That Was The Year..

That Was The Year
Wind, rain and high tides wreak havoc
But the mild winter temperatures
give us glorious early bulbs
A husband's work is never done
Ptolemy gets himself a woman.
Stand by your beds..
The woodland floor
acquires a carpet of bluebells
Magnolia sieboldii blooms
Gorgeous weather for garden visiting
The Bamboozle, Trebah
Lights, Camera, Action..
The squirrels make a movie!
Dartmoor. Timeless.
Exceptional autumn colour
A time to reflect
Match pots and mayhem
A taste of things to come?
New Year!


Click on any slide to go back to the original post


There’ll be one more blog entry in 2014, technology permitting.

But a brief review of the year, such as this is, makes it the right time to thank you sincerely for following rusty duck and supporting it in the way that you do. There are big plans in the offing for the months to come. If I can do half of it I will be happy enough. I do hope that you will join me.

With very best wishes for a happy, healthy and successful 2015.


Jessica x


2018-04-24T19:51:55+00:00December 28th, 2014|Tags: |


  1. Christina December 28, 2014 at 3:39 pm - Reply

    Dear Jessica, great idea to do a slideshow for the review of the year. I think my favorite is the spinning squirrel. It is really impressive how persistent he is. If I could be like that with my own projects I am sure I would get a lot more done ;-). I thoroughly enjoyed following your blog throughout this year and will definitively join you in the next. I am wishing you and your loved ones a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year 2015. Hopefully it will be a good one for your garden as well. Warm regards,

    • Jessica December 28, 2014 at 9:14 pm - Reply

      Many thanks Christina. Yes, I could do with a bit of that persistence myself. I thought the twirler would be a deterrent, it’s turned out to be anything but!

  2. Denise December 28, 2014 at 4:59 pm - Reply

    It has been a wonderful experience following your blog – informative, funny, inspirational – and your patient calm shines through your posts regardless of what naughty pheasants, squirrels, deer, sheep, meeces et al throw at you! Wishing you more gardening, photography and renovatory successes in 2015 and I look forward ENORMOUSLY to reading all about them! Happy New Year!!

    • Jessica December 28, 2014 at 9:19 pm - Reply

      Bless you Denise. I’m not really (really not?) sure patience comes into it though… it certainly wouldn’t if you were to ask Mike. Fortunately when I sit down to write a post I have calmed down. A bit.

  3. Linda December 28, 2014 at 5:22 pm - Reply

    I’ve loved reading your blog during 2014. It’s been an informative experience and best of all I’ve enjoyed your sense of humour through all the ups and downs as you worked on your land and cottage. The slideshow is a great reminder of some of the highlights of your year. Wishing you and Mike good health and happiness in the coming new year 2015.

    • Jessica December 28, 2014 at 9:21 pm - Reply

      Many thanks Linda. And I’ve enjoyed your posts too, especially from Italy. So envious of the life you have there.

  4. Jacqueline December 28, 2014 at 5:37 pm - Reply

    Beautiful photographs of your year in the gardn Jessica and I LOVE Squirrel in a Spin … The Movie. You can actually see him getting more and more pissed off but, he is a persistant little blighter isn’t he ?!!
    Wishing you and Mike a wonderful 2015 and a bloomingly beautiful garden !! Much love. XXXX

    • Jessica December 28, 2014 at 9:26 pm - Reply

      It is so funny to watch the squirrels and yes, they get REALLY pissed off. I have seen stamping of feet. But they are persistent and triumph in the end. It is costing us a fortune in batteries!

  5. CherryPie December 28, 2014 at 5:38 pm - Reply

    A lovely slide show to review your year. I am looking forward to sharing your journey into 2015.

    • Jessica December 28, 2014 at 9:28 pm - Reply

      Thanks Cherie. I wish software providers still did manuals. It took me way too long to figure out how to do it.

