A sunny day, at last!

It’s been such a long a dreary start to the year, we’ve been in desperate need of some sunshine. After yesterdays rain, I wasn’t holding out much hope for today. But today really has felt like spring!

Today felt really productive and it was wonderful to spend the whole day at the land. We consolidated brush/branch piles, created a covered shelter for some timber and supplies for upcoming projects and finally got a bench set up in the polytunnel for trays of seedlings.

The area pictured above had been piled with tree trimmings and starting-to-rot wood from raised beds that had been in the previous owners polytunnel (which they dismantled and took with them). We put aside any usable planks of wood and moved the brush to another pile – hopefully the robin and wren that we have seen around here will find the new pile. I plan to create some vegetable beds in this area.

In trying to reclaim the polytunnel space for its intended use, today I insisted on organising a bench to grow seeds. This bench was in the old owners polytunnel and has been sat outside for 2 winters now; the top had rotted through but the main structure seems only slightly worse for wear so we decided to reuse it for now. It may only last a year or two, but it’s free and available so we will make use of it! Some additional wood to strengthen the structure and the sides old veg beds cut up to create a usable surface and voila! This made me happier than some pieces of slightly rotten wood screwed together should! Now I don’t have to balance seed trays on a wheelbarrow, I might be able to get some more seeds sown! Thank you, Ashley!

Ashley took down a small sycamore tree that had been partially squashed by another fallen tree and so I made some make-shift deer protection for the fruit trees! We realised that the wire ‘cages’ that we put round the trees when we planted them probably wouldn’t be sufficient if the deer decided that the fresh new growth would make a tasty snack. Until we get the chance to rectify this, I’m hoping that some other branches poking out will deter or distract the deer.

Common Brimstone

Another highlight of the day for me was seeing this butterfly! I disturbed it as I walked through the grass and as it flew away, I was stunned by how vivid, almost neon green/yellow it was. I followed it to take a picture and was even more stunned by the markings that make it look just like a leaf. I’ve identified it as a ‘Common Brimstone’ – although common, I can’t say I’ve ever seen one before! Maybe I wasn’t paying attention until now… My wildlife book suggests that sightings of this butterfly means that winter really is over – about time too!


A wet start to the weekend here in Cornwall (don’t know what else I expected, really!) but we managed a few hours on the land before the rain really set in and Ashley retreated to his ‘workshop’ and I back home to de-mud the dog and get some studying done.

But what we DID manage to get done felt quite exciting! A local tree surgeon (who we have very helpfully become friendly with) donated around 20 tiny oak saplings to us, that had been left over from a project of his, and today we started planting them! We got 8 in before the heavy rain set in, and aim to get the rest in tomorrow.

Squint and you’ll see the sapling! Ashley is very pleased!!

We have a couple of majestic oaks bordering the land, and hopefully by the time they start to die back, these will be almost as magnificent.

Although wet and miserable, the wildlife is started to get in to the swing of spring. Today we saw and heard a greater spotted woodpecker and our resident kingfisher (who was very busy!). We can’t wait for the day that we are in the right place at the right time to sneak a photo of him to share, but just seeing him darting up and down the river is such a treat. Certain plants are brightening up, promising excitement of spring growth.

Opposite-leaved golden-saxifrage in the woodland.

This afternoon, Ashley started a woodland experiment. He had seen a video of someone propagating hazel with cuttings (although they did admit to limit success rates) and wanting more hazel in our woodland and hedges, decided that it would do no harm to give it a try ourselves.

Hazel experiment

He has taken all sorts of different sizes of cuttings, from chunky stems to wispy branch tips. If none take, we will have to try the layering method – although that will be tricky with the locations of our only hazel trees. We have tried planting the hazelnuts that fall in autumn, but the squirrels always seem to find them! Once the tractor is out of the polytunnel, I might actually be able to use that for protection!

Wild garlic abounds!

Hi there! How was your Bank holiday Monday? Ours wasn’t quite as productive as it might have been, but enjoyable nonetheless.

After a dreary and damp morning and the weather not looking likely to pick up any time soon, I decided to brave the elements and go outside to pot on some seedlings. The leeks (Sultan F1), tomatoes (Garden Pearl) and cauliflower (Romanesco) all got new pots and I sowed some radish (a black variety) and red spring onions into a couple of larger pots. Once this was done, the sun did actually shine for the rest of the afternoon!

Later in the day, Ashley and I went for a liAshley and the fallen Ash treettle walk around a friends woodland. There is a sizeable Ash tree that came down in bad weather a few weeks ago and Ashley has been given permission to cut up and take as much as he’d like – we are hoping it will be enough to  fill our wood store for next autumn and winter. We are down to our last few basketfuls of logs now! Apparently, Ash is considered a really good wood for burning as it has a very low moisture content even when freshly cut. So a summer of it drying in our wood store should be adequate. The woodland floor was carpeted in Wild Garlic (or Ramsons) which were looking particularly beautiful in the early evening sunlight. Every year for the past few years, I have intended to make something from wild garlic but have never got round to it. I WILL look up some recipes this week and go and collect some!

wild garlic