Posts Tagged dog walking


WARNING: Photo Heavy and mainly of dogs, cats and plantlife – look away now if you are here for knitting/crochet/sewing/baking.

When Alys at ‘Gardening Nirvana‘ recently compiled a video of the lovely plants in her Californian garden, I commented that we didn’t grow cultivated sweet peas (she has lots and lots) but we do have wild ones up on the hillside and she said she’d be interested in seeing some of my garden so I took my camera with me on the morning dog walk and, even though the wild sweet peas aren’t in bloom yet and we are desperate for rain, here it is now in mid-April in S.W. France in the midi-Pyrenees.  Our garden is very large and very steep and terraced.  We only plant up the first couple of terraces – the rest we keep brushcut but only lightly so that it is a haven for insects and birds. ((Note, the use of the word ‘we’.  It should really be ‘he’)

Sometimes one of the cats accompanies us …….

….and sometimes one of the dogs spots it

He should have paid attention to the notice!  I put this here at the top of the garden to prevent people thinking it’s a public footpath although it doesn’t always work.

This Judas Tree has been quite spectacular in previous years but seems to be getting a bit old now and the purple flowers are a bit more sparse.  You can see it from Montségur which is on the green mound just underneath the highest snowy peak opposite.  The Château de Montségur is famous as the last Cathar stronghold, which fell after a 10 month siege in 1244.   A field below the hilltop castle is reputed to be the site where over 200 Cathars were burned alive, having refused to renounce their faith.  It’s quite a climb up to the ruins but the views are amazing and it gives me the opportunity, when my heartbeat has returned to normal and I can speak again, to say                                 ‘you can see our house from here’.

Back on our walk – Flo usually leads the way.

I keep Stan on the lead on the way up, and Flo on the way down, otherwise they tend to run off together and make mischief – which usually involves fox poo and a wash down afterward.

Taz is our old boy who usually brings up the rear.

Somebody has made a little monument.  I don’t know who as we don’t walk on the public footpath and it is rare to see anybody else up here.   The hunters come through in the season but I can’t imagine them faffing about with something like this.   I like to think it’s a secret admirer who has found an ‘L’ shaped rock and placed it as a little message to me.  Actually, I hope not as that would be beyond creepy.

Although the wild sweet peas aren’t out yet, the wild orchids are.

Back down through the garden gate now and the ball game can begin.

Though somebody is only interested in the newly turned out compost bin contents.

I love this viburnum which, soon, will turn white and look like lots of little snowballs.

Phlox does very well here and this is growing over one of our many dry stone walls.

A beautiful tree peony being photobombed by Flo.

The chooks in their lilac bower.  This is just one of many lilacs we have and the scent in the late evenings and early mornings is lovely.

A tiny yellow rose growing up another stone wall on our terrace.  It blooms its little heart out for ages and, if we’re lucky, we get a second flush of flowers a bit later on.

Just in case you were worried about Leon.

He made it down the tree and back down the garden safely.

He’s not a year old yet and not a large framed cat and I couldn’t understand why he has such a saggy tum.

After a bit of research I discovered that some cats are genetically prone to something called a ‘primordial pouch’.  This is meant to protect their internal organs from damage in a cat fight and also provides extra space to stuff with food in times of shortage.  It also gives them more leeway to bend and stretch .  That’s something new I’ve learnt and also saved money by not buying special diet food from the vet.  So, if you have a cat that looks a bit saggy underneath, this may well be the reason.  I wonder if the same principle can be applied to muffin tops.

I’m not fat – it’s my primordial pouch.


Last but not least – the first poppies are opening.

How’s your garden doing at the moment – is it too dry like ours or are you having too much rain?  Are there plants you would really like to grow but aren’t suited to your soil or climate?  I would love some foxgloves but they wouldn’t grow well here





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Oops! I’ve Fallen Off the Fabric Wagon

It’s true – but only a little bit – all is not lost – honest.

 Before I ‘fess up however, a bit of a distraction. It’s a bit nippy today but beautiful – they did predict some snow and they were right –  so,when I set out for our walk this morning, as well as a lead, a couple of tennis balls, a ball launcher and three dogs, I hauled my camera with me.

Snow Pyrenees

The view from halfway up my garden this morning.

Log Pile

These logs will need getting down to the bottom somehow.


Perhaps we could rig up some sort of dog sled thingy.

Anyway, back to my falling off the fabric wagon.  A couple of weeks ago, we held a fund raising event for Dog Rescue Carcassonne and the Twilight home for old and/or sick dogs where a wonderful couple here in France have dedicated their lives to looking after these dogs that nobody else will take on.  Anyway, I didn’t have a stall myself this time and just went along to chat and spend money help out.  Some of the stalls had set up the night before and one had some fabric ‘scraps’ for sale.  The stallholder hadn’t yet arrived and I went over to have a look and spotted a tempting bit of something that looked a bit vintagey and a bit storybooky .


Vintage Fabric

When I had a closer look , there was around a yard and a half of vintage Red Riding Hood fabric with such cute designs like this

Vintage French Fabric

and this


that, without thinking, I nabbed it and, when she arrived, paid the 2 euros!! and put it in my bag along with 20 euros of cakes I’d just bought (oops ).

