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

20 June 2014

MAKING HAY WHILE THE SUN SHINES


While we were in Scotland, the farmer who owns the Dartmoor Madams moved them to a field that Natural England had specified as being only suitable for grazing ponies. I took Trigger down to the old field twice before I realised they weren't there. Poor Trigger was pretty desperate for company by the time I eventually confirmed I could take him to their new abode. It's logistically more difficult, as the whole moving procedure takes over an hour and therefore can't be done before I take OB to school any more. So, Trigger is only going once a week but for a couple of nights at a time. The weather has been absolutely amazing for a while now, and farmers are doing the first cut for hay and haylage. Today, the dogs and I took Trigger down to what is known as 'the boggy field' which involves following the lane over the moor and then down to the farm. I took these as we went, some with the camera, some with my phone. Trigger is very easy to catch:











This is the track to 'the boggy field'. The gate in is extremely difficult to open and, with two dogs on their lead and an excitable pony in need of company, taking pictures was too much of a challenge.


On the way back, we went up what is loosely called a bridleway but there's no way a horse could get up it at the moment with huge sections of fallen ivy, formerly coiled around massive trees, blocking the extremely narrow and steep track. This is one of the better sections:



Look at these steps!


And eventually to the gate out onto the moor:



More hay drying in the baking sun; views from the moor back over the surrounding farmland:




The moon has been really clear in the daytime recently:


The deciduous grasses on the moor are fully green and seeding now:


These were taken of Kestor yesterday as we walked back home from our rather long walk:



I think this might be a young Buzzard's feather trapped in the grass. There were a lot of pigeon feathers a bit further on from a recent kill.


Every post must have its Meadow Pipit:


These two were taken from about ten feet away from the subject. The auto-focus wouldn't work so I tried putting it on macro just to see what happened.....zoomed in and hoped for the best. Pretty good I think and, after David Turner's invaluable commenting ( http://beverleybirding.wordpress.com/ I don't know what I'd do without him and a few others!), am sure it is a Keeled Skimmer:



Stonechat female:


Stonechat Male:


I hope Trigger doesn't get stuck in any bogginess tonight. Thank goodness it's been so dry of late. After school tonight, I took OB down to Chagford's fabulous river-fed outdoor pool, which comes somewhere in the Guardian's top 100 outdoor pools in the WORLD! The setting is amazing and it was so hot, even I got in. A fish and chip van visits the village every Friday and Wednesday evening and we indulged tonight. Takeaways are a rarity given where we live, so it was a real treat. What a lovely way to end the week. Until next time, here are Snippet and Jack feeling the heat. Snippet needs another haircut. Have a great weekend. 


43 comments:

  1. It definitely looks like great haymaking weather, and you need to make hay while the sun shines don't you! Glad that you had a great time at the swimming pool, it sounds amazing! xx

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    1. It's absolutely lovely. Google it!

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  2. Beautiful horse and such a beautiful place to live. The photo of the moon WOW! Really enjoy seeing your photos and learning the names of the birds x

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    1. He's very pretty and a lot smaller than he looks.....only 13.3hh!

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    1. I'm just waiting for the rain on the first day of the school summer holidays, only to clear up again on the first day of the Autumn term. My glass of gin and tonic is currently half empty.

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  4. Such a beautiful place you live.
    Lovely photos as always.
    The Boys are looking gud !

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. Snippet really does need the clippers though poor love. He's boiling out there.

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  5. Doesn't Trigger look magnificent! He's a clever horse - being with you means Good Times ! The swim and fish and chips sounded like a pretty good afternoon for OB too. The detail on that Scarce Chaser is magnificent. I'm going to talk with the camera people next week! Thanks for your information.

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    1. Do get one Virginia.....you really won't regret it. It's taking a while to get to grips with, especially the fact that the macro feature doesn't require the lens to be a fraction of an inch from the subject!

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    1. We're very lucky Joanne....very lucky.

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  7. Hello Em! How I have missed visiting your blog!! I'm sorry that life has taken me away from it, but I am hoping I'm back on track now, and can visit more often. The walk was really beautiful and looks like something from a story book and I've enjoyed your photos of the birds and dragonflies! I'm glad that Trigger can visit the Dartmoor Madams, and I love Snippet's shaggy look!

    Take care, and I hope you enjoy your weekend!!

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    1. You too Kim. I'm amazed you even find time to blog with all your seniors! x

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  8. Beautiful pictures as always.

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  9. Lovely set of photos, it's like living a week with you as I tumble through the photos. Haymaking is such a lovely time of the year, even though I am sneezing away because of the pollen...

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    1. Me too Thelma - I try and alternate the antihistamines every few weeks to avoid becoming immune but at this time of year, nothing really works does it?

