One Thousand and One Blog Posts

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8 years. 103 months. 225,034 hits. 4 cameras. 10 dogs. 1 blogger. 1,001 posts.

I started this blog on 7th March 2010, when I was a freshly turned fifteen-year-old. I was in high school, and the day after I would post something I would come into school and inform my friends about it! I was just really excited to have a website/blog. It had been a dream for a while.

I had started a website on another host with a news page, but I wasn't updating it very often. I thought I would try a tie-in blog just for fun. My 1st post was called Sticks and Stones and featured a few photos of Ben, then a young puppy.


By the time of my 101st post, Barking News: Rua's New Pups!, I had abandoned my original website altogether. Updating a blog was so much easier and far less time consuming than updating an entire website. I had also gained a few readers who left comments, which was very encouraging.

The post introduces Rua's new puppies, then only two days old. They would make another appearance on the blog four weeks later, and then two weeks after that. One of the puppies would go on to make hundreds of appearances on this blog, and that puppy is Pip!

Rua with her little puppies (Pip's in there somewhere)...



It's strange, I have very clear memories of writing my 201st post. I used to blog from my granny's house as there was no broadband in my own house. It was a school night, I'd been at my granny's for a few hours. I popped outside to check on the sheep with my dad at the usual time and returned to write this post.

Meet Grace and Georgia! is perhaps not the most inventive of my titles, but it got the job done! Grace and Georgia were Suckie's second set of twin ewe lambs. Suckie's parenting was... not the best, and she rejected little Grace. The following day Grace was sold to someone who needed a lamb for a ewe who had lost hers. I like to think that Grace made it, and that there are some of Suckie's descendants running around out there.

This is little Grace:



Happy First Birthday, Little Pip! is the 301st post on this blog. This post features many elements that I consider things from the early days, such as the iconic photos of various dogs on a leather chair. In this case it's Pip, of course! 


Also I used to make little "birthday cakes" for the dogs out of tinned food, decorated with treats, a practise I really must start up again. I don't often take pictures posed with props either, and those feature here too. I would never publish any of these photos if I took them today, but that's the point of learning - and I was about to do a lot of that...

My 401st post, aptly named Happy New Year!, landed on - you guessed it - January 1st. There are just three photos in this post but they make for a cute little sequence. Since Pip's first birthday post, Teddy had arrived and grown up, I had left high school and started a course in photography, and I had my first DSLR camera. It was a Canon 550D and I got it in October 2011 for use on my course. When I took these photos, on Christmas Day 2012, I was over halfway through my two year course. For the first time I was looking at my surroundings with a trained eye.



The 501st post, What's in the Box?, is one of those fun little posts I like to do sometimes. It's just cute! By this time, 2015, I had long finished my photography course and was at home full time, doing what I do now - helping on the farm at home and taking pictures as a hobby. I had discovered a favourite lens and used it as much as I could - the 50mm prime. To this day it's my favourite, most-used lens.



The blog at this time was still primarily about the dogs, but all that was going to change with the arrival of Blue Belle the pony. The Walk Isn't Over..., the 601st post, is one of my favourite posts that I have written. That walk with my two girls is a very fond memory for me. The sunset was absolutely beautiful, and Blue Belle and Suckie enjoyed grazing on the fresh autumn grass. This was before I had a whole flock of sheep to myself - walks like this would be difficult to pull off today. I don't regret having more sheep, but I do miss the simplicity of it being just Suckie, Blue Belle and I. Our bond was closer. Suckie followed us everywhere and I could give her special attention in her later years. We were a happy little family, as opposed to what we are now - a happy big family.



With the arrival of Blue Belle my focus started to shift, and as Blue Belle's family of pet sheep grew, I took more and more photos of them. I have liked sheep for as long as I can remember, but loving sheep? That started with looking after Suckie in her final years.

The mob descends in my 701st post - The Mob. I had a new camera - my current Canon 70D - and some notable pet lambs in the lambing shed (a very, very young Margo, Millie, Rosie and Honey, along with Nobby). This post is a typical example of just going out and taking pictures of whichever sheep run over to the quad. It's always fun to go out like this. It's something I haven't done much of recently, but I really should.

This blog is also a great way to track the "face" of the flock - early posts from 2010 feature lots of Suffolk ewes, Charollais and Texels - less of a variety than what's on display here, or today. We just kept adding lots of different breeds into the melting pot!



Deleted Scenes, the 801st post, was an idea I had to post some of my favourite unused pictures from the year. I had plans to do it in 2017 but I simply didn't have the time but I hope to do it this year. I take a lot of photos, and sometimes the more abstract ones don't get featured because I can't think of something to say about them, or I think that some stories aren't worth blogging about. Sometimes a photo is discarded because it doesn't have the same lighting as other photos in a post. The photo below is an example of one I would usually delete, but there's something about it that I really like - I just can't put my finger on what.



My 901st post is called Puppies and Foals and Chicks and Calves, Oh My..., and it features photos from a visit to a couple of my friends and their animals. I always enjoy visiting friends with my camera and taking pictures - a change of scenery can do you good.



