Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Selling up...

The kennels idea has sadly met with too much red tape to be viable and after much consideration I have decided to sell up here and move back to the UK.

It hasn't been that easy here on my own, and as nice as the locals are, I don't have very much in common with them. I shall eternally be known as the weirdo who has dogs in the house with her! haha

I am hoping to find a live in kennel job when I return to the UK.

But in the meantime, if anyone is looking to buy a beautiful holiday home (or knows anyone that does!) then please contact me.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Money money money....

Finding a way to earn some money here has been difficult. One of the things that I am probably most experienced at and most comfortable with is looking after dogs, so the idea of a boarding kennels has always been at the back of my mind.

A few weeks ago, when I was at a neighbourhood meeting about our mountain road, the planning guy from the local comune (council) came up to me and said that he had heard that I wanted to build a kennels (I must have mentioned it to someone ages ago, who mentioned it to someone else and as is the way of the small places here, now everyone knows everything!) Anyway, he encouraged me to go and meet with him at the town hall.

My parents have also been out for a visit this week and so together we first went to the ASL animal place to find out about the regulations involved with kennels and then to the comune. Apart from some weird height restrictions (kennels must be at least 2.5 metres high?!) it all seems like it's possible.

My aim now is to source some kennel manufacturers and then find out about all the costs involved in setting up a business here (which might prove to be prohibitive as I have heard of some tax fees running into the thousands).

But if I can pull it off, then it will be fab to be able to run a small kennels. I can offer the dogs lots of personal attention, walks and be doing something I enjoy. Plus my own dogs won't get left at home all day while I go off to work. :-)

We have had some glorious weather the last few weeks, it has been almost summer like! The dogs have enjoyed being able to spend lots of time outside, especially playing on the agility equipment that grandad built them.





One word of caution for English drivers here. My parents took my car into Penne, and were given a fine of €80 for not having a GB sticker on the car! I have an old number plate which doesn't have the EU plate on so if there is anyone else in my position, get a GB sticker pronto!

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Another snowy update..

Have been meaning to update for a while and just never got round to it! Here I am at last...

We have had some lovely sunny warm weather since the last snow dollop and then last week we had a big snow storm and a LOT of snow! The dogs loved it, my phone lines didn't and collapsed under the weight of the snow, so I was without internet of phone for a week. Luckily my friend Terri has sent me a load of great books and DVD's so I was at least entertained! Telecom Italia kept phoning every day to see if my phone was working despite me telling them that the cable was lying in the snow. Not sure how they thought that was going to be rectified without their assistance, but they did eventually send someone!

So firstly a few piccies of the snow..

My cabin slowly getting buried..


The dogs up to their armpits..


Kofi wading through it..


Having some fun..


And a really pretty shot of Shilah


We were completely snowed in for several days and then my neighbours cleared a lot of the road with their tractor but not my drive (they did offer but it would also take a lot of the chalk with it so I declined). But my dog food delivery arrived last week and they were only able to deliver it part way so I had to tie it around myself and drag it up the rest of the way home!


Also last month was pig killing season ( :-( ) and sometimes in the morning the sound of screaming pigs could be heard and then every kitchen in the area (apart from mine) looked like this..


I don't think I could have something like that up in my kitchen because the dogs would just sit and stare at them all day!

Now for a couple of wolf stories....

Before the snow hit, we managed to get up to the mountain plains for a lovely picnic and came across a wolf kill with some wolf scat (poo) around it. Shilah (who is scared of wolves) was looking really uncomfortable about the whole thing and wanted to leave, but Kofi just saw FOOOOOOOOOOOOOD.

This is Shilah saying 'ummm I think we should leave now, what if they come back for it?? Kofi...kets hurry up and get out of here'


And this was Kofi 'I'm scared of nothing' s reply



Finally just before xmas, I was walking along a track near the cabin when we saw a wolf up on the hill. Shilah saw it at the same time as me and panicked and ran behind me and Kofi was busy sniffing and hadn't yet seen it. I shouted out hoping to scare the wolf off before Kofi saw it but it didn't seem bothered by me so I told the dogs to sit and then told them to bark (wolf still unconcerned!!)so I had just decided that I would have to turn back when Kofi spotted it. He took off up the hill (with Shilah watching in HORROR) and with me calling and the wolf just stood there and watched him getting closer! At this point I was really worried because I thought if it's not going to run then what is it going to do? But thankfully, right at the last moment it took off into the trees and Kofi just came back disappointed that his new friend hadn't wanted to meet him!

And of course I didn't have a camera with me!!

Saturday, 18 December 2010

More snow..

We had lots more snow over the last couple of days. The dogs really enjoyed playing in it and it tired them out bouncing around in it (especially looking for stuff I had buried in the snow for them to find!)



The snow did bring it's own problems though.

I decided I needed to do some washing as I was running out of socks..


And I hung it in the porch thinking that was warm enough, but it all froze solid! (note the icicles on the tea towel) haha


And then my water froze up again. So I resorted to melting snow, it takes an unbelievable amount of snow to get just a few inches of water!! I felt like I was spending half the day going back and forth scooping snow off the car.

Unusual way of filling the kettle...haha


My snow melting and then heating up for washing up water.


It has started to melt now and turn to mush and my pipes also have thawed out so we have water back.

