25th December - Happy Christmas
From all the gang - see here
17th December - Open Day
The Open Day was a great success with around 20 people (in 13 groups) attending to meet the animals they are helping to care for. The weather was brilliant sunshine, and Andi from the Happy Hamsters Caterers did his stuff to dish up a selection of the most wonderful food. Everyone was very complimentary of the fayre.
All the gang were well behaved, and Crystal Tips the piglet had the benefit of several "feeds" during the day as she gave interested parties a private tour of her current estate & hay house. Herbie the miniature Shetland enjoyed some attention as did Monty & Dusty two of the many the stable cats ! A wonderful £675 was raised today for which we are very grateful. It was lovely to see everyone who came & I am sorry I did not get to spend as much time as I would have liked with each of you, the time really goes so quickly on the day ! We have had a very busy week in the run up to the open day, as on top of everything else, the two manages have been dug out & re-filled with bark chips for the winter. Also the 200 ton muck heap has been moved across the road. We took a video of the work being done which can be viewed on our myspace account here - see the "videos" link under our profile picture - You have to have a myspace account for this to work, but they only take a few minutes to set up if you haven't got one.
As usual, Martin & I were too busy showing folk round that we didn't have time to take any pics ! - so if you took any, we would be grateful if you would email them to us !
The raffle was drawn, and the winners will be announced just as soon as all the tickets pledged on-line have been paid for - thanks to all who bought tickets, the raffle raised £140 altogether for the animals.
13th December - Turkey Rescue '06 Pics
I have taken a couple of pictures of the latest Turkey arrivals - you can see them here
11th December - Turkeys arrive
Alas there were only two poorly birds alive when I arrived to save them. Both were frightened to death as all around them their dead kind were strung up or were in barrows being wheeled across the yard. I quickly scooped the two of the up & drove home. We have put them in a separate area next to the poorly birds from last year, none of whom are well enough to live out loose in the stable area as they all have leg problems & whilst otherwise have recovered, they cannot get about very well & so are in a very large stable for their own safety. They do come out in the Summer, but this time of year there is not much to go outside for.
One of the new birds has a swollen head & her eye is sealed up with scabs & the other has large scabs on her back. If they survive the first few days, they stand an excellent chance of making a full recovery as both have undamaged legs.
There was not enough time to get a picture today, but I will do so tomorrow & upload it to the Turkeys page I have uploaded the new pictures of Crystal Tips in her new house which were taken a few days ago. You can see them here
10th December - New Animals Update
The Turkey rescue has been delayed until tomorrow as when I arrived at the farm, the farmer was not about. I left a note & will try again tomorrow.
The two Geese arrived OK and I have posted their picture on the Geese page here They will spend tonight separate from the main Geese herd and we will introduce them to each other tomorrow. William the Horse arrived this evening and has settled in a stable next to DJ & just along from Charity. He was a little shaky on arrival, but soon calmed down and has eaten all his bucket of food & carrots. I have posted his picture on the Horses page - bottom row (hold the mouse over their faces to see their names)
9th December - Busy Day looms
Tomorrow, on to of everything else we have 2 more Geese arriving, an old Horse called William and it is the day I have to drive to the Turkey farm to see how many injured Turkeys I will be allowed to save from slaughter. The farmer lets me take some of the birds that have been injured or deemed to be too ill to slaughter for human consumption (how ironic is that?).
You can see the previous birds we have rescued here PLUS - any Corgi Registered Gas Fitters out there who could help us? We have a Calor Bottle heater which we need to get working, particularly as it is getting colder now. We think it is the regulator that has gone - well Percy thinks so anyway, but he is not Corgi registered, although he does have a rescued Collie. The heater fires up OK, but as soon as you take your finger off the button, the flame dies ! If you are able to help us or know someone who might, please get in touch - thank you.
6th December - The trouble with Shires
Is that they are very big - very big indeed & with that comes enormous strength. Whilst a normal sized horse is very strong, they don't ordinarily destroy stable doors by walking through them as though they were made of paper... yes you can guess what has happened...again.
This time it wasn't Major - see the mauve button above called "Major Problems" for a "visual", This time it was Angel. She must have broken out in the night & was loose & wandering around inside the barn this morning. She had helped herself to everyone's breakfast - which was nice...
