Monday, 16 January 2017

Ellie Strides Out

Ellie's mum is very proud of her little lamb.

Ellie now has a name (thanks, Claire). Come on out, Ellie, don't be shy...

Mum is very attentive.

She has the makings of a big, strong lamb.

The slight fuzz in this photo is from mum breathing on the lens.

"Is that my foot?"

Her purposeful little walk is so adorable.

All she has to do now is grow, grow, grow...

Sunday, 15 January 2017

The Boyfriend

Now that they are hoggets, rather than lambs (which is taking some getting used to), I separated out the biggest and put them with a handsome ram lamb.

What is most hilarious is that my girls are much bigger than their boyfriend.

By nature he seems pretty quiet, which is a quality I would like in my lambs. He also has, as they say, "a hot bod".

While I feared separating my lambs hoggets would cause stress, they actually settled in their field very quickly. (For size comparison, the sheep in the field in the background are fully grown ewes.)

It was a very stormy morning, and the lambs hoggets were taking shelter behind a scraggly hedge. Rosie decided I looked lonely, standing some distance away as I tried to get some decent shots. So she came over.

For ten minutes she was pressed against me, using my legs as a shield against the wind and getting back scratches in return.

She loves me.

Curious Boyfriend came over too.

The little gang sticks together.

There's a lot of grass in these two fields to keep them happy.

Rosie always sticks close.

Will we be hearing the pitter-patter of tiny hooves come June, I wonder?

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Out With the New, In With the Old

We decided not to keep this lamb for breeding, so into the quad trailer she went. Pip was helping.

After putting her in the field with the lambs for sale, we took the rest to an outfarm. They won't be home until May, all grown-up and ready for clipping.

All they have to do now is take it easy grow up big and strong.

In the meantime the older, pregnant ewes are gradually coming into the shed ready for lambing.

Iris (on the left) is among these ones.

These ewes haven't been home in some months so it's nice to see familiar faces once again.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Well Then, Here We Go Again...

Almost every single person I've been talking to for the past month as been asking if there are any lambs yet. At last I can say yes! Dad brought this little ewe lamb in from the field this morning.

Her dad is one of the two Texel rams we bought at the ram sale in September.

Mum is a bit thinner than we'd like, but so far she seems to be able to take care of her lamb without any assistance.

Just like her mum, the lamb has a pink nose. She's just thinking about something here...

...that's it.

Only another 300 or so to go, then...

Saturday, 7 January 2017

The Pet Blogger Challenge 2017

1. When did you start your blog and, for anyone who is just seeing it for first time, please provide a description of your site. Would you say your blog focuses more on sharing stories with your readers, or providing a resource for your audience?

I'd had a little free website for several months when I made this blog in March 2010 - once I'd started here, I found a blog much easier to run. I had a new puppy, a new camera recently aquired for my birthday and I was midway through my GCSE studies in school. I would bore classmates in ICT class with my announcements of blog updates!

The focus of my blog has shifted somewhat in the past couple of years. The Dogs of Greenhill Farm is now becoming something of an artifact title - my blog is now about all of the animals on the farm. In 2016 the pet lambs seemed to take over (a quick look through the archives and you'll understand why), and in 2015 the focus was more on Blue Belle the pony. Having said that, everyone gets a look-in on the action.

My blog is all about the photographs and the stories they tell. Of course, if anyone has dog/sheep/pony-related questions they're more than welcome to ask.

2. What was your proudest blogging moment of 2016?

I think from January to about April, just the sheer level of pure adorableness that was my blog. Lambs being born left, right and centre meant I was very busy, but I made sure I had the camera with me as much as possible to take lots of cute lamb pictures! This meant I had the camera with me to capture Nobby and Ben's first moments together in The Puppy Says Baa.

3. Which of your blog posts was your favorite this year and why? (Please include a link.)

It's really hard to choose, but one of my favourites from last year is The Sheep That Didn't Run Away. It's a cute little snapshot of life at lambing time - dogs confused by sheep that are very disrespectful of "authority". And it's another post featuring Nobby, all by himself the highlight of my year.

4. Year after year, one goal that we all seem to share is that we want to reach more people. What one tool did you use or action did you take this year that had the most impact on increasing traffic to your blog?

I've continued to share my posts on my personal Facebook page, and on Haynet, but one thing I did do was have business cards printed. When I was out with Nobby people were always asking about him, and it was great to be able to direct them to my blog without scrambling for a piece of paper and a pen! They were also useful when I took photos of other people's animals - I could say that if they looked at my blog on a certain day the photos would be there.

The cards were simple enough - just this photo of Teddy with the blog title and address.

I gave out almost 100 of them last year - I need to order more!

5. Which of your blog posts got the most traffic this year? (Please include a link.) Have you noticed any themes across your most popular posts?

