PETS

Spring in Pet Corner Part 2

Since I last wrote just a couple of weeks ago, it feels like lots has been going on with all the furry members of the family!

Not least with Charmer, who, when I last wrote had just recovered from his eye ulcer, and has since decided he was missing the vet and a few days later came in on three legs holding one of his back legs up in the air. 😩

At first we were really concerned that it looked like a serious tendon injury or similar, and I was very upset at the idea of a long box rest or something really difficult to deal with at his age – but our vet was great, and in the end concluded it was a flare up of his usual arthritis – which we’re at least so used to dealing with, so he could have an increased dose of his anti inflammatories for a while and take it day by day. He’d had a couple of days box rest while we sussed it out, but since then has been out to keep him moving, just with his few hours in a day for hay and dinners! And I’m really delighted to report he’s doing much better and is enjoying life again. He knows how to keep me on my toes these days… but I’m really so glad he’s doing well and back to enjoying his views. 🥰🥰

In the house, I’ve been absolutely loving lots of time with the little pets!

Rory-boy our new wee gerbil has settled in so well in the last few weeks. He’s such a brilliant wee character. He turns out to be very friendly and not averse to being handled at all, has enjoyed some time out exploring and is very confident.

I have been doing lots of reading and scouting of people’s set ups on gerbil care groups online, and decided to upgrade him from the old Savic XL gerbilarium we had to a longer tank-style cage. Had been keeping an eye out for a second hand glass tank not unlike Fish’s, as I’d read glass is best for gerbils, but in the end found a Ferplast Maxi Duna Multy on Marketplace for a great price so have gone for that. May live to regret it if Rory turns out to be a plastic base chewer! But for now I’m really delighted with how it’s turned out.

It’s just under 100cm long, and have left about 2/3 of the length of it with deep bedding about 8-10 inches deep, which is what he had in his smaller first tank, and we knew he just loved to make tunnels and caves. Even though the depth is almost the same, and length too given that we’ve put a wee cardboard divide up, it still feels a much bigger space just by being wider, and it must to him too, as he’s loving it. The other third is on a lower level with less bedding, and has space for his wheel (which he’s not got the hang of yet, will update on this!!), food and water and chew toys.

I’m really amazed at how much he seems to be enjoying it. I think with being able to see out easier, having a wider and longer floor space and having a separate area for his pottering about, he just seems to really love it. He’s been very active since I transferred him and loving watching us all more too.

I’ve also been reading on how to introduce him to a companion if we decide that might be doable, and on what’s best with that. Lots of advice is that gerbils are so social, and really appreciate a friend, but I am nervous with him having been alone so long and how content he seems to be in his own company. We’ll continue to look into it, but I’m just over the moon to see such a happy wee critter for now, and the different tunnel networks that appear every day!

Young Buzz has also got in on Rory’s shout with a couple of wee twists to his cage layout. Reading so much about gerbil care for the first time actually drew my attention more to something I’d already seen a mention of on the rescue page we have homed Buzz and all our recent hamsters from – which was the fact that the Blue Cross have recently updated their guidance for small animal enclosures, taking all hamsters, even dwarfs like Buzz, from a recommendation of 80cm unbroken floor space (which is what Buzz has in his very old Ferplast Mary cage), to 100cm. For gerbils, the change, both just a few weeks ago in April, took it from 75cm for them to 100cm too. Rory is a cm off that now (😅 which we won’t quibble over!!!) with the Maxi Duna Multy tank being 99cm, but Buzz at the moment will stay in his cage he’s been in long term. Our rescue are still allowing these for hamsters of Buzz’s type, and I feel really confident that he’s very happy and settled in his little home.

However, doing a wee bit of reading on how hamsters also can enjoy the digging and burrowing like gerbils – and seeing how much Rory does – thought would add a little grass mat to one side for Buzz, to heighten his cage at that corner and let me add some proper digging material and space. It remains to be seen whether he takes to this, as he eyed it with much suspicion when I was setting it up and so far hasn’t had a wee explore – we will see! Think our Buzz might be more of a pootler than a digger – he’s forever in and out of all his little houses, on and off his wheel, and scurrying food around. It’s always fun to learn more about the wee animals though, an try new things to take their attention!

