Autumn River

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Development - Settling into a routine

January - June 2006

 

14 January - the start of a new year, and we are in (mostly) sole charge of all aspects of daily management, from mowing to spraying. After a period of faster than anticipated growth at the end of last year (it was spring - we'll learn), we finally have the grass back under control after a lapse late last year, and hope to keep it that way. All is looking good at the moment.

24 December 2005 14 January 2006 - growing nicely 26 February 2006
Before and after. The grass in the front blocks grows faster than the others, but this was still quite extreme.

 

Variations on the tractor theme.

In January, we took the tractor to be serviced in Cust. As we have no other way of getting it there, it was a matter of driving it 7 km down the road to the service centre. Of course, to do this legally we had to register the tractor for the road so it now has its own licence plate...

14 January 2006, Tram Rd14 January 2006, Cust service centre

The vehicles we park outside our shed. The 70 litre spray tank on the back of the bike was a wedding present from family, and it has made weed control much easier than the 15 litre backpack (which was backbreaking work).

18 February 200626 March 2006

26 February 2006

One of the unfortunate side effects of mowing. The blade Malcolm is holding had a close encounter with a stone. They don't normally do a 180' turn at the end.

 

18 February 2006Home away from home. Over summer, we camped a few nights in order to get in a longer working weekend.

 

It's May, and the start of another round of pruning. We started with the shelter trees (the poplars and alders are growing so well that the plastic sleeves are getting uncomfortably tight), then on to the hazels.

Before and after views of two trees in A1. After putting lots of effort into new growth from the base, we have brutally trimmed them back to a single stem. Next year we will try to contain low new shoots earlier so the trees concentrate on putting their growth into bulking up. 21 May 200621 May 2006
A relatively healthy looking specimen (we think), which is starting to spread out for top growth. We want to maintain a single stem up to about 0.8 m from the ground, so we will keep these branches in check - but the extra leaf surface does help the tree to grow overall, so we will progressively remove the growth over the next few years. 21 May 200621 May 2006

 

 

 

 

 

30 June - It has been interesting to watch things change over the last year - seeing the turning of the seasons for a second time, and recognising more of the signs. Autumn was much shorter and later this year - all the trees turned and dropped most of their leaves in two weeks in April, compared to a more gradual (and earlier) approach last year. Last year's nutlets seemed to develop about a month earlier as well, although our harvest this year was 31 nuts compared to last year's 3. A ten-fold increase is not to be scoffed at, and may even prove sustainable for a year or two yet. We can't bring ourselves to learn the crackout rate as this would mean breaking the poor wee things, of course.

Meanwhile, it has been a remarkably wet winter so far. If started with a record-breaking snowfall the week after Queen's Birthday, which took people by surprise for its severity as well as its earliness. We weren't too badly affected - about six inches, we believe, and no broken branches on the hazels although there was a little damage to the natives and the shelter belts. However, the snow melt resulted in some very sodden soil for about three weeks after that, which made working a bit miserable.

Now, the weather is mostly clear and crisp and we have had some lovely clear days to work in. The clear mornings are frosty and very very cold, but the sun throughout the day makes the short-term discomfort worthwhile.

Remaining snow 10 days after the fall A very frosty morning in late June Frozen puddles

 

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