So, we now have a loo with a view thanks to Angus’ skills with a saw and a shovel. We spent the morning in the woods helping to erect the lav. serenaded by the persistent call of the cuckoo and then left Angus to fit a sink and water butt while we headed home for lunch.
On the way we spotted a freshly killed pigeon, the recent lunch of a sparrow-hawk, which had had its breasts neatly removed (I’ll spare you the picture we took for our woodland diary)! Seb thought this was very wasteful of the hawk but declined my offer to take the legs and head home to knock up a soup. This was only the most recently spotted kill in a wood where untimely deaths seem commonplace. Last year we found a clutch of duck eggs deserted on the pond island, so when we spotted a duck patiently sitting in the cover this year, we were hopeful that we might have some ducklings on the pond. Sadly, Unlucky Ducky fell victim to a predator. Hawk, fox or badger? We’re not sure who got to her – apparently badgers will swim to retrieve a duck egg, shells of which were scattered about the wood – perhaps all three had a part in it, but we were all uncommonly sad to see her go. We also found a deserted nest of pheasant eggs the other day – hope the mother got away.
On a cheerier note, with this great weather we’ve been having, the May has burst into flower and the hedgerows are looking stunning. According to the saying ‘n’ere cast a clout till May is out’, I guess we can say it’s official, put away the woollies, winter is properly over.
Welcome to our first blog about Yomer Wood. This beautiful woodland very close to our home of many years, has become a family obsession. Angus is rarely seen now without a muddy mattock or chainsaw in hand, the kids are permanently mud splattered from head to toe (the toes were commented on by Seb’s sensei at Karate today, much to my maternal embarrassment) and I lie awake at night thinking up new ways of sharing our little bit of heaven in Devon. Our first decision has been to create some ‘wild’ camping sites, so that others can experience the beauty and peace of this spot. Angus’ mattock has therefore been hard at work levelling a few sites. Whilst we want to provide camping in the ‘old fashioned way’, we have made some allowances for comfort and created a compost loo and open-air stream shower. Angus tried it out the other day and I’ve been in there digging out the sides too, and the water really isn’t that cold. It rises from a spring in an adjacent field, so it’s really clear too. Whilst Angus has been hard at work, the kids have been hard at learning in their new outside school room. Apart from getting to know all manner of plants and trees, spotting deer tracks and building dens, their most recently enjoyed task was dissecting owl pellets and identifying the various bones and larvae they discovered there. A smelly, but apparently thoroughly absorbing pastime. Our first woodland event, is now in the planning, and all going well, will be an art workshop for older primary children in the next couple of weeks with the lovely and talented Clare Russell and I, using what promises to be a fantastic display of springtime bluebells. Keep an eye out for more information and use the contact page if you want me to contact you with the details as soon as they are firm.