Rosie and Theo are doing grand, spending long sunny days out in their catio and lazy evenings in with us – these first two photos below were when a moth dared to fly in one night at bedtime, they definitely put on a united front to chase it 😅😅🐾

And today is an exciting day for our little Pet Corner, as we are once again welcoming some new additions which I am so so excited about! When I last wrote I’d said we’d been planning to add some pet rats to the family for the first time in years, my very most beloved of small pets 🥰🥰 And this week we were accepted to rehome some baby girls from a local SSPCA centre, who we are travelling to collect this afternoon. ❤️ Have been working hard on creating the area for all the pets and we’re so excited to bring home the new additions.

It’s been a whirlwind of a week, and we originally thought we’d have a longer wait, as we were on a waiting list for breeder rats not yet born, but we’d also had our names down with the SSPCA and this week got a call about these little girls, and after a video home check on Thursday, we’re all sorted and due to collect today.

I’m absolutely loving having so much time with all the pets at the moment – Charmer, the cats and all the little ones, and I’ve so missed having a “mischief of rats” these last few years, so this is such a big day. Will introduce them soon!! 🐁

cats, FAMILY, HAMSTERS, PETS

Winter-time catch up… mostly pets! 🐾

It’s been so long since I’ve written – seem to be managing a quarterly (at best!) scribble on here, and just as infrequently on to find time to enjoy reading all the lovely blogs I love to follow.. but have found myself with a wee hour in a cafe this morning on a sunny February day with a coffee and a view, and it’s lovely to get a chance to gather some thoughts on the last few months.

All has been ticking along well in our corner of the world, if in a bit of a whirlwind sometimes! I last wrote just as December was approaching, but realised when I looked back that I’d missed the chance to update on pet changes from further back – so will start, (as is often the way!!, and certainly always was back in the beginning of my blogging), with our animal contingent!

A wee introduction first of all to our new addition I realised I’d never found time to write about… young Buzz, a dwarf hamster we adopted back in July – who we still consider our little baby but who is now 8 months old.

Just after we lost our last wee Sparkle hamster in July last year, we learned that our local hamster and small pet rescue, where we’ve been glad to welcome our last three hamsters from now, had just taken in a mum and litter of eight kittens, one of whom was our Buzz.

It was amazing to have had the chance to see his story documented from when he was two days old, to have seen pictures of him growing and changing with his lovely mum and his brothers and sisters (all of whom had Toy Story names by pure coincidence in what, for our girls, was – very appropriately – the Toy Story-est of summers!).

We brought him home when he was six weeks old and just a tiny wee soul. Buzz is a lovely hamster – he’d been well-handled from a couple of weeks old and is very friendly, and an industrious climber and player in his cage too. He’s a lovely part of our family.

As for the rest, they’ve mostly just been doing well and time’s been flying by – Charmer, our lovely Fell pony, is turning 27 in April. He’s close to the end of yet another winter and I’m delighted he’s done really well this year. We settled to nights in sooner, he’s been in every night since I think around the beginning of October and wouldn’t have managed without that, but has really thrived on the routine and enjoyed his days out in the field, and his evenings in the stable eating hay.

He’s had his teeth done this winter, and they’re doing not too bad for his age – we do have a plan for different forage should he need it but at the moment maintaining weight on his regular hay and his winter feed, and, though we’re looking forward to summer, he’s done really well this winter.

He did struggle for a bit with a shoe-less experiment we tried in the autumn, but now that he has his shoes back on is moving really well, and I’m really pleased to see him enjoying himself.

His little charges have been spending lots of time at the farm and in his old age he’s given up any pretence of grudging their attention and has just settled fully to letting them fuss over him and feed him treats all day long.

Rosie and Theo, our little cats, are almost 2 years old now, and are doing well. Both seemed to mature a little when they hit around 18 months in the autumn, with Theo a very lean springy boy-cat now and Rosie a slightly rounder little lady. They are both still very petite, and very content with life, spending time in their run out the back shouting at birds and enjoying the sunshine, having occasional dashes around the garden with us, and lounging around the house being top office cats while my husband works from home, with mad half hours tearing up and down the stairs chasing each other thrown in (usually when we’re all trying to go to sleep!).

