18 April 2019

Rosie's Halter

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I have recently gotten interested in making halters and leads with cotton rope. My first halter was a bit of a mess, to be honest, but my second was just a little more presentable. I made it for Rosie, the largest of my ewes (and of course making things for Rosie means an excuse to use pink).

I made her a natural cotton rope halter with baby pink whipping (that's the name for the smaller rope wrapped around the bigger rope). Because it was made (roughly) to measure, it fit her well.



Rosie looked very cute in her new halter.



As this is only the second halter I have made this way, there are a few niggles. I accidentally tied the knots in the whipping on the outside on one side and the lead part of the halter is about half the length it should be. Sheep walk at a much slower pace than even I do and so I like to give them plenty of rope. They also stop for snacks all the time!



Since this halter I have started to put stitching underneath the whipping for added strength. Although Rosie is well enough trained that she doesn't pull much anyway.



She walked halfway up this hill and demanded treats!



A better picture of the knots on the wrong side.



The other side with its fuzzy fray.



At the end of the lead is knot. If the lead was longer I could let the rope run through my hand until it reached the knot and then I'd know to stop and wait for the sheep to catch up. The fraying end of the rope is wrapped in what's called sailmaker's whipping but it is something I can't get my head around and it always goes wrong for me! The charms I found on eBay and couldn't resist adding for a finishing touch - a shamrock and a little heart.



It's wonderful to be able to use something that you have made yourself.



A thank you goes to Rosie for being such a good model and walking most of the way up this hill for me.

16 April 2019

Lost Lamb Lookout

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Jess loves to help out with checking on the sheep. She's very good at spotting lost lambs.



Oh! There's one.



We eventually got this young Mule reunited with her mummy.

14 April 2019

Castlewellan Forest Park Welcomes Lots of Berners (and Sue Too)

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Yesterday afternoon I found myself with some free time now that the lambing is mostly over. It was a decent day and Sue hadn't been out and about since the beginning of March so I narrowed down the location choices until I decided to walk around Castlewellan Lake.

After parking the car and getting the camera out we headed for the lake. There I bumped into Sally who I first met way back in 2009. She breeds beautiful Bernese Mountain Dogs. She was talking with a couple of other people and their dogs, including this beautiful old girl.





Sue was eager to say hello.





It turned out there was a very special event happening - it was the Friends of Bernese Northern Ireland Worldwide Walk. People from all over the world were meeting up to take their Bernese Mountain Dogs for walks and some had gathered here in Castlewellan to walk around the lake. One of the first to return was adorable Oakley.



These two were beautiful.





One of them was a little bit shy!





Soon there were people and dogs everywhere.





Sally asked me to take a group photo. We didn't manage to catch everyone before they left, but we got most of them. (Spot the imposter...)





I couldn't resist sneaking Sue into the group photo - she's being held by the lady in the bright pink coat.

Sally's son Andrew with Bjorn pulling the cart and his pride and joy, the first Appenzeller in Ireland.



Bjorn is a very handsome boy.





A tradition continues. Ben posed on a cart in 2010 and yesterday Sue had the chance! Andrew took this wonderful photo with Castlewellan Castle in the background.



Andrew was in traditional Swiss dress and Bjorn was pulling a traditional Swiss cart.



While Andrew and I were talking, Bjorn was giving Sue kisses on the cheek.



The Bernese Mountain Dogs trickled away and Sue and I began our walk around the lake.







Sue had lots of sniffing to do.



Sue was wearing a new collar made by Dapper Maximus Designs and a necktie designed by me and made by Blonde Dog Designs. I have recently gotten into making leads and halters, so I made a lead to match the necktie. This was my first time out with a lead that I had made myself.



Sue looked so cute!





The first dog we bumped into on our walk was Ted, German Shepherd and fellow bandana enthusiast.





I wasn't sure how strong my homemade lead would be, but the answer was that it was very strong. At least strong enough to hold back a rampaging Susan.



I've been so busy with lambs recently that Sue's training has been a bit neglected but she surprised me by doing a very passable stay whenever I asked her to.





Yesterday was an "ears up" day.



The path was so pretty.







A little further on we met Willow. Or Waggy Willow as I remember her.





She was very cute and playful. Sue really liked her.



Not long after that we met Diane, a fellow former camera club member. She was accompanied by professional poser Zena.



Holly, like Sue, is learning how to pose but she's doing amazing!



Zena is full of fun and so is Sue, so of course these two got on swimmingly.



We walked onwards.





Her little pink sheep print necktie was perfect for her.





We met another dog called Teddy.





And another dog turned up too.





At the farthest point of the lake.



Shortly after this we met Burgers. I loved Burgers.



On the home stretch Sue was getting tired.





She lounged regally on a tree stump.



There were lots of people fishing and Sue was fascinated.





One of my favourite pictures from the day. My little puppy is growing so fast!



At the end of our walk the castle is in full view again. This is where I took Nobby the lamb for his first walk so it's a very special location.



What a brilliant afternoon. We had some much fun!