  6. Crafty Gardener December 28, 2014 at 5:42 pm - Reply

    Thank you for publishing such fun,informative and insightful posts for us to read. It has been a pleasure being a follower. All the best for the upcoming year … yes, it’s a time to make lists, splurge with dreams, have wonderful garden visions, and drool over gardening catalogues … and that is just the garden side. Looking forward to seeing your ‘big plans’

    • Jessica December 28, 2014 at 9:30 pm - Reply

      I love New Year. It’s a time of such promise. It may not last very long, but right now there’s a feeling that anything is possible!

  7. Jo December 28, 2014 at 5:53 pm - Reply

    Your monthly photos sum up the year well. All the very best for 2015, hope it’s a great year for us all.

    • Jessica December 28, 2014 at 9:33 pm - Reply

      I hope so too Jo, for all of us.

  8. Alain December 28, 2014 at 5:53 pm - Reply

    What lovely pictures Jessica! I am sure 2015 has many more in store for us. Have a very good 2015.

    • Jessica December 28, 2014 at 9:35 pm - Reply

      Thanks Alain. It’s such a good feeling at the start of a new year. I hope it lives up to all we want from it.

  9. Mark and Gaz December 28, 2014 at 6:19 pm - Reply

    It’s fun following your blog Jessica! Wishing you a wonderful New Year ahead 🙂

    • Jessica December 28, 2014 at 9:38 pm - Reply

      Thank you. I hope it’s a wonderful year for you two as well and that your garden continues to recover and mature. I do need to get a tree fern this year I think!

  10. Beth @ PlantPostings December 28, 2014 at 6:36 pm - Reply

    I’m so glad I found your blog, Jessica! The slide show was fantastic, and I especially liked the “Squirrels in a Spin” movie! The one at the end must have been quite dizzy aftward, but … such persistence! 😉

    • Jessica December 28, 2014 at 9:40 pm - Reply

      They do get very dizzy. If they go the full distance it looks like they’ve been at the gin bottle. And yet still they come back for more.. thanks Beth.

  11. Helen Johnstone December 28, 2014 at 6:41 pm - Reply

    I do like your slide show. I have one going up tomorrow but I think yours is more sophisticated. I have enjoyed following your blog this year

    • Jessica December 28, 2014 at 9:46 pm - Reply

      The EOMV will be my last post of the year. I was going to do a slideshow too. Thing is, I have an idea but as it stands not the faintest clue how to execute it. All this technology stuff is beyond me really. Tomorrow might be a bit early…

  12. Amy at love made my home December 28, 2014 at 6:59 pm - Reply

    It has been a great year reading along with you and I look forward to whatever 2015 may bring! Hope you had a good Christmas and will have a wonderful new year! xx

    • Jessica December 28, 2014 at 10:01 pm - Reply

      There is a lot more to do on the house and a new direction for the garden too. As ever, life will undoubtedly get in the way and I will have severely over estimated what is possible. But if you don’t have something to aim for what is there?

  13. wherefivevalleysmeet December 28, 2014 at 7:26 pm - Reply

    What great way to round up the year Jessica – I noticed that you did a post on Trebah which I missed, I must have been away, so enjoyed catching up with it now. Heres to a great 2015 and visiting your lovely blog again next year.

    • Jessica December 28, 2014 at 10:04 pm - Reply

      Trebah has to be one of my favourite gardens. I would like to revisit it next year, and the one next door whose name I forget but which I think you went to as well? Thanks Rosemary.

      • wherefivevalleysmeet December 28, 2014 at 10:18 pm - Reply

        Glendurgan Jessica – I too would like to revisit but at a different season

        • Jessica December 28, 2014 at 10:26 pm - Reply

          Thanks. When would you go?

          • wherefivevalleysmeet December 30, 2014 at 7:31 pm

            We visited when the Rhododendrons and Camillias were out but I should like to go again in of September.

          • Jessica December 30, 2014 at 11:04 pm

            Yes, that would be good. I was going to try and do both gardens in the same day next time. Might be optimistic, with the travelling as well, but we’ll see.

