Animal Adventures – September into October 🍁

As we move deeper into my favourite season of all, watching the leaves slowly change on the trees and begin to tumble to the ground, just a wee summary of how the pets are getting on, filling our wee world as they do with so much character and love.

It’s not long since I last wrote about Charmer, and not too much has happened with him, just a shiny new pair of shoes since I last wrote, and a start to our October of charity walks with his first couple of half-mile wander on his rope this week, one just with me and one with the A Team in tow!

Little Sandy too is still pottering away very happily, almost 31 months now and I’m so delighted with the shine in his coat still and how he’s holding his weight.

The cats are our biggest changers ❤️ Rosie and Theo have just turned 5 months old, and been with us just over 3 months, and they are growing and changing all the time. Their characters are really becoming so clear and they have transformed life in our little house. ❤️

Rosie is very relaxed and loves cuddling and playing with the whole family, often joining in the kids’ games (kids’ toys and cat toys appear to be interchangeable, there is often a cat toy joining in the dolls house and one of the kids’ dinosaurs turning up in the cat bed!). She is always on some mission or other and tends to keep herself busy nipping upstairs to steal the bath plug and hide it around the house or paddling in the shower or sink after someone’s used them – and whenever I open a book, especially a big hardback, she jumps straight in, I barely do any reading anymore without a purring Rosie on my knee with her nose in the pages.

Theo (affectionately known as Teddy) is more of a reserved type, he’s very affectionate but keeps more of a distance from the chaos and comes into his own in the evening when the house is quieter – he has also settled to being a bit of a one-master cat, he definitely loves my husband most of all, seeking him out for 3am cuddles every single night, but now and then I get my moments with him and he’s a gorgeous and lovely boy.

Last week I had them both at the vets for their neutering, but in the end Rosie was still a little too little at just under 2kg, so she was given a few more weeks to bulk up. Theo, who was originally the littlest, has streaked ahead of her to become a strapping boy-cat, and at 2.4kg was ok going ahead with his operation.

He did really well, charmed everyone in the vets, the receptionist reported she’d barely been able to get any work done for cuddling him as per his demands! And when he got home he recovered really well. Unfortunately wee Rosie though was disconcerted by the smell of the vets or maybe just their first time apart, even though it was only a day, and gave him a hard time when he came back, hissing and not seeming to recognise him. It only lasted an evening before she settled, but it seems to have upset the balance a little between them and they had not been sleeping curled up together or spending all their time together since.

About a week later we actually made another appointment for Theo thinking something was wrong as he was sleeping round the clock and very lethargic but the vet could find nothing and believed the poor wee dot was just reacting to Rosie having been more aloof with him and missing the security of how close they were. The vet nurse at our local practice has a keen interest in cat behaviour so she gave us a few tips on ways to ease things for both of them to hopefully allow an improvement and fingers crossed it does seem to be working – We’ve gone from them keeping to opposite sides of the room to this….

To this..

And yesterday, briefly, their old tumbly cuddly selves ❤️

Teddy seems much more relaxed and like himself as a result so we do hope they get back to their wee pack of two before too long; but they are both such wonderful characters regardless and we just love having them in our home, it feels like they’ve part of the family forever.

Last but not least a wee cameo from our newest unofficial “pet”, Henry the Hedgehog (named by our eldest!) who frequents the garden at night. Was so happy to see what an excellent size he is! But we’ve been putting a wee bit of the cat’s food out nonetheless and a wee bit shelter in the bushes for him and love to sit out late and watch him in the dark.

We are on a week’s holiday here at the moment, and really looking forward to it, we were originally going to go away for a few days but have decided to stay closer to nine and do day trips here and there which we are all so excited about. Will post at the weekend some at-home adventures. Whether October break where you are or not hope you all have a really lovely week. X

Theo watching the world go by this morning ❤️

September’s Eve 🍂

Just a quick update tonight as August tumbles into September, with so many thoughts whirling in my head as we settle in to a gently shifting change in season once again.

