Decoy Dog – Smudge

Silage time

Silage time

Its been a busy week this week. What with having mistresses friends here and me having to check more cottages (see our site) than normal for food I have had very little time for my favourite pastime of sleeping. One of our regular friends was back so we had to go off to play with him (idiot brother probably went a bit too far as usual). The unfortunate thing about regular visitors is that they are in general not as generous on the food side as new guests. I have a feeling mistress has had words with them about me being over weight. Well I am not. I may have a few muscles here and there that show up as fat but I am certainly not fat. How could I be on the meagre rations we get. The only way I survive is by scrounging food off guests. Without that supplementary food I would have wasted away by now.

We have at long last been take on some walks. Master/Mistresses friends are keen walkers so we always get taken out when they visit. Its always a lot better when we go out with them as we don’t spend as much time ‘admiring the view’. The first day we walked from Ashford in the Water to Bakewell and then over the hill to Great Longstone (where we stopped for Lunch) and then on up to Monsal Head and back round to Ashford. It was a bit of a long way for mistress but we coped. The walk was relatively easy and we encountered very few cows and Sheep so idiot brother wasn’t too much of a pain.

Me with mistress

Me with mistress

The next day we set off from home and headed down to Over Haddon and then on down to Haddon Hall. This is where the problems started. The first few fields had been fine – a few friendly milk cows and a few dizzy sheep. But once we had cleared the sheep (idiot brother was only a bit scared) we entered a field full of bullocks. At this point we realised that mistress’s friend was scared of cows, so master sent me off to be a decoy while the others (including idiot brother on a lead to stop him running off) crossed the field. So off I went with master in a long loop round the field and sure enough the beasties followed us. Now these beasties don’t understand that I am an ace cow dog and that I will take no nonsense from cows so we had a few fraught moments until they learnt that. In general they did behave but there is always one that wants push its luck, so he needed to be taught a lesson. After we got through the first field the next field was also full of bullocks so off I went again. This happened over about four fields. I found it great fun but idiot brother was nearly a nervous wreck by the time we got through the last field. Then the shooting started. Way of in the distance someone was practising shooting . Well this was the last straw for idiot brother. He now became a gibbering wreck. They all tried to console him (I didn’t) but in the end the shooting stopped and we could get him to moving again.

Once we got to Haddon Hall he had forgotten all about the cows and the sheep and the shooting and was back to normal (just being an idiot). After Haddon Hall we turned towards Bakewell where we stopped for lunch and master went on ahead to get the car (which he had left at the top of the Town before we set off). I think he was a bit worried about mistress as she had been lagging a bit. So we got a ride back home in the car which was good as I have to admit my paws were feeling a bit sore. I think I must be getting a bit old as I am definitely feeling a bit stiff tonight and looking at idiot brother he looks even worse than me. I do wish master would stop helping us over stiles though. We are still young enough to get over them ourselves and it is very embarrassing as a Collie to be lifted over a stile. If anyone were to see it I wouldn’t know where to put my muzzle.

View towards Haddon Hall

View towards Haddon Hall

 

All a bit worrying – Blue

A field near 'Shirley'

A field near ‘Shirley’

OK in general I am a very brave dog but there are just a few things that I do get very worried about – Cows, Sheep, Thunder and lightening, machines that beep and loud bangs. Well at this time of year I am constantly surrounded by Cows. They are all over our fields (see our cottages). OK master and mistress always takes us round the fields where there are no cows but they are always lurking just over a wall. Whenever we go out for a walk we seem to have to go through Sheep. Why can’t they live in another field? Why are they always on the footpath? Why do they always look so viscous and bad tempered ? I haven’t done anything to them.

Is it not bad enough that I have to contend with Cows and Sheep? Oh No, I also have had to put up with Thunder and lightening this week. I am terrified of Thunder (as is Smudge). Mistress does her best to console me but I just don’t like it and there never seems to be anywhere to hide, to get away from it. Master is no use, all I get form him is ‘Blue – pull yourself together your a Collie’. What does that mean. I am together and I know I am a Collie. Doesn’t stop me being scared of thunder though.

