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Archive for August, 2008

cooking liver treats

Posted by --- on Thursday 28 August, 2008

In an attempt to entice Lexie to heel, I’ve made these for her this evening. They are cooling now so will try them tomorrow.

Liver Brownies [adapted from this website]

1 lb liver
1 cup of corn flour
1 tsp garlic power/granuals or 1/2 tsp fresh garlic

1 – 1 1/2 cups of wholewheat flour
1 egg

  • Preheat oven to 350F/175C.
  • Puree liver in food processor or blender, add garlic and blend for a few seconds more to mix
  • pour into mixing bowl
  • Add egg
  • Add corn flour,
  • Add flour a bit at a time until you have a stiff mixture, (I used just over 1 cup).
  • Pat and spread out on a baking tin.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until dry.
  • Cool and cut into squares.
  • Refrigerate or freeze.

Update: Lexie loves these and will even ignore the cats mostly for these! Now that’s saying something!

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Breadmaking experiments

Posted by --- on Thursday 28 August, 2008

Our main problems with bread making are that the bread is often heavy, doughy and tastes yeasty. DFS and DDJ love the rolls I make but they are time consuming, DSK loves the bread. I want to find a recipe we can use for our daily loves to cut down on the amount of money we spend on bread that is currently around the £1 per loaf price range.

today’s recipe and method are:
All ingredients put into bread pan in the following order

300ml water (200 warm/100 cold)
500g Allinsons Strong white flour [warmed 1.15 in microwave (900w) = too long, flour is semi-solid, had to break up in bread pan as I didn’t realise till I’d added it to the water!]
3 tsp Farmhouse bread Improver
1crushed Tesco Value Vitamin C tablet
3/4 tsp lo salt
3/4 tsp Asda Fast Action Dried Yeast

Setting 1 on my bread machine

Waiting to see how it turns out.. 🙂

Disappointed. The loaf is pale and under risen. It is heavy and a greyish colour. DSK likes it and DDJ likes it toasted. Plenty of room for improvement so am going to read my breadmaking books!

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Well would you believe it?

Posted by --- on Wednesday 27 August, 2008

I don’t think I’ve discussed it on here but I’ve been complaining about the clutch in the disco since we’ve had it. It went back to the garage we bought it off (though I@d love to name and shame them, I wont for legal reasons…) who kept it for almost 2 weeks without supplying a courtesy car (we’d had the disco a week). He insisted it had recently had a new clutch and gearbox at a cost of over £1000 and he kept telling us he had receipts. Anyway, it turned out that the disco sat in the road next to his showroom for all that time. Then it went to the garage and was there for less than an afternoon. The conclusion being there was no fault – of course, I’m but a woman.

So I go to pick it up (thats short version. *long version; lots of unanswered calls after I found out that it had sat in the side street and hadn’t moved for a week, eventually getting through for him to tell me it was ready and they’d found a minor fault that had been repaired but he’d forgot to tell me despite me having no transport. I arrange collection and make arrangement with bro to give me a lift, then salesman rings me back and says he’ll bring it to me within the next hour, 5 hours later he hasn’t and isn’t answering phone, I get the spare set of keys and help myself to the car so that I dont spend yet another bank holiday with out my car.) Bro takes me, drops me off, see’s me start it, asks if I’m ok and leaves. I pull out of side street and can’t get the bloody thing in to third gear without the grinding as if I haven’t quite engaged the clutch (the problem I’ve been telling them!). BF rings salesman -from Ireland incurring all the charges – and threatens to rip his legs off or other regional appendages.. Salesman promptly rings me to arrange for me and him to go to the people who installed the gearbox and clutch to see he is being open with me. Also arranged for me to return the car after the bank holiday for testing. It went back, they said it was ok. We never went to garage that supposedly installed it.  Disco went to another garage who also said it was fine (I found out today, they didn’t test it but were asked to repair an oil leak) I drove over 100 miles away yesterday and within 8 miles of my return journey, the clutch failed whilst driving down the motorway!

To say I’m not impressed is putting it mildly. I’ve got tons to do. I need to take L back to Lancaster (long story – took him back, he decided he wanted to come home but will possibly return on monday for start of college course) next week if he does the course. I should have gone to EGSC tonight, I start the first lesson of my main training on friday, the kids start school next week! What a mess.

