THE RAMBLINGS OF A STRUGGLING ARTIST ON LIFE WITH TWO TERRIERS, A PONY WITH ISSUES AND OTHER WILDLIFE AND BIRDS THAT CROSS OUR PATH

21 April 2015

SUNSHINE


What an amazing few weeks of weather we've had here. I nearly stood on this male Adder last week and luckily, the dogs ran straight past it. Jack is definitely insured now, but I could do without the snakebite trauma again thank you very much. Beautiful though isn't he?


During the Easter holidays, OB and I went to climb the rocks at Hound Tor. I forgot my camera so M lent me one of the cameras from work; an old Sony SLR. No zoom to speak of but lovely to use something different.


 OB nearly gave me a heart attack perched on top of those rocks:






I think he's solving the Rubick's cube here: 



On his way down thank goodness....


On Easter Monday, OB's friend from Bideford invited him to his surfing birthday party on Westward Ho! beach. The giant pebble ridge is very impressive:


The weather was perfect for beginners....apparently. We took the dogs who had a brilliant time with their old friend Finnian:








OB had never surfed before and was a bit tentative to start with:



OB's friend's sister.....the light was amazing and her hair looked so beautiful in the sun:


OB feeling a bit more confident....


I've always been extremely reluctant to show OB's face on the blog, but just this once it's absolutely necessary. Standing up first time!


Friend's sister stick throwing for the dogs:


Although dawn is too early for me to see when I take the dogs out in the morning, the low sun has still been stunning:


I've mentioned before that, until I got this camera, I was under the impression that all the meadow Pipits were Skylarks. In fact, they are more rare a sight than you'd think, but last week I actually managed to capture one:


Soon gone.....


There has been SOME cloud....


This beautiful gelding is out with the mares in foal as protection and he is VERY protective. Once he realised we weren't there to hurt his ladies he calmed down though: 



The dogs are enjoying the sunshine too but are both panting as you can see:


Even when the surrounding areas are shrouded in morning mist, the moor remains drenched in sunshine:


That foal is growing fast. Still the only one in this area but there are definitely more to come:



Snippet has had the benefit of my clipping and snipping prowess: 


Another pony feeling drowsy.....


........and asleep:


Obligatory Meadow Pipits, some even singing:





Surely this summery weather can't continue? I think it's meant to break at the weekend but, while it does last, we are in heaven and it makes all the stresses and strains of life more bearable. I hope you're enjoying it too, if you live in this country. If you live in Canada, I hope the snow has melted! So until next time, here are the dogs (Snippet pre-haircut) in the morning sun. Have a lovely week.


12 April 2015

FIRST FOAL OF 2015 AND MARCH BITS AND PIECES


Hello from the Dartmoor stranger. So much has happened and when I've posted, I always think of the things I didn't tell you about. A lot can happen in two weeks. One VERY important thing is that my glucose meter is here at last. It is, as I hoped, completely life changing. I can scan my arm, which has a strange looking white plastic disc stuck to it, any time; OB even scans me while I'm driving which is a massive relief as I felt so vulnerable in the past and would often have pulled over to do a blood test, which was very inconvenient. I discovered that the reason the National Health won't pay for it is that is has yet to be passed as okay by NICE. Once it has, it has the possibility to reduce complications in many, many cases, saving the NHS millions for a very modest outlay. Sounds sensible doesn't it? If it's sensible, there's a strong possibility it won't happen.

Right, on with some photos. I saw the first foal a couple of days ago. First for me and for its mother who I remember as a foal herself about four years ago.....very distinctive hair. 


The March bits and pieces start with a series of the Golden Plover flock who are in their breeding colours now. I've never seen them like this here before:





One of our resident Buzzard's in flight:


Meadow Pipits of course:




As the crow flies:


I was going to call this post 'Home Birds' last week but had to put it off as time ran away with me and other things came up. All these were in the garden, which, incidentally, has changed a lot today. I've been re-modelling an area under the very lovely inherited Acer under which absolutely nothing will grow, including grass. I've scraped off an inch of top-soil today...well more like rubble mixed with the clay from the failed turf we laid a few optimistic years ago....and covered it with the chipped wood from the beech limb that you may remember collapsed a few years ago. Thank you kind neighbours for the donation. It would have cost a FORTUNE to buy it for such a big area. I can't tell you how much I ache!

The Nuthatches are definitely nesting in our box, which is fixed to the side of OB's play house up on stilts. We were having lunch in there the other day and the birds were tapping away with the clods of mud they kept bringing in. Here's one of them in the tree waiting for me to vacate the area:


Sparrow's bum:


Male Chaffinch with a beauty spot:


Female Chaffinch in the rain:


Thrush -0 not brilliant but all I could get; they so rarely come to the feeder:


Blue Tit:



I have tried and tried to get a shot of the Nuthatches feeding that isn't blurred, but they're so busy frantically chucking out all but the Niger seeds from the feeder that I have failed:


Then they turn their backs on me:


I'm not sure if this is a deformation of this Chaffinch's foot or something stuck to it. I've blown it up but still can't tell. He seemed fine but the weight of it must be wearing....update.....CT tells me what it has is 'bumblefoot'; what a brilliant name. Not a brilliant thing to have though. Thanks CT:


What's this one looking at I wonder?


Trigger's winter coat is falling out rapidly:


Jack's remote control spray collar has not been a success. When it works, it's brilliant, but it doesn't always work so you can never be sure whether he's ignoring it or whether it's malfunctioning. I rang the manufacturers and they're sending a replacement.....



It doesn't seem to hinder his athleticism: 


Cobweb on a frosty morning:


A sea of mist:


Moon above that Frosty morning:


And the sun in the East:


So, I started writing this on Thursday and it's now Sunday. Can I publish tonight? I'll try my best.....

Other news........OB managed to suppress his tics for over 12 hours a couple of days ago. Amazing. He was completely exhausted from it but what an achievement. We've dubbed it a temporary cure on the basis that he can, to all intents and purposes, appear to be without it when he needs to. We tested it out at the cinema last week watching 'Home' (I fell asleep; a very expensive snooze), and he made it through with no tics AND enjoyed the film. He went surfing for the first time on Easter Monday and stood up almost every time. Pictures next time. The dogs had a fabulous time too. 

Although Jack's frenetic barking at the fence continues in the absence of the spray collar, at least I managed to stop him escaping from the garden with some strategically placed roof tiles amongst my hastily constructed but ineffectual palisade on top of the wall. Phew - something is working. 

The Easter holiday is over from tomorrow, so I might possibly get  more done. However, my mum is taking more and more of my time as her health deteriorates and I'm very behind with the painting next door. I'm under pressure to finish so..........until next time, here are the dogs, one of whom seriously needs that haircut and the other is wearing his useless collar in a very heavy frost for the time of year. Have a great week....or two. Miss you all!