  14. CJ December 28, 2014 at 7:46 pm - Reply

    Beautifully put together Jessica. Oh how I love the “Jobs for husband” list, I would so like one of those. Of course I’d need to find a husband first. The PTO at the bottom is perfection. I’m still regretting that we didn’t manage to visit Trebah in the summer. We were so close, we planned to go, but at the last minute we didn’t. It looks wonderful. And I love your duck photo for November – fantastic. Wishing you both a very happy New Year. CJ xx

    • Jessica December 28, 2014 at 10:11 pm - Reply

      It’s one thing to have a list and another to actually get anything done.. he only managed one of them before the list got wiped in favour of the mouse tally. The duck was from Slimbridge, of course. Thanks CJ.

  15. Kris P December 28, 2014 at 7:52 pm - Reply

    What a wonderful slide show! I love your squirrels video, which I missed the first time. (As I watch from my own resident squirrel make quick work of the bird seed in my own feeders, I think I need one of those spinning feeders myself!) I look forward to your future posts.

    • Jessica December 28, 2014 at 10:13 pm - Reply

      The squirrel spinner came from your side of the pond, so it should be easy enough (and cheaper!!) to acquire. Google ‘Twirl-A-Squirrel’. Thanks Kris.

  16. Chel @ Sweetbriar Dreams December 28, 2014 at 8:11 pm - Reply

    I have loved reading your blog posts throughout the year Jessica! Have a wonderful 2015 and I can’t wait to hear what your plans are! Happy New Year!! x

    • Jessica December 28, 2014 at 10:21 pm - Reply

      Thanks Chel. This old house wants a bit of an overhaul, as you know old cottages take a lot to maintain. And the garden needs a huge amount of work. I am a bit daunted by it all in truth. I just hope it is worth it in the end.

  17. islandthreads December 28, 2014 at 8:29 pm - Reply

    wishing you happiness, health and success too Jessica, like the slide show, very clever, Frances x

    • Jessica December 28, 2014 at 10:25 pm - Reply

      The slide show was nowhere first thing this morning. Then there was a eureka moment and it all fell into place. I am not a natural when it comes to computers. This afternoon I’ve been out tidying up the terraces.. much better!!

  18. Dorothy @ The Nature of Things December 29, 2014 at 12:38 am - Reply

    Wonderful review of the year. It’s fun to look back and consider just how much has been accomplished. Best wishes for a healthy and happy new year.

    • Jessica December 29, 2014 at 11:08 pm - Reply

      Thank you Dorothy. It’s fun to look back and to look forward. I never seem to accomplish half the things I plan to do, but some progress is better than none.

  19. Charlie@Seattle December 29, 2014 at 5:03 am - Reply

    The art piece you used to start your album is so amazing…The photos are superb and so much fun, loved your year in review.

    • Jessica December 29, 2014 at 11:10 pm - Reply

      I had fun doing it, although did tear my hair out at times trying to work out how!

  20. elaine December 29, 2014 at 7:59 am - Reply

    You certainly picked some great pictures to illustrate your year – looking forward to many more in 2015. Happy New Year Jessica.

    • Jessica December 29, 2014 at 11:21 pm - Reply

      I wonder what the next year will bring. Looking forward to the start of the new gardening season that’s for sure. Thanks Elaine.

  21. Rosie December 29, 2014 at 9:18 am - Reply

    Lovely slide show of your eventful year at Rusty Duck. Looking forward to joining you again in 2015. Happy New Year:)

    • Jessica December 29, 2014 at 11:31 pm - Reply

      Thanks Rosie 🙂

  22. colleen December 29, 2014 at 9:45 am - Reply

    Happy New Year and good luck with the plans.

    • Jessica December 29, 2014 at 11:35 pm - Reply

      I sometimes wonder if we’ll ever get this place finished, there is so much to do. The more we delve into the longer the list seems to get!

  23. AnnetteM December 29, 2014 at 10:17 am - Reply

    Happy New Year to you and Mike! I have really enjoyed reading your blog this past year – you get the mix just right using super photos and just sufficient words. Put that with a great ability to laugh at yourselves and you have us all laughing with you. Looking forward to another year watching your plans come to fruition.