On a positive note, my woodburner has been totally fab in keeping the cabin warm, even when it was -15C windchill it was toasty inside!

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

SNOW!!! (finally)

After weeks of being jealous at all the snow the UK had, we finally got some of the white stuff for ourselves today! The boys were both really excited (although Kofi spent a lot of the time eating it)

Weeeeeee snowwwwwwwwwwww!


On our forest walk..


Being made to pose by the logs (again!)


Eating it (at least he is at the table eating)


Those were all taken quite early this morning before the sun came out, but later on it was even more lovely with a bright blue sky..


And I got a couple of really nice pictures of the boys by the oak tree..



The snow wasn't without it;s catastrophes though. First, despite being wrapped in bubble wrap, the water meter froze and burst. So I had no water while I waited for the man from ACA to come and install a new meter. He actually came pretty quickly and put in a replacement in minutes. But stopping it from freezing again has come at a cost. Kofi has a beloved Octopus (shown in the pic when he was still a puppy). It was kind of on it's last legs (literally, Kofi had ripped off about 4 of them) so I decided to sacrifice the octopus and cut it's head open and jam it onto the water meter. Hopefully the fluffy filling will stop it from freezing.

Kofi was less than impressed though and was forlornly sniffing around the meter cupboard (he knows it's in there)- what he doesn't know though is that Santa (AKA Granny) has bought him a nice new one for Christmas so all is not lost.

The Octopus in happier days..


I haven't been feeling that well this week, I had my wisdom tooth out last Thursday and have several stitches now in it's place. The swelling and pain actually wasn't too bad but the last few days I have felt very tired with a fuzzy head and little appetite. It might be down to the anti biotics or it could be down to the weird temperature change. Last week it was 21C and this week down to -7C.

That's all for now, hope you enjoyed the snowy pictures..

Thursday, 2 December 2010

First trip to the vets..

We had our first experience with an Italian vet this week. Kofi managed to rip his dew claw, which doesn't sound like a big thing but is really painful as the quick is exposed. I phoned the vet (hate talking on the phone in Italian, but he understood me ok) and he said the nail needed clipping right back but as it would hurt a lot, Kofi would need to be sedated. So he arrived at my house and gave Kofi a jab to put him to sleep, which took effect really fast. Then he put a tourniquet on his leg to minimise the bleeding and then clipped the nail and quick right back (ouch). Then another jab to wake him up again, he was totally zonked out but the first thing he did was thump his tail when he heard my voice even though his eyes were still closed. Bless him. The vet stayed with me until he was up and about and I was really relieved that he used the same drugs that they use in the UK. I know the standard of vets isn't quite the same here in terms of equipment and I did worry that he might come with chloroform or something! But I was pleased with him and he seemed really competent. Phew!

Anyway, here is the brave soldier with his big brother..


It's not been anywhere near as cold as the UK here, and I have been soooo jealous of all the snow that my friends back home have been enjoying!! But we have had a few days cold enough to have the stove on in the day, and I make the most of it by cooking on it when I have it on. This was carrot and pumpkin soup.


It has been really windy here again, it's not that it's windy everyday but there are days when it starts and then is a continuous roar for maybe 48 hours. It gets tiring listening to it and I get a bit worried about the house! I might become a real life Dorothy and wake up in a new land one day...

The wind keeps blowing the shutters lose and then they bang against the windows and I have to rush out and lift them off (usually at 2am). So until my parents come out and we work out how to pin them back effectively, I have just conceded defeat and taken them all off, the only other option is to close them when it's windy but as i'm not a mole I don't really want to sit in the dark all day!

Here is a little video of the wind for you... (never put a video on here before so if it works I can bore people with dog training videos- haha)

I also took some pictures of some dog training and will leave you with this great one of Shilah doing an alert on command. I might attach it to my gate to keep away the hunters. haha


Saturday, 20 November 2010

Happy things and sad things..

Sad things first. Fonzie the cockerel got eaten by something. :-(
I let all the chickens out one morning and then around 11am I went down to the chicken area and there were all his white feathers on the ground. The wolf/fox just came in daylight and got him. This means I couldn't let the chickens out any more.

Then a few days later we had a storm, roaring winds which lasted around 48hr. By the end of it the top of my chicken run and the roof beams had collapsed. The run needs to be built with stronger supports and set into concrete to withstand the wind here so with a heavy heart I decided to give my chickens to my neighbours. I miss having them around but I need to build them a better bigger run. Especially if I can no longer let them free range. Hopefully next year if I can afford it.

So now some happy things...

Chris bought me some lovely prayer flags (which you can read about here.. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prayer_flag)


I have just hung out 2 for now because I'm not sure how they will stand up to the wind.

And the other nice thing this week is the amount of rainbows I have seen. Those with dogs probably know about this but there is a story that when our animal friends die they wait for us at a place called 'Rainbow Bridge' and so some believe that seeing a rainbow is a way of them connecting with Earth from Heaven. It certainly seems that whenever I have a bad day, I get a rainbow. And some days this week I have seen as many as 6 or 7 a day.

Here are just some of the different rainbows I have seem from my cabin...

Cloud rainbow (also known as sun dog)


Double Rainbow (second one is very faint but above the brighter one)


Looking DOWN on a rainbow


And this one taken a few days ago which I love especially as my cabin is called 'Rainbows End'



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