Peak Rail 1940 weekend

Peak Rail 1940 weekend

Today just when I calmed down, we get taken to the Peak Rail 1940 Re-enactment weekend. Now they know I don’t like this sort of thing so why did they take me? Well actually it may not have been entirely their fault as I did jump in the car to make sure I was taken. I didn’t realise where we were going. It was ok for a 1/2 an hour or so then someone let off a gun. Well I nearly died. Smudge didn’t look too good either. I got the usual “Blue – pull yourself together your a Collie” from master and some soothing words from mistress but that was no help. To make things worse every 5-10 mins someone would let off another gun. In the end there was all sorts of guns going off but luckily by this time Master and Mistress had got the message and we were taken home.

Another Well

Another Well

 

A few more walks – Smudge

Me.

Me.

Now summer has arrived we seem to be getting more walks although it is still hard to get master away from our cottages (see Bolehill cottages) and his computer. This week we went to Shirley? Well I thought that was what mistress was called but apparently there is a village called Shirley. Very strange!! Of course we have been dragged round the usual well dressings but so far we have been lucky in that we haven’t been to any gardens. We did get taken to the Bakewell Carnival the other week which I quite enjoyed but of course idiot brother had to make a scene. He was scared of the drums in the bands that were marching past. What an idiot. In the end master had to take him to somewhere quieter to stop him trembling. In the end we had to leave early. He always has to spoil things.

Just checking out the slide

Just checking out the slide

We have had lots of dogs here over the last few weeks so treats from guests have been quite good. I have now perfected my summer time ‘I am not being fed at home’ look and it seems to be doing the trick. I have figured out that mistress is telling people not to feed me as I am over weight (as if). So things are getting tougher but my ‘sorrowful look’ technique is getting better and most guests start to feel sorry for me after a while and give in and give me something. There is also more people eating out in the courtyard which is always worth a try to see if there is any spare food. Of course master posted my picture on Facebook with a ‘thief’ label on me which hasn’t helped much.

The walks we have been taken on have been quite interesting although I am starting to feel a bit stiff in an evening after going for a long walk. Must be age. On one of the walks we had to go across a wooden bridge. No problem except idiot brother now seems to have become scared of wobbly bridges. Master had to coax him across. I don’t know what has got into him lately. Anyone would think he was being taken to the vets. There was also another episode with lambs. All that happened was two lambs run past him and he got scared and ran off in the opposite direction. Master and mistress had to go back and put him on a lead to bring him back up the field. They were lambs for heavens sake. Not that scary.

The last few days have been a bit warm for me so I have stayed inside or in the shade. Luckily I haven’t been called upon to sort out any cows or anything energetic like that. Its just not the weather for that sort of thing.

Idiot brother's  barking is getting me down

Idiot brother’s barking is getting me down

Summer is getting here – Blue

Looks a bit viscous to me

Looks a bit viscous to me

Its been quite warm here at our cottages (see website) for the last few weeks so we have tended to find a shady spot and snooze through the day. Unless of course I am called upon to help master. He has been hacking down all sorts of trees and bushes which is great fun although I don’t think mistress is too happy. Master gets a bit ‘saw happy’ once he gets going and anything standing in his way just gets hacked down. Never mind I am sure things will grow back.

We have been having quite a lot of problems with cows (when don’t we have problems with cows). Last week a couple managed to get into the front field where we were working so we tried to get them back into their proper field. Of course being cows they wouldn’t do as they were told, so we left them were they were. Unfortunately the handyman didn’t shut the gate properly. The next thing I noticed was that the entire set of hooligans were coming through the gate. Well that was it I was off to a safer location behind a fence. It was quite funny watching master and the handyman try and get them back into the field.

More Well Dressings

More Well Dressings

They gave up in the end and called the farmer who came up later that evening and helped us to get them back. Only 1/2 hour later and 3 of the idiots had jumped out of the field again. We left them there for the night. The next morning the farmer and master put them back where they should have been and put out an electric fence to keep them away from the wall they kept jumping over. That sorted them out.

Of course the well dressings are now on so we are getting dragged round each of those as they are opened. It really is quite boring but mistress enjoys them.

