Saturday, 24 July 2010

Labrador Puppies & Wet Nurse, Cors Caron, Red Kite Centre Tregaron

Yesterday evening we returned home from a day out to find my black lab Hattie, had produced eleven beautiful puppies and two more followed later in the evening. I must admit to being taken by surprise as I had not thought they were due until next weekend, but we now have three yellow, two chocolate and eight black puppies squeaking in a nest. Hattie is being marvellous though slightly shell-shocked by what has hit her, however, Poppy our old lab is once more taking on the role of wet-nurse. She is extraordinary...for several years now since she has had no puppies of her own, she has come in to milk whenever one or other of the dogs has had pups and adopts them without any difficulty. It is wonderful as it eases the strain on the mother, especially when the litter is as large as this one. We have litters only once in a while but each time Poppy rises to occasion..she seems to actively enjoy looking after tiny puppies and they thrive on having two mothers.
Puppies are not very photogenic when they are very tiny, looking like little satiny slugs, but in a couple of weeks they will photograph well.

Yesterday the Farmer & I went out with my brother & his wife who were staying with us for a day or so, to the Wool Museum in the nearby village of Drefach-Velindre. It was fascinating and the Farmer was very pleased to see the huge spinning jenny working which he had not seen before. We have been to the museum often as it just down the road, but this time we joined in the demonstration tour of the machinery which was well worth doing. The progress from drop spindles and spinning wheeels and looms in cottages to the huge industrial machinery of the great wool mills of Wales is a remarkable story and the museum tells it brilliantly.(

After the Wool Museum we went up to Lampeter where we had an excellent lunch in the small cafe that is part of Jen Jones Welsh Quilt Centre ( and then on to Cors Caron or Tregaron Bog, the famous and very special raised or floating bog in mid-Wales. It is now a National Nature Reserve managed by the Countryside Council of Wales ( A circular walkway has been over the bog and we walked this in glorious sunshine with spectacular views a cross the bog and up to the mountains of mid-Wales. The highlight of the walk was when my brother spotted an adder lying curled up at the side of the path, which stayed put long enough for us to get a very good look at it before sliding off quite leisurely into the undergrowth. None of us apart from the Farmer had ever seen and adder before despite our years of living and walking in the countryside.
After the lovely walk we repaired to Tregaron for a cup of tea at the wonderful & eccentric Red Kite Centre and Museum. The Farmer & I love this is run by volunteers from the village who are so friendly and welcoming and they make a great cup of tea and delicious Welsh-cakes. A lot of visitors call in there expecting it be a kite feeding station of which there are a couple in mid-Wales, but it better than that in that it tells the story of the rescue of the red kite from near extinction and the amazing history of Tregaron and the drovers taking the cattle to London markets before the railways came into rural Wales.
The kite is now very well re-established and is able to fend for itself these day so the feeding stations are not approved of by many. They distort the population of birds in any one area by bringing too many to one place and therefore the birds cannot survive on their own in those areas as the food source is limited. The feeding stations have become tourist attractions and to the detriment of the wild birds that now have to rely them.

After Tregaron we headed back home and stopped at The Belle Inn at Llanllwni for an excellent meal during which we received a 'phone call from Younger Son to say that 10 puppies had arrived but everything was under control. By the time the 13th puppy had arrived it was about 10 o'clock and there were clearly not going to be any more. We settled Hattie and her large brood under a heat-lamp and left her to it. They were all fine this morning and between them Poppy & Hattie will rear the puppies without too much difficulty.

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