THE RAMBLINGS OF A STRUGGLING ARTIST ON LIFE WITH TWO TERRIERS, A PONY WITH ISSUES AND OTHER WILDLIFE AND BIRDS THAT CROSS OUR PATH

27 July 2012

SUNSHINE AND SOCIALISING



What a week! Much taxiing around of my son and picking up of his friends. A birthday party today and another tomorrow with lots of late nights and related grumpiness the next day! He’s usually asleep soon after eight and would kill me if he knew I was saying that. I’m writing this with the Olympic build up on the telly in the background. I feel obliged to watch it and am hoping that my bah-humbug feelings will be blown away by the extravaganza. I’m really looking forward to the sport though, particularly the gymnastics; Nadia Comaneci was my absolute heroine as a little girl. I spent a lot of time during the summer holidays of 1976 twirling around on and doing handstand dismounts off a fallen tree in the grounds of a beautiful house in Surrey where my mum was teaching a course. I was Nadia Comaneci competing against my friends who were Olga Korbut and Lyudmila Turishcheva. Those days at that fabulous house called The Hallams, Norman Shaw’s last project, are some of my happiest childhood memories. So, apologies for not posting or visiting other blogs very much. I’ve barely had time to check my email. 

Last Sunday, my half sister and her husband came to visit. It was lovely to see them and we went for a lovely long walk in the baking heat. There is a shepherd’s hut that I rarely make it to on my walks but is a reference point we refer to as ‘the tin hut’.




After actually having a look inside we walked on to another landmark I’ve always wanted to get to. A little oasis of trees next to the river that eventually becomes the Teign. It was utterly beautiful. We then got very wet picking our way across what would normally be ground dry enough to walk over at this time of year but was actually pretty boggy thanks to the incessant  rain of the last months. Not enough sun cream to avoid pink upper arms all round!






Over this week of beautiful weather, most mornings have produced a strange meteorological  phenomenon. This picture shows clearly what appears to be a belt of mist over most of mid Devon. It looks like it stretches from around Crediton all the way up northwards to where Exmoor rises up and then again beyond. It was stunning but burnt off pretty quickly. This was taken at about 7.30am.


Yesterday when I went to see Trig in the morning, I noticed something was wrong with his eye. It appeared ragged but not bleeding in the lower lid. The vet came to see him and said he’d probably caught it on some barbed wire and that, luckily there was no damage to the eye itself. He has some antibiotics and bute to bring down the swelling and should be okay but I need to try and keep the flies off it. It’s the only reason I’m glad the weather looks like it’s turning. The flies have been unbelievable here in the sun. This attractive picture was taken this morning after the swelling had gone down a bit. Look away if you’re squeamish!



Here are some other pictures from this week:


A swallow ground feeding outside the back door


Kestor in the sunshine


Foals trying to get some shade at Middle Tor


Snippet in the morning sun



Cows relaxing this morning


A dead shrew - sorry about this one but I just thought it was so interesting to see its little body and beautiful tiny claws!

Posting is proving as difficult as I had thought but I’ll really try to do so as often as I can. I miss it and I miss reading your comments and your own blogs. I’ll have to try and stay up a bit later as I’m usually off upstairs by 10.00pm. Hope you’ve enjoyed the weather if you’re in Britain and that the Olympics prove enjoyable if you’ll be watching and not too intrusive if you’re not. Till next time…..







21 July 2012

THE SUMMER HOLIDAYS ARE HERE



Thursday was the last day of term and we are now well into the holidays and seven weeks without a decent walk I fear! Never mind; my son deserves a great holiday. He’s worked so hard at school this year. He was moved up from year three after Christmas and joined the combined year fours and fives, leaving his group of very good friends behind. He knew some of his new class as he’d been doing maths with them for the autumn term; he has an inexplicable talent in that area! He was given the choice and we were staggered that he agreed to do it. I know I couldn’t have done so at his age. On Wednesday, he was presented with an award for achievement in the church and we are so proud of him. Here it is - the shield looking shiny on the shelf!



