Wednesday, 24 June 2009


  • For news of  #banpuppyfarms or  #banpuppymills campaign    
            go to the PRESS PACK Blog
  • All the home news will be moving on 
                                   to The Goose House Blog 

Keep hash tagging those tweets and pace yourself for the long haul.


And if you havent already had a look, find out what puppy farming is all about at the Puppy Love site.

(The blogs below are now replicated on the Goosehouse blog but I am waiting 24 hrs to make sure I don't loose them!)

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Fields of buttercups.

This weekend we went up to have a look at my brother new field. He is planning to develop part of it into a forest garden, which is a mix of fruit trees and perennials, including perennial vege, which I hadn't realised was possible. Its a permaculture approach that you can add chickens or even pigs into and it becomes self sustaining. There's an old stable with water on tap and across the road another smaller field with a boggy patch in the corner with wild water cress and frogs and newts, which he will be leaving quite wild. We picked some elderflowers for some elderflower cordial and Lilly had a grand time chasing around in the buttercups. So here are some calendar girl shots of Lil looking gorgeous as always. The other two had a trip to the kennels, close to home, as turning up to stay at someone's house with three dogs is pushing anyone's hospitality.

This was a nice relaxing day out for Lil after her hard work at the show last weekend.

Another important reason was to keep introducing my little nephew, Robert, to the dogs to make sure that he becomes as besotted as we are. The smile on his face when he met Lil again showed we are on the right track there.

The American football is one of her favourite toys at the moment, Owen can throw it a mile and she loves to chase after it. We, of course, forgot it in the buttercups and had to drive back to fetch it later as it is an essential part of life back home.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

The grass is growing fast and everyone is getting involved in the gardening.

As you can see the grass is pretty long in the field so finding balls is getting more of a challenge for the girls. Archie joins in from time to time when they least expect it, when he takes a break from watching the boundaries and warning off foxes.
The paddling pool from Freecycle  has come into its own with everyone using it from time to time, the ducks and geese make a real mess of it and then its a great gunky mess to add to the plants in the evening. Tomatoes in particular are getting this as a treat.

But as with all families sometimes its hard to share

 The hens have been laying "off piste", which in the past was more amusing than anything while we hunted for them and then persuaded them to lay back in the hen house again. 

But this year we have discovered that Daisy has taken to hunting them out and scoffing the lot. She ate up a clutch of 8 that I had just moved to the ark to try & persuade one of the hens to go broody. But today she retrieved two, undamaged and gently laid them at my feet so I think perhaps we might be able to train her up as our own egg hunter, with a reasonable reward in exchange, of course.

The dogs have been giving the garden a bit of a battering recently with this clump of ornamental grasses becoming the favourite wrestling place, probably as it is fun to roll off the top of the clump. It's also where all the lost balls keep emerging after a few days.

And of course if I take an interest in a plant for any reason everyone has to come and find out why and bring a toy just in case there's a game afoot.
Archie in particular keeps an eye out for mice hiding in corners behind pots and containers.

Mid week I had a trip to the Applestore in Manchester to set up a 1to1 session, although its good to get into town it feels even better to get back home  "in  the sticks"

So, back to the help save some plants from being barged by the dogs playing chase around the place I planted up some old tyres which are  proving a good solution. I don't spend time weeding, the hens can't reach inside to eat them before I get to them and the dogs don't knock them over. So here are some potatoes and mixed salad happily coexisting with our strange collection of animals.


Fly the gander has been rather solitary while Mo was sitting on her eggs. After she had been sitting for over 35 days and protecting them from all and sundry, in particular from Daisy, I came to the conclusion that they weren't fertile.I took my life in my hands, while she left the nest for a drink, to steal the eggs and checked them one by one. There was no doubt as each one exploded as soon as I cracked them. Afterwards @auntywainright told me on twitter that I should have put them in a warm bowl of water and if they were fertile and near to hatching they would have bobbed around. I think she told me last year and that's what we did with the ducks eggs but it escaped my memory this year. But no harm done as they were definitely infertile. Poor Mo what a waste of energy and commitment.
Anyway the pair are out and about together again, Mo just has to get back into condition having not eaten as well as normal while she was sitting. Fly is looking very handsome, its disappointing the eggs weren't fertile but he had an eye infection just before she laid that clutch so perhaps he just hadn't been interested! Its a shame we'll now have to wait until next year as its unlikely she'll lay anymore this year. I may buy some Embden goslings to grow on for Christmas instead, we'll have to see....In which case I had better get cutting some grass so there is enough new grass for everyone.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Bailey on Slug Patrol

Just to finish this stream of blogs of the feathered variety and since the ducks haven't had much of a look in recently... here's Bailey, the drake, checking out the opportunities in the newly planted up tyres. 

Bob Flowerdew would be proud of me. They work really well as instant raised beds, particularly good for potatoes, as you can keep adding another tyre on top as you "earth" them up and Bailey provides the alternative to slug pellets. The old carpet underneath hides an already dug over bed with a deep layer of chicken muck and straw preparing for planting later in the year. I haven't decided what but it lets me think about it and when the tyres are finished with I just knock them over, lift the carpet and spread the compost on top of the bed below. 

Well thats the theory, we shall see how it works, this is my plan for low maintenance vege gardening while I am off doing things with camera or dogs or both.

Meet our new cockerel, still looking for a name for him

This is the culprit that scratched Fly, the Ganders eye, which resulted in three trips to the vet, eye ointment twice daily and three jabs of antibiotics. I originally called him Charlie but I think I might have to find something a bit stronger. He is giving the hens a much higher place in the pecking order. Before they were always pushed out by the geese but Charlie is not having that now. After about a month of putting up with it, he chased Fly half around the field, both of them nearly flying. I may have to put out the food in two seperate places to stop any disagreements over food. Remind you of any discussions about dogs and food sharing?
Didn't realise I needed to use a Weanafeeder with my feathered friends. 

 At the end of the day he is probably just doing his job, looking after the girls.

Squirrel's pups have all found really great homes

One of the most important things for any one who is looking for homes for their puppies is to spend some time before any decisions are made, talking to potential puppy owners to be sure they can give the right homes for your pups.  

Choosing the right homes from the start can help make sure the pup never has to be rehomed later in life. As well as making sure the potential owners undertand the needs of your breed of dog, there is the issue of personalities and lifestyles. 

If you get the match right with pup and owner personalities then everything else falls into place so much more easily.

Mo the Steinbacker Goose is sitting on four eggs

Fingers crossed there are some goslings on the way.