Saturday, 21 April 2012


Spending the weekend at partner's parental idyll in deepest Herefordshire, relishing the hired hand jobs undertaken today, under an ever changing April sky that managed to divert its blackest cargo away from us. This morning the task was to retrieve a dozen tree boles from the steep sides of a brook; they had been tossed down the bank 20 or 30 years ago by the local farmer in the time honoured way to join other assorted agricultural detritus, in the act of felling trees (not sure what species?) to extend the field boundary. Said farmer now ensconced in bungalow retirement next door to the old farm, it seemed only natural that we were borrowing his son's quad bike and trailer to transport the cargo back up from their resting place.

Down in the mini ecosystem of the stream bed, awash with stimuli for all the senses, its a different world to the monoculture of the adjoining fields. The channel is not quite a 'winterbourne' but is only just beginning its winding journey to the larger Worm Brook in the valley below and is a mossy bog of tangled vines, alders and holly, but with enough dappled sunlight to put on a creditable display of bluebells.

The boles will create a 'stumpery' on a bank in the farm garden, just a stone's throw from their station when rooted to the land (ok, a couple will make it back to Bristol with us to help with wilding our garden but I don't feel guilty about this small-scale redistribution of flora).

In the afternoon we climb to tackle rigorous and well established ivy vines that have encased an old, 40 foot pear tree that stands on a corner of what was the farmhouse's vegetable garden. The 1969 aerial photograph of the farm shows the tree in much ruder health so hopefully liberating it from its imprisonment will enable a resurrection. Who knows, it may even return to its, no doubt, original utility as a provider of pears for the local speciality of perry cider.    

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