This weekend is the Chagstock Festival, which is apparently quite famous now. I’m ashamed to say I’ve never been but enjoy the sight of it from the moor, here sparkling in the morning sun – 
yes, SUN.


A few days ago I braved the marsh in order to get to Lizzy and Betty but had to turn back as I found myself sinking VERY slowly into it. I realised before it reached the lace holes in my boots thank goodness but before I did my tussock jumping out of there, managed to get a few shots of them and the altogether lighter Snippet amongst the cotton grass.








That day, foal number two was hanging out with the geldings. He really is growing up much faster than the others. Even foal number one still looks younger than him. Here he is on Friday morning too where I think he, his mum and a few others had slept the night before.



Shaking his head


On Thursday afternoon, I took a little film of foal number four approaching us and staring at Snippet. I think they really want to play with him and often try and nudge him. When he scampers away, they often scamper after him. I usually put a stop to it at that point but it’s very sweet to watch their playfulness and them gaining in confidence.

video


Finally, a few more pictures from the last few days:


Foal number eight very deeply asleep


Just woken up


Back with Mum


A Snippet in the grass


Hydrangea on the window sill


Tiny Self Heal in the grass


Bullfinch back eating Herb Robert seeds

I can't say what kind of quality posts are in store over the next seven weeks so apologies in advance, but till next time, enjoy the sunshine.


17 July 2012

THUNDER AND REPTILES


On Saturday, we were struck by lightening and have had no phone and intermittent internet connection. I haven’t read anyone’s blogs and am writing this in ‘Word’ because I can’t connect when I want to. Better to cut and paste later. If I don’t reply to any comments, it’s because I can’t! Builders are back this week to finish off in the kitchen and the drain men are coming again to see if they can locate the source of the damp that caused the rot. Nice week ahead then. At least Sunday was passable and we had two reptilian encounters in the garden. Firstly, this lovely little palmate newt hiding behind all the rubble bags that have accumulated during the removal of the kitchen; those tiny webbed feet are so beautiful. Then, later on, whilst hacking down my lovely but weather-beaten geraniums in the hope of a second go, I spotted this common frog hiding amongst the stalks. I thought it was a toad at first, but having examined the photo more closely, I think those leg bars give it away; that and the fact that it was definitely leaping as opposed to walking. 





On Friday, Snippet and I trudged out in the pouring rain down into the little valley that takes the stream down to the main river about half a mile downstream. I hoped to avoid the howling wind and horizontal rain, opting for the vertical but hammering variety. It was hideous but we saw an amazing fallen beech branch which blocked our progress. It was the size of a full grown tree and my partner has his eye on it for future fuel. Unfortunately, Trigger would have to take a crash course in logging to get any of it out and given his hind leg issues I don’t think that’s really an option. Fabulous sight though and the scar where it came away is about four foot across. Great fungi attached to it too; years old and timber-like itself when tapped.




Woody fungi



Here are some pictures from our other rather brief walks since my last post. I’m starting to feel achy from lack of exercise!


Approaching Snippet



Pelting rain


Inquisitive foal number nine


Foal number eight having just woken up and realised the rest of the herd had moved on out of sight


A rambling rose in the rain


Betty today in the wind


Lizzy now looking definite with the four stockings and also gradually going brown like her mum


Lizzy and foal nine


Number two not looking very foal-like any more


Chief gelding drinking from a peaty puddle


The herd from a distance


On our way home today

And finally, my son made this fantastic origami spider over the weekend. Origami has been a bit of an obsession for months now. Thank goodness for paper recycling because our house would be a mass of birds, cars, flowers and many other folded items. He’s really very good for an eight year old I think but then I am biased. Here it is and let’s hope we don’t lose the connection again too soon. Sadly, I fear it will be gone again by this evening; I’m writing in a tiny window of time before it crashes again. Sorry if I haven’t been visiting your blogs by the way – I will catch up when I can. 


Origami spider


Till next time....