A Year in a Lane – Week 32

Although the weather has really come good this month and summer is all around, reminders of the autumn to come are starting to appear. The horses’ hay has been delivered in time for the colder weather when the grass stops growing. So we are all stocked up now.


Another sign is hidden in the trees down the lane – well, one particular type of tree anyway. Horse chestnuts are coming through reminding those of us of a certain age of the all-important conker fights we used to have at school. Not sure if that still happens anywhere – I think the pastime has been more or less eradicated by a combination of technology and our dear friend Health and Safety.


It is always nice to see humans being helpful to nature rather than destructive. The tree on the left has been weakened over the years by the weather and wind but, with a little help from the local inhabitants and a fellow tree, it continues to survive.


Having vaguely criticised technology above, there are many advantages that can help improve life, even in the countryside. Thanks to faster broadband and wifi, many of us can work from home in rural locations and, in the summer, the “office” can be a great place to work.


As shown in previous weeks, I am quite pleased with the way my plants and baskets have gone this year but it is difficult to compete with the stables next door who have a wonderful display all around their gardens.


Finally, more living creatures in the lane – this time Lottie and the hens decide to have a bit of group sniff around the verges. They look friendly enough here although Lottie has been known to “do a runner” if they all move towards her at once. Brave dog!


A Year in a Lane – Week 31

This week we start with the birthday boy. Tom was 26 years young last Tuesday and apart from some knobbly looking knees is still in pretty good shape.


Here is a very brave youngster, wasn’t phased by me getting pretty close with the camera and wasn’t too concerned that Lottie was only a little way behind me (although our fearless hunter was totally oblivious to bunny’s presence). I hope this rabbit isn’t quite so trusting when the man with the rifle, who culls rabbits for the local landowners, comes around.

DSC00577Work continues apace in the adjoining field which, as mentioned before, is getting a bit of a makeover including ploughing later in the year. The new posts along the bridle path are now being wired up for when sheep eventually return.

DSC00581Last week I showed a nest that had collapsed because the young birds got too heavy and still tried to sit in it. Well, here is one that will be following on shortly if Morecombe and Wise, here, don’t start hunting for themselves rather than waiting for parental assistance.

DSC00582Pigeons breed all year round so obviously nest building can take place at any time of the year. This fine specimen is looking very pleased with him(her)self with a brand new twig, presumably for a new construction.


Towards the end of the day, it’s feeding time for the local crows and a few other hangers on. The “de-grassed” field provides easier access for a take-away worm or two.


A Year in a Lane – Week 30

Although (sadly) nights are drawing in, this has been tempered by the fact that the nights have been much warmer and some lovely summer evenings have been had this month (July). Plus it is still light until almost 10 pm. The horses have been enjoying the warmth of the latter end of the day.


In fact it is mainly about the horses this week. Many people assume that horse shelters are there to protect them from the rain but, actually, heavy rain aside, they spend more time inside protecting themselves from the sun. A couple of lovely days this week have demonstrated that as with the picture below.


At least Tom has let Flash inside this time – he is not always so generous, sometimes standing right in the doorway so the little fellow can’t get in!! At other times they can be very gentle with each other – witness a bit of mutual grooming going on below. Thanks to Clare for this photo.

Horse Kiss

Going back to the seasonal evenings, there are some lovely skies contrasting with the newly “brown” field next door as it awaits ploughing to start. This picture was taken about 9.30 pm one night so the “dark” clouds are actually just white fluffy ones looking more menacing as the sun fades.

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Finally, the House Martins are, of course, still around. There have been a few more babies produced and some are still being fed by their parents but, by and large, the youngsters are out of the nest and fending for themselves. One problem is the fact that they don’t always realise when they are too big to return to the nest, resulting in a number of nest collapses such as the one below. Not sure how much power this particular solar panel is generating right now 🙂


A Year in a Lane – Week 29

Having been away this week, I didn’t want to cheat and post pictures taken at a different time so, in the limited time I had, I thought I would show how the garden plants have blossomed over the last few weeks. Hanging baskets are really nice if you can fill and nurture them properly – thanks to Ann for all her hard work on making this happen!


