Wednesday, 5 August 2015

You can take chitting a little too far.

We're well into the summer holidays now. A gratefully wet end to July has turned into a so far cloudy but dry August.
Sue and I have been having a massive clear out. It began with a plan to move the fence by the stables and put in a new gate. Then I decided to take out the two twisted willows which probably looked nice when they were planted but have now outgrown the available space, casting deep shadow and filling the gutters with leaves and seed frass. As usual, what looked like a spindly trunk from the ground turned into a towering, colossal lump of solid wood when I was perched precariously up a ladder!
There was, however, a good view over the veg patch.


This is not the best time to cut trees, as they are green and heavy with sap and the leaves rather act like a sail if the slightest breeze gets up. This has two effects. Firstly, the trees starts waving around everywhere, with me clinging to the the trunk.

Selfie taken up a tree.
You'll be pleased to know this will be my last
selfie for a while since I have managed to
drop my phone and crack the screen.
The crack goes right across the selfie lens.
Sure is a long way down.

















Secondly, when it eventually decides to topple, it completely ignores all efforts you have made to get it to fall the other way and goes whichever way the wind takes it. A hint here. Do not try to divert its fall once it starts going - you will only end up with a very sore arm for quite some time, as the ligaments / tendons all the way up my left arm can still attest a week later! I now also have to carry out some minor repairs to the guttering and roof. You may guess why this needed doing.
The worst of it is, there is still one towering stem to cut down, but until my arm is fully mended and we get a perfectly still day, I shall be leaving it where it is. I will also leave those repairs until I know whether there are any more to add to the list.
On the plus side, the sheep go mad for the willow branches. They strip the leaves in no time and then get to work on bark stripping with amazing efficiency. If my plan works, I shall have some very curly and fancy bean supports next year.


So, back to the clearing out. The stables have been transformed, I now have a proper workshop and Sue has a bee room to store all the accoutrements of bee-keeping. We have a pile of stuff to go off to the tip - mostly things which had been in storage for 5 years and long forgotten or junk which was too large to go in the bins and too useless to be upcycled.

I also came across two bags of stored potatoes from last year. For a couple of months now we have been enjoying a bumper crop of spuds from this year's harvest. In fact we managed to go right through the year for the first time, which is why we had two sacks still in storage.
Here they are!

These could be the inspiration for
 a couple of children's cartoon characters.
Sue and Boris, for scale. As you can see, Boris is a big boy now.






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