Monday, 24 July 2017

Cutting a path throught the swathe

There are still a couple of nests in the stables with young swallows leaning over the mudbrick edge, their bright yellow gapes wide open begging for food, but some of the others are now empty, their occupants fledged and taken to the big wide world. Every evening dozens of swallows gather over the smallholding, playing delightfully in the air and chattering loudly. They are joined by family parties of screaming swifts. It's a sign that nature's clock is inexorably ticking round.

This newly fledged young swallow was reluctant to join its siblings in the air.

The first combine harvesters have been in the fields, their distant chugging and clouds of dust signalling that harvest time is upon us.

When the crops are growing it becomes a bit trickier to walk the dogs along the field edges, so last week I decided to create a circular path around our land. I had been considering this project for a while but when it happened it was as usual very spur of the moment.

A nicely clear fence line and a new path for the dogs (and humans)

I needed to mow both sides of the electric fence, a major job which involves lots of walking and mowing up and down along the fence line, move the fence posts first one way and then the other. Thankfully it is a job that only needs doing a couple of times a year. I also wanted to replace a few of the posts.

But while I had all the tools out, the mower, the wheelbarrow, spade, post rammer, earth tamper... I decided to cut the new path, which meant completely moving the electric fence about 8 feet to one side. This way I could still leave a corridor of wild vegetation alongside the dyke.

The end result is brilliant. Most importantly, the dogs approve!

The new path gives a different outlook on the whole smallholding too. It takes us through previously inaccessible areas of young woodland and long grass, past the far sheep paddocks and along the side dyke, emerging at the back of the old pig pen and pumpkin patch.

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