December 03 Report

Ye gods, the thistles! They really are taking over the Oat Field, the first field to be planted with trees. Last year there was Matt with the strimmer and Don with the tractor mower doing their best to keep them under control, and indeed there was success. But this year the weeds seem to be even stronger. As reported in earlier news, the several different mulching trials were not a great success.

So, with much misgiving, we have had to resort to the final weapon: weedkiller. Each tree has a circle of dying weeds around it now. So far there seems to be no damage to the trees themselves: always a danger when spraying. Matt invented a nifty little gadget to protect the trees during spraying and it worked!

Well, it makes a change to the usual moan about the weather. Which, incidentally, hardly produced enough rain during the winter to put any water into the ditches. Usually the ditches run between January and March, sometimes overflowing. Not this winter. And the ground is starting to crack up with dryness already. What a challenge to the young trees!

Rye Field, planted up last December, has reverted to being a grass field. Wonderful. Grass and clover are our greatest allies against weeds. So far there is only the odd buttercup, some common fumitory – and hardly any thistles!!! Long may this situation last.

We have sown wild flower seed on all the bald patches and disturbed soil in all the fields. Not a lot is happening yet, but patience will tell. There are now three new large ponds and two scrapes in Big Field. Two of the ponds have filled quite nicely, but not as enthusiastically as the nature of the landscape would have suggested. The third nearly overflowed in the recent rains. Roy and Andrew seemed to enjoy the challenges in digging them. Nothing of historical value was dug out, only a horseshoe and a dump of broken glass and pottery dating from the 1920’s or 30’s. 

I hope that the next bulletin will hold good news on both weeds and weather. That would make a change, wouldn’t it?