportunity.

We also looked at some new garden furniture, but didn't see anything that made us want to rush to buy. We were intrigued by the fact that two different places had almost identical stock. One, in a nice marquee, was more expensive than the other, which boasted of huge show discounts, all display stock must go, delivery this evening after we close. The latter had no proper signage or fliers, which made it look dodgy as hell, but also offered a 12-month payment plan, which was odd. But, I suppose, may well have involved a big bloke coming 'round to check you hadn't forgotten to make your payments....
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Lame animal count: 3

♥Jul. 7th, 2016 // 08:06 pm
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Esk was looking quite lame when we went out to put her to bed, so I traumatised her back into health caught her and checked that there was nothing obviously wrong, after which I put her down and she ran away looking perfectly normal. This is not the first time one of the ducks has done this!

Bugs is now consistently lame again, so I've got the second-opinion vet coming back for him tomorrow.

And Jo Jo is still hobbling around like a hobbly thing. Annoyingly, I had a call from her vets today, saying that the surgeon has said he *can't* do her op next Friday, because he won't have time for three surgeries. It sounds like they've been playing voice mail tag with him: they now going to try to actually speak to him and find out when he can do it. Depending on what the answer is (and, indeed, how long it takes for it to come), we might have to look at getting it done somewhere else.
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Oh, you shouldn't have....

♥Jul. 6th, 2016 // 08:19 pm
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Today's Tesco delivery came with a very pleased delivery woman who handed me a special box containing a "thank you for being such a great customer" (we probably are: we get a delivery maybe 45 weeks of the year).

"What's in it?" I asked.

"Open it and see!" she gushed. So I did.

I took out the box of strawberries, and put it on the table next to the small pile of freshly-picked ones that were drying on a piece of kitchen roll. Then I took out the teeny tiny single serving bottle of elderflower cordial, and put it on the table next to the half dozen full-sized bottles of same that she's just unpacked. As I took out a pack of Warburton's finest, I refrained from telling her how good Mike's crumpets are. Still, the pot of cream will come in handy, I'm sure....

ION, Jodie is doing remarkably well on the bunny catching league for an invalid, even if the one she got this evening had mixa. Just think of all the baby crows she's providing for!

Bugsy had his back checked this morning (unexpectedly: she appeared (to much barking from Jo) outside the school while I was lunging Bugs this morning. "I wasn't expecting you until 3 o'clock," I said, confused. "Actually, I wasn't expecting you until tomorrow!" -- there had been an undelivered iMessage mix-up), and she's "as confident as she can possibly be" that it's not his back, which is just what I expected. Now -- as he's finally got back to being nicely lame after I foolishly listened when the vet told me to give him the week off -- I just need to get hold of the second opinion vet and get him back here. I'll give it one more not-returned phone call and then just book a visit anyway.

Yesterday, I was birthday present hunting on a blog I follow: I read it for the patchwork stuff, but she's also a dressmaker, and for all that I usually skim those posts I knew there were some pattern and book recommendations. And then I had a Thought, thusly: "I can never find tops that I like. Maybe I should...." It is the case that the tops I fail to find are made from knit fabrics, which are infamously A Bugger To Sew, especially without an overlocker (which I Can Not Justify At All, although I loved it when I got to play with them at school), but maybe I should have a little try.... I've ordered what claims to be a simple pattern, and some end-of-bolt-cheap fabric, so I'll give it a go. In an attempt to remind myself what a dressmaking pattern looks like (school wasn't the last time I used one, but it wasn't long after), I (mostly: ran out of time to make bias binding before it was time to start dinner) made a very simple sleeveless top out of some left-over quilt fabric this afternoon, so I think I'll give it a go and see what happens.

(I am suffering from too many projects on the go, at the moment: I'm making a silk wall hanging, which is now mostly done except some hand sewing, and I've got a blanket woven but in need of (hand) sewing together, and I've got a bolt of linen that I need to cut up for a quilt, and then do fiddly folding things with before I do the machine sewing, and I've just made something for my sister's birthday.... on the other hand, I'm kind-of stacking up hand sewing things in the expectation of wanting to stay in the living room with Jo rather than leave her to go to the study and my sewing machine. On the other other hand, I'm thinking of moving a table in here, for that and for meals, so that she's not left on her own.)
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Pooch update

♥Jul. 5th, 2016 // 03:49 pm
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We've just been back to see the vet, and the conclusion is that (although Jo seems to be walking on it about as well as she was a couple of weeks ago) the leg's got worse: more swelling and thickness around the ligament than last time she was checked.

