Wednesday 29 May 2013


It's funny how you can forget about things. This is a plant that has sat, looking just green and plain, in the conservatory all year - until now, when it shoots into life again! So many pot plants don't come up two years running, so this was a nice surprise.

And, an even better one. Do you remember what I said in this post that my peace lily had never flowered again? Well, look what has happened:

It all fits in with the card that A sent me last week.

Love to all E xx

Sunday 19 May 2013


The garden at Coombe Cottages is dominated by blue at the moment. Every autumn I carefully avoid digging up all the tiny forget me not seedlings that then survive the winter to give us the most amazing display of blueness in the spring. It makes it difficult to grow vegetables as there is no room for them until June as I cannot bear to dig the blue up! But somehow forget me nots do grasp a bit of sky at this amazing time of year...
And where E is has a wood with the same blueness but in the shape of bluebells - it's nice to think of us both being bathed in blue.

Emergency Revision Kit

T is doing some very important exams, and H has her last big essay before her masters thesis coming up, so we thought that some revision rations were in order! We know they have been skimping on nice tea and good chocolate, so we collected together the following things:

Sadly, the box is not home made, but we are going to take the next one apart so we can work out how it is constructed - it shouldn't be too hard.

Along with some other bits and bobs, we hope this revision parcel will make things a little more bearable! Happy revising! A and E xx

Saturday 11 May 2013

Lino cuts

E and I treated ourselves 2 weekends ago to a couple of hours Lino cutting tuition. We went armed with hugely ambitious idea and projects which couldn't come to fruition but did learn about the basic processes a bit more. We made a couple of images for J's birthday, so hence the delay in putting them up as we didn't want him to see them! We have plans for some tremendous cards in the future but will devote a whole weekend to it rather than 2 hours.

Hopping away...

The tadpoles are now froglets and have been basking on the rocks, sitting on the top of the weed and climbing up the side of the tank over the last week. So, sadly I have had to start releasing them... They have been wonderful to watch and dominated my family-room life over the last couple of months. So, there have been 4 'batches' of 8 or 9 already released transported in little Tupperware boxes early in the mornings this week. I've had to find ponds without newts in! We have a tiny pond but it contains a well established ferocious family of great crested newts. They eat everything, which is why we don't have frogs! So my precious froglets have so far gone to a pond I dug at my mums house about 6 years ago which has a beautiful sheen of green pond weed, and to a huge secluded pond (a lake really) which belongs to some frog loving neighbours.
So here are some on their way..

Wednesday 8 May 2013

More Spring

So this last weekend when I went up the hill again, by a different route, I found a lovely recently hatched egg:

It was just on the edge of the heathy bit of the hill, and bigger than a blackbird egg (no scale included, sorry) perhaps 2cm long dimension? So, any guesses as to whose it was?

And the other big news of the weekend is that our joint bid with our neighbours for the field in front of the house has been accepted. Here are some views:
The top one is from the stile into the field from our garden, and the lower one is a google map.
At the moment there are calves in it, as there are most years from March to November. The picture of a calf in the header for this blog is one of them, so you can see they are Guernseys, and some of them are Guernsey cross beef of various sorts. They arrive in late winter or pre-spring looking forlorn and mucky, and by this stage the field has done them very well, they have filled out and taken possession of its 4.5 acres. There are 12 this year. The grass has a particular cycle to do with the seasons and the growing calves: at this time of the year when it is growing fast and they are quite small, it outgrows them, so that by the end of May they are often knee and sometimes shoulder-deep in it. Then as the summer wears on it gradually gets shorter: grass grows more slowly and calves get bigger and eat more, until by the time they leave in November, the field is down to a bumpy almost tennis court in length (never quite that short: it takes sheep or horses to really make a tennis court). This year, I suspect the grass won't get as far ahead of the calves in the next few weeks as it often does: long late winter and then dry means the grass isn't growing as fast as usual.

Friday 3 May 2013

The first swallow of 2013!

Yesterday, the first day of May, I ran up the hill early, and just before getting to Hilltop Farm, there on the telephone wire, was my first swallow of this year! Last year's was on the 18th of April, and a similar date in 2011, so I suspect s/he and mates may have been around for a while and I haven't noticed. This is my mental pattern most springs with the first swallow though: I think I must just have been missing them, and then over the next few days notice increasing numbers, which suggests that that first one really was pretty early. I didn't get a picture, so  here's a link to one of Somerset's best birding photographers

swallow | Swallow - Hirundo rustica

And when I got ten metres further, I met a couple of escaped lambs noisily roaming around outside the field where their mothers and the rest of the gang were. There were less than desperate to get back in, and rather than running away, came up and bashed my shins. Not bottle lambs though, as when I offered my fingers they didn't respond.

This is another cheat photo, being in fact one of Alison's lambs from three or four years ago, taken on a very misty morning with a very damp phone. Still it looks appealing, and they were!