Tuesday, 27 September 2011

The beginning of Autumn - pictures of the garden

A few pictures of the garden as things are starting to turn.  The new grass is growing really well, we are so lucky to be getting this late September sun which is perfect timing.  It's had two cuts now and hopefully we'll be able to use it in a couple of weeks.  

My favourite time for the Russian Vine as it starts to turn

Julie has had a good clear out of the long border but there's still stuff to come and lots of colour left

We have hundreds of bulbs to plant (well, Julie does lol) and they will be going in soon

I could make my own weave poles from the bamboo sticks!

Just a nice view

The weeping willow and our tallest tree, the Eucalyptus  

The new grass growing helped by the late September sunshine!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

The summer garden in pictures

Our lovely garden from the summer in pictures.  We have done a lot this year with Julie helping us with the border and the rockery; Al sorting out the hideous tip that was the very top of the agility area and putting up post and rail fencing. We finally got round to putting some planters in the front which have been really lovely and colourful.   As you can see my planting theme is mainly pink ...... would you expect anything else!

Reg, one of Michael & Ellen's cats hiding in the undergrowth

Only taken four years to put this little hanging basket up, it's been sitting in the yard since we moved here

Brought the above planter from my Mum's house before it was sold.  Every time I come into the drive I see it and think of her.  She loved her garden.  There used to be two but one of them had a bit of an argument with my sister when she was reversing her car .... enough said, Sal!!  So we bought the planter below to go opposite.

The border in full bloom

The border and the repaird bird house (Andy makes these from scratch)

Part of the new rockery above and below

Above and below the reclaimed area at the top of the agility area ready for seeding

Our runner beans which were delicious

Above and below the new post and rail fencing sectioning off the agility area.  Al and Andy did this and I'm very pleased with the result!

Some of my planters on the decking area

The garden wall after Andy gave the Russian Vine a bit of a haircut

Above and below, apple picking!

Just for the sake of comparison, here are a couple of photos: one is of the long border last summer, very full but mainly of green stuff very little colour at all; the other is of the top end of the agility area, a real mess.

However, a good excuse to post a picture of my dear little Abbey, we didn't have her for much longer after the above photo was taken.  She was so precious and I still get a lump in my throat whenever I look at a picture of her.  So, for the heck of it here's another photo of my oh so special girl.

Abbey 'Karrider Kwik Step' - my dog of a life time who I still miss very very much

Sunday, 11 September 2011


Well, at long last I am doing an update on Tidey.  That naughty little Zeki has been hogging the blog of late.

Tidey is five months old today and I am very excited as we are going to start our foundation class at club this coming Tuesday.  We won't be doing anything that I haven't done at home but it's exciting to be doing it somewhere else, under instruction and with another dog.   There are only two of us in the class but our club is so full we just can't spare the time to put on a full class.  It's a shame as I'd like to be training with more dogs really.  I am probably going to start obedience classes with her soon so she will get interaction with lots more dogs there.

Here are some pictures of Tidey at three months.  Her ears are a little wayward but looking as if they might be semi-pricked, or at least one of them.  Oh boy have they changed .... read on!

In the pictures above she reminds me very much of her Aunt 'Terra' who is owned by Michelle Seabrook.  You can see Terra on Michelle's website here and I think you'll see what I mean.  Tidey is the second dog that I have closely related to one of Michelle's dog, the other being her gorgeous Ziggy who is niece to my very special dog Abbey.  The likeness of Ziggy and Abbey is remarkable.  Michelle and I have never met but we are like-minded dog lovers and have a good cyber-friendship!  Michelle breeds the lovely Harrjak border collies.

The little string attached to Tidey's collar is her instant reward.  I have this on her so that when I recall and she comes to me we can immediately have a game as I never seem to find a toy quickly enough.  This string is called her 'string-a-ling' and she knows its name and can pick it out from a bunch of other toys.

Tidey's favourite toy in the whole world is her fleecey which holds a plastic bottle.  This toy is somewhat unoriginally named 'Toy' and she can find it amongst lots of other toys.  She also loves her 'pom pom' and can find this in the toy box on command.

I have taught Tidey most of her tricks and behaviours, thus far, using food and a clicker.  Once she is familiar with a behaviour then I sometimes reward with a toy.  It really depends on whether I want speed and drive or calmness and thought processing.   Tidey's preferred reward is a toy and she will very easily switch between toy and food.