We're going to see the surgeon next Friday, and have her ready to go for the surgery that day if he thinks it's needed.

It's not going to be fun.
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Road maintenance

♥Jun. 27th, 2016 // 06:39 pm
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We reckon that the council needs to hire a few sheep to keep the road clear:


Today, Jo was at the vet for zapping. She does seem to be getting better, have to see how it goes. She's obviously still sore, though: the only bunny she's tried to chase recently was the one with mixa that I pointed out to her last night by our school.

On the advice of the nurse last week, I bought a ramp so that she doesn't have to jump in and out of the car. In retrospect, we should have had a go with it before today.... We did eventually get her to go up it, mostly with me moving her legs one at a time, but when I got to the vet she just looked at it and plonked herself down at the back of the boot while I made coaxing noises. The vet wandered past and laughed mightily, as did several passers by. Eventually, I gave up and just let her jump. When we left, I again walked her up it one leg at a time but then decided to wait her out when we got home. It took about five minutes, but eventually she -- very gingerly -- edged her way down it, and I brought it through and set it up on the front step of the house. After two or three times up and down it, she seemed a lot happier, so hopefully she's figured it out now!
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Limpy

♥Jun. 25th, 2016 // 08:11 pm
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Jo seems to be doing better today, which is good. When we went to the vet yesterday, the nurse who did her laser session* said she was probably sore from being posed for the x-rays.

* I'm increasingly thinking that the laser is, to use the technical term, Woo Woo Shite: "results no better than a placebo" Wikipedia says on the use of the treatment in humans. Well, I suppose it can't hurt for a coupke of weeks.

I've now got doggy massage instructions, so we've been doing that: Jo just thinks it's a strange kind of snuggle, I think, so she's quite happy with it (but wishes I'd just get on to the tummy rubs!).

Bugs, on the other hand, is getting nicely lame again now that he's not spending all his time loafing about in the field. I'll give it a few more days and then have the second-opinion-vet back.
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Hoppy McHopLeg

♥Jun. 21st, 2016 // 01:55 pm
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Jo Jo's having a bad time of it with her leg today. Not sure why, as she was doing a lot better over the weekend and yesterday. I've given her a tramadol, but she's still struggling. Poor pooch.
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The pooch returns

♥Jun. 20th, 2016 // 04:48 pm
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We've just collected Jo from the vet, where she was very pleased to see us after I unaccountably let the stranger take her away and do bad things to her this morning.

The vet still thinks it's the cruciate, and added as an aside that the arthritis in her hips doesn't seem to be too bad. Her blood test results for her kidney function was a tiny bit high, so could we bring a sample in (that'll be entertaining. I have a premonition that as soon as one of us runs over with a jam jar when she's about to wee, she'll apologetically stop and move out of the way. We shall see).

We talked a bit more about the surgery, which would mean six weeks of being confined to a single room and just being taken out on a lead to go to the loo: I really can't see it working. She's got the travelling osteo surgeon coming out for another dog in a month, so we're going to see how we get on with laser treatments and no walks for a couple of weeks and then decide if we want to meet with him or if she's improving without the surgery.

Also today, I had my first horse fly bite of the season. Lovely. And The Horse Next Door is lame, but Mrs Next Door is back tomorrow evening so I've just popped him in his stable to wait for her to have a look. Trying to decide if I want to make elderflower vodka again: it was lovely, but rather lethal....
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Gardening

♥Jun. 19th, 2016 // 07:09 pm
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This afternoon, we left the poor deprived pooch alone for an hour or so to walk up the hill to our local NGS garden, where we bought some irises (Braithwaite, iirc: blue and white, very pretty) and a tall variety of geranium, which should contrast nicely with our low-growing ones. I also picked up a packet of Eryngium giganteum, which I think is the giant spiky thing that I had unfortunately close to the path last summer; I shall plant it in a better location this time!