Our world the last few weeks has been filled with a back-to-school air – or off to school for the very first time really, as our biggest girl has started school nursery, and we have found ourselves in the primary school playground every day for drop offs and pick ups, finding our feet in a whole new world. She is settling in so well to nursery life despite what a big leap it seems to have been for her from her couple of mornings at playgroup last year, and it’s wonderful to hear all the new stories every day.

It’s been a time of transition for all of us in a smaller way, maybe most of all for our littlest who is adjusting to mornings without her sister around. We’ve picked back up with our usual toddler groups, music classes and song and rhyme sessions, only this time I just have her in tow, and she’s found that a bit different, her natural confidence taking a little longer to come out without her usual shadow to walk in. But it’s been really really lovely watching her too adapt to a new stage, growing in independence and changing all the time.

For my part, I’m enjoying this new era as much as the ones before it, especially with the freedom that’s returned more over the summer, and making the most of the time I have both with one and with two. Today after the nursery drop off, on a wander with tiny down to a lovely free sing-along session in a museum in town, we discovered a little library we had no idea was there. It was so nice to be able to choose a book to take home for the kids and we have some of theirs and mine we need to donate so it’ll be a lovely place to do it on our next walk.

After our little class, as we walked back up the hill, we came across a gated entrance that captured her attention, and I’d forgotten how enjoyable it was to be able to just take the path because she fancied it and do the exploring. Before we knew it we’d wound down into the glen with the squirrels and birds and it was a lovely impulse to be able to follow.

And we only had to wait until this afternoon for the pace to be shifted once again with both girls back home together (we’re building up the nursery hours slowly over the year so still have lots of times all of us). It was lovely just to settle at home, read our new book all together, do some quiet activities and enjoy the old routine.

Spent some time in the garden too in the newly-fresh air, a slight nip to it today after so long of hot days – with the kittens out too for one of their first wee plays while we watched them explore (just over 4 months now and a pair of energy-filled leggy tearaways at the moment, full of fun and doing well ☺️).

There’s so much else been going on I will write more on later – the pony doing well as we come to the to the end of the summer and making a start on getting him prepared for winter, starting to feel more settled into my new job at the weekends and the training along with it too keeping me busy of an evening, my husband taking his first tentative steps back to office life some days (though still with the home office as the default for foreseeable future which we’re so thankful for for time all together).

One of the things we’ve been most glad of in the last few weeks in the midst of everything else is that we have had some wonderful chances to catch up with friends and family. At the weekend we had the loveliest family garden gathering under twinkling lights, breathing in the smell of woodsmoke and the togetherness we’ve missed so much. It can feel sometimes to an extent like we’re still living tentatively in a hangover from all the disruption to life last year, and so it was so liberating to have such an old-school family day and night and remember how much we love to assemble. 🥰 I’m looking forward so much now to a season ahead of wrapping up for chiminea nights and cosy gatherings. ❤️

Hope you are all well, and wish you a really lovely start to September.. 🍁

A Highland Adventure with my girl ❤️

I came across this post in my drafts, where it had been since it was written back in February, not having got round to posting it immediately and then with all the last few months’ events it having become pretty much obsolete. Decided today though to give it a post, on a day I’m struggling with so so missing spending time with wider family and so looking forward to reaching a point again before too long when all these simple things are the norm again. It’s lovely to remember how special little jaunts, time with each other, and all the places and memories we hold close with our family and friends truly are – I appreciate them now more than ever and can’t wait to return to them again.

A couple of weeks back, when Monday dawned again and it was back to weekday business as usual for me and the little one, we decided to break with the usual routine, skip our morning class, pack a picnic and head north to Highland Perthshire for an impromptu day out. We planned to visit my uncle for his birthday, who lives in the beautiful rural village of Kirkmichael, and make a swoop of the countryside while we did. The area is one we really love to visit – between family summer holidays the last two years in Aberfeldy (and a couple of weekends there just us two in the more distant past too!), annual autumn trips to Pitlochry to the Enchanted Forest with our friends, visits to family and camper van trips back in our exploring and touring days – always loving the winding road north and the walls of trees either side – ; it’s definitely a favourite place of ours as a family to head to, and it was lovely to point the car in that direction and set off.

