Sunday 9 March 2014

A Million (more) Trees

This year's batch of the 'Million Trees' heeled in
Long term readers will remember that last year we got involved in an ecological conservation project to "Plant a Million Trees in One Day".

See post at

The very ambitious project struggled a bit when Ireland was hit by its first outbreak of Ash Die-Back and the Forestry guys licencing the project had to freeze and recall all the ash trees which were to be one of the main species. The project was saved from delays and possible total loss by the team managing to get other species through (all be it on a very creaky, under-resourced distribution system) so that everybody who had 'signed' up at least got a starter pack. An estimated 100,000 trees were planted which would not have been planted were it not for the project so I, for one applaud them. More power to their elbow.

More calf muck from John Deere Bob
I was delighted, then, when I received an email telling me that they were on again in 2014 to try to get everyone some more trees, if possible, the remainder of their previous order, if they still wanted to 'play'. This time the distribution, still a purely volunteer effort, was a whole lot more localised and diffuse, and I was asked to only go to just south of Roscommon town, rather than all the way to Enniskillen. A very nice lady, Eilish, was there to meet me and give me my trees; plus she invited me in for coffee and we had a good chat about small holdings, sheep and mini-horses. Like us, she has fields she needs to keep grazed or grow something on (she's thinking herbs or lavender). 8 or 9 cats seemed to be strolling in the driveway, sitting on the car bonnet or under the car while we chatted. Thank you for that, Eilish. Thank you, too, Project Leader, Imogen. You guys are an inspiration. My trees are now 'home' safe and heeled in to a raised bed in my 'allotment'.

A bit of fun for the dogs today. I would normally groom them myself but our friend Charlotte of the mini-horses needs to practice some dog grooming as part of her college training, so my three 'volunteered' to be groomed down the lane. Charlotte also had charge of a couple of young ones today, daughters of a friend of Carolyn, named Felicity and Olivia, so all three girls were determined to get stuck in. I had to drop the dogs off at midday and make like a proper 'customer' stating my preferences, but then leave them all alone to do the job. They'd phone when we were all ready.

Towser shows off his 'tattoos'
Well, I can happily report that the dogs are beautifully cut, washed and shampoo'd. The ladies also had a bit of fun with a set of stencils and "blow colours" which Charlotte had got from her grooming gear supplier, taking advantage of the fact that these dogs are white; we have red paw prints, the word 'Rockstar' written in purple, we have a unicorn, a star, a butterfly, a Hallowe'en witchy cat, the word 'DIVA' (on Deefer, naturally!) and a blue heart on Towser's rump. They wash off easily enough and, in fact, were already fading by that same evening as the dogs lay down to recover from their 'ordeal'.

Way, way better for the grooming team than yesterday's experience, which saw them dealing with a criminally neglected, badly matted long haired collie, an aggressive boy named Toby. This dog had come to the attention of vet Aoife because the ISPCA had been called in and would need to take the dog away from the owners if they did not get it groomed. The girls handled the dog with 2 muzzles on him and with Aoife on call to sedate the dog if he was too badly stressed - he was and the job was completed with Toby half way under.

Bee hive gets a coat of white gloss, outside only.
Charlotte did not manage to get any before and after pictures but I have seen the wads of matted fur in the rubbish bucket. One was a good 10 inches across and an inch thick and the poor dog was wearing it (and three others) like a saddle. The dog's neck was a mess of cow-muck encrusted 'dreadlocks'. It went home a very short-haired but clean version of its former self with Charlotte advising the owners that they need to bring him back before Christmas. I suspect that they will do no such thing till the ISPCA come calling again. No peace for the vets round here.

No comments: