Little pieces of home β€

Having recently moved house, for the first time in several years and out of the very first home I shared with my husband, into our second; I have been thinking a lot about home in the last few weeks. 

I have always been a big homebody, always loved nothing more than pointing the car homewards at the end of the day, and felt such a huge joy just turning the key in the lock and exchanging shouted hellos as I come in. 

I’ve also always been a big believer in a house being just that, and a home being the people and the moments and the heart of what you make of it. Still, in the first couple of weeks in our new house I did struggle to detach from our old one, which I had loved with all my heart for all the years we lived in it. 

I knew we were taking with us all the memories we made there, and moving on to make more; and our new house couldn’t have been more suited to us and our life together, and even offered things I’d always dreamed of, like the chance to watch the sun set over the hills and sheep graze outside the window on summer evenings. Still, I panicked that this house wouldn’t feel like “home” the way our tiny tumbling cottage where we took our first steps in our life together had.

Slowly but surely, though, as I always knew it would, the heart of our home has followed us. One of the main turning points, after a week of moving boxes in, building furniture and laying everything out, was bringing our pets along and settling them in their new room. The daily routine of making my way to the pets of a morning to greet them first thing – already adapted from jumping down the two steps into our old kitchen to making my way downstairs and opening the door to the utility room with the same usual shout of good morning – is such a big part of my day and brings so much balance and grounding to it. 

As other parts of our day-to-day life began to take up residence in the new house too – Saturday morning coffees in the garden, Friday night takeaways watching favourite box sets, evening walks before bed, hanging washing out on the line first thing – it began to feel more and more like home. Having friends to visit,  choosing books from the shelves and finding a cleaning routine, day by day we slotted into life here. 

The last few weeks have made me more sure than ever that a home is all the things that matter most. When I look around our house it is the gifts from friends and family that are so special – the sunflower our friends brought over when they came to stay, the painting of our old home our talented neighbour gave us as a wedding present, the letter-opener my dad whittled sitting by the mail – and the frames all round the house filled with photos of people and moments that mean so much. 

“Home” is such a huge part of my life, something I love so much and feel anchored to wherever I am and whatever I’m doing. Making a shift in where it is is a big adjustment, but ultimately doesn’t change it at its very heart – and within just a few weeks, I’m pointing the car at the new location with the same sense of happiness. ❀

Have a lovely weekend all. X 

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Goodbye to Ty… πŸ’™

We said our last goodbye to the gorgeous, badger-faced old man Ty at the weekend, after almost 2 and a half years of his companionship.

He first arrived with us in February 2015, with his brother Harvey, who he was absolutely inseparable from until we lost him just back in December. They were only 5 weeks old when we brought them home and knowing them since they were such tiny babies made watching them grow up all the more rewarding.

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Baby Ty arriving home, Day 1

He was forever our “Shy Ty”, always cautious about new people and things but always content in the rat and human company of those he’d got to know.

He was taught the ropes in life by our old men Chae and Winnie, two lovely boys who lived with Ty and Harvey as soon as they were old enough, and he grew in confidence growing up in their well-balanced group.

Ty with Harvey, Winnie and Chae over the years

Last year, when we added Reuben and Perry to our family, Ty did throw us a curveball proving things don’t always go to plan, and became temporarily nicknamed the “Tyrant” as a result of his unexpected refusal to accept new cagemates. The only thing that maybe could have helped him calm down was neutering, but at already 2 years old we decided not to, so settled to just keeping Harvey and Ty together and the younger boys separate – and later once he lost Harv, Ty did seem to appreciate the company in the next cage as well as ours, even though he was not to be persuaded to share his cage.

Ty was a lovely boy – he loved his brother unbelievably, we’ve never had two rats as constantly snuggled together as them, and was very affectionate with us too – as an older soul I’d just carry him about everywhere in my arms and he’d be happy as long as he was being stroked.


Ty and Harvey at 6 weeks old and at over a year

Although he was showing his age in the last few weeks, his departure this weekend did take us a little by surprise, as without any illness and having seemed bright and animated an hour before he just went to sleep – a bit of a shock for us but for him the most wonderful way to reach the end of his time with us.

Goodbye my Shy Ty, 1st January 2015 – 12th May 2017. πŸ’™


 

Settling the boys into their new home

We have been in our new home for a couple of weeks now and for the most part have got ourselves unpacked and just about settled! It’s been years since we moved and I had forgotten what an upheaval it can be, and how many things there are to get in order. One of the things I always worry about most is the pets, and trying to keep their disruption to a minimum.