Plant identification time, hampered by our internet being crappier than usual: leaves to about three feet tall, big heart/spade-shaped leaves coming directly off a central stem, with rings of little yellow flowers also coming directly off the stems (the ones with flowers go up to about five feet). They didn't have it for sale, sadly, else I'd have bought a couple! They seem to be good ground cover, which I'm always keen on, and the flowers are quite unusual.

Edit: Hurrah! Back to usually crappy internet levels. Here's the pic:


Jo is alternately hyper and sad that she can't figure out what she's done wrong to make us not let her chase squirrels or go for bounds in the woods. Poor pooch. Vet tomorrow.

In a bit of good news, the saddler just called to say that she's had an offer on the saddle that Bugs came with (it's a good saddle, it was just a matter of waiting for the right buyer to come along). It's more than we paid for it, so we've accepted it. Should help with the vets' bills, at least! ("How are the horses?" she asked. Five minutes later, she said "But how are the ducks?" and I was able to concede that the ducks were all laying well!)
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Boys

♥Jun. 18th, 2016 // 06:06 pm
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This morning, we rode the boys. Mike went on GB, and I briefly lunged Bugs and then rode him as the vet instructed.

They both seemed fine. GB was a little reluctant to stay in the canter, but whether that was because he was sore or because he's lazy is hard to say. Mike reported that Bugs looked very good, and he didn't feel at all lame to ride, so fingers are crossed.

(Although, as I said to my riding instructor, and never mind what the vet says, my current plan is to work Bugs every day for a week so that next week I can go back to the vet and say "right, he's lame again, please will you come and see him when he's not just had a week off?")

One of the things that the vet was muttering about yesterday was sacroiliac, which is some variety of gubbins in the back - a nerve, maybe? It's not a terribly common problem. This vet has been in the area for about six or eight months. He also diagnosed it for The Horse Next Door (wrong) and for Not Very Next Door Neighbour's horse (has had the treatment and is now having the summer off, after which we'll see if it worked). This does rather make it seem as though it's his pet diagnosis.

Jo seems to be hobbling less today. Whether that's because of the laser treatment that the vet did or because we're trying to get her to rest it is a mystery. She's feeling enough better that she's doing that 'hang behind when the humans walk off so that I can run to catch up' thing that she does when walk-deprived....
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Good news?

♥Jun. 17th, 2016 // 11:21 am
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The (different) vet's been out to see Bugs, and thinks he's basically going to be ok. He wasn't lame today, although I showed a video of him hopping around the school last week.

The provisional conclusion is that his back is sore from trying to avoid the pain (now solved) in his leg, not helped by being out of work for three months or so. I'm to bring him back into work gradually, and get the back lady out to check him ASAP (which might be the harder part, as she's hard to get hold of at times).

As that went so quickly, I asked him to have a quick look at GB, who obligingly trotted one way down the school then threw his heels up in the air and charged back again like a loon. "Yes," the vet said, "you can get back on him!"

Jo, on the other hand, is feeling very sorry for herself. I'm not sure how much is pain and how much is the thunder we've being having. (The vet nurse went and got her dog out of the car, because he was also scared, but not before he'd ripped the headrest of one of the seats in his panic.) At least the vet was here during a lull in the rain!
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Rivalry

♥Jun. 16th, 2016 // 04:04 pm
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Not wishing to be out-done by the boys, Jo also has a poorly hind leg....

For the last few days, she's been hopping lame whenever she gets up from lying down. We thought it was just a fairly sudden progression of the arthritis, but I took her off to the vet this afternoon and the provisional diagnosis is that it's the knee, probably the cruciate ligament. We've got human painkillers for her, and she's had laser treatment on the knee (and, as the machine was out, on her hips). After a weekend of nothing more than bumbling around the field, she's back there on Monday for a more thorough poke around and x-rays, under anaesthetic.

