“Tips on Moving with Your Pets” – reblogged from anchoragealaskaliving

Reblogged from anchoragealaskaliving.. Thought they were some useful tips!

“It’s a kind of hassle when moving from one home to another. Usually, grownups are busy supervising everything, stress levels are high. Movers walk in and out with all the valuables through narrow doorways and along tight corners. Children keep on running around, often noisy and/or in the way. Although it’s easy to communicate with […]”
https://anchoragealaskaliving.wordpress.com/2016/05/03/remember-this-tips-on-moving-with-your-pets/

Happy Easter from us all…

Been enjoying a lovely long Easter weekend here, with very much a mix of weather but plenty of sunshine mixed in between rain, hailstones and whipping wind and today particularly been enjoying a quiet Easter Sunday at the farm with the pony and back at home…


The boys enjoying the lazy day…

… And their own version of Easter eggs, egg biscuits which went down a treat!


This picture in particular seems to sum up our food-loving Harvey.. Nothing left but crumbs!



Finally with a sleepy hello from Rosie-hamster, a very happy Easter to all. X

Those March Days 

This weekend brought with it the official start of spring, and after a winter more full of mud and rain in our little neck of the woods than enchanting frozen lakes and snowdrifts, a change in the weather – usually one I meet with mixed feelings, loving so much the cosiness and wrapped-up loveliness of winter days as well as the first warming rays of sun – was more than welcome.

Saturday dawned with light filtering in the curtains and found me out for my first run of 2016, followed closely by a late morning hack on a happy Charmer, out with our friends clopping along country lanes, watching the sun sparkle on the sea, deer graze in their usual field; and enjoying a full pelt canter for home, the boys snorting as dust flew out behind them.

Back at the farm, it is such a relief to see the fields dry up and to walk freely and happily across the ground, waterproof trousers retired for another year.

Sunday was due to be the “first day of Spring” and as I stepped out the back with my morning coffee, my first daffodil was open to greet me.

She was alone in the morning but followed closely along by the end of the day by several more, turning up right on cue as though they’d planned it.

Spent some time spring cleaning on Sunday afternoon – including a spruce up for the boys and Rosie in their cages, the boys, as ever, excited by the new arrangement to explore while Rosie, as ever, infuriated by the insult to her organising system that is a cage clean-out!

The last few days have been dominated mainly by sunshine, and the world seems to have awakened to it – the garden full of bumble bees and butterflies and the garden birds singing happily.

On Sunday night we took a walk along the beach just as night fell, walking among the sandcastles, love hearts and initials in the sand that belied a busy day here, now so quiet as the light faded and a coolness still lingered in the air.

This beautiful phrase is never more true than in the first days of Spring-time, when summer wrestles the world free of winter’s grip and everything around us brightens in fits and starts.

The days are tumultuous but so beautiful in all their stages and moments, and it is wonderful to find so many chances to turn our faces to the sun. I brought Charmer in last night in 8pm darkness, winter still with us in the shade, but put him out this morning in a field ablaze with summertime blues, running rabbits and new grass coming through. Enjoying so very much these first glimpses and looking forward to much to more to come.

Settling into the weekend…

The weekend is here again at last and we are so glad to see it here in our little house – driving home last night, working week done and pony already tucked up in his stable, stopped off for Friday night junk food for all the family back home!


After an easy night in, woke this morning to a breezy, warm grey March day, the rats lazing happily in their bed (and Rosie so tucked up couldn’t even grab a photo of her, burrowed deep in her little box happily ensconced in bedding).

Looking out as I waited for the kettle to boil, the sight of garden visitors greeted me: the male blackbird of our usual pair, digging and picking bits and pieces from the grass – maybe a sign that nesting season is once again just around the corner – and also a handsome pheasant settling himself in the garden and looking quite unperturbed as I joined them with my morning coffee.

  

Back inside, a few treats doled out to the waiting boys and second coffee of the day poured into a travel mug, made my way along to the farm where Charmer was waiting patiently after a night in filling up on hay and rolling around his treat ball, ready for breakfast, a walk and a day out in the field.


  

Wander done and home once more, I am glad of the peaceful and animal-filled start to the weekend, and looking forward to the rest of it stretching ahead. Have a good one all!

“The Little Things” – In praise of pets, the joy they bring and all their little moments

“Enjoy the little things in life, because one day you’ll look back and realise they were the big things.”

I read this quote years ago on a typically happy Pinterest-and-coffee morning, no doubt with Simba or Pipkin – our most dedicated bed-lounging former pets – on my feet, enjoying time and thoughts on an easy Saturday. It really struck a chord with me, as someone who has always enjoyed the little things in life the most and seen in them so much of value. Those quiet weekend mornings, the first few moments of fresh air and daylight in the morning, beauitful views, cosy coffees with family and friends and time with our pets.