We went on a walk over at Matlock the other week which was quite exciting. The only problem was a footbridge we had to go over had a very very steep set of steps to get down from it. Now in general I don’t mind steps but these were just a bit too steep and high. I sat there hoping master would help but of course there was no chance there. Then I looked at mistress hoping she would take pity on me but no. All I got was “Come on Blue you are a Collie you can easily manage these. Look Smudge didn’t have a problem.”

Scary Steps

Scary Steps

Well of course Smudge didn’t find them a problem he is too stupid to realise how scary they were. It just shows the concern everyone has for my well being when everyone just started walking off, leaving me terrified, perched on top of a flight of steps I couldn’t get down. Well of course in the end I had to just grit my teeth and go for it or I would have been left behind. Thanks a bunch for all the help.

Smudge got shut inside a cottage again the other day. He had been doing his usual rounds of inspection (to check for food) when the door must have closed behind him. When the lady came back from taking her dogs for a walk there was Smudge sitting inside the cottage looking out the door. Serves him right.

Talk of my retirement – Smudge

Retirement in deed!!

Retirement indeed!!

What a cheek. Here I am in the prime of my life and THEY are talking about retiring me from my cow herding duties. Come on I may be ten years old but I am still very young at heart. OK I did find it a bit of a struggle getting back home after the last round up session. That was because the cows were harder work than normal. As it was such a nice evening they wanted to stay out, so I had to do more rounding up than normal. And I might sleep just a bit more than I use to. But doesn’t mean I have to be retired.

If I am to be retired does it mean I get a biscuit pension? Is it a final biscuit Pension? Is it index linked? Do I get my bus pass? Can I exchange my bus pass for biscuits? Is idiot brother to be retired from his security job? These are all important questions that need answering. But as usual no one will listen.

My best side.

My best side.

We got dragged round Tissington well dressings on Sunday. I suppose that means the Well dressing season has started and we will get dragged round all the rest of them. I don’t mind too much but I do wish we could get round a bit quicker. All this ‘viewing’ bit is all very boring.

Our fields are currently nearly full with cows, which of course idiot brother hates, as we are all waiting for silaging to start. He is almost confined to the front garden as he refuses to go in any field where there are cows. In reality there is half our front field without cows and of course our paddock area but he is so worried, he wont go in either without master or mistress (just in case). The fields at the back of us are a bit of a problem for us as the grass is now so high we can’t see where we are going. The good thing is that master can’t see where we are and we can explore without the constant nagging. It is a bit hard to get around in that length of grass though, especially if we need to chase something. Oh well hopefully it will be cut shortly and the cows can be let loose in more fields.

Me overlooking Lathkill Dale

Me overlooking Lathkill Dale

 

Gardens Again – Blue

wait for me

wait for me

It must be getting near to mistress’s birthday as we got dragged round Lea Gardens last week. As Lea Gardens are only 20 mins from our cottages (see web site) ?we get dragged there quite frequently but the risks are a lot higher nearer to mistress’s birthday. She enjoys looking around the Rhododendrons and Azaleas so we all get dragged around as well (including Master). I suppose it isn’t too bad. At least we usually get a walk even if it is on our leads. The posing for daft photographs (see me in a wheelbarrow) is a bit of a pain but we do usually get a treat if we sit still for a few minutes (which of course Smudge finds very easy).

Me at Lea Gardens

Me at Lea Gardens

Once we finished in Lea gardens we then got dragged over to the nearby Shopping centre where they don’t allow dogs. So we are left in the car. Of course Smudge just goes to sleep but I have to keep vigil in case of emergency. Master usually pops back to see us every 30 mins or so. I think because he is bored or is carrying loads of stuff that mistress has bought.

Unfortunately the cows are back in our front and side fields so I am a bit restricted in where I can wonder. I suppose I could go over into our back fields but I am always a bit worried at this time of year that the cows could have snook into there too. Although master now puts up an electric fence to keep the cows off the drive and to one side of the field I just don’t trust it and assume they can get at me anywhere in the field. So I tend to stay near to the house, our garden and the courtyard – just in case. I don’t mind being adventurous and going in a field near to the cows if master or mistress is with me but on my own its all a bit risky. Smudge of course is totally brain dead. He will wander through them without a care. If they come up to him he just ignores them. Pretty stupid if you ask me. They are big things and could hurt you. The grass in the fields without cows is getting a bit long for us. We are only short so when the grass is quite tall its a bit of a struggle getting about but we have learnt over the years to follow the tractor tracks. It makes life a lot easier.

