#5photos1day #Horsebloggers

Decided to do something a wee bit different today as came across the Hay-net #5photos1day challenge and #horsebloggers network the other day while reading a lovely post by Gadding About With Galahad. Loved the idea of telling the story of a typical day in 5 photos and getting to see so many glimpses of others’ too, so thought I would join in and give it a go!

Started from the very beginning yesterday, getting up just as it was beginning to get light and grabbing my flask of coffee and keys, pulling on my cosiest jacket and leaving the house to head to the farm for the early shift!

The first flakes of snow of the much-anticipated “Beast from the East” storm were falling as I drove along the road, and by the time I got to the farm there was a light dusting covering the yard.

Charmer was waiting by his stable door as normal when I pulled the big barn doors open – always tuned into to the sound of my engine rumbling in – and I made his breakfast while he tossed his head and banged his stable door in his trademark morning impatience! (Tried to take a photo of this particular moment but just a blur of furry neck craning over the door and being thrown about at high speed!)

While he eats his breakfast I skip out round him, filling the barrow and throwing his bed up for the day to give me a head start for the evening visit; when I can just pull the bankings down and let him in for the night, filling his bed up and adding in hay once he’s in happily dinner-ing and playing with his ball.

I always really enjoy the wander out to the field in the morning light with my boy, taking everything in as we go; generally serenaded by the cockerel, sometimes the farm cat trotting up to say hello too and without fail having to pause to watch the pretty mares gathered around their ring-feeder at the top of the hill.

Charmer is an outdoor pony through and through, and ambles off happily on reaching the field in the morning whatever the weather; but by night in these temperatures he is usually to be found at the gate, another day done and anticipating his stable comforts!

Got him in and settled down for the night, enjoying some time with him before we parted ways; and headed back home, where snow had continued to fall steadily and had settled into a very beautiful and peaceful blanket.

Today the weather is due to ramp up a notch, and not quite sure what the next couple of days will bring! Last night though it was very still, completely tranquil and just gorgeous.

Really enjoyed snapping away all day and capturing all the little moments with the pony, and look forward to reading others’ too.

Hope you are all wrapped up warm and having a good week. ❄️

#5photos1day #horsebloggers

Early mornings with my boy 💙

The last few days have been beautiful here in our little corner of the world: blue skies, rising temperatures and the unmistakable hint of spring in the air from the moment the light begins to filter into the sky.

I’ve managed to make a few early morning trips along to the farm this week to see my biggest boy, just as the day is beginning (all activities are carved round our little daughter’s feeding and sleeping times just now and farm visits have been a juggling act, grabbed wherever possible here and there!). I’ve been so loving the chance to get along there first thing; it’s been amazing just to breathe in the dawn air, muck out with the farm cat purring round my ankles and walk the old boy the long way round to the field, stopping to let him graze at the snowdrop-lined verges as the sun appears above the fields.

Charmer is doing well just now, and although there’s still a good few “transitional” weeks to wrestle through, I’m glad to be most of the way through another winter. At 22 years this year it’s more of a challenge now for him to stay on an even keel weight wise in these dark muddy months; but so far so good, and we even had the first of the winter coat beginning to come out yesterday when I gave him a wee brush – a sure sign the seasons are on the cusp of change!

I love to see the first glimmers of spring arrive into our days; and there’s nothing quite like turning the corner onto the farm track to see the barns, the little church at the foot of the hill and the horses grazing in the fields between, all framed by a pink sky.

Looking forward very much to this next season and all the light it will bring. Hope you are all having a lovely week, and Happy Friday all! 😊

John Grogan’s Marley & Me

John Grogan’s autobiographical Marley & Me is a funny, honest and heart-warming story not just about the life of the eponymous Marley, but the family he was adopted into and the inevitable ups and downs of their lives, shared with their faithful – if a little chaotic – dog. Taking him from puppyhood right through to older age, the book is full of humour and love in equal measure; and the comedy jumping from the pages as Marley attempts to master the obedience he strives – not always successfully – to offer his owners, makes it unsurprising that the story leant itself to a warm and funny film further down the line.

I first read Marley & Me several years ago, and at the time so many aspects of it reminded me of my own childhood growing up in a family with dogs. Re-reading again on holiday last summer – actually as it happened with my own Marley in my arms as I did – so much of John and Jenny’s beginnings together had been mirrored in our own little family’s, and I could relate to the truth and warmth of the story from our own perspective as well.

Reading Marley & Me on holiday with my Marley and the other littles last summer 💙

The Grogans’ tale of life with Marley is a rollercoaster, and is full of mistakes and curveballs, but is held together by the love a life with pets offers so unconditionally.

