This month on the farm is going to be mainly about clearing up after the storms of last week. While all of our accommodation was, thankfully, undamaged, we lost a lot of trees and many more have branches hanging dangerously which now need to be made safe.
So the sound of the chainsaw is the one competing with the bird song each day at the moment as we tidy up, make safe and assess what will need to be done next in terms of planting to fill the gaps that have been made from trees felled by the power of storm Eunice.
The coppicing work for this year has been completed, the logs stored to season, and the brash has been used to create ‘dead hedges’ in the wood. Dead hedges are exactly as they sound – a hedge formed of cut branches and twigs which will rot down over time but provide extraordinarily beneficial habitats in the meanwhile – we have many of them dotted around the farm.
Making safe is one thing – it’s essential. But it’s also very important not to get carried away with ‘tidying up’. Deadfall – or storm felled trees – are as much a part of nature as living trees and provide new and welcome food sources and habitats for myriad creatures, especially bugs and beetles. So we tend to leave fallen trees where they are, while judiciously taking a part to add to our firewood stores. Everyone wins – especially nature and wildlife.
The early signs of spring are showing – the snowdrops are out, the daffodils are budding, and the first shoots of the bluebells are pushing through in the woods. The final few bird boxes are going up around the farm, ready for nesting season – but there are signs that this has begun already – we’ve certainly seen some very busy robins in the garden with beaks full of nest materials!
March is often an in-between time on the farm. A making ready and waiting for things to start growing in earnest again. The storms may have set us back a bit but we know that mother nature holds all the cards, none of us can fight the weather – even though we are at the root of the extreme weather events (see our post this month on this subject!) – so we work with what we have rather than struggle against it. It’s all we can do.
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