23 January 2016

So What's In Wet Field?

'Wet Field' runs adjacent to our orchard - it is our "Up-The-Hill" Neighbour's property. Several years ago it was known as "Goose Field" because a previous farmer kept - well, geese, on it.

The field is low-lying and overgrown because it is too wet and rough to cut back. In other words, a very suitable area for wildlife.

The field itself is beyond our boundary fence ... (the straight line of fencing and hedging) i.e that brown grassy area :

Here's what now uses Wet Field... 
(Photos by Kathy Hollick-Blee, my daughter,  one evening (about 4pm)  last week...

 spot the deer!

 except  Kathy only realised the deer were there when one moved.

She was actually taking photos of....

Our very own Barn Owl!!!!

We've some video footage as well when my son-in-law gets around to uploading it onto You Tube...

(click the SUBSCRIBE facility top right to be kept up-to-date with updates!)

Another family member

We've got a House Bunny!

with the very imaginative name of

Eddie's On Duty
Bunbun guarding

19 January 2016

Happy Anniversary To Us!

Three years ago today (19th January 2013) 
we started a new life in our lovely old farmhouse 
here in beautiful Devon.

We started moving in on Friday 18th January 2013
but the weather was like this:
Our Home
Somehow our fantastic removal men from Pickfords started moving us in on the 18th. We had stayed overnight at a local hotel and I had been up since 2.30a.m looking out the window every fifteen minutes – at first to see if it was snowing, and then to see how much it was snowing.

One big drawback. The village is on a high ridge, accessed via five very steep, very narrow, lanes, most of which have very few passing places – if you can’t reverse, or have a wide, posh car - don’t come to Chittlehamholt! The village is rural (less than ninety houses, most of which are or have been farms). No street lighting or bus service; no school – although there is a village hall and a community shop.

Fortunately most of the furniture was delivered but all I can remember of that busy and exciting moving-in day, was men carrying stuff walking in and out. No time to explore, or get to know our new house.

When the men left Ron, my husband, and I had a chance to draw breath. My lovely, lovely house – all mine. What a difference from our previous ground-floor flat in the London suburb of Walthamstow. 

Getting dark, it was time to go. We had made the right decision to return to the hotel - the bed had arrived, but it had not been put together, and we only had tea, coffee and biscuits in the new larder. We locked up, stood outside our porch door – and it suddenly hit us that we were now living in the middle of the countryside not London. It was pitch black dark. 
Gingerly, one foot in front of the other, we groped our way to the car.

Lesson One. Always know where a torch is!

Old Rum
The removal men brought the last of our furniture on Saturday morning – bit of a panic when we realised the house was cold and the central heating was off. Soon sorted. When installing the fridge in the scullery I remembered turning off a socket (“Hmm, I wonder what this is for?”) Turns out it was the master switch for the Range’s boiler!

Kathy (my daughter) and the horses and cats were supposed to have come down on the Saturday, but I had phoned to say don’t come – the motorway would be treacherous, and they would never get the horsebox safely along the village roads, let alone down our narrow lane. So she booked into an hotel near the livery yard and stayed there a whole week with boyfriend (now husband) Adam looking after her. (Thanks Adam – I would have been so worried otherwise!)

Ron and Rum
I started to make our house our home straight away - well, we were snowed in - but for the first time in many years I actually enjoyed the snow. Before, I had always worried about travelling to and from the stableyard to do the horses – when they eventually arrived they would only be at the other end of the garden. Ron went for a walk on the Wednesday – the lane was beautiful, the orchard – our very own orchard – enchanting. Old Rum enjoyed himself.

And when the snow melted? There were hundreds of snowdrops instead!

* * *
Paradise Found!
The house from the lane
Three years on and I am as much in love with my gorgeous old house as ever. Kathy and Adam have their own part, an extension flat called Owl Lodge (yes we have several owls here). Baz and Eddie are our dogs now and the two cats have well and truly settled in. Lexie is the only original horse, we have some other new ones – including two Exmoor ponies – both born on Exmoor a few miles away. Plus six chickens, several ducks and 'Sir Hiss' the Gander and 'Boo' the Goose.

Baz & Eddie surveying Top Field
at the beach with Kathy
Baz with some of the hens
Lexie, Saffie, Luna
Siren & Mr Mischief
Geese and hens in the Orchard
Jan 19th 2016

Happy Devonshire Family !
Me, Adam, Kathy, Ron
(Adam & Kathy's wedding 1st March 2014)
January 19th 2013
January 19th 2016

11 January 2016

Catching Up....

What with one thing and another I've not had time to lean on gates, lets alone write diaries.
(Leaning on gates also hampered by almost continuous pouring rain and sodden, muddy fields.)

Still, here's a picture record of the last few weeks of 2015 and the first of 2016 ....

We had a new floor fitted in the living room in November - out goes carpet, in comes wood.
Bit of an upheaval while it was being laid though. :-(

Kathy in the  sand school... being critically watched:

Eddie is now almost a year old, but life's tiring on a farm with all those hens and ducks to keep an eye on.
Not to mention the....

 ... Pheasants.
Yes they are still here. This is Damien. Has he come in to check that we're not having pheasant for Christmas dinner? That's the oven door in Kathy's kitchen!

one of our rather fat females...


deck the hall....

note the new floor...

Ron's birthday present (13th December)
Sybil - the Upstairs' cat
wondering where her share of the turkey is

Kathy and Adam's new fish tank
All the fun was a bit too much for Eddie LOL
So Santa comes by helicopter now?
(actually its either the air ambulance or the army #
flying low over our orchard)
one of my presents
a hedgehog hot-water bottle cover!
Weather wise it has hardly stopped raining since July, but it has been unseasonably mild:

my camera isn't good enough
but here we have snowdrops, primroses, morning glory
AND daffodils all at once!

 The storm drain from the well is overflowing (if it wasn't for the drain we'd have a lake for a kitchen)

That's not rain - that's well over-flow!

 Boo the Goose came to live with us (she's a goose.... 'Goosey the Terrible' turns out to be a Gander.)

New Year - the stroke of midnight:
A beautiful night - thousands of stars and the moon (just past full) rising from behind the hedgerows. Happy New Year!

From our top field.
 Look carefully you can see the stars of Orion's Belt.

Showing at Codden Equestrian Centre:
Lexie was a prat in the first class (nowhere to warm up - outdoor arena was under water ) She bucked, spooked ... sigh. For the second class went like a dream, and for the costume class as well, winning both.
Winner and runner-up
That's Kathy's genuine 1880 Victorian habit.
 And then there's  more rain... lots of it. Pouring rain....

(photo is my neighbour's Charles Moberly)
The Orchard now has a stream
And a pond at the bottom!
We took an old Ash tree down (before it fell down) which has considerably opened up the view:



a couple of close up shots - again on a not very good camera and it was raining :-(

 Note the straight line of the Tarka Line railway (from left to right in the centre, then curving back to the left over the bridge). Before we moved here I would visit my editor who lives near Barnstaple... many a time I took that train from Exeter St Davids to Barnstaple, little knowing that I was passing within a mile of my future home!

The train!
Finally, little Siren made her first trip up the lane to 'Lean on the Gate'
she's growing up now, having come off the Exmoor in November 2014 as a 6 month old.
Pretty isn't she?

January 11th 2016