Since then they’ve enjoyed their second Christmas, where they spent no less time climbing the Christmas tree than their first, just increased the number of baubles they could dislodge with each climb due to being slightly bigger!!

We’ve had the odd little break this year and have left them overnight a few times now, finding our way with what suits them for holiday care, something we were really nervous about navigating. In the summer, we were away once for 3 nights with family and once for 4 ourselves, and they stayed together in a local cattery we were recommended and were really pleased with. They seemed to do ok there, very happy to have each other and we would definitely consider again, but they do seem much more comfortable and happy at home, so we’ve also used, so far just for a night each time, a local pet sitter who calls in on them at home, which has been brilliant as they’ve got their own routine and comforts and they seem to do ok with that, especially since we’re never away more than a few days at a time.

For the most part though, we’re just all at home – they love that at least one of us is in almost all the time – and they seem to be very relaxed as they creep up to two years with us, which has passed so fast!

It’s also a whole year next week since we added Fish to our brood, our now 7-year-old goldfish, rehomed from our family. Fish-keeping was all new to me when he arrived with us, and I’m still really enjoying having him. Did lots of reading on goldfish back when he was new, and know that really still, ideally, he would have an bigger tank than he does or in fact best of all be living a pond life, but we did increase his tank space as far as we can for the space we’ve got when we found a 120l tank online second-hand and transferred him over to that at the beginning of last summer. He seems to really enjoy having a bit more swishing room and flitting around. I still can’t get over how much there was to learn with a cold-water fish – filters and cycling and pH readings were all new to me, but it was really fun to learn it and I’m very fond of our wee Fish who always comes to greet me in the morning, ever hopeful of more food!

One final update – not an animal who is still with us, but once a part of the family always a part of the family! Our valiant wee Pidge, who stayed with us for a while last February when we agreed to take him as an injured unwanted racing pigeon, and who later went to the best temporary home with a pigeon rehabiliator a bit away from us. We had a lovely message not too long ago from the person who’d given him such a wonderful recovery and home for the time being, to say that Pidge (now renamed Willy, after his period of will-he-won’t-he survive!) had found a forever home in a beautiful place with lots of space to fly, adopted together with a mate who he was devoted to… if that’s not a wholesome ending to the story of a pigeon who stumbled across us in a storm, I don’t know what is. ❤ We were glad to be part of his story and lovely to hear he’s safe and well.

I’ve tapped away so much on pets I’ve barely time to cover the rest of us, but we’re all doing well. One big girl who turned 5 at Christmas, impossibly long-leggedy and grown-up now, and one whirl of an almost-3-year-old running headlong into everything she does and enjoying it all, and us just doing away, juggling work and kids. I’ve so much more I’d love to catch up on. We’ve just booked two trips for this year I’m soo looking forward to – one in just a couple of weeks time now just for one night to Stirling, where we first met and used to live, to show the kids some favourite haunts, and a longer holiday for 4 nights in the summer down to the Peak District in a caravan. I’ve still been meaning to write about our last year’s summer holiday, which I will when I can! And some catching up too on reading, which I’ve still been diarying away on my Instagram with, but will do a wee round up of 2022 reading on here, and maybe (just maybe!) get a monthly summary of books read this year too.

I really do love writing, and reading all your stories too, and I do hope all of you and families, pets, adventures and corners of the world are doing well too!

BLOGGING & AWARDS, Uncategorized

Back to blogging….

It’s been literally months since I last wrote… we were just edging into spring, watching the first daffodils open; and since then the busiest few months have tumbled by, leaving us with September just around the corner – the new start and fresh notebooks of the academic year and the first yellowing leaves in the air. ❤

We’ve had such a full few months here – one nursery year drawing to a close, six weeks of summer holidaying with both girls home (and even a short holiday away down to Northumberland, our first in sooo long), and another year beginning – with a whirl of work and family twists and turns weaving through it all.

