Continued…Life on a farm…An experience like none other…

John was excited to share details of this rare tree with us. “It is a Wollemia Nobilis. Wollemia is a genus of coniferous tree in the family Araucariaceae. Wollemia was only known through fossil records until the Australian species Wollemia Nobilis was discovered in 1994 in a temperate rainforest wilderness area of the Wollemi National Park in New South Wales, in a remote series of narrow, steep-sided sandstone gorges 150 km north-west of Sydney. The genus is named for the National Park.”

Fascinating Fact of the Day about Devon, Cornwall:
Devon has the country’s oldest bakery (from this site):
It isn’t only pasties we’ve been making forever. We’ve also been making bread and biscuits since before America was born. How do we know? Jacka Bakery on the Barbican made biscuits that went onto The Mayflower for the sailing of the Pilgrim Fathers. It is the oldest bakery in the country, even older than those sandwiches you get in South West Train buffet cars. Just think, if Jacka hadn’t been there all those years ago, we might not have the USA today. You’re welcome. We also used to have the oldest hotel in the country, the Royal Clarence in Exeter, but that is temporarily burnt to the ground.

Yesterday morning, we jumped into the car and took off for Exeter Airport to return the vehicle and get another car. Having decided we’d only rent cars for one month because our credit card insures the car for 30 days only.
The pond next to our house, Pond Cottage with a few ducks and geese.
Since we have no home or car in the US (or anywhere else in the world), we can’t use those policies to cover rental cars. Over the past few years, we’ve taken a chance to arrange 90-day rentals without added insurance, although the rental agreements cover a portion of the loss if the car is damaged.

There’s no way we’d be interested in paying an extra GBP 10 (US $12.43) or GBP 15 (US $ 18.65) a day for added insurance when we often don’t pay those amounts for the rental itself.  Also, I don’t drive in foreign countries when the stick shifts in on the left and driving is on the left side of the road. I’m not a good enough driver for that level of coordination!
Wet logs on the bottom, dry logs for our use in the fireplace, at the top of this pile.
Nor do we want to pay equal amounts per day by adding me to the policy. When we go to the US in 46 days, we’ll most likely rent two cars, enabling us the freedom to visit with the family at our leisure.

As a rarity, we’re staying at my friend Karen’s home in Eden Prairie, which she kindly offered.  We’d stayed with Karen during our last few weeks in Minnesota before leaving to begin our travels.  
There are numerous barns and paddocks on the 150-acre farm.
We kindly refuse most offers to stay in the homes of others throughout the world when we have our routine, which may not work well for our hosts. Having remained with Karen in the past and the ease we felt in doing so, we’re comfortable staying with her again.

Of course, we’ll be busy with family most days and evenings and plan to eat most of our meals out to ensure we don’t impose on Karen, family, or friends. With my restricted way of eating, it’s too much to expect hosts to figure it out. I’m sure we’ll have a few meals with Karen and her significant other.
Lush greenery is prevalent on the 150 acres.
Anyway, back to the car rental… With heavy rain and an inconsistent GPS signal, it took much longer than we’d anticipated to make our way to Exeter Airport and then, once there, to find a petrol station. Sure, I asked my phone for assistance. With the poor signal, each time indicated the closest was 10 or 12 miles from our current location.  

We continued to drive around the area of the airport until we finally found one five miles away.  We’ve never had such problems getting from one location to another in any part of the world due to the lack of a consistent internet signal. 
Renate, the owner, suggested we keep the gate closed and the front doors.  Otherwise. The ducks and geese will enter the house.
However, we chose to live in the country, and it’s a small price to pay for the beauty of the area and our joy in living on a farm. We have good WiFi (although slow) at the cottage, for which we are grateful.

We stayed calm. We finally headed back to the airport to return the car and collect another. We asked for the exact vehicle with the new contract, and this was accomplished at ease. We’ve had great rentals and customer service at a company we’ve used time and again, Europcar.
A handy feeder for sheep and other barnyard animals.
At last, we were back on the road. We decided to shop yesterday when we realized how far it is to get to Tiverton from the farm to the grocery shop, which we’d planned to do today. We easily found the Tesco Superstore, comparable in size to a Walmart of Costco.  

We’d planned a couple of favorite recipes to make during the week. Still, we could not find the ingredients, including Italian sausages or any well-seasoned sausage without wheat or sugar.  
This is the area where the sheep are sheared once a year.  John and Renate have a company with workers from Australia or New Zealand in their “off-season” (Southern Hemisphere) that shear their sheep.
One of the second recipes required coconut flour, almond flour, and flaxseed. When we saw the sizes of the bags of each, we decided it made no sense to have leftover ingredients we’d have to dispose of when we leave England in 31 days.  

Instead, we revised our grocery list on the app on my phone. We decided on preparing easy dinners for this remaining month in the country: a protein source, a variety of vegetables, and a salad (and rice for Tom). 
There are acres of orchards on the property.  Over this hill is a garden from which we can pick whatever we’d like that’s remaining from the growing season.
We didn’t return to the Pond Cottage until 4:30 pm, put away the groceries, prepared an excellent dinner, and settled in for a quiet evening. It’s cloudy and rainy again today. Should the sun come out, we’ll get out to further explore the farm to take more photos.
We want to thank our readers for the kind and thoughtful messages we often receive by email from many of you. Rather than use the “comment feature,” many prefer to share their stories via email to maintain a level of anonymity. We never post the contents of any email we receive without the authorization of the sender. We love hearing from YOU!

Have a great week ahead!

Photo from one year ago today, September 23, 2018:

It was hard to believe we captured this scene close to sunset at the Crocodile River. For more photos, please click here.