Her door wasn't actually damaged too badly, but because she was out, Major decided he wanted to get out too, so he had been forcing his door during the night. He has split the 6" post holding his door together, but hadn't actually got out. His door was badly warped & took a lot of hammering to get open.
I have had to leave them both out until Martin got home from work as he has just come in (11 pm) from making a temporary repair. Both horses are back in their stables now & tucking into a late night snack of carrots...
4th December - Crystal Tips moves house
Crystal Tips the Piglet has grown too big to continue to live in her Cat House indoors, so last night she moved into a stable. She has a new house inside the stable constructed of bales of hay, with a bale for a roof and inside is stuffed with soft straw. She was very excited to explore the stable & we showed her where her new bed was as we wanted to make sure she would find it as it is not an ideal time of year to be moving outside.
The stable is one of the warmest ones as it is completely internal & the back window is shut fast. We went to check on her at midnight last night & creeping into her stable with a torch we had to look right inside her hay bale house & she had buried herself in the straw & was snoring ! She is as warm a toast in there & very happy with the new arrangements. Crystal Tips is still on milk, but is experimenting with bananas & apples and various other things !
I will get some video of her in her new house & post it to our myspace account this weekend - all being well
2nd December - Christmas Raffle
Andi from Brentwood has kindly purchased 4 prizes for us to raffle to raise much needed funds for the Sanctuary. All the details are on this page here and tickets are £1 each.
There is a mini Stereo, a DVD player, a Portable CD player & a Vegan Hamper !
Your support would be greatly appreciated, and the draw will take place at the open day on 17th December. There is no need to be attending the open day to participate. We can get your prize to you in the post if necessary.
Thank you & Thank YOU Andi !
1st December - Vandalism
Re below you may have read that the little tractor is broken, well we had to have it moved to a position where the repair man could collect it. Because we have a full hay trailer blocking the rear yard where the tractor lives, we had to wait for the trailer to be empty (a full one is delivered every week!) and then arrange to have the tractor towed out. Unfortunately they were not able to take it there & then, so it had to be towed across to the Pigs field where Percy lives, from where it could be collected without having to move hay trailers etc.
This field is kept locked & is just opposite the house. However the one night the little tractor was there, someone decided to have a go at it. In the morning we noticed that the bonnet was up & clearly someone had lifted it as these things don't lift themselves. When we had a look we noticed that the bonnet assembly had been unscrewed & the nut was missing. We don't know what else has been done & expect that someone tried to start it, although we heard nothing in the night. As it happened she won't start because she is broken....
It's just nice to know that there are such lovely people about.
We phoned the repair man (Ben) & he immediately arranged to collect her on a low loader. so at least she is now in a repair shop & safe ! We are looking forward to getting her back as the extra work without a tractor to clear the muck off the yards is appalling.
Murphy's appeal is up to £200 now, so thank you to everyone who has helped raise this towards his vets bill of £488
24th November - Updates
Firstly, Murphy the Great Dane has continued to improve since his trauma at the vets - see 13th Nov entry below - so far £180 has been raised towards his £488 vets bill - thank you to all who have helped with this additional expense.
Crystal Tips the piglet (who you can see a video of on our myspace account here) is growing fast and has already outgrown two cat baskets that have served as her bedroom these past six weeks or so. She is still on about 7 -8 feeds a day (about 4 pints) - we have absolutely no idea what she does with it all !!!
Some sad news in that Kevin the Cockerel passed away this week. He has lived here for about 4 years, but would never integrate with the other cockerels as although small, he would always fight & never give up, even when the other birds were clearly bigger & stronger. So for his own protection he has always lived with Katy a hen in an enclosure on their own. Katy is now living with the other hens.
Our little tractor is broken and being taken away for repair on Sunday. Unfortunately this means extra manual work this weekend !
Please remember if you ever buy on line to see if your item is available through the sanctuary shop here - Remember it costs you nothing more than buying the item direct, only if you go via our shop page, the animals will receive commission from the retailers. There are over 100 high street retailers in the scheme.
19th November - Christmas Idea
Please don't forget that if you sponsor one of the rescued animals for someone for Christmas, we can prepare an A4 laminate featuring the animal sponsored or a selection if you cannot choose ! This can be tailored with any special message you want & will be posted to your friend or family member in time to arrive for Christmas.