I was just beginning all 3 of my new ventures when I last tapped out a blog entry (which goes some way to explaining why it’s been so long!) and am settled in to all now, very much at home at my care home, settling to bank shifts at the NHS, and properly bedded into the playgroup, all of which have complemented each other really well and been such a learning experience individually and together – challenging, rewarding and fascinating – and have kept me very busy as I’ve tried to get up to speed and find a balance that works for family life.

I’d love to write a post when I can about our summer holiday away – it was only 4 nights but was our first proper wee holiday as a family of four, and first since summer 2019, and we all loved it so much. But there’s been so many wonderful experiences too just here at home over the summer – in woods, at wildlife parks, having picnics and explores. Been so grateful for the extra time with the little ones. 🥰

Can’t blog without mentioning the pets too – our beloved rabble. Just after I last wrote, it was Charmer’s 26th birthday, which he celebrated in style ❤️❤️ , closely followed by the cats’ 1st birthday – our little kittens no more! – and then a couple of months’ later by Sparkle’s 2nd, making him approx 100 in his little dwarf hamster years. We were lucky to have him to a wonderful age, especially he was already in his older age when he first arrived with us last November, but we said goodbye to him earlier this month.

Charmer turning 26!
… and Rosie and Teddy turning 1 ❤️
Stitch Sparkleworks “Sparkle” ❤️

Charmer, Rosie and Theo continue to be thriving, as well as Fish ❤️ who moved to his new tank not long after I last wrote and seems to be enjoying life!

Even young Pidge (for anyone who remembers our short term stint as pigeon owners!!) is doing well. He was actually due to leave for a sanctuary in Derbyshire at the beginning of the summer who take pigeons and lots of birds, Linjoy Sanctuary. I’m sure it would have been fantastic, but in the end Pidge had so charmed the pigeon rehabilitater who had done so much to help him, that he has ended up staying there among other his pigeons and birds. ❤️ A happy ending for our handsome arrival into a winter barn if ever there was one.

We’re looking forward to new chapters here – the little ones are hitting their stride again, the oldest beginning her deferral year before school next year, and the youngest back to toddlers, music classes and soft play. I am also starting my HNC in Social Services at college next week, which I’m really excited about, first time as a student since I left uni in 2009!

It’s lovely to have a chance to tap out some thoughts again, and I hope to again very soon!

Hope you are all well ☺️ xx

FAMILY, NATURE & SEASONS, PETS

A Springtime Hello 🌷

Been so long since I wrote here and just wanted to say a springtime hello from us… Here in our wee corner of the world things are coming to life… the daffodils in the driveway have been out for a little while but our first doorstep daffodil opened up yesterday, causing much excitement among the kids!

We’ve had a mix of weather recently – mostly really lovely and warm and sunny which has been amazing, but also some dashes of rain, hail, wind and snow just to keep us on our toes. I’ve been reminded as I am every year of my favourite quote about this time of year…

Life has been hurtling on a fair pace, with the kids reaching new stages and keeping us on our toes, and in the past few weeks I’ve started a new job as well as taking on another voluntary role that’s been keeping me busy too. Really loving my new work – still in elderly care, but in a new care home I’m so enjoying settling in to; and also the new challenges and lots of learning as chair of the committee of the playgroup the kids have been to / will go to!

I’m going to start working more over the next little while – in the care home and also (eventually, taking a little longer to get all the training set up!) in the NHS at our local hospital too. Both are very similar roles and both on a relief/bank basis so I can build up my hours slowly and adjust as needed, and I’m really looking forward to it all.

But I continue to love all the time I get to have at home with the Littles – which has been all the more this week as we’re one week into the Easter holidays and filling our days with soft plays, park explores, cycles round the village and just all those chilled-out everyday things – and we met Bluey this week which definitely wasn’t an everyday thing and blew everyone’s mind!

Since I last wrote, we’ve had the whole spring term and got established a school start date for our biggest girl, something we’d been spending lots of energy deliberating over as she’d been on the younger end of her year and we had the chance to defer and therefore choose whether it was best to go at 4 1/2 or 5 1/2. We’re now set that she’s starting in August 2023, with one more year left of nursery, where she’s really learning and growing, which feels like the best decision – and it’s lovely to see everyone settle into a new settled-on plan! Our littlest too has been enjoying her toddlers groups, wee music class and a new gymnastics one too which is right up her street – building up her confidence of different places and groups before she starts at the playgroup in October when she turns 2 and a half.

