Archive for rural life

Bluebells at Otterhead Lakes

This lovely little nature reserve in Otterford has some nice footpaths taking you along the two lakes and the River Otter. The two lakes which remain are all that are left of a series of pools in the landscaped gardens of Otterhead House which was built in 1845 and demolished in 1952. The site includes woodland trails with snowdrops in the Winter and bluebells in the Spring. There’s also lots of wildlife to look out for. This is one of our favourite places to go for a walk in the Spring for the beautiful carpets of bluebells.

On leaving the car park you walk down some steps to the main path down to the lakes. The sun was just glistening through the newly formed leaves of the trees.DSC03089

On the way down we saw the first of the carpets of bluebells.DSC03092

Reaching the first lake we walked down past the bridge to see the waterfall.DSC03095

An then later to a smaller one.DSC03097

Other plants were coming out too, the pink flowers of Campion and the ferns were just unfurling.DSC03106

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I stopped on a smaller bridge across the water.DSC03100

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On the way back we could see more bluebells, so lovely.DSC03110

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Come and stay with us at Lodge House and you too can visit Otterhead Lakes, its just 5 minutes drive away. http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

 

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Repair café Hemyock

On Saturday we went across to Hemyock to the Repair Café run by the Blackdown Hills Transition Group.  It’s such a good idea, bringing broken things to be repaired rather than throwing them away.  This particular café marks the 6th one the Transition group has held, over the duration of a year.  It has gone from strength to strength with more repairers and more people than ever turning up with stuff to be repaired.

Whilst waiting for their items to be repaired, people could avail themselves of a bacon buttie or cake with coffee and tea.  It becomes very social with people sitting around talking to each other whilst they wait.

Repair cafes started in Holland but the idea has spread very quickly.  Most of us old enough to remember, will know our parents used to repair items rather than throw them away, but recently manufacturers have been making stuff that is difficult to repair, and they would rather you went and bought a new one and threw the old one away.  This is no good for the environment and as an organisation the Transition group is about finding ways to reduce waste and keep things out of landfill.

There was bicycle repairs, electrical repairs, computer and furniture repairs, sewing, knife sharpening, watches and clock repairs, and upcycling of items. Additionally there were a variety of tools for sale that had been donated. It was busy, busy, busy and became quite difficult to park!  The Repair Café is a huge success now and will continue every other month in Hemyock, but we are trying to get them going in other parts of the Blackdown Hills too.

Come and stay with us and visit the Repair Café. http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

 

 

 

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Rural craft – making a Christmas Wreath

I do this every year, make a Christmas wreath.  After all we have all the components down the woods.  Neil picked some thin willow whips and bent them round a pail.

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We gathered some greenery:- ivy with flowers on, holly, evergreen mint, fir tree and rosemary.

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I started by winding some ivy round the willow whips and attaching with thin wire.

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Next I added the rosemary to give the wreath a nice scent.

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Then I wound some evergreen mint  and some holly round the wreath to add some more green colour. However the holly didn’t half prickle my fingers!

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To finish it off I add a red bow and bauble, some red berries and wound some elasticated red ribbon all the way round to help keep everything in place. We added a wire loop to hang it up and proudly displayed it on our front door.

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I made another one for an elderly friend but didn’t add the holly and actually I think it is the better one.  Practice makes perfect as they say.

Come and see all our Christmas decorations http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

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Selling Bric a Brac again

This Saturday just gone was the day of the Buckland St Mary Xmas fete and we were on the Bric a Brac stall again.  We had lots of stuff – some friends were moving house and had cleared out a lot of glass ware and crockery and we had lots of books and other donations too.  This is me behind our stall.

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Neil is a very good salesman and tries to sell mostly inappropriate things to people we know,  just for fun.  However we did really well and took £77.00 in 2 hours.

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Children had the chance to visit Father Christmas (a local man from the village who dressed up the part), and afternoon teas and cake were also on offer.

