A Sticky Situation and a swarm of trouble!

I’ve never seen a swarm like that before, the sight was quite incredible – and the noise!

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I was out by the back door last summer, turned round towards the house, and thought I saw a clump of grass on the door frame.  On closer inspection, I realized it was actually a funky, swaying, wild stick insect! Big old bugger too!  Have a look…

stick insect
“This is the stickiest situation since Sticky the stick insect got stuck on a sticky bun.”

He had such a great personality, we’ll remember him well 🙂  We had a bit of a dance with him, then deposited him safely onto a clump of bamboo and he pretty much instantly disappeared from sight, never to be seen again.  Although not native to the UK, apparently there are now three species that can be found in the wild, particularly in Devon and Cornwall, having first been found near Truro in the 1970s.

We’ve actually had quite a few other animal highlights since our last post, I’ll try and remember some of the good ones!  First off, Sam, has really become quite a Dr. Doolittle.  He particularly took to grasshoppers over the Summer.  Lots of times you’d turn around and see him either chasing one or with one on his fingers.  Sometimes, they’d hang around with him for ages with him being really still and patient for ages.  A lovely sight really for a three year old!

Cornish Grasshopper
Sam’s new friend…

Then there was the swarm of bees.  They don’t really photograph that well, but all of a sudden, we were absolutely inundated with bees and found that they had taken up residence in a tree in one of the fields.  They hung around for about a week or so, then as suddenly as they showed up, they were gone.  We’d really love to get a hive one day and keep them properly, but there’s a lot in front of that on the list at the moment!  I was actually there when they left, thousands of them moving as one – I’ve never seen a swarm like that before, the sight was quite incredible – and the noise!

Cornish Bee!
One of our little buzzer friends that came to stay for a while…

Then there was the random mole that popped up out of a hole, and wouldn’t go back down!  We tried him in a few holes, but he would go down then turn round and pop back up.  Never seen one before – again, as always, spotted by Sam first.. We moved him away to another part of the land and some hills began appearing there, so I think he did ok in the end.  Apparently, they are solitary creatures and if confronted with another mole, they may fight to the death, so can understand his reluctance to go down another mole’s hole!  It could have been a youngster perhaps that had been turfed out by mum… maybe..

Mole in Cornwall
Moley moley moley moley mooooooole!!

Other than that, we’re really blessed here to have so many different species of birds and insects, I will endeavor to take some more pictures this spring and upload some more soon – in the meantime, here’s a cheeky caterpillar hanging out in the garden…

caterpillar
Caterpillar!

There’s a bit of the land that is very hard to get to, it’s very swampy and overgrown.  As the year progressed, it became a bit easier to get to some parts of it and as I was wandering round it one day, I got the shock of my life as I startled a couple of deer not a metre or two away from me…  Really made me jump!  This, coupled with some really odd noises at night, prompted me to order up a motion sensing wildlife camera, to put out at night, to see what was actually out there – they’re not expensive and a lot of fun, you bring it back in in the morning and you never know what you’re going to get!  Here’s a few of our favourites – there’s all sorts out there!

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Once again, sorry it’s been so long since last post – those that know some of the stuff we’ve been going through will understand, suffice to say we’ve had a few challenges over the last 6 months or so and things have not gone quite to plan, but we’re still here, and starting to make progress with some of our planning etc now – I’ll cover some of that stuff in the next blog.  So much has happened and we’ve such a long way to go still.  We’re just getting over the recent snow, including roof panels that blew off and three burst pipes, amongst other challenges, but we’re as positive as ever and always looking forwards.  Thank you so much to those that have helped with stuff so far, and if anyone fancies coming down and experiencing this lovely spot with us this year, just give me a shout!  There’s always loads of outdoor stuff that needs doing if anyone fancies a change from staring at a computer screen for a weekend or something and giving a hand – we can offer a place to lay your head and keep you fed and watered and any and all help will be very gratefully received! : )  We’re currently clearing brambles, tending to hedgerows, digging drainage ditches, a bit of tree surgery – oh and the barn needs loads of new roof panels fitting now too – never a dull moment here! Oh and if anyone knows how to recover polytunnels…. ah well, if you don’t ask, you don’t get!

Almost forgot – the most important part of the operation has been installed now – so if anyone fancies popping in for a game sometime, just give a shout  😉

Ping Pong!
Pong on!

So, I’m going to sign off now, but I’ll leave you with a few more pics from last year……… See you soon – big love!  🙂 TS

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Dad taking the mower for a spin

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Barby time – Veggy of course!
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The legend that is Tom Black
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The boys pumping up the tent
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Lovely to get the tent up 🙂
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Waiting for shooting stars – saw loads that night, just after the boys went to bed!
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One of many awesome sky shots from our window – so lucky to have this view
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Dennis getting his first go in Farmer Chris’s tractor as he topped the field
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Blacky!
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Fun and frolics in the hay
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Fun on the swing
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big smiles!
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passing the time of day…
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lovely when friends visit 🙂
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One of my favourite spots
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Our new additions, Donut and Boosh x

The decision…

I’m writing this now because finally, despite it all, we have managed to make it happen – we are now Cornish!  (well, sort of!)