The vet said that, if that is what it is, the treatment would be complete rest (crate; carry the dog outside for a wee then carry back to the crate) or / then surgery. Looking online, the non-surgical option is a non-starter for a dog of her size. Even with the surgical option, there seems to be a lot of advice saying complete rest afterwards for several weeks (although the surgery dogs are at least allowed to walk from the crate to the lawn, on a short lead, as long as they don't have to use stairs). I have no idea how the hell we could possibly manage that: either she comes with us (on a lead if necessary) as we do horsey jobs, or she gets left alone and is furiously and energetically happy to see us when we come back five minutes later.

Horse vet tomorrow, for the second opinion. Fingers crossed.
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Animal magic

♥Jun. 7th, 2016 // 07:09 pm
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Jodie: unsettled*
Swallows: impatient**
Ang: grumpy***
Bugs: long-suffering****
Cow: confused*****

* We had a lovely big thunder storm this afternoon. When Mike was half way through mowing the lawn and I was in the middle of potting on veg plants.

** The pair of them have been spotted flying in and out of the spare stable, beaks crammed full. While we're mucking out, however, they sit on the telephone wires, alternately preening and wishing we'd get on with it so that they can get back to feeding duty. We are in fact tremendously pleased to see them: Previous Owners always left that stable door open with good results, but we'd never seen any interest in previous years. Then I caught them checking out the inside of the barn and the duck's stable, neither of which we can leave open at night, so we opened the stable up instead.

*** Ok, not much different to usual there then. On Sunday evening, he came in from the field limping: probably just had a spat with Bugs. But then he came in limping last night, too. We trotted him up this morning and he looked ok, but Mike reported that it came back / got worse as he was ridden. This is Ominous, and will hopefully go away before the vet comes on Friday. Even if it has, he'll still be grumpy because he's due for a blood test.

**** He was very well behaved when I lunged him today, even though he was hopping along like a hoppy thing in the canter. I got Mike to video it, just in case he's sound when the vet comes, and later booked her in to see them both on Friday. 95% sure it's the same thing as he just had treated in the other leg: there were signs of it, and now that the other leg isn't sore any more he's suddenly noticed that it hurts.

***** As am I: how the hell did it get through a closed gate and into our garden? Or, alternatively, what kind of idiot drives along a road, goes 'oh dear, some previous person left the gate open and now a cow has wandered through' and then carefully shuts the gate as they go through, leaving the cow on the wrong side of it, without saying anything?
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Wildlife update

♥Jun. 3rd, 2016 // 11:07 am
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We've had a pair of mallards hanging around the place for the last week or so. I'm slightly concerned that she's decided our fish pond is the ideal place for her ducklings to grow up. I'm sure I'll be able to find someone to come and rescue them if it happens.

(Today, I learned that it's not *our* ducks that GB objects to seeing in the field, it's *any* ducks.)

Jo's been doing very well on bunnies lately, although I fear that the one she got today (at least) had mixa: it was huddled pathetically in the corner of the field and made no attempt to escape. When she'd lost interest and I went to have a look, it did indeed have red eyes. That's the second I've seen with mixa in the last few days.

(Top top for anyone visiting us, or indeed anywhere else in the countryside: if you're driving along and see a sad-looking bunny in the road making no attempt to get out of your way, particularly if it has red eyes, you really are are doing it a kindness if you run it over. It's a horrible disease.)
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Good animals!

♥Apr. 3rd, 2016 // 09:11 pm
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This morning, we went out for a little hack on the boys, and took Jo along. They all did wonderfully: GB only balked slightly as he went past a Scary Thing, Bugs didn't get himself worked up about anything and, just as we were nearly home, both of them went very calmly past a terrified lamb that was in the road, on the wrong side of the fence. This last was very fortunate, because Jo was Rather Interested, to the extent of starting to slink towards in until I got her attention and brought her back to heel. We're not sure if she was hunting or herding, but either way we're glad she stopped. (I sent Bad Farmer a text to let him know....)

This afternoon, we have been in the Potting Shed Conservatory: we've been a bit slack about starting new seeds in the propagator, so we're rather behind on last year. On the other hand, I think we were a bit early with some things last year, so it should be ok in the end.

