Wednesday 31 December 2014

Happy birthday, Pasha & Loki puppies

Today Pasha and Loki's 2013 puppies turn 1, so this post will be about the pups and the lives they are living. Thanks very much to all the pup owners for sending in pictures of their poodles! Happy birthday puppies and happy New Year to all their families.

Wywylwynd Dubhe

Dubh was Pasha’s firstborn puppy. He lives with his family in the Republic of Ireland, where I am told he is quite a well-behaved boy who enjoys being groomed, although he is having a tough coat change as his family currently have another puppy and a very dribbly other dog. He has been to a few shows so far and received an ‘Excellent’ judging card for them all. He reminds me so much of his mother in his pictures.

Wywylwynd Sirius

Zo was my 'Royal Mail Special Delivery' -- the last puppy to be born when I took Pasha out into the garden, and a big cream pup came out while she was doing a wee, whom I caught in my hands! The postman then turned up and found me and Pasha and Zo in the garden, and said she'd never seen anything like it before, and kindly opened the door so we could get back in the house! Zo was a lovely little puppy with a very characterful expression (which I see in his photographs he has retained) and he liked to travel in the car: I would put him in a crate on the front seat of my van, and he would stand in it craning his neck to see, as though he was surfing, and never seemed to get ill or even to mind if the crate wobbled or tilted. He stayed here a little longer than the other puppies as his new family were on holiday. While he was here he was a calm little boy who was no bother, and his owners tell me he continues to be well behaved and a sweet character.

Wywylwynd Betelgeuse

Theo was Pasha’s only little brown puppy in the litter. A number of people expressed an interest in him who either then decided against it or were not suitable, and he was one of the later pups to be reserved, finding his new owners when a couple who had been recently bereaved of their poodle came to look at him and his two sisters with an open mind as to sex and colour, and decided on him when they met him. His owners tell me he is in excess of 28 inches at the withers and very strong, and he is currently going through a difficult adolescence. Fortunately with some help from a gundog trainer and lots of work and patience, Theo’s owners have good recall and can control him, which is especially important with a big dog.

Wywylwynd Adhara

This puppy was the one I called Pink, who was my favourite in the litter. She is co-owned and lives with her co-owner and her toy poodle. There was some difficulty in deciding on a suitable name, and she started off as Laurel before Hilda was settled on. The picture isn’t very recent, as her coat change was difficult to deal with and she is currently shorn very short! Hilda attends occasional small local shows with her owner.

Wywylwynd Rana

This was the puppy I called Lavender. She was quite a big puppy and precocious in that she seemed to do most things before her littermates, but despite my early impressions she turned out to be a very calm, chilled-out puppy. Rana went to live as the first poodle for a couple who were experienced dog owners. She has become friends with their cat and their GSD Leisha. Rana's owners are currently doing a lot of obedience work with her and have been told by several trainers that she has great potential, and are considering beginning agility once she is old enough. Rana's owners groom her themselves -- it is very easy to learn to care for short, simple trims like these, and a great way to bond with your poodle.

Wywylwynd Vega

Leisha was the naughtiest puppy in the litter and was constantly escaping from the pen. As a very bright and lively little dog, it was important to me that Leisha went to an active home where she would have an outlet, or she would likely start making her own amusement. Fortunately a lady in Wales who was an experienced poodle owner with an interest in obedience and agility enquired about a puppy, and Leisha was a perfect fit. Leisha already has her KCGC Bronze award and will be able to start agility now she has turned 1. She is still naughty and her owner posts pictures on Facebook of things she has chewed!

Wywylwynd Capella

As a puppy, Fleur was a pretty honey colour, and she often would bounce around the pen in her own quirky way as if she was in her own little world. She seems to be holding her colour well so far, as this recent picture sent by her family shows, and she has lovely dark eyes and pigment. A few months ago, her owners told me her coat was unfortunately spoiled when they took her to a careless groomer, which was upsetting for them, but they have recently begun grooming her by themselves, on a makeshift DIY table, and the results are much nicer. Fleur is a happy, lively girl who likes to run around in the garden, and apparently she also ‘pronks’ like an antelope, and likes to gently hold a person's hand in her mouth, like her father does sometimes.

Wednesday 24 December 2014

Available birds for spring 2015

I have available the following birds:

Two Khaki Campbell ducks. These are THE laying duck to have. Born in late 2014 and should be coming into lay soon. Nice little ducks, just surplus to my breeding programme. £15 each -- can go together or separately to add to an existing flock.

Pair (a stag and a hen) of pied (Crollwitzer) turkeys from separate sources so unrelated breeding pair. Again good breeding stock and too nice to eat, just surplus to my requirements. £40 for the pair.

Pair (duck and drake) of Silver Appleyards. This is a breed that does not always breed true in terms of colouration, and these ducks are not quite the correct colour, but will still make nice garden pets for someone looking for a source of eggs and slug control! Born 2013. £10 for the pair.

All birds have been hatched and ethically reared here and have daily access to open pasture and water baths (in the case of ducks).

Tuesday 23 December 2014

Season's Greetings

We have been eating the geese and they are delicious.
Goose stuffing recipe
Peel bag of chestnuts from shop and cut up small. Soak chestnuts overnight in red wine. Fry 2 red onions chopped up small in 1 oz of butter. Add onions + salt and pepper, bag of pork sausagemeat, chopped-up sage from the garden, and breadcrumbs from 6 slices of bread. Add 1 egg and stir together. Stuff in goose and freeze leftovers for another goose (should fill 2 geese).

Special potato seasoning recipe:
Equal quantities of dried rosemary, mustard seeds, nigella seeds, and fennel seeds + sea salt + black peppercorns. Grind up in a pestle and mortar. Cut potatoes into size sort of between chips and ordinary roast potatoes. Put potatoes and goose fat in a roasting tray and manoeuvre them around until they are coated in fat. Spread potatoes out and put seasoning on them. Roast in oven as normal.

I like to use this recipe for bread sauce, with the slight modification of using as many bay leaves as possible. I love bay leaves and would have a whole hedge in my food if I could.

The pictures are from our Solstice lunch. This time of year is important to us, as the nights at last stop getting longer, and the year turns towards spring, and the time for eggs and hatching will come again!

All is well, apart from with poor Cally who has something the matter with her eye again. The vet prescribed her an unguent and anti-inflammatories, but it does not seem to have improved and we are going back tomorrow. It doesn't seem to spoil her enjoyment of life, though:

Thursday 11 December 2014


Twiggy has gone to live with a lovely couple and one other poodle in Kent. Whilst I will always miss her, I feel her new home will be much more suitable for her to live out her retirement, as she does love lots of human attention, and will benefit from a quieter life where she won't be jumped on by pups and silly young poodles.

Big thanks to Poodle Network UK for matching Twiggy up with this nice new family.

Tuesday 2 December 2014

Gadding about

Today I took Pasha to the vet for her eye examination, which she passed. I also took Indi along for socialisation and she enjoyed meeting the opthamologist and the other staff. Afterwards we went to the pet food shop. A man who works there has a long pigtail down to his waist, which Indi thought was very exciting!

Meanwhile, Hobson has been put into a Continental cut. Although I love the Scandinavian/Modern type trims, Hobson's coat is extremely thick and the time it takes to dry after washing is just getting longer and longer, and this time it took 3 1/2 hours. As she is in coat change, she needs washing more often. The time of year is also horrendous, since not only are there precious few hours of good daylight to dry and trim dogs in, but everything is wet, and a run in the grass makes legs soggy, and Hobson's coat never dries properly because it's so thick, so her legs end up smelly. Hopefully like this she can still be nice and fluffy without it being so much work.