Ruston House

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You may notice that, in some years, the Lake & Grounds area have relatively few posts. However, the photographic record was maintained and you can expect new material to be added when time is found. This means the new posts may appear anywhere on the site and not just in the current year's page. The best way to ensure you miss nothing is to visit the What's New page where you can find how you can subscribe to our newsletter.

Go to Top 2020

Otter 11 December 2020 - Otter Has Breakfast and Lunch

It was pouring with rain when, once again, there was an otter in the lake. I dashed upstairs, grabbed the camera and took my first blurry shot. The otter dived, and dived again, this time coming up with a fish in its mouth. Later Diana and I were watching the lunchtime news on TV. The TV is beside the window that overlooks the lake and, just out of my line of sight I became aware of a stream of bubbles on the lake emerge from under the bridge approaching the house. Yes, the otter had returned.

Chipper 10 December 2020 - Logs Chipped To Dress The Paths

I have just spent most of the day doing a lot of chipping. The section of the path to be raised is just beyond the bridge to the island. It is amongst the lowest ground on the site and it can get very soft in winter if there's a lot of traffic on it. We had a variety of bits and pieces of old timber that were to be laid on the existing path to raise it and the work being done on the old reed bed meant we had some spare soil to create a new surface for the path.

Otter 2 December 2020 - Bubbles Confirm An Otter

It was just after 09:20. We had been late rising and as Diana drew the curtains she commented on rings in the water. By the time I was at the window one of the rings had the distinctive row of bubbles coming from it. I grabbed my camera and waited for the otter to surface. It did so several times and I managed to get a number of shots over the next two minutes before the otter appeared to leave the area behind the house and move to that behind the cottages.

Heron 28 November 2020 - A Heron Hides In The Reeds

It's Saturday morning and Diana and I were awake earlier than usual, but we didn't open the curtains till around 08:20. And that's when Diana announced that she had seen a heron. It had flown over the lake and landed on the boat dock, just beyond the bridge. Unfortunately, landing there meant it was lost to our view hidden by the reeds on the bank closer to the house. When it did come into view it was walking round the edge of the lake along the path towards the Ruston Bench.

Green Team 27 November 2020 - The Green Team's Last Day

With a couple of gaps Andi and Bex, the Green Team, have been helping us with both lake and grounds maintenance since 2014 and today has been their last day with us. They gave us some warning that, from today, they will be putting all their energies into their new venture "AB TreeArt". It was largely to be a clean-up day but they took photographs as they went, including "selfie", sitting on the veranda of "The Manna", having their "dockey".

Common Newt 8 November 2020 - A Common Newt In The Kitchen

We're stretching the point to call our kitchen part of "The Grounds", but it's not unreasonable to keep all wildlife reports in one area within the site. It was a bit of a shock to see what, at first, we thought was a lizard on our kitchen floor. However, research suggested that rather than a lizard what we had was a newt.

heron 20 October 2020 - A Heron On The Bridge

On opening the bedroom curtains at 08:02 this morning there was a heron to be seen on the balustrade of the Bridge. In the background you see the model heron that stands in front of the recently installed cover over the pair of chairs and its linked table beside the Ruston Bench.

Floods 28 September 2020 - Peter's Field and our Path Floods

I wanted to see how the water levels were rising. The first photo I took was of the duck house at around 09:35. Swinging the camera round a little you can see the fallen crack willow is now engulfed by water. Just after 14:50 I took a walk around the grounds to get a fuller picture. Already you could see the water level was distinctly higher, with the damp marks twice the height up the walls of the duck house than they were in the morning. The water is as high as I ever remember seeing it.

Floods 27 September 2020 - Water Rises Throughout The Day

I wanted to see how the water levels were rising. The first photo I took was of the duck house at around 09:35. Swinging the camera round a little you can see the fallen crack willow is now engulfed by water. Just after 14:50 I took a walk around the grounds to get a fuller picture. Already you could see the water level was distinctly higher, with the damp marks twice the height up the walls of the duck house than they were in the morning. The water is as high as I ever remember seeing it.

Flooding 27 September 2020 - More Storm Damage Discovered

I walked round the grounds again primarily to get photographs of the height of the water, but during the tour I discovered more tree damage. The first I noticed was another oak, the second was the crack willow right beside the gate to the holiday cottages. The tree almost appears to be lifted out of the ground and flopped against the fence, tearing a number of the shingles on the Gazebo.

Felled Crack Willow 26 September 2020 - Storm Odette Damage

It was time to see what damage Storm Odette had done. Taking a few steps along the newly reinforced path the first damage could be seen. One of three main trunks of a Crack Willow had been snapped and blow over the dyke onto Peter's Field. Beyond the bridge two more Crack Willows also had various branches snapped off. All in all that is probably the most tree damage ever inflicted on the grounds by a single storm since we have been in residence.

Path Improvements 18 September 2020 - Path Improvements Continues

A week after work had started on adding reinforcing grids to the main path from the house the task was not complete. In part that was because of the distraction of the construction of The Manna which was completed on this day. The final image in this collection shows how much further the head of the path had reached. There were no further photographs taken of the work on installing this second type of grid at the time. It seems that Storm Odette, that hit a few days later, changed the focus of interest.