As an alternative, if you are struggling to think of presents, we can prepare a donation certificate tailored from you which we can either let you have to send out as a present or we can send them direct if you let us have the details.
16th November - Wanted...
With 18 elderly Dogs in the house, the Summer months are brilliant as the majority of the dog gang choose to observe the call of nature outside in the yard. However now that the Winter is approaching and it is cold & wet outside, the gang are more often than not electing to utilise the indoor "facilities", carefully selecting patterned rugs in an attempt to hide their "business". As you can imagine this means we get through a lot of rugs !
If anyone (in the Sanctuary or Brentwood locale, or who is coming to the open day) has any old rugs or reasonably sizes pieces of lino, we would be most grateful to receive them. Carpet tiles would be most welcome too.
14th November - Murphy
Is on his way home now - we will have to monitor him very carefully over the next few days to see how he gets on. He was better this morning that he was last night. The vets bill for the injections & overnight stay was £488 !
13th November - Murphy Appeal
Murphy the Great Dane has had to be rushed to the vet this evening as he collapsed and his breathing became sporadic. The vets have kept him in tonight to run a series of tests. He was not keen to be left there - it will seem very strange to him as he has slept on the bed here since he arrived here just over a year ago. Fiona was very upset at leaving him, but will drive over to see him as soon as the morning jobs are done tomorrow. The vet has told us that these tests will be in the region of £400 !!
There are a number of different possible scenarios & we are all praying that the problem will be resolved as quickly as possible - all fingers, claws, hooves & paws are crossed,
If anyone is able to help us with this bill in any way at all, we would be very grateful to hear from you.
9th November - Open Day Culinary News
Hot off the press is the news that Andi from the Happy Hamsters catering company will be administering the catering requirements of the Open Day on 17th December. The wonderful selection of vegan treats always goes down a storm so that's great news. As per last year Andi has offered to make his now famous vegan chocolate cakes for sale at £10 each - all proceeds to the animals. Please let me have your orders in advance so that these can be prepared for collection on the day - Thanks
2nd November - Runners World Article
Fiona is featured in an article in the December issue of Runners World magazine which I think is just starting to appear in the shops now ! Page 38/39 - Please check it out if you get the chance !!
1st November - Cow Chaos
Unfortunately, one of the cows managed to lift their gate off it's hinges in the night meaning that they were able to get into the school where Bo & his gang live. Now the three Cows that live with Max are fine with Max, who is a horse, but "leader of the Cows" - but the other horses have not lived with them before & so there was as you might imagine quite a lot of running about going on. Several bags of short feed later & everyone was back in the right area and the gate back on its hinges - which was nice. Most gate posts have holes in the finger bit that the gates mounting hinges sit over, meaning that you can run a split pin, or something, through to prevent the gate being lifted off it's hinges. Sadly this particular gate post doesn't have the necessary holes, so quantities of baler string are now wrapped round serving the same function as the split pin would ! We will need to drill suitable holes this weekend!
31st October - Updates
I have updated the dogs page here with pics of Katie & Sam as per entry below. You will se their names in the Dogs Menu bar down the left hand side of the page.
29th October - Sam & Katie arrive
Sam and Katie arrived yesterday. They were both languishing in Huddersfield dog pound with zero chance of re-homing as they are very old & have problems. Sam is a Jack Russell type and is about 17, he is blind. Katie is a Collie Dog and about 12 year old. As soon as I get pictures I will update the Dogs Page.
Piglet Update - Crystal Tips is doing well - I haven't had time to update the pigs page yet, but have posted a picture of her here in case you haven't seen the video of her on our myspace page here
28th October - Donation in memory of Bluebell
This is a "Thank You" to Stephanie and her mum Irene from the USA, who have just lost their beloved pet Cat - Bluebell - who was only 4 years old. The donation is made in her memory. Bluebell will be sorely missed.
23rd October - Flick Eric passes on
I can hardly believe I am typing this, but very sadly on Saturday morning, Flick the big white American Bulldog passed away. He was deaf from birth and was going to be culled by the breeder. He has lived here for 7 and a half years with his Sister, Tess.
