Wednesday, 22 December 2010

December in The South Hams

Start Bay from the lane down to Slapton

Soft winter light in the Gara Valley

The light in winter is enchanting, it captures the soft shapes of the land, like muscles beneath the skin, and the coast shimmers with slanting, gilded light.

Snow on the beach at Blackpool Sands
Ice reflections on Slapton Ley
Even we had snow for a few days, though it's now gone from the coast and from Watermill Cottages. Walks on the beach have been glorious in the sunshine, and the Venus Beach Cafe at Blackpool Sands is open every day except Christmas Day, so we've enjoyed hot drinks (yummy hot chocolate) and lunch with friends, tired, happy dogs at our feet by the wood burner. Enjoying the sea and sunsets.  The beach and cafe are dog-friendly from the end of October to before Easter.

Our Gara Valley from the sheep shed
Our gardens from Quack Cottage
I hope you enjoy the photos, taken in the past weeks, and we wish you all a Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year,
warm regards,

Christine and John , and all the other animals...

Sunset on the Gara Valley from the top

Monday, 25 October 2010

Three little piggies!

 Three little pigs arrived in the old orchard last week.  They are ten-week old weaners, Welsh Lop-eared/British Lop-eared cross, and are settling in well to their new home under the oak tree, plenty of acorn snacks through autumn. 

John designed and built their sty, locally known as The Piglet Hilton

Friday, 27 August 2010

Summer Duckling Report

Lots of of our visitors want to know what happens to the ducklings and/or eggs they see when they visit so here's an update.

Easter Eggs
Of the Easter ducklings we have one female, deep dark greeny black called Saffy, and two males.  Sir Francis Drake, the dark green male, and Grey Drake are beginning to challenge big Old Man Specs for his position as Top Duck.

The Heron Three
Of the seven ducklings that hatched on the wall by Mill Cottage in June we have three teenagers.  Sadly, we lost three to a hungry heron, and Polo, the duck with the web with the hole, didn't recover from the attack. The Heron Three are fit and healthy with adult plumage, two grey and one dark green and black, and are beginning to take flying lessons.

Violet's Nine
Violet hatched nine ducklings and we stood in awe as some of them pecked from inside their eggs and blinked damply at the world.  They are fit, strong and healthy and we hope to breed more from them as they grow.  Their father was Alice, who turned out not to be a girl, tho he has since lost an encounter with a fox and is no more.

The Two-Mum Duo
Grey Duck hasn't really ever got it.  She abandoned her twelve eggs to play aunty and foster mum to Mrs Duckel's Easter three, going swimming with them and baby-sitting.  This time, she's hatched two ducklings and is playing aunty again - White Duck has abandoned her eggs and taken over as mother.  The cutest soft brown duckling is hers. 

July 2010 The Eden Project Big Lunch at Watermill Cottages

A perfect summer's day for The Big Lunch - food to share, a bbq, a cask of local beer, homemade elderflower cordial, and lazing on the lawn.  And of course our Eco Raft Race - a mini raft made from material in the woods and hedges and then raced down the stream, under the bridge to the finishing rock by the lawn, where the dogs skewed the result by dog-napping various vessels.

This year categories included: Titanic (the first to sink), Junior and Senior Champs, and the prettiest raft.
pre-race raft display


Saturday, 26 June 2010

Sea Swimming, Fishing and Cliff Walking

Perfect summer weather for sea swimming, mackerel fishing, cliff walking, beach basking, garden visiting, bird watching, sun tanning ... and ... egg laying from our ten pretty new chickens (Gretel, Floozy &  Tallulah pictured above). Deer, kingfishers, owls and buzzards in the garden and small brown trout jumping in the stream...   butterflies everywhere.

 Froglets from our tadpoles in the orchard pond

 Breaking news - 7 new ducklings hatch on the wall

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Dogs and Ducklings

Glorious hot sunny weather.  Dogs and ducklings playing in the stream, kids making dens in the woods; bows and arrows. Wild flower lanes, nests of grey wagtails and swifts; slow-worms, tadpoles and newts by the orchard pond & kitchen garden; otter prints upstream

Jack leaps in the stream

Friday, 26 February 2010


Our ancient coppice hosted a ThinkNature coppicing workshop, bringing biodiversity and next winter's logs.