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….. We make
….. We explore
….. We nuture

Three children (16, 14, 12)*** Two parents *** one dog *** Country loving *** Cottage dwelling in the South-West of the UK. That’s us!

We’ve been blogging since January 2010, about everyday happenings that bring us joy.

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Just a thought….

“A moment spent in wonder is worth a lifetime spent in awe.”

 

Thank you….

  • Carol Not only is your bag practical, it is also very cute. Most reuseable bags aren't very attractive but I use them anyway. 16 Jul
  • Crummy Mummy We've been up at our allotment watering every day too - could really do with some meaningful rain now, although I'm not complaining! #MMBC 16 Jul
  • Kim Carberry What a fantastic idea and a fab looking bag. So pretty. I love your sewing machine too. x 15 Jul
  • sam What a well timed shot X #mmbc 15 Jul
  • Craft Mother I really hope you do get the gardening bug. Wonderful way to spend your time. 15 Jul
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outside

Cider farm

 

There is something rather delicious about a change of plan. You wake up expecting to do one thing, and then find fate has other ideas. Making an even better day than you thought it would be.

Friday our plans changed. Last day of half term and we had both taken the day off. Our planned day went sour, so we looked for something else to do. A family outing. I’m not sure which of us came up with the idea, but it was a stroke of genius. Bizarrely, we’ve lived in Somerset for over twenty years, but we’ve never been to a commercial cider farm. Maybe I should rephrase that. We’ve bought cider from the farm gate, but not explored the orchards. Somerset is known for its apples and cider, so this really was an oversight on our part.

Eager to put this right, we headed further south to Sheppy’s cider farm. Six generations, over 200 years in business and 370 acres of farm. They also had a restaurant, which would be perfect for a lunch out.

We were ready for lunch by the time we arrived, so first stop had to be the restaurant. It has the feel of an old barn, but more contemporary. The food was very good too. Most with a cider theme. Washed down with cider. Although I should add, only by the adults.

It was a good meal and a walk afterwards was a must. We walked past the processing barns and a playground for the younger children. They do tours of the cider making process, which I’d love to do one day. We walked on to the orchards. They have a herd of longhorn cattle, grazing between the trees of one orchard. They feed the leftover apple pulp to the cattle too. Nothing goes to waste, which makes me even happier to hear.

The orchards were wonderful to walk around. The trees were a variety of age and type, of course. Some trees were in blossom, while others were already covered in mini apples.

In one orchard, we stumbled on patches of four leaf clovers. First time I’ve ever found one. In fact, everyone found at least one. We’re all hoping for even more good luck from now on.

Back at the restaurant and shop, there is a museum. It has a video about the farm and rooms of old farming equipment.

I think the hedgehog apple picker would be good with our apple trees, at home. The spikes pick up the apples and then carries them up to the rails at the top, where the apples are lifted off and roll down into the bucket at the front. It looks neat, but I’m sure it is harder than it looks.

Have to include the photo of the old range. When we moved into our house, the remains of the old ranges at either end of the cottages, could still be seen in the boarded up inglenooks. It’s nice to see this one in one piece.

To finish off our visit, we had a piece of cake and an apple juice. I’m impressed with both the cider and juice I tried. They were smooth and didn’t hit the back of my throat like some ciders do. Needless to say, we left with some cider to try at home too.

The children loved our visit. It may have been the scent of the blossom or the freshness of the air (it certainly wasn’t the cider), but they all got on so well. Enjoying each other’s company. They learnt a lot and asked questions. A successful visit. I hope one day we’ll go back. I quite fancy the performance of Shakespeare’s Much a Do about Nothing this summer, performed in their meadow. It would be awesome.

Anyway. Thumbs up for our change of plans.

A carpet of bluebells

If you were to walk out of our back garden gate and turn right along the path, you’d reach the village in about half a mile. Turn left and you walk along a path further into the woods. No roads to cross. A well defined path that gets over grown in parts during the summer. You might bump into a local out walking their dog, but most days, more than likely, it would be only you, the birds and an occasional deer on the path. Although a vole did run across my path today, so you’re never alone. It is our dog walking route. Has been for over 22 years.

There have been changes. Mainly organic. Nature has gradually reclaimed on old brick hut. Remapped the landscape slightly in parts. Trees grown and others fallen. Seasons changing. It is beautiful. In a strange way, over time, we’ve become part of it all. Shaping and being shaped by this place. Tied to a place that frees us, in a way that only nature can.

Bluebell season is here. We always make a special walk to see them. Not just our daily dog walk. Bluebells are one of the signs of an ancient wood. Ours becomes a carpet of blue where the ground has been undisturbed and the growing conditions are right. You’d never know the rest of the year. No sign.

Bluebells are delicate. Heavy footfall, while they sleep (or anytime), and they will not thrive. When they push through the soil and flower, you can see the paths that we and the animals make the rest of the year. There are clear lines of bare earth, weaving through the carpets of blue. We can walk a mile and a half and enjoy the sight and smell of them en route. A delicate, floral fragrance that almost seems to escape.I’m glad we stick to the same paths during the year. I’d hate to think I was treading on the bluebells while they were dormant, and crushing them with our feet.

In contrast, if you were to take the more walked path down to the village, there are very few bluebells. Same woods, but more people, making more paths, I suppose. Maybe picking the flowers too. Less chance to seed. We walked back from the village today, after voting, and I couldn’t help noticing that the infrequent and small patches of bluebells were nestled close to young holly trees. Protected for the time being, by the prickly leaves.

These are all native bluebells. Smaller bells with curling rims. Not flared. The flowers are on one side of the stem so you get the characteristic droop. I can almost imagine the fairies and other magical folk standing beside them.

I noticed patches of the invasive Spanish bluebells (not included in my photos here) along our way, where people have either dumped earth from their gardens or carried the seeds on their soles. I guess they will spread, but hopefully it will take time.

Another week or two and the bluebells will have gone. Wild garlic is already making its presence felt. It will be a carpet of white and a completely different fragrance. The ferns are unfurling and will grow tall. The remains of the bluebells will be lost. The view will change again.  Till next time.

It feels a real privilege to experience this each year. This year is particularly good for bluebells. I hope you have a chance to take a walk, if you haven’t already, but please, keep to the paths, as much as you can. It really is worth it.

Sunday Photo – Hound and bluebells

“Just two issues. This is our regular walk, so don’t get all fancy and call it a bluebell walk. We walk this path every day. Secondly. He’s on his phone. Again. Oh and also, how many bluebell photos do you need to take?”

Photos

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:

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