30 April 2013

30th April - Spring has Sprung!

My turn to feed the horses and dog-walk this morning.
6.45 a.m. found me telling Squidgy the Exmoor, Lexie and Ishi off for kicking their doors - like impatient rowdy kids. Jasper is polite, he's been brung up proper - he doesn't do kicking doors.
 I told them I can only give out breakfast one at a time.

Then Baz and me on for our walk up through the fields. What an absolutely glorious morning!.

I'll let the photos show the rest....

The gate into Top Field, facing east


Fairy Trampolines! (well Ok, cobwebs in the grass)

The mist along the valley in the distance



You also have to imagine the air fresh and clean, and dozens of birds singing


Facing North. The Lane towards the Village
(you might just be able to see the church steeple poking upward in the distance)



Our bit of lane, leading to the farm


Very misty (a wren was singing in the tree to the right)








26 April 2013

The Tar-pawed Cat and the Cess Pit

25th - 26th April

What a couple of days we've had!

Thursday started off OK with all the usual things. Adam and Kathy were up at the stables, Ron was cleaning the moss and grime off the porch roof. I was in my study researching post-Roman Devon....

Ron decided to re-do the porch roof with bitumen (tar). It did look lovely, and now the rain won't drip through that somewhat leaky corner.
Only one problem.
Mab the cat still hasn't accepted the dog. She prefers to leave, and enter the house via the porch roof and the open bathroom window.

The porch is on the right, the bathroom window is the first one above it
 in the plain stone wall
Said bitumened roof now has paw prints across it. As does the bathroom floor and my bedroom carpet -  the cat was covered.

Kathy managed to grab her and together we got most of it off her paws and tummy and chest by washing her with washing up liquid, but you know cats and water.... Meanwhile Adam phoned the vet as we couldn't get it all off and as its toxic stuff and cats clean themselves, off to Bideford Veterinary Hospital we went, me clutching a very soggy, very tarry, very cross moggie.  Needless to say both Kathy and I were soaked - and also covered in tar. (Anyone want a tar-covered sweater?)



So a night at the vet for Mab after they had sedated and washed her thoroughly. She is now home, safe and well - but very indignant and cross.

~~~

This morning, Friday, the cesspit man came to empty it. THAT was most interesting! He comes with a tanker-type lorry and a great big long hose which sucks all the gunge out. (leaving a bit of a pong as well)  But all is done and he had a cuppa with us, and a nice chat.

We got the pressure hose out to clean up the small bit of residue left on the lawn and the drive... so OK, how many people do you know who pressure-hose cleans their back lawn???? *laugh*

~~~

To end on a good note:

The rhododendron bush in the front garden is beautiful.
Not sure my poor photography does it justice though, sorry.














24th April

I rather stupidly suggested that as Adam's horse,  Ishi, had to have a couple of days box rest (she's got a minor injury on her hock which has to be kept clean & not be galloped about on) that Kathy could bring her into the orchard to eat some of the grass.

Hmm. I really ought to think these things through....

I now have hoof marks all over my lawn! *laugh*






note the bird table I had for my birthday! 












18 April 2013

18th April

The ride-on mower came back from being repaired (we bought the old one from the previous owner - needed a few things attended to)

well: boys and their toys!



Adam & Baz


The Patio - will have to add some hanging baskets to that blank wall
- maybe a pergola, or even add a conservatory?


and

Best Friends





17 April 2013

16th April - Barnstaple

Had to go into Barnstaple to register with a local optician and get the correct size for the lovely ring Ron bought me for my 60th birthday.
I also wanted to do some research into Roman/Romano British Devon (i.e. 5th/6th century)  so a trip to the local museum seemed an obvious place to start.

The Heritage Centre beside Queen Anne Square was nice - but nothing Roman, and the guy inside, while a lovely man, had no idea about anything Roman in Devon. So, instead, I asked him where the old (circa 1720) jail was, as stupidly I couldn't remember.
He didn't know that either.
 (more re this conversation below)

The River Taw at Barnstaple


So Ron and I went to Barnstaple Museum. Again, zilch.

I asked "Have you any information of Roman/Post Roman Devon?" and was promptly told that there isn't anything as, apart from a couple of marching camps and Exeter, the Romans weren't in Devon.

