Sunday, 26 April 2009


I had to visit someone, on Friday. He showed me these dear little lambs. They are known as Badger Faced Sheep. I couldn't resist taking a photo.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Blossom Time

I have to admit to becoming a little dizzy with joy, when blossom time comes around. At the moment, the woods have great swathes of white running through the canopy, as though some huge being had dropped her gauzy veil, while running through the trees.

This first blossom is Apple.Malus sylvestris. The major part of our Orchard.

This is Blackthorn. Also known as Sloe. Prunus spinosa. We planted a lot in the hedges, and scattered some along the edges of the wood.

Cherry. This is the cultivated form, Prunus avium. We also planted the wild cherry, Prunus padus, in the woods.

And finally, Pear. Pyrus communis. I think it is 'Barrone d'Mello', but cannot be sure. We started off with eight pears, but lost them for various reasons. Deer, vandalism, flood. They are also very tender in our particular location.
The Medlar, Quince, and Damson all have buds, but are a bit shy of flowering just yet. The Plum has been and gone.

Saturday, 18 April 2009


Oh, dear. It's that time of the year again. Which time? Well, plant sale time, of course.

This particular sale was by the Hardy Plant Society, at Monkton Heathfield village hall. As you can see, I bought a few things. Some Primroses, from the charity stall, for the woodland. Pulmonaria 'sissinghurst white', and a large-flowered white Viola, from a charming chap, whose name I have forgotten. An Arum italicum 'majorca' and a snowdrop list from Ros, of Beggars Roost Plants, and two Smilacina majalis from Joyce, the name of whose nusrsery I have also forgot.This is the single surviving Pear, which we put in at the same time as the rest of the orchard.It is the first time it has had any noticable amount of blossom. I don't like threatening my trees, but it seems to have worked!
I am still knitting! Another attempt at a bed for Babur. A lace scarf in Kidsilk Haze. An evening shrug for Nick , and the continuing saga of the Aran cardigan.

Friday, 17 April 2009


Quick, go and look at the Video of Goats on Devon Fine Fibres. I defy you to keep a straight face at the antics of the little black Kid. (Just click on the name, on the side bar).

Wednesday, 15 April 2009


This beautiful construction is a Blackbird's nest. Yesterday it contained some eggs, and was carefully hidden in a pile of wood and sticks. This morning I found it, partly pulled from it's hiding place, with the eggs broken ( and eaten) and strewn on the ground. Probably Magpies, possibly one of the two Foxes I saw earlier.
Luckily, we have lots of cover in the garden. It is possible this pair may try to nest again.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Bank holiday

This poor cat has been feeling the cold recently, and so has been nagging to be held, constantly. So, I knitted him a pure wool bed, and felted it. Sadly, I was over-enthusiastic with the heat. As you can see, he can sit in it. But he can't lie down! Oh well, back to the drawing board/ knitting needles.
A bank- holiday calls for cake. These are apricot filled Chelsea buns, from a slightly tweaked Nigel Slater recipe.
Aah, the smell of baking!!!

Most of the weekend was spent in the garden, though. Best beloved dug over some of the veg. garden, and managed to sow leeks, put in potatoes and onion sets, and dig in some home-made compost ahead of planting the beans. I dug over a patch in the front garden, adding some of the same compost, then planted about fifty sweet pea seedlings around a cane tripod.
We also moved two compost bins, which was a good opportunity to turn the contents. Another bin was put in place, ready to start filling. The compost we used came from two big heaps made last year.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Hopes and Fears

It was Close Knit on Friday, hence the Saffron cup cakes, and Cherry and Almond slice. The Primroses are from the garden, as mentioned recently. It was a lovely meeting, with lots of minor knitting snags quickly smoothed out. This time, there was a quite small group of us ( 13 ),
but the numbers vary quite a lot.
The Farm which backs onto our property, is being split up. The Farmhouse and buildings, with about a third of the land, is remaining in the hands of the chap who farms it. The remaining two hundred-odd acres has to be sold. The Farmer, bless him, came around to see if we want to buy any land adjacent to us. We would, of course, but cannot afford the price required. Any land that is close to houses, is sold as amenity land. We can't get an agricultural mortgage , because it is being sold as amenity land. We can't get an ordinary mortgage on it, as it is agricultural land. Do you remember Catch-22 ?
The reason I am worrying about it being sold, is that at present, it is being farmed to Stewardship rules. (Wide margins, little spraying, controlled topping,). We run our little holding as a private Nature Reserve. We are known for our high Song Bird numbers. Otters come through regularly. Deer and Hares regularly stop in the meadow. We have lots of Bumblebee nests. And our own Honeybees do quite well. If it is bought by someone less sympathetic than our present neighbour, I fear things like excessive hedge trimming, and chemical drift. I have to pray for a lottery win, or an Ecologically aware purchaser.