Cleaning the garden is much more favourable then cleaning the house! But just like the house, I have a habit of changing things around. The garden never seems to look the same one year to the next and quite often, my kind and unassuming husband (a creature of habit) gets quite exasperated with my ‘uplifting’ projects. But I cannot help myself! I see things quite differently, one season to the next. So it’s out with a spade, a fork and a pair of wellies. Oh, and a sketch pad too!
Making a map of the garden is something I have always enjoyed doing. It’s a bit like art work! However, just like a sat nav, my paths around the garden don’t always lead to anywhere in particular. But I do try to make the journey interesting by adding plants that make me smile or herbs that, when I brush past them, release a smell that can only be described as delightful!
Today, I looked at the compost bins and decided they ought to be moved to an area of the garden where they can’t be seen. However, when I turned to walk back up the garden path, I saw my kind and unassuming husband watching me. He was smiling and shaking his head so I guess I will have to work harder on that one.
For those of you who would like an update on our home for waifs and strays, here a few. Remember the baby chicks we had? Do you remember also, Lolo who turned up on our doorstep one Christmas morning,We didn't want a dog but could never imagine life without her now. Well, she fostered the orphaned chicks, totally of her own accord! They are fully grown now and chase each other around the garden like excited children. Lolo still keeps a watchful eye over them. And just the other evening a very young duck found its way into our garden. He had bed and breakfast with us, before being re homed in a beautiful garden built especially for ducks with a pond and an island. A very happy ending!
All seems quiet in our log store, where last week there was evidence of a polecat or ferret. I guess it’s moved on for the time being, I sigh with relief! And do you remember Miss Broody Pants? Well she is still sitting on an empty nest, wishing and hoping for more young ones. We keep lifting her off and feeding her, but at the first opportunity, she scurries back.
The frogs and toads are back in the pond and my kind and unassuming husband and I sit in the evening listening to all their chatter. It's incredible! Soon the garden will be a hive of activity.
Our allotment is crying out for us to make a start and the greenhouses need cleaning. So much work but we can't wait for the rain to stop so digging can commence!
So as you can see, life at our home is busy as usual but never too busy that I can't sit by the pond with a cup of sweet tea and just think! Even in the rain!
I often think about the animals that scurry through our garden at this late hour, the hedgehogs, polecats, foxes (lovely animals, despite being a relative of the wolf and not very chicken friendly!) shrews and rats ugh! And of course the mice!
With less competition at night, the bat with its leathery wings, is a frequent visitor to our garden and contrary to belief, the bat is not blind. In fact, bats often have better eye sight than humans.
There’s an owl that rests occasionally in the tree by the pond. With her heart shaped face, she has her eyes on shrews with their voracious appetite. And oops I mustn’t forget the frogs and the newts all gathering in their birth place and and soon to arrive are the toads with their warty skin and squat bodies.
Sleep well all of you!
Our Earth is still, or so it seems. Down below, our village is quiet. Even the hens tiptoe around the garden with very little to say. A buzzard flies overhead, silent, graceful and with intent. Even the seagulls have retreated back to the crevices in the cliffs as though knowing, something is about to happen.
The sky is dull and heavy with its clouds rolled into one. The trees around our home for waifs and strays stand in yoga pose. Rooted to the ground, their branches stretch upwards, searching for light.
It’s winter, time is slow. Snow is on the way.
Winter at our home for waifs and strays is usually quite quiet, however, anything can happen and this winter is no exception. Everything, it seems, needs fixing, replacing or removing, but as animals continue to hibernate, this can be difficult.
Don’t worry, I shall only mention them once, but rats have been a problem. Using a humane trap, we caught as many as we could, and took them to a valley across the moors. It seems to have worked, for the time being, as we haven’t seen hide nor hair of one for quite some time. Fingers crossed they have taken the hint!
Many of our hens are quite old now, seven or eight years. However, they seem quite happy in their retirement, still wondering down as far as the pond. The younger ones look grumpy during these short, cold days and strut about with their feathers fluffed up to keep warm. Eggs are in short supply until Valentine ’s Day, when things begin to change.
Remember lolo, our rescued dog? Well she’s proved to be a valuable member of our home for waifs and strays and even my kind and unassuming husband has been trapped under her spell. She adopted two orphaned chicks last year and they still remain friends in the garden. It’s an incredible sight.
We did well with our garden allotment last summer and benefited from the fruits of our hard labour. Apart from the cabbage white butterflies, feeding off the lush green leaves, we managed to harvest most of our crops.
It’s the foxing hour and I can hear their shrill calls on the other side of the hedge. It’s always a worry but we do the best we possibly can. Thank you for looking in. Please call again.
I never wanted a pony as a child, there were enough wild ones loitering around the home where we lived and they always terrified me, especially when their ears went right back and they began to snort! But my sister did want a pony! She longed to ride with her friends across the sandy beaches that Gower is so famous for, and return home through the valley where I spend most of my time. And to my disappointment, her wish came true. Well sort of!
One late summer’s day, straight from school my father took us with him to a farm on the other side of the moor.
‘We have to walk,’ he said, ‘because we might be bringing something back.’ I knew it was going to be a pony and sulked all the way there and all the way back, with a rather reluctant pony in hand.
‘That will be twenty four pounds,’ the farmer had said. ‘A pound for every month of his life, not bad eh! Need a bit of breaking in but he be worth it!’
My father smiled and nodded his head and handed over the cash. My sister was blinded by the whole ‘pony dream’ and couldn’t see the potential disaster about to unfold. Me, I could spot it a mile away. This was no ordinary pony. They didn’t call him ‘Frisky’ for nothing!
And so, after a two hour walk, we arrived home and put the pony in a makeshift stable my father had prepared. My grandmother stood on the doorstep waving her finger and shaking her head. For the first time, I shared her disappointment.
Well, just as I thought, by morning the pony had gone! No, I didn’t let it go! It jumped a six foot fence from a standstill. The pony was wild and untameable!
‘No school today,’ my father said, ‘we have to find him!’ And find him we did, roaming around with the wild ponies on the cliffs. And the same thing happened a few times a week thereafter. But my father persisted in breaking the pony in despite it rearing up like a demented soul every time he put a rein on its head.
‘It’s a wild pony daddy,’ I kept telling him, ‘and he will not be tamed. You should set him free to live with the others. It’s obvious that is where he must have come from.’
In the end, and despite the cries of my frustrated sister, Frisky was eventually sold and as I gather, the same thing happened again and again, until one day Frisky escaped the clutches of everyone and was left to live and breathe on the moors I still call home. Thankfully, we never did have another pony.
Today, as I drive through Gower, I often see the wild ponies and wonder if any are Frisky’s off springs. I hope so!