We’ve almost managed to clear the top section of the Willow field. I’m using the word ‘clear’ very loosely, but for those who read my last blog, you’ll know this field was an impenetrable wall of brambles. We’ve spent a few weeks now doing battle with the brambles. In addition to the fearsome bramble, Some rogue Willow had self seeded, grown, fallen over and regrown towards the top of the field, so these too have been cut down (root removal will happen later), and the view from the lane is very different now.
Last weekend we moved most of the brash piles and built a bonfire! Sounds simple doesn’t it. Believe me it wasn’t. We spent the morning cutting the brash into manageable sizes before moving them down to the level area where we built the bonfire.
It took an age to get the fire going. We used the bramble and apple branches to get the fire going and mixed bits of Willow in. The fire would roar up, and then ten minutes later, it was nearly out. We were dashing around the field, gathering up the dead bits of brambles lying on the floor and rushing back to chuck them on the fire in an attempt to keep it going. Then it would reluctantly roar away again for a few minutes, before dying back down, so off we’d rush again, looking for bits of bramble and kindling. It would have looked quite amusing to a passerby, I’m sure. This carried on for most of the afternoon….
It turns out with Willow, it’s better to cut it up into little logs before you throw it on the fire! Mr Bumbleandme made the discovery shortly before it went dark…
We’ve not managed to clear all the brash, there’s still some Willow to process, but that can wait for another day. The larger Willow branches will be logged and left to dry out for a couple of years so we can use it for firewood. And of course the lovely apple trees need a bit of TLC too.
Our current activity is merely a clearing exercise to see what we have in the field. Nothing has actually been removed from below ground – that will be a gradual process. We were simply keen to see how many of the fruit trees had survived and how steep the terrain was, so clearing the top growth seemed the obvious way to go. As the brambles grow back, we’ll use the flail mower to mow them into submission, well that’s the plan. I think we’ve counted ten apple trees, three oak trees, some hazel and a few unknowns. It turns out one of the apples is actually a pear tree, although I’m not sure which one yet, but I’ll be able to tell when the leaves start to appear.
It’s really nice to be able to spend some time in there, getting to know the field. It has a real atmosphere, an air of peace and calm, and it’s going to look just beautiful in spring if the apples blossom.
But for now, it’s time to put our feet up and rest, we’re both nursing bramble attack scars and aching from head to toe. But we can rest feeling proud of our achievements, as we’ve managed to reclaim a little more of our little paradise here in Wales.