Rugged Boys was 2016's winner with 295 views. It is a series of photos from a flying visit I made to Cousin Fergal at his livery yard. I imagine this post got so many views because I shared it on his owner's Facebook page, and that of the livery yard too. Though Fergal would probably say it was because he was handsome.

I've noticed posts containing photos of other people's animals to be the most popular. By way of demonstration:

1. Rugged Boys - 295 views (Fergal and his friends.)
2. Fergal's Yard - 245 views (Fergal. Again.)
3. Vix's Puppies - 238 views (I met a litter of Wire-Haired Fox Terrier puppies.)
4. Nobby Goes to the Beach - 236 views (My pet lamb goes to the beach with me.)
5. Holly's Holiday - 228 views (Some photos from Cousin Holly's stay with us.)

So, yes, it appears everyone else's animals are more interesting than my own.

6. What blog do you find most inspirational and how has it influenced your blog? (Please include a link.)

There is no one blog I find more inspirational than the other. I am drawn to blogs with nice photography, great content and fluffy animals. Have a look under Brilliant Blogs in my sidebar for blogs I follow.

7. What is one thing your readers don’t know about you or your pets that would surprise them?

Kind of a sad thing, but since losing Ben in March the dogs don't really play anymore. He was always the instigator of the chase, and without him my little pack of Border Collies has become deadly serious. It means it's even more of a joy when they "let their hair down" and play a little bit. A rare and beautiful sight that never fails to make me smile.

8. What is something you’ve learned this year that could help other bloggers?

Be brave. So you want to take your lamb in the back of your car and go for walks in a busy seaside town at the height of summer? Go for it!

9. What would you like to accomplish on your blog in 2017?

More equality, I think. My little flock of pet lambs really did take over the blog last year. I think The Dogs of Greenhill Farm could do with more actual dogs.

See? No dogs here...

Nope. None.

10. Now it’s your turn! You have the attention of the pet blogging community – is there a question you’d like answered, or an aspect of your blog that you’d like input on?

Okay, then, pet blogging community, I have a question for you! Does your blog have repercussions in "real life"? By that I mean: does it make you a local celebrity? How many people you actually meet know you have a blog? I'm always telling people I have a blog. Nobody has come up to me in the street and asked about my blog yet, but perhaps one day! I have had a couple of people say to me, "Hey, aren't you that girl who takes pictures of dogs?" Maybe this is just my isolation talking - there is no BlogPaws in Northern Ireland. I'm curious to know what's it's like to be a blogger in the rest of the world - half of the people I meet don't even know what a blog is.

(Yes, Teddy got some fans this summer.)

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Saturday, 31 December 2016

Deleted Scenes

It may surprise you to know that I take many, many more photographs than those that end up posted on this blog. Instead of a more traditional retrospective of the year using my favourite photos, I've instead decided to use this last day of the year to squeeze in some of the photos that didn't quite make the cut for whatever reason. (And, naturally, some of the photos that didn't make the cut the first time around were cut from this post as well.)

The first lamb of the year, working out - thanks to a lamb born on 31st December 2015 - as the second of the season.

A soggy Pip has been lying in puddles again!

Lambs enjoying their first moments in the outside world.

A fresh bale of silage for the pregnant ewes in the shed is always a cause for excitement.

Young lambs on their way to the fields.

A very young Nobby with hilariously large ears.

Blue Belle and Nobby meet for the first time.

Nobby's first walk.

Teddy relaxing in the lambing shed.

Suckie and Blue Belle enjoy a dusting of snow.

Blue Belle on a walk...

...and pausing to steal some of the sheep's mineral lick. Tasty!

Nova and her lamb.

A little Kerry Hill baby explores the shed.

That time I went to check on Blue Belle and found her stuck in an old ring feeder.

While Blue Belle appeared quite sorry for herself, Suckie looked positively smug.

The morning rush for nuts.

Millie on a walk.

Teddy at sunset.


Suckie modelling the adult-sized blue headcollar.

Teddy being his handsome self.

Teddy being his cuddly self.

An unused photo of cousin Holly from her stay with us this summer.

Blue Belle enjoying summer grazing with the pet lambs.

Wrapping bales.

It's behind you!

Roly poly pony.


Margo at dusk.

The mob.

That time Blue Belle went for a walk to the ewes' field.

Lovely autumn blooms.

A happy Hampshire Down.

Blue Belle and the dogs.

A beautiful evening.

The half moon rises over the pet lambs.

Jess in the doorway.

Bob settling in with his girls.

Blue Belle.

Photographing the super moon...

...with some help.

An extreme close-up of frost on a bale.

Sheila at dusk.

Sunset over mountains.

The stars above us.

Miss Margo.

And finally, Bob eating Blue Belle's tail à la Nobby.

Wow, what a year it has been. Ups and downs, and thousands of photographs.

Happy New Year!
From Ruth, Pip, Jess, Sheila, Teddy, Blue Belle, Suckie, Millie, Margo, Rosie, Honey and Bob.