We have a small flock of Lleyn cross sheep, about 20 or so ewes with Baary the ram and Chops our pet sheep. Chops was an orphan lamb who was bottle-reared by my daughters.

Chops - some sheep are special.
We called him Chops to identify him as one who would go for meat when he was big enough. Then the day came to select the lambs to send for slaughter. Chops was duly marked with a red dot to show he would be going but then the other lambs played up and we had trouble catching them. Chops helped by pushing them towards us and then, when I was crouched on the floor after being knocked over by one of the others, he came over and put his head on my shoulder. I sprayed him with a big red X and when the lorry came to pick the lambs up we said: "Not this one".

We try to have a theme when naming lambs. In Chops' year it was cuts of meat. Other years have featured flowers (Snowdrop, Daffodil) or the more descriptive (One Spot, Patch). In 2011 we named all of the lambs after the Formula One drivers.


Our ponies work aren't just here for decoration, their main job is as conservation grazers because they eat the things that sheep don't. Of course they do other pony things too...

Pippin is the matriarch. We've had her since she was a wild two-year-old and she's very much the boss of the herd. She's in her twenties now and sadly has a problem with her teeth which means we face a very difficult decision soon.

Itsy is second in command. she's a lovely sweet-natured Welsh Section C and joined us a few years ago when she needed a permanent loving home. She has the softest coat in the summer with lovely coin-shaped markings on her rump. We love to groom her until she's as shiny as a new conker.

Bulleseye joined us in 2001 after I saw an appeal by the RSPCA in Country Living magazine. They'd picked up a whole herd of ponies and needed homes for them. There were so many the RSPCA officers had resorted to the menu at the cafe on the way home for names so when he arrived he was known as Steak and Chips or Steaky for short. I re-named him after Woody's horse in Toy Story because he has a blue eye. He's very timid and shy and can be unpredictable. He is prone to laminitis so we have to keep a close eye on his diet in the spring.


We always have hens to help in the garden. At the moment we have four Calder Rangers and Mum has four Bluebells. They have to be kept in or allowed out only when we are with them as we have foxes who will snatch them in broad daylight from the garden. There is nothing worse, I have discovered, than hearing the terrified screech of your favourite hen as she is snatched while you're in a different part of the garden hanging out the washing.

These Calder Rangers are the sweetest and most affectionate hens we have owned. When I'm weeding they virtually sit on my lap waiting for grubs, when I'm digging they are right in the way of the fork or spade. Catching them to put them away in their coop is just a matter of picking them up. They are social, love nothing better than a friendly chat and lay lovely brown eggs.

We use them and their coop as a chicken tractor to clear the vegetable borders and in the winter they will move into the polytunnel to keep it and them warm.


Scamp and Mido
Scamp is a Jack Russell cross Schnauzer who arrived on Christmas Eve 2010 as a huge surprise when my husband decided it was about time the girls had a puppy. He is 100% adorable and he knows it.

Mido joined us a few years ago via the Dogs Trust re-homing scheme. He had been found roaming the streets of Fishguard as a puppy scavenging from bins and bird tables, hairless due to mange. He was found a new home with a couple who nursed him back to health but they had to give him up when their circumstances changed. He was the perfect addition to our family as he was well-used to children and he takes his role as guard dog very seriously.


Patchy and Lucky
Patchy and Lucky mow the lawn for us. Both came from Freecycle but separately. Patchy was bred by a family in Saundersfoot and needed a home but it's cruel to keep guinea pigs on their own so we searched for a companion. Lucky had been found in a field of sheep near Llandysul - hence the name - at first the finders thought he was a she but after an interesting exchange of e-mails featuring guinea pigs' private parts we discovered she was a he. He was older than Patchy which is the best way for introducing a new pair of pigs to each other and they get on really well.