Tuesday, 6 September 2016


So here we are in September. Harvest time. That can't be right. Surely it's only had time to be about May? I find it incredible that time is passing so swiftly.

I think the best thing is to post a few photos to illustrate and summarise the months that have snuck by so fast and that I have failed to record in the blog. Then to take myself in hand and develop bit of self discipline on the writing and blogging front. And the everything else front really.

 I think it's somewhere in the Bible that says procrastination is the thief of time. My procrastinations include unpacking the boxes from the move(s), many of which I've disgracefully left stacked in rooms and sheds and now they are full of the tarantulas that reside here. So obviously I can't go near them now. Genuine Cumbrian Tarantulas that are a little daunting to an arachnophobe like myself.

 I learned of the existence of the Whopping Cumbrian Tarantula  when, many years ago now, I bought a lovely little barn conversion. Just after signing all the contracts the solicitor said to me 'I hope you don't mind spiders. There are huge spiders in barn conversions. Bigger than anything I've seen anywhere else.' Given that she was a well travelled woman  and I have a pathetic and unreasonable terror of any spiders with a bodily radius (including legs) of greater than 2mm I did indeed mind. I was appalled and hoped she was one of those dreadful people who exaggerates their tales. Turned out she was wasn't.

At various times the daylight would be blocked out like an eclipse by the hideous scuttling of the gigantic horrors along the old oak beams. And they'd gather in groups and speed about at night making ghoulish shadows in the moonlight. This inevitably ensured I couldn't sleep in case they leapt from the beams onto the bed, or in case the beams collapsed under the tremendous weight of the gargantuan fiends.  They were biiiiiiig! And plentiful! I didn't miss them when I moved over the border to where the normal sized Scottish spider lived. Although even there some eight legged ogres lurked in sheds with the occasional foray into the house each September.

 Fortunately I discovered a couple of wonderful gadgets that enable capture of the monsters at arm's length so they can be turfed out. I wouldn't ever hurt or kill them despite their evil intent to do both to me. My Dearly Beloved utters guff about them being more scared of me than I am of them. After all these years how can someone understand so little about someone else!

Anyhow back to my unpacking procrastinations. Here the spiders hide in boxes, waiting to pounce when I cautiously peer in to see if the contents match the labels, which bizarrely they often don't. I think the two moves in a short time resulted in half emptied boxes being stuffed with other unrelated items and so there's no way of knowing what's actually where. Every time I need something Chico bravely helps me to search, unconcerned by the fact that the spiders are double his size.

 But it's amazing how little we actually need in comparison to what we actually have. Ok so my DB nearly fainted when I dug out a dress recently and he wondered whether I'd had my wellies surgically removed at last, but it turned out to be completely unsuitable attire anyway when I was called upon at short notice that evening for the emergency rowing up of hay. Again. The windows of opportunity for haymaking have been limited and our intentions of using a contractor were thwarted by the fact that everyone else had the same plan. So I didn't waste any time getting changed and dutifully did (another) tractor stint. I was further insulted when the neighbouring farmer's children (who had come along to help their dad bale) were heard to ask why that woman was driving a tractor in her nightie and wellies. It was a sundress!! It was definitely a sundress. Unless I'd inadvertently donned a nightie by mistake due to incorrect labelling of boxes but if that was the case then P is to blame as she had taken me out to lunch earlier and encouraged me to keep the dress on when we returned to the farm. She mentioned something about it being nice for my Dearly Beloved to see me in civilised garb for once. Honestly just because I've only had two outfits for the last year or so. I feel she was a little unreasonable. Still, I'm sure that between us we'd have noticed if it was a nightie. No, I'm certain it was a sundress because we had actually had some sun!! I knew the dress was a mistake.

Anyway I digress, back to my procrastinations  and this is a very bad one - catching up with old friends whom I've disgracefully (and unforgivably) neglected (although I know some have been rather pre-occupied themselves and we'll catch up soon), then there's actually getting my address changed rather than disgracefully  relying on the Post Office's mail forwarding service,(is two years really a bit too long for redirections?), returning to my studies which I've disgracefully neglected after packing away my books etc to move last July. Hang on, it was the previous July.... seriously, where has the time gone? And I must generally pull my socks up and get up to date with everything. I am a disgrace.

Of course it can't possibly all be my fault. Someone or something else must be to blame for my disgracefulness.  Mustn't they? Or it?

I hang my head. It's all my fault. I have been distracted. Let me show you some of the distractions since moving into the farm and you might understand.

We have a Rayburn to cook on. Rayburn cooking is different to Electric cooker cooking. Just as I was getting the hang of it summer arrived and it was turned down. It's a lot like living in the 1960s in many ways. A slower pace of life that suits me to a T.

In addition to having the land and buildings to explore and allocate and contemplate where to start with the rather large maintenance programme we have a selection of water troughs to clean out. These are self filling from spring water so no buckets to lug about. Not that I could lug the buckets anyway but my old style water buckets tied to sack barrow bucket manoeuvres and endless hosepipes are obsolete in the main.

Different places to test for siestas

New places to explore

Learning where to catch the sunset

Learning how to drive tractors, and use a haybob. And becoming obsessed with the weather forecast!

So we've been busy. I've discovered that even though I can drive the tractor I have to limit my time on board after my part of the haymaking left me frustratingly immobile and back at the hospital having xrays on my thoracic spine. But after another enforced wait on life's hard shoulder I'm heading back onto the slow lane again so all is good and more lessons learned.

Haymaking is seriously stressful in this wet climate but what a great feeling to have a barn full of homemade hay. Much had to be wrapped and went for cattle feed and it was a real challenge to get any hay in at all. Haymaking. Who'd 'ave thunk it?  It's as steep a learning curve as we expected but we are so lucky to have this opportunity.

We have new residents too but I'll introduce them next time, along with the garden and some of the wildlife that shares the land.

So I should head off  now and get up to date with all the paperwork and do some unpacking. But I see that the apples are ready to collect from the two apple trees and the rain has stopped. I think I'll head out  just for a while. I'll do the paperwork when I come back in ...

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