It has been a very strange week for all of us but there have been some lovely, positive moments for us here as well.
Firstly, Galahad has a cheerful new set of ears which is really brightening up our hacks.
Secondly – as you can see if you look closely – the pussy willow is coming out and spring is definitely springing. It is always a wonderful feeling.
Today has been utterly glorious, with blue skies all day long. I managed to sit outside with my cup of tea and even felt like I was running the risk of burning. The dog had some time in the sun and Galahad enjoyed a day without his rug. I’m pretty sure he appreciated that!
My sister and I recently took advantage of the weather to go for a little mini picnic ride. She was in charge so all I had to do was get my pony ready. She even carried the food!
We rode up the hill to a little patch of woodland. It is rather overgrown but that makes it all the more perfect for picnics – it is secret and seems suited to a fairy tale.
The ponies were very interested in the food and Cookster actually managed to find – and attempt to eat – an apple which should have been safe inside the bag. He made proper teethmarks in it! They were pretty cross not to be allowed the chocolate biscuits but were pleased with the apple cores!
Having eaten I could have quite happily settled down for a nap but of course Galahad couldn’t allow that! The view from the log was simply stunning though and I could have stayed there gazing at it for hours.
If you saw my jungle post last week you will have seen just how quickly the undergrowth springs up here. It is wonderful being able to have the ponies at home but it does mean a lot of hard work. There wouldn’t be quite so much if we had a couple of flat fields with fences but we have hills, a stream and hedges so there is constantly something which needs work.
Obviously the hedges are always growing so they need keeping in check – although only outside of the nesting season. At the moment they are spreading quite happily!
They do spread too – a whole mini forest has sprung up in the field. They start off as little shoots and saplings so you think you have plenty of time to deal with them, then suddenly they are fully fledged trees. Just like that!
Then there are the weeds. The obvious poisonous ones like ragwort are got rid of as soon as they appear (if they do) but if we’re not careful the non poisonous ones can easily get left and begin to take over the field. Sadly, the ponies aren’t so keen on eating them as they are the grass.
Of course, I don’t do all of that on my own. In fact, I do very little at all. I am so lucky to have parents who do most of the work – I couldn’t possibly cope without them.
Even the dog helps out!
We have been having some lovely hacks recently. Just Galahad and I meandering through the countryside in the evening sunshine.
We get to see some wonderful things. The hawthorn is particularly beautiful this year.
There are also some interesting things. This patch of road for instance.
It is always wet, even in the middle of a heat wave. It is not under any trees and the water does not appear to be coming from the hedge. I can only assume that it has managed to make its way up through the tarmac. It is pretty powerful stuff!
Then, of course, there is the wildlife. Isn’t this eggshell beautiful?
Mainly though, it is just good to enjoy the view.
Galahad and I recently went for a hack along a route we don’t take very often. You could definitely tell!
It was so overgrown that Galahad refused to let me ride through it and I had to lead him. He looked very fetching afterwards!
We had a lovely ride though. It was a beautiful day and there was very little traffic.
We got to meet our new neighbours too which was good. They have moved into a house which has had empty stables for years. It was great to see horses there again!
One of the many good things about riding is the opportunity it gives to watch the nature around us. I always love looking at the animals we see – things we would probably miss if we were driving past.
I also really love to look at the clouds.
This week seems to have been particularly good for clouds – every evening the sky has been stunning.
Of course, sometimes the dramatic clouds meant that we were about to get very wet!
Days like this really make me realise how lucky I am to live here.
It seems that pheasant season is upon us. Almost every time we ride out we are met by a whole flock of juveniles which run along the lane or field ahead of us before giving in and flying over the hedge. The ponies have got fairly used to them now, although we can still get taken by surprise occasionally.
A few days ago Galahad and I met this little one who seemed younger than the others, as unlikely as that sounds. It was cheeping like a chick and when the rest flew off it got left behind and just ran into the fence.
Eventually it managed to squeeze itself through the fence but was then trapped in the lane with us until it climbed into the hedge, still cheeping madly.
Hopefully it found its way through the hedge to rejoin the rest of the flock!
One of the lovely things about riding is the wildlife we get to see. I have written before about the wrens and swallows but we also often get very close to rabbits and even the occasional deer.
This week I found these beautiful moths in Galahad’s stable. I imagine they were attracted by the light of the fly zapper but luckily they are too big to fit between the bars. They stuck around for a couple of days and they were a wonderful addition to the menagerie.