It’s been lovely to have lots of time with both wee ones – and we had an extra special time last week as the tiniest turned a big 2!

We spent the day the four of us at the sea life centre we’re lucky to have just ten minutes away and are very excited to have booked a family pass so we can make trips there more often, as it’s something both girls are loving just now.

The animals have been doing very well too, with “young” Charmer creeping up on his 26th birthday and even younger Rosie and Theo following a few days later with their 1st! The last week of April is a big one for the furry members of the family, celebrating our oldest on the 23rd and the youngest pair of tearaways on the 29th… so expect more ramblings on all of them very soon!

Little Sparkle-hamster is doing great too, 21 months old and enjoying life – in fact this little positioning of chosen bed and food bowl the past few days have been making me laugh that he has life made – doesn’t have to move far! Though actually he really does choose to, such a happy wee exerciser, especially for his age!

We have actually added a new addition to our pet count since I last wrote (and it’s not Pidge, though more on him in a minute as he is still going strong – against all odds!! – with the rehabilitation people who have him) – a new very handsome six-year-old Sarasa Comet goldfish, inherited from family and here with us to join our household now. ❤️ I had no idea there was such a lot to learn about goldfish, it’s been such a learning curve so far! But also no idea how quickly you could become attached to one, very fond of my swimming friend.. ❤️

(As is Rosie….!)

(If anyone is a fish expert let me know!.. as I am learning all I can about them and currently like a little chemistry student with my test strips navigating the world of nitrogen cycles before we transfer Fish to a new tank we’ve got for him..!)

Last but absolutely not least is the handsome Pidge, who has made a remarkable recovery and is still in the very capable hands of the pigeon rescue experts at the moment. They don’t have the capacity to keep him long term so we do think at some point he may come back to us again for a wee stint before finding where he’s best to spend his days! Part of me would love to keep him and offer him a base here but I’m really not sure we’re the best place and want him to have a happy life after all he’s come through. But wherever we end up finding for him, or what next twists and turns his wee journey takes, Pidge has had some story and we will have been so glad to be a part of it for as long or short as we are.

It’s a very eclectic mix of animals at the moment! Been taking me back to my days of rat cages stacked up and new and interesting characters coming in from rescues and teaching me lessons every day. The last two have just found us when we were least expecting them, and very glad to have them all as temporary or permanent additions to our home.

Saturday morning now as I’m finishing this off and and have enjoyed a wee bit time with my biggest boy and some whole-family biking fun before my back shift later. With the new working routine time making the most of all the time we get to have the four of us and a proper springy day this morning to enjoy it.

Hope you’re all doing well, have a lovely weekend.

cats, PETS

Building an outdoor area for the cats

This week we have completed a project we’ve been deliberating over since we first decided to bring home our cats almost a year ago now, and built them a secure outdoor area in the garden they can access from the house. They are absolutely loving it and thought I’d do a wee post just with the progress of it in case it helps anyone else doing something similar!

We live in quite a rural setting but on a really busy road that we’d never be happy letting a cat free roam on, so when we’d first started looking for one to join our family, we’d been looking specifically for a rescue who had already been used to living indoors and who would also be happy living with our young family. This turned out to be a bit of an ask however, and after a couple of months we started looking at whether it might be possible to have a kitten introduced to an indoor-only life from the off (and then ended up with two, but that’s another story 😬).

Theo looking out the front window over the road

I wasn’t too sure at first, always having cats freely accessing the outdoors growing up, but we found some really good articles and forums online with a lot of people who had chosen for various safety reasons to keep cats indoors, in cat-proofed gardens or with enclosures, and we started to explore it. Interestingly, we found out, this is pretty much the norm in some countries, either to protect cats and or to protect birds and wildlife; so when we started reading further we found lots of options on ways to let them out a little without letting them on the road.

