Monday, 23 November 2015

Winter has arrived!

Winter has most definitely arrived in North Wales. This morning the farmers fields glistened, the farm animals all huddled together and birds were all busy trying to find their morning meal. The freezing chill in the air hit me as I went out to tend to the animals. The chickens all looked at me eagerly waiting for their morning scratch but first I had to break the ice on their water drinkers. The once soggy soil crunched under my foot, winter had arrived!

Today I bought extra hay for the guinea pigs to snuggle down in. The guinea pig shed definitely felt colder when I went in to put fresh water in. Bertie being house alone needs a warm fleece hide to snuggle in as he does not benefit from the warmth of the herd. Hopefully the extra hay will keep him snug till I can get some fleece delivered.

Christmas shopping is not something I like doing in the freezing cold. It seems everyone else was feeling the cold. Everyone was wrapped up, nobody strolled slowly as you would during the summer months. Four hours later my toes almost numb I had finished at the last shop. I noticed a homeless man sat on the bare ground outside of the shop. Clutching a sign with the words 'homeless' scribbled in black pen, his possessions in a black bin liner next to him I couldn't help but think how cold he must be, how cold all of the homeless people of Great Britain must be. I rooted around in my pocket for what change I had and gave it to him. Others followed suit and handed him what change they had. I have been thinking of him since returning home. I told my husband about him and he is sceptical, "how did you know he was homeless" he said. The truth is, I don't. In my opinion anyone that didn't have to, would not be sat on a freezing slab of concrete begging in freezing weather. If I can spend £2 on some thermal insoles for myself I can spare some change to a man that looked like he needed it. What struck me was the look I was given by two ladies who sat drinking their hot beverages outside the shop next door. The look was of disapproval. They sat in their warm coats and warm hats and just stared. 
Anybody has the potential to become homeless, nobody is immune. Once you have become homeless the statistics show that is is hard to get back into housing. So next time you see a homeless person check your pocket for change. If you can spare it, do so. Some are not so lucky to have family to turn to on hard times.
This gentleman will be on my mind for some time.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Introducing Bertie

We recently bought four guinea pig sows: Creamy Mabel, Cookie, Patch & Lacey who is sometimes named Star as little lady can not make her mind up on her favourite name. Last weekend I saw a post on Chester Exotic Animals facebook page, the post was a plea for new homes for the guinea pigs and rabbits that they had rescued and nursed back to health. I clicked through the album and came across a beautiful image of a guinea pig. I was instantly drawn to him and knew I wanted to give him a home.

His first night in his new home

Thursday, 12 November 2015

The National Pet Show

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending The National Pets show with Fresh Start for Hens. I had never heard of the show before despite attending many baby shows over the years at the NEC. We stayed over in a hotel on the Saturday night and was up bright and early for the show on the Sunday. It was my first time volunteering to run a stand. As many of you know I run my local collection point for Fresh Start for Hens so I enjoyed being able to spread the word of such a fabulous company whose goal is to save hens from slaughter. The volunteers, especially the admin team work long and hard to keep things running smoothly and they do a brilliant job.
Lots of people came to stroke or cuddle the hens we had at the stand and I feel we reached out to lots of potential new hen owners. I can honestly say I have never been so tired, I was exhausted after the day but it was totally worth it. Thank you to Fresh Start for Hens for allowing me to be a part of your hen family.

I managed to sneak away and visit some of the stands at the show. My first stop was Crocodile Joe's Wild World. I love reptiles and he has a fair few that I had not come across. The highlight was getting to hold a black headed python. The body, especially the head was really shiny and she is such a beautiful creature. I could have happily stayed on this stand all day.
All of the stands were knowledgeable in their field. I had to
stop by the Wood Green Animal Shelter as they had guinea pigs with them. They also had something that caught my eye on their stand. I am basing my specialist project this year on guinea pig substrates and they are advocates of not using wood shavings due to the health implications to the guinea pigs. Seeing this information helped me to decide to do my own testing on wood shaving especially looking for parasites under the microscope. I have agreed to share my study with Wood Green at the end of the year.
Across the road from Wood Green I discovered Piggiepigpigs, they too had guinea pigs on their stand so they were already going to get me there. They are makers of handmade pet furnishings for guinea pigs. Now being a bit crafty with the sewing machine I can appreciate how much work goes into each of these handmade items so I had to buy one. I treated our guinea pigs at home to a Piggie Snug, I wanted to buy so much more but managed to stick to my budget. If you own guinea pigs check them out, you will not be disappointed.

There was so much more to see and do that I did not get around to doing. Next year I think I will attend as a visitor with my family, little lady would love all of the animals. If like me you had never heard of The National Pet show check them out. Honestly there is more to a pet show than you could ever imagine.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Where did the half term go?

This past week has flown by so quickly. It only seems like yesterday that I had broken up from college, the kids finished school and dark nights arrived. I had intended to catch up on blogging but my free time recently got taken over by The Walking Dead thanks to my husband. "Watch it" he said, "you will like it if you give it a try" he said. Five series later here I am, sitting here wondering where the hell my week off went. Now I have to wait a whole week to find out what happened(I won't give any more details as I hate spoilers). All I know is I have watched 70 episodes in the past week and I now jump at every sound outside. I need to get back into the real world where the only zombie is staring back at me in the mirror when I wake up.

The new additions
I started the week by adding a second tier to our guinea pig shed. We recently got four rather skittish guinea pigs who have cost a fair bit in veterinary bills so far. The kids had a lot of fun naming them, we have: Cookie, Patch, Creamy Mabel and Lacey. They seemed to have come down with mites as soon as we got them so since we got them they have been under treatment which means the kids have all not handled them as much as they would have liked. They have settled in as well as expected so I got to work adding the second tier just in case I ever need to separate them and also to give them extra room in the mean time. So far they have not been brave enough to use it but I am sure they will in time.

We decided to take the kids pumpkin picking, none of us had ever had the pleasure of picking our own pumpkins so it was a first for us all. We also got to go through the maize maze that was decorated with many Halloween props that the kids pretended to be scared of. We lost my husband in the maize or rather he took himself off to hide and jump out on us, his plan worked and we all jumped. We found out way to the centre then managed to get ourselves lost. My children are all a little weird, they love being lost in a maze. They giggle endlessly as they find a dead ends or discover that they are going round in circles. The kids had so much fun hiding in the maize ready to scare their daddy and I found the cutest maize monster I have ever seen. If you ever get the chance to go through a maize maze do it, it was so much fun.

My cute maize monster
Lastly we had a Halloween party for the family. There was lots of food, lots of games and of course lots and lots of sweets. Us adults even put in the effort and wore costumes. I must admit I had loads of fun decorating the house and making the garden look spooky. The kids all proudly displayed their pumpkins as did I. I think this year was the best pumpkin carving I have managed to do, I wonder what next years pumpkin carving will be.

Oh no, not the orange
That sums up my entire week, excluding the usual mum duties. Now the count down to Christmas begins.