A Year in a Lane – Week 12

Horse feeding time is always easier in the warmer months – with enough grass to graze on, there is no requirement for hay to be provided morning and night, just the “evening meal” of various mixtures depending on the particular animal. Tommy and Flash are both in their mid twenties, so tend to have more supplements and specific feeds. Additionally, Tommy had a habit of rushing through his food and then kicking Flash off his and finishing it for him (too kind!). So now Flash is fed outside the field in a temporary “pen” which means he gets to eat all of his meal and in peace.


As Spring continues to roll in, the birdlife returns to the lane – Robins tend to be about most of the year, but are more prevalent this time of year. They are always waiting for bits of bread and/or dropped feed from the horses’ bowls.


The lambs are growing and at a stage where they are needing a bit more management, just as with children growing out of the toddler stage. The electricity pylon in the field seems to serve as a makeshift “crèche” where all the youngsters are gathered by their mothers. The ewes take it in turns to watch over the youngsters while those “off shift” wander off for a quiet munch and bit of peace and quiet by themselves.


Here is more evidence of the birdlife returning. I would like to have got a clearer picture of this colourful bullfinch but this was as best as I could get and, despite being somewhat in the bushes, the striking colours are still visible.


And given the improving weather, we are all eager to get outside and feel the warmth of the sun on our heads including Willow, who decided that the low wall outside the conservatory was as good a place as any to have a sit down.


A Year in a Lane – Week 11

Last week, as the weather started to ease towards Spring, I showed some early work starting in creosoting sheds and shelters to help them recover from the winter battering and protect them for the future. Now work is starting in the lane to clear the debris of the many storms we have had – branches etc – from the verges in preparation for the first mowing of the year.

DSC00204Oh and yes, one of the five houses in the lane is for sale – not something that happens too often. Not quite sure how much passing trade the boards will attract.

The sheep are back in the field next to the top of the lane. The spring lambs hopefully are keeping warm. The numbers are for identification rather than a game of “spot the lamb” bingo – although maybe there’s an idea in there somewhere!


As well as eating grass, feed supplement to help with the sheep welfare is brought round to each field and emptied into a specific location by a tractor with a funnel release on the back. Think this fellow below has spotted it early and is hoping for first pickings.

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I, and many others, regularly walk dogs in the lane but occasionally people walk their horse as well. This can help exercise an injury which is still not ready to be ridden on. Or, in rarer cases, which I have witnessed, when the rider has been unceremoniously unseated and doesn’t care to re-board just yet! (not the case below, I hasten to add!)


Sunsets, as I mentioned in an earlier post, can be quite beautiful. At this time of year, before the trees have started to leaf, the view of a decent setting sun through the branches can be quite spectacular.



A Year in a Lane – Week 10

Spring continues to move in and early plants are starting to come through, such as these catkins on a bush halfway down the driveway. I think this was obviously the offshoot of a willow tree originally as that would explain the catkins themselves and the timing of their appearance.


But just to remind us it is very early Spring and that maybe not all the storms have passed, Winter has one (hopefully) last burst which topples over two of the three conifers outside the conservatory (and these pots aren’t light). Earlier on in the year, the bench at the side was pictured blown forwards so it shows how exposed we are at the top of the hill as this is a gust from the opposite direction.

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An occasional reminder of our closeness to the coast occurs every now and then. Although it is 15km, as the seagull flies, to the nearest coastal point at Poole – windy weather at sea can drive these guys inland by some distance and they can be found digging for worms along with the crows and ravens in the nearby farm fields as this fine fellow shows.

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The sun returned later in the week and that’s a cue for a little sunbathing! In Tommy the horse’s case this follows a quick roll in the mud first. He’s never going to win the horse version of Cruft’s but we love him. Not sure what’s happening with that tongue!!


A favourite pastime of all country living dogs is hunting – something, anything. I have mentioned Lottie’s attempts at rabbit chasing before but at this time of year it’s field mice and dormice that attract her attention. There is obviously a nest somewhere in the undergrowth at the top of the field and she can spend hours, literally, just staring and waiting for some movement. Usually this ends with her wandering off bored and despondent after 2-3 hours or, if some activity is spotted, leaping up into the air with four paws off the ground and landing on….. nothing.




A Year in a Lane – Week 9

Spring is starting to spring and the first sunny weather is with us at last. Although there is a chilly wind and the nights are frosty, there is a definite tell-tale feeling of warmth coming from the sun. Walking down the lane with the dog is suddenly much more scenic and providing views of the lovely countryside that we all recognise and love.

DSC00172And, as if to prove the point, the animals are already seeking out the sunny bits and enjoying that early spring sunshine. It’s a hard life being a cat in the countryside!


Flowers are starting to bloom and here’s a quintessentially English cottage view across the fence to next door, who are very proud of their garden – quite rightly so.


At this time of year, it’s great to be able to spend time outdoors which also presents an opportunity to get started on the jobs that need doing to get everything up and running for the seasons ahead. I have to say creosoting is not my favourite pastime but it’s one of those jobs that is quite satisfying at the end as you can see the benefits of your labour. Here’s a before and after image of the woodshed which had taken a bit of a battering in the winter storms.



Three sheds and a horse shelter done – one more shed to go!! Oh, and then it’s the benches and the decking! Thanks to Annie for the last two photos (and the creosoting!)

A Year in a Lane – Week 8

At last the sun has come out for a few days on end, the fields are starting to dry up, there are blue skies and the birds, particularly the blackbirds, are starting to sing more – a sure sign that spring is on its way. A chaffinch or two have been spotted in the trees:

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And even the pigeons, who are with us all year, are looking chirpier. Here’s a fellow who has just had a crafty drink from the horses’ water butt. The tell-tale drip still on the edge of his beak!


Although the sun is out, it is still early in the year so wrapping up warm is essential, especially if you are out and about in the fields. Here is a “traditional” activity that takes place on a daily basis given the number of people that keep their horses in the fields around the lane. Not sure if there is an official or technical name, but it is generally known as “poo-picking”. All you need is a rake, a scoop and a wheelbarrow – well, and a horse as well, I guess.


At the opposite end of the lane to me lies a small 35 acre wood which provides a great spot for rambling, dog walking and general nature spotting in the 3 “nice” seasons. As the mud subsides there will be more opportunities to spend time there – usually with Lottie the dog. At the front of the wood, shown below, there is now a clearing where the overhead electricity wires run. Although it was a shame to lose a number of trees,  powerful winds over the last few years have continually felled trees anyway – and some of these take down the wires causing blackouts locally. The process seems to be working because, as I write, despite a number of heavy storms this year, we have escaped unscathed in the area.

DSC00164And finally, if you remember those hardy daffodils that I showed a few weeks back, they are now flourishing along with a plethora of snowdrops.