Ideally we would have loved to cat proof our entire back garden, but although it’s a good space in many ways, and already had fencing we could definitely have worked with (when the kittens were little enough it was secure without us trying due to the height of the fences); the different levels in the garden and various extension and shed roofs made it too big a challenge once climbing was mastered; so we decided to go with a smaller “catio” enclosure in space just at our back door that leant itself to door and window access.

The kittens playing in the garden at a few months, before they figured out the scaling the fences thing!

We looked at a few different options – buying some panels with cat-proof mesh (which we found was recommended to be 16g) to put together, buying the mesh and posts seperately and doing it ourselves, or buying a ready-built enclosure; and in the end settled on the Omlet Cat Balcony Enclosure which fitted the space we had almost perfectly, and which we’ve made some adjustments to to attach it to the house and let the cats access freely from a small window in the kitchen.

I was worried that a small space would be too little for our Rosie, who is a big adventurer, and had already been trying to make a break for an open door at any opportunity; and also that Theo, who likes human company and is quite the opposite in terms of adventuring, wouldn’t particularly like it at all; but a few days in we are amazed at how much they love it!

Our space (spikes are next door’s and not part of our cat proofing!!)

On Thursday, we began work (overseen by the cats of course!) and started to get the enclosure itself put up. It was relatively easy to build between two of us and we were pretty impressed with it. We do plan to move in the next few years and it will be ideal for shifting to a new place, not being too permanent, and if we have a bigger space in the future it can also be added to with extension panels to any size.

By Friday morning, it was up, decorated with help from the kids and standing with all panels on and door access only; and Rosie and Theo had their first morning’s exploring – which they really enjoyed. Theo took a wee while to settle, but Rosie just sat as if all her dreams had come true chirping to the birds and enjoying the fresh air!

Later in the day, my husband did his handyman bit and began the DIY modifications to secure it to the house wall and remove a panel so that they could get in and out through the window.

This was huge hit with both of them and a game-changer for Theo who instantly warmed to it much more when he could come and go as he pleased – they have spent the entire weekend going in and out like a pair of little yo-yos and just loving their freedom.

Today some final additions have been added – a shelf to make access easier as the window was a bit awkwardly high (not that it stopped them!) and a ramp to make getting down easier too.

The result seems to be two happy cats and we’re so pleased to have done it. I’ll keep my fingers crossed the novelty doesn’t wear off and they start protesting to get further, but at the moment just having that little bit of the outdoors and their choice of in or out is making them very happy!

Theo flits between being in with us and having an explore out there, and Rosie can be found sitting out for hours on end just watching the world go by, between the deepest sleeps she’s ever had inside! (She’s also not diving for the door anymore as she knows she’s got her own route out which is a big relief!)

So far our little corner of Scotland has given them a crash course in just about every type of weather, and they’ve enjoyed zooming about in the wind and shaking their wet fur on their way back in out of the rain. One thing they’ve not yet got to do is lie in the sun, but I’m sure they’ll enjoy it when spring does come!

I still don’t know where I would land on contained vs free-roaming for them long-term – if we lived somewhere that felt safe enough in the future (and when they’re less reckless teenagers and more sensible grown cats!) I’d maybe like to see them finding their own territory, but I’m kind of a convert now to the idea of knowing they’re definitely safe, even if they could have a bit of a bigger space, and I’m relieved that for now it’s working, so we’re sticking with this for the time being!

Hope you all have a great start to the week! X

FAMILY, PETS, Uncategorized

The Pets ❤️ ~ Winter update

Just a wee round-up of how the animal members of the family have been doing this last little while… 🥰 Have been feeling very lucky to have our wee brood recently and to be seeing them doing so well. Life has been as busy as ever here, with the kids at all their various ages and stages and lots going on, but (even though it’s been so packed it doesn’t feel much like it!) I’ve actually got a bit of time off for a few weeks before I start two new jobs; and so I’ve had a real chance to focus on these wee furry (and feathered!) characters!

