Meet the Maine Coons*:

Moriarty – our lean, mean mousing machine.  Smoke-grey & just as elusive, he is famous among the barns for his ratting prowess; so much so, that we have never seen a live rat on the Ffarm (though we’ve been presented with a few dead ones!). Moriarty came to Jo back in 2000, as a young cat from a breeding cattery which was in the process of downsizing.  He’s changed a great deal from the wide-eyed innocent who first flattened himself, terrified, against the comforting grass when a gentle breath of wind ruffled his fur; to the casually confident cat who patrols his domain with the easy grace of a poweful feline.

Silli – this delicate, sensitive little puss with a hot temper yet loving, tremulous purr, sports only one eye after sadly losing the other, due to an infection when only a tiny kitten.  Jo ‘adopted’ her, after her breeder used to bring her in to work at the Defence Movements School, where Jo headed up a team of instructors, teaching aircraft loading & passenger handling techniques.  As a cat lover with a spacious office, she had room (& made time) to help this fluffy, feisty kitten; before long they were inseperable, thus Silli now shares our Welsh home, her favourite sleeping place being the life-sized lion snoozing in the stairwell.

Nevada – last but definitely not least of our feline trio, she’s the most stunning, silky-coated tabby you could ever see; dazzling green eyes, long curling whiskers & feather-duster tail dancing aloft; but sadly, ‘two sandwiches short of a picnic’.  She has a brain the size of a planet, it seems, in a skull the size of a pretty little airhead cat.  Despite her disturbed behaviour (akin to autism, or Asberger’s Syndrome), in which she repeatedly circles & frets at the slightest change of routine, she has grown immeasurably in confidence & calm since moving to her little feline hunting-cum-playground paradise.  Jo ‘acquired’ her after it was decided that, owing to the condition which was scarcely evident when she was a kitten but became increasingly apparent as she grew older, she could not be used for breeding for fear she would pass the affliction to her offspring.  Jo could offer her a safe & loving home where her uniquely endearing, quirky personality could be cared for.  Incidentally, her Auntie starred in the ‘Harry Potter’ films as the famous Mrs Norris…there’s definitely a family resemblance!

* The Maine Coon cat started life as a working farm breed for vermin control in the harsh winter environment of Maine, Vermont, USA.  Dubbed ‘Coon’ owing to the distinctively ringed tail of the original tabby, so similar to that of a raccoon, the breed is notorious for its’ fearless nature; substantial size; furry snow-shoe paws; & thick, double-layered coat, designed to wick away moisture from the top, rougher surface, whilst providing a warm, insulating layer beneath (similar, in fact, to the coat of a native Shetland pony!).  The Maine Coon cat’s tail is designed to act as a ‘sleeping bag’, for it can be wrapped almost the entire circumference of the animal’s body; & the ears have a full layer of guard hairs to protect against high, chill winds – supreme, natural design for the rural environment.  Incidentally, it is said that the coat of black-&-white cats is a more recent development; a natural adaptation for city living, where flitting in & out of the shadows of buildings is more critical than merging into the background of hills, fields or woodland.   

And now for Nanuk, the Greenland Dog –

-watch this space – more to come!-

9 Responses to pets

  1. Jean Franklin-Robinson says:

    Hi Joe. This is jean your one time dog trainer. I wondered how Nanuk is fairing.

  2. Jean says:

    Still have not heard about Nanuk. I see you have a new puppy!!!. PLease let me know about Nanik. Is she still with you is she mixing with the new puppy or is she still confined.

  3. LittleFfarm Dairy says:

    Hi Jean –

    Apologies, I did reply to your ealier comment…sometimes I get ‘timed out’ though; & lose whatever I might have been working on without realising it (happened a couple of days ago with two comments & a verrrry long post – grrrr!!).

    Anyway, Nanuk’s fine – & doing really well – thanks to your excelent foundation training! We were careful not to allow her to socialise with Brynn until he’d undergone his full course of inoculations; but since then they’ve been ‘chatting’ & playing together. We do however, find that occasionally Nanuk puts the now-not-so-little Brynn, very firmly in his place: the rows are quite scary but no harm is ever done, just loads of barking & raising of hackles. In fact it’s proved refreshing as Nanuk doesn’t usually bark; but as you know has other fascinating vocal patterns to display…!