He had cancer but had been fit & strong for all but the last 3 days, when he started to loose weight. He went to sleep peacefully at about 3 am on Saturday. We all miss him terribly as he was part of the fixtures & fittings of the Sanctuary. Fiona hasn't slept for about 4 days and is devastated. God bless you Flick - we will always remember you.
Images of Flick & Tess will remain at this page here. I have not updated these pages yet.
21st October - Christmas Open Day Announced
The Christmas Open Day will be on Sunday 17th December from Noon. I will be sending out invites by e mail to all members, so if you do not receive a mail, it may be because I have the wrong e-mail address for you, so drop me a line and I can check the records.
15th October - Horses In !
The last few weeks of decent weather had meant that the Horses could stay in the fields, but we decided today was the right day to switch round to "Winter Arrangements". This is more complex than it sounds as there are lots of different "groups" of Horses and Cows that needed to be moved from their current paddocks to the appropriate winter area - either stable, menage or area of hard standing.
The complexity is that some of the areas are "on the way" to the next area and have to be empty of animals, so that the group moving through have a clear path. So if the 'groups' are not in the right order, you have to find somewhere for them to go whilst moving another group through - if you follow me !
Needless to say it took about an hour to get everyone to the right place. Only Pegasus got confused coming in from the long field and in the mad gallop of the 8 youngsters, he missed the gate into Dolly's area through which the other 7 had charged to get to their menage. He was left stuck in the field whinnying desperately to the others ! In the end Bo and Anastasia went charging back out into the fields & literally fetched him !
Currently whilst the weather remains "mild" only 5 of the horses and 2 of the cows are stabled at night. Charity, DJ, Major, Angel and Herbie Horses & Marinka and Olga the Cows are sharing a large stable as they did last year. Marinka is the crippled cow & Olga is still a baby really.
14th October - Piglet update
Further to the update below Piglet (Crystal Tips) is doing very well. She arrived at about 2 am in the end ! She is having a feed every few hours. I have posted a couple of videos at the link mentioned below
12th October - Piglet Drama on the M25 !
The Piglets mentioned below were born, but initially the farmer decided to keep them all as there were no obvious runts. However due to the persistence of the gallant rescuer, the farmer was eventually persuaded to part with the smallest of the litter. One of the many people to offer transport for this emergency was available immediately & so went to collect the baby this evening. However their car has broken down & they are waiting for the RAC on the M25 as I type. Fortunately the little piglet was fed at 7 pm and we are hoping they will arrive here before midnight and she will get a feed on arrival. If we have time to take any video we will post it to the sanctuary's Myspace account here
11th October - Updates
First some sad news - one of the elderly dogs, Katie, passed away yesterday morning in the small hours. She had not been at the Sanctuary very long, only a few months and had been suffering with a heart condition. She was a very sweet girl and we will all miss her very much.
We are waiting to take delivery of one or more "runt" Piglets who someone is hoping to rescue when they are born as they face slaughter. Thank you to all who have volunteered to drive them here as their plight has been publicised by Essex Animal Freedom via their e mail list. As soon as there is any news I will let you know.
I have also set up a new page to highlight a couple of International problems that I have been contacted about by friends I work with in other countries. Please click here where you can read about the issues. On the main page of the web site you will see a link to this new page on the menu bar on the left - last button. Finally, the weather has turned, so the horses will be moving into their winter accommodation arrangements this weekend. This is when the work gets even harder as I have the daily mucking out of the horses to contend with on top of everything else. This year I will be wintering out the 8 youngest horses in the main school, but to enable this we need to get another mobile field shelter, similar to the one that we got for Dolly the Shire last year - see here. This has been ordered and we now need to find the £1800 it will cost !! Anyone who has any fund raising ideas, please feel free to shout now! If you work in an office perhaps you could do a dress down Friday where everyone pays a £1 to not wear a suit etc. This is quite a good way of raising some money - if the boss agrees !!
28th September - More abuse for Fiona
Rest over, it was back out training today - just an hour ! - However I was soon reminded why I don't like training on the roads as opposed to the treadmill ! I was actually running across a private track for which I have the land owners permission to run, when up ahead I saw two 'women' on horse back. This path was not a bridleway & therefore they must either also have 'permission' to be there or were trespassing. As usual, I slowed down to a jog, taking a wide birth around the horses as I know that they can be startled. So having done this, the slightly larger of the two creatures (not the horses) turned to me & shouted in sarcastic tones "IT'S CALLED A HORSE IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING".
