Weds 29 Aug 2018

Weekly Wednesday Snapshot

Some before/after pictures, updates, snapshots.

Cleared a LOT away in the “swamp” this week: willowherb, brambles, nightshade, bindweed and nettles. Discovered the willowherb pulls up quite easily by hand, which means no stubble left behind (which there is if I use a scythe). Was only aiming to get through to the apple tree and crabapple tree but got a bit carried away! Wasps have beaten us to the crabapples so we’re planning on pruning it to give a healthier (and lower) crop next year. Got a bucket of reachable eating apples though, but again the tree needs some pruning!

Three stages of clearing around the main apple tree and behind the garage:

Before and after clearing through to the crabapple tree:

It looks a total chaotic mess from the road. I have to hold on to the fact that it WILL get better even if as usual it has to look a lot worse first!

The cats have followed me everywhere while I’ve been working. It’s been really rather lovely.

Pumpkins have sprouted a vine all of a sudden which is exciting – if I’m not too concerned about growing giant pumpkins, just reasonably sized eating ones (the seeds were saved from ones that were considerably smaller than footballs) do I still need to restrict the plants to one or two and snap the rest off?

The greenhouse-frame pumpkin is looking good too! Amazing to still see so many butterflies around, I’ve seen Maps, Admirals, Large Whites, and Common Blues this week.

Grylls has finally discovered OutDoors having been freed from his enclosure last week. Smudge has already received a warning from Tiger. Grylls bless him was shaking like a little leaf after Smudge investigated him and got a little too close, he explored around the flowerbed with his back legs wobbling and his tail permanently in various states of bottlebrush! Today he is on a mama-supervised exploration. Have to confess to being considerably nervous about it 😂

The space between sheds and barn is my current major project. It was piled up with earth and tree branches and rubble but it’s going to be the entrance to the goat encosure so needs dealing with. So far I’ve discovered a roll of very badly rusted) electric fence wire, broken glass and ceramics, cobbles from hardcore, and a rotten horsebox frame. Still digging out the horsebox but at least the main excavation of it is done and I’ve shifted all the tree branches!

Next job is to finish excavating the horsebox and I think it’ll be easier with a fork rather than a shovel or spade, as there’s a pile of hardcore covering where I assume the other mudguard is. Can’t wait to get that pulled out of the way. Stripped down and re-boarded it’d probably make a great addition to the goat playground!!

I harvested what I could of the damsons before the wind and rain finished them off and made a batch of damson and apple jam; decanted the damson vodka my mum gave me and used the damsons in a plum crumble cake; drank half the vodka (over a period of days, not just all at once!); and picked a couple of punnets of victoria plums to make a fresh jar of vodka plums and to leave some for Charley to eat.

And the boys have finally successfully befriended Smudge with a meaty treat stick!

Good week.

Spent a while re-planning the space behind the kitchen, in light of all the sustainable farming / forest farms / rewilding that I’m obsessing over at the moment. It’s a smaller area that feels actually achievable to deal with. So we’ll install a layby, an honest box space, a deadhedge with perennial sweetpeas and actual living hedge shrubs growing in and through. The horse-chestnut grove can be home to a small forest garden area, trying to introduce different plants to make use of different levels. Then a kitchen garden. And a hedgerow in the bio-security space between fences to keep the goats secure from the neighbouring farms (or vice versa haha). Plans are starting to fall into place and it feels right. Just need to keep grafting!

More pictures from the week:

So many conkers!!
We blinked and missed the acorns growing.
Erika loves helping. She helps weed the strawberry patch and then does her own digging (even though this is a no-dig patch!)
With Petra and Paula the Pumpkin Twins. I should have pulled the last plant out but it’s too late now so there are two in this space.
Even not running away completely when the kids appeared!
We ran out of cookies while Steve was still away so I found a recipe which my picky cookie snobs actually love!!
Grylls is incredibly tolerant of Charley cradling him!
We had a crazy thunder and rainstorm followed by hot sunshine and the air smelled incredible afterwards
Steam rising from the garage roof after the rainstorm
And the brook channel works!
Tulips are beautiful at every stage
Allium Canadense! Wild onions. How exciting!

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