This garage is ridiculous. I’ve no idea why BF deals with him. Here’s an example. We buy a car, I hate it, BF arranges with chap to surprise me with Disco I want. He trades in other car, (charges us £1000…) and sells us Disco. Doesnt pay off finance on other car and resells it. Then finance are hounding us for payments for original car that we no longer own. When we point out that we no longer own it, and we have finance from them on another vehicle AND! they have refinanaced the car to someone else which we’re sure is not legal, they back off. Unfortunately he’s done the same to a neighbour of ours (idiot BF recomended him…) who’s car we think was scrapped but he’s left with the payments.

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Elderflower wine stage 2…

Posted by --- on Wednesday 27 August, 2008

Ok, as I’ve said elsewhere, Lexie has taken over and nothing has been done! I keep spotting this batch or must sitting in the outhouse and I do mean to put it in a demijohn but haven’t gotten around to it until a couple of days ago.  The sg is down to .999 which makes it dry – I dont think I like dry wines but I’ll leave it a while and see how it tastes. It also looks as if it’s stopped fermenting as the airlock is showing no activity at all after two days. I’ll leave it where it is and rack it in a month. It looks awful with its khaki brown colour (which doesn’t show in camera) but it smells georgous. Elderflowers are my discovery of the year! I loved the cordial I made and found some in Ikea I couldn’t resist though I didn’t enjoy the £2 price tag. I think I’ll go and get a glass mixed with lemonade now.

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Nettle wine part one

Posted by --- on Wednesday 27 August, 2008

Yesterday before I took L back to Lancaster, I decided to pick all the nettles we had around the garden. There were quite a few as my gardening has taken a back seat to the dog. I’d read about nettle wine, double checked it in my winemaking bible and saved all the tops. I did’t have time (or the rest of the ingredients!) to make it yesterday so I put them in the fridge until today. I’ve no idea how many leaves there were they’d shrivelled but there was a couple of litres still in the jug. I bunged them in a pan with some water, lemon rind and ginger bought them to the boil and left them to simmer for 45 mins. When I went back they’d not been simmering so I upped the heat and gave them an extra 15 mins simmering properly!

I strained them through and old leg of a pair of tights into a small bucket, added two 1kg bags or sugar to the fermenting bucket, the juice of two lemons, yeast nutrient, and finally the nettle must. This was stirred until it disolved and left to cool.

I left it outside to cool and to be honest, I forgot it and thought it was too cold but when I checked, it was spot on 21oC which is the temp Mr Berry suggests that you add the yeast. I did that and checked the SG which was off the bottom of the scale! I hope it stays sweeter and not go off the other end of the scale as the rest of my wines have lately. I’m still waiting for one to match the marrow wine from 2 years ago; I have one bottle left and I don’t want to open it or I’ll have none! I’ve got 3 demijohns of really dry rice and raisin in the shed that I’ll probably give away like most of the rest of my wines. Everyone else loves it.

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It’s not all bad

Posted by --- on Saturday 23 August, 2008

It’s been hard for her tonight because she has an upset tummy; I’ve no idea what she’s eaten different over the last couple of days (maybe the 4lb of soil she dug up from under my lawn didn’t agree with her!). I’m sure though that she was trying to tell me she wanted to go out tonight. It was hard because she was bouncing about and kept going to the door, I let her out and she urinated but the cat was there so she chased him about and I bought her back in. She was acting odd so I asked if she wanted to go out again. She ran to her bed then ther door. So threatening that if she was after the cat again I wouldn’t be happy and would bury her down the garden (yes I know all she hears is “blah-blah” but I felt better!) I took her out. She bolted to the gate to see if she could spot Pepsi (one of the cats). I said “ah-ah, toilet” and she turned to me, sniffed the floor and did it! I went balistic and showered her with good-girls, fusses and a treat.

Ok, going through my posts I realise I moan… a lot! It’s probably because I type away on here as a release. I feel much better when I’ve finished posting and I forget that other people read it! Just to show that this week hasn’t been all bad I can tell you that apart from our heel and attention failures, she has learnt (sort of) to stand, she has learnt to catch (using popcorn so I didn’t take her eye out!), she is doing ok with retrieve (her best ever today even getting her ball out of a bucket of water), she leart the command “leave it” and I can throw treats on the floor that she will not touch unless I tell her “okay”.