I didn't reply - what's the point? It's just great to know that there are so many caring and wonderful appreciative folk out and about in the area.
27th September - Berlin Marathon
Fiona finished in an amazing 17th Place in 2 hours 56. Conditions were not ideal and you can read her race report here. Thank you to all who have sponsored her for this event - £345 was pledged on the on-line form here - you can sill sponsor retrospectively if you would like to.
21st September - Fiona off to Berlin
Fiona has now left for Berlin to compete in the marathon there on Sunday. Thank you to all who have sponsored her so far and if anyone wishes to do so you can make a pledge via this on line form - thank you very much. All funds raised go towards the cost of feeding the rescued animals.
18th September - Goodbye Lena
Lena the Labrador arrived at the Sanctuary about a year ago. She was painfully thin and had been in a dog pound. They said she wasn't eating and they were about to put her down when she was whisked away by a contact we have and brought here. I can only think that she wasn't eating as she was so miserable as from arrival, she never stopped eating. She would always attack her food plate as though she hadn't eaten in weeks. This type of behavior is sometimes exhibited in dogs who have been previously staved & so whenever food is on offer they eat it with frightening speed & become very aggressive if anyone (Any dog) gets too near when they are eating.
Lena was on double rations after she settled down, and eventually put weight on to look like a healthy dog. She was however quite old - although we had no real way of telling her exact age. Her passing was sudden, one minute she was scampering about excitedly anticipating breakfast & when I had fed all the other Dogs I realised that Lena had not shown up. I knew this wasn't right & went to look for her. Lena was in the conservatory. Given the speed of it, I must assume she had a heart attack & she was already "gone" when I found her.
I know she was old, but to die like this was totally unexpected and a real shock. I can at least take something from the fact that this, the last year of her life was probably her happiest as she always had plenty of food and a warm place to sleep. We all miss you Lena xx
12th September - New Percy adventure published
27th August - Sad News
Two bad things happened today. Firstly Mrs Chicken, our dearly beloved first ever Chicken rescue passed away today on the lawn in her run. Mrs Chicken was rescued just before we moved to Tower Hill Stables back in 1996. We had found her lying on her side, in obvious distress, at the farm where we kept some of the horses. When we took her to the farmer, he said, "Oh well, one for the pot". So we said, urm - well we'll put her back with the others & see what happens. But we actually hid her in a bucket & took her to the vet. She was suffering form severe calcium & other deficiencies but £40 worth of treatments later made a full recovery. Clearly we decided against taking her back to the farmer & she came to live here. She had 10 years of being a free range hen and we will miss her very much - God bless you Mrs Chicken. You can see a picture of her on the Chickens page.
The second thing was "another incident" whilst out running. Fiona was in the last mile of a 24 mile run, when up ahead - about 400 meters - on a narrow single track road Fiona saw a conglomeration of 3 ponies, 2 adults (?) and 3 toddlers.
One adult on a push bike with a child on the back in a child seat, holding a lead reign of one of the ponies with another child on the pony. The other adult was leading the other 2 ponies one of which had the third child on it. The adult on the bike had the lead reign wrapped round the handle bars.
The potential for large scale disaster is massive.
As a responsible person, Fiona started to try & attract their attention from about 300 yards - clearly this has to be "measured" as she didn't want to startle the animals by shouting, so used the whistle & horse vocal "clicking" technique to attract attention.
Nothing she could do could make them hear her approach as they were absorbed in conversation. So Fiona paced back a bit until there was a layby within which she jogged round them. As she did so, however, the pony connected to the bike took a few steps sideways.
Then followed a torrent of abuse at Fiona for not letting them know she was coming past. Such was the injustice of this that Fiona actually stopped (very tough for her to do during such a run) and explained that she had been trying to warn them for about the last 300 yards. The woman blurted "How are we supposed to hear you over the ponies hooves". to which Fiona replied "If you can't hear you should be looking".