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There was a tombola stall, a craft stall, a picture stall amongst others together with the usual raffle (I won a Xmas pudding – home made). Altogether £945 was raised for the church youth worker, so a good effort all round, and an early December start to get us in the Christmas mood.

We have vacancies in the B&B for the whole of December. contact us at http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

 

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Green Scythe Fair June 2015

Last Sunday we also went to the Green Scythe Fair at Thorney, Mulcheney in the Somerset Levels. It’s a sort of hippy, environmentally friendly fair, where all the power is generated on site by wind generators or solar power, and discounts are given to those arriving on bicycle or by foot.  There are lots of stalls and exhibits and people who made seemingly useless objects into useful items, like a 5 litre metal paint tin which had been converted into a “rocket” stove. This stove worked on twigs and small pieces of wood and boiled a kettle in a very short time.  One stall was using this to make cups of tea:

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Some great willow sculptures:

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There were some haystacks and the children had great fun running and jumping on them.

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There was a scything competition of one man scything versus some one strimming with a power tool.

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On the various stalls were antiques and old farming or garden tools.  Neil took a fancy to this lamp.

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We met a lady from Yeovil and South Somerset LETS scheme and spent some talking to her.  LETS is where one person does a chore for another but no money exchanges hands, in simple terms a bit like someone doing an hour’s ironing for someone else who does an hour’s gardening in exchange.  We are going to get her to come and talk to the Blackdown Hills Transition Group as this is a really good idea and perhaps something we could start here locally.

It was a lovely day and there were lots of foodie stalls too with organic or vegetarian food, so we sat on the grass having a little bite to eat, it was very relaxing in the sunshine. It was a really enjoyable Sunday afternoon.

visit us at http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

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Apple pressing days October 2014

The Autumn is the time when the apples are at their best and through the Blackdown Hills Transition Group a couple of apple pressing days were organised this month.  The first was held at Otterhead Lodge, next to Otterhead Lakes.  We had quite a few Bramley apples from when we had to cut down the tree for the builders to dig drains across the lawn, so we took them along.  Neil’s sister Carole was with us too, and she helped in the first stage which was crushing the apples.

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We then took the crushed apples over to the presses.  The first stage is load the crushed apple into the bag in the press and then tighten.

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As you screw down, pressure is exerted on the crushed apple and the juice comes out the bottom.

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The juice is brown in colour as it has oxidised in the air.  when we had pressed all our apple pulp we used jugs to transfer it into plastic bottles that could then go into the freezer.

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If you don’t freeze it but leave it out for a few days it will start to ferment and turn into cider.

There was a nice atmosphere at Otterhead, with a camp fire, music,  and food and refreshments provided by some of folk from Stentwood community whose apple pressing day was the following weekend.

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So this last weekend was Stentwood’s turn to host apple pressing.  They had several marquees set up in case of inclement weather, but Sunday was sunny and a lovely day.  They were serving their wood fired pizzas, with warm spiced apple juice – delicious!!

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They also had a craft tent, a tent where you could try and then buy different types of apples, and live music.

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Again a lovely atmosphere and a nice way to wend away a couple of hours.

Want to stay at our B&B? then find out more about us at http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

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Flighty hen meets her end

The only hen that we hatched last year (rather than cockerels) was a beautiful bird but a bit flighty.  Several times she jumped out of the hen run.  The other morning I found her running round the outside of the perimeter of the hen run and Neil and I managed to capture her and I clipped her wings again.

Then yesterday Neil went down early morning to let the hens out and told me she was missing.  We searched amongst the fruit bushes and trees outside the hen run, but then we spotted a big pile of feathers by the monkey puzzle tree.  Upon examining them we recognised the pattern on the feathers and that was the end of flighty  hen.  She must have got out again and met a fox or other creature in the night and that was the end of her. Such a shame as she was a lovely looking bird and laid a white egg nearly every day.

In the picture she is the one on the left hand side at the back.

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So now we have one hen less, what a shame.

Mind you we still have lovely fresh eggs for breakfast from our other hens.

look us up at http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

 

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