Now for something not building related!!

Mmmmm a white blob in the field…..



What could it be……

The farmer who rents the fields put 26 sheepies in the field but all supposed to be barren or at least not pregnant this year……

Eek could it be remnants of dead sheepie…..

Eaten by what….. (Maybe the puma one of the neighbours keeps mentioning!!)

So I crept closer…..





Not dead remnants!!!!

Yay a little lambkin!!

Hardy little bugger mind, he/she was born amidst the snow!!! 

Rats!!!!

We have rats….. (Warning this post contains graphic details please don’t read on if you dislike the use of rat traps)

Kind of expected on the farm, where they are entering the tin hut and chewing holes in plaster board walls….

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But now we have them in our attic at home too!!!!

Now James and I have three cats…..

Marmalade my ancient ginger, who would know what to do but is as aforementioned is ancient……

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Frodo a elderly tabby who is house cat extraordinaire and would probably just poke them and run!

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And Parker…. Young….. Has fairly vindictive tendencies….. Could probably do the job…. But is the size of a badger and one pounce onto I boarded attic territory would mean a huge hole in the ceiling…..

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Here he is playing pillow to an ailing old Polly dog back in September days before she passed away….

Well Art Bart and Fargo here have been deemed useless…..

So I popped off the the hardware shop and bought myself some mega big rat traps….

We set them in the attic at home and within ten minutes of going to bed on night one bang a trap goes off!!! And thank fully didn’t blast through the ceiling!!!

After work the following day we headed up to the attic to retrieve the corpse……..

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One down how many more do you think we have in a three storey townhouse of relatively new construction!!!! Then the traps will tootle with us down the motorway to clear out the tin hut on the weekend!!! Just hope the force of the traps doesn’t blow a hole in the walls/ceiling in the tin house!!

Wildlife in the banks

I found a few lovely specimens of plant-life nestled in the banks of our hedgerows and borders on the May bank holiday!!! Any help identifying the unnamed hoots would be greatly appreciated!! I appear to have left the book on my newly made shelving unit in the hovel!!!

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Borage?

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Bluebells

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Red campion?

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More bluebells and…..

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Oo and bonus point for naming the fungus!

Day two in the little tin hut!

I wake very early, especially considering it was Easter Sunday, but the dawn chorus was LOUD, not surprising when you think that the little tin hut’s windows are ill fitting corrugated plastic and plastic bags!!!! I sat in the lounge area of the little tin hut and read some of the Gwlad magazines that the previous owner had left and gleaned some interesting pieces of information. Mum and Dad arrived from their B and B at about half nine, whilst I was being brave and trying out the hovel’s shower!!! Hot but weak, so with all my hair it took an age to rinse the shampoo out!!!

We started the day sorting out some of the issues in the triangle of doom, mainly by digging out the ditch by the drain and ensuring it was clear so that it might actually take some of the water under the road not down it in times of heavy rain!!

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It was at this point I realised that we had one decent spade with us and that was in use in the hole… So I got bored and wandered off to take some photos!!

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The view of the house as you come up the road….

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An exciting one now… The drain above stream pipe! Yes Dad don’t think even putting an iron trough there makes it drinkable water!!!

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Stream pipe as seen from above… Picture it now without brambles and bordered with willow pollards!!

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Bank side plants….
The blue being vinca the other I forget….

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And a few compulsory view shots!!

Although to be fair I was probably trying to get a onto on my phone of the buzzards or red kites swirling about in the sky!! Fail!!!

Rough Pastures

After a restorative cuppa in the Hovel we headed out along the other borders of the property over the rough pastureland.  Following the animal trails we wandered down to the stream pipe which seperates the two of the three section of rough pastureland.

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Dad suggested we get a stone trough put in under the pipe rather than the current ironwork one, to allow for the water to be drunk.  I am not sure who he intends drinking the water, but as most of it is pony field and road run off….. ummm maybe not!! Not mentioning the fact that how the heck would we get the iron trough out and a stone one in!!!

In the far rough pasture there is a lot of Sphagnum Moss and marsh gras in the field portion adn around the pipe stream there is a lot of Salix Caprea or Goat willow and a LOT of Briars.  We would need to start at the top of the stream and work down in order for us to recolonise the stream sides with basketry willow!

