Archives for the month of: April, 2014

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Loving the wildflowers in the garden just now, especially the bluebells (there are pink and white ones as well as these blue beauties) and red campion popping up by the copse. Our latest WWOOFERs arrived today, a French family who live too far up a mountain to grow much food of their own. They have been hillwalking in the Lakes before coming here and are keen hikers and eager gardeners.

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The kids have all gone on a jolly to the cinema with Valla and Ross, with Matt taking Kester to the Spring Fling at home exhibit at Gracefield Arts Centre. So I am home alone, writing, doing the washing, feeding the birds and making my favourite meal of all time – steamed asparagus with soft-boiled eggs. Always a joy to buy the first asparagus of the season and dig out the asparagus steamer.

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Heaven.

The latest batch of Sarah Raven tulips have flowered. They are sharing a pot with blueberries and are a pretty pastel pink with slightly wavy leaves.

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Did I mention the incredible weather we’ve had this week? Wall-to-wall sunshine, pretty much, and warm during the day too. I’ve probably enjoyed more white Easters than I have white Christmases, so it’s always nice to get some mild spring weather at this time of year and we certainly made the most of it. On Good Friday we enjoyed the National Trust For Scotland’s Easter Egg Trail at Threave near Castle Douglas. I think we were among the first egg hunters of the day and the kids had great fun finding the clues and solving the anagram. In fact, Iris’s anagram solving was so spot on that the Easter Bunny decided to give her more anagrams for her Easter Sunday egg hunt too.

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There was quite a haul of chocolate, much of it from Switzerland thanks to our guests last Sunday and the kids really enjoyed following their clues. Arthur had pictures to decipher and Iris tore through her anagrams. Kester had help to solve his clue. One of the eggs had been nibbled by a mouse overnight but there is still plenty left over.

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Final photos from the visit of the cousins. Sensing that Jack would appreciate some time with boys his own age, we spent a couple of hours on Friday with the Goodares.  It appears 8-year-old boys primarily communicate through the medium of football and pay wrestling – who knew? We also got to see how big their lamb has grown and admire their one-day-old chicks.

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We’re thinking of buying a few of the next clutch as they include cream legbars which lay the most gorgeous creamy-green eggs. Hopefully we will have built a coop by the time they are ready. Robyn is rearing and selling the chicks to raise funds for a school trip to Morocco and has already successfully reared a brood of five ducklings. These ones are Black Jersey Giants – the largest chickens you can get – and her next batch will include the smallest breed!

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House developments this week? Not much. Progress has been slow but steady on the playroom and we now have a window seat, thanks to Dad, and three garden swings – two made of salvaged items, like the tyre and an old log that was being thrown away from a dismantled adventure playground.

 

 

 

Dumfries woman finds message in bottle from 1960s – Top stories – The Scotsman.

A lovely story in The Scotsman about the message in a bottle found on our litter pick last week. Any amateur detectives, help tracking down George Grierson would be great.

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Our first bluebells of the year have begun to appear on the shaded banks of the garden. A cheering sight just in time for a sunny Easter weekend.

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Wednesday and we headed west to Mabie Farm Park for another active sunny day. It was a great value day out with loads of animals to see and pet, indoor and outdoor play areas and great carts and slides. Jack loved having a go on the quad bikes almost as much as his Granddad, while the girls and Arthur got to pet some of the cuter animals. There’s also a gorgeous peacock and cute calves (Belted Galloways and White Parks).

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We coud happily have stayed all day but needed to get back to light the bonfire and rescue Matt from his day of DIY. Progress is being made in the playroom with my dad constructing a window seat and Matt having undercoated and painted the woodwork and the walls above the picture rail. Hopefully, we’ll get some of the final colour on the walls tomorrow or start on some more of the DIY furniture plans (a dressing up rack and play table).

One bit of sad news is that when we were moving the stick pile to the bonfire we uncovered a bird’s next, probably that of a blackbird, with four eggs. Matt carefuly rebuilt a stick pile around it but birds seldome return to a disturbed nest. We’ll check tomorrow to see if there’s any sign of the birds returning but if not we’ll have to live with the guilt of mass murder!

 

Recycling

We picked up a tyre and some thick fishing rope from the beach litter pick last week and on Tuesday morning Dad, Jack and Arthur used them to make a tyre swing close to the eastern boundary of the field. Hidden from the house and with a lovely view, it’s already a favourite play spot and Jack and Arthur are very pleased with their work, as you can see!

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Despite living just five miles from the south-eastern boundary of Galloway Forest Park, we’ve only seen the tiniest slither of this huge open space, namely Cally Woods. On Tuesday we rectified this by heading for the hills to take part in a Red Deer talk at the Red Deer Range near Clatteringshaws Loch. The talk was free and part of the Dumfries and Galloway Wild Spring festival. We saw seven red deer, mostly hinds but a couple of skittish young bucks were around too. At this time of year they are not very red and the stags were still in their winter feeding grounds. It was great to learn more about this native species and also about another deer we’re more familiar with – the roes we see in our garden and field!

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After walking back to the car past some lovely wood anenomes, we headed for Kirroughtree, only pausing to admire the mountain goats and for a quick walk to the Grey Mare’s Tail fountain. The kids loved having a scramble over the mossy banks and the fountain was sparkling in the spring sunshine.

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The new visitor centre at Kirroughtree was perfect for lunch and afterwards the kids spent a good hour in the play park before we headed home for a teatime barbecue. The first barbecue of the year is always a great event and although the wind was a little chilly, hovering by the flames or sitting on the freshly mown grass in the sun was perfect. After all that sunshine and gadding about, the kids were pretty tired but I think their favourite part of the day was actually just mucking about playing an elaborate Narnia-style game on the lawn!

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