The first thing I must do is a little Pollard family self-promotion if that is allowed. Some readers will know that my husband qualified as a plumber 2 years ago after pushing himself through evening classes at college whilst working full-time to support his family. At this time of year when qualifications, future career choices and college places seem to be a high priority to many, I think that the example that my husband set just shows that nothing has to be set in stone. The choices that you make as a teenager don't have to be the ones that will shape the rest of your life. You can change your path. Lee was 39 when he made the decision to do something he had wanted to do for many years. He wanted a trade. Something that would stand him in good stead and hopefully assist in future employment opportunities. Lee sought out ways of how to make the necessary changes and despite being told that it was impossible, particularly financially, he made it happen. Lee re-trained, got qualified and has since then used his plumbing qualifications within his daily work. The next step is to try to make a go of being self-employed. We have given the Aquamend Plumbing website a complete overhaul and we are pleased with how it is looking so far. Please do pop across and check out the site if you get the chance, and if you are in the area of Devon that we cover remember Lee for any future plumbing tasks. There is a whole list of training courses that Lee wants to go on to increase his skills and we have to save the finance to fund those but the future is certainly looking bright.
Right, enough of the bigging up my husband (although he is rather wonderful it has to be said), and let's get on with other news.
Probably the biggest news I have to pass on to you guys is that our beautiful goat Poppy finally 'popped'. She certainly kept us waiting. There were lots of 3am trips out into the darkness to check on any developments, but in the end they were totally unnecessary. The lovely gal gave birth to twins - a girl and a boy - at 11.30am on Friday.
Both babies are doing really well and mama Poppy is just wonderful. She is looking after them without any fuss and they are thriving. Yesterday Poppy had a 40 minute or so break and took herself off out into the field to munch on some green stuff, leaving the babies sleeping soundly in their stable. I managed to clear out all the old bedding and replace with new before she returned, water bucket was refreshed with warm water for mama and hay re-stocked. This morning I found both littlies curled up in the hay bucket in their stable looking very peaceful and contented. I wish I had taken the camera with me as they looked ultra cute, their cords are shrivelling up nicely and it's all good. I have to say it's a huge huge huge relief for me. I feel like a weight has been lifted, and I have to admit that I was worrying about the birth and how we would handle any difficulties should they arise. No amount of reading can prepare for you every eventuality and although we did have a very experienced neighbour on standby, he had to go away for the weekend so that took away that back-up plan. In the end Poppy handled everything like a pro and there was no need for any stress or worry.
The other new additions to the family have come in the form of two beautiful kitties. These were pretty unexpected and unplanned arrivals really, but the little guys needed a home and we are fortunate enough to be able to provide a safe environment here in the countryside. Ready for some more aww-invoking photographs?
also known as Sir Purr-a-lot and Mr Meowie for self-explanatory reasons.
They were taken away from their mama at far too young an age and had been with a foster carer who had done a wonderful job looking after them until they were ready and independent enough to go to their forever home. They joined us on Monday at the age of 8 weeks.
Whilst we are on the subject of animals, I thought I'd update you all on some of our others.
Do you remember doorstep duck?
She joined us totally out of the blue when she was found sitting at our front door. Where she came from we really don't know and despite best efforts to track down any possible mama or owner, we ended up providing her with a home for as long as she wishes to stay with us. Here she is as she looks now...
Her feathering is coming through nicely as you can see and she has grown brilliantly. She is currently kept in a pen as she is still an easy target for predators.
The runner ducks and chickens now have free-range of the site during the day and are very much enjoying the grub-hunting opportunities this provides.
Can you believe how big the runner ducks are now? They are gorgeous girls and such characters, not as tame as the chickens but still a pleasure to have around.
Bumble, Doris and Pip
I still have to pinch myself some days as my life really doesn't seem real. If someone had told me this time last year that I would be 'living my dream' and have a garden which plays host to goats, chickens, and ducks, I would have shook my head and thought they were deluded. I never would have thought that a) we would be brave enough to take the plunge and do something completely new to us, or b) that it would ever be financially possible.
The weather has been pretty dire here overall. Plenty of rain, more rain, and a bit more rain. Fortunately it hasn't been continuous heavy rain, but rather light intermittent showers. Still a hindrance though as there is work here to be done that can only be done when all is dry (walls rebuilt for example).
We did manage to squeeze in a lovely family walk on Friday evening though. It had rained pretty much all day but by 6pm it had become sunny and dry. At 7pm we set off with the dog and camera. Apparently even Harry cat didn't want to stay at home...
The views around here are just stunning, we are so very lucky.
We can walk around the lanes, often with the dog off the lead, without hindrance from cars. I think we were out for almost 2 hours and met with 3 cars the whole time. The quietness is astounding, a very stark contrast from our previous abode. The peacefulness really assists with the taking in of the views and enables many conversations to flow.
I love it when I'm just strolling along and feel two little hands slip into mine. It's one of those we love you moments that money just can't buy.
We were fascinated by these beauties that were discovered in the hedgerow...
and we imagined that this gorgeous beast could be the home of the many lands of the Faraway Tree...
We have of course been spending lots of time at home, particularly whilst we were wanting to stay close to Poppy during her build up to birth day. Taisia is gaining so much from living here, she is truly living a dream of a childhood and I am pretty envious of her life. She is the typical 'wild child' with a messy mop of curls and carefree attitude. She likes nothing better than being outside, alone or with her sibling 'gang', and will happily be outside in the pouring rain. I took the opportunity to snap a few shots of her the other day as I was continuing operation land clear up...
She was looking rather clean there - most unusual - but I think her expression says it all.
Chelsea has also been spending more time outside than usual which has been lovely. Often Chelsea will prefer to cook or bake inside, or go to her room to read or study. It's been a real pleasure to have her company out on the land. I can never get enough of this young lady's smile...
Chelsea turns 18 this year (yes, really!!!)
Recent conversations have included driving lessons and trip of a lifetime adventures. We have been talking about possible fundraising for a charity trek or similar somewhere overseas and Chelsea is keen to do something along those lines. Plenty of research and thinking cap on in the near future me thinks.
Callum's conversations on the other hand have been rather limited to his up and coming 8th birthday. It's one week today don't you know? I've had a daily countdown for approximately the last 3 months, bless him.
Right, I'm needed elsewhere so that will have to do for now. I will be writing another post in a day or so regarding the My Little Atelier box we recently received. For more information for the impatient amongst you, check out the Facebook page of the company creating them.