Duchess the golden labrador has already worked out how to escape from the pen in Sarah's room, and has chewed through a couple of cables. Beyond that, she's reasonably well behaved. We've introduced her to the lambs and the chickens. And the cat. The cat has made it plain who's boss. It's useful; Diamondz likes to hang out in the most awkward spot at the junction of the corridor. If Duchess bounds in, she immediately meets the cat. The cat lifts one paw and hisses. Duchess is cornered.

She's still a bit anxious when left alone, but so long as she's had enough exercise (and somewhere to poop) she settles down quickly. I've been taking her out a couple of times each day when the others are out. Duchess likes sniffing. Especially poo, which she starts eating if we don't pull her away. Sheep poo is her favourite. Also chicken poo and horse poo, but not cow. She'll just walk straight through it without noticing. She likes it fresh. When meeting lambs, she goes straight for the butt.

We've got a cage for her in the lounge, a pen in the bedroom, a fixed lead in the garden, and a retractable lead for walks. She lives a life of home detention! But we're beginning to teach her commands, so she might get a bit more freedom once she gets the hang of it. She's still a nightmare when distractions are nearby. I took her out on the lead while I was chopping thistles this week. The lambs decided it was feeding time, and raced towards us. Duchess immediately wanted to leap over and lick them to death. Unfortunately she was on the other side of the thistle and did a forward roll right over it. Don't think she was injured, but she certainly quietened down after that.

Finally, it's getting a bit warmer, though not necessarily drier. The frost tender tree in the driveway has survived so far. I've cleared the garden, and we've started planting. Soon we'll be complaining that it's too hot and dry. But not yet.

This weekend was very windy. Yesterday, a sudden blast blew the plastic sheet off the back porch, pulling out a couple of planks which then hit the kitchen window. Bronwyn and her dad fixed the plastic onto the window instead, and I spent an hour finding all the bits of glass. That part of the kitchen is a lot tidier now. The window frame is rather rotten though, and we really need a complete new window. Hopefully we'll be able to find one to fit.

So currently we have a crazy puppy out front, two crazy lambs out back, a cat who wants to kill the dog, and five chickens who have been keeping well out of reach. Plus an indoor-outdoor flow in the kitchen...

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