What have we done:

The three positions (sit, down and stand)
Grab your collar
Ladder work, wobble boards, going round a cone
Recalls to side at speed
General tricks such as shake paw and roll over, turns to left and right, reversing and reversing onto an object such as a wobble cushion, trotting through a mat on the floor, nose target
Each morning we work on our new giant peanut ball and large wobble cushion.  The exercises we are working through will help to strengthen and maintain Tidey's core muscles and also help with her hind leg awareness

My biggest challenge with Tidey is that she has a very strong eye.  This was not apparent to me when she was young and I actually thought she didn't possess a strong eye (and was very happy about that!)  Then she suddently latched onto agility when she had her first outing at the KC Festival.  She became highly excited which I can cope with but then the screaming started.  That I can't cope with so have to work on this undesirable behaviour.  I am not sure yet exactly how I'm going to deal with it but shall we say it's work in progress at the very very early stages!   I am going to sit down and re-watch Crate Games and try to motivate myself to work through the process with Tidey.  It is invaluable for sure but I find it a little tedious doing it by myself.

I know you shouldn't really compare dogs but I can't help it and I do.  Tidey is very much her own personality but she has traits which remind me in turn of all my other collies.  She is strong-eyed like Bess, Poppy and Niamh but she is very tuned into me and has been from an early age with little effort from me just like Abbey.   I will be a lucky person if I get a combination of all my dogs as they have been and are wonderful dogs.   Looks-wise she reminds me of Bess and Poppy with those ears and of Abbey with her slim, neat frame.  She is least like Naughty Niamh in her looks although you can trace a link in their lines way back.  She is distantly related to all my other collies including Bess which is lovely.

Here are some pictures of her at 4.5 months and the ears have gone up, up, up!  I don't think she is going to be a very big dog.  Probably Abbey-sized (that's a technical term!)

I can't tell you how much I adore this little dog.  She has fitted into our household so easily and is friends with everyone.  Niamh took the longest to come round, which I expected, but she is now very tolerant of Tidey and they tick along very happily together.   Tidey and Zeki play together a lot.

I sense that Tidey could end up as our top dog.  She is a very strong and determined character but not in any way aggressively so.  She will tug a toy with one of the other dogs and quietly hold on to her end until they give up and walk away.  I haven't yet seen her lose out on this front.

Her adult coat is coming through and so far there isn't very much of it!  I wouldn't say she is smooth-coated but she really doesn't have a lot of coat.  Again, none of my previous girls have been big-coated and so she seems to be following a theme in so many ways.  When I look at her I am so glad she is mine as she really is my sort of foxy little dog and I would have been gutted to see her with anyone else as she really does remind me of Bess and Poppy looks-wise.   My most different collie has been Niamh in terms of looks.  Niamh has a confirmation to die for and is very robust.  She is quite large and rangey and if I'm honest not really what attracts me to this breed as my preference is for the smaller, darker, foxier look with big sticky-up ears!  However, when I look at Niamh I see the most beautiful dog in the world with the happiest face, always smiling and loving life.  I am so lucky I love all my doglets so much.

Here is Tidey this week, so almost five months and after her first bath.  She rolled in fox mess from head to foot so it was a complete bath.   Guess what, she had another half-bath the following day when she did it again.  This time it wasn't funny as she rubbed her head all over my leg and so my trousers got smothered.  Aaggh, naughty little puppy.

I am really enjoying Tidey both as a pet to live with and a dog to train and play with.  She is full on with energy and enthusiasm but is lovely to live with.  For the last three weeks she hasn't been in her kennel during the day time at all.  She has been in the kitchen with the other dogs and so far so good.  She has chewed a bit of one of the baby gates but that was last weekend when I was a Prestbury Park so I think she was missing our little training sessions and time together.   She comes through to the sitting room during the evening if we watch t.v. and has about an hour with the other dogs, then she gets a little over the top and I am worried she will damage herself or one of the shelties so she goes into her sitting room kennel and within about 5 seconds is fast asleep.   Last night for the first time she actually curled up on a bed and went to sleep in the sitting room but it didn't last long.   She went off on a wander and I found her in the snug curled up in a bed and called Andy to show him how good she was being.  Then I realised she had about 5 pine cones in the bed that she had stolen from my display.  Needless to say they are no longer of a quality that I would wish to display!

That's it for now but I will try to keep the blog updated of her progress as she grows up.