• Lily Waugh

A well, a buzzard and a land drain

This month has brought us many surprises and delights. We finally feel as though we have settled in a little now, no longer sleeping on a futon in the kitchen and having warmed up these old walls with daily fires and this scorching summer heat ! We have had many wonderful guests stay including our first few artists: the exceptional painter Emily Vanns stayed, as well as weaver Imogen DiSapia and current poet in residence at Causley House in Launceston, David Devanny. We spent some glorious days around our campfire, swimming in the nearby pools and exploring bronze age settlements. Each of them brought new eyes to the land here, new stories and creative responses. We look forward to working with them all more deeply in the future here at Routrundle.

Blog by David Devanny about his residency in Launceston - http://causleytrust.org/orientation-landscape-and-storytelling/

Blog by Imogen DiSapia about her visit to us - https://brightmoon.co/2018/06/28/dartmoor-midsummer/

Emily Vanns website - http://cargocollective.com/emilyvanns

As well as our human residence we have also been visited by, amongst others, a fledgling buzzard (we think) the young female made our roof, windowsills and doorway into a home during a few days of thick mist. We think she fledged too early and could see her attentive mother circling the house each day. With advice from a local hawk sanctuary we kept and eye on her but one day she flew away not to return. We hope she is safe and soaring somewhere. Her mother we see often when we sit under the small oak and look out over the moor, one day she flew straight by my face allowing me to see her wingspan very closely - what an honour ! We are continuing our courtship with our animal, insect, bird, rodent allies with joy and wonder.

A major discovery that we have made is that of a well, once formerly thought of as a potato cellar, a visitor to the house confirmed that the structure is that of an ancient well with granite steps going down into it. We spent two gruelling days clearing rubbish that had been dumped in front of the beautiful structure and for the first time in many years the sun could shine on its opening. We are committed to reopening the well and clearing the water courses that run around the house once again. For this work we may call for some help ! For now some beautiful red eyed toads are watching over the well for us and we drink Hawthorn tea from the tree above the well. It is said that a Hawthorn above a well holds an immense amount of power. We have also had some diggers in to create some land drains to get the water flowing down there again and away from the end of the house, where damp is creeping its way up the walls.

We have finally got electricity which has been the most incredible step forward, we love living by candlelight but I found not having refrigeration difficult with the ever present mice eating our food and our shopping going sour very quickly. So being able to keep the milk fresh has been an absolute delight, and one I hope I will always appreciate even more than I did before. Next week we see a new head being put on the wind turbine so we don't have to rely on petrol in the generator as much (or ever?). We discovered a plastic laundry basket filled with slate pieces in our water tank, we think being used as a make shift filtration system, so next stop is sorting out clean drinking water & hopefully some heating before the winter sets in !

We are certainly getting used to the rhythms of this new way of life, with new joys and demands on both our physical and emotional bodies. It really is a dance and needs deep listening and close attention, we are stepping into the groove now.

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