Friday, 3 March 2017

Living Willow 2 - A New Benchmark

Saturday 25th February 2017
The Good Samaritan
The day began with clearing the fallen trees without bringing down the telephone wires. It really was like tree surgery and my super-long-handled loppers were invaluable. The problem was that without them the only way to reach the branches I needed to cut first was to lean a ladder against those very same branches. I've tried that sort of thing before and ended up with my hand half-chewed by a bow saw!
Today's operation was successful, if a little tricky. With the telephone wire no longer under threat, there was just the small matter of a couple of rather large trunks leaning at an alarming angle. I couldn't even access the base where the tree had grown through the stock fence. There is only so much headway you can make with a bowsaw and a pair of loppers.
It was at this point that a passing Good Samaritan pulled up and produced a chainsaw out of his van. In a matter of a minute he had saved me at least an hour's hard work. It was nice to know that there are still people around willing to lend a hand.
I do actually possess a chainsaw, but I have not yet studied the instructions or been shown how to use it safely. I didn't think that using it at short notice and in a tricky situation would be a wise move. Better to learn when I have more time and in a more controlled task.
Goose eggs for sale
On a different note, the goose eggs are coming thick and fast now. We will have to start selling them as each one goes a long way! The duck and chicken eggs are coming thick and fast too at the moment.
Fried goose egg (L)   Eggs piling up (R)

Fougasse Fougone!
Fed up with clearing up after the storm, I decided to spend the rest of the day baking. I knocked out a multi-seed loaf, a couple of muesli breads, a rhubarb brown betty ( rhubarb from the freezer, but this year's will be ready in about a week) and three fougasses. Here they are pictured, except the three fougasses, which lasted less than an hour after coming out of the oven!!!

Sunday 26th February 2017
In between some frankly foul weather, there have been some fairly strong hints of Spring this February. Under one of the Ash trees, the border is subtly brightened up by the hellebores which are flowering beautifully.


I set about today's task, sorting the left over cut willow for my project.
Can you tell what it is going to be?


A couple of showers had me taking refuge in the polytunnel, where I have moved some of the hardier seedlings which I germinated indoors. It won't be long before the whole tunnel is jam-packed with young plants.



When the rain stopped I got back to the task in hand.
Can you tell what it is yet?

A Mystery Clutch
Along the way, I was distracted by a little weeding in the herb border. There I came across a clutch of mystery eggs. They are not guinea fowl eggs or duck eggs. If they are chicken eggs, they must have been there quite some time.
But there is another possibility, for Lady Penelope Peacock and her chick (now looking very much like Lady P) were hanging around the area. The eggs looked a little small, but just maybe they are the first eggs from a young female?



I got back to the project.
Can you tell what it is now?



Monday 27th February 2017

Elvis is broody again! If she stays broody, I will try to discover where the Muscovy Ducks are laying their eggs and sneak a few underneath her.

It was not a day for working outside. In fact, the dogs declared it an official laze indoors day.





Anyway, there was time enough to almost get the willow project finished. It just needs the seat rungs and the back woven and the bench will be ready, grandly overlooking what will be the new pond. If all goes to plan, the legs, the arms and the back are all planted willow which should root itself and spring into growth.

Tuesday 28th February 2017
A Few More Days of Incarceration
Today was the day when our poultry could, in theory, go back outside under some very strict rules. However, we have more gales forecast so I thought it wise to take down the netting rather than fix it in place. Without the netting, the turkeys would be sure to go a-wandering further than is permitted. Besides, I want to let the birds out over a weekend so I have time to keep an eye on things. They will just have to wait another few days.

I didn't mention it the other day, but I managed to jam a cut end of stock fence straight into my hand a couple of days ago. It hurt when I did it and bled quite a bit, but I thought it would heal fairly quickly. However, it must have hit straight against the knuckle, for it swelled a little overnight and was quite painful when I was working yesterday.
But last night it really swelled up (the picture does not show it at its worst), enough to force me into resting up for the day today.








Instead, I took the dogs out for a nice long walk.



And that, apparently, is the end of winter 2016/17.
Tomorrow, allegedly, is Spring.

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