4 May 2012


A passable day with no rain yet. Whilst out walking, I heard the first cuckoo of the year. I usually hear it in April but everything seems to be late. Haven't see it yet, and when I do, I will mistake it for a kestrel or sparrow-hawk initially. If you've never seen one, they flap their wings in a very bird of  prey-ish way. Yesterday, walking in the mist, the whole moor was covered in black slugs but today there are none to be seen. Easier to spot the ponies though and Betty is getting bigger. I saw something moving in her tummy and am beginning to feel like an expectant grandmother. No other new foals yet but I think there are five or six mares to go.

Big Betty

I was busy drawing foal number two yesterday (see top right) and am getting increasingly frustrated with our lack of progress scanning and printing them. I had hoped to get my Etsy shop open by now, but the delicacy of coloured pencil drawings is proving extremely difficult to reproduce. The subtlety within one pencil stroke is being lost in the process and I don't want to sell anything that doesn't look exactly like the original. We'll get there eventually but apologies to those people who have enquired. Here's a picture of one of those delightful black slugs instead.

Where are they all now?

Finally, we planted a mixed native hedge last year which, quite frankly, has looked like a line of dead twigs all winter thanks to high winds blowing all the beech leaves off. The hornbeam, guelder rose, hazel and blackthorn are all springing to life but the beech is looking like we're going to be waiting until June for any sign of leaf! We planted another hedge around our wood-chopping area in February, which I wanted to be stripy, so it's alternate alder and purple beech trees. Same problem - the alder is out but the beech is definitely not. Most of the beech at lower altitude is forging ahead but not ours. I just never learn. Next beech. 

Second foal today


  1. How wonderful to have wild ponies to watch. Does the herd have a stallion bossing them around? I dont have much knowledge of your part of the worlds handleing of wild horses, will be reading for more info. The foals are just precious. You accident sounds very scary and what a miracal you can walk today. I dont think Id every get on a horse again either. I grew up with them but dont have any now and would be afraid of older bones too. Id love to live in a place like you do so will enjoy vicariously through your blog. Be well, Kate

  2. It is wonderful and I feel very privileged that they let me get as close as they do. The stallion was only around for a couple of months last summer and I haven't seen him since. Most of the herds are owned, usually by local farmers who round them up once a year and sell most of the foals or yearlings. None of these foals are true Dartmoor ponies, who wouldn't have been coloured like these but lots of people breed the real ones and keep them separate so the breed stays pure.

    My accident was extremely scary and I'm very, very lucky to be alive and even luckier to be walking. When I think about it, I break out in a cold sweat, and the sound of a helicopter makes me want to cry! I'm sure it'll pass or get easier. I have to go back to the hospital where I was for twelve days and walking past the helipad is working quite well as aversion therapy!

    Thanks so much for following and I have to say I think we live in one of the most fabulous places in the world, but clearly I'm very biased. We've only been here ten years but I wonder how I ever lived in a city. I find it really stressful going back on the VERY rare occasions I do.


Thank you so much for leaving a comment. It's great to read them and I will always try to reply.