Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Preparing for the blossom...

After all the pruning activity of February and March, spring finally arrived and it was time to clear up the enormous volumes of prunings that had accumulated. Issac, Will and Freddie helped me spend a day consolidating the piles. Pruning offcuts are very sappy and extremely difficult to burn en masse. We decided the best option was to make several huge bonfires and leave the wood through summer to dry out before burning most of it. Any larger diameter pieces have already been stacked under each tree and on the orchard perimeter to slowly rot down.

In the middle of those two piles you can see one of the new trees I planted in March. This one is Ashmead's Kernel - an old Gloucestershire variety that makes excellent juice.

The exciting revelation of the tidy up was that for the first time we could see down the length of the avenues in the 1920s orchard. This photo was taken about a month ago and since then the grass has grown considerably. I have arranged for someone to come in with a topper and small cabin-less tractor and cut in on Saturday. After that I should have the photogenic combo of freshly cut grass and blossoming trees to spoil you with!

We also cleared out both of the barn owl boxes. I had seen the Jackdaws going into one of them, and it transpired that both boxes we full with sheep's wool and sticks from their nest-building attempts. Jackdaws fill the boxes with material and then build a nest right at the top. Barn owls will only ever colonise a box that is empty and they do not make a nest. I think it will be an ongoing task to keep them clear until they are colonised - but once barn owls are in residence they can use the same box year after year. I have also found this Jackdaw-proof owl box design which may be something to consider if you are thinking of installing one yourself...

1 comment:

  1. I love this video, your use of panning is very professional!


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