Vintage Red Riding Hood Fabric

It wasn’t until a couple of hours afterwards that I remembered I was on a fabric fast.  But it was vintage.  It was 2 euros.  It was for Dog Rescue.  What would you have done?  I’m back on the wagon now, honest.

I had taken along a couple of little dog coats that I had knitted because I was hoping that – being a doggy related event – somebody might come in with the right sized dog that they would let me dress up and use as a model.  Sure enough, a couple came in with their cockerpoo (a cocker spaniel mixed with a poodle) a lovely girl called Saren and she was just the right size.  I must admit I’m a bit confused that, all my dogs are mixes of something or other but are generally called ‘mutts’ or ‘mongrels but cockerpoos, shihpoos, labradoodles, etc. all have their own names.  They all seem to include poodles.  I’m pretty sure none of my dogs have ever been near a poodle so maybe that’s why.  The nearest I could get with mine would be a bordador or a shepcol and even they would be a wild guess. Anyway, I digress, she was a lovely girl who patiently modelled my knitted coats.

Serene Dog Coat

I wanted some photos on a model in case I decide to add them to my dog collar shop as another item I can sell to raise funds for Dog Rescue Carcassonne.

Cockerpoo Modelling Dog Coat

Or, I have asked if Twilight might be able to use some for the old dogs to wear this winter.  I’d better get a move on with my boyfriend cardigan then in case they say ‘yes’.

Off to re-light the log burner.

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No More Walkies! A Dog’s Nightmare.

Some of you may remember that we lost Susie, our old golden retriever, last September.  She wasn’t a bad age – 12 1/2 – and she went down quickly at the end so we didn’t prolong her suffering and, once she couldn’t support herself on her back legs anymore, we called in the vet.  We have another dog who turned 10 in December and who is having problems with her legs now but she is a different proposition.  Instead of pottering around at terrace level in our garden whilst the two youngsters and I go up our mountainous garden for the morning walk as Susie used to,  she insists on forcing herself up to the top.  A few times lately, she’s got up there and then her back legs have collapsed with the effort and she just lies there looking confused.  The problem is – I don’t know how I would ever get her back down again if, one day, she can’t manage to stand up.  So we took her to the vet and she said that, as well as arthritis, she has ‘arthrose’ and walking up the side of a mountain or running around chasing balls with the other dogs is definitely not a good idea so we’re going to have to start leaving her behind.

Well that was on Friday so, this weekend, Mr. T has been at home and I’ve been able to stay indoors with her.   When the other two have been ‘sneaked out’ for a walk, she cries and paces up and down but at least somebody is there to comfort her.  Starting tomorrow, when I’m on my own during school hours and have to do dogwalking duties, she’ll be left behind on her own and I know she’ll be stressed for the half hour or so that I’m gone.  That is, of course, if I actually manage to get out through the door without her in the first place.  She has taken to positioning herself at the ‘exit’ and guards it with her life.  I don’t know whether you’ve ever tried it but it is very difficult to get past a 35 kilo german shepherd who is determined you are going nowhere without her.

Anyway, it must be done because we don’t want her to be in more pain than she needs to be but I worry about the mental stress it will cause her.  I know 10 isn’t too bad an age for a GSD, especially considering her start in life.  She was one of a litter of 3 puppies born to a pair that were being kept  in cramped conditions specifically for breeding and were eventually rescued by the R.S.P.C.A. which is where we got her.  She almost went lame when she was 6 years old as she has a very shallow hip joint which was causing lots of stress on the cruciate ligament in her knee and – thank goodness we were paying insurance – she had a state of the art operation which involved putting some metal in her leg and it was all done without her having to be in plaster for 6 weeks afterward. 

So, really, she has had an extra 4 years of running around and walking and playing that she might not have had.  Still, try telling her that!

I’ll let you know how I get on…….



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Is there anything more frustrating than waiting for somebody when you’re all ready to go?

 If the perspective seems odd it’s because the back door of the house is on a much lower level than the start of the garden.  As we are practically on the side of a small mountain, the garden is terraced and Stan has raced up to the first one and is looking down impatient to be off whilst I faff around with boot laces and cameras.

Stan fans will notice that those horrible pustulent spots he had on his nose, probably an allergic reaction to some plant or other he was foraging in, have gone but have left little scars which I’m hoping will get covered up when his hair grows back.



















































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Happy Dogs

Sometimes I feel like I could really do without walking up our ‘side of a mountain’ garden in the mornings, especially when I’m still half asleep and it’s raining.    Then I look at these little faces and see how much they enjoy themselves and it’s suddenly all worth it.



Taz (the fool)

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Walking the Dogs (and Cat)

Every morning, around 8, I walk up the side of the small mountain which makes up most of our garden with my 3 dogs and, occasionally, Beau the cat comes along. 

This morning I took my camera as it’s such a lovely day and there are lots of signs of spring.

Morning Walk in March




Time for Breakfast

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