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Archive for March, 2018

The cat whisperer

Remember Merlin, our stray cat from a couple of posts ago?

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So much hate and power, and also so scared and confused.

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However, I think it’s fair to say that the Shepherdess has worked some kind of miracle on him.

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Although as ever, the way to a man’s heart is clearly through his stomach!

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OK, OK, we knew that snow was forecast. So what? We’re 200m up a hill here, so we often get snow during the winter, even when nothing much falls down at lower levels. Still, nothing quite prepared us to wake up to our road looking like this:

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It wasn’t so much the depth of snow (TBH we probably only had a foot of snowfall), but the depth of the drifts – up to 10ft in places. Since these were far too deep for a snowplough, our farmer neighbours tried to clear them using their telehandler…. which promptly got stuck as well.

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So, since it was clear we weren’t going to get out any time soon, we set about making ourselves and the animals as comfortable as possible. The truth is, the sheep don’t seem to mind snow very much – it’s driving rain / sleet / wind that they hate. Even so, since they’re quite heavily pregnant, we made the decision to move them up to the top field, where they could get some shelter.

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Our porch grew an impressive crop of icicles too!

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However, just as we got ourselves settled in to wait for the thaw, we heard that one of our neighbours had run into a spot of bother. His Mother-in-Law from Edinburgh (no, not THAT beast from the East!) had come over for dinner four nights previously, and had ended up stuck and rapidly running out of her medication.

I mean, can you imagine anything worse than that? Snowed in with your Mother-in-Law for nearly a week!?!

So, there was nothing else for it but to strap on the snowshoes and make a mercy dash to where they’d cleared the road, to pick up fresh supplies of alcohol for him…. oh yes, and the drugs for her!

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The conversation at the road end was quite amusing too. “Are you John?” “Have you got the drugs?”….. Not the sort of thing I’m used to saying!

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Humanitarian efforts apart, it was good to get back to the house.

Home is definitely where the hygge is.

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She said, there’s something in the hayshed, and I can hear it breathing. It’s such an eerie feeling, darling.

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He said, Get this into your sweet head, there’s nothing in the hayshed, except maybe some hay…….

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…..oh, and a rather large and ferocious feral cat, now you come to mention it!

Still, that’s nothing an engineer can’t sort out with a bit of impromptu welding….

catcaughtOh yes! curiosity trapped the cat! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Unfortunately once we’d caught him, it turned out that he was actually a very big, fierce, strong male cat, complete with bollocks. It also turns out that the SSPCA get incredibly grumpy if you trap feral cats yourself (oops!). They view them as wild animals, who have every right to be wherever they are, and no, they don’t give a damn if they’ve been fighting with your own pet cats or spraying all over your precious hay supplies!

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The Cats’ Protection League were a bit more understanding, but told us that they couldn’t take him in for rehoming if he wasn’t tame, and that the best they could offer was a voucher to cover the cost of neutering, provided we then released him where he had been caught.

Honestly, poor Merlin. All he wanted was a bit of shelter over the winter, and a supply of field voles (which, going by his condition at the point we trapped him he’s very good at catching!).

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It took quite a while for the CPL voucher to come through though, and by that time, the Molecatcher had become rather fond of Merlin (kindred spirits I suppose ;-)). So, we figured he might as well go and live at Mole Mansions for a bit after his operation, just to see if he comes round a little.ย The truth is, he doesn’t actually want to be aggressive – he’s just very, very scared.

Anyway, after a week or two, he’s starting to get used to us and has pretty much stopped hissing. He even gave up his hobgoblin box in the corner yesterday and has installed himself under the Molecatcher’s bed instead. Watch this space for updates! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Spot the sheep!

I usually say that Zwartbles are great because they’re easy to see in both mud and snow. However, I had a bit of a panic this morning when I couldn’t find the tups anywhere! Usually they’re sitting under the truck top waiting for their breakfast…boysbut this morning they were nowhere to be seen!

Perhaps they had just gotten fed up of their balls dragging in the snow, and booked themselves a cheap week in Benidorm?

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Either way, could I find them?ย  Could I hell!ย  even walked around the snowdrifts looking for places they might have climbed up and over the fence, until I eventually spotted some hoof marks heading off to the far corner of their field, where…… can you see them yet?

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How about now?

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Ah, there you are, boys!

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Nice camouflage. Now, who fancies some breakfast? ๐Ÿ˜€

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