And the two around the door give a country cottage-style effect. You can also just see the squirrel on the lower right – it grows around a frame so I cannot claim any topiary excellence other than cutting around said frame!


The garden has lots of lovely plants at the moment but one of the most colourful, and my personal favourite is the Crocosmia Venus with its bright orange flowers.


Finally (for it is a short entry this week), those of you who follow the blog regularly may remember that previously I showed the large machine coming onto the farm field to spray the grass to facilitate ploughing. The field was green before I went on holiday – see the difference!


Normal service will be resumed next week.

A Year in a Lane – Week 28

I used to have two (cooking) apple trees in the garden but one had to come down to make way for a new drain and also because it had decided it might like to invade the conservatory via the roof!

Normally the remaining one only produces a crop every other year, however there are (very early, it has to be said) signs that this year could be an exception and maybe even a bumper crop.


I have had a couple of visits from the electricity board this year proposing to do some tidy up work around the various cables and boxes that pass across my land. One of the more interesting items is the switch on a pole at the far end of the paddock – pulling this down switches off the rest of the village down the hill – I have been tempted haha!! The switch is due to be replaced sometime this year.


Summer’s warmth is finally beginning to break through and for some of us that means an excuse to do even less than normal and just lie around outside, although why Spooner prefers gravel to grass is anyone’s guess.


The beast of a machine below is being used to spray the field next to the house to discourage (yes, you read that correctly) grass from growing prior to the field being ploughed up. The results of this will become clear over the coming weeks.


Going down towards the bottom of the lane, we can see that not all footpaths are regularly used. This one which links our lane to the next one down and then on to another village is rarely visited, except by the occasional dog walker.




A Year in a Lane – Week 27

The House Martins, without a doubt, are a huge part of the summer experience living in this house for all sorts of reasons. It is impossible to sit or walk in the garden without watching them zip around going back and forth to their nests to feed their young.


One of the unfortunate side effects of having these fascinating birds sharing your space is, err , poo. It’s everywhere and the gazebo fabric roof will need a good dry clean at the end of the summer! Witness the door step by the rear patio door!


It is also all over the flat roof and some finds its way onto the solar panels which need to be hosed down every now and then – not easy from upstairs! This view of the mess on the flat roof is tempered by the object in the middle top of the picture. This poor little one has fallen out the nest before he/she was ready. Very sad!


A rather strange sight appeared on the horizon earlier in the week – has the farmer started drilling for oil or fracking maybe?


It is. of course, a post smasher – well that’s my term anyway. A new gate is being put in at the top of the field and this machine is used to hammer the posts into the ground.

Finally, after the sadness of the little bird above, here is a good news story. This lovely blue dragonfly  had been enjoying the sunshine outside. He managed to fly into the conservatory and then couldn’t find his way out but I managed to carefully capture him in a glass and release him back out into the great outdoors without damaging this fragile creature.


A Year in a Lane – Week 26

We have reached the halfway point and we’re still going strong!  This week we’ll begin with sewage!

Because there is no mains sewage in the lane (and most of the rest of the village), we have a septic tank in the garden which a nice man comes and empties once a year. Given the size of the lorry and the driveway entrance, it requires some driving skill to get close enough to the main drain entrance.


And here is the nice man with his extendable hose heading for the tank. It takes about 20 minutes to empty it (about 1000 gallons of “sludge”).


On to more pleasant subjects – as anyone who has been following this blog knows by now, I like a good sunset! This time I have a slightly different take as I thought that this particular cloud looked quite spectacular as the sun started its final descent.


I have tried to incorporate all the life in the lane at some point during the year and realise that the pigeons haven’t had much of a look in, apart from my favourite sunset “kissing” picture earlier in the year. They are the most consistent visitors throughout the year and so here is one gentleman surveying the paddock in the sun.