Since we’ve had her she’s learnt: Sit, down, wait, eyes (to examine her eyes), teeth (examine teeth), open your mouth (let me open and examine her throat and already been useful twice for removing a plastic bottle top and a huge chunk of rawhide chew), ears (examine and clean), feet ( examine pads, etc), watch (look at my  face – holds for around 5 seconds now before I treat), ermm I’m sure there’s more that I can add. Oh yes, do your feet (lets me wash or just dry her muddy paws) We’ve sort of got better with the car athough she still doesn’t like it. She’s also used to the hairdryer, she’s better with having a bath but she hates the shower. And she’s probably learnt tons more that I didn’t want her to! ;p

She is like a shadow, she is always (unless I go out of the way) within 3 foot of me. She tries to squash under my pc chair that she could fit under it 3 weeks ago; now she wont but she tries. She loves cuddles and rolls over to have her tummy rubbed and her back legs go ten to the dozen if she’s stroked anywhere from her chin all the way down her tummy! She gets that excited when I talk to her sometimes that she falls over her big floppy feet in an effort to get closer or have a tummy rub or lick me! She has learnt to accept the cats too. She chases them but she is playing and if they come in the house they can take her bed and she will move out of the way or try to share it with them. This was yesterday:

I need a bigger bed...

I need a bigger bed...

Excuse me, can I have a little more bed?

Excuse me, can I have a little more bed?

Oh no, now he's licking his... well you know...

Oh no, now hes licking his... well, you know....

Food? Yep count me in!

Did you say food? Or was it just "cheese!"

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acting odd

Posted by --- on Saturday 23 August, 2008

Ok this is a double post for today but L is acting odd.

First was the growling and barking at noises in the drive which I was pleased with earlier. But tonight she’s being out of character or maybe her character is coming out….

She’s been jumping up people as I said but today she’s been worse than ever. Then I know that K says when he walks in the kitchen on his own, she goes bananas play fighting, jumping up him pulling and biting at his trousers or t-shirt or arms. He was covered in red marks last week so I taught him to be a statue and ask her to sit, then give her a treat. I think that’s right. We had take-away for tea tonight (she pood on the floor while I went to fetch it. S cleaned it up) and we had it late. I took mine in the lounge with L and left S, K and J.  She started by trying to dig through the lounge door so everyone ignored her. Then I hear yapping and S shouting at her. I plait my legs together to stop myself from going in to sort it out. after tea S says that she was jumping up the table and grabbing at his clothes while he was trying to eat and when he shouted at her she started barking at him.

A little later S goes for a cig and thinks L want so go out. Then he calls me and says quick come outside. I for some reason think the hedgehog is back and S says that he’s not touching it. So I look to see the dog eating the cats food! J had left it on the floor. I didn’t think twice but said No! and took it off her. S said that as he’d gone to pick it up, she’d gone for him.

Then we came in the house. S went on the ps2 and I went to sort out the dogs supper but J came in. I asked her if she wanted to do it instead. She went to the food bag and was putting it in her bowl when the dog started barking at her. I told J that if she did it again, she should calmly put the bowl down and walk off, then return in a minute or so to teach the dog that barking at her does not make her get her dinner! As J walked in with the bowl I was explaining to her that I’d like her to ask L to do a down instead of a sit and as I was talking (less than a minute) the dog jumped at J and tried to take the food off her. I shouted at the dog, took the food and put it on the side and told J to give her a 5 min time out.

I’m not sure if it was the right thing to do but I’m not having her behaving in this way around everyone. It seems like she thinks I’m the boss and everyone else is below her! I don’t know why. All food is controlled; the kids feed her. The same with entry/exit points; everyone goes through a doorway before her and she is only allowed through with a release from who ever is going through. I’m assuming she’s testing them?