Path Grids Laid 12 September 2020 - Reinforcing The Original Chipping Path

Yesterday I began work to improve the main path from the house towards the bridge. We'd long wanted to create level paths round the grounds and while some work was done at the beginning of the year at various places around the site, I had recently discovered a much cheaper version of plastic grid that would help do the job. There was more to the job than I had originally foreseen involving cutting in half a mass of planks delivered in February to help with the task in other areas of the grounds.

Muntjac 31 May 2020 - Lake Views For May

This year I have a much better spread of images for the month with photos taken on 2, 15 and 28 May. It's definitely worth comparing the related posts for 2018 and 2019! The first shows barely a lily breaking the surface. A fortnight later the pink lilies are massing on the right hand side near the house. However, the yellow lilies which normally appear in profusion by this time are much reduced in numbers. It looks as if the work done to try to reduce their number has produced the results hoped for.

Muntjac 30 May 2020 - Pigeons and Muntjac

This week I moved the camera back into the grounds of Ruston House. I sited it on the path by the retaining wall. That, of course, is an area that all of us humans, the Green Team, Diana and I pass backwards and forward along quite frequently, and that's what could be seen on a good proportion of the 40 clips captured this week. The star clip this week is the daylight clip of the Muntjac.

Muntjac Deer 3 April 2020 - A Muntjac Makes a Morning Call

If my camera clock is to be believed, it was a second after 08:19 when I took the first picture of a deer near the bridge. It's not unknown to see a deer in full sun but certainly unusual. It moves towards the house getting ever closer as it seems less content with the grass it finds, finally breaking into a trot, but still coming towards the house!

Lily Root 20 March 2020 - Passing Lily Root And Primroses

Over the last few weeks the Green Team have been repeatedly dragging the special hook, made last year, through the lake in an attempt to slice through as much lily root as possible. Today I photographed the pile of root segments that have been collected together after they floated to the surface. Moving further on I pass by the area which, at this time of year, tends to be referred to as "The Primrose Bank". As grass and other flowers grow later in the year it will tend to lose that name.

Otter Family 2 March 2020 - A Group of Otters Come To Play

"What on earth was that", I thought as I started the video playing. It could have been a small dog disappearing round the curve in the "retaining wall" at the back of our lake. Then I let it play again and see that after five seconds not just one, but three otters appear, running over the embankment towards the water.

Lake Views 29 February 2020 - Lake Views For February

What a difference a month and 20 minutes makes. Last month's Sunset Picture was taken just 20 minutes later than the snow scene you see here. One thing that you may notice that wasn't mentioned when the image was posted earlier was that I failed to mention how Storm Ciara had taken out one of the decking lights, as the patio furniture was swept into the lake in the wind. Four days later a replacement has been fitted.

Egyptian Goose 27 February 2020 - An Egyptian Goose Drops In

It was in 2013, before we had moved in, that we last saw Egyptian Geese at Ruston House. Today, shortly before 12:50, I saw a lone example on the recently cleared island, just beyond the Duck House. As I took pictures of it through the patio door it constantly moved away from the house and I thought it was about to launch itself into the water but instead, rather than that, it took off and flew towards me passing to my left.

Squirrel 25 February 2020 - Squirrels Seen Again

It took until 2017 before I managed to photograph My First Squirrel at Ruston House and today was another of those rare occasions when I have managed to do it - I'm ignoring those picked up by the wildlife camera. We've already seen that squirrels appear to have discovered the bird feeders that Diana has hung on the tree outside the kitchen window. Today I've got to the camera quickly enough to get some more shots.

Heart 25 February 2020 - A Final Wedding Present In Place

It has been long promised and there was a time when we feared it would never arrive, but 1,609 days (who's counting?) after our wedding, the Green Team brought us their "Great Heart". It's not quite what was originally promised but probably better for the change. Since delivery there's been delay in getting it displayed as intended. Some refinement had to be made as Storm Ciara demonstrated that there would need to be a more secure method of hanging it found.

Snow 10 February 2020 - A Light Snow Shower

It's been a couple of years since we had any worthwhile snow and, in truth, this clearly was not going to turn out to be much. Others have suffered much worse from Storm Ciara and we were just getting the tail end of it. It was 16:35 when I took the picture and the snow had disappeared by the time we went to bed.

Sunset View 31 January 2020 - Lake Views for January

There's very little difference between this year's first photo taken on 9 January with the one taken a day earlier last year. Five days later the wind had dropped, indicated by the much clearer reflections of the trees on the lake surface. The final picture is a bit of a cheat as instead of being taken in the morning it shows sunset on 21 January.

Deer Sculpture 9 January 2020 - Life Size Red Deer Sculpture

Over the weekend we took the plunge and bought a life size sculpture of a red deer. Sculpture may be putting it a little grandly. Before Christmas we had spotted what others might call an assortment of garden ornaments that rather took our fancy - but the price put us off. However, last week Diana spotted that they may not have sold as well as the Garden Centre had hoped because now they were half price. So we bought the big one!

Muntjac 5 January 2020 - A Fox Runs And Muntjac Graze

I went to pick up the wildlife camera today which, for for the past few days has been set up behind the reed bed pointing south. This first clip of the sequence was captured on Friday at 22:12. It seems the fox was spooked by something, perhaps the infra-red lighting from the camera and quickly disappears back towards the dyke. A male Muntjac arrives, perhaps also having come from the path on the right which is a few feet from the western boundary dyke. We also see a female Muntjac that is visiting the grounds.

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