The night light is always intriguing at this time of year and here are a couple of pictures of the sheep next door who have returned prior to the field (apparently) being ploughed up in the autumn. This is about 90 minutes before sunset on a lovely (but sadly rare this year) summer’s evening.


A couple having a little pose for the camera there! And later as the sun was setting, the field provides silhouettes along the hillside.

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A Year in a Lane – Week 25

It’s all (well nearly all) about the sky this week, given the time of the year. The moon was hovering over the trees at the end of the paddock early in the week on a clear night.

DSC00469 edSo the longest day of the year has now passed and nights are drawing back in. It would be some comfort if the weather was at least summer-like in nature but it’s  not that warm and still raining every other day. At least it was dry on the longest day and here is a picture of the Lane as the sun was going down – deliberately taken in natural light to try and capture the effect.

DSC00472 edA couple of days later, the clouds provided a great backdrop on one of those rare summer evenings that 2016 has offered up.

DSC00478 I had a visitor the other night in the entrance hall, trying to find his way out through a closed door. I assisted his escape and later found my new friend taking shelter by the drain among the pipework.


Haven’t seen him since but I expect he has legged it (or hopped it) back to the pond at the end of the garden. Another visitor this week was a tree surgeon who is working for the electricity board. He wants to trim two of my trees at the top of the drive right back as they are encroaching on the power lines and, more importantly, getting too close to the junction box which is between the two of them. I don’t really like chopping down trees but needs must as you can see below.


On the plus side, the view down the driveway will be opened up somewhat and I get to keep the wood, which he will log for me, free of charge so that will save a few pounds on winter heating bills.

And finally – what’s wrong with this picture?


Someone appears to have broken through the fence that splits the field that the horses are currently in and gone for the long grass on the other side. We try and limit the amount of grass accessible at any one time to try and prevent any risk of laminitis. However, someone is clearly not impressed.  #evilhorse

A Year in a Lane – Week 24

The horses paddock has now recovered well and in addition to the grass re-growing, daisies and buttercups are providing a splash of colour at the far end.


Talking of the horses, they are getting along famously further down the lane in their summer field. Plenty of grass to eat – although we control it by fencing to stop them eating too much too quickly and risking laminitis. From the upstairs window, through the various shades of green, Tom and Flash can be seen occasionally in the sunshine.


The house martins have been rebuilding their nests and, from some of them, it looks like a little foraging was done while the hay was being taken in the farm next door.

DSC00456 edEggs have been laid and mothers are sitting patiently keeping them warm whilst dads go out to get food.

Here’s Mum with Dad just popping out ……

DSC00457And here is back with some provisions.

DSC00463And as we are on a bird theme this week, at the start of this period it was rather dull and rainy again as can be seen from the picture below. A group of pigeons decided to take a stroll up the lane rather than flying, although one decided to take the more normal method of travel just as I pressed the shutter.

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A Year in a Lane – Week 23

Last week the farmer started the hay harvesting and we saw the grass being cut and turned to dry. The next part of the process is that it is pulled together into loose piles and then… magic happens!!  The baling machine comes along, swishes the hay into bales and wraps it in cellophane all at one go. I could watch this wonderful piece of equipment for hours.


The baling takes place all day and into the early dusk – which is when this picture was taken and I decided to show the natural light rather than use the flash here. Once the magic machine is done, the field is left with neatly wrapped piles of hay scattered across it.


The next step is to load this onto a trailer and then take it off for storage back down the hill in the main part of the farm where all the outbuildings are.

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And off we go….. job done.


The countryside is generally about the cycle of life and death both for animals and plants – however sometimes sadly the natural lifespan is interrupted – especially if you are not looking where you are going and fly head first into a conservatory window!


On a more uplifting note, around an hour before sunset the rooks invariably gather on the power lines for a bit of a social.


At some point they decide it’s time for a bit of a fly around and it can be fairly spectacular as they all take off and swoop through the sky above the farm.


They will then either return to the wires and have another chat or fly off into the copse at the side of the field where they nest for the night.