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

Back to Nature

we’re already connecting with nature here and starting to really embrace the outdoor lifestyle…

Ok, so two or three weeks along and we’re starting to settle in a little bit now.  We’ve already seen some fairly extreme weather since we’ve been here.  (The kids’ trampoline is now anchored to the floor after a pretty mental bit of wind the other day!).  It’s been a real privilege to have had the recent heatwave here, although that extreme heat certainly made it hard getting much done over that week or so!  We’ve also had heavy rain and a good taste of that Cornish mist too!

Cornish Mist
The view gets completely obliterated by the mist but is quite magical

So I thought I’d write a little post about how we’re already connecting with nature here and starting to really embrace the outdoor lifestyle.  As you can see, we have a mole or two here that are already providing us with some lovely topsoil for future use, the kids love collecting it in their wheelbarrows and topping up the pile.  Keeps them busy anyway!

digging up those mole hills!
The boys settling into their new jobs harvesting mole-hills

Since we’ve been here, we’ve seen so many different birds, I’m pretty useless at naming them all, but the one’s I’ve recognised so far are gulls, buzzards, swallows, robins, tits, pigeons and blackbirds to name a few (plus the housemartin family in our barn that’s just had little chicks) and there’s been plenty of others I have no idea what they are yet.  Soon we will put up some feeders and get the twitcher book out and see if we can recognise any more and take some pics.

Big Fat Toad at Fairview Farm
Sam loved this little fella!

We’ve also seen rabbits – plenty of rabbits!, moles (obviously here but we haven’t clocked one yet), frogs, a massive toad, some excellent bats swooping about right in front of our window at dusk, plus evidence of foxes and/or badgers too.  After being in the city so long, it’s so amazing to be around it all.

We’re getting used to where various families of animals live and you start to respect their little spaces and get to know when they’re around.  The Robin’s absolutely love you mowing the grass, as it makes worms and grubs easy pickings for them, so they look forward to seeing the mower every time!

bee
Some lovely buzzers about!

I’d never really given it two thoughts either, but my relationship with insects seems to be changing already too.  There are so many bugs and spiders here, I feel a lot less jumpy about it all already.  And bees – we love bees!  There are so many bees!  I’d like to look into it a bit, but I think that more people need to help the bees, so perhaps we can assist, as there certainly seem to be a lot here.  In our small garden of an evening, when it’s quiet, you can hear so many bees, it’s almost deafening once you tune into it, but a lovely experience listening to them and watching them buzzing busily around.  Quite relaxing.

woodland
Magical bit of old woodland

Other than that, we’re starting to work on the land a little, using the battery power hedge trimmer and brush cutter, which is allowing us to slowly cut through some pretty big stuff, allowing us access to new areas.  There are still some bits we just haven’t got to yet, which although is a bit frustrating, is also a little exciting too.  So far we’ve revealed a couple of lovely, secluded wooded areas, a built in barbeque area we had no idea was there, and yesterday, I finally managed to cut through to what I think is the source of the natural spring on our site.  Quite far away from where we actually thought it was to start off with!

We’ve managed to mow some lanes around and through some of the fields and eventually, they will all connect, allowing everyone to walk or jog around the whole plot to enjoy the various areas that we can uncover, look after and landscape in time.  I’m really keen to see if we can make use of that natural spring too so the investigation will commence on that soon.

natural spring
Our spring contributes to the River Cober, which runs along the boundary

Please enjoy a few more pics I’ve taken below of various plants and areas around our garden and the paddocks.  As always, we appreciate any comments or questions!  Hopefully, Clare will be along soon to do some writing too, so watch this space.  Thanks for listening!

Team S xxx

Giant Gunnera
This is Steve. One of about four Giant Gunneras that grow here.  The leaves are HUGE!
ancient woodland
more ancient woodland – so much moss and lichens
Globe Artichoke
Globe Artichoke growing in our run-down polytunnel
wild flower arrangement
A selection of wild flowers and stuff Clare and the boys picked from the fields
Exploring!
The Ralphies and Bradley came to visit, everyone exploring..