James and I decided that the other weekend was a good time to start surveying the woodland. So we togged up and off we went with paper, books and camera in hand!!!
We went into the woodland from the furthest corner of big field….
And we worked our way down through the woodland a way noting hazel, and oak trees and an occasional ash. We need to sort out our boundary line in the woodland as the old banked hedged section has fallen into disrepair and there is evidence that sheep have been going back and forth between us and our neighbour.
We have some strangely knarled trees…
The second one looks like there is an old face in the nook!
And we have a lot of holes in the bank!!
We have a glade area almost here which might service brilliantly as a forest school area for the the fire circle etc!!
There were some lovely fungi and some celandines and other ground flora starting to poke through too.
We mapped out this section of woodland carefully and then decided to slither and slide our way down to the stream which is our bottom boundary.
Over the last month James and I have been clearing the rough pasture as this is the new venue for an orchard!! This means more weeds…. More bramble forests and some chainsawing up of goat willows and overhanging branches!
Thursday and Friday over half term James and his Dad felled the three leylandii!!! Hurrah bye bye vile giants and hello view!!!!!
Hello view from the lounge window now!!!!!
And a few photos of the tree feller and his site foreman!!!
My wonderful friend went to the RHS show in Cardiff recently and she bought me some basketry willow to start to grow for the farm!!! As the banks of the streams we want to plant it down are not at all ready for the willow I have planted them in pots in the garden here at home!!
I have also got some trees growing in pots in the garden ready to be moved down in the Autumn to repopulate hedgerow gaps. I have a elder, a blackthorn, a crabapple and a cherry.
No rest for the wicked here!! James’ parents and my mother came back down to us on the Wonderwool weekend!! Mum came for Wonderwool and Dad filled the car with tools for us!! Hedge trimmer, etc etc and James’ parents brought a chainsaw, and some furnishings for the hovel among other things not sure how much we can fit into the car with ourselves and dogs for the May Bank holiday weekend!! But hey we have POWER tools for the clearing of brambles and trees!!!! Yay!!!
The next two days I was alone at the smallholding with just Sookie for company. Sookie used this as an excuse to wedge herself into my armpit every time I sat down or to go absolutely bat shit crazy every time anyone approached the farm or if there was a noise!!!
We came to terms with our empty calf less barn!!
Though I had to stop Sookie on a couple of occasions from trying to get in there and stop her from eating cow poo!!
We had three window companies out for quotes, a plumbing/electrician firm and I met the guy who is tackling the knotweed down in the woodland off the road!! I also rang a few other companies for quotes on damp proofing, bore holes, septic tanks etc etc etc!!!
I also tried to contact the Rural Payments Wales people to register etc etc so we can start trying to get into the Glastir Programme and start off getting some payments in to help us manage the land…. But I realised quickly into the call that I had left the holding number back with the other paperwork at home!!! Doh!!!! So that’s a job for another day, probably May half term!!!
The only significant amusement during my time alone, other than quotes, was the arrival of new bedding for the remaining barn load of calves!! Our tenant fired up his bob cat in the barn and the whole tin hut shook wildly!!! I was just it ting down for dinner and managed to hurl a tomato in my surprise across the tin hut!!! Te he!!!
I did also manage to get out amidst the drizzle and continue clearing along the back slurry pit banking. I cut the Rowan branches that over hung the pit and hacked back about three metres of brambles using gloves secateurs
and a pitch fork!! And I have started a new bonfire pile!! When James and he parentals left, I was under strict instructions not to relight the fire or go into the woodland alone.
I also managed to start clearing some brambles by the stream pipe in the rough pasture!! So a productive few days even though I was alone with the pup!!
Finally after fussing the baby St. Bernard next door and a bit of pootling about I gained possession of the spade!!!! Alleluiah!!!! I snatched up the spade, loaded it into my wheelbarrow and left the men folk mulling over their newly dug ditch and Mum cutting back the cotoneaster on the front of the building. My mission was to find some the field growing baby trees and return them to growing in some of the smaller hedgerow spaces!! As I got into Big field I realised that the owner of the sheep tenants had been in a reopened the gate….. Sheep tenants and their lambs were all over the big field and the small field…… Hmmmmm Pup had come to dig trees with me….. However she was amazing and she just careened about fairly close to me and woofed a bit when the sheep got too bold and wandered over to investigate in the goings on in the corner of the field!!
In all I found down the one hedge line 6 baby field growing trees and replanted them in the gap between Big field and Small field.
I still need to start reinstating some banking here though, by chucking some rocks, of which there are many, and earth in here!!
James came to collect me after I had been gone for a hour or so and we wandered back to get some lunch!