First the biggest and oldest of them all, my Charmer 🐴❤️, who is doing very well at the moment despite some highs and lows of temperatures and a few storms in the last few weeks. He had managed until early January to winter out in his field pretty much all the time, coming in around 8am for breakfast and a wee stint of hay in his stable and going back out about 11 or 12. It’s wonderful to see him spending lots of time in the field and being enthusiastic about it at that – it’s his natural lifestyle he’s always loved, it’s good for his movement for his arthritis and it means he’s eating more grass than hay which is easier on his teeth these days.

However, I always do him a wee weekly weigh-in with condition scoring and a weigh tape on a Monday, and I did notice he was starting to lose weight ever so slightly week on week. Totally normal for this time of year I know but I know from the years I’ve struggled with his keeping his weight up that once he loses it can be hard to get back on, so we’ve had a slight routine change and he’s now spending every second night in the stable. I know that’s a strange routine to some but it seems to work for Charmer – it gives him more time in, building himself up with hay, some nights away from the cold but still some that he gets to enjoy being out in the moonlight. So far it seems to be working. He seems happy enough, I don’t feel like too much field time has been taken away and we’ve nipped any weight loss in the bud.

Last weekend he actually moved stable, just within our barn when there was a wee reshuffle happening, to one with extra thick matting for those wee arthritic knees, and he seems very happy with his new surroundings. Next week we have the vet for an MOT, jags and teeth so will see how everything is, but I’m very happy with how the old boy’s doing. ❤️

To bridge the gap between barn and home, our wee companion who began in the barn and followed us home, Pidge, our little rescued pigeon who I wrote about last week (https://amischiefmanaged.wordpress.com/2022/02/04/the-adventures-of-pidge-❤%EF%B8%8F/). We are not quite sure what Pidge’s future holds. Since I last wrote, I had been very grateful to have found some help with a pigeon rescue team not far from us who were giving me some advice on housing, feeding etc, as this was all so new to me. I’d been sending photos and when I did at the weekend the wonderful pigeon rescuer I’d been talking to was able to see that Pidge was looking unwell, something I couldn’t as such a novice.

He offered to help and I took Pidge over that night, where it turned out that firstly, he is definitely a boy, and secondly, he was a very strange case as although he presented very healthily to look at, shiny and clean and broad, underneath he was very underweight. Since the weekend, he has been in their care and he remains a mystery. There seems no reason for his illness as he’d been eating and drinking and appears generally bright but doesn’t seem to be putting on weight. I’m not sure what the future holds for him, and I think it’s probably most likely poor Pidge just reached us at the end of his life, but he’s got the best chance where he is just now, so we shall see.

The good thing is he seems to have no injury preventing him from flying so if he did manage to get back up to health the hope would be we could bring him back here and release him, but at the moment I think that’s a long shot, although you never can tell with these amazing animals, and the people looking after him at the moment for us are certainly doing all they can.

In the house, the cats and little Sparkle the hamster are doing well too.

Our big project of the week has been getting and building Rosie and Theo’s “catio” , their wee outside space out the back of the house. They are indoor cats primarily as we live in a small village but unfortunately right on an A road that gets very busy and we wouldn’t have them out there, but we have been so excited about giving them a space to come and go as they please and enjoy the outdoors. I’ll do another post on that when it’s complete and they’re in it (should get their first morning in today!) as it’s something we’ve wanted to do for ages and borrowed ideas from lots of other people online to choose what route to go down. For the moment however, certainly on these stormy nights, I would say both cats have been pretty happy with the indoors ❤️

Rosie relaxing
Theo ❤️

The project getting underway….

And last but never ever least, little Sparkle ❤️ For Sparkle, a part Winter White hamster, this is an interesting time of year as his coat lightens and much whiter.

He is around 19 months old now and still very active and a lovely wee character, we’re very lucky to have him.

It’s been lovely to have a bit of extra time to spend on the wee troops, and will post again soon with the kittens’ outdoor adventures and the progress of wee Pidge.

Hope you’ve all had a good week and have a lovely weekend. X

FAMILY, WILDLIFE

The Adventures of Pidge ❤️

This week we unexpectedly added a new “pet” to our little family here, though we don’t quite know how long she’ll stay, and we are very much winging it!