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sick of the mess

Posted by --- on Saturday 23 August, 2008

Today has started on a bad foot again. I went to bed at almost 3am, S was up at 7 and in those 4 hours there were 2 poos (no idea how many wee’s) which he cleaned up. He went out and I was up at 9 to another 2 poos and 3 wee’s which are anywhere but on the paper so it runs along the tile grouting and under cupboards etc. In two hours! I was slipping in all the mess trying to get accross to the back door to try to let her out. I wasn’t happy. I was bursting to go to the loo too but want to get her into the routine of going out when I get up. I take her outside and she runs around sniffing the floor like mad – or so I think. I then realise she’s after flies again. So I shout her back in which is fatal with her because unless you’re being nice to her she runs off. So not impressed I put on a happy tone to get her back in. As I walk in I slip in the mess which terrifies her and she shoots off behind my pc chair. I’m trying to clean the floor and slipping all over the place, every time she comes out she slips too. It’s a nightmare routine we do most mornings. I eventually clean up the mess and then I cleaned the floor with a 1:3 white vinegar and water mix that I’d read neutralises the smell so she won’t urinate on the floor. We’ll see shall we? Over the last two day’s it’s struck me that she only defaecates at night. I don’t think she goes in the daytime which I’m going to monitor now. [edit: she went at around 4 o clock this afternoon – outside because every time she goes to the back door, she goes out!] She is fed at 9, 3 and 9 (ish for all). Her feeding routine doesn’t change unless its wednesday which is club night so we’re an hour late with supper. I don’t know how to stop the nightime mess. I’m considering getting a crate but it’s not that easy. For starter’s, we’re broke this month and have to pay out for the caravan storage and K’s camping trip in addition to the school uniforms etc and normal bills. Then theres the space issue. I’d have to get a 3 ft crate because nothing else will fit and I will only use it for the next month or two until it’s too small for her (German shepherd need at least a 4ft). S will tell me I;m wasting more money on the dog. Then there’s training her to get used to the crate as it’s not an overnight job and if it takes too long, she’ll be too big for it! To get a crate in properly I’m going to have to lose the dining table and chairs unless it will go under the table and then the chairs will be in the way. Ohh I dunno.

On to training then… pfft! I took her out this morning for heelwork and she was only interested in flies. She kept trying to run past my hand to get the the flies. It was as if my hand was in her way – which it was, loaded with treats – and she just wanted to go around it. I made squeaky noises, gave a massive reward vocally, physically and edibly (?!) said heelwork as she was at my side how the trainer told me to and she just tried to go around again! So I gave up that time. Then later i tried but she heard the kids in the bedroom and completely ignored any attempt I made at trying to get her attention. I gave up again. I find it really hard and begin to think my personality isn’t suited for dog training. I get frustrated and angry with her. I know she’s a puppy and I don’t shout at her or anything but I feel like it.(edit: tried heelwork at about 3 this afternoon and managed to do about three small circles before she was distracted. I’m not sure I’m doing it right. She doesn’t follow my hand exactly but chews at it! It’s not comfortable but I’ll carry on. The trainer wanted me to “up the game” today but I’m not sure how and things aren’t exactly going to plan either. I wish I knew what I was doing!]

On to fleas. I frontlined her and whisper yesterday. She is still scratching today but I’ve ran the comb over her and not pulled one out. Normally there are loads so thats an improvement (saying that, she’s just collaped in a heap scratching.) The flea trap in the living room has also got two fleas in it. To be honest I’m gutted as I thought there weren’t any in there but at least the trap has done something. I suppose it’s inevitable there are fleas in there becuase thats where the cats go to sleep.

On a plus point, she’s actually started to bark at noises outside. I want her to bark so I can put it on command and she can warn me of people in the drive etc.

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Posted by --- on Friday 22 August, 2008

Things aren’t too bad today and I was actually pleased with her. I tried the heelwork and think we did ok. We literally did 3 2 minute sessions on the back yard but I managed to keep her focused on the treats. Housetraining is still a nightmare. 4 craps on the floor this morning and in a room that only has 18 square feet in the center with a german shepherd in the middle of it, it’s horrendous. You can’t get to the back door past it all. You can’t walk in a part of the floor that isn’t soiled as there’s urine and faeces everywhere. its really depressing to get up to. J is trying to help and was cleaning it up as I got up this morning but putting it all in bags, then again, I’ve no idea what else she should do with it. L also walks in it so it’s traipsed all over her bed etc. It reeks! I noticed that she only did one poo outside all day and several small wee’s when I took her outside. She drives me bonkers wanting to go out to see if the cats are there, she runs out and pokes her head through the gate. Or else she is chasing flies which I can’t control. I can chase cats away but try stopping all the flies!

