28 April 2013


Oh dear.....I was so sure. Not a peep of any maleness when I've seen her/him before, but yesterday morning I was in for a shock had a dangly wee right in front of me.  I won't sully proceedings by showing you a photograph of the event, but the next one leaves no room for doubt. Where did that come from? It's lucky I'm not a vet really. Hopeless.

Clearing the garden of general detritus today, some still left from last year's dry rot nightmare, we found this frog in the watery bottom of a Land Rover tyre. It was very lethargic and made no attempt to escape, so we put it under a rotting stump, close to the tuppaware bowl we sunk into the ground for tadpoles and away from the little canine assassin in the hope that it will recover. I'm not absolutely sure what it is; Common or Marsh. It looks more like a Marsh frog with the eye ring and colour, but I'm not prepared to make yet another mistake! Any help here appreciated. 

This morning, Foal A was particularly frisky.....again. Look at him here; his mother was not amused. 

Another rescue today: a bee in the middle of the road, back legs so heavy with pollen that it couldn't take off. I put it on the verge and it was gone by the time I walked home.

The view towards Cosdon Beacon:

Snippet looking towards home....sort of. Actually, he was looking at Foal A to his left; worried about another confrontation.

This is the shelter belt that protects our tiny hamlet from the South Westerly winds:

Trigger thinking I had arrived with food today - I hadn't:

Sparrow in the hydrangea. No shoots on it yet.

Nuthatch bum:

And feeding. I have to admit to cursing them recently as they wake me up at 5.30am with their Guinea Pig-like call.

Great Tit:


I can't believe the weekend is already over. Snippet is lying, wet from a rainy evening walk, in front of the fire, as dogs should. Am idly watching the Antiques Roadshow while writing this and waiting for the final REALLY expensive item. Until next time, here's Snippet, about to take off at speed after something or other. 

26 April 2013


Yesterday afternoon, as Snippet and I turned for home, he lagged behind searching for rodents in tussocks. We were in an area close to Trigger's field where the land drops away and areas are impossible to see from even high up. I walked on but stopped when I heard high pitched neighing  and the thundering of tiny hooves behind me. Snippet shot out of the gorse with Foal A in hot pursuit. What a feisty little thing he is. No fear. I imagine Snip woke him up by mistake. Not a mistake he'll want to make again any time soon. Bizarrely, there was a sense of protecting his mum as she appeared behind him looking completely relaxed. She knows Snippet well. The foal trotted up to her having given up the chase, looking very proud of himself. I managed to catch him as he slowed down having seen me:

And here he is going back to mum:

Yesterday I also saw.....

Another Meadow Pippet

Water Crowfoot flowers emerging

A female Wheatear - sorry....rubbish was miles away!

Foal number 3 from last year looking completely ridiculous. He's about three feet high still.

A very relaxed sheep
This morning when I went to feed Trigger, I found Daisy and Ida hanging around the wall to the field. I hadn't seen them for a few days so I was delighted.

Believe it or not, the two of Ida lying down were taken after I came out of the field. Much more relaxed than Foal A....Snippet was trotting around her and she fell asleep!

Later on today, Colette came to trim Trigger's hooves. It's the first time I've had to actually catch him for nearly six weeks. When I feed him, I just give him a brush and a rub, and keep the mares at bay. I don't use food to catch him; I think it sets a bad precedent. Those high minded principals nearly went out of the window today I can tell you. The wild mares associate me with a battle for food and, as I casually strolled over to Trigger, complicated rope headcollar in hand, they started their relentless onslaught, despite the fact that I clearly had no food-based items about my person. Ten minutes of trying to keep calm with a panicking Trigger trotting around, araby tail in the air whilst shooing three persistent and extremely annoying Dartmoor madams away and I was getting close to losing my cool. However, I held it together and my highly strung boy at the best of times eventually responded to my deep breathing and what I call my calming tube train position....legs slightly bent; centred and solid (as if riding a rocky train with nothing to hold on to) so as to relax him to the point of licking and chewing. This achieved, I tied that stupidly complicated rope halter knot in haste and led him back to Colette, standing patiently at the gate, trying not to laugh I think! Hooves trimmed, I trudged home, only to have to go back again two hours later with food; a walk in the park compared with the earlier shenanigans!

The Dartmoor madams

It's been a long day. School library duties this morning and lots of other bits and pieces, none of which have exactly gone to plan. I'm looking forward to the weekend; I hope you enjoy yours. Until next are some cheeky sheep peering at me this morning.

23 April 2013


Today, Snippet and I went for our first walk of the year that truly felt like spring. For so many months, there has been barely a bird out there, but today, the grass was alive with little spiders, the air full of little flying insects, the odd bee and many, many birds. The sun was shining and, despite slipping over early on and bruising my knee, it was an absolute joy. Even the garden is beginning to show signs of life with many of the hedge trees starting to sprout; not the beech obviously - that will be late May if we're lucky! What follows is a record of everything I managed to photograph. there was a lot that I didn't get: a Wheatear, a couple of Palmate Newts and a trio of Buzzards soaring together.

We started in the garden where Celandine is at last flowering:

Past the big Beech tree on a wall where periwinkle tumbles:

As we walked up the path along the stream onto the moor, I spotted this pheasant; an unusual sight up here and it looked very unsure of itself:

I went to check the place where we put all the rescued frog spawn and saw this toad spawn in the water. Two Newts shot off as I got there so these may not last long. 

On the way over to the stream near the tin shepherd's hut, we saw these lambs. I don't usually see them out on the moor; the farmers normally keep them in fields until they're older.

Then, in the distance, I spotted a mare and foal. Foal D. 

Another dark coloured one. Not black, but after last year's endless skewbalds, it's lovely to see more traditional Dartmoor colours. They were very shy, so the zoom was in action, hence slight fuzziness:

A Meadow Pippet. There were lots and lots of them out today.

A small Tortoiseshell by the stream. Terrible picture - sorry. Zoom rather than macro.I was just amazed to see one at all.

Plant life in the stream. Didn't have time to trawl through books to check what it is.....apologies.

As we walked up the hill away form the stream, I spotted ANOTHER mare and foal. Foal E. Another dark one and enchanting again:

A long walk home again with a few misses again. Only managed to capture another Meadow Pippet:

A cup of Lapsang Souchong and a slice of walnut cake once home. Out again at 3.00pm to feed Trigger. We have a resident Pied Wagtail who joins us at feeding time:

Home again to wait for the school bus. A lovely day including starting a drawing which I'll post about another day. Until next time, here's Snippet today.