The other day (after my elevenses at ten o’clock), I stepped out of the greenhouse and looked to my left; this was what I saw:
These are hoggetts; one year old lambs. They are the brothers and sisters of the baby lambs currently being born up on the farm. And they are ready for slaughter. Indeed six are going to the abattoir this week.
|The shallow pond – you can see suckering alders on the far bank|
Suckers at the base of the alders on the east pond. Aug 2009
but I worry about them getting too big and so remove them each year. There’s approximately 15 alders plus a similar number of stumps. In addition there are probably a dozen willow stumps. So, a lot of suckers.
Quite pleasing to de-sucker an alder;
After. (I do like a before and after shot. There’ll be another one along in a moment)
but it’s just another time-consuming job;
With this in mind, I thought I would take out the majority of the suckers from this old willow stump (above) whilst allowing some of the stronger stems to grow. It ended up looking like this:
|Those horizontal branches are huge.
A pipe band and drum could march along them – almost
|The largest of the six weeping willows that sit on the west pond|
|One of the alders. There’s well over a dozen|
and pines that by any measure are big.
|The Priory pines poking out of the wood (well copse really) up on the drive. Dec 2009|
But it is the oaks that I notice and gaze at and think about the most. They are everywhere you look. There are dozens upon dozens (possibly hundreds) in the surrounding fields,
|Some of Margaret’s oaks. Feb 2009|
|And some more. Dec 2009|
along the river, in Margaret’s wood. And when they die their presence still lingers like, well like the tales of the Priory ghost.
|The oak stump on the east lawn|
Unless you’re trapped under a boulder in a canyon and the loss of a limb might be of benefit, you really ought to wear protective clothing when using a chainsaw. There was a young lad on the forestry course I did a few years back. He was a nice enough chap but (and let’s cut to the chase) a bit thick. Has to be said. Whilst we were clearing an area of scrub, he rested a tree limb on his thigh (yikes) in order to cut it with his chainsaw (double yikes). Needless to say the chainsaw slipped (triple yikes). Luckily he was wearing protective trousers (phew). The immensely strong fibres in the trouser material were ripped out by the saw’s chain and effectively clogged it to a halt. The tutor (the rather apt Mr Pollard) was obviously very relieved that the brainless-one wasn’t injured, though couldn’t hide his frustration that a £120 pair of trousers were destroyed.
The light on Friday was again gorgeous and warm. For the first time in months, I was able to work in just a short-sleeved shirt. And trousers.
|Sunlight playing through the willows on the west pond|
During my breaks from mowing the east lawn,
|A corner of the east lawn with the rock border and greenhouse beyond|
In the above picture I’ve managed to capture a Long-tailed Tit. Another one has smelt a rat and prepares to fly off (before he gets too fat),
Great Tits obviously have more meat to them than Blue Tits (and a richer, more intense flavour) but they are a cannier quarry. Above, one is eyeing the trap with suspicion,
but sensing danger flies off. Damn.
Later, however, unable to resist the free grub, he’s back. Got him. Happy days!
A regular visitor is this Great Spotted Woodpecker – though sadly he is too big to enter the fattening cage. I shall need to build a bigger woodpecker fattening cage. Wonder what they taste like?