Life – with collies underfoot

It's been a few weeks since I sat down to write the blog, though I know Andy's been keeping it supplied with photographs.

Chester is a small dog who likes to climb
Chester takes advantage of the opportunity to abuse the collies from a safe height

Apart from filming for the next DVD there have been new puppies to cater for, young dogs to start training and numerous odd jobs around the place (taking advantage of the mild dry weather that inspires such mixed feelings).

During a gale a couple of months ago, we lost one of our largest apple trees (sadly it was one of our best mistletoe trees, too) so we spent a couple of days last week sawing it up into logs for the wood burner, and fashioning the bent trunk into an improvised sheep obstacle (and dog platform, as Eli and Chester have modelled so beautifully). We had all the dogs out with us while we worked - they love anything different, and to be involved with all the activity. It's a good way to get the pups used to such things as the ride-on mower, the trailer and the noise of the chainsaw (from a safe distance). When they see the older dogs being totally relaxed, then the puppies don't worry either.

Left to their own devices the dogs eventually spread out to enjoy the sunshine, indulge in some serious excavation, or find things to chase, chew or fight over. The young dogs especially enjoyed scattering my tidy and growing log pile throughout the orchard. If there's one thing a border collie can't tolerate it's an orderly log pile, but it was a small price to pay for the entertainment they gave us in the process.

Black and white puppy playing hide-and-seek
Lupin lies in wait to take Scylla by surprise

One of the most recent additions to the home team is Scylla, a service pup from Eli and a nice little working bitch called Jess. We didn't choose Scylla, we just asked for the most troublesome bitch in the litter, and when she arrived here at 8 weeks she was certainly full of confidence and with scant respect for big dogs and annoying things like fences. However she arrived just in time for Lupin, who was pretty much recovered from her broken leg, but still confined to the garden and getting pretty bored with it. Scylla and Lupin immediately became bosom buddies, and Scylla introduced Lupin to all those things Lupin hadn't thought of doing when she was in the garden on her own. Hence, we don't have an unshredded daffodil or tulip on the place, and when I saw Scylla carrying a fresh young rhubarb leaf over her head like a parasol, much to Lupin's amusement, I decided it was time to move them down to the yard with everyone else. It hasn't dampened Scylla's appetite for trouble, but at least it's restricted it!

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