    • Jessica December 29, 2014 at 11:38 pm - Reply

      That’s a lovely thing to say, thank you Annette!

  24. Brian Skeys December 29, 2014 at 11:56 am - Reply

    Your slide show is great, you do seem to have mastered the technology, the help pages make it seem so easy!!
    The squirrels are very entertaining, you cannot help but laugh at their antics. I do like the November photo Reflections, you should enter it into a competition. Best wishes for the New Year.

    • Jessica December 29, 2014 at 11:47 pm - Reply

      There don’t appear to be any help pages with this one, it’s mostly trial and error. I am relying on a few pop up messages and a lot of years messing about with PowerPoint!

  25. Sue@GLAllotments December 29, 2014 at 12:01 pm - Reply

    Very nifty slideshow. Here’s to a successful 2015

    • Jessica December 29, 2014 at 11:50 pm - Reply

      Thanks Sue, you too. Another good Spring and Summer will help us out!

  26. justjilluk December 29, 2014 at 2:14 pm - Reply

    The best blog! Cant wait to see what invades next. Best wished for 2015.x And no I wont be dawn patrolling!

    • Jessica December 29, 2014 at 11:55 pm - Reply

      There’s a moose in the hoose for a start! Hope you’re feeling better. Too cold for any dawn patrolling at the moment. And in the summer it’s far too early. My excuse and I’m sticking to it.

  27. LInda from Each Little World December 29, 2014 at 3:44 pm - Reply

    Happy almost New Year! I collected my photos for a round-up but have not managed to write anything yet. Clearly time is running out . . .

    • Jessica December 29, 2014 at 11:59 pm - Reply

      Ah, but you have a few hours longer than us!

  28. Sue December 29, 2014 at 5:37 pm - Reply

    And a very Happy New Year to you both as well. Love the slide show it sums your year up wonderfully. Lovely pictures as usual, I can’t wait to see what you have planned for 2015.

    • Jessica December 30, 2014 at 12:01 am - Reply

      A lot more dust!
      Thanks Sue.

  29. countrysidetales December 29, 2014 at 6:21 pm - Reply

    HAPPY 2015 JESS! XX

    • Jessica December 30, 2014 at 12:03 am - Reply

      Ta muchly CT. Go steady on the fizz..

  30. Anna December 29, 2014 at 7:30 pm - Reply

    I’ve so enjoyed reading your blog this year Jessica both learning and laughing along the way. The spinning squirrels caused particular mirth. May the new year treat you and your garden kindly xxx

    • Jessica December 30, 2014 at 12:10 am - Reply

      They are still spinning away. There are three of them around at the moment, in something of an impatient queue. Thanks Anna. I am looking to you for snowdrop related learning. Can you become addicted after just one ‘special’? I think you can.

  31. Cathy December 29, 2014 at 8:14 pm - Reply

    What a great way of highlighting this last year – most effective! Like everyone else I look forward to sharing a giggle with you in 2015!

    • Jessica December 30, 2014 at 12:14 am - Reply

      And I with you Cathy. As the garden starts to get more established there might even be a vase.

  32. Donna@GardensEyeView December 29, 2014 at 9:55 pm - Reply

    Jessica I love this unique slideshow…well done!

    • Jessica December 30, 2014 at 12:15 am - Reply

      Thank you Donna!

  33. Amy December 30, 2014 at 6:38 am - Reply

    Marvelous show for the year, Jessica! As I wasn’t following your blog in August, this was my first chance to see the spinning squirrels – thoroughly enjoyed it 🙂 Could they walk in a straight line after??

    • Jessica December 30, 2014 at 10:59 pm - Reply

      They do get quite dizzy… they spend about half a minute twitching a bit but then, unless they’re chased off, leap straight back up for another go. Sometimes I think I’m just providing a squirrel theme park 🙁

      • Amy December 31, 2014 at 12:33 am - Reply

        At least we humans can get some entertainment from it too 😉 Happy 2015!