Marley & Me documents the day-to-day reality of marriage, children and all the winding paths life takes us on. The family’s journey is enriched so much by Marley’s dominating presence in their midst, and as John Grogan writes, he teaches them as much as they teach him and more:

“A person can learn a lot from a dog.. Living each day with unbridled exuberance and joy, seizing the moment and following your heart. He taught me to appreciate the simple things – a walk in the woods, a fresh snowfall. As he grew old and achy he taught me optimism in the face of adversity. Mostly, he taught me about friendship and selflessness and, above all, unwavering loyalty.”

This is a warm and engaging story of family life and the life-long imprint a much-loved pet makes on it. ♥️

Little Grace and the rest ~ In praise of rescue pets

This morning’s “Facebook memory” transported me back to a day I remember so very well, and I felt the same wave of excitement and happiness I did at the time – six years ago today we adopted our very first rescue pet, our beautiful little hamster Grace.

I’d grown up with rescued dogs and cats in my childhood and knew how rewarding the journey with a pet given a second chance at life could be; but we’d never adopted or rehomed in our adulthood pets journey – and in fact I didn’t really know there was the opportunity for it in the small animal sphere.

I heard about Grace through a fellow rat owner, who had seen her advertised for free online and been worried about her fate so decided to take her on and find a good home for her. When she went to collect her, she found her being kept in a small plastic tub with air holes cut in, no way of seeing out, and an old injury had left her with only one ear. She was also extremely small for a Syrian hamster, but, no doubt due to what we would come to know was her irrepressible character, she didn’t let anything that might have happened in the first few months of her life dampen her spirits; and within hours of her temporary owner getting her home she was racing around a new cage, and had commandeered a 12″ rat wheel put in with other odds and ends “just in case” to give her some enrichment. She was so tiny on it but made it go effortlessly and absolutely loved it – in fact when she came to live with us we got her one the same size and she loved it all her days.

We brought Grace home on Valentines Day 2012, and she was the most wonderful addition to our little family and brought so much joy in her time with us.

She also began for us a habit of seeking to rescue our pets whenever we could – I had already decided to avoid pet shops for any new additions after learning about the rodent farming practices that can often be used by them; and as this left us with independent breeders or rehoming as our main options, we were always so happy if we found the chance to give a pet a second chance at life come up.

Just as I know it is with larger pets – and in many cases more so as time with the little ones is so much shorter and more precious – it’s so very rewarding to see rats and hamsters find their feet in a second home, and I have always found it such a wonderful thing to be able to do. There are often challenges of course – Lizzie, our first rescue rat, who came from the SSPCA in 2012, and Pipkin, our very troubled but so wonderfully special boy, adopted in 2014, had significant behavioural issues, but seeing them gradually overcome their fear of the world around them was the best feeling in the world.

Lizzie and Pipkin ❤

Healthwise too, the little ones’ starts in life often compromised them – Chae, Winnie and Pipkin were part of a large-scale rescue that made the news in our area, where 300 rats were found being kept in one house in terrible conditions – they were actually kittens born in the SSPCA centre to one of the many pregnant does, so never lived in the house, but the in-breeding that had happened over so long left them all with very poor health and they all suffered from respiratory issues most of their lives. Still though, in spite of the odd jaunt to the vets and medication hidden in fruit juice every evening, they got so much out of their lives, and gave us so much too in return; really appreciating everything we did for them.

Winston Rat loving old age despite his ailments ❤

Of all the lovely animals we’ve owned, the rescues have often been those we’ve grown closest to, and the length of time they’ve had to spend with us has had no correlation to how much they’ve meant to us – Darcy the bustling hamster only lived with us the last six months of his life but I loved him so very much and he was a wonderful character.

Darcy

There are so many wonderful aspects to a life with rescue pets, big or small, and I’d recommend it to anyone considering taking on a new addition.

Grace, Sylvie, Lizzie, Chae, Winnie, Pipkin, Darcy, Rosie, Jasper and Jet all in their second home with us. ❤

Enjoying looking back on little Grace’s arrival and all the others’ time with us too.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend. X

Snow games for the rats… ❄️🐭

Decided to bring a little of the outside in for the boys today as we woke once again this morning to fluffy white snow covering the garden. Always on the lookout for ways to make life more interesting for them at the moment, as they don’t get as much free range time just now as usual; and always glad of games I can play with them.

My whiskery pair 💙

Snow has seemed to take all our rats’ attention in the past, especially when digging through it for hidden treats, and Jasper and Jet, meeting it for the first time today, turned out to be no different (when I eventually persuaded them to leave their cosy hammock!).

Lovely to see them enjoying their fun and to spend some time with them. The sun is out now, and the peaceful blanket that fell overnight melting away under February’s brightness – but plenty digging and playing to be done for J&J!

Hope you are all having a lovely week. X