20 February 2014

The Gardeners!

20th February 2014

I took advantage of it not raining this afternoon to do a bit of tidying up in the garden....

What do you think of my helpers! :-D

Hester and Hazel
Hettie, Hattie, Heather, Hermione
Hettie eyeing up the dining room!

(and no comments about my fluffy socks please! :-)

Sybil, however, was not very impressed!

19 February 2014

The most enormous....


I sat out on the patio for morning coffee this morning (we've had TWO days without rain! Cor!)
It wasn't quite warm enough to sit for long, but the length of time to drink a coffee was OK.


Spring is definitely tip-toeing over the horizon. Some of the shrubs are breaking into leaf, the lane is full of snowdrops - and the primroses are peeping out. We've even one crocus in bloom!

And today, there on my patio was the most enormous, very hairy completely brown bumblebee.

He/she was very polite, came to say hello, bumbled around the open French Doors - and flew away when I tactfully suggested that it was not a good idea to think about flying indoors.

What said bee will find to feed on I don't know - do they get nectar from snowdrops, primroses and crocuses (Hmm, plural of crocus 0- is it crocusi? :-)

(stock photo)

"A bumblebee is any member of the bee genus Bombus, in the family Apidae. There are over 250 known species,[1] existing primarily in the Northern Hemisphere although they also occur in South America. They have been introduced to New Zealand and the Australian state of Tasmania.

Bumblebees are social insects that are characterised by black and yellow body hairs, often in bands. However, some species have orange or red on their bodies, or may be entirely black.[2] Another obvious (but not unique) characteristic is the soft nature of the hair (long, branched setae), called pile, that covers their entire body, making them appear and feel fuzzy. They are best distinguished from similarly large, fuzzy bees by the form of the female hind leg, which is modified to form a corbicula: a shiny concave surface that is bare, but surrounded by a fringe of hairs used to transport pollen (in similar bees, the hind leg is completely hairy, and pollen grains are wedged into the hairs for transport).

Like their relatives the honey bees, bumblebees feed on nectar and gather pollen to feed their young"

Important Facts To Know About Bumble Bees.

  • Because they live in small nests bumble bees never swarm - so you can encourage a nest or two in the garden without fear of this happening.
  • Bumble bees do not produce enough honey for commercial use, just a few grams at a time to feed their young
  • Not all bumble bees have a sting. Drones (smaller male bees that hatch in mid summer ) have no sting at all.
  • A bumble bees biggest enemy by far is a man armed with a pesticide spray. Like every other form of wildlife they are under serious threat from the chemicals we pour on the land.
  • Bumble bees are much less aggressive than honey bees. Generally they will not attack a human at all, unless their life is under threat. Don't wave your arms wildly in their presence, stand quietly and once they smell you are not a flower with pollen they will move gently away.
  • Bumble bees do not lose their sting and die if they use it, as a honey bee will.
  • Encourage the bumble bee in your garden or farm and she will repay your kindness by pollinating your flowers, fruit and vegetables and giving you an excellent set on your blossom.
  • http://hercules.users.netlink.co.uk/Bee.html

14 February 2014

A Bit of a Blustery Day

14th February 2014
I took advantage of a brief few minutes of sunshine to take some photos of the snowdrops in the garden - and nearly got blown over.
The wind is SO strong out there! The sound of it roaring through the trees is incredible!

Here are the snowdrops:

That's a small tree blown down across the grass path.,
 hopefully the only victim of the storms

The first daisy
Phew! Blustery isn't the half of it!

the noise in the woods next door was terrific1
windswept trees

the front garden
Not exactly the right sort of weather for sitting out :-(

10 February 2014

Floody Muddy Waters

The River Mole
AS you might have heard on various news broadcasts Somerset, Devon and Cornwall has been battered by heavy rainfall and storm-force winds since before Christmas.

The rain has hardly stopped, and with strong winds and high spring tides flood alerts have been in place almost every day.
Somerset and the south Coast of Devon, in particular have been hard hit.

Here at Windfall Farm we've been spared the worst, although the sound of the wind some nights is a bit scary, especiually when it comes direct from the south as i can hear it coming across the field, passing over the stables at the top of the garden and then it hits or windows before leap-frogging over the roof and tearing off down the hill into the Taw Valley.
A few nights ago it sounded like an express train roaring past.

Rain-wise, I'm sick of getting wet, the fields are growing a wonderful crop of mud and the horses are bored stiff as we are not turning them out (if we did, what was left of the grass would be ruined) Fortunately we have the menage, so they can stretch their legs in there/
Kathy is getting used to riding in the rain, but when the wind is high the horses don't like it, so on occasion it has been safer not to ride.

Grey skies over the sheep fields
rain-drenched Devon lane

Here's a few photos I took of the local rivers.

The Mole, just outside South Molton

The Taw, at the Portsmouth Arms (right beside where the Tarka Line train runs)

I can just see a small part of the Taw from our bedroom window - and I can hear it at night as it rushes along. Fortunately we are quite a height above the valley!

03 February 2014

The Lost Donkey

On Saturday, Adam and Kathy went shopping in Exeter.
Driving along, Kathy saw something lying in the road. Adam drove over it. There was a very slight bump.
I'm not sure of the next sequence of events but I assume they parked the car and walked back.

More cars drove over the thing in the road - which looked like a pile of rag.

Kathy quickly spotted, however, that it was a child's toy. And ran into the rod to rescue it (making sure there were no cars coming!)

It turned out to be a little grey, lost, bedraggled, donkey.

Kathy dusted it off and hung it up on the nearby church door-handle.

Off they went shopping. Came back a good while later.
Donkey was still there, so Kathy re-claimed him and brought him home.

I put a "Lost Donkey" advert on Facebook and Twitter - after sitting the donkey on the radiator to get warm and dry (the poor little thing was most upset, definitely crying, lost and afraid.)

(Ok its a toy.... but what do you mean it isn't REAL????)

So I gave him a cuddle and told him he could live with us if his little girl or boy wasn't found.


Next morning I was busy, so I didn't get around to checking Twitter or my emails until the afternoon -
and there it was! A thrilled message claiming Donkey!

Apparently his little girl had fallen asleep in her pushchair & Daddy hadn't noticed that Donkey had fallen out.
Mummy and Daddy had spent most of the evening scouring the streets of Exeter looking for a distraught little girl's best friend...

So friends are re-united. Though I must admit he was a lovely little Donkey. I think I'll look on e-bay to see if he has any brothers or sisters who are looking for a home.

Meanwhile Mummy was going to tell Little Girl that Donkey had gone on a brief holiday.
And here's the proof....

Eeyore on the farm
Eeyore having a sit on Squidge the pony
Eeyore meets a friend - another Eeyore

another ride on a different horse - Lexie
ready to go home - seat belt fastened