We moved the rats in last, after everything else had made the flit and we were ready to spend our first night there; and for the most part I’ve been amazed at how well they’ve settled in. After a first night of looking startled at their new surroundings, they’ve taken everything in their stride and have definitely enjoyed having the security of their cages throughout.  

In the new house, they practically have a bedroom all of their own, in the utility room, which is absolutely perfect for them, with a window out to the back garden for plenty of light and fresh air, a heater too if they need it, and a workbench running across the top of the washing machine and laundry just the perfect length for the two cages to be side by side. They’re just off the hallway across from the kitchen so can have the door open and chat to them plenty when we’re just in but their door can be closed over if there’s visitors which especially Shy Ty will enjoy!

We also have a new pop-up playpen which will definitely come in handy as it can be moved anywhere. So far it’s been in the living room of an evening but can do wee stint anywhere else or even out in the garden, and is a nice way to contain them at playing time while everything is new – it’s definitely going down a treat so far!

Perry has been amusing himself keeping watch out the back window, and was absolutely astonished one morning after I’d just been in their room chattering away to see me appear out the back, rushing from the door to the window wondering where I would pop up next. 

Marley, Reuben and Perry are all approaching the new adventure as just that and enjoying all their exploring; but it was old man Ty I was most worried about. In fact, I was wondering just a few days before we were due to move if he would make it to the new house at all, as at 29 months he had suddenly slowed down a lot all at once. Since getting here though, he seems to have had a new lease of life, and is looking bright every day. 

All the boys got new cosy beds, just to soften the blow of the new surroundings, and he has enjoyed his particularly! 

Just a wee Friday hello from our four furry faces.. πŸ’™

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend. X

Summer nights with the pony β˜€οΈ

We are well and truly back on the summertime schedules and routines at the farm, and, as every year, it’s amazing to settle into. I absolutely love coming up to the farm and seeing, instead of four fluffy feet queued up eagerly at the field gate; the boy, looking bright bay in his light summer coat, grazing half-way down the field – lifting his head interestedly when he hears me unlock the gate and either watching me pick my way down the grassy hill or ambling over to meet me half-way, perfectly relaxed and perfectly happy in his field.

For my Charmer, this season is the best. He has always been an outdoor boy at heart, spending the first thirteen years of his life living out continually, and only beginning to have nights in worked into his routine in the colder months as he got into his teens and became a little arthritic. I’ve always tried to let him have as much time out as possible even as he’s got older and needed more feeding and shelter and for a native pony like him, I’ve always believed his time out is where his health and happiness comes from. 

By now, I pretty much take the lead from him on the in-or-out-at-nights question, and he’s evolved over the years from his younger days of 24/7 turnout, annually growing a winter coat as fluffy as a bear’s; to an older gent who looks forward to clopping across the yard to his stable  at the end of a dull winters’ day out (all laid out with dinner, hay and a straw bed, otherwise his very expressive face leaves me in doubt he feels the standards are slipping).

The routine suits us both in the long dark months, and he is happy with the new lifestyle, but it makes me so happy to see him return to his roots again at this time every year; adapting back to his outdoor self. As if a switch has been flicked, one day he’s just not by the gate as usual, and we go through a period of in-every-second-night on the wind-down, as for a while he does invariably opt for a night out with his friends one day, caught up in the excitement of the first few shoots of new grass, and then line up all the earlier the next night, hungry for his bucket feed and home comforts. 

And then comes the time we’ve got to now, these past couple of weeks, when the sun’s been shining non stop and all thoughts of the indoors are gone from the healthy-looking horse ambling around his field. It’s all the more wonderful to reach this time these days, after a few years of late-winter illness, and it means the world to me to see Charmer back in good condition and enjoying life. 

This week, evening visits to the farm have been just a case of sauntering towards my boy, armed with treats and fly sprays, and spending a bit of time with him relaxed in his own habitat. I’ve led him in for a couple of nights, after a few days each time of ruffling his sleepy head and laughing at his habit of never taking the same rest when out – obviously the outdoors being too full of opportunity for grazing or adventuring – to make sure he’s had a break from the grass and a proper sleep; but overall the days start to merge into one, and we both love the change of pace. 

Another lovely development in the past few days has been that when I do dip briefly into the cool of the barn, to collect headcollars and handfuls of pony nuts; my favourite visitors have returned, the swallows – beginning to scout out their old nests and prepare for another year of beginning new lives in here, nesting and then a few weeks on, teaching their little ones to fly from beam to beam, as we all watch below. ❀

Hope everyone else is enjoying some lovely weather too, and have a great week all. X