jeudi 19 avril 2007


A beautiful and hot day today (low thirties in the sun) ending with a thunderstorm, as has been the pattern over the past few days. Only as today was very hot, the storm was very big, with several strikes within 300m! The lightning doesn't bother the pigs, who are quite happy to go on grazing, oblivious to the storm around raging them- until the rain gets too heavy, then they retreat to the ark.

In the morning, I scythed all the brambles in field no 2 which are sprouting once again (this takes about 2 hours). I think this will be a weekly activity this year (for both of the cleared fields) if the brambles are to be eradicated. The grass and wild flowers are slowly colonising the field. A coarse tussucky grass seems to be the first grass to spread - I'm cutting this before it can seed but leaving the finer grass which I want to predominate. In several areas (the last to be cleared) the brambles and nettles reign. These areas are still covered in thick mulch of dead bramble stems, bracken stems, leaves and twigs, which I left in place over the winter to help prevent erosion. I decided that this was probably giving the brambles as unfair advantage, as it is difficult for the grasses to establish under this mulch. So today it was all raked into piles (16 in fact) and burnt. Hopefully the grass can get a foothold now there is a little bare soil.

The first of the vegetable patches is now ready for onions and shallots (plus some french beans later). A final sieving of the soil has left a fine tilth ready for planting tomorrow.

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