Archive for June, 2013

Inter-village tug-of-war

Yesterday was the now annual inter-village tug-of-war between Otterford (which encompasses Bishopswood) and Buckland St Mary.  It was a glorious sunny day so we were lucky in that department.

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Unfortunately there was also cricket going on in Buckland so some people didn’t turn out for the tug-of-war and the Buckland team were a bit short on the ground.  Neil went along and eventually they just evened the teams up with the men who turned out to make it fairer.

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Neil was sensible enough to wear gloves so he had could contact with the rope.  The position they had chosen to do the tug-of-war was on a slight hill and what kept happening was that the team pulling down hill always won.  So in the end they called in a draw!!

Then we sat on the grass in the sunshine having a BBQ and drinking home made elderflower cordial,  lovely!!

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visit to Killerton House

On Tuesday we decided to visit an National Trust property as we are members and want to make use of our membership.  Killerton House is about 30 miles from here in Devon.

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According to the National Trust Sir Richard Acland gave away his family home for his political beliefs. His estate, at 2,590 hectares (6,400 acres) it is one of the largest the Trust has acquired (it includes 20 farms and 200-plus cottages).

Killerton House, built in 1778-9, brings to life generations of the Aclands, one of Devon’s oldest families. This year there is a fashion exhibition ‘Objects of Desire’ designed and guest-curated by renowned interior designer Russell Sage.

The masterpiece of Killerton, beautiful all year round, is the garden created by John Veitch – with rhododendrons, magnolias and rare trees surrounded by rolling Devon countryside.

The first room we visited was the music room that had its own organ.

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There was beautiful furniture, paintings, and collections of porcelain.

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There was also a well stocked library. We went up the lovely staircase to

an exhibition of fashion.

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There were exhibits of vintage clothing and shoes:

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The gardens outside were really lovely, lots of unusual trees and flowering shrubs and a flower border.

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There was a “bear hut” where the son of the family kept his pet bear.  The ceiling was decorated with pine cones.

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Then we visited the little chapel with its lovely stained glass windows.

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As we walked back to the car park we were met by a flock of sheep.  One made us laugh as he was down on his knees eating grass.

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We came across this fabulous twisted tree:

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The sun shone for us and we had a cream tea before heading home.

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5 Baby chicks

Well they didn’t hatch yesterday on our anniversary as I thought, and not first thing this morning, but by lunchtime today we had 5 baby chicks.  Not a very good hatch rate out of 11 eggs, but there we are.  Ah they are so cute and all different colours as they came from different breeds of hens.  Of course at the moment I have no idea which one is which, but that doesn’t matter, they are  so lovely.

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Mother hen is very protective and rears up everytime we open the hen house to have a look.

When I was trying to take pictures they kept running away.

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This little one was brave enough to go exploring on her own.

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At night they are all tucked up under Mother Hen’s wings.  Isn’t nature wonderful?

More pictures as they grow, watch this space…..

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A good Mother Hen

This is Mrs Speckledy in the nest box.  She has sat on the eggs now for nearly 3 weeks.  She leaves only briefly daily to eat drink and relieve herself.  She really is dedicated to the job of keeping the eggs warm and them eventually hatching.

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The eggs are due to hatch on Tuesday 18th June, which just happens to be our wedding anniversary.  What a lovely present to have little chicks hatch on that day, can’t wait!!

Mrs Speckledy is in the old hen house on her own, where she can stay undisturbed when the chicks hatch.  The other hens have been moved to a new run as there wasn’t a blade of grass left where they were.  They are now happy spuddling about in the long grass.

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First Buckland Community Choir Concert

On Saturday night was the first concert by the newly formed Buckland Community Choir.  We are all locals being 20 strong.  There are only 4 altos, of which I am one, and 6 men.  We are a disparate bunch, some never having sung before or read music, but just coming along for the fun of it.

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We performed a wide range of songs, from popular tunes that everyone knows to some we hadn’t heard before.  My own particular favourite being “Refuge”.  The programme may a bit difficult to read, but I have enlarged the photo as much as I can.  We had about 80 people in the audience and raised about £300 for the church funds.
The concert was followed by cheese and wine and an opportunity for a natter.  Everyone seemed to enjoy the music, only we knew where one or two things went a little bit wrong, but no one else noticed, so overall it was a great success.

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Growing our runner beans

We always start our runner beans off in the cardboard tubes that are the inside of a toilet roll or kitchen roll.  This means you don’t have to disturb the roots when planting out.  Not having a greenhouse yet I started mine off on the windowsill of the lounge, where they got the afternoon sunshine. This is what they looked like 2 weeks ago when the first beans started sprouting.

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It wasn’t long before we saw more growth:-

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By the time a week had passed they were all growing strongly:-

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It’s been gloriously sunny all week here, so I’ve not wanted to plant them out in the heat of the day.  We waited until Thursday evening when the sun had gone down and planted into the beds.  This year we are trying the “no dig” approach, so the ground is covered with cardboard to stop the weeds growing through, and we just made a hole big enough for each tube by each cane.

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Now we have to wait for them to climb the poles and to produce some beans.  We always do well with beans, they are easy to grow and pretty fast too, so with the warm weather we have been having we should see some results before too long.  Let’s hope the cardboard does the trick with the weeds.  It will eventually break down, but should last the season.

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