Winter 2006 / 2007

Oh well, why not start as I always do with a weather report? In fact, we remarked to each other that we don’t remember the ground being so continually wet. OK, it was really wet in the November and December that Big Field was planted up, but it was more isolated, in patches, and was helped by the small drainage ditch that was dug to try to drain the field a bit. This winter the ground everywhere has been continually soggy underfoot and in Rye Field the tractor ruts are permanent puddles.

So that’s good news for the ponds. They have mostly been very full, the islands often covered by water. The scrapes are all full, including the one near the entrance that so rarely holds water.

The trees don’t seem to be noticing any problems with damp, so far.

We have been pruning the trees in Oat Field, the first planted field. There have been a few deaths, but not many at all, so all the survivors should now be off and away regardless of what the weather throws at them. The height of some is amazing, in particular Aspen, Wild Service Tree and Crack Willow. The Goat Willow now have circumferences of something like 25-30cms at a guess. The Birches have bark that is becoming nicely silvery.

There is only one problem: the woolly aphid that have been living in some of the Crabapples. They killed one tree and a couple of others look sick so those trees have had to have their rabbit guards removed for ventilation and the hope of a chance in life. On the plus side we found several ladybirds (the proper English ones, not Harlequins) overwintering in some shelters.

There is nothing particularly to remark upon about birds, mammals or amphibians, other than a sighting of a fox. I do not recall seeing a brown hare for several months now. But who knows what excitement spring will produce?