River walk, Kirkmichael

As I drove, Radio Scotland my soundtrack for the day, topical debate in the morning moving into some chilled home-grown music as we journeyed north, the little one slept; and I enjoyed the quiet and the drive as the sun shone.

Our first stop was in Pitlochry, forever a favourite of mine, and I could feel myself sinking into the familiarity and charm of it as I crawled along the Main Street – the second-hand railway station bookshop to my left where we’d whiled away an afternoon in the summer and taken home a book each for all three of us… the craft shop to my right where we browsed, chatted and laughed every year with our friends on our weekend away together… the Christmas shop at the end of the road where my new decoration for the year was usually bought in the first chill of October.

Adventures in Pitlochry over the years

I drove out to Faskally Wood to stop, and just as we pulled in the wee one woke up – just in perfect time for a ramble in the woods. I’ve loved seeing Faskally in both summer and winter in daylight now, but the way we know it best is in the height of its “enchantment”, every year at Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s Enchanted Forest.

Sparkling Bridge, Enchanted Forest 2013

We spent a lovely hour wandering in the trees and had our picnic there before heading out over the hills on the beautiful passing-places-dotted route between Pitlochry and Kirkmichael.

There wasn’t another car on the road and every now and then I had to pause just to breathe in the view a little more while the wee one watched the sheep, hills and occasional old ruin pass us by.

We had a lovely visit with my uncle – coffee, cake, celebrations and a wander by the beautiful River, enjoying every minute; and continued our loop down towards Bridge of Cally, stopping off to admire the two repurposed “library” phone boxes we discovered along the way.

Winding our way through Coupar Angus and back down into Perth, we stopped off for a final leg stretch, snack and blast of fresh air to keep the toddler awake for the home straight! Walking across the bridges with Perth’s darkening skyline our backdrop, it was beautiful to take in the city to end our day, before heading for the last leg home.

It was a lovely way to spend a day, and we are so very lucky to live in such a beautiful country, and have all this not too far from our own little home.

Wishing you all a lovely week. ❤️

Hope everyone is staying safe and keeping well, enjoying all the simple things we can close to home just now and looking forward to getting back to the rest when we can! X

Saturday Rambles ❤️

Started our weekend off with a lovely wander in some local woods, enjoying the fresh air and sunshine, gathering sticks and twigs and admiring the nature surrounding us.

A beautiful and sunny “leap day”, this morning felt more like March than February and gave a lovely taste of times to come. Just love these days on the tipping point between winter and spring when the first buds appear and the warmth of the sun breaks through even just in small doses ☀️💛

Our little one couldn’t have enjoyed the exploring more, wellies on, branches trailing along behind her and wrapped up in her woolly hat and gloves.

It’s lovely to be able to spend Saturdays like this – I’m so enjoying settling into maternity leave and really loving the opportunity for slower paced weekends and family time all together.

This afternoon too I had a lovely chance for a bit of time with my biggest boy, who is doing very well at the moment and at his most recent vet check on Thursday they were really pleased with the progress of his mouth healing up. Still unsure of whether his second operation will be needed but everything going in the right direction and really pleased with how he seems.

By the time I got along to the farm, the weather was back to more January-esque, as it has mostly tended to be recently; and it was in between sleety showers and with a thick coat zipped up to my chin and the lead rope in my hand pushed deep into my pocket that I wandered Charmer round to the field. Took the long way round, enjoying a bit of time with him and stopping off at the snowdrop- lined grass to let him have a munch on the way.

It’s definitely been a mixed day, and the heating is on now as we settle in back home for the night, but it has been a lovely day for bursts of the outdoors in the tug-of-war between the early spring sunshine and the winter chill.

Have a lovely night all. X

2020 Visions ~ A few snapshots from the beginning of our year, and looking to the future…

As we stepped into 2020 earlier this month, it was from a full and busy end to 2019.

New Year’s Day, 2020

We had a Christmas period filled with family, friends and festivities; from our daughter’s 2nd birthday to Christmases with both sides of the family, games and merriment interspersed with a few much-appreciated quieter moments – walks underneath the twinkling lights, a time to pause at a Christmas Eve Christingle service, slow-start mornings at home just the three of us.

