The beauty all around us…Β 

In the last month or so, we have been blessed with some lovely weather – quite possibly getting the best of our summer weather in late spring, as has happened a few years, but whatever comes next, been lovely to enjoy. 

I love to get out walking, clear my head and enjoy the views, whether it’s in good weather or bad – in the last year or so more than ever, my husband and I have been step-counters, Fitbits on our wrists, and have made the effort to be out for a bit in the evenings regardless of the whipping wind in winter time, walking along the streetlit seafront with chins buried in scarves and hands deep in pockets, putting the world to rights and enjoying the exercise and thought-gathering time. 

As we come into a time of light nights and brighter weather, getting out walking is easier and even more enjoyable, and getting out at lunch time for a break in the working day and in the evening at the farm with the pony or back home are highlights of my day.

Very often, however, it’s easy to take for granted the places we stride out in and have around us. Have had so many chances to wander on beautiful days in beautiful places in the last few weeks and very grateful for them all.

I’m lucky to work on the edge of the same university campus I lived and studied in for years as a student, and on my lunch breaks always prioritise a venture out to the loch and the grounds where we’re lucky to have so much wildlife and nature. The other week on my ramble, found a whole new level to the surroundings, finding my way out into the woodland at the foot of a hill and a whole new place to walk and explore.

We’re also at the wonderful time of year where we have cygnets on the loch, growing and learning with their parents and a joy to watch. 

Back home, we are settling into our new village and been enjoying wanders nearby in the evening, as well as longer walks that take us down to my family in one direction, for barbecues, nights round the fire pit and long walks in the woods with the dog; and in the other down to the shore and woods I used to play in when I was little, revisiting old dens and favourite spots.

By the time we get back home later at night, the light has shifted and we’re always so fascinated by the bats flying overhead, swooping so close to us but never touching, absolutely amazing animals. ❀

Really enjoying the chance to spend so much time in the beauty all around us, and appreciate it all in all its weathers and lights. X 

Preparing for the next addition to our family… and adapting routines for the rest!Β 

There have been many times in our lives together so far that my husband and I have been preparing for a new member of our little family, or considering adding one. We’ve driven excitedly to collect a new hamster or rats from a rescue centre, counted down to merging our existing pets together when we first moved in together and considered adding others we haven’t quite got to yet, like a second horse (always particularly tempting when one of Charmer’s gorgeous younger half-brothers or sisters is up for sale) or – especially now that we technically could in our new house – a cat or dog. We are once again this year in the position of a big change on the horizon, but this time beyond anything we’ve thought of before, as it’s a human and not animal addition we’re waiting for – we are expecting a baby in December, and are so excited about it. 

Already there have been so many subtle changes in our day to day life as we try to get the hang of all the things we’ll need to know – car seat regulations and pram choices, sleeping arrangements and parental leave – and preparations are well underway for this huge shift in our family dynamic that we can’t wait to make. 

For the pets, this has meant changes too. The little ones have relocated with us to a new home in the last couple of months which gives us the space we need for our growing family. My poor husband has risen valiantly to his new role as rat-cage-cleaner while I’m not able to! And the boys are doing just fine with the slightly altered location and routines.

Marley and Perry sunbathing in their cage in the rat-room. 

For Charmer most of all, my pregnancy has meant big changes, most notably the lack of riding! We’ve embarked on our longest ever abstention from riding in the seventeen years we’ve been together, and all going well it’ll be into 2018 before I’m able to amble out a hack again on the back of my boy. Our last venture, back in March when the daffodils were just blooming, feels so long ago already! 

I’ve been very lucky to have a friend taking Charmer out on the odd hack to let him have adventures with his friends and crunch through the woods he loves to, but we’ve been getting out together lots in-hand too, exploring along the tracks around our farm and also playing games in the sand school to keep him fit and his mind active. 

This weekend we took a family walk, all of us along the sea, with so much to see to keep Charmer’s head full of new adventures, and exercise for all of us. 

Back at the farm, it’s also de-ragworting time, an annual task I usually get stuck into myself, working in the fields long into the summer evenings while the horses graze; but the heavy work and poisonous plants have taken me out of the action except as a gloved bagger-upper so again that’s been a team effort this summer with massive help from my husband!

I’m very lucky that Charmer is such a chilled-out character. There have been many seasons over the years that ridden work has been off the table, so far always because he’s needed the time off rather than me – back in 2011 when he was off for several months at the peak of his arthritis, in 2014 when he was very unwell for the summer and was out from April until September, and again last year for a month or two when this briefly returned. Each and every time, we’ve adapted without too much trouble, as we seem to be evenly matched in outlook and both simply content for routine, wanders and time together – with the blasts through stubble fields we’re sometimes lucky enough to have an added bonus. 

This is such an incredible time for us all, just on the cusp of something so exciting, and the practicalities we need to work around over the next few months will be outweighed we have no doubt by the joy of our new arrival who we look forward to meeting more every day. 

Very grateful however, for the pets’ good natures and willingness to adapt during this time. 

