The very first day I spent some time on my own up at the property I had a visitor. A cheeky brown bunny kept a wary eye on me as I moved about quietly, hoicking out poison oak. I must have looked quite the sight, wearing my bright pink dishwashing gloves, but he didn’t really seem to mind my presence. As he lippety-lopped back and forth to check in on my progress, I couldn’t help but think, “Hello, Peter!” As if I needed any confirmation that this piece of property, after all of our searching, was ‘the one,’ Peter’s appearance sealed the deal, like a thumbs-up from Miss Potter herself.
One of the highlights of our recent trip to England was the opportunity to spend a morning at Hill Top, the inspiration for much of what we endeavor to create as we develop Acorn Lodge. The visit to Hill Top was my husband’s first, and he was just as gratifyingly impressed with the warmth of that dear house as I continue to be. Now, thanks to the wonders of the worldwide web, you may wander through the the garden and cottage too, by clicking on the link below. Enjoy the birdsong!
One of the very few disappointments of our trip was the fact that, try as I might, I didn’t spot Squirrel Nutkin as we traversed the countryside. The list of wildlife sightings was otherwise rather well filled out — bunny, heron, dipper, grouse, buzzard, vole, hedgehog — but no red squirrel. At Acorn Lodge we’ve sighted, besides Peter Rabbit, deer, turkeys, acorn woodpeckers, and scrub jays just in the brief visits we’ve made over the months since we acquired the property. Yet to be spotted are the quail that are known to live in the area, or any other number of beasts we’ve been led to expect to find by a book called Secrets of the Oak Woodlands.
Beatrix Potter was an ardent conservationist dedicated to preserving the Lake District, where she had come to live and love in her adult years. She championed the land and its animals (both wild and domestic) in her lifetime, and in her will, she left well over 4,000 acres to the National Trust, ensuring that much of this beautiful terrain will be protected in perpetuity. We feel ourselves both inspired and privileged to act as the stewards of our new property, cautious to minimize our domestic overlay and committed to protecting and enhancing the natural beauty of our own little bit of oak woodland. While Peter won’t be any more welcome in my kitchen garden than he was in Mr. McGregor’s garden, I hope to catch sight of him from time to time, lippety-lopping atop the rocky knoll behind the house, still feeling safe enough in my presence to feel at home.
“Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.”
— Gary Snyder