It's fitting that the final post on this list features friends. When I started this blog I was 15, now I'm 23. I started with a little point and shoot camera, and now I use my second DSLR. I was at school, now I'm most certainly not. I have often said that having a blog changes the way you think - you look at events that are happening in your life and you wonder how you will document them, what the post's title will be. Blogging has become a part of my life, my DNA, and without this blog I don't think I would have taken such a keen interest in photography. Maybe I would have taken up photography regardless, but I do know that with this blog I have a complete history of my photographic journey. Photos are so precious - I have photos on this blog of my first ewe, Panda, my dogs as puppies, I have memories of growing up surrounded by beautiful countryside.

I want to thank you, dearest reader, for looking at my blog. Thank you to everyone who has ever left a comment, I read every one. Thank you goes as well to my inspirations - the bloggers. You are all appreciated so much.

Kilbroney & Spelga

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Last Saturday, Fly, Teddy, my friend Toni and I all went on a little adventure. We had no real destination in mind, just a thirst for adventure. Our first stop turned out to be Kilbroney Forest Park. It's such a pretty place.





This is the park that C.S. Lewis spent many holidays in as a child, and was apparently the inspiration for the world of Narnia. Toni and I had never been on the Narnia Trail - I had never been here at all - so that's what we decided to do.

To start the trail you have to walk through a door to a magical land...


...beyond it, strange creatures await - oh, it's Teddy.


Fly was already having fun.



Two puppies having a good time - this was taken at the Beaver's house.


A little further on there were (timber) wolves!


Another terrifying wolf!


In a clearing, Aslan sits proudly.


At a badger's house.


This park is beautiful from every angle - no wonder C.S. Lewis found it so inspiring!



I'm not responsible for this photo, Teddy wanted his picture taken here. (See, he's an old pro by now. He saw a wall and jumped up onto it and posed by himself, all without prompting. Good boy.)


By the time we'd had our walk on the Narnia Trail, both of the dogs were tired and the humans hungry. We stopped in the city for a feast and then headed for home, but not before we stopped at Spelga Dam on our way through the mountains.


The view was lovely, if a bit cold.



And of course, to finish our day, a family portrait.



The sun shone upon us all and we had a lovely time. Thanks to Toni for holding those leads!

Hampshire Lines

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This is a drawing based on one of my pictures (from this post), sent to me by a friend called Jessi. I really love the colourful lines and how you can easily tell it's a Hampshire Down. She has a Redbubble store of fandom art, and you can buy her a sandwich on Ko-fi. Thank you for the present, Jessi! I love it!

Breakout Character

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This is a ewe.



She was about to be loaded onto a trailer and taken to a sale, but decided instead to jump the nearest fence which happened to be the fence around the field where my sheep were staying. So she temporarily became one of the flock (and she's still here, I don't think she's going anywhere now - she earned a pardon).

My beautiful Rosie.



Lovely Heather.





Precious little Esther.



Lois.



Rosie is very big, bless her. She's making the most of her grass.



Penny is as expressive as ever.



And there's my Bobbers. I love him.





Andy is very friendly and loves scratches, but because of hormones he has also gotten so aggressive, he's downright dangerous to be in the field with. That's why I hide behind Bob.



Fly in a Box

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Everyone who meets Fly instantly falls in love with her. She's so friendly and gentle and when her tail wags her whole body wags too. She's just a joy to have around. However she's still nervous of the camera, so I keep our photo sessions short and very positive and hopefully she'll come to like them eventually.

Speaking of coming to like things, when she arrived Fly had never seen a quad and now she loves them and always wants to come for a ride. She even taught herself to jump into the box on the front.





She came to us at just the right time too - with Pip unable to work anymore, we were starting to talk about a puppy and then along came Fly!





We love her to pieces!

The Yellow, Yellow Grass of Home

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This summer was tough - while last summer was very wet, this summer was very dry. The grass growing in the corners of the yard turned yellow, and areas of the fields with lots of rock burned up, the grass stopped growing. We went for weeks and weeks without rain which, in Ireland, is very jarring! I took these photos while everything was still burned up so there isn't the usual bright green in the background.

Olive and her impressive ears.





Team Millie - Abby (standing) and Annie.



Lovely Lois.



Gorgeous Rosie.





My dad has grown very fond of the pet flock over the past few years, and the lambs love him.





There's a queue for his attention!





As if I needed any help recognising Penny, now she has her distinctive torn ear. Poor thing.



I have a soft spot a mile wide for Heather. She's a sweetheart.



I read somewhere about how human babies have bigger eyes so their mothers will find them more endearing and form a bond. May I present the case for sheep:



Little Esther's eyes are huge and we love her to pieces.





Penny loves us too.



It's not just sheep in the queue. Sheepdogs need cuddles too.





Esther is happy to share.





Team Millie!



Rosie.



Flora is very hard to photograph because she's always running towards me.



Heather and Esther are the Big Mule and Little Mule respectively.



Annie and Abby are a gorgeous set of twins.





Esther coming for her hugs.



Andy is king of the castle flock.





His twin brother Angus is his sidekick.









Andy enjoys scratches, but he also enjoys trying to beat me up.





I should have called Penny "Leggy Peggy", it would have been more accurate.



Pretty Fly.



And how did Bob spend his summer, did you ask? Well, just like he spends his autumn, winter and spring - lying down.