I also worked a few extra shifts over Christmas, my first year working in care over the holidays, and really enjoyed the chance to be a little part of such a special time of the year in the homes I visit. It was a lovely festive season – despite the logistical challenges of fitting everything in! – and one I was very grateful to have had. Still, as I always do seem to find in the steadying and refreshing first days of a whole new year; it has been wonderful to settle back in to a routine once more, open up a brand new diary, feel things slow down a little again and relax into the fresh start.

Sunrise from home, 2nd January 2020

My weekdays, spent at the moment at home looking after my daughter, have built over the last year to be generally quite structured, as we get out every morning to a toddlers group, class or a Bookbug session (the most wonderful free library singing and story groups we’re very lucky to have here for wee ones), and then in the afternoons have a walk, meet friends, do the shopping or more often than not head to the farm to spend some time with the pony. The little one really loves her routine, getting to her same groups every week with her friends and getting out and about exploring; and it’s all absolutely brilliant for building up to her heading off to nursery in what seems a crazily short time, less than a year from now!

All this was new to me last year, just coming out of maternity leave and finding my feet with it in the longer term, and our weeks were more flexible back then, being much more dictated to by ad hoc napping and feeding! This year though, I’ve so enjoyed returning to it all in much the same way I used to to work in the office, and it’s lovely to look ahead at the term unfolding.

Of course, life is going to change and rhythms adjust (or more likely be completely turned upside down!) for us in the coming months all over again, as we prepare to welcome our second child in April, with our due date now just 10 weeks away. It’s been lovely starting to get ready for that too – packing a hospital bag, getting our little crib out again and buying a new mattress for it, washing and drying baby clothes and finding it unbelievable how impossibly tiny they are!!

For his part, my old man Charmer has come through now the majority of this winter wonderfully well generally speaking – his arthritis, being managed every day this year just depending on how he’s doing, has for the most part been on an even keel.

This year I was more worried about the impact of the winter on him than ever since his legs had already been causing him some trouble in summertime; but we’ve been incredibly luckily from his point of view with the weather – not from every other horse owner’s I’m sure, or every other general winter fan, as the beautiful crisp frosty days here have been very few and far between, with generally damp, muddy and ridiculously mild weather throughout nearly all of November and December. For Charmer, this has actually been perfect, as it seems to be when the temperature drops below zero that his wee bones feel it, and so he’s managed to be sound and relatively pain-free with only some double doses of pain relief needed in the occasional colder snap. The biggest change to his management this year has been that for the first time in many years he’s managed to be wintered out (so far at least!), mostly due to an excess of grass we ended up with in the summer and a gradual re-widening of the field bit by bit over the last few months after having it partly fenced off. This has been wonderful for keeping him moving and reducing his stiffness, and he’s thrived on it so far, keeping weight on and enjoying his freedom.

He’s got to keep me on my on my toes to some extent though, of course (he just wouldn’t be him otherwise!), so at last week’s annual health check a damaged canine tooth was discovered which is unfortunately going to need X-rays and extraction up at the vet clinic next month. I just hope it can all go as smoothly as possible for him, as he is definitely not a fan of travelling in the trailer or really young enough to bounce back easily if the procedure turns out to be a complicated one; but we will just have to see how it all goes.

This year is undoubtedly going to be a big one for us all, and I’m so looking forward to it. We’ve actually been very lucky to have started it with some wonderful times already, even though we’re only a few weeks in; and it feels like we’ve had a chance to travel our beautiful country a fair bit, having started the new year in the south with my husband’s family, and last weekend having headed north for a wonderful farm weekend away with my sister. Very grateful for time with some of our favourite people in some of our favourite places, taking in amazing views and watching the beautiful January sunrises and sunsets. ❤

Looking forward to writing more in the coming months, and hope you are all having a good week. xx

 

Changing Seasons 🍁

As we settle into an October that dawned cold and wintry, right on cue, there have been lots of changes in our little corner of the world – and on a rare and much-appreciated Sunday off, I’m so glad to take some time to slow down, match the pace of the season and enjoy a quiet day between the stables and home, making soup, wrapping up and enjoying family time.