Just checking there are no cows

Just checking there are no cows

Action Dog – Smudge

Action Dog

Action Dog

Its that time of year again when I get to use my highly tuned skills as a cow herding dog. Every now and then I get the opportunity to show off my skills, helping master bring in the cows for milking at the farm opposite our Holiday cottages (click here). Idiot brother of course is of no use whatsoever as he is scared of cows. Well he is when he is in the same field as a cow. He is of course very brave if the is a fence between him and the cow. ?Me – I know cows well and know they are only going to do what I tell them. So I have no problem with them.

As usual at the beginning of a season a few of the younger ones try it on with me. They think they can outsmart me or stand their ground. Well there is no way they can outsmart me. I am Smudge wonder cow dog, so they soon realise they just aren’t smart enough. Then there are the few who stand their ground. Well of course, as any cow trained dog will tell you, you have to stamp out that kind of behaviour immediately.

Its all in the speed of the turn

Its all in the speed of the turn

If the rest of the herd thought you couldn’t control just one of them, then you would be in serious trouble. So the thing is to stand your ground and stare them out. If that doesn’t do it, a quick snap near their nose and they are off and as compliant as the rest of them. ?As it was the first time my skills had been required this year it did take a bit longer than normal to get them to understand who was boss and to do as they were told.

Bringing in the last straggler

Bringing in the last straggler

All was OK in the end and in they went in for milking. Master seemed pleased with the result even if he did wash me down a bit roughly when we got back. I did try and slink into the house without the usual hosepipe wash down but he spotted me and called me back. However, I did get a BIG treat from mistress for doing such a good job (she had been watching from our front garden).

 

Blue gets lost – Smudge

A 'selfie'

A ‘selfie’

Well he didn’t actually get lost. I knew where he was but no one else did and I wasn’t going to tell. Mistress went off to Bakewell shopping and left master in charge of taking us out for our morning constitution. Well as usual master just doesn’t pay attention and although we had a walk around our grounds (to see our grounds) he also decided to check on things like the boiler, the sheds etc. When we got back of course I was still with him but he didn’t notice that idiot brother wasn’t around. To be honest its not unusual but at least mistress notices.

Wherever I lay may paws (that's my home)

Wherever I lay my paws (that’s my home)

Master went off to do something else then about an hour later he realised that idiot brother wasn’t around. I kept quiet. He whistled for him (which usually brings him if he can hear it) but no response. The handyman came up to do some quick work but even that didn’t bring him back. By this time master was getting worried that the idiot had wandered off again. ‘Oh good he is going to get into real trouble’. After ringing mistress to inform her that he had lost idiot brother he was just about to get in the car to go looking for him when he decided he would retrace his steps from earlier in the morning. Up the back field, round to the boiler house, up to the sheds. Well blow me there he was sitting quietly in the top shed. Well of course I had known all along, as I saw the idiot going in when master went in. Well I thought, now he will be for it. Deserves him right. But no. I think master was just so relieved he had found him before mistress got back that he didn’t yell at him or anything. Idiot brother did seem a bit quiet for a while. I don’t think he liked being shut in the shed not knowing what was going on.

'me'

‘me’

Smudge sat on a Frog – Blue

Me looking towards Chressbrook Hall

Me looking towards Cressbrook Hall

Well that is absolutely typical of Smudge. He is not the brightest dog around our cottages. But more of that in a moment. First I must correct Smudge’s last posting about me going missing. I wasn’t missing. I knew where I was and was just about to return home, after doing my good deed for the day. What actually happened was that I noticed a couple of walkers crossing our fields and as they looked lost I wandered over to see if I could help. As they appeared to be trying to get to Magpie Mine I showed them the way. OK maybe I should have turned back when I heard masters whistle but then I wouldn’t have been able to show them the way so I sort of ‘ignored it’. I assumed master would understand -he didn’t. I suppose him coming to find me saved me the long walk home but I wasn’t too happy with the angry looks he gave me and the ‘pointed silence’. I assumed he would be glad I had helped someone. So that’s what actually happened. Then as punishment I had to spend the day with boring Smudge rather than go off with master.

