This week we have had two brushes with the military, both rather closer than Jack would have liked. On Wednesday, this Sea King helicopter came thundering up the valley just as we were heading out for our post lunch walk. It swung out over the road just above us and poor Jack went into a panic - it couldn't have been more than fifty yards above us. It circled around a couple of times before coming straight for us (see above) as we climbed the hill. I personally love these giant metal birds and find their presence thrilling, but Jack not so much. This morning, I was standing in the field with the ponies in a 7.30am daze, when Trigger suddenly shot off with the others at a gallop whilst Snippet started barking like crazy. I turned to see around forty soldiers emerging from the woods. I managed to grab Snippet and get him on his lead, assuming Jack was cowering behind me but, once I'd spoken to the guys in charge, who were very apologetic, I realised Jack had gone; fled in terror in the chaos. Six of the squadies went off to search the field, and two went down the lane, to no avail. Half of them were limping and looking pretty exhausted - apparently they'd been out on the moor all week. I told them he probably wouldn't come back as long as they were there, so they left, jogging along the road towards home (ours and their's at Okehampton Camp). I now started to panic with no sign of him and phoned home. To cut a long story short, two hours later, after frantic whistle blowing, combing of the surrounding area, tears and a lot of assistance from a very kind neighbour, he appeared from nowhere, tail wagging as if nothing untoward had happened. HUGE relief all round. Snippet just enjoyed a longer walk. Useless as a search and rescue dog I can tell you.
Yesterday I had my first close encounter with the wild ponies. If you've been following a while, you'll remember how close Snippet I got to the youngsters last year but, up till now, the new foals have remained elusive, mostly unrecognisable and fearful. These two and one mother (below) came right up to me as I was tying my shoelace, which was lovely. I've really missed last year's relationships.
Last weekend, I took some pictures of Candle Snuff fungus (another fabulous name I'm sure you'll agree), which I've always wanted to capture; they were a disastrous blur. Then, as I chucked the food waste onto the compost heap yesterday, I noticed some very much closer to home on one of our log piles. Here it is:
Over the last few weeks, the top Dartmoor madam, the bigger of the two bays, has decided I'm okay and will, like the grey, allow me to scratch and stroke her and remove the endless bits of stick and gorse that accumulate in their manes. It makes fending her off a lot more pleasant.
Here they all are together. I still haven't decided exactly what to do with Trigger over winter. More on that at a later date.
During our walk this afternoon, where I was keeping a very close eye on Jack, I spotted this Golden Plover and I managed to get much closer than I expected. These were on full zoom so they're not brilliant but what a beautiful bird.
A few more pictures from this week..........
I scoured the fungus book but I'm still not sure
A lovely crop of tiny Devil's Matchsticks
Grasses in the wind today
The Christmas cards have arrived so I just need to check with the post office how much they'll cost to send before officially putting them on sale. Very exciting, for me anyway! So, until next time, have a great weekend and here's the one who was nearly lost, chewing on a stick.