Any responsible Horse rider knows that a regular cursory glance over the shoulder ensures safety when out on the road. The same principle as using your rear view mirror when driving.
Fiona then started to run again, but they hurled more abuse. So she stopped again saying "I beg your pardon" to which the other specimen shouted "Just go away - we had enough trouble from you when the Hunt killed your Shire Horse".
Fiona decided not to waste anymore time & carried on with her run.
We are not really sure what the rationale behind that comment was - Yes the Hunt Killed Bobby the Shire years ago, but what "trouble" it caused them I really do not know - Caused us quite considerable grief and upset. However if you are trying to argue with people like this who just shout abuse when it is they who are clearly in the wrong then there is simply no point trying.
I hope a gun doesn't go off or a helicopter appear from no-where or a cyclist go whizzing past then next time they are out, because if the pony gets really startled and takes off whilst with a child on it's back and a lead rope wrapped round the handle bar of a bike with another child in a rear child seat - well - the word irresponsible doesn't go far enough to describe the stupidity involved.
To glean what the folk were like - simply tune into daytime TV !
24th August - Site Updates
Managed to get a few pictures taken and uploaded ! - Here you can see the Ducks referred to in the entry sated 2nd August below. Here you can see some new Chicken pictures. Here is a new picture of George the Pig and here are Cilla's gang - all enjoying some bananas!
In each case the new pics will be at the bottom of the page concerned.
14th August - Aubrey passes on
Very sadly, Aubrey the Cockerel passed away last night. He had been a real character and came to live at the Sanctuary amid dramatic circumstances. He had escaped from a farmers market and was found being kicked down the road by a group of youths like a football. Fortunately a lady saw what was happening and tackled the youths, rescuing Aubrey. As the lady was a member of the Sanctuary she brought him here where he made a full recovery. Initially Aubrey lived with the main Cockerel gang, but Aubrey was always a timid Cockerel and the bolder birds started to bully him, so I took him out & let him live as one of the Cockerels who live in the main stable block. Here, he had free roam of the Sanctuary and one of our last jobs at night was to make sure he was roosting somewhere sensible! This was never a problem for Aubrey as he always roosted on the floor of the stables underneath the cement mixer ! - where his HQ nest was.
He was with us for about 4/5 years and although he had become unsteady on his feet in the past few months he was still getting about. He had gone to sleep on his nest when I found him this morning. He will be missed.
I have posted his picture on the Chickens page, at the bottom - here
13th August - Marathon News
My next race (all being well) will be Berlin on 24th September. I have been invited to compete in the elite race & best of all I have been selected to start with the "A" elite racers, of which there are only about 20. The men & women start together, so this means I will be lining up with the best in the World including Haile Gebresalasie !!
I have posted a few pics of me before I set of on todays long training run here You can sponsor me on line here
5th August - Problems with Percy
No, don't panic - not Percy Pig, but Percy the resident animal expert at the Sanctuary - click here for further details.
2nd August - Duck City
The number of Ducks we look after has increased significantly recently ! A few weeks ago as we were unwrapping the food from Sainsbury in the yard I noticed that a wild Mallard was coming up the drive followed by six very tiny balls of fluff. Her chicks must have been hatched that day as they were so tiny. She was leading them towards the tray of "Happy Dog" (veggie dog food) that I had put out in the yard. Clearly the mortality rate for wild duck chicks is very high & having already crossed the road to get here - & with so many feral cats about we decided to interfere - Yes we know you shouldn't but hey ho !
Knowing that the mother would not fly away easily we built a corral with bales of hay which narrowed across the yard & ended with a dog cage. Carefully we encouraged the family to walk into the cage & closed the door afterwards. Duly captured we put the "family" into a large rabbit run, surrounding it with hay bales for protection against the weather. A empty plastic biscuit box made a temporary pond & we put in plenty of grub.
Ducks can turn a container of fresh water into a brown filthy mess in about 5 minutes, so it has been important to keep their "pond" fresh - particularly during the recent hot weather.
If you are wondering why we simply didn't put them all on the pond, the answer is that the pond has resident Moorhens and adult Moorhens will drown baby ducks to protect their own babies (it's a cruel World out there!).