It’s so lovely to have time to take stock of everything around us and in the lull I have enjoyed catching up on thoughts and all our recent happenings.

We are entering a new season especially for our little family at the moment, and a very exciting one at that, as we are delighted to be expecting a baby at the beginning of April next year. We are all so looking forward to welcoming our second child and growing our little family. ❤️

Now very glad to be a little less exhausted than I was the first few months, been so enjoying getting out and about in this beautiful time of year for walks and explores with my daughter, gathering leaves and fir cones – and of course with my biggest fluffiest boy, who is doing very well at the moment and enjoying the shift into a more wintry routine.

We have had a few challenges this year trying to stay on top of his arthritis, and I think we may have possibly reached the point of retirement for him, but we will just take it all as it comes as always and, for his part, Charmer is very much enjoying life in the field and all his little routines and is his usual characterful self. ❤️

We have also welcomed another new member of the family, this time small and fluffy, our little Sandy hamster who came home in July and is a truly lovely wee character. He was just 4 months old when we adopted him from a lovely local hamster rescue centre, now around 6 months and he’s settling really well as a lovely family pet. ❤️

Been falling very much by the wayside with blogging the last little while but it’s lovely to write a little catch up and looking forward to reading and writing more autumn adventures very soon.

Have a lovely week all. ❤️🍁 xx

The Ember Days 🍁🌅🍂

“By all these lovely tokens, September days are here, with Summer’s best of weather and Autumn’s best of cheer.” – from Helen Hunt Jackson’s September

Every year when this beautiful time of year comes round once more I remember and discover even more how much I love it. The whisper in the air of winter-time, the cosying in of darkness at the end of the days and the freshness of a season of transformation creep in with the golden glow of the early autumn months; and I can never quite express just how glad I am to see them.

In the last weeks, I’ve had some lovely opportunities to enjoy the beginnings and endings of the changing days, bringing the pony in at nights a bit more. In summertime this year my farm trips were often in the light of 8-9pm, sun up late and doing field checks and fly sprays knowing the horses’ day would linger on into the evening long after I left. Now, I’m arriving at that time at dusk and leading Charmer into the bright lights of the barn once more, often leaving him there overnight with a dinner and hay and coming back in the morning to put him back out.

Those early mornings are a time I treasure and love returning to – the quiet of the world at that hour and the promise of a new day just beginning. I love to grab my coffee flask and jacket and step out in the still of morning to find out what the weather brings – on dry days using the time at the farm to head out for a quick wander on my boy’s back (so loving being well back into the swing of riding again) and on rainy mornings sipping my coffee and turning the pages of my book, listening to the contented sound of breakfast disappearing from the bucket.

This week I’ve found myself heading along there even when Charmer’s been out and self-sufficient, enjoying his grazing, just to watch the sun come up and take a bit of time at the farm to start the day – as my little infant alarm clock gets me up anyway ❤️, and as it’s lovely to have the chance to watch sunrises again in the light of day, cuddle close my furry boy and marvel at that winter coat making its way in already. 💛

Hope you have all had a lovely week and have a lovely weekend. Xx

Summertime adventures ☀️🔥💙

The last couple of weeks have brought with them a change in the weather, lightning splitting across the sky and cutting through the bubble of heat that had dominated the summer so far. Week after week of unbroken sunshine and dry weather, temperatures always in the mid to high 20s, gave way first to the heavy relief of lashing rain, and later to a steadier coolness, swirling some of the earliest leaves off the trees.

This is the first time I seem to have found the time and space in a while to take stock and catch up on what’s been a long and lovely summer. We had a holiday at the beginning of July – our first family break away, up north for a few nights to a little cottage where we happily self-catered, keeping everything relatively routine for the little one; had lovely long walks, in woods, along riversides and in pretty towns; woke to ducks waddling past the door in the mornings, coming to say hello; and enjoyed family firsts at swingparks and the swimming pool, all thoroughly enjoying the time together.

The summer has been a truly beautiful one and both while we were away and back home, we have had so many gorgeous days and sunny adventures.