Last weekend brought some very stormy weather here, as we’ve been used to every few weeks over the winter – and this time we weren’t brought some slates from next door’s roof or a flyaway trampoline, but instead found this lovely little lady (best guess female, she may yet be re-gendered!), a racing pigeon, in Charmer’s barn, sheltering and not keen to fly off.

We weren’t quite sure what to do at first, so she spent the first night in the barn in a little makeshift corner some of the girls set up for her. We were all delighted she was still there in the morning, so having done a bit of reading the night before we agreed I would take her for some food and shelter and read her ring numbers to find her owner. She was such a good wee soul travelling and absolutely fell on the food and water I gave her in her little makeshift cage at home, so really must have been starving. We’d discovered it was very common for racing or homing pigeons to become exhausted in high winds and need food and shelter to get back to full health. She was obviously used to being handled and I managed to read her ring number easily and trace her owner within a few minutes with the Scottish Homing Union which was absolutely amazing, so I thought we would just be feeding and sheltering her for the day until they could come to collect.

However, our wee Pidge (as we’re now calling her! 😬) had an interesting story, as she’d been lost from the owner we traced since 2016 where she’d not returned from one of her first flights as a youngster, and where she’d been since then is a mystery! Her registered owner was very nice, and was willing to come and collect her, but some of the other girls at the farm had read that often older pigeons don’t have a place in a racing loft any longer when past the age for flying and when I checked with him if he would be able to welcome her back it did seem that at six years old, and away from his loft so long it wasn’t a home for her, it really wasn’t an ideal place for her to go back to.

She seems in such good health, and I could already see was such a great wee character and so tame, that I wanted to give her every chance to recuperate and live a full life… and so we agreed with her owner that we would keep her here, make sure she got her rest and recovery and take it from there. He believes she must have been with another loft nearby us all this time (though not registered so no way of knowing), which makes sense with her tameness, and there is a chance she’ll home back to there when built up enough to make the flight, but he also advised she was likely to stick around with us if she knew where to find food and water.

And so began a week of learning about these beautiful and interesting birds and finding our feet with how best to look after a pigeon!

For the first day or two we kept her in our old rat cage – the closest to a pigeon loft we could manage at short notice – but as we’re really lucky to have a very sheltered little area by our back door, the last couple of days we’ve released her by day and shut her away again at night, a routine she’s settled into beautifully. She is wandering around happily exploring her food and water and finding corners she likes to settle in but as yet no attempts at flying.

The general consensus from those that know a lot more than me still seems to be that she’s just tired and recovering. She’s bright eyed and doesn’t show any signs of pain or distress, but we do have an appointment with an avian vet booked for Wednesday if she’s not up and flying by then to check if there’s anything underlying. We really have no idea how this will pan out – if she takes off for her home then we’d have to trust she’ll make it and that’s a happy ending for her. If she turns out to be injured we can make the best decision for her at the vets, and if she sticks around – well we’ll just have to play it by ear. We know she’ll need a mate so we’ll either have to find someone with a small loft who could take her, or maybe instead of being “that time we adopted a pigeon for a couple of weeks” it’ll be “how we got into our lifelong hobby of pigeon-fancying”!!

For the time being, I am loving learning what I can, getting to know her and seeing her enjoy her food and her little space. She’s a hit with the whole family, the girls loving measuring out her seeds, visiting her in the mornings and tucking her away at night.

I’m never happier than when I’ve got a rescue animal project on the go – our pets have pretty much always been rescues (except the cats who were just farm kittens) but our Sparkle hamster and our last hamster Sandy were such well adjusted wee souls when they came to us from the hamster rescue near us that they adapted so well and it’s been years since I really had to put the work in! I’d forgotten how passionate I get about actually having to nurse and coax a wee one, it takes me right back to those wonderful days when I first started this blog when our house was full of cages and I had pet rats at various stages of warming to us and recovering from their past lives all the time, and I’m just never happier than when seeing those little faces get more and more relaxed and settle to home and routine.

We don’t know what the future holds for wee Pidge – part of me hopes she takes happily to the skies, part of me doubts she’ll make it past her vet appointment if she’s bravely hiding a wee injury, but whatever happens we’ve given her a chance and for now we are delighted to welcome her to the family. ❤️