Over the years, I have found so much strength and inspiration in some of the everyday moments in life and in huge part this has been contributed to by my relationships with my animals. Of course to a massive degree with my little horse Charmer, my partner in crime for sixteen years now; or my mum and dad’s collie Ginny, with us since I was living at home as a teenager, our loyal companion for over thirteen years. These pets have shaped whole chunks of my life and times spent with them have been the cornerstones of my growing up, in all the little moments that do really and truly add up to be one of the biggest blessings, “the big things” in life.

Yet it is not only those who are lucky enough to have this longevity that I feel this way about – over the last five years we have had the pleasure of owning thirteen little bundles of fur and love, and each and every one of them has brought so much joy. I am well aware that many people would wonder quite how rewarding these very small pets can be and whether they really give much to their owners – to me, they always have, more than I can say.

“Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”

The hamsters, rats and rabbits we have had the pleasure of sharing our home with in the past may have been small things in size, but have deserved – and often ethusiastically demanded! – a huge space in our hearts as their lives with us have unfolded. The first time Pipkin ran to the cage door to greet us; the first time Grace saw her new cage and wheel and had to be persuaded to take a break after an alarmingly long gym session; the day we moved into our new home and Simba settled himself on the rug in front of the fire to set the seal on our new life; the day an elderly Chae surprised us with an uncharacterstic leap up on to the settee to join us; the first time Lizzie was afraid but didn’t bite and cuddled into us instead, in one little action turning a big corner for her into a happier way of life. All of these memorable moments – and even more than that, each and every boring, normal night watching Friends with Harvey on my knee, Ty playing with my hair and Rosie’s wheel rattling down in the kitchen; are the moments – the little things – that often provide me with everything I need for the more challenging aspects of life.

Our pets may be in some ways the smallest things, but they do truly take up an enormous space in my heart, very often being some of the highlights and biggest blessings in my days; and I will always be grateful for them.

The wildlife around us..

Living on the edge of woodland and in a fairly quiet village we are very blessed to have a wealth of wildlife on our doorstep, and, as every year, I have been so thankful in the first days of the year, especially as the weather begins to brighten up, to be able to watch, face upturned to the sky, as buzzards circled above – their colours catching in the light, gliding so effortlessly.

Once summer comes nearer, it is not uncommon while sitting out later at night to hear hedgehogs emerging from their various corners of the garden for their evening forage, such a beautiful thing to be able to witness.
One happy couple who are never far away are our nesting pair of blackbirds. Three years ago they first came to roost just outside our house and we were so lucky to be able to watch their nesting and their young being born and making their first flights ❤

Last year and the year before they nested just over by our garden shed, in a thankfully slightly safer and more sheltered spot! And this year we’ve yet to spot a nest, but lovely to see them swooping and perching and look forward to seeing them begin to gather again as spring comes closer.
Our little blackbird family has led to us learning more about them – I was surprised to see them coming back the next year looking identical and fascinated when reading up to learn that they do indeed mate for life, generally speaking, forming family units unchanged by the seasons tumbling by, and choosing this as their home just as we have done to stay in year on year.
In the trees, the sparrows have been swooping and perching, and they are just so lovely to observe. I feel very blessed to have our little corner of our wonderful natural world, and to see it coming to life for a new year and singing again. ❤

A weekend at home in the snow – embracing “hygge”

The Danish concept of “hygge” roughly translates – according to the lovely article all about it I came across on an appropriately cosy and wintry Friday night in – as “cosiness” if anything, but really so much  more than that. Lacking an English equivalent, it describes this time of year and encompasses all the warmth and comfort of these January days when they’re spent indoors, maybe with some friends, family or pets, taking solace from the weather outside and enjoying the company, the food and the warming mugs of the indoors on a cold day.

Hygge seems to me to be something I could get on board with – looking to January not just as we so often do here to be a time for new year’s resolutions and healthy eating, but instead also for taking life at an easy pace and focusing on the comfort of the best things in life. This weekend, we did live in a very hygge-ish manner, just by the nature of it. We woke on Saturday morning to a snowy world, so after I’d been along to the farm to let Charmer out to play in it, his nose covered in a moustache of snow and ears pricked forwards, enjoying the new games; I came back home and had a cosy warming breakfast and mainly indoors day.



Winnie has been on medicine in the last couple of days as his old age is really catching up with him  now, and seemed to be very much enjoying 4-hourly spoonfuls of sugary medicine and lots of extra cuddles  out in a blanket, finding his weekend particularly full of comfort food and snuggling up!