All this happened about 3 weeks ago & yesterday we deemed that the babies were big enough to resist any Moorhen attack, so they were all rounded up & went onto the pond. They are all doing very well and getting on fine with the other Ducks. Clearly as wild Mallard we expect they will fly away when they are ready. Perhaps they will come back each year to visit !
As soon as I get any pics I will post them here.
25th July - Help from Pune (India)
We had a call from Cliff some of whose hay we had already collected earlier this month (see 7th July entry) to say there were about 250 bales left on a field we could have for £100.
This was a great offer - but of course it was scheduled to rain & to collect this number of bales in without blowing a gasket requires many hands. Fortunately at Martin's office help was at hand. Very kindly Jo Thompson offered to help along with her husband Derek & then at about 5 O'clock, Martin was approached by 6 colleagues over from India (Pune) who offered to come out to the Sanctuary on the train to help !
See here for more details & pics !
14th July - Hay update
A quick thank you to Gavin, Karen & Sham who came over to help on Thursday & Friday to collect Hay from a barn (Thurs) & off the fields (Fri). Also a big thank you to supporters Sue & Jim who have again let us have over 370 bales of the finest hay completely free of charge to the Sanctuary. Sue & Jim's Hay is beautiful meadow hay & the animals go mad for it. It is really very kind of them to let us have it free ! We collected it in Keith's van (thank you Keith !) & it took 7 trips - 2 on Friday night with the help of Karen & Sham & the other 5 Martin & I did today.
12th July - Blind Cat
I was asked to take a little blind cat who was at the vets about to be put to sleep at the request of her owners. She is about 17 and clearly as a blind Cat will not be allowed to roam free as it will be too dangerous for her. She has a number of health issues including tumors on her neck & back, this together with her blindness & age mean that it is unlikely she would have found a home anywhere else. Inspite of all that is wrong with her, she is a little sweetie and has an appetite. This to me means that she is not ready to go yet, so I will make her winter months of her life as comfortable as possible.
If anyone would like to sponsor little "Oksana" (as I have named her) I would love to hear from you.
7th July - Hay there..& there...& there
Yes, it's that time of year, the phone rings - "I have cut my hay, do you want any?" - How can we say no? - We use an average of 12 bales a day in the summer rising to 18 in the Winter. We normally pay £2.75 a bale delivered in, but off the field it ranges from £1 to £1.50. One of our local contacts only wants 80p a bale this year - so we can't afford to say no. The issue is of course the huge effort it takes to collect it - on top of all the "usual" jobs which are in themselves more than a full days work !
Gary & Kevin from Essex Animal Freedom kindly sent a mail round their contacts to see if anyone was able to help this weekend.
The volunteers arrived this morning (Gary & Kevin) and with their help Martin collected 139 bales in three runs in Keith's excellent van which he lent us. Martin & I collected a further 150 this evening but when we got home (at 9:30 pm) we saw that the Cows had smashed through the fencing to the next paddock & there were a lot of large animals running about in the wrong fields! It took us about an hour to get every one into the right place & make temporary repairs (with bailer string) to the fencing. To be fair to the Cows & horses the fencing in the fields is very old and not capable of standing up to any confrontation which may occur between horses on either side !
I will need to get some fencing stakes tomorrow & we will have to sort out a better repair tomorrow night.
The Hay collection today will have save the Sanctuary over £500 on the usual prices we pay !
4th July - General Updates
The sheep shearing (see 23rd June below) has been finished & the 4 chaps are all back in their field. It was a bit of a task as at first we though we were using the wrong blade in the clippers as it was slow going, however we realised after a quick look on the web, that sheep clippers are at least 300 watts whereas our clippers were only 75Watts ! - no wonder it was slow going. However all the sheep were good & let us get their thick coats off.
Some sad news, today Frosty the rabbit passed away in his run on the lawn. During the fine weather we have been having he has been out each day in his run which has plenty of shade. He was about 6 years old. It is in some way a blessing that he had no drawn out illness & passed quickly away with all his friends about him.
Poppy is a new rescue - She is a dog who arrived a few weeks ago (see 15th June entry below)- I have just posted her picture on the Dogs page here.
Thank you to everyone who sponsored Robin Hodder (& also thank you to Robin) who successfully completed his 142 mile journey on his Yakmobile (see 24th May entry below). £115 was raised for the animals.