On our way again…Wales, here we come…Favorite photos…

Beautiful tomatoes we picked every few days.

Fascinating Fact of the Day about Devon: From this site:

“Devon derives its name from Dumnonia. During the British Iron Age, Roman Britain, and the early Middle Ages, this was the homeland of the Dumnonii Brittonic Celts. (The shift from “M” to “V” is a typical Celtic consonant shift.) The Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain resulted in the partial assimilation of Dumnonia into the Kingdom of Wessex during the eighth and ninth centuries. The western boundary with Cornwall was set at the River Tamar by King Æthelstan in 936. Devon was later constituted as a shire of the Kingdom of England.”
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The car is loaded with everything but the perishables which we’ll pack moments before we leave in a short time.  Once again the packing was quick and easy and I didn’t give it much of a thought until yesterday so Tom could carry the heavy bags downstairs.
The Dorset sheep on the farm are adorable although dirty from the constant rain.

While in Wales, I plan to go through the supply bag and my clothing bag to clear out anything we don’t need and any clothing that has to go due to wear and tear.  

All the lambs being moved from one paddock to another.

At times, I feel like I could toss the whole lot when I am sick of looking at the same things over and over again.  But, until we get to the US where we’ll each rebuild our wardrobe, we’ll do the best we can.  We prefer to buy clothing in Minnesota when there’s no sales tax on clothing.

Tom, the shepherd, enjoyed taking part in herding the sheep.

The only time weight is an issue when we fly from Fort Lauderdale to Minnesota and then several more flights while in the US for two months moving from state to state to visit family.

This is my favorite photo.
It’s raining today (not surprising) but we have less than a two-hour drive to the holiday home in Chepstow, Monmouthshire, Wales, most of which will be on the main highway so the drive shouldn’t be too bad.  

The pristine beach at Torquay.

This was one of the four properties we rented over two months in the UK that we were a little concerned is too small.  It has only one bedroom leaving few options to open our bags and not officially unpack.  We’ll only be there for 11 nights but as always, we’ll figure it out.

An impressive design made by a skilled sand sculptor.

On Monday, we’ll see our friends, Linda and Ken who are staying nearby for four nights and I’m certain we’ll spend a lot of time with them.  If we’d know they were coming ahead of time, we’d have booked a bigger property enabling them to stay with us.  

We explored parts of the massive apple orchard.

They stayed with us for a week in Marloth Park and it was as easy as it could be.  They were fantastic houseguests who pitched in and helped with meals, cleanup and picking up after themselves.

Even the chickens were entertaining.

While in Wales, they’ve selected a holiday home not too far away so we can all spend time together.  No doubt, this will be a busy and fun four days.  If the weather improves a little surely we’ll go sightseeing together.  

The pond at Pond Cottage where the ducks carried on all day.

Linda and Ken are avid world travelers, currently coming off a trip on the Orient Express and we can’t wait to hear all about it.  It is very similar to our upcoming train adventure in India on the Maharajas Express at the beginning of February.  We’re anxious to hear the ins and outs of traveling overnight by train, a first for both of us.

With the cool weather, we had a fire in the wood-burning stove almost every day and evening.  Tom gathered the neatly arranged dry firewood from the shed every few days.

Most likely we’ll dine out while they’re visiting but I noticed our new holiday home in Chepstow has a dining table for four.  Most likely, we’ll cook a night or two.

Chicken looking inside the house to see if we had any pellets.

Well, folks, we’re signing off from the fabulous farm in Witheridge and will be back tomorrow with photos of our new location.

One day’s picking in the garden.


Have a purposeful and yet peaceful day!  See you soon!

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Photo from one year ago today, October 11, 2018:

Ms. Warthog’s poses for the camera.  For more photos, please click here.

A peek inside a 500-year-old farmhouse…Pheasants in the garden…1 day and counting…

Considerable updating has been done over the centuries to maintain historical integrity.

Fascinating Fact of the Day about Torquay: 
From this site:

“A major development for the future of Tiverton came in 1815 when industrialist John Heathcoat bought an old woolen mill on the River Exe. It followed the destruction of his factory and machinery in Loughborough by Luddites thought to have been in the pay of the Lacemakers of Nottingham. As a result, he moved his entire lace-making operation to Tiverton and such was his reputation for looking after his workforce that 500 people – workers and families – walked the 190 miles from Loughborough to come and live and work for him in Tiverton. The factory turned around the fortunes of the town and once again it became a significant industrial centre in the southwest. Trade was aided when a branch of the Grand Western Canal from Taunton to Tiverton was opened in 1838 followed by a branch of the Great Western Railway in 1848. The Heathcoat factory is still one of the town’s core businesses today.”
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When John and Renate invited us to see their historic 500-year-old home, we jumped at the chance.  They were packing for their one week holiday and respecting the time they needed to prepare to leave at 2:00 am, we didn’t stay long.

