Chilling as we work

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It’s been quite a strange period since Christmas, with lots of work happening on the farm combined with some really fun chill time over the New Year’s holidays. The weather has been spectacular between rain storms – still and clear and warm. Perfect to relax on the lawn with a glass of wine whilst enjoying the view over the Vastrap valley. Ashley joined us just before New Year and she has been in the pool non-stop with whoever is keen to join her!

Late afternoon view over the Vastrap valley.

Late afternoon view over the Vastrap valley.

We even managed to play some croquet – a first since I moved to the farm! And of course, let’s not speak of the inevitable festive season overindulgence that goes with all the entertaining and socialising!

Did Paris get hold of the wine?

Did Paris get hold of the wine?

Late afternoon croquet.

Kids enjoying a spot of afternoon croquet.

Quentin directing croquet proceedings.

Quentin directing the croquet.

I had a major moment of panic between all of this fun when Coco went missing for 24 hours. I was convinced that she’d been bitten by a snake or caught in a snare on the mountain behind the house (see Coco’s Year in the Wars). On the Saturday before New Year, I was gardening in the morning and heard her howling and screeching up in the mountain. This is not entirely unusual as she often screeches when there is something to  chase after, but when she didn’t come home that night I thought it had to have been something serious. After going out to look for her and finding nothing, I was beside myself with emotion and couldn’t see any hope. Floods and floods of tears ensued!

The next morning Quentin sent some farm kids out on a search party to at least find her body, but when he arrived home and parked in the garage there was Coco staring at him from the next door car! We have no idea how she got there, but that is irrelevant. The important thing is she’s alive and kicking!

Happily reunited with wonder-dog Coco.

Happily reunited with wonder-dog Coco.

The travails continue though. A few days after her home coming celebration, she started behaving funny and showing signs of pregnancy. Her teats are very swollen and she is crying all the time. In fact, that may be why she was hiding in the car in the first place. She was at the kennels for two weeks during her last heat in October so I have no idea how this could have happened, but she had similar symptoms last year, which turned out to be a phantom pregnancy – apparently quite common in dogs. Hopefully it’s the same story this time as there’s a very handsome young Beagle in town called Roger waiting to meet her next year and some very eager kids waiting for their puppies!

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