Weekend Activity

It’s feeling like a productive weekend here in Wales.

The farmers are cutting the hedges and the farmer who grazes his cattle on our field has very kindly agreed to cut our hedges. They arrived this morning and we asked them to cut them nice and low for us. The previous owner apparently liked to keep them high, but as our neighbours pointed out, that’s not great if we gets lots of snow. Over time, the height of the hedge has pushed them down the hill they sit on and any snow on top would certainly compound this problem, so the hedge cutters have cut them nice and low for us!

It’s made a big difference in the lane, it looks much wider now, and there will be more light getting to the road too, which will be good In the winter when it’s icy.

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Mr Bumbleandme is busy cleaning and sanding the facias on the house, ready for painting. He’s doing what he does best – making a right mess! He’s doing a very good job, so I shan’t complain on this occasion.

I’ve given the ducks a spring clean and am about to plant the many plants I’ve bought over the last few weeks. It’s surprising how many plants I’ve bought, especially considering I was planning on not buying any for a while!

I visited the cafe at the National Botanic Gardens of Wales the other day, which was conveniently situated by the garden centre. I obviously had to have a look and came away with some Monarda’s and a Geranium. The bees adore Monarda’s and the one I bought from our old house has done really well this year here. As for the geranium, well I’m a geraniumholic so I couldn’t resist! I also found myself in the local garden centre the other day and bought some pretty little white viola’s and a Pratia treadwellii (unfortunate name for such a pretty plant!). Both have little white flowers so they are destined for the white border. I’ve also discovered some lemon balm growing in a bed we cleared the other weekend, so I’ve potted some of that up to move. We’ve covered the bed in fabric membrane in an attempt to get rid of the weeds. Not sure it’ll work, but it’s a good start I think. Hopefully by the spring the weeds will have weakened enough that I can pull them out myself and clear them by hand.

We’ve also been busy in the veg patch. Mr Bumbleandme donned his protective gear and has sprayed the area. Unfortunately, it’s far too overgrown to try any other method. I’m not a fan of chemicals, but it was either us or the weeds! I’ve also purchased some mypex to out down once the weeds have died down. This can then stay down and I can build raised beds and oaths over the top of it, if I choose to. We’ve also been very lucky that a neighbour has sold us their old polytunnel, minus a plastic roof. Hopefully by the spring, we’ll be ready for planting some bits in the veg patch and the polytunnel will be ready for growing tomatoes and seedlings in.

The kittens have ventured out for the first time this morning. Dilys (who is actually a boy!) is showing very good hunting skills. He was running around looking for things to carry in his mouth and the longer he was out, the bigger the leaves and twigs got! Russ (who is actually a girl!) was just having fun chasing her brother and climbing trees! We would have left them out a bit longer if it wasn’t for the farm machinery up and and down the lane.

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Have a good weekend everyone.

The Ducks are Growing

I managed to get some half decent photos of the ducks at long last!

They are slowly beginning to warm to us. Sadly we haven’t been able to spend lots of time with them, so they are a bit warey of us still, but they are getting used to us.

We are pretty sure we’ve got two boys and two girls in the ducklings, as they’re beginning to show off their adult plumage now. The boys are much lighter than the girls and they have a black hood. We’ve also realised that the girls quack and the boys rasp.

One of the boys is destined for Northamptonshire where it will be swapped for a girl. I have a friend who hatched some khaki’s around the same time as ours and she wants to do some more breeding hut needs an unrelated male, so I said I’d happily swap – it saves him from the dinner table!

I’ve also discovered that they probably won’t start laying until they are around nine months old, so it’ll be the new year before we start to see eggs. Hopefully myrtle will start before then, but I’m still not sure what the eggs look like, so when I’m hunting around their pen, I’m not rally sure what I’m looking for!

We’ve been very fortunate to have some pond liner donated to us by a very kind old friend. We are desperate to make a start on the pond, ready for when the rain comes, and I keep being assured it will come and when it does it’ll be here until spring! Unfortunately though other things have to be done first, mostly tidying up the jobs we’ve finished.

It amazes me how much rubbish you accumulate from jobs. I cleared a border the other weekend and I’ve been left with a mountain of perennial weeds that needs burning. And we’ve had some building work done on the house and are left with another mountain of rubbish that needs sorting out. Never mind, we will get through various mountains and then we can start on the duck pond. The ducks are happy enough in their temporary (although becoming permanent) bath. They run to it in the morning and scrabble over who’s turn it is in there. Then they scurry around in the long grass looking for grubs.