A large dining table suited for their large family who often visits.

It was such a thrill to wander through the house seeing snippets of who they are, the family life they enjoy with grown children and many grandchildren who visit often and the high regard for the property’s history in every change or addition they conduct.

Almost every room has a fireplace or wood burning stove used as supplemental heat for the house.

These two lovely people have meant the world to us.  It’s been such a joy to develop close relationships with our landlords/property managers that have endured over the years, most of whom we’re still in touch on Facebook which has proven to be a great resource.

John and Renate’s 500-year-old house has been appointed with authenticity in mind.

Renate and I have sent messages back and forth this past week.  They will return hours after we leave tomorrow morning by 10:00 am.  We’re sorry we’ll miss seeing them one more time.

Built-in window seats.

Over the past week, we’ve seen several ring-necked pheasants, both male and female hanging around in the garden.  We haven’t been able to take a single photo outside since each time we hear or see them, they fly away when they see us.  

An Aga range is known as a top-of-the-line addition to any kitchen.

As a result, all of the bird photos we’ve included here today, except for the three geese, were taken through a window in Pond Cottage.  Although it’s not mating season with winter quickly rolling in it’s been delightful to see the groups of males and females, pecking at the grass and making a variety of sounds we didn’t recognize.  

After owning the property for over 30 years, they’ve made many additions such as granite countertops, new appliances, sinks, and cupboards.  Floors throughout the house are either original stone or wood.

We’re currently in the process of wrapping up our packing.  Mine and Tom’s clothing bags are done (gee…I love not unpacking!) and downstairs waiting to be transported to the car.  Luckily, once the bags are downstairs, he’ll be able to wheel them to the car.

These three geese stopped by for a visit.

The only other items to pack are the toiletries and supplies bag, the digital equipment and plug-ins and the food.  I’ve placed all the non-perishables in one area of the countertop and it will only take moments to load it into grocery bags.  

Over the past week, several ring-necked pheasants, both male and female have been hanging around the garden.

The perishables will go in the yellow insulated Costco bag which surely will stay fresh with only a two-hour drive ahead of us.  Since check-out here is 10:00 am and check-in in Monmouthshire is 2:00 pm, we plan to stop for lunch along the way.

From this site: Pheasants are birds that can be found alone or in small flocks. Typically, a mother hen and her brood will stay together until early autumn. While pheasants are able to fly fast for short distances, they prefer to run. If startled, however, they will burst to the sky in a “flush.” Their flight speed is 38 to 48 mph when cruising but when chased they can fly up to 60 mph. Pheasants spend almost their entire life on the ground, rarely ever being seen in trees. They eat a wide variety of foods including, insects, seeds, and leaves.  Roosters typically have a harem of several females during the spring mating season. Hen pheasants nest on the ground, producing a clutch of around twelve eggs over a two to three week period in April to June. The incubation period is about 23 days.

Tomorrow, we’ll upload our final post for Witheridge including a number of favorite photos.  This has been wonderful, for two reasons, one; we’ve loved this farm and two; I regained my health while here.  We couldn’t be more cheerful and optimistic.

This adorable bird, a Green Woodpecker, was sitting on a fence post.  We took all of the bird photos through the window glass.  They were so close, they would have flown away if we opened the door.

As soon as today’s post is uploaded we’ll be off to the garden to collect a few more tomatoes to take with us for tomorrow night’s dinner.  We’ve purposely kept a meal available, to easily cook to avoid the necessity of grocery shopping on our first day in Chepstow.  We’ll settle in for a day and then take off shopping and exploring.

Our friends, Lynne and Mick, the most educated birders we know, who live in Jersey, UK, got back to us and identified this bird as indicated above.

Back at you tomorrow!  Have a fantastic day!

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Photo from one year ago today, October 10, 2018:
We flipped it over for this photo.  This is an African Black Beetle.  They don’t sting but have a powerful toxin they release when agitated that can feel like a sting and cause irritation.  We swept it over the edge of the veranda.  A few minutes later a band of mongooses stopped by and one of them immediately started devouring the beetle, savoring it so much, he made funny noises while crunching on its hard shell.  Mongooses are carnivores.  For more photos, please click here.