Friday, 31 March 2017

Fauld Crater

Continuing our local explorations we went to The Cock Inn at Hanbury to check its opening hours (well that was our excuse!) This is a great base for a walk around the site of Fauld Crater. The mile wide crater formed as the result of an enormous explosion caused by the accidental detonation of explosives stored at RAF Fauld, it's effects were felt as far away as Burton and Somersal. There are various walk options and this is an area of beautiful Staffordshire countryside.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Spring flowers

I love this time of year when we have pretty spring flowers both inside the house and out. I've just started the rather back breaking work of creating a little more flower bed as I'm running out of room!

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Churnet Valley Walking

Today we seemed to have some time on our hands and decided to go to the Churnet Valley to check out walking options for our guests. We walked from the station at Froghall, along the canal to Consall where we had lunch at The Red Lion, which also served delicious Kniveton Cider brewed in the Derbyshire Dales. You can also make this journey by steam train run by the Churnet Valley Railway.

Monday, 27 March 2017


We've sunshine and things are all sprouting into life. Dave decides that it's time to put in the last lot of potatoes and I've been busy weeding. Later this huge pheasant came to inspect our work.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Mother's to be

Despite my earlier mistake I can clearly see these very pregnant sheep are expecting any day now. In the next field are the mum's that have given birth and are having to deal with their very energetic youngsters. It's a pity they can't read the numbers sprayed on their sides as mother and baby seem to find it surprisingly hard to meet up!

Mothering Sunday flowers

A friend and I made up these posies for Mothering Sunday to take to our local church of St Peter and St Blaise. They looked so pretty and I know their recipients will appreciate them.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Happy Birthday

Friday was Joe's birthday and his request was for this carrot cake, it's a recipe he made for me before from Inspired Taste and it is absolutely delicious (fortunately for UK cooks there are weight as well as cup measurements). I'd seen the amazing waterlily candle photographed on a friends phone - all I can say is stand well back when you light it! We also found it continued to sing Happy Birthday for ages so I put it outside on the table, but in the morning it was still playing and puss walking by looked horrified - should she attack it, eat it or flee.


The first of our damson blossom is opening in the spring sunshine against a wonderful blue sky. Definitely a day to get busy in the garden.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Spring cleaning

This little wagtail decided a spring clean was in order. He splashed and sploshed until most of the water had flown out onto the grass.

Monday, 20 March 2017


I've been busy making use of the slightly better weather and gardening like mad. This evening the sun came out and the daffodils looked splendid, despite having had to survive gales ... March wind doth blow, but we don't want it howling around Hill Farm thank you very much.

Saturday, 18 March 2017


I thought that this red legged partridge looked so sweet among my lovely double daffodils but appearances can be deceptive, later when I walked down the garden I found he'd actually been nibbling and there were snapped off stems lying on the grass. His mate stayed lurking about the allotment probably causing more damage!

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Hill Farm skies

The sun shone it's rays across our Big Field as it set tonight and later turned the sky pink and blue. When I headed (early) for bed the moon was lighting the clouds to produce a streak of brightness. It is very mild at the moment and the robin is singing his heart out. I took a few minutes to sit outside with a cup of tea and enjoy the warmth.

Happy sheep

Driving home over the last few days I spotted a pair of sheep and their lambs, they seem to be wandering freely around the village and so I thought I'd try and get a photo to show our rural idyll, but typically when I tracked them down they were looking very relaxed under a large flat bed trailer!

Monday, 13 March 2017

Hill Farm Daffodils

The last few days of sunshine mean that our daffodils have gone from tight bud to full flower almost in front of our eyes. They fill the area around the orchard and when I gardened to make the vegetable garden I found tiny bulbs that I planted out in rows and this year they are all flowering too. Guests arriving in the next few weeks should be able to enjoy them at their best.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Cream tea

Setting the table ready for a Hill Farm cream tea, it includes home made jams, on this occasion strawberry, blackcurrant and damson served with clotted cream, if you fancy trying it yourself it's just £5 per person. I love the chance to use my pretty vintage china and tablecloths collected variously from vintage shops and fairs and ebay!

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Pie week

Having read that this was National Pie Week I felt honour bound to make one and of course eat my share of it too. Chicken and leek .... served with English new potatoes from Cambridgeshire.

English elm

These strange flowers belong to the English Elm. We have this growing in the dividing hedge that separates us from the lane and until we moved here I'd never noticed them as I guess you need to be close to them to really appreciate what you're seeing.


Our first early potatoes have now been planted and Nadine, our second earlies are chitting nicely. It is wonderful to see blue sky and the grass has already needed another mow. Less wonderful are the weeds that are busy trying to emerge.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

How do I get down

Looking down the garden I noticed a cat had climbed onto the cart shed roof - presumably so she could see the birds in close up, but then found that getting down was rather harder and required more bravery than getting up there in the first place!


I can see ewe. We've sheep all around us at the moment. These have just appeared and seem to be looking for where they got through onto our land before - our grass being especially green and yummy. Behind them the light is catching the distant hills.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Water, water

As I walked across the Big Field today the grass was sodden and squelching underfoot and there were areas where water from recent heavy rain lay on the surface. The little brook was rushing and surprisingly noisy as it tumbled its way along. Less surprising was that the 'pond' is now almost completely dry, whenever I go down there I creep up on it hoping that I might magically find it full, but no, even when everywhere else is saturated.

Tree surgery

Dave cuts and I cart timber for much of the day. We'd removed some damaged branches as they were dangling rather dangerously. Further down the lane Western Power were trimming overhanging vegetation and so we've spent the day with no electricity, just as well it was bright and sunny but we were gasping for a cup of tea (the top had seized up on the thermos!)

Window cleaning

It's a fairly still day and so Dave tackles the windows. They were so dirty after the recent storms. Gales seem to have flung every bit of grit and dirt onto them and then the sun comes out just to make us even more conscious of their terrible state. I get the safer job of cleaning from the inside.

Saturday, 4 March 2017


Dave has been down the lane clearing mud and leaves from the drains. Tractors tend to clip the bank sides and water has been pouring down after the recent rain. Although we get the worst of the gales here on the top of the hill, at least the water rushes by.

End of the season

The hunt have met for the last time this season. Although a sunny day the fields are absolutely saturated and they made stately progress down the lane. We meanwhile were tidying up some self sown tree seedlings before the birds start to nest.

Morning sun

This morning we started with sunlight that lit up the fields behind us. The newly emerging crop was positively glowing and I tiptoed around the garden clad in unsuitable attire as I wasn't yet fully dressed but when the light calls .... !