Thursday, June 25, 2009

Two swallows

Two beautiful young swallows have made a nest in the eaves of our log store. It is a very beautiful nest, placed out of reach on the oak cross beam, sheltered beneath the slates and safe from predators. They crafted it very carefully from beak-fulls of mud and are clearly very proud of it. I haven't peeped inside as this is the first year we've had swallows come to live with us and I don't want to frighten them away. They are very protective of their nest though, and the male in particular has a very annoying habit of "buzzing" me as I go to and from the garden. Sometimes he swoops so low that I can actually feel the downdraft from his wings. I wish there was some way I could make them understand that I'm no danger to their young. They also visit me from time to time, sweeping in through the open back door where Ben and Amy like to snooze in the breeze, and pirouetting up through the house, emerging through one of the bedroom windows which are permanently open at this time of year.

Swallows are so much part of summer in this part of Devon - they seem to be everywhere, swooping low over the roads to take insects, then circling high into the sky in an amazing demonstration of aerobatic skill. A large colony spend the summer months in the tumbledown barns over the road, and the air is full of their shrill cries. It's always sad when they start to gather on the telephone wires at the beginning of autumn, but that's a long way off yet.

But in case I forget to post it when September arrives - I hope you enjoy this poem now!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A bit of a puzzle....

I've been adding to my (very small) collection of vintage toys lately and was lucky enough to come across these beautiful wooden jigsaws. I'm sure I used to have the rather sophisticated cat when I was a young child, though mine wasn't in nearly such good condition by the time I grew out of it .... I think I might have chewed one of the cat's paws. Anyway, this one is almost as new, and a bargain at 99p!! She looks so beautifully '50's retro ... I wonder if I could incorporate her into a fabric item ... must puzzle over (groan!) how this could be done.
And this one's just crying out for special treatment. It's the most beautiful wooden map of Devon, far too nice too keep shut away in its box. We live right at the bottom of the map, near Start Bay where the yacht is sailing into Dartmouth. I'm not sure why there's a maypole on Cornwall but love Sir Frances Drake up in the top right hand corner. Did you know that Devon is the only county in England to have two coastlines? I didn't until I moved here. But it's true.
Enough pondering and puzzling for now ... I'm off to take Ben on his second walk of the day now it's cooler. He and Amy went swimming in the ley at Beesands this afternoon, but he could do with a bit more exercise and there are sure to be plenty of nice smells and friends to play with up in the woods at this time of the evening. It's tough being a young newf!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Keeping Busy

I had a great time at Exeter Craft Festival - sold out of loads of stuff and all my little knitted animals have found new homes, not a single one came back with me. I'm so glad I took their photos before they left. I've started on a new family already as I'm hoping to attend the Craft Show at our own village hall in Stokenham. (that's Hester, the new baby elephant at the top of this post.

Of course the village hall is home to lots of other activities including our very own Lunch Club. Last week Elona took baby Sasha in for the first time and we had our photos taken. We're hoping they'll appear in the local newspaper, this must be the first time ever that a pensioners' lunch club has had a baby! (Yes, there are more club members - the seated people - but the photographer couldn't stay until they all arrived).

I've been busy in the garden too - and indulged in a spot of bartering with a lovely lady called Sarah who has her own website, Heading Home. She wanted my paper bunting, and I fell in love with her cabbage patch rabbit. So the deal was done and he now lives in one of my old wooden fruit boxes where I plant courgettes, tomatoes, beans - and the tiny plants are aubergines which everyone tells me I won't be able to grow outside. I'm persevering though - the crates are sheltered in the woodstore which faces due south. The only danger comes from Ben's happily wagging tail when he dashes past on his way out for a walk.

And did you know that in Devon an old superstition stated that if a young woman plucked a rose at midnight on Midsummer Eve and wrapped it in paper it would remain fresh until Christmas Day. If she then wore it on her dress it would be snatched away by the young man who was destined to become her husband. Now I'm not looking for a new husband (one is definitely enough!) so I brought these roses inside to admire instead.

Finally, Amy has become unbearable. Last year she was a competition at the village fete - "Guess the Weight of the Dog." This year she is returning by popular demand - yes, she was such a success and so popular that they want her back again! She is absolutely full of herself, and this time the competition is to be "Guess Amy's Birthday."

Here she is in her special outfit from last year - I expect she'll want a new one this time round - still it will keep me even busier - there's never time to be bored down here in Devon!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The last family photoshoot

Can't you just imagine the bustlings and rustling, whispering and squeaking as the little family assemble for the last time before some of them at least find new homes at the Exeter Craft Festival over the weekend.

Fingers crossed for fine weather and lots of eager customers!
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