        • Jessica December 31, 2014 at 12:14 pm - Reply

          Absolutely. The twirler isn’t cheap, not in the UK anyway, but it’s worth it for the entertainment value alone!

  34. Vera December 30, 2014 at 7:48 am - Reply

    Jessica, fantastic slide show, fantastic photos (as ever), and wishing you and your husband a happy and joyous 2015. Vx

    • Jessica December 30, 2014 at 11:00 pm - Reply

      And the very same to you Vera, all the best for much progress in 2015.

  35. hoehoegrow December 30, 2014 at 12:31 pm - Reply

    Happy New Year Jessica ! plans sound exciting … will watch this space to see what transpires !

    • Jessica December 30, 2014 at 11:01 pm - Reply

      Looking forward to seeing how you get on with the open day next year, exciting!!

  36. snowbird December 30, 2014 at 8:09 pm - Reply

    A lovely round-up, some marvelous highlights there.
    Here’s to big projects, I shall look forward to them, and hope that all goes smoothly.
    All the very best to you and yours Jess, have a marvelous New

    • Jessica December 30, 2014 at 11:06 pm - Reply

      You too snowbird. It would be nice to think you’d have a quieter time at the rescue next year but, sadly, I doubt it. Keep up the good work x

  37. Julie December 30, 2014 at 10:47 pm - Reply

    Happy New Year to you and yours too Jessica, your spinning squirrel gadget made me wish for a squirrel. Good luck with your plans, they sound exciting!

    • Jessica December 30, 2014 at 11:10 pm - Reply

      You don’t have squirrels? When can I move in? 🙂

  38. hb December 31, 2014 at 12:32 am - Reply

    You had a beautiful 2014–may your 2015 be even better.

    • Jessica December 31, 2014 at 12:12 pm - Reply

      Thanks, and the same to you Hoover. Good to find you this year and look forward to following you next year too. I shall keep my fingers crossed for more rain and fewer raccoons.

  39. Sigrun December 31, 2014 at 10:49 am - Reply

    Yessica, I wish you a healthy and lucky Year 2015 – with a lot of fun in your garden!


    • Jessica December 31, 2014 at 12:15 pm - Reply

      We need another good summer don’t we! Take care Sigrun.

  40. Chloris January 1, 2015 at 9:55 pm - Reply

    Lovely pictures of the changing seasons. I am very impressed with the slideshow. Looking forward to sharing 2015 with you. I wonder what projects you have planned.

    • Jessica January 2, 2015 at 12:08 am - Reply

      Far more than I can ever realistically do, that’s the trouble. Tackle a different part of the garden for sure, and more rooms indoors. Now we’ve started stripping wallpaper I’m seeing opportunities everywhere..

  41. Caro January 2, 2015 at 3:37 pm - Reply

    I’m totally in awe of your technical skills in putting that wonderful slideshow up on your blog, Jessica! Is it a clever WordPress widget? We Blogger bloggers are definitely falling behind in the techy stakes. Lovely to have found your blog this year, much enjoyment derived. Wishing you all the best for 2015, Caro xx

    • Jessica January 2, 2015 at 10:16 pm - Reply

      Thank you!
      It’s not a standard WP widget, it came with the theme I upgraded to last summer. I bought it for the slider on the home page but thought I could make use of it in individual posts as well.
      Good to have found you too Caro.

  42. Helen January 3, 2015 at 9:46 am - Reply

    Lovely pics – very clever too! I’ve so enjoyed your posts especially the squirrel movie! Best wishes for 2015. Helen x

    • Jessica January 3, 2015 at 10:43 pm - Reply

      Thanks Helen. The squirrels will still be twirling this year I’m sure, they never give up!

  43. Sarah January 3, 2015 at 8:32 pm - Reply

    I love your review of the year, it bought back those moments you have shared with us during the year! Wishing you and Mike a very happy new year. Sarah x

    • Jessica January 3, 2015 at 10:49 pm - Reply

      Thanks Sarah. It’s fun looking back at the old year, but a relief in many ways to move on from it too.

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