Beautiful discoveries on summer walks

The pets have been doing fine – Jasper & Jet have been with us over a whole year now – we brought them home on 26th July last year to keep old man Perry company. I still remember so clearly driving them home and nervously doing the introductions, which were one of our most successful ever thanks to all three boys’ lovely natures. They’ve changed and mellowed a lot more even over that time, the bright-eyed and curious newcomers evolving into the two dumplings that are cuddling in of an evening this summer, so chilled out and so familiar. ❤

Jasper & Jet joining the family, July 2017

They had their first holiday too when we went away, as we had them booked in with a local pet boarder for the first time – I’ve never done that before with any of the little ones as we used to be just round the corner from my parents so the pets could just stay home, ably looked after by my dad. Last year we were due to board for the first time but I chickened out at the last minute due to so many ongoing needs the boys at the time had – and we ended up taking Reuben, Perry and Marley on holiday with us, a wonderful experience in itself. Jasper & Jet seemed to get on really well though at their holiday home. Dropping them off and picking them up was plain sailing, they enjoyed their adventures – and it was so lovely to have them home again when we all returned!

It’s been a horse-aversary this month too, celebrating 18 years with Charmer. It feels like such a huge spanning of time all of a sudden and it really is, been so lucky to have his company for almost two decades now. He’s been weathering the summer relatively well, with all its usual challenges – keeping him not too fat and not too thin, battling flies and midges, de-ragworting and keeping water and shade close by.. the usual fun! Overall though seems to have been enjoying it and been less plagued by midges than last year actually, so been able to enjoy some fly rug-free days with the sun on his back.

The extreme heat in the last few weeks has meant him sometimes needing to come in for periods during the day – which has brought me to the farm mid-day with my daughter in tow, the necessity giving me the push I needed to have the confidence to look after them both at once. He is just wonderful with her, affording the pram or sling the care he doesn’t bother to extend to me!!.. where he would happily give me a shove to get to where he’d prefer to be he’s always cautious, always watching and looking out for the baby. In the shade of the barn, now that she’s a little bigger, we’ve been able to spend a little bit of quiet time with her out of her pram or carrier and it’s been absolutely lovely to see her curiosity, his patience and them both getting to know each other. ❤

It’s been a really lovely summer – days long and warm and light lingering late. Outside, we’ve been enjoying watching the season roll on as the fields are farmed around us, the nesting sparrows coming and going, our resident robin in the garden, and the starlings that swoop around the village en masse – which I know will be coming to descend on us very soon as the berries on our rowan trees are reddening and almost ripe, and last year the starlings just went crazy for them – looking forward to seeing it again!

In the evenings, we’ve been treated almost every night to the most beautiful display from the bats who live nearby, swooping and gliding in the dusk. I absolutely love to just stand out in the garden as night falls and enjoy them passing by, they fly so very close but with such precision they never touch, they’re such amazing animals.

Hope you are all well and will hopefully write again sooner! Have a good week all. X

Stepping into spring at last! 💛🌾☀️✨

It’s been a while since I wrote on here (it turns out life with a young baby is as busy as it is wonderful, haven’t found much time for scribbling in amongst what has become the everyday rhythm of feeding and changing, pram walks and naps, stories and games.. ♥️). I did have a few partly thought-out posts I never quite got to writing up in the last few weeks, as spring has wrestled with winter and time has tumbled on. For the longest time we seemed to be in limbo, snow in one direction and daffodils in another, truly “summer in the light and winter in the shade.”

Eventually, however, we have been rewarded for our patience throughout this very long winter, and a real and lasting change is finally in the air. This weekend we had a chance to spend some real time in the sun for the first time all year and even sit out in the garden, wee one and all!

We also all got out for a family walk, me on horseback (still so enjoying being back to riding and building up both my fitness and Charmer’s bit by bit!). It was so unbelievably lovely to all amble together and to watch the pony peering curiously into the pram and our daughter gazing up in amazement at his big fluffy face!

This morning the sun has risen straight into the sky without a hint of mist or a cloudy start, and so looking forward to another lovely day in it. Have already done the early farm shift this morning – brushing the mounds of winter coat out of my biggest boy and leaving him in the field happily grooming with his buddies looking for all the world like a summery pony at long last!

Hope you are all having a lovely week. 💛