It’s been exactly a year since we moved from Kent to Devon. Dad and I sitting in the front seats of the Audi with the dogs in the back. Sifting through motorways down to Hampshire to pick up Molly from her friends house. A surprise birthday cake and pressies at Molly’s friends house and then back on the road.
Since moving last year, the farm is slowly progressing. Got the fencing done, worked in the woods a little, cleared brambly bushes, lopped branches, marked where we would like our barn to go and now have five slightly mad sheep on the land. A few Charollais x Mule and one Charollais x Masham.
We’ve seen the seasons change from warm to cold and back to warm. Have had those rainy wellie walks, visited festivals and started food markets in Exeter.
It’s all happening down in Devon! Markets in Exeter, sunny days, bleating lambs, attempting to do a little bit for the 30 Days Wild challenge and visiting county shows and festivals.
So to catch up with the livestock at Breazle Smallholdings.
We still have the Devon Dusters who are currently munching their way through the grass at the farm, completely content and still attached to us as ever.
For some of you who don’t know, Molly got another three lambs. These ones have not been named but have been featured on our Facebook page quite a bit. They have finished drinking milk and are now slowly exploring the big wide world of the out in the big wide world of the farm. Getting used to a big life with other sheep, new sounds and other people.
Our other 3 lambs – photographed by Molly
Sitting on the edge of the river. Crying seagulls fighting over bread and a mass of swans gliding across from one edge to the other. It’s market day in Exeter. Every Thursday and the sun is shining glistening ripples shimmer in the light. The sun is on my right burning my cheek and the end taste of sugar and cinnamon donuts linger in a need to hold onto it a little more.
I can here dad and Molly behind me chatting away behind the food stall, the griddle getting steamy as it waits for customers to taste dads crispy dosa.
The swans look so majestic. Swooning in elegance like they own the river. The bridge the reaches one side of the river to the other is filled with wheels of cyclists and kids. Canoes clank together floating gently on the ripples.
The Wildlife Trust have a challenge this June. #30DaysWild where people can do a random act of wildness of each day. A way to connect with nature and feel happy and healthy. Hugging trees, walking bare foot in grass, learning wildflowers, helping birds…
On Sunday we decided to emerge from the cocoon of the South West and make our way to Kent to pick up the Devon Dusters (Mo and Dusty), our two ewe lambs my sister was given.
We woke up at 4am, got ourselves ready and walked the dogs. Half asleep as we stumbled into the car around 6:30am. Dogs in car and a box of sandwiches, fruit and a flask of hot tea for the journey ahead.
We hitched a borrowed trailer to the car and left Devon, weaving in and out of cars along the tedious and long A303. Streams of white lights glaring in our eyes as the dark stormy clouds disappeared. Listening to desert island discs, a captivating talk with Alex Crawford and Kirsty Young.
We stopped at Cobham services where dad slept and let the dogs have a wander about.
As we came into Ashford, we had butterflies in our stomachs. A tingling of excitement. Going down the back roads into Wye, passing strangers and familiar faces.
The dogs wide-eyed… sensing a familiarity of the place.
The gates at Wye station were of course closed. Dad guessing who would come out and open the gates.
Passing through Wye…
Time to back the trailer and put down hay.
Mo and Dusty (‘Molly girls’) in with a flock of Southdowns.
And here they come!! Watch out! Mo and Dusty running to the gate where a bucket of sheep food awaits.
On the way back to Devon, dad kept having 10min power naps and the electronic window would close so we ended having to place bin liners on the windows with masking tape so rain wouldn’t come in. Half in tears/half laughing.
All in all, the journey went well and the lambs are settling into their new home.
It’s our first Christmas in Devon and Molly and I have been making the cottage christmassy, by putting up fairy lights and setting up speakers for our cd/tape player to listen to music. Bowls of satsuma’s and apples are on the table and the dogs seem to always be sprawled out on the floor with their legs in the air asleep.
On Wednesday we did a Christmas night market at Piazza Terracina, Exeter, the last market of 2015. A perfect oval of food stalls with music playing by Sandie Horlier and The Locked Horns. A few couples dancing and crowds of people mooching around deciding what to eat. It was on and off rain but we had four hours of clear weather until our journey back when it tipped it with rain. We set up our new front board which we couldn’t wait to see what it looked like. Just now needs painting black now and then chalk added on.
This morning we went for a long dog walk on Dartmoor in the blistering wind and rain. A sheet of mist covering our view. Both dogs drenched from head to toe. Wind whistling through our ears. Back home, we made a fire, opened a few pressies and put the chicken in the oven ready for Christmas dinner. Molly is preparing the veg and stuffings. I made a fruit cake for pudding.
Can’t believe it’s Autumn already. Seems unreal that we have been living in Devon for four months already.
Last weekend was dad’s 57th birthday. His first birthday in Devon and with both Molly and I at University, he decided to drive up to Dorset to spend the day on a farm, where they were holding a harvest film festival. He was invited by a friend (whom he met when dad and I went to Dorset about a month ago to talk about cooking for Diwali festival). He took the dogs with him and spent the day watching short films, meeting people and walking the dogs.
He phoned me the next day to say that he had a lovely time, but classic dad, he lost his keys while walking the dogs on the land, but found them again with a metal detector.
I booked tickets for dad to go to the Powederham Food Festival at the beginning of the month. Hoping for dad to book some festival dates for 2016. I wanted dad to check out the buzz of the place and see what the stalls and atmosphere was like. Dad phoned to say that there were lots of people, amazing smells and a few stalls he had seen before.
The farm is looking good. Took longer than expected but slowly slowly. Just need water on the land and then sometime dad will go back to Wye, Kent to pick up Dusty and Mo!
When we decided to cook rice, dhal, masala potatoes and cabbage instead of masala dosa, the last thing we thought would happen would be not being able to cook rice. But the day came on Saturday at Bath market.
Half cooked rice and dad nearly in tears, we were all ready to pack up by midday. Saved by Stephanie from ‘Pothead and Panface’ who let us borrow her rice cooker.
Met some amazing people again who all wanted masala dosa! And some great tips from a few people about having chutney or pickle.
We did it! After our first Bath Market we were slowly getting the hang off everything. The cooking quantities, packing the ice boxes and the van, the tea and sandwiches for the car journey, the unpacking, setting up, dishing out and going home.
With rain drizzling in Lifton, we were praying that it would disappear. But as soon as we passed Okehampton the sun shone in our favour. The drive was only 45min away and in our huge transit van we felt ontop of the world.
I left dad to do most of the setting up, the tent, tables, cooker… and then we were came across our first problem. Wind. As dosa is such a sensitive dish, the heat has to be controlled perfectly for it not to stick. This time though we made a makeshift wind guard.
Around 6:30pm the crowds came. The salsa was on and the smells were wavering in the air. Next to us we had Good Game – meat in buns and on the other side the beautiful colours of homemade macaroons. The customers kept coming and coming. At one point we had a huge crowd just watching as dad made the dosa pancake on the hot plate and then added dried potato curry and served it with tomato chutney and dhal.
My dad told me a story of when he went to mess (communal eating place) in Sri Lanka, there would usually be 40 children there and the guys making dosa would have 1 large rectangle hot plate and one would wipe with water to clean and the other would make 20 dosa’s at one time. Dad used to shout at them to hurry up, and they kept saying ‘ok, ok, it takes time’.
Will be at the Piazza Terracina again in Exeter on the 17th September. So if you are around feel free to pop over for a bit to eat. There are lots of other wonderful stalls there, from meat to vegetarian.