Happy New Year

After a quiet and restful Christmas, the New Year has seen us picking up our tools and getting stuck in. We had expected to spend the winter under cover tidying the garage, decorating the cottage and the like. To our surprise we’ve managed to spend a lot of time outdoors, so much that none of the planned indoor jobs have been started.

Mr Bumbleandme enlisted the help of his expert tree surgeon friend to advise and remove some of the dangerous trees in the wood that sit close to cottage. One such culprit was a beautiful holly tree that stood around forty foot high. This mighty old tree stood right behind the cottage to one side and it was being choked by ivy. Despite its impressive stature it was unfortunately deemed unsafe and was safely chopped down section by section. I was upset to see the tree go, but appreciate it was very dangerous and it transpires the middle was rotten and hollow so it wasn’t a well tree and removing it was definately the right decision to make. It is now being chopped by hand into little logs to season for firewood in a year or two.

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The wood around the house is now littered with branches and trunks of tree which all need to be tidied away and chopped into firewood. The branches will make great wood piles around the wood for wildlife once we get around to moving it.

This year we’ve been removing a sea of brambles that sprawl there way across a steep bank at the top of the paddock by the road. Having made Mr Bumbleandme remove a mountain of brambles behind the garage for my future veggie patch, I changed my mind (as every good woman should)! I’ve decided the previous choice was too steep and too large. So he’s been busy clearing yet more brambles to make way for my veggie patch. We’ve found some chicken wire and fence post buried under the brambles and we also found an old children’s swing frame – which will come in handy in the veggie patch I’m sure.

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At the top of the paddock it will not only be nearer the house, we will pass it every day on our way to the ducks. The area is also much more flexible. I planned to roughly fence a small area off initially, but in time if I’m inclined I can extend it and add more beds. The majority of the patch will be on the flat immediately below the steep bank with a small shed, my poly tunnel and some beds. The bank will also be utilised. I’m Hoping I can grow soft fruit, roses and lavender on it. The bank is South facing and will get baked in the summer, so hopefully they will flourish. My only concern is if the soft fruit get too dry, but I need to give it a go to find out.

This weekend Mr Bumbleandme has been finishing off the clearing of said bank and creating a mountain of chopped up brambles and willow in the middle of paddock ready to burn. I’ve been tidying the privet hedge that runs along the front of the house. There is a section of it that’s has gone very wild and unruly so I’m taking on the challenge of turning it back into a manicured hedge so it looks as good as the rest of the hedge. I’ve been digging up rooted escapees from the original hedge and replanting them in line. I’ve also been tackling a few brambles and generally tidying up.

Hopefully the rest of the year will be as productive.

The animals are all doing really well. The ducks were laying eggs, but then since Christmas they decided the pond was a good place to lay! Then we have been eggless for a bout a week now. We’re not sure what’s going on with them, but they seem very happy. The kittens have been ‘done’ and are becoming very good mousers, although they are also far too cosy sitting in front of the Rayburn!

The Rayburn has been doing a grand job of keeping us warm, fed and in hot hot water! We have been so warm, were still in our summer duvet and have the window wide open in the bedroom most nights. It is certainly a welcome contrast to the bitter cold we endured when we first moved here.

The Welsh winter has be kind so far, it’s not been too cold, it’s been wet, but we are in Wales! Since the New Year we’ve had some quite fierce winds, but so far all has been ok. We’ve got some more severe weather forecast this week, so we’ll batten down the hatches and hope the wood keeps us protected from the worst of the weather.

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