The other boys and Rosie too have enjoyed us being around the house plenty this weekend, and it’s been lovely to boil the kettle more times than we can count, read books, watch the snow from the window and just settle in.

We did make a wrapped-up wander along to family on Saturday afternoon, and it was absolutely lovely to be in there too out of the blowing blizzards and waving trees with our much-loved family collie on the couch between us all, enjoying our time together so much.


It’s February tomorrow and though I am very much looking forward to lighter mornings and nights, being able to see the horse in daylight and all the other lovely things the beginnings of Spring bring; as long as winter lasts I’d happily enjoy a little more snow, steaming coffees and long days in with cuddly pets – here’s to Hygge. X

Home Sweet Home – The pets’ cages & set-ups!

I always love to read blogs and browse Pinterest pins of lovely cosy animal homes, getting ideas for new ways to arrange the set-ups and ring the changes; so decided to write a little post just about some of the cages we’ve had for our little ones over the years, how we’ve found them, and some of their favourite comfy beds too.

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Cages & Set Ups

Savic Freddy 2

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This was our first rat cage and the one we’ve used mainly over the years – generally for 2 or 3 rats, and once recently for Chae, Win, Harvey and Ty. It’s a good size, very sturdy, and easy to take apart to clean, and have always really liked it. I’ve read recommendations in the past for this cage as for up to 4 rats, but although it was fine when Harvey and Ty were younger, and is a great cage for them being able to climb and being able to fill with hammocks and ladders, I did think it felt a bit small for them all by the time it was 4 big boys in it before they moved to the Mamble. I do love the height, and one of the things all our rats, boys and girls, have loved most have been cardboard boxes to chew, modify, climb on, sleep under and make their own, so plenty of room for them!

Ferplast Mary

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Generally our hamster cage and a potential rat retirement cage. Most of our hamsters have lived in this, and have found it a great cage for them. Rosie is in this at the moment and loves it – it gives her plenty of room, but at all one level is fairly safe (though she does take to some upside-down bar hanging now and then!) and is also surprisingly big enough to fit a 12″ Silent Spinner wheel which was handy when we had our very active Syrian girl Grace who was very committed to her excercise regime! It would also be a potential safe cage for a couple of oldies if needed for the rats at some point as has plenty floorspace but nowhere to tumble.

Little Friends Mamble

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Our current rat cage. This was originally bought for Pipkin after it became clear he wasn’t going to go in with Chae and Winnie and he was very at home in it. It was excellent value and although it’s not maybe as sturdy as the Freddy just due to the way it assembles from folded, it’s come in very handy having the two big doors for access – there is plenty of height for different hammocks and shelves too and is only 20cm longer than the Freddy but seems to make a big difference to floorspace. Our three boys are in this now and there are lots of options for adding in new toys and beds.

Beds

Beds in the hamster cages generally stand the test of time, and all our hamsters have happily lived in little houses they have taken care to furnish neatly and devoted hours to the upkeep of as demonstrated by Darcy, Grace and Rosie below…

The rats, in sharp contrast, have destroyed with increasing speed every comfy bed bestowed upon them, and each and every one has been a short lived joy!! Beds have been made up of everything from old scarves and teatowels to fluffy lined pet beds and have always included a raggy collection of hammocks in various stages of destruction! Although I’ve tried to keep them all as cost-effective as possible, one type of bed that’s definitely worth investing in is the small dog & cat type we’ve had a few of in the past – all of the boys have just loved these and they are an ideal place for them all to curl up together..

 

For more lasting beds, obviously without as much comfort but still often chosen by our brood, there are the plastic options with the wonderful benefit of being easy to clean! A baby Harvey below models the Sputnik hanging from the roof – when Harv and Ty were only around 12 weeks they consistently slept 3 in a Sputnik and on at least one occasion a slightly uncomfortable looking bundle were squeezed in with four squashed noses peeking out..

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The hamster ball (open at both ends) has always been a firm favourite too, and one of the boys’ favourite pastimes is filling it with shredded paper and lining it comfily..

Hammocks and hanging beds are always very well-recieved too, and great to be able to layer in the cage to let everyone choose their favourite place to be.

Regardless of the options on offer however, there is no predicting where the boys will adopt as their next “favourite spot”.. and as Winnie demonstrates so ably below…. rats sleep anywhere!!

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Love to see anyone else’s set ups and especially ideas for comfy and lasting beds – would love to upgrade to an Explorer-type cage at some point when we’ve a bit more space, or a DIY converted bookshelf or cabinet for a real project- and learning to make my own fleece hammocks is on my to-do list!! Have a lovely evening all.