Author Archives: Frances

A Very Strange Day

Little LD is doing very well.

He spends much time wanting to be with me.

We’ve pretty much got the measure of each other.

He is growing and changing every day.

The feathers are nearly there and it won’t be long before he fledges.  He is also walking much better and is finding his balance while trying the wings.  Lots of pre-flight wing stretches and soon The Big Day will arrive.

He is still always hungry but we have reached an agreement.  He gets food regularly, obviously, and in return is almost “house-trained”, ie I know when he wants to poop and can pop a piece of tissue in the right place – almost.  There are still the odd few accidents.

But I do know LD hates pooping on me and really tries not to, which is interesting behaviour.

Today was our flute lesson and we had also filled the van over the weekend for a visit to the dump so my flute teacher and his wife very kindly looked after LD while we went on to town.  It was a big ask and I was very relieved when they said yes!  I knew he would be safe and fed regularly.

I also visited the pet shop and bought some toys for LD’s cage, which he studiously ignores or shouts at.

When we got home, Lambie was waiting to come in.  He marched in and sat down. I have no idea why he wanted to be inside but he does.

As I type, he is watching Real Housewives of Melbourne and now The Simpsons.  He has shared my packet of Quavers but said no to my Brewdog beer!

I also introduced him to LD.

It was a sort of success.  LD liked the wool bed.

A very odd day really. Why is Lambie indoors and refusing to go outside.  Most strange.

Los Foalios

I have purposely been leaving the foals and their mothers to themselves since their “traumatic” headcollar and microchipping event.

Obviously, we keep an eye – you know, count legs, heads and tails, check they are not stuck or in the wrong field.

Having said that, Hetja is very forgiving and always pleased to see anyone – mostly because I suspect she thinks we have food and she understands that foals have to learn.

Brá is a bit more wary but let me say hello without any calorific enticement and we had a nice chat.

Both mares are blooming (read hugely fat but as they are nursing, then this is fine and totally unavoidable).  There are no slimming diets for nursing mothers.

And, meanwhile, their foalios are divine.

I think we are forgiven our trespasses for the trauma of last week.

Dreki is now proficient in the art of the nose-kissey.

He has it down to a fine art.  Heaven.


Lilja has perfected the art of blaming Dreki for everything as she is a professional Princess.

We all adore her but we also understand her Little Ways.

Lilja, too, totally understands the nose-kissey technique.  We teach them early, here at Thordale.

It is considered an essential life skill.

And then there is the playing.

I would say that mostly Dreki initiates play.

And, when it all gets too much, Lilja has learned to run back to her Mum telling tales.

“Mum, Mum, Mum – Dreki’s biting me.  Mum?”  Hetja has stopped wading in on Lilja’s behalf.  They can get on with it now.

The little foalios are learning all that is important.

Work Hard, Play Hard

Today, we have worked hard doing stuff.  Lots of stuff.

We are currently taking up all the rubber mats in the stables, scrubbing them on both sides and disinfecting the concrete underneath.

Just moving each mat is a two-man job and Floss and I are on this job.  We give ourselves 5 mats a day to scrub and dry.  Daisy scrubs and disinfects the concrete flooring.

It is fairly unforgiving on my back, though, but we have it down to a fine art now and five-a-day is manageable while looking as though we might get through it by next weekend.

After the mats, we cleared out the container.  This is where we keep the feed and throw all the silage wrap and old feed bags.  We put everything into the van to take to the dump later on this week.

Then there is the riding.  Floss and I went out on our horses, Klængur and Haakon.  Yesterday’s schooling worked and Haakon has remembered how to tölt, which was a relief.  I loathe his piggy-pacing.  Very uncomfortable.

After our ride, Floss mentioned that Klængur’s tack was dry so I showed her how to clean it properly and then, as an afterthought, decided I should do Haakon’s as well.

Floss’ question:  “How often should you clean tack, Mum?”

I had no answer: “*** cough *** er, um, not sure, perhaps a bit more often than we do!”

So after all of that, plus feeding LD every waking minute of the day, Floss and I went to talk to the boys.


And then Newt sat down!

Bliss.  Darling boys. (I had Waffle and Tiddles standing beside me, asleep breathing in my ears).

This is our heaven.  We deserve this.  We worked very hard.

A New Inmate – LD

Yesterday, I was asked by the SSPCA if I would care for a baby not-quite-fledged starling, called Boris.

Boris (Or LD, as he is known in this house) is always hungry.

I am not sure how old LD is – the SSPCA lady said she had been looking after him for what felt like a lifetime.  Worse than a baby!

We laughed and I naively said “Surely not”.

And after 24 hours of caring for LD, I have to agree.

I am exhausted.

Every ten minutes or so, using tweezers, I drop in bits of vitamin soaked beef mince into the gaping little yellow mouth.

I have also set up a redundant iPod playing starling songs on a loop!

LD loves that.  He sits between the two hinged speakers, settles down and listens to his compatriots.

Of course, as usual,  I am on a vertical starling-baby-learning-curve.  One thing I know – no worms – they have parasites.

LD slept well through the night.  Last night he slept from 10:30 to 07:30 easily.  Somewhere it says on the interweb that starling babies can sleep for 12 hours.  I hold onto this thought.

This morning, I put LD in his larger cage to sit in the sunshine on the windowsill.  Sunshine is good but LD needs to be warm at all times so he can’t go outside.  At night, LD is in his little box (not the best catch) in a cage (two better catches) with a towel over it in front of the Rayburn while I worry in my bed, dreaming of dead starlings and also keeping an eye on Wussums (the cat), who is being remarkably cool about this new event.

Today LD and I went into the indoor school.  There are many starlings shouting and LD sat and listened while I rode Haakon who has in six weeks managed to completely lose his tölt.  Haakon is fat and living in Fat-Fighters Field, much to his fury.

LD = Lovey Dovey = Big Bang!
I did want to call him Blue Birdie after my favourite book but BeAnne’s little ears prick up at the Birdie word!

Feeling Sorry

Like me, Fivla, and Vitamin seem to have been on a diet all of their lives.  I have this t-shirt.

And I feel very sorry for them.  It is grotty living off nothing for endless months.  Really very boring.

So, while Albie was coming round from his castration anaesthetic, I asked our visiting vet to look at Vitamin and Fivla for me to assess their weight and general health.

The vet initially said they were fat but, after a good prod, she announced she could feel ribs and that the old ladies were looking good.  Since September, when Fivla came home to us, she has lost a great deal of weight but like most old ladies her belly has dropped and looks can be misleading. Her hard neck crest has gone too.

Looking back at the photos even I can see a huge difference.

So, today, Daisy and I drove the old ladies to a new field where they joined Lyra and Delia who were on their own and very lonely.

Everyone was pleased to be reunited – these ladies lived together for some time in last winter/spring.

And I think, in retrospect, it will do all of them good to be together.

Yes, it is four miles down the road but we visit them daily and, although a big field, there really are more buttercups than grass.

It is all very well being on a permanent diet but when I can see them all missing each other, then the bigger picture has to be looked at.

Delia is doing very well this summer and she, as usual, has her reprieve from being put to sleep. It is only in winter she struggles with her arthritic stiffness.  In summer you would never know.

So, we will continue to keep a good eye on the girls. They need to all be together now.  This is a huge field but they will all have to look for the grass,