Hmm. That seems a tad unlikely to me.
The might and efficiency of Rome having nothing to do with Devon, apart from Exeter and a couple of campsites?

Would they leave the north coast unguarded? Were they not interested in Devon Tin (or Devon cream teas and/or cider?)

Highly improbable.
I shall continue my research. Mind you if there is no evidence for anything happening here in the late 400's then I am at liberty to make it all up in this next novel I'm planning - Foals of Epona.




11 April 2013

The Seeking of the Shrew

 (with respect to Bill Shakespeare for partly pinching his title)


OK, so here's a new take on the children's rhyme and game 
"We're Going On A Bear Hunt"

 (link HERE  to Amazon.co.uk for the story book by Michael Rosen & Helen Oxenbury)




This game must be played at around 7 a.m.
You have to be in bed, sound asleep before you can begin.

Ready?

Let's go on a Shrew Hunt.....

"We're going on a shrew hunt.
We're going to catch a (very tiny) one.
We're not scared....."

Wardrobe. (peer under with the cat - )
Nope, not there...

Chest of drawers (stare under with the cat - )
Nope, not there...

Bed (scrabble under with the cat - )
Nope, not there...

Stool (cautiously peep behind with the cat - )
Nope, not there...

Bookcase (look behind, yes you've got it, with the cat -)
Nope, not there...

Linen basket (move it to one side.... mind the cat)
Nope, not there...

In my shoes... (pick one up, shake... where's the cat????!!!!! )

EEEK!!!!!
"Quick! Quick! There it goes!"


Sigh.

Needless to say the cat didn't catch it and now I have no idea where said shrew is - apart from somewhere upstairs.

Why Sybil had to bring it in and let it go in my bedroom in the first place will be today's unsolved mystery....
answers in the comment box below please :-)


info about shrews:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_shrew



09 April 2013

9th April. Baaa!

The noise here is.... noisy. The din is coming from the field at the back (which unfortunately we can't see as there is a copse in the way)

The noise is coming from Mummy sheep baaing to their offspring:
"Come here young Lambkins - don't you get lost"
or
"You come here and drink your milk."
or
"Don't you go running off or that nasty old fox will get you!"



Then we have said offspring yelling back :
"Mummy! Mummy! Look at me!"
and
"Wheee.... we're playing cops and robbers!"
and
"Pah, silly old fox won't catch me!"

then it changes to all the Mum's together:
"Quad bike!"
"Tractor!"
"Farmer!"
"GRUB'S UP! DINN...ERRRR!"

good grief - the noise! I reckon its louder than the rush hour traffic on the A406 North Circular Road that we used to hear *laugh*

And NO. I am NOT complaining.


~ ~ ~

On a more serious note. There is a downside to country living.
What is born, dies. Sometimes not in a very nice way.

We had an unpleasant find the other day. Kathy was tidying up the muck heap (which is in the corner of our bottom field) and found the remains of a lamb, just its back legs and quarters. It had obviously been half eaten - more than likely by a fox.

~ ~ ~

This afternoon Kathy & Adam were about to go out - we looked up the drive and there were about 30 sheep! Obviously escaped from somewhere.

They saw us and high-tailed it back up the lane - with Kathy & Adam in pursuit in an attempt to get in front of them, open a gate & shoosh them into a field.
Sheep were having none of it, though, they went all the way back up the lane.

Meanwhile I phoned our neighbour farmer.... but they weren't his sheep, so no idea where they came from.





07 April 2013

7th April

Had our neighbours from "up the hill" here this afternoon (well technically its across the hill, as their house is sort of beside us - but across the fields - however, you have to go UP the lane to get to it.)


They brought their three grandchildren over to say hello to the horses. What a lovely family Monty, Freddy and Freya - super children!

Granddad brought us a present of a milk bottle.
OK - not as weird as it sounds. The bottle comes from the time when Windfall Farm was a real farm - a dairy in fact, for the bottle has on it "Windfall Farm Dairy" (only of course it has the real name, not Windfall Farm - which is a made up pseudonym that I use to keep a little bit of privacy for us.)

It seems that the milkman who delivered the milk lived "up the hill", so I assume he got his milk here from "us".

View which meets me as I step out our front gate.
That white building is....
the Dairy
(pic taken last summer)
So now I need to do some research - I wonder how many cows were here?