Wonder what he has found

Wonder what he has found

Anyway back to Smudge and the unfortunate frog. We were taken for a walk up round the Monsal Head area. Its a walk we have a done few times before. We parked near Monsel Head and walked up to the trail then on up the hill to Brushfield,? then round to Litton Mill, onto the trail for a bit, then up onto the old path with its spectacular views of Cressbrook Hall and back to the car. It was when we were on the old path that mistress called Smudge back from whatever he was doing. Being an obedient dog he trotted back to mistress then sat down (as we are suppose to do). Unfortunately he sat on the poor frog that was sunning itself. We are not sure if the frog survived. Smudge is a bit of a fat dog, so having his weight sitting on you isn’t going to improve your outlook.

Mistress struggling up the hill

Mistress struggling up the hill

I had to look after Smudge on Friday night. The farmer had been muck spreading over the last few days so of course Smudge being Smudge always enjoys bits of it (its a dog thing – but Smudge is particularly partial to it). Of course predictably (and as usual) he had an upset stomach. About 2 AM in the morning he needed to go to the toilet. Being a good brother I thought I had better help him and get master or mistress to let him out. I know banging on the door usually gets them up and luckily it did. Mistress came down and we rushed to the outside door to let her know Smudge needed to go out. She let us out just in time. Unfortunately the next time I wasn’t as quick and he made a mess on the kitchen floor. I assumed we would be in big trouble? But when master came down luckily he was very understanding and just let us out. Smudge seemed to get worse during the morning, so we decided we needed to take him to the Vet. The Vet immediately understood the problem and gave him something to settle his stomach. He was a bit down all day, so as a good brother I kept an eye on him. By dinner time he was a lot better but then almost went into trauma when he realise he wasn’t going to be properly fed. A bowl of rice just isn’t good for a dog. He seems fine again now. Maybe he has learnt his lesson – probably not.

 

He is at it again – Smudge

Me

Me

Well HE (idiot brother) is in the ‘dog’ house again. We were let out for our early morning constitution by master, who sometimes comes with us. If not it is usually mistress but on this occasion she didn’t either (I think the phone rang or something). So off we went into the field to see if there was anything interesting. After a few minutes of mooching around I decided it might be worth checking on our Cottages (click here) to see if anyone had any breakfast for me. Its always worth a try. I find if I sit outside with my ‘starved dog look’ I sometimes get the odd tit bit. The skill is remembering which cottages have dogs in. The owners are always a bit of a soft touch and of course there is always the possibility I can slip in and help the guest dog to finish their breakfast. It sometimes works. There I was lost in my mission when I suddenly heard the whistle go.

My stick

My stick

That means we have to come home. So off I trotted back to the house. On the way back it suddenly struck me that I hadn’t seen idiot brother for a while. Then I realised it wasn’t normal to be called back with the whistle in a morning. OH NO what has he (idiot brother) done.

Once I got back in doors I got the usual fuss and a chew for coming back then we sat waiting for ‘idiot’. Well of course he didn’t turn up. Every time master blew the whistle I imagined idiot brother getting into more and more trouble (maybe this time they will just get rid of him and I can have his dinner). In the end master realised he wasn’t going to come back so he went off in the car to find him. There are a number of spots he has been found before so that’s where master checks first – Sheldon Village (he pops into the pub because they know him there), Magpie Mine (don’t ask me why) and all the fields in that general direction.

In the end master found him over at Magpie mine wandering about totally unconcerned. I bet he got it in the neck when master found him as he was pretty furious when he left here. As part of his punishment we were left all day on our own while they went out. Well I was quite happy being left as I could get some serious duvet time in (if only he would stop barking every few minutes) but he was furious as he always wants to go everywhere with master. Well serves him right.

Idiot brother in the 'Dog' house

Idiot brother in the ‘Dog’ house