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  10. Everyone is making hay whilst the sun shines at the moment aren't they....plenty of hay for the Winter months...phew!

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    1. Believe it or not I still have five bales that Trigger didn't eat in my neighbour's stable but yes, you're right, no worries at all I hope.

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  11. It looks very summery - great photos :) Love the dragonfly photos - hope someone with more dragon id skills than me can help with identification. Have a great weekend!

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    1. No offers yet RR so I'm sticking with the Scarce - it certainly looks like all the photos I've seen online so far. We're off to the beach tomorrow!

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  12. It will be another month before we make hay up here in the North Em. Silaging going on everywhere.

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    1. It can be the same here Pat but I think the farmers are taking advantage of this amazing weather in case there's none later in the year. The fields up here next to Triggers are always cut for silage rather than hay but are sitting waiting while they do the hay fields further down the hill.

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  13. Trigger is such a pretty boy!
    The local hay crop will be good this year. The last several years we've been in a drought, and had to buy hay from other states. Haylage is unknown in this country, btw.
    Love that overgrown path.

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    1. Isn't the path beautiful? Useless for horses and I managed to bet my bare legs cut to shreds on the brambles, but beautiful.

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  14. What a lovely walk you had!. I expect Trigger was excited to be out on his own - all those tigers in the hedgerow...! He`s looking very well.
    I love the dragonfly.

    We all hope for another good hay harvest and your photos look wonderful - I can almost smell those scented hay fields!

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    1. There's still hay left over from last year's bumper crop, so the farmers will be very happy. My nose is streaming.....

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  15. Lovely images... I always find fields of cut hay really calming for some reason... Happy Summer Solstice to you Em. Cx

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    1. Your too Cass. Wasn't it a brilliantly clear night? We could here the drums from Scorhill stone circle from here.

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  16. Looking at your photos, I get a warmly holiday and summer feeling. I can smell the hey ... oh well, that's maybe because the farmer is going to cut the field beside our house too :o). The bridleway looks very romantic ... I love this kind of ways but I understand that it is difficult to walk it along with a pony and two dogs :o).
    When I know where we will spent our holidays in Wales next year, I'll tell you. Would be great to meet you, but I'm not sure that we would understand each other, my English isn't very fluent :o).
    Take care and have a lovely weekend.
    Alex

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    1. Your English is fantastic Alex! Do let me know if you're planning to pass this way. We're about two and a half to three hours from Wales though......xx

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  17. Lovely images as always Em, this is such a beautiful time of year and I love all the hay-making scenes :-) The Stonechat is gorgeous too, a bird I haven't seen for quite a while.

    As regard the dragonfly species I think it may be a Keeled Skimmer rather than Scarce Chaser though having never seen Scarce Chaser I can't say for sure either way. However both species do occur in the Dartmoor area though from what I can tell Keeled Skimmer is the more likely.

    Hope you are well and kindest regards

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    1. Of course it is David - thank you. I've kind of been waiting for a comment from you to put me right! Will amend accordingly. The result of not enough time for proper research. Spending so much time with OB at the swimming pool isn't helping matters....I don't think they have WiFi! Hope you're well too and enjoying the sunshine; so much better for wildlife photography.

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  18. Love the pathway leading to the gates...
    You are a spectacular photographer, Em...
    Enjoy your week...
    Cheers!
    Linda :o)

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  19. Those photos were almost as good as being there and I could smell the hay! The world and his wife has been haymaking round here too, or haylaging, and the fields down by the Towy (being damper beneath) have had spectacular crops. I no longer get Hay Fever in my NOSE, but instead it affects my lungs, hence the recent changes of medication (different inhaler plus Montelukast tablets which stop the histamine production before it starts. Otherwise, with the pollen this bad, I think I would have been very poorly with my asthma.

    Amazing close ups of the birds (LOVE Stonechats) and the dragonfly. Trigger is looking super. Tell him that in Kipling's time, he was the maximum height for a Polo Pony! I bet he'd have been good at that too : )

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    1. I didn't know that about polo ponies - really interesting. They must have been stronger than Trigger! Thicker legs anyway - his are like matchsticks.

      I'm suffering in the nose and eyes mainly but have developed a wheezy cough since haymaking. Not surprising I suppose.

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  20. love your cute pups and your beautiful pony! so sweet of you to give him company when you can. i love seeing good hay crops - like all is right with the world. :)

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    1. You're so right about hay making you feel like that.

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  21. I can almost smell that hay, wonderful pictures of the bridleway and the moon. Sarah x

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    1. Looks like the good weather is coming back too - hooray! X

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  22. Hi, I've just stumbled upon your blog and I must say you have the most stunning pictures. A pure treat thank you x

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