Hope everyone has a lovely week. X 

When the world is going crazy…Β 

Yesterday started at 3am for me, with a few hours’ sleep caught and my alarm heralding my early start to watch the election results continue to come in. I never quite lose hope when it comes to voting time, in spite of past experience, and continue to care so deeply about the ins and outs of democracy and the events of election nights. More than any other in recent years, the night’s unfolding drama did come with flurries of hope and triumph, balanced of course, as ever, by crushing blows. By the time the day had somehow worked itself out in a series of highs and lows, each as unfathomable as the one before, my mind was a whir, as I’m sure so many across the country were. 

The decisions we make together and the way we move forward in the world are so important. And yet, 18 hours in to an as-yet-unclear era, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the change and possibilities. 

As I arrived at the farm it struck me as it often does, with a settling sense of security, that here nothing changes. Regardless of who is Prime Minister and how we debate from here, Charmer needs his fly creams on every day (or his wee ears de-iced and his wet rug changed in winter, just for seasonal variation). 

Standing with him, the huge events of the world around us cease to exist temporarily and it’s just feet checks and his nose nuzzling my pockets for pony nuts for as long as it takes.

Back home too, the little boys simply need medicine, attention, favourite treats and a wee coory in, same as always. 

There’s so many times over the years I’ve enjoyed the steadying consistency of the pets, and last night was no exception. It’s so important to engage with the world around us; but it’s sometimes just as vital to pull back too, and those parts of our lives that consume us so completely we escape all else are of so much worth. When the world is going crazy, I still have my boys to keep me anchored. πŸ’™

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend. Xx 

Rat round-up… 🐭🐭🐭

It’s been a hectic month or so for our little mischief, as – as always seems to be the way somehow – a run of easy care and fun since Christmas has been followed by one thing after another with the boys’ health. It’s just a few weeks since we lost our old boy Ty and since then both Reuben and Marley have been taking it in turns to be medicated, while Perry remains fighting fit but continues to be the one who is taking longest to adapt to his new surroundings and settle in the new house. 

Reuben is on round two at the moment of a Baytril / Loxicom / Ranitidine combo for a mystery illness – he really has me (and the vet!) stumped, seeming just generally unwell without anything to indicate the cause and help narrow down the treatment. Thankfully he is doing a lot better than he was, and making progress all the time, but time well tell whether we can get him cleared up completely. All we know is he’s had an upset stomach, been losing weight, seems not himself and, thanks to the vets doing a urine test which I was very grateful for, that he has high white blood cell and platelet counts, meaning he’s most likely to have an infection we can’t see. Hoping the meds he’s on will manage to treat it; and in the meantime am very thankful for what an absolutely star patient wee Rubes is – not only will he sit gently on my knee every night but he will drink any medicine from a spoon with just a dash of fruit juice – in all the anti biotics we’ve had to con our charges into ingesting over the years, we’ve never had it so easy… πŸ’™

Marley, on the other hand, can sniff out Baytril a mile off in any substance and does NOT care for being syringed it… but thankfully we are almost through the other side of his treatment and his mild respiratory infection seems to be all but cleared up, with a much happier soul now we’re done!

The two of them over the last few weeks have been a little huddle on the settee of an evening, not up to their usual games to the same extent but opting instead for a more cosy vantage point and looking after each other well, they’re both such sweethearts.

Perry, meanwhile, has been taking the chance to explore around the room and, to my great relief, is finally starting to seem relaxed and playful in the new living room instead of edgy and unsure. For the first few weeks he seemed very afraid of his new surroundings, taking cover under a throw and keeping completely still – which led to us thinking we’d lost him more than once!! – and it was so unlike him and such a shame to see him jumpy instead of enthusiastically into everything like normal. Over the past couple of weeks though, bit by bit, he’s made the journey from his position hidden away to adventuring around and playing his usual games, in and out of books and corners… πŸ’™

It’s certainly been a challenging few weeks with the boys – they bring so much exuberance and affection into our home when they’re well but it’s so difficult to know what to do for the best if they’re not themselves or unwell. In the last week or so though, really glad to see Marley feeling better, Perry finding his feet in the house and starting to play like his old self, and enjoying cuddles with Reuben and keeping fingers crossed for a recovery for him… 

My bundle πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’™

Hope you are all having a lovely week. X 

Friday night with the pony πŸ’™

Brought a very sleepy and subdued Charmer in tonight to spend a few hours the cool of the stable, mixing up his current grass-heavy diet with a little hay, and most importantly catching up on his rest. 

In these long and lovely days of summer, there’s so much sunshine to be soaked up and grazing to do, and the days become a blur with more going on for me away from the farm too and nightly field checks brief and relaxed. 

Now and then though, we opt for a night in; and tonight as we wound our way round from the field side by side it was lovely to ring the changes, to pull down the thrown-up straw bankings into a full and comfy bed for the flat-out snoozing I’ve no doubt Charmer will do later, peel hay from the bale and freshen up the abandoned water drinker. 

Most of all though, it’s lovely just to spend some quality time together. It comes easy in winter, with such rigid routines and so much time inside; but summer is a different character. I love the independence it offers Charmer every year – how much he bonds with his field mates and works out his own days’ patterns, and how very chilled out he looks when I arrive with a treat and a fly spray – but I miss, all the same, the closeness of all our time spent more together. 

Tonight though, a sleepy head on my shoulder, lip drooping, swallows flicking back and forth overhead, making him jump awake now and then as he doses off, it’s lovely just to be still and take a little break from the summer field. πŸ’™

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend. X