    Anyway it’s with mixed feelings that I have to report that our darling Nanuk won’t be with us, for much longer; she’s going back to her breeder to work off that boundless energy in a team as a sled dog; & to hopefully produce some lovely Greenland Dog pups. I say ‘mixed feelings’ as we will miss her, so very much; however now that Bry growing up & proving such an effective guard dog, it’ll be good for Nanuk to tackle the work she was bred to do…as well as hopefully perpetuating the breed in the UK, as well. But it’s ironic that she’s moving on – just when she’s walking heel on the lead so much better (thanks to your patient training!).

    Anyway we’re looking forward to bringing Brynn along for some puppy class socialisation….I know you’ll love him. The work you did with Nanuk has really transformed her from a loveable but challenging dog, to a confident & happy, relatively obedient individual who really loves life (especially when it involves chasing cars: her major weakness, we’ve discovered..!).

    Hope all’s well with you & Bruce; apologies we’ve been unable to catch up over Christmas but as you’ll gather from the lack of Blog posts, we’ve been busier that ever…!

    See you soon –


  4. Jean says:

    Thanks for that Jo, that sounds great for Nanuk I would be pleased if you would give the name of the Breeder as I have had 2 enquiries about Greenlander pups and having met Nanuk I know what a great looking bitch she is and with a very good temperment. I could then put them in touch. I look forward to that info as soon as possible. I hope that you are both well as Bruce and I are. Happy New Year


  5. LittleFfarm Dairy says:

    Hi Jean –

    No problem, I’ll PM you with her breeders’ details. I believe they’re expecting a litter of pups in the springtime to another bitch but the sire is Nanuk’s full brother.

  6. Jean says:

    Hi Jo I guess you must be feeling both happy that you have found a good home for Nanuk and also sad that she is no longer with you. It will now give you more time to spend with you new puppy. Please let me know how you got on and the breeders details. Speak to you soon


    • LittleFfarm Dairy says:

      Hi Jean –

      apologies, I no longer have Nanuk’s breeder’s details. Actually, in the end she went to another home altogether, and is now a member of a dog sled team over near Colwyn Bay. She’s enjoying a marvellous life with companions of her own breed – and is doing what she adores, so we are absolutely delighted. I miss her loads but at least I have the comfort that she is enjoying the best possible life…which after all, is the most important thing.

      Meanwhile charismatic Brynn is doing very well; although he’s not a great sheepdog (as he chases them away from me rather than bringing them to me!) he is a loyal companion and a superb guard dog. You’d be impressed with his obedience – all the skills I learned from you have been put to excellent use with my lovely lad!

      Many thanks again to a truly inspirational lady – look forward to catching up soon,

      Best wishes,


  7. sylvain le Potier says:

    Dear Sir/Madam
    I am currently a second year student in an agricultural engineering school in France ( ESA Ecole supérieure agriculture Angers) .I need to perform a 13-week internship in summer 2011 .The purpose would be to work in a company which processes agricultural products and preferably abroad .
    Could you please tell me if there are any opportunities to do this within your company?
    Sylvain Le Potier
    68 rue de la Libération
    35310 Mordelles

    • LittleFfarm Dairy says:

      “Mes apologies, Sylvain,

      I have only just seen your comment on our Blog! We hope you managed to find an interesting and fulfilling placement during the summer. We do participate in an Exchange Programme, called Help Exchange: I would recommend it to anyone keen to learn new skills or about smallholding/farming life. There is a wide range of opportunities, all over the world; basically in return for bed and board volunteers are expected to help out with chores and projects under the direction of the owner. We have found it a very rewarding and enriching experience and have shared our lives with people from cultures from all over the world. We currently have a Hugarian family staying with us who so far have been here for several months, they like it so much!

      Good luck with your studies and I am very sorry that we did not see your comment in time to be of service.

      A bientot,


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