This evening, just as I was on the phone to my mother, there was a big crash of thunder. A quick look at the rainfall radar and I said "I'll call you back" and dashed out to give the boys their supper before the rain arrived. Not that much rain, in the end, but lots of thunder and lightning, to Jo's misery. She's mostly calmed down now, but it's a measure of how worried she was that Mike's let her lie in front of our sofa, In The Way. Seems to have stopped now, thankfully.
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Not bad for an old man....

♥Feb. 26th, 2016 // 05:27 pm
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(It's a good sign of general physical fitness when horses can still roll all the way over. Even though he can't manage on a slope any more, GB's still got it in the school!)

ION, Jodie has successfully vanquished the vacuum cleaner, for the third time in six months. And my parents arrive tomorrow. Oh, how we laughed before sending a frantic text to Mrs Next Door.

Given that this is the second Gtech AirRam (which we bought to replace the very sickly Dyson) that has died in the same way, I think we might be saying 'refund' when they offer to send us another new one. Does anyone have any recommendations...? We are liking the cordless and lightweight thing, but it's not essential.
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Animal update

♥Jan. 24th, 2016 // 11:15 am
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Another promising session with Bugs this morning: it was foggy here, and fog is frequently Scary, so I decided I'd just lunge him and not risk climbing on board, but actually I think we would have been ok. Even before we got to the school, a pheasant flew out under his nose and he just looked at it worriedly, rather than throwing himself around in panic. In the school, he directed a couple of suspicious looks down the valley at the fog but then settled down quite well. We had one unauthorised canter, but only three or four steps, and another where something worried him and he was about to go but didn't, which is really good: he's starting to use his brain. The halts were vary variable: two or three were spot on perfect, two or three (especially towards the end, when his brain was getting tired) were really ropey, the rest were somewhere in between.

Mike rode GB, and wasn't terribly happy with him. It's harder for me to watch him when I'm lunging than when I'm riding, and what I did see was pretty variable. I'll have a short lesson on him on Tuesday, though, so we'll see how he is then.

Three of the ducks keep getting into the field, which is annoying. Esk is a good girl and stays in the stableyeard, squawking in an annoyed tone at being left alone. (Actually, I suspect it may just be that she's the biggest of them and can't fit under the gate.) I did put another piece of chicken wire on the gate yesterday, but they got back through it anyway. Mike's muttering about hooking the chicken wire up to the portable electric fence energiser....

And Jo is her usual lovely self, if slightly badger-y at present!
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Soggy doggy

♥Dec. 26th, 2015 // 02:56 pm
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One of the local garden centres is having a big sale, and I wanted to get some plants, so we thought we'd go along.

The garden centre is quite near to Canterbury, by the river. We've been thinking about going to see the river meadows are a good place to take Jo when it's hot, so we thought's we'd combine the two things with each other and with today's walk.

About thirty seconds after we got there, Jo was in the river chasing ducks. Sigh. After a moment of looking confused when she realised she was swimming, not wading, she climbed back out again and shook herself everywhere. A few minutes later, she was back in it again, but this time at a less good spot: fortunately, she managed to hook a leg over a tree root for long enough that I could get down to the water and grab her collar to help her out, but I think she scared herself a bit because she didn't really try to get back in after that.

Still, in summer the water will be lower and less fast-flowing, so I think that it is a good spot to take her to for a cool down. On the minus side, there's not much in the way of parking: we parked in some nearby woods, and the journey from one to the other was quite steep (with the up on the way back) and involved crossing roads that had actual cars on them. Apparently you're allowed to park in the Staples car park to go to the river, though, so I think we'll try that next time and be at the other end of the meadows.

And then we went to the garden centre, where they had a nice display at the front with precisely one each of several varieties of dogwood. I picked up the two colours I wanted and we went on, assuming that somewhere out back would be the rest of the plants (and that a member of staff would be muttering about inconsiderate customers messing up the nice arrangement and making them have to re-stock it), but it turned out that that was it. Oh well, guess I'll have to order them online (where the sale isn't), but at least I got to check the colours, which was the main point. Also picked up a couple of white cyclamen (we have a nice big patch, but they are stubbornly all the same shade of pink) and 70%-off crackers (that appear to actually have nice gifts in them) for New Year.

There's a mysterious smell of wet dog in the room. I can't imagine what's causing it.
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