My other problem now is jumping up people. I dont think anyone today has acknowledges her when they’ve come in to the hosue but she’s still bounced all over them. Where does it come from? She never used to jump up and all of a sudden she is. argh!

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Posted by --- on Thursday 21 August, 2008

I know she’s a puppy but today she’s drove me mad. I got up this morning to the normal 6 wee’s and 2 poos (why does she wait till we’re all in bed?!) which is starting to wear thin.

Then on to todays training… I tried several times today to do the heelwork training which is our home work. The first time I took her on to the yard before her breakfast thinking she’d be hungry so easier to get her attention. I took Ag (arden grange) as she loves the stuff. Anyway, she wasn’t interested in anything I was doing. She could see a fly or a leaf or one of the cats would walk up to her. She was sniffing the floor or pulling on her lead till I got frustrated and was on the verge of dragging her back into the house. I tried later with garlic hot dogs but the same happened. I tried before her tea with the same result. Getting on towards supper time I thought I’d try again. It was getting dark outside but I thought it would be better with fewer distractions. It was even harder! She didnt want to go into the garden and was acting as if she was scared, ears back and kept looking at the bottom of the garden and trying to run away. I couldn’t get anything more than a flick of her ears if I tried and she was almost dragging me back to the house. It was a little unerving as something was spooking her. I came back in. I tried later in the kitchen which went a bit better but I’ve only got 4.5 feet of floor to work in and my lounge is the same. The lack of space made it very difficult and she wasn’t enthusiastic. I want my dog to be like the puppies you see on youtube! How do I get her attention if not with the food I’m offering. I’ve spent a small fortune on treats or food to use as treats. Today I bought bacon so I’ll try that.

On to my next disaster. I tried to take her for a walk to the new local pet shop. On a side note, I think I’m boycotting it. I went in there last week for some frontline but they don’t keep it, then I wanted something else another day, I forget what it was now but they didn’t do that either. Today I wanted conditioner or something for her dull coat but they don’t stock it. I was even more frustrated by the staff. I was trying to read the bottles on the shelf with L crying by my feet and jumping around trying to get to the rawhide chews that are in open boxes at floor level… I ask you?!…. anyway a lady walks past behind me and L goes to jump up at her. I turn her around and stand over her so she can’t. The woman walks off then comes back and as she walks down the aisle she’s talking to L saying what a good boy (yep..) she is etc. L is going bananas and I’m trying get her to back off and trying to make her sit; that was a waste of time. I manage to turn L away but the woman went to the side of me. I ask her to ask L to sit before she greets her so she’s not bouncing and calm. She doesnt her. I ask her agian and point out that she’s wearing a white jumper “oh its ok” she states. I disagree and explain that other people may not think so and that I’ve already been told off for not being able to control my dog (by a staffy owner when L was barking at his dog). She tells me thats terrible so i repeat my request that she asks L to sit before fussing her anymore. I am trying to explain about having a dog that can greet people calmly again. She is fussing her while L is bouncing all over her and then throwing in “ooohhh sit down. sit down, sit!” while L continues to bounce all over her and completely ruining my sit command – arghhh! I changed the subject and dragged L away. I asked about conditioner. She went to fetch the resident groomer and blow me if she didnt walk up to L and fuss her for bouncing though to be fair she did ask her to sit once i’d explained but to be honest its way to late then. Finally another member of staff walked past while i was pretending to read the back of the bottle the groomer had recommened (the most expensive one on the shelf) and as she walked back she did the same as the first woman! I’m trying desperatly to keep my dog away and they march up to us. I was quite short with this woman and just said “look, would you mind asking her to sit before you stroke her” but she didn’t even look at me, carried on stroking Las she jumped up her and then walked off smiling and saying what a lovely dog… So sod em, they’ve just lost a customer and will someone please tell me how the hell I get people to go away!

