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Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Ferreting Around!

So yesterday was the Meme - loved it - made me think about myself - and, in some respects, in a good way!

No takers yet for the Five Questions? Honestly, you would think I was about to put you on a mediaeval torture rack!
Photobucket What do you take me for?

You remember the Easter Ferret from a couple of days back, don't you? Just in case, here the little love is again: Photobucket

Ferrets are delightful little creatures, don't you think? Photobucket

I Photobucket s!

Here beginneth the Wiki lesson: "The ferret is a domestic mammal of the type Mustela putorius furo. Ferrets are sexually dimorphic predators with males being substantially larger than females. They typically have brown, black, white, or mixed fur, have an average length of approximately 20 inches (51 cm) including a 5 inch (13 cm) tail, weigh about 1.5 - 4 pounds (0.8 - 2 kg), and have a natural lifespan of 7 to 10 years." Ooh, that was a bit scientific - 'sexually dimorphic predators'? What's all that about, then?

To continue:

"Several other small, elongated carnivorous mammals belonging to the family Mustelidae (weasels) also have the word "ferret" in their common names, including an endangered species, the Black-footed Ferret. The ferret is a very close relative of the polecat, but it is as yet unclear whether it is a domesticated form of the European Polecat, the Steppe Polecat, or some hybrid of the two.

The history of the ferret's domestication is uncertain, like that of most other domestic animals. It is very likely that ferrets have been domesticated for at least 2,500 years. They are still used for hunting rabbits in some parts of the world today, but increasingly they are being kept simply as pets". (See Jonathan Ross's household!)

And occasionally ferrets are used on allotments, where prize leeks and the like are grown, to protect the produce!


In any case, ferrets have been leaping with and bounding among us for centuries, see this Celtic Ferret:

Apparently, "white ferrets were favored in the Middle Ages for the ease in seeing them in thick undergrowth. Leonardo da Vinci's painting Lady with an Ermine is likely mislabelled; the animal is probably a ferret, not a stoat, for which "ermine" is an alternative name (the latter strictly applying only to the animal in its white winter coat).

"The Ferreter's Tapestry" is a fifteenth-century tapestry from Burgundy, France now part of the Burrell Collection housed in the Glasgow Museum and Art Galleries. It shows a group of peasants hunting rabbits with nets and white ferrets. This image was reproduced in Renaissance Dress In Italy 1400-1500, by Jacqueline Herald, Bell & Hyman.

Gaston Phoebus' Book Of The Hunt was written in approximately 1389 to explain how to hunt different kinds of animals, including how to use ferrets to hunt rabbits. Illustrations show how multicoloured ferrets that are fitted with muzzles were used to chase rabbits out of their warrens and into waiting nets".

So, boys and girls, 'Once upon a time, I was heavily involved with the Parents and Friends Association (PFA) of Grizzler's first school (ages 5 - 9)' - Friends - mainly parents in actual fact - got together for fundraising events, to try to improve the facilities at the school, prettify the drab (Victorian) playground, and so on... (They've since closed the school, so all our efforts were for nought - isn't life fun, eh?!)

There was an annual school fayre/fair/fundraiser - You know the kind of thing, bric-a-brac stalls - My domain! Photobucket

A Bouncy Castle (which GJ 'loved' to supervise!)

Face Painting: Photobucket - I used to rope in my good, arty, friend to do this!

Displays organised by likes of the Army and the Fire and Rescue Service. Photobucket

I used to love to liaise with the Fire Officers, although I never got to slide down a Fireman's Pole, a la Bridget Jones, contrary to popular opinion...

Anyway, the wee ones just loved to clamber over the engine and press the siren!

So the PFA would meet for weeks to plan the event, to agree duties, to carve up responsibilities and generally to boss people around!

One of our number was a wonderful parent, Fiona, who also ran a Ferret Rescue.

All her family, including the little ones, were experts in handling and ministering to the darling ferrets and their display at the fayre; Ferreting through man-made tunnels and pipes, and betting which ferret would come out of the pipe first, was always very popular with all-comers.

We were sitting one evening, discussing who should contact the Ferret Rescue, to confirm whether the menagerie could make it that year, when a newer member of the PFA piped up:

"Ferrets! Urgh! If ever a'am lost, divven't 'ee dore send one of them in tay rescue me!"

(Translation from the original Geordie: 'Ferrets! If I am ever lost to thee, please do not dare to send one of those most disagreeable creatures in to rescue me...')


She thought of rescue, as in: Photobucket Obviously!


I can use this image and poke fun at blondes, because I is one too, and I also have shatteringly blonde moments - I blame the painkillers!

Anyhoo - When next you are donating to animal welfare, do think of our friends, the Rescue Ferrets, and smile!



Diane said...

Do you never sleep, woman?! If you just posted this, according to my computer (which, granted, is often wrong), it's nearly 4am your time! Lordy!

I don't like ferrets. They wig me out. We had a babysitter once who had 3 of them. They used to crawl over me and give me the heebie jeebies.

La Belette Rouge said...

As a weasel( belette) I do like ferrets. Ferrets and weasels look a lot alike. I have never actually held one but I would like to.

Great photos. I particularly like the heart one.

Braja said...

The easter ferret wins :)

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Dear Diane, I must confess to being a little restless yesterday - Being at home and not at work, my body clock is a bit out of sync, to be honest - Sorry to startle you, I shall creep about more quietly and at a more respectable hour today...

I understand others' weasel aversions, and folk wigging out - I am sorry if I gave rise to any unpleasant, four-pawed memories...

Belle: I never knew that you were weaselly inclined - just shows how stoatally bad my French vocab has become! They feel a bit like cats with coarser fur, but they have those, I think they're called. opposable, spines so are stoatally flexible and mad - Mind they do pong a bit...

Braja: Hope the Easter Ferret gave you a smile, perhaps we can introduce them to your new 'Church' services...?

Liz said...

Of course ferrets are sometimes used in 'ferret down the trousers' competitions as in the Archers.

Regarding your earlier post: I think I am alone in the world in not liking Colin Firth as Mr Darcy. But I love Peter Kay.

Clippy Mat said...

there's an EAster ferret?
nae wunder ah get nowt for easta. that explains it aal.

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Ah, Liz, the Archers and ferret competitions - You'll get me all teary eyed for leeks and whippets next, and that will start Ms Clippy Mat off again!

Karen ~ Cider Antiques said...

Love your ferret photos! That bunny is too cute :) Thanks for visiting my blog and for sending best wishes for my dog Cider.

~ Karen

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

such diversity!! are there no ends to your talents...

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Karen: Welcome - all blessings to dear Cider.

FFF: Thanks again for being such a fab teacher and techie star! You'll find out very soon about the end to my talents when my stories and inspiration dry up - I can feel the dessification beginning!

auntiegwen said...

Now if'd have known that the fringe benefits to joining the PTA were firemen, maybe I'd have overcome my aversion to joining !

Something I wrote earlier...

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