living rural

super snow...

Gatesnow
Gatesnow
Gatesnow

We have had record levels of snow, - of course, for our first winter here lets do it properly! ;) the pictures above are from day one of snow - hahaha I thought that was 'snow' 

Day two taught me exactly what a 'snow day' means! 

Robin
Robin
Robin

we are at over 30cm and snow forecast until at least 2am. 

If nobody hears from me for a while - send cake.... 

 


these two

...are almost one year old!

Goats

I cant believe they are this old already - they still answer the the shout of 'babies' when bring them in from the fields.  They were rescued from the road to the slaughter house before we even had land and caused many a fun adventure as we learnt exactly how to look after a goat - and also a) how loud they can be! and b) how good at escaping ANYTHING they are.

We adore them. Never have you met such loving animals - they will ditch food for cuddles, and just want your company, nothing else. They will eat/steal/attempt to to eat all toggles, buckets, zips, and buttons however. They give kisses, and like rich tea biscuits an awful lot.

Taken from their mother far far too early - at approx two weeks old - they were used in a 'children's farm' so the paying visitors could bottle feed them. They were bottle feed too often, and then when they begin to outgrown the need for milk - at just under four months- they were shipped out and the next lot of babies shipped in. And when I say 'shipped out' I do mean slaughtered.  I don't have a problem with correctly raised farm animals ending up that way, - its how farms work, right? but a supply chain of babies for mere 'fun' and profit? yes; I do have a problem. This constant round of babies in and out is quite shocking - the numbers are awful.  I was that naive I thought all children farms were lovely places where animals grew old and stayed forever. hahahah. 

Anyhow, stood in a barn full of goats and only being able to pick two was pretty hard. I had limited funds, and no land of my own. So I give these two my all, I make sure they have the best life, and are looked after and happy. For all the ones I cant save I suppose.  This is Herbie, and Walter. Living the high life in their own woodlands in Wales.  If you ever need a cuddle and a friendly chewed button or two, then please call in. 

 

*disclaimer, they don't normally wear scarves. However we had just finished our Christmas photoshoot! ;) 


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. 

 

 

Sunsetiphone

unedited sunset from the iPhone. *swoon*


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. 

 


East, west...

There’s a saying;

Create a life you don’t need to go on holiday from. 

Or something like that, if not a little more wordy. 

I go one further from that. 

Create that life, then go away and realise yep, you didn’t need to travel to realise you have it best at home. 

 

I live in one of the prettiest places. I hope I never stop seeing it. I hope I never NOT notice it, looking so stunning  that I need to pull over when driving to take a picture of the view. Or calling out to the kids to look at the mountains today. 

 

If I had a £1 for everyone who said they are just a bit envious of us upping sticks and moving somewhere more ‘us’, I’d be pretty damn wealthy. 

They all say they want to. How they often wish they did.

But, they all say, they couldn’t do it. 

Work. Or relationships. (The family reason does make me laugh— if you don’t live next door to your family you dont stop loving them. Or even stop seeing them, or contacting them.) Or you know the big starting again thing. All a bit scary. They couldn’t do that. 

 

(And sure, I’m fairly sure a muddy welsh hillside is not everyone’s dream)

Tho, there is a voice inside me wondering if you never ever step outside the easier, predictable comfort zone of what you do, of what is expected, of WHERE it’s always expected you will live, then you won’t ever know if you COULD do it, if it could work.  

 

 

I am far to old to ‘begin again’- but we did, and I’m way too old to say I’m living my dream... I switch the word for my ideal, sounds way less cheesy!!. But funnily enough I actually say it every day.  It isn’t perfect - by living the ideal I don’t mean it’s so perfect and dreamy. It’s got rain. Mud. Isolation. Sharp learning curves. A constant to do list. It’s really living my ideal. Not playing.  Doing it. Rough bits and all. 

 

As I write this, I am in a hotel room, having travelled for work.  I drove for hours and through a variety of landscapes. I got to do my favourite job, and also as a bonus see some good friends. It’s clean, has everything I could need, there are many shops and a billion facilities within minutes of here. 

Except of course, my dog. Or those views, that soft morning mist, snuffly pony noses, stone floors, homemade cups of tea, familiar sofa seats, goats that empty your pockets, fresh eggs in straw...  

 The best bit of travel is going home. 

 

 

 


List of five on Friday

My list on this Friday composes of things I have never done before.... 

until living here!

1) Booked a chimney sweep.

2) Built a wooden fence - with screws and drill, not sort of propped type fence up!

3) Hoovered firewood. Its a thing, honest. 

4) Learnt allll about the important bacteria in Cess pits and septic tanks. {all glamour here, obvs...}

5) Cemented anything.

Sunrise

It could be a much longer list. And some of them weirder than others, but I think its just a life skill crash course. right? ;) 

 


Barn beginnings

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Today was an excellent day… 

Not only did the building work in the kitchen finish, (stud wall came down and my kitchen became huge and delightful!) I also got to gawp, drool over and stare at seventeen year old photos of a crumbly white painted barn. 

Surrounded by knee high grass and part metal barn it was not vision inspiring. 

Yet, it became this house that I sit in. The photos I had the privilege of looking through showed the journey of this ancient beautiful barn into a smart house. Not losing any of the good bits -fab beams, solid welsh stone, and views, shedding some not so good bits - flaky whitewash, metal roof, and dodgy hayloft ladders. It was lovely to see, making us appreciate all over again the history and journey of the house. If you think I’m waxing a bit lyrical, you should know I have never lived anywhere ‘pretty’  Granted often the inside became pretty but the outside of the houses? Nope. 

 

 

Giving thanks to the farmer/shepherd/ancient bloke who build the barn, hundreds of years ago, and the {brave} builder who made a house out of it, seventeen years ago.