Ok the actual walk now… That was fun: not! She will not walk on a loose lead, she is continually trying to get in front or to the right of me which is even worse if I’m walking with someone. she pulls across in front or behind or through my legs! She walks off in front too. I’ve tried what the trainers say – yeah i carry food treats but she isn’t interested. To start I was shoving one in her mouth with a “good girl!” if she was by my side but she was dropping them or spitting them out. I also try stopping and then when she looks at me I turn and walk a few paces in the other direction before turning back the way I want to go. Apart from looking a right idiot walking up the street and losing any street cred I may have ever had, it takes me three to four times as long to get anywhere. Plus she’s cottoned on to it and as soon as we walk the other way she quickly walks around me and back to face the way we were going! As we got close to home there were two men walking about 8 norfolk terriers. She went ballistic. Hackles up and barking. I was yanking her around making her sit and shouting no and one man was trying to shout at his because a couple had risen to the challenge. I wanted to aplogise but was concentrating on keeping L away. As we got around the corner, S was there and he started to call L. I wasn’t happy and said, would you not call her to you as it’s hard enough as it is and I’m sick of it adn don’t think I’ll take her again. His response was to get rid of her then… Oh yes, it was raining too!

Tonight after the disappointing heelwork training I tried to teach he stand again. I tried luring in the house (no distractions, windows closed so she can hear the cats or talking or anything) with yummy garlic sausage. As I lured, she watched my hand, snapped at it while it was close but wouldn’t follow the treat. Then she went and lay on her bed. So I try to sound exciting, make clicky or squeaky noises till she comes and repeat with the same results. I throw her bed out the way and but she just leans against a cupboard. So i pull out the clicker and her supper. With peices of AG I lured her off her backside and c/t. I managed 4 but each time she wanders off to her bed and I have to try to get her back. So I’m frustrated with that too.

Then theres housetraining which isn’t going too well either. Apart from the mess this morning which I get every day, I get it throughout the day on the floor if I’m not on the ball. She does know her toileting command I’m sure so we go out regularly. I’ve taught her door manners but it means I always go out first even in the rain and if I don’t go out, she want’s to come in. So I keep a brolly by the door and we go out whenever I think of it and every time in between or so it seems. She also goes out whenever I see her by the back door. Often when I say “go toilet” she’ll sniff, turn around and sometimes do something. But often she goes out and runs to the gate to see if she can see one of the cats or she actually spots the cat or a fly or a leaf etc. So she has 2 minutes maximum now and back in. But the amount of times she comes in and wee’s on the floor is crazy and drives me nuts! Luckily it’s only been once today but I’d tried her outside and there were no distractions and she didn’t even bother looking she just kept sitting. So I walk in the house, walk to the lounge door, turn around and she’s done it! I actually cried. Stupid I know but I did. It seems like a long frustrating day today. I know about crate trianing but I just dont have the space for a crate. I also know that this is just a bad day but I feel like I’m banging my head against a wall with her. My whole life seems to be taken over by her and I don’t seem to be getting anywhere or doing it right.

Then there’s the fleas. I don’t know if they’re from the dog or the cats – i presume both but I’ve never seen them before and now I’m doing everything I can to control them. Poor L has quite a few and she’s tried several over the counter treatments which I also treat the cats with. Me and the kids have emptied their bedrooms because they were getting bitten up there (that has to be the cats as J was letting them into her bedroom via the window). I’ve been vacuuming regularly, I’ve also bought a steam cleaner and steamed the carpets, also treated with a household flea killer that is supposed to work for 12 months stopping all stages, I flea comb L every day. She is not allowed in any other room except the kitchen which is tiled. The cats aren’t either. I’ve washed all thet pet bedding at least once and she’s still covered in them! Today I bathed her again which she hates. Then tonight I applied frontline which I’m told is the best. Lets see shall we? I’ve also been to ikea and bought 3 cheap desk lamps (£3.99 each) and have made flea traps which I read about on the internet last night. When I combed her today I actually watched the fleas drown! I never before and was squashing them but today I took her outside in the drizzle, put her lead on and attached her to the fence and tried to comb her and treat her at the same time.She wasn’t impressed but I was amazed and got a cruel satisfaction out of watching each flea drown in the bowl of water. If I caught a flea I dunked the comb in the bowl and the flea drowns in a second or two! Definately the way to go if you comb. Ok, its morning again so I’m going to take L out to go to the loo but I doubt she’ll go as she went an hour ago. Then I’ll paper the floor, check the flea traps and report tomorrow! I’ll change the post date on this to before midnight so its posted on the right day but its actually well past 2am again. NN X

PS – oh yeah I took out insurance on all three of them for £21 from and the tattoo transfer of ownership papers came back today.

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