6 December 2023

And They Called It Poppy Love

No comments

The 29th August 2023 started out like a normal day. It was a Tuesday, so Dad was off to the market with a trailer load of fat lambs. Before we loaded them, we went to the lambing shed, where a handful of smaller lambs were still being given extra feed. I bent to scoop nuts from the large container into a bucket, meanwhile Dad went to fetch water. Business as usual until -

"What's that?" Dad asked, causing me to look up from what I was doing. Something small and black was approaching us, but at Dad's voice it darted away again, hiding behind a trailer parked at the far end of the shed. My heart had done a little jump at the unexpected thing, whatever it was, but this was no mouse or rat! We both stopped what we were doing to have a closer look. Dad thought it was, somehow, a young lamb - I suspected it was a cat.

It wasn't long before we realised exactly what we were looking at - a dog! A little, black dog. Dad tried calling it to him, but it only came halfway before shying and running to hide again. Nuts forgotten, I had a go. This time, the tiny dog came all the way over, and I chanced picking it up. The poor thing was skin and bones, trembling with fear and digging its claws into my arm. It was obvious that this wasn't just a small dog, but a puppy. A young puppy.

I held her for a while, trying to be soothing, until I had no choice but to close her into the dog house while we got these lambs sent off. I returned about an hour later and had no trouble picking her up. She had no collar, smelled strongly of a dirty bed. She was nervous coming into the house - I got the impression she'd never been in a house before.

I took a short video - she was scared but friendly.

Dad's wellies smelled very interesting.

She also looked hungry, so I prepared a tiny portion of food - I didn't want to make her sick. That went down very well indeed.

I managed to locate one of Susan's collars from when she was a puppy which fit our surprise guest perfectly. After being fed and watered, she was transformed - her little tail was wagging! She was looking excited!

We've had dogs turn up on the farm before - although, they were always older dogs that had clearly got lost, from somewhere. Usually, one phone call to the local veterinary surgery is all it takes for the owner to get in touch and arrange to fetch their dog. This puppy was starving and immediately so clingy to me that it was extremely unlikely that she had run away from anywhere. Nonetheless, I made the call - no puppies reported missing. We let things sit until the next day, and when still no one had turned up or called, we took her into the surgery to check for a microchip - it wasn't really a surprise when there was none. Missing dog pages online had also turned up nothing.

As for the puppy, she was thriving, getting more and more confident around us. Mum was immediately in love as well. And to be honest, as much as I was doing my very best to remain level-headed, after that vet visit I was starting to call her Poppy in my head. And by that evening, the name had been said out loud...

So Poppy it was, and while we still waited for a phone call that would mean that an owner had turned up, we got to know each other.

These photos are all from day two of Poppy being with us.

I could already trust her in the yard too. She never strayed far from my feet. (As you can see, the lambing shed door has a gap at the bottom that she could have squeezed through.)

She had a very sweet face.

If she was unsure about something, she would come and sit at my feet.

Another thing about Poppy was that she didn't seem to know how to play. I would gently roll a ball along the floor for her, but she just watched it roll away and then turned to me for more strokes. It took a couple of days, but finally she started to play.

The phone call never came, in the end. No one came looking. We concluded that poor Poppy was dumped, perhaps at the end of our lane, and that she went looking for some food or shelter in the lambing shed. But, really, we know very little about her. For me (and her, if her clinging is anything to go by) it was love at first sight. One of those things that was just meant to be, I suppose.

2 December 2023

Getting to the End of August

No comments

Right - it's December now, and these photos are from August - time for me to get a move on! I've picked out just a few photos from August to talk a bit about.

We lost Teddy to his old age in the middle of August, so this photo from my last (attempted) family portrait is extra special. This was taken in early August when we were very busy dodging showers to get the grass cut.

Jess posing for me.
Susan being cute on the garden wall.

The pets, meanwhile, continued to live in the Dump Field. Here's Tilly.
Blue Belle paid a visit one evening. She liked the grass.

As per usual, Blue Belle was very interesting for the sheep.
There following week there was a beautiful, full rainbow when we were checking the sheep. Thankfully, I had my phone with me to capture it.

In the middle of August the pets returned to their usual field. Fern was happy to be home.
Fern and Poppy keeping Sybil company.


Dad and I continued to battle the elements when it came to getting our haylage and silage made.
Fly was my assistant on this day. She kept the seat warm for me.
I took a break from silage to catch three of my ewes and take them to the tips. I considered not bothering to breed Tilly, Astrid and Primrose, since it was only going to be the three of them, but in the end I decided to just go for it. So on the morning of the 23rd August the girls met the boys, and that evening I went to see how they were settling.
Tilly's and old hand at this by now.

For Astrid and Primrose this was all a bit strange.

This was one of the boys - the one with the spot on his face. Pretty easy to tell them apart that way! They're both Texel/Cheviot crosses.
Here's the other one.
It wasn't long before I was behind the wheel again. It's become something of a tradition for me to take photos while this field is being cut or baled, and, well, you can see why.

Jessica was helping me this evening.

And as for the end of August - it ended up throwing one of the biggest surprises my way. More on that in the next post. The day before the surprise, my dad and I weighed lambs - Fred was ready to go. The next morning he was off to the sale.


It's so strange to think of how different my circumstances were between the photo above and the one below, of Fred in the trailer and about to set off...