Reparing not replacing the pressure washer

Would you belive it – we get all ready to clean the lodge verandas with a loaned pressure washer, go to turn it on, and nothing. So frustrating! Even more so when the screws are hidden down long plastic tunnels and it’s hard to take the machine apart. When we got inside it was obvious what had gone wrong – that familiar burnt wiring smell.

We looked online. It’s at least £120 to replace the whole thing, and most of it’s fine. Such a waste. So how to replace the part? Turns out they still make them – in Easter Europe. And they still sell them – on Ebay. But only in Australia!

£25 and a wait versus £120 for a new one. Thankfully, the post was pretty prompt. We’re back up to full strength now.

Happy curious cows!

The cows are making busy munching through the grass and flowers on Popehouse Moor, our Site of Special Scientific Interest. If you sit still in the grass they come and see what you’re about….
Continue reading “Happy curious cows!”

Butterfly counts

This year’s Big Butterfly Count is coming to a close – though you can still post sightings until the end of the month.

All you have to do is enjoy a cup of tea for 15 mins and count what you see – the maximum number of each species you can see at any one time. Continue reading “Butterfly counts”

Zebra or a tiger?

George spotted this moth in Exeter when he was practicing parkour in the Cathedral and Quay car park. He snapped it on his phone. We weren’t going to bother looking it up, convinced it was bound to be called a zebra moth. But hey – a quick look in the book showed we were wrong. Continue reading “Zebra or a tiger?”

Dartmoor: Okehampton to Two Bridges

We’re just back from this summer’s Dartmoor adventure – a walk across the North Moor with an overnight in the middle. Maggie did it with George when he was ten, so now it’s Euan’s turn. We picked a slightly longer route this time, and didn’t do ourselves any favours with the terrain, which was hard going for fairly long stretches.  But we made it! Continue reading “Dartmoor: Okehampton to Two Bridges”

Trick Bikes and Scooters Join The Fleet

Coming to a holiday cottage near you! We’ve been given a couple of second hand trick bikes and ‘off road’ type scooters – thanks Jack’s Dad! Ian is fixing them up to go in the eco lodge bike shed. They’ll be ready to use this summer holiday. Looking forward to seeing everyone having fun!

A walk at Fingle Bridge

Fingle Bridge woods makes a lovely walk with a great pub for lunch or a snack. It’s about 19 miles from the eco lodges and combines well with Castle Drogo. In fact, the National Trust’s Castle Drogo land goes all the way to Fingle Bridge, and meets up with Woodland Trust land. It’s now under joint management. Continue reading “A walk at Fingle Bridge”

Which way now? 30 Days Wild No. 30

It’s always greyer inside than out, even when it rains. Today’s bike ride was primarily to gain preemptive absolution for Friday night snacks and drinks – but it was worth it. There was a sparrow hawk sitting on a wall, meadow sweet in the hedges, and deer in the far corner of a field. #30DaysWild No. 30 – and that’s it for this year.

Ringlets in the meadow: 30 Days Wild No. 27

#30DaysWild No. 27. Ringlets are everywhere at the moment – it’s butterfly city out there. It’s one of the main reasons we leave so much long grass (well, that and because it cuts down on the mowing). Continue reading “Ringlets in the meadow: 30 Days Wild No. 27”

Wildish hedge trimming: 30 Days Wild No. 26

#30DaysWild Random act of wildness No. 26. Ian has been wielding the hedge trimmer in a wildish but not entirely random way – trimming back vegetation under and alongside the line of the electric fence. It’s so we can get the cows back onto Popehouse Moor. Continue reading “Wildish hedge trimming: 30 Days Wild No. 26”

Sowing more wildflower seeds

Today’s ‘random act of wildness’ was to take a moment to notice what we’ve achieved with wildflowers (down by the wildlife pond) and then to collect oxeye daisy seeds from the early flowers in the poly tunnel and spread them about the newly cut patch in front of Beech Lodge. This time next year – who knows. Maybe we’ll have a brand new band of flowers. #30DaysWild No. 22.

Solstice BBQ in the treehouse #30 Days Wild No. 21

Hmmm… Maybe a BBQ for four in Euan’s personal treehouse wasn’t an entirely sensible thing to do. But then it’s #30DaysWild not 30 days sensible. And you have to do something to mark the solstice don’t you.

Dragonflies on the wing

#30DaysWild No.19 Remember the dragonfly ‘skin’? Well here are the dragonflies on the wing. There are masses down by the pond, but they do frequent ‘fly-bys’ of the lodges too. Continue reading “Dragonflies on the wing”

Teasels for flowers and finches: 30 Days Wild No. 17

#30DaysWild No.17. Top tip – teasels make really striking cut flowers, especially if you cut the main stem early in the year, encouraging them to produce lots of smaller flower heads. And what you don’t use in summer become goldfinch magnets in winter!

Large skipper: 30 Days Wild 2017 No. 15

#30DaysWild No. 15. Here’s today’s pic – a skipper resting on a heath spotted orchid on Popehouse Moor Site of Special Scientific Interest. We’re not entirely sure which species this is, but perhaps a large skipper rather than a small skipper – because of the chequered pattern on the wings. Continue reading “Large skipper: 30 Days Wild 2017 No. 15”

A big breath of fresh air: 30 Days Wild No. 12

#30DaysWild No. 12. Our air monitoring results are back from Friends of the Earth. Just 2.47 µg/m3 (micrograms per cubic metre) of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2). That’s good and clean. Deep breath everyone… Continue reading “A big breath of fresh air: 30 Days Wild No. 12”

Sky gazing: 30 Days Wild No. 11

#30DaysWild No. 11. It would have been Maggie’s Mum’s 80th birthday. So we all trooped down to Popehouse Moor and lay in the grass, among the orchids. The kids had orange juice, the adults wine and beer, and we remembered all the good stuff Anne did for us over the years.

A very local Devon brew: 30 Days Wild No. 10

Does a glass of your own home grown, home brewed organic cider count as a ‘random act of wildness’ for 0? It had better do after a June Saturday of cleaning the lodges and cottage! Continue reading “A very local Devon brew: 30 Days Wild No. 10”

Freshly Painted Lady: 30 Days Wild No. 9

#30DaysWild No. 9. The bluebells are pretty much over now, even our slightly late ones. But this Painted Lady looks  freshly minted. Slightly damp days can be good for spotting butterfly and dragonfly as they tend to sit still for longer!