Tuesday, April 29, 2014

April - animal magic

There is so much going on now that Spring has arrived.  We have animals arriving in the field behind the bungalow, lambs baaing, cows mooing, horses doing that funny snorty thing, birds tweeting and colour everywhere.

Pansies, Daffs and Grape Hyacinth

This month we have been mostly:

- singing in Bath Abbey for the first time (J. S. Bach, St John Passion) followed by beer in a Bath pub (of course).  Bath Abbey was a former Benedictine monastery and is one of the largest examples of Perpendicular Gothic architecture in the West Country.

Bath Abbey - nice fan vaulting again

I took up my usual 'drawing a day' for Lent.  I succeeded, just.  Last year I drew 'anything' but it was too stressful trying to find things to draw.  This year I chose to draw only what I saw on my walks which made it a lot easier for me, being a procrastinator.  I was supposed to be giving up crisps but that didn't last.

We can now add 'herding sheep' to our CV's.  We found several lambs in the road on one of our walks!

Esme, just about to post a lamb back through a hole in the fence

Early on in the month, the weather was good so we managed plenty of nature walks. One day, Esme and I went on a walk that I had done many times but was new to her.  


Our nature table

Sarah has been playing with her new labour saving device for people who hate digging - a petrol tiller.  I haven't been brave enough to try it yet.  I'm worried it might drag me off up the garden.

Goggles, model's own

The garden is a riot of colour (and weeds, never mind).

Tulips and Fritillary

The poor old, gnarled pear tree in flower

Bluebells in the front garden (Spanish impostors of course)

I was spoilt on Mother's Day.  At my request, Sarah made my favourite cheese, potato and onion pie.  I love the 'M' on it.

I wasn't allowed to eat the whole pie

Esme made me two little chicks.  Luckily I haven't passed on my hatred of sewing in the genes.

We have lambs over the road, down the road, up the hill...  

So cute!

I have found many interesting objects on my walks.  I didn't take this skull home for the nature table!

Fox perhaps?

Pyrite (Fool's Gold) or meteorite?

I spotted this colourful caterpillar whilst weeding.  He will eventually turn in to a rather duller shade of brown - a Drinker moth, so called because they like to drink drops of dew.

Frank has brought in more shrews than we can count.  He left one poor little mouse on his back, four feet in the air, next to my walking boots.  Cheers, Frank.

He has also had his first fight.

Evidence on the nose, naughty boy

All Sarah's babies are now in the greenhouse so I can see out of the windows again!

Tomato plants in the dining room

The rapeseed has been gradually taking over and is now in full flow (as is my nose).

The farm manager very kindly delivered a load of cow poo for the veggie patch.  That kept us busy for a few hours, shoveling it all up.  We had a couple of wagtails who enjoyed dancing on it too.

Lovely stuff

It is so good to walk in the light in the early morning.  I always take the camera just in case and was so glad I did when I saw this amazing sunrise.  Oh, heard my first cuckoo of the year too.  Summer must be on the way.

I wasn't the only one up so early that morning

We have cows again behind the house.  They like to scratch their bums on our fence.

We are buying Tesco's value carrots for the four new horses

Esme and I tried a new walk this month.  This one started out near the mill, cut across to the next village, over the road, up the hill, round in a loop, through a farm and back down to the mill. 

We found this log cabin as we walked through the farm

Back down to the main road

Past the mill and home

We've walked the usual circuit.  So much rapeseed!

We've walked to our nearest woods to see if we could see any bluebells.

We found Early Purple Orchid

And lovely, scented Bluebells

We drove to Bristol for an Easter family get together.  I examined my sister's garden for weeds.  Nope, still none.

I love her greenhouse and the little chair to escape to!

We walked to Trooper's Hill.  I love this place.  It was part of a royal hunting forest in the 1600's, the chimney was used for copper smelting in the late 1700's and it was a coal mining area until 1904.  It is now a nature reserve with amazing views over the city.

Grade II listed chimney

It was nice to relax in the sun and have a good old chin wag

Back for tea and a slice of cake

Talking of cake - I made a 6 egg coffee cake last weekend for my parents' visit.

It was a bit of a monster

We too enjoyed a walk with Big Dog in between showers and a bit of speedy weeding.

Back to masses of rain and complete cloud cover now but I have had a sneaky look at next week's weather and things could be on the up, temperature wise.  I have been self tanning my lily white lower limbs in anticipation!

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