Beginning of April 2003

The skylarks are still singing. The lambs are now bigger than Benji, our dog, but the latest bunch of lambs are being born now. The two Gimswood fields that will be under trees are currently resting so there are no animals on them – except the usual rabbits, hares, collared doves and wood pigeons.

The new pond is becoming quite green from algae growth. Although it looks pretty disgusting, the algae will be using up nitrogen in the water, so in the future the chemical balance will be better for both plants and animals. On the water surface are pond skaters, so at least something likes living there already.

The stream is in low flow after all this lovely sunny weather, but the old pond is at a very high level. We have introduced some frogspawn donated by Granny from her pond, there being no sign of any amphibians already in residence.

On the boundary next to the old wood the owner is laying the hedge. It looks very smart, even though not yet complete. I was afraid that it would be too thin to be laid, since it is rather overshadowed by the mature trees, but I need not have been concerned.

The work on the rabbit guards is now complete. Some of the small trees have well-rotted manure as a mulch. Birds have scattered some of the wood chip mulch, so we will not be doing that again probably. So far the mulch mats are the most effective weed barrier. There is very little re-growth of the previous oat crop, so we may have to do very little weed-killing and mowing this year. Watch this space!

Many of the young trees are still in dormant buds, most notably Oak, Ash, Alder Buckthorn. The Privet, however, is already trying to burst out of the rabbit guards, the Hawthorn is in lovely green leaf and there is one Rowan not only in leaf but also in flower buds!