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September 2017

October 2017

Tis the season...

No, this is not a post about Christmas. Whilst that might be your busy season, here at the barn this is the busy season. We switch from summer to winter. From summer grazing, summer feeding to the winter versions. Theres new fencing to sort, new morning and evening routines, absolutely no light in the mornings, the realisation you need a coat and a hat now at 6am, with gloves in your pocket  Its time to worm the animals, harrow the poor old summer grazing, clip the ponies, add fluffy bedding to the chicken house, feed serious amounts of hay, and do something about all the bloody leaves.  Every day there are new bits of branches to pick up, plus now the thick prickly hedges are mostly leaf free they need checking and re-enforcing against small ninja escape artists the goats. The sunrise isn't really a 'rise' anymore its sort of dark grey to light grey thing. Sunsets can be pretty though. If the fog hasn't turned up. 

Now is the time to do it of course, before we reach the heavy frost and frozen ground part, where you have to break the ice on troughs, slide through a foot of mud at every gate and wonder why your hobby isn't something indoors.  

There are never enough torches, ready filled haynets, matching gloves or hours of daylight. 



Still wouldn't swap it for the world. 




unedited sunset from the iPhone. *swoon*

welsh ponies

Wild welsh ponies are very different from the 'wild' {not remotely wild, owned and cared for} new forest ponies back in Hampshire. For a start these are often actually wild... unhandled, utterly wary of people and not remotely likely to pinch your picnic like the New forest pony.
 Rather beautiful, short, and with the trademark dished faces and big, big eyes, they are one of the oldest British breeds. I come across these ponies occasionally when out hiking across the uplands and moors. They really do hide, and appear randomly, only to be gone again moments later. 




These three hung around and watched me go by, not at all impressed by my offers to come and live with me cheery hellos and friendly comments, they eyed me suspiciously all the way. I turned back to check just as I got out of their sight, and yep; they were still watching me go. 


make do and mend....

I had to laugh when I saw this gate - or more accurately three gates and a pallet. 
I feel their pain. I wonder if they too have goats? I have patched a fence with many a thing in order to contain small, deceptively cute looking, ninja goats. 

Plus what the hell did we all do without baler twine? 

Patched gate

ever growing CV

Seriously; I have now used *fire cement. Something I can assure you I never knew even existed. Its an utter pain in the arse to manipulate but now the gap in-between the chimney and liner has been filled.  I know - domesticated doesn't even begin to cover it.  ;) 

I have also fixed the back step. I think. 

such an impressive every growing list...**

Built a chicken run. using the right equipment and electric screwdrivers instead of just baler twine. 

Rebuilt part of a stone wall that hasn't moved for hundreds of years.  not completely sure it will make the next hundred.

Driven a quad. briefly, well its a blue job, definitely.

creosoted much fencing. never again until next year.

dried nettles. ***

* fire cement; like a cross between actual cement and silicon. Fills holes in things like stoves and wood burners. withstands heat to stupid degrees. Black and requires throw away gloves. thank goodness amazon knew what my chimney sweep was on about.  

** disclaimer, I'm not suggesting I am actually any very good at these things, just that I've done them... ;)

*** for ungrateful ponies and goats to eat. I detest stinging nettles, even with layers of clothes and gloves on the damn things still managed to sting me. 


five on Friday

1) Chimney sweeps do not look like anyone from Mary Poppins, nor do they sing or bring small victorian children with them; most disappointing. ;) The first chimney sweep I've ever booked was a lovely guy, and did not seem to mind my endless questions, or the fact I sat and watched the whole process LOL... I did explain that we were from the city, and had only ever had difficult gas boilers previously, not any real fires. You'll be pleased to know, (or maybe you won't, but I was) our fire has clean bill of health a safety certificate and a new log basket. No matter how pretty stacked by the stove logs look, - nor how many house magazines you've seen that it - logs stacked by the woodburner is a safety issue he would not let pass. So now I know. 

2) The number of leaves on the floor after high winds this week would lead you to believe there can't possibly be any more left on the trees, but oh there are. Realising if I want the goats to eat all the fallen leaves so the horses don't I will need an ARMY of goats to do so. My two goats aren't really coping. Plus to be fair they prefer biscuits.... 

3) I've become addicted to audio books whilst I paint walls. Painting is dull and the radio doesn't always hit the spot so now I've been listening my way thro the latest bestsellers as I paint. Cant decide if this makes me a genius or just old, but either way - I recommend it. 

4) I'm pretty sure there is nothing worse than an outsider moving in and telling you how things should be done, so I've tried to not moan about how it is, or how things have always been done around here. but please, for the love of all sanity, can we just name some of the local lanes. Any name you like, just a few of them. Because none of them have names, all of them are identical - single file traffic, high hazel hedges, pretty damn hilly - and all of them lead to very different places. Directions to places like great dog walks/stunning views/cute little farm shop/brilliant riding track  - i.e.; things that aren't on a sat nav - are given in at the form of long list of random things to look out for.  Go right, then keep right, when you get to a grassy bit, then go right again, go up a steep hill, look out for a tall barn, turn left there... its like mental torture, and I never want to be rude and point out to anyone kind enough to give me directions that my head stopped taking it in after line three. Grassy bit? hills? barns? We are in the middle of WALES; its entirely hills, grass and barns round here! 

5) You might recall a post about dustbins and the lack of them. as an update, here in month three we still don't have them. Its been three calls, four emails, and an complaint form. Apparently they are on they way.  No holding breath. Mind you, quite possibly they were given similar directions as above tho...


picture of the gorgeous ginger pony and I riding out,  with a rainbow ahead. 

Puzzle ride rainbow


Things I can't be trusted with

the list grows... 

Sat nav use. I swear my Sat Nav hates me. Why else when travelling to the same far off place, from the same starting point, would it take me four very very different ways.... including one that added an hour onto my time.  Realised my Uk geography is shocking as I had no clue whatsoever if I was heading in the right direction, nor where I could turn off or cut through. 
Still, now I can say I have been to some places I've never been before. {and am never likely to be able to find again}  Also can we start a campaign for service stations, bathrooms, Starbucks and sandwich sellers on all minor A roads please? Because when you are driving along thinking I'll surely be on the motorway in a minute -for over three hours- you would dearly love to see one or all of those things. On the plus side... no, there is no plus side.  What I saved in calories I used in petrol... 

Matches. As a lover of all things vintage and of items 'with history',  I do not keep my matches in a match box, I keep them in a metal tin that says OXO on the lid and is a delightful battered shade of red.  However lighting a match and dropping it INTO the tin of other matches today, causing them all to light, gave me enough grey hairs to contemplate match boxes not being a bad thing after all.  I do now know however that vintage stock cube tins are fireproof. hurrah.