Welcome to our blog.

..... We craft
..... We garden
..... We explore
..... Nature inspired

Three children *** Two dogs *** Two parents *** Country loving *** Cottage dwelling in the South-West of the UK. That's us!

We've been blogging since January 2010.


Eldest: 13 yo daughter

Middle: 11 yo daughter

Youngest: 8 yo son

You can find me here too…

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Just a thought….

"A moment spent in wonder is worth a lifetime spent in awe."


Love reading your comments

  • tracey at Mummyshire Wow, there's so much in your post and some amazing photos. I've only seen bats in the Caribbean and they're amazing creatures. You're luck to... 27 May
  • sustainablemum What a lovely post. I would love to come and watch your bats. 27 May
  • The Reading Residence The bats sound absolutely amazing, what a wonderful sight that must be. Those buttons are so cute and that fabric looks great, too, happy sewing!... 27 May
  • Craft Mother I should have "fuelled by sunshine" printed up as a bumper sticker! Perfect. 27 May
  • Sarah K Fuelled by sunshine. It tends to significantly increase my get up and go. 26 May
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Time to read

8 year old son

11 year old daughter

13 year old daughter

Reading together


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Time to smile

"God has an inordinate fondness for stars and beetles."

- J B S Haldane


There have been cases when people lifted my photos and words, and used them without credit to me or asking permission first. Using them for their own commercial gain. I have now added a level of security to deter people from doing this. Apologies to people who do play nicely. If you would like to use any of my photos, please contact me.

Copyright notice:

All my words and photos are copyrighted to me. They cannot be used for commercial benefit by anyone else. If you would like to use any of them, then please ask me first and don't just take. Written permission only. Don't pass my words, photos or ideas off as your own. It's not nice.


Levels walkI’m sure that on most people’s travels, there is a place they often pass by, but never stop. A place that is remarkable, but nowhere in particular. As soon as you round the corner, you know where you are, but you don’t stop.

We all have places like that. We do.

Last weekend, we stopped. We got out. We explored. It turns out it is a rather special place.

Levels walk 2We intended to follow the river, but instead turned right along a lane. One we had not noticed before. It may have been the man we spotted, striding down there, that drew our attention.

By the time we were on the lane, the tall man had gone and, in front of us, lolloping along, without a care in the world, was a long-legged hare. So we followed. He gently zig-zagged down the lane ahead of us for some time. We had time to study him.HareThen, he turned left into a field. Zig-zagging around the field, still seemingly unaware of us. (If only I’d taken my telephoto lens.) Sometimes, just on the other side of the ditch to us. The children were thrilled.magical encounterWe carried on along the lane, spotting more hares in the other fields. Talking about all the legends we knew about hares.

There was an air as if we had disturbed a hare get-together. We needed to move on.

Levels walk 3We headed on towards another spot in the landscape that we often noticed, but never known how to  reach. The hill in the distance.

young cowsWalking through a field of young cattle.

Levels walk 4Until we reached the hill.birds foot trefoilOnce the hill was conquered, we headed back.

Levels walk 5Levels walk 7I can’t help thinking, once more, how beautiful the Somerset Levels are, especially at this time of year.Levels walk 6It was worth stopping. You never know what you will spot. Nature cannot be guaranteed to turn up on schedule. We’ll be back, but I’d bet my bottom dollar, we’ll never see the hares there again. Not that it will stop us from trying.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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Here I am: May I smile

pea seedling

Here I am, at the end week of May. It’s been a good month on the whole. I’ve woken up each day with a smile.

Not that its been all plain sailing. My husband is off at one of those family events today, where they either say “Haven’t you grown” or “It’s a shame we don’t meet up on happy occasions too.”

Mary Rose David AustinI’ve made good progress in the garden. Most seedlings are in the right place. I’m waging war on the weeds. The jury’s still out on which of us is winning, but I’m hopeful. The garden is showing lots of promise, which just makes me smile.

We try to attract the wildlife. Gradually more and more native trees are being planted and wild areas are becoming more diverse. It is working.mountain ash flowers

We have a colony of about 80 pipistrelle bats that each May/June use our roof space as a maternity roost. It really is quite a sight. Each morning, I wake to their return. At the moment it is about 4:30am. Lots of social chit-chat. Sometimes I drag myself outside to watch them. Fortunately, I’m the only one who they wake up.

This morning, I watched a group of birds dive bombing a weasel who was raiding a nest of mice under our garden path. It never ceases to amaze me how all the creatures band together to see a predator off. To no avail this time. He/She made several visits. Each time successful. There are no supermarkets in the wild.

wool for the birdsOut of my son’s bedroom window, he can watch the sparrows making their nests in our neighbour’s roof. There is one above my son’s bedroom too. They’re very noisy especially at dusk, when he goes to bed. At first, it annoyed him. Then I suggested that he thought of the noise as their version of a lullaby. It worked. He learnt to fall asleep listening to their chirps.

In return he’s been helping the sparrows by putting the dogs’ fur in the fig tree, after we brush them. I’ve given him my left over fleece from felting. The birds reward him, by collecting it every morning and taking it up to the roofs. I can’t think of a more wonderful way to connect with nature. (Although I can’t help thinking it’s a very inefficient way to insulate our roof!) Still, it does bring a smile.

magical encounterThere have also been more encounters with nature, which have been truly magical. I’ll share more photos of this one soon.

recycled blue potting shedMy new recycled potting shed, makes me smile every time I look out into the garden. I love how the hawthorn behind it, seems to have accepted it and started to frame the shed. The May blossom is a perfect contrast to the blue and green.

perfect buttonsMay has been a good month to kickstart my summer sewing. I love all the summery prints. I found the perfect buttons for my daughter’s new top with its retro print.

fabric dryingNext fabric is drying on the line, as I write. I like to preshrink it before I start cutting out. It’s been a good month for drying washing on the line, in general, which always gives me that happy feeling.

So much to be grateful for. I’ll be sorry to see May go, with all its promise and vibrant green growth. I hope June brings just as much to smile at. A good word for the month, let alone week.

The Reading Residence
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Grey Lake

snails on reeds

willow snake at Grey Lakewillow snake at Grey Lake 2reed maintenancesomerset levelsflower at Grey LakeThere is something about this time of year that I feel the need to fill every hour of the weekend. If I’m not cutting out fabric, I’m flying through my list of seeds to get in the ground before it’s too late. I think it’s the increase of energy due to the longer days and the gentle warmth.

Last weekend was no different. The rest of the family were similarly occupied. My husband was putting finishing touches to my new potting shed. There were also parties to attend. Not by me, which was probably a good job.

By Sunday afternoon, we all needed to go for a walk. We headed down to Grey Lake nature reserve down on the Somerset Levels. It is an old favourite. The children love to run through the willow snake. This year, it was more difficult for some of them. Not so easy as you grow taller.

We spotted all sorts of birds. There were reed buntings, herons, chaffinches, a family of coots and a marsh harrier, being mobbed my the crows. Also spotted a dragonfly among the damsel flies. We even heard our first bittern of the year. They boom over the Levels.

The only downside to going to Grey Lake is that we can’t take the dogs. Maybe this weekend we can choose somewhere that dogs can go too.dog hugs

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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