Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Big Excavations Are Underway

Thanks to Hazel-Ann we have these photos of the rather impressive excavations going on at the yard.  We've had a problem with a water source right next to the yard entrance since the ponies arrived - Ted and Jenny thought that it was either a broken drainage pipe or a spring.  Whenever it rains, water pours out of the ground making the area very muddy...but the water also rushes across the yard and brings large amounts of mud with it blocking up the drains.   Our neighbour Roger arrived with his heavy machinery to try to get to the bottom of the problem.  He managed to clear all the drains through and track the location of some of the pipes under the ground.  Then he was able to dig a big trench to try to establish where the problem water is coming from and install some new pipes to drain the problem water away.  It was amazing how much water was flowing down there, particularly as we haven't had any rain for a few days now.

The ponies have much more grazing now during the daytime but they've lost part of their favourite night-time area whilst all these excavations are underway.  Once it's all finished they'll certainly benefit from less mud and water outside and across the yard.  Thank you Roger!

Sunday, 24 November 2013

A Big Thank You

We need to say a big THANK YOU to everyone at Endurance Mats in Coventry for their donation of 20 gateway mats (over £400s worth) to us last week.  It's such a wonderful donation and will be a big help to us in the everyday running of the yard and trying to keep the mud at bay!

Margaret and Faye went to the car boot sale in Witheridge this morning and set up the p4p stall (Hazel-Ann looked after the ponies at the yard) - we sold lots of Christmas cards and raised £41 for the ponies!  Thank you very much to Jenny for donating plants and a children's chair for us to sell on our stall.

We also had Peter, a young volunteer, come to visit on Saturday who did a fantastic job of helping with the mucking out!

The NDAA say they'll keep us updated on hedgehogs progress so we'll let you know when we have an update!

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Wednesday, 20 November 2013

People4ponies...And Hedgehogs Today

Just rescued - one very cold hedgehog

This afternoon, Faye was just about to leave her house to get to the ponies when she glanced out of the living room window and saw a hedgehog on the front lawn.  It was snowing outside and the hedgehog was very small and not looking very happy.  It was moving but was occasionally struggling and falling sideways.  She rang the North Devon Animal Ambulance emergency line and Diana Lewis confirmed that it would be too small to survive the winter and it must be struggling in this horrible, cold, winter weather. NDAA would take the hedgehog if Faye could deliver it to Market Vets in South Molton.

20 minutes later and its a much warmer, happier looking hedgehog
Faye caught the hedgehog quite easily - it was very cold (hedgehog hypothermia we think!) and it seemed quite relieved to have found some help - and took it inside.  She made a nest of newspaper in a cardboard box and placed the hedgehog inside.  After about 15 to 20 minutes, the hedgehog had warmed up and was looking much more perky.  The box fitted into the footwell of the car and the car heaters helped to keep the temperature up - the hedgehog really looked quite revived but of course, it will be far too small and underweight to be able to hibernate for the winter.

The staff at Market Vets were happy to look after the hedgehog until Diana comes to collect it tomorrow, and are going to give it some cat food and water.  Thank you very much to Diana and we'll let you know if we hear anything else of its progress.

It meant that the ponies were a bit late in getting their dinner - going up to sort out the electric fencing in the dark when it's a wind chill of what seems like -5 degrees Celsius strangely really makes you focus - just think  - that little hedgehog wouldn't have stood a chance in that weather tonight but it found its way to us to ask for help and we've done the best we can for it....and I wonder how many other welfare people were also out in the rain, snow, ice, gale force winds in the dark doing their best and caring for all sorts animals tonight...doing their bit to make a difference.

There's a story that our volunteer Margaret once told us (as she said it reminded her of Faye):

“Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"

The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."

"I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, 
"It made a difference for that one.” 

― Loren Eiseley

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Winter's Arrived

I'm afraid we're a bit behind with the blogging - sorry about that - winter has well and truly arrived this week!  The end of last week and the weekend were the sorts of days that are not good at promoting England as a tourist destination...grey, overcast, dull, and so damp and cold it goes straight into your bones...and, oh yes, just to add to that it starts getting dark at 3pm when it's so grey!!  Time to get out the thermal trousers, woolly hats, scarves and at least 6 jumpers to keep warm.  Even the wild birds think it's cold and when Ted and Jenny were away last week, a blue tit was tapping on the living room window to point out to Faye that they had run out of peanuts and seeds in their feeders and they needed attention and looking after too!

Tuesday was such a relief as we had bright sunshine and everything was looking beautiful again!

Winter can be beautiful!

 We really enjoyed having Angela come to visit us last week - she was able to work with Topsy which was great and we must say thank you to Angela for her donations of apples, chocolates and the lovely big storage boxes which will be going into our feed room.

We also owe some other "thank you"s as Catherine donated some electric fencing tape, Hazel-Ann bought the ponies some more salt licks, and Margaret's made extra marmalade and came over on extra occasions to help at the yard.  Graham's present of waterproof gloves have been invaluable this week - bizarrely, Faye's accidentally discovered that you don't get shocks from the electric fencing when you wear the gloves (and wellies), although that does change if you accidentally kneel on the ground and make contact with the earth!

There was a free listing day on ebay that we took advantage of so we sold a Meccano traction engine and Triang railway tender (kindly donated by Catherine), some jodphurs, polo bandages, and a Victorian fireplace kerb (donated by Ted and Jenny).  After the commission fees, we've raised just under £100, so thank you everyone for your donations of items.  Thank you to Jenny for helping to wrap up the items to post - it really can be quite a challenge!

The traction engine sold for £56

On Friday night we had an email from BBC Radio 5 live who wanted to do a pre-recorded interview about the Dartmoor Hill ponies - of course, we agreed and responded, but sadly even though we were still within the time limits they emailed back saying they'd found someone else to interview instead!  I'll blog again later this week about the subject and our response to Princess Anne's statement.

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Monday, 11 November 2013

Bobby's Been Making Friends

Angela's come to volunteer with us for a couple of days and today she's been making friends with Bobby and Dan.  I'm afraid Bobby looks a bit wet and bedraggled in the photo but it has been very wet - the ponies always have free access to the stable, barn and field shelter but sometimes they'd just rather stand in the rain!

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Friday, 8 November 2013

Christmas Without Cruelty Festival 2013

We're looking forward to having our stall at the Christmas Without Cruelty Festival in Exeter on the 30th November - it's probably our biggest event to date!  We'll have lots on offer on our p4p stall, including all the different varieties of jam and marmalade that Margaret has been making for us.  Hope to see you there!

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Thursday, 7 November 2013

Have You Seen The Changes On the People4ponies Website??

The ponies have a few new features on their website - there's now a "Donate" button so people visiting the website can choose to donate via a credit or debit card through PayPal...And also quite excitingly we've created a "Shop" so people can purchase our p4p merchandise online, again using a debit or credit Card through PayPal.  We're really please with how it's turned out.  Hopefully we'll be able to add more of our products soon!

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