Dad also pointed out another good potential woodland ingress point!! I say potential, because a. its a bit steep, b. its full of briars and brambles!!  There is a fence line and another channel down from the road then that prevents us accessing the woodland between us and our Mill neighbour, so we will need more investigations down here in the fullness of time!  Somewhere in there is apparently our Japanese Knotweed colony! UGH!!!

Having crossed back over the piped stream, we walked back across the lower edge of the middle rough pasture, across another drainage stream, which is the one supposedly to take the mountain track run off under the road and off down the hillside.  At this point we have three Leylandii and a teardrop shaped piece of flattish land which goes off towards Big Field and the gate we will probably turn into a stile, which will be our Orchard when the autumn comes and we can get planting!

We have lots of Nettle beds over this side that Dad said should be full of butterflies soon.  Just as he said that we saw three large peacock butterflies sitting amongst the nettles.  We walked amongst the grass and nettles for a while longer and discussed orchard possibilities…. and found a young Ash tree.

 

The Woodland

The best place currently to get into the woodland is the top corner of Big Field.  As we went into the woodland the floor was a carpet of Wood Anemones and Celandine.

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It was beautiful.  We also found a few RedCampion flowers.

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To the left on entering the woodland the fencing/boundary needs to be sorted as it looks like our neighbours’ stock is travelling into our woodlands and potentially eating our bluebells.

Dad and James ventured the furthest down into the woodland.

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We found clearly stepped areas which would have been previously used by the coppice workers to access the lower areas of the woodland to work on the trees and coppice stools.  The stepped areas are visible across the whole woodland, with areas where they need to be reintated and shored up along the way!  There are a lot of hazel coppice stools along the topmost fringes of the woodland.

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And lots of Old Oak trees through the woodland.  We came across one that had ferns growing along its branches right the way to the top!

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There is a lot of moss covering the trees in the woodland and Mum said that we would never have to worry about buying hanging basket liners again.  Not sure if that is ever something I would worry about.  We also noted that we have quite a bit of overstood coppice and some dead branches that would need to be sorted in the most part to support the woodland’s regeneration.

We all eventually came back up to the top path and meandered along it.  The woodland has a lot of hazel, oak and sycamore.  in the middle section of the woodland under Big Field there are two felled oaks, probably as a result of the winter storms this year.  It looks like the one Oak’s heartwood has rotted and it snapped off taking the lower oak out with it!  I shall need to get those out and planked or logged up and into the barn!

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James looks like the cat that has got the cream in his photo!!  Look at all the lovely slate the oak’s roots have pulled out!  I wonder how hard it will be to extract a few bits!!!  It would be very useful for paths, stone walling etc, but some big chunks won’t bit easy to get out at all!

Walking further along the top path we came across a badger sett!

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James went down onto the next level of the woodland step and found another large entrance hole too!  We saw more early evidence of bluebells too, but also some more evidence of our neighbours wooly friends hopping into the woodland and eating them!  Venturing further along we found an old oven and some bags of rubbish dumped.  These will need clearing in the fullness of time, probably when we have a skip on site.  We found the remnants of a blackbird egg.

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We then left the woodland… not through the bottom corner of Big field as the briars have taken over, but through what seemed to be the badger latrine under a load of blackthorn!

 

 

Tentative First Steps!

We arrived at the Smallholding/Farm (I shall be using these terms probably fairly interchangeably!) to collect the keys and complete a few bits and pieces with the previous Owner.  We were introduced to the workings of the oil fired Rayburn…

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We were also shown how to precariously dip the oil tank to check levels, thankfully there seems to be enough in there for some time, especially given that we won’t be there all the time!

We read the electric meter and that was it…. No water meter as the property is spring fed…. no gas…. Just the electric and then the previous owner was making arrangements to collect some of her larger furnishings she did not want to move twice and that was it…. the farm was ours!!

That weekend we also met our tenants….

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Two of our barns are rented out currently to a local farmer who needs the extra space during lambing season in his sheds, so moves his cattle into ours!

We then had a wander about the property with James’ mum and Sookie, his dad stayed behind with Polly for a snooze on the sofa in the Hovel!

And found some tracks…. deer??? or some of our other tenants wandering out of their field…. The other tenants are a few sheep and their lambs in the fields….