Around a year or so ago, Clare and I made a big decision.  We had no idea it would take so long, or be so complex, but there we go – definitely one of those, “easier said than done” ideas for sure!  Our decision was to move away and start a new life, in the country.  In Cornwall to be more precise.

Go Confidently in the Direction of Your Dreams!
Motivation from my wall!

Having lived in the city of Bristol for twenty years now, we both decided it was time to try something different.  Very different.  We’ve both gone through a lot of personal changes in the last few years.  Giving birth to two little boys and basically growing up (a bit anyway) I guess have been the main ones.  We both grew up in the country (Clare was actually an Essex Girl to start with), and really appreciate how great a childhood that was and how advantageous that could be in today’s modern society.  So, knowing that our oldest, Dennis, would be starting school the following September, and having totted up the funds and made the sums add up, it felt like the time was right.  We had a chance to grab the dream by the scruff of the neck and do whatever it took to make it happen.  Since then, it has nearly been de-railed so many times, for various reasons, but I’m writing this now because finally, despite it all, we have managed to make it happen – we are now Cornish!  (well, sort of!)

Tyre Swing
The boys love their new tyre swing

Why Cornwall and Falmouth?  Well, we’ve both felt the pull there a lot.  It’s beautiful!  My family roots are actually from that area too, with my Great Grandfather leaving Truro in the early 1900s to the bright lights of Swindon, then my Gramp moving down to Bristol, and then my Dad to the Cotswolds.  I’ve spent a fair bit of time there and love it very much.  Clare went to university for three years in Falmouth and absolutely loves going to the beach every day at every opportunity, so for her it was a no-brainer.  We have some very good friends there too, so a start of a social network thrown in as a massive bonus.  (Hi Paul, Gareth, Sarah, Alan and Heather!)

Gylly Beach
Gylly Beach at Falmouth

We wanted to start this blog with the idea of keeping all our friends, family and anyone else interested updated with our progress, and who knows, maybe inspire someone to make that big change they’ve been talking about in their life too.  We’ve never really blogged like this before, so stick with it and we’ll try our best not to bore you as it goes along!  We’d really appreciate any comments, questions, ideas etc too, so please don’t be shy!

So, over the next few weeks, we can hopefully go into a bit more detail about the 10-acre smallholding we’ve ended up with, not far from Falmouth near the South Coast of West Cornwall, the ideas we have for it, and hopefully the progress we are making as we go along!

For now, I just want to say that we have arrived, safe and sound, with all our stuff (I think!) and are massively appreciating being in and around all this nature.  It really is fantastic and we’re connecting spiritually with it already in ways I could never have imagined.  I also wanted to just outline a few of our objectives to also help with a little accountability (yes Pete!) – We have some pretty big plans, some things we could only do in the country, and other things we aspire to make changes in our lifestyle and also take on new hobbies, skills and interests.  Many new leaves to be turning over!

A Far Reaching View At Last!
View From our New Bedroom Window

We have, at the moment, a very rough list of objectives.  Here goes.  Within the next three years, we hope to:

a) Be living completely off grid (or as near to it as possible)  I’ll definitely be going into a lot more detail on this as we go along, as I know I have several friends very interested in this side of things, as am I.

b) Have both lost a bit of weight and be living a much healthier, fitter and more active lifestyle, including trying to move towards eating less animal products.  Also a big move to a much more outdoor life and LESS OR NO TELLY!  We also want to have taken up some new (or old) hobbies; tennis, dancing, swimming, surfing, windsurfing, sailing, canoeing, archery, music, cycling, bouldering, etc etc.  They’re all on the list plus many others I’ve missed out!

c) Give back to the local community – Get involved and give.  Whether it’s use of our land, our time, our energy and/or money, we want to feel like we are contributing in a positive, fulfilling way to those people that need it.  I’ve already mowed the lane for our lovely 90-odd-year-old neighbour and it felt good!

d) Be embracing our creativity a LOT more.  For me, writing, music and woodwork.  For Clare, arts, crafts (and singing?)  The kids love them all.

e) Make the land work for us financially.  We won’t be keeping livestock for the food industry, but we do have many ideas of various things that are possible.  I won’t go into details on this right now, but within three years, we hope to be generating at least enough income to pay the mortgage each month.  This seems like a tangible target at the moment and one that will take a lot of pressure off.  We are also very open to any suggestions if anyone has any ideas of things they could do to make use of some of the land – please message us!  The only pre-requisite at the moment is that whatever we do there needs to be pretty quiet, so NO RAVES!  😦

f) To be producing at least 50% of the food that we eat, right here on the farm.  We’re pescetarians, so hopefully this should be acheiveable…

So there we go.  We have so much more to say and show you all, but no proper internet for the next couple of weeks, so I’ll say again, please interact if you wish, it will always be great to hear from anyone reading this, and we’ll be along with the next installment and some more photos soon!

Peace.  Tim and Team Sobey x

Tug-o-war in the Garden
Heave!