Thursday, May 02, 2013

More progress!

Yesterday we spent a blissful day with friends.  Before we moved here for the good life it was the norm to meet up at least once a week, sometimes even twice.  They truly are a very special and have a seed of ever growing friendship firmly planted within my heart.  Chelsea, Joseph, Tiegan and their friend M took Taisia off into town and they spent their time eating sandwiches and ice-cream whilst strolling around the sea-front.  Callum chose to stay behind and eat cake!  He pottered around the garden and watched tadpoles in the ponds as well as playing with the family dog.  He looked so happy, even though alone with his own company at times, joining the table of us nattering oldies to have his say or munch.  At one point when D had left the room for a moment Callum whispered "Mum, I really love it here.  I've missed D and M so much."  Enough to pull at the heart strings huh?  Due to car and health issues, since moving here (just over 6 months ago,how time has flown!) we had only managed to get together the once.  During the almost hour drive home I was racking my brain thinking of things we could do and places we could meet at to ensure that there isn't so long between visits again.  Once home I pottered around the land, tidying here and there and seeing to the animal evening chores.  I am so blessed to have this sort of life, one I've longed for for so long that the 'chores' don't seem any hardship.  I retired to the house at around 8pm-ish and settled for the night.

Today we have worked so hard in the garden.  So so very very hard.  I'm aching all over, my poor back, my legs, my arms, but strangely it was still enjoyable, and boy, what a difference we saw when we took a step back to admire our efforts.

Once again it was sunny here in Devon.  I just can't get enough of that yummy warm stuff.  I'm loving hanging the washing out in the morning as I chat to the quails and being greeted by 'our' robin as I go out to do the morning animal feeds.  One thing that has slightly affected that joyous feeling is the amount of stuff that we have still to clear around the place.  Don't get me wrong, we have done heaps and heaps and made numerous tip runs and a fair few fires to rid ourselves of what wasn't needed, but there is still lots more to do.  Today I decided to tackle the rear end of the drive area.  The area has been very neglected.  Flooding has meant a great deal of mess found its way from the neighbours and down our drive.  Some things went under the fencing gap but a fair amount got caught on the netting and ended up stuck.  It is a job that we should have tackled yonks ago but there is an ever growing list of what we need and want to do and it's one of those time-consuming and tough on the body jobs that gets pushed further down the list (accidentally on purpose some may suggest).

I should have taken a before pic before we got started but I just got stuck in with the digging out of roots and the removal of the larger items. It seems like such a long time ago now, but when we moved in it looked a little like this...

Not a very welcoming sight upon first arrival when visiting huh?

We worked hard through the not so pleasant months of rainfall and flooding, and it wasn't too long before a difference was seen.  The drive was clear from mud and the rocks moved and stacked neater.  Some were taken by neighbours in need and we kept some 'just in case' we found a cause.  So far the only thing we have used them for is for edging the animal runs to prevent any small gaps being seen by predators.  

It started to take shape and for a while looked like this...

I know I recently shared a 'first washing on the line of the year' picture and you could see all the junk piles that have formed as we continue the sort through.  

Today we concentrated on working on one side of the far end and I am so proud to say it now looks like this...

The audience (also known as next doors chickens) remained with us for much of the duration.  They were desperately hoping that we may chuck a worm or two their way during all the digging out.  It took us hours.  There were roots to cut, dig, and fight with, stones and sand to clear, and dirt and dead stuff.  So much dirt.

Tomorrow we will tackle the front portion of that section of the drive.  That's not quite such a huge job as we had started clearing a bit of that previously before the snow hit us but it will still be laborious.  But hey, when you see pictures of the progress you know it is all so worth it, and even when working hard and aching, we still raise a smile.  As well as living in this awesome house and feeling very blessed to be caretakers of it, we now share our lives with wonderful animals so when outside we always have their company.

There is Kira our Spaniel, forever hopeful that we will decide to throw the ball for her once, or a thousand times, pretty please....

Don't be fooled though, she isn't always sitting nicely and hoping.  Usually she is picking it up in her mouth and chucking it as hard as she can at you so you get the message.  She always looks so much younger after a clip and her energy levels seem to be rising not flailing!  I often forget will soon be in her 7th year.

Of course we have the girlies - in the form of our chickens, quails and goats.  The latter decided that they would really like to help and suggested that we didn't need to keep on emptying the contents of the wheelbarrow.  They were more than willing to just eat those contents instead.  All in the name of doing their bit and helping me out obviously...

I can't begin to tell you just how much the children have gained from having the goats around.  They have created a real sense of responsibility and are simply amazing with Tiegan.  They are often seen to be 'seeking her out' and run rather madly at her when she is finally spotted.

It appears that they also quite like me too which is rather nice.  This little lady (Pixie) is such a softie, and is often found looking for snuggles.  Here she is saying cheese...

All around there are things growing and ever changing.  Today I spotted this beautiful lot...

It's taking in the vision of the simple things, that we too often take for granted as we rush about dealing with our busy lives, that make me smile.  I am definitely noticing the small things far more since living here and nothing is now taken for granted.

Whilst Joseph and I were clearing the drive (husband helped us hugely once home from work), Callum was working out a bit a weighing and measuring.  He set up a 'see saw' like structure using some of the scrap wood that is left lying about.  He figured out how to set it up so that it was balanced correctly and allowed movement from the centre.  Callum then went around the garden finding things he wanted to weigh and compare to his own body weight.  I love the natural curiosity and learning process.  Chelsea stayed inside the house and had a bit of quiet time; reading, going on the computer, cooking a Cottage Pie and creating a rather yummy crumble like Apple and Blueberry pud.  The other two girlies pottered around.  Tiegan read stories to Taisia, they came outside and searched for worms (squealing in delight when tiny 'baby' ones were found), ran around with the goat, watched totally entranced at the work of a millipede and basically just enjoyed living in the moment. 

Of course, no posting about the outdoors would be complete without a sneaky peek of our chicken gals.  I am very happy to report that the newbies are settling in nicely and the two groups are mingling - to a point.  There is still a little strutting of their stuff going on by the oldies, no nastiness or pecking, just a purposeful stride over to a new one just to let them know that they are the boss.  I have been sitting in their pen with them today and watching all their behaviour and interactions.  I am so lucky.

Of course, the camera was never far from my side.

We had games of peek-a-boo with Betsy-May and Clarabelle...

We had the ever hopeful there might be treats in the offering cheeky Charlie (with Babs in the background)...

and we had admiring glances from Clarabelle, Tilly and Lulu...

I should go and try to get some sleep.  Another day of busyness tomorrow and with animals to care for there is never a lie in (unless somebody is very kind and takes over the morning routine for me - it has happened!).  Early starts are the norm though now so I'm going to have to try to sort out my sleeping pattern.  Early to bed, early to rise, isn't that what they say?  Hmmm, I'll ignore the clock that is telling me it is past 2am then and set this posting to be before midnight or else our todays and tomorrows will appear confusing!


  1. Lovely peek a boo chickens Julia! :) xx

  2. Lovely to read such happy postings! All the very best and long may it continue! xx

  3. Looks great...well done you! I love the photos too.