They really are very entertaining. I sat and had coffee down there this morning and watched them whilst the cat sat on my lap, grabbing a bit of fuss when he can. It was very peaceful, listening to the birds and the farmers in the fields.

The cows are back in the field too, they arrived this morning. I was going to take a photo, but they had vanished into the undergrowth by the stream and I could hear them splashing about and occasionally see a brach moving vigorously.

Right, I’m off to burn the perennial weeds now! Happy Friday all, and have a good weekend.

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Feeling Grateful

We’ve been here six months now and it’s fair to say, we’re loving it. It’s challenging at times, daunting too, but it’s a fabulous place to live. Everyone we’ve met has been so welcoming and very helpful.

We’re slowly getting used to our new way of life and I have to say I don’t miss the old one.

The last few days of summer are reminding us just how lucky we are. Me and Bumble the dog had a glorious walk this afternoon and I took some photo’s of where we live. It’s working farmland and they were busy cutting hedges and moving slurry today and the tractors have been busy tonight going past the cottage.

I like the fact that’s the landscape is worked, it’s not manicured, it’s honest and beautiful. Have a look and see what you think, hopefully you’ll agree.

This is the farm where the kittens were born. I love walking through here on our walks, there's always lots going on.

This is the farm where the kittens were born. I love walking through here on our walks, there’s always lots going on.

A stile into a field. If you walk down there the hedges are bursting with blackberries and sloes.

A stile into a field. If you walk down there the hedges are bursting with blackberries and sloes.

This is a view not far from home.

This is a view not far from home.

A water trough in a field.

A water trough in a field.

Field gate.

Field gate.

Update on the Cottage and the Ducks

Morning all, sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted anything. We’ve been busy finishing the duck enclosure, entertaining an endless stream of friends coming to visit and busy working.

The ducks are all doing fab, they’re fully grown now and it’s hard to tell Myrtle apart from the ducklings (still unnamed). They love being able to roam around in the ‘orchard’ foraging for bugs and particularly enjoy cabbage scraps.

We decided to try steps instead of the beautiful ramp that Mr Bumbleandme made for them, as they wouldn’t use it and we had to pick them up each night and put them in the duck house. This was causing them lots of stress and we didn’t want all the hassle of chasing them and putting them in ourselves for ever. So, I got some breeze blocks that we’re lying around and used some roof tiles to straighten it all up and they now have steps going up to the duck house, which they use! Hooray. I’m even more delighted to say that they put themselves to bed at night. We go down about six to feed them and they are all tucked up in the duck house quacking about when the humans are coming to feed them, and they get very excited when they hear us coming. The racket they make when we’ve shut them up at night is so funny to hear, listening to them eating their dinner – you’d think they’d never been fed.

Watching them come out in the morning is funny too. They haven’t master the art of hopping out, they seem to prefer to fall and sometimes roll a little down the hill. Very ungraceful, but highly amusing.

The cows are back in the field. Only three of them this time around as the others have had their calves. We keep waking up in the morning wondering if there will be a baby calf in the field, but not yet. The ducks don’t seem to mind they’re new neighbours, although the cows stare intently at the ducks when they are making a calamity, which is quite often.

Here is a photo of our first camping visitors. They made a really good job of setting up camp, it looks fab. The second photo is of the ‘orchard’, where the ducks live. I’m planning on getting some small bare root apples trees in the autumn to put in there, as I’d like it to be a meadow/orchard/duck enclosure. I’m probably wishing for way to much out of the space, but it’s worth a try.

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New doors arrive at the cottage

Good evening folks, sorry it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on here – we’ve been soo busy.

The Rayburn is fab – although we’ve only had it on a couple of times because it’s been so lovely and warm here.  We’re slowly getting to grips with cooking on it.  The radiators have also been installed, so when the Rayburn is fired up its toasty in the cottage!

But big news this week is the new doors that have been fitted – they look brilliant and will make such a difference this winter along with the other steps we’ve taken to getting this little bit of Wales toasty and warm this winter. I’ve been busy painting them this weekend while Mr Bumbleandme has been if fishing off the fencing for the duck enclosure – it’s looking like Buckingham palace! Can’t wait to take photos of them wandering around.

Anyway, I’ve digressed slightly, sorry.  The doors…

I would very much appreciate some comments because as I’ve been painting I’m unsure what to do with the door frames – should they be white of the same colour as the doors?? Having looked on the web it would appear the most popular is white, but why go with the crowd? I think they would look better white, but I’m not sure and would love to hear from anyone with an opinion to help us decide. I’ve posted some photos below so you can see what they look like.  It is only the first coat, so please   Ignore the patches.

The front door.

The front door.

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The back door. I’ve always wanted a stable door!