Brambling Diary 3rd March 2010

       Sheep back in field 1st March 2010

The snow hasn't completely gone yet. Every time it melts I think it won't come back, but it does. The Loch is still frozen round the edges and quite a way in to the middle, I feel sorry for the ducks.

The sheep have just been put out into the field next to us.

The ground is still frozen here, so planting in the garden has not been able to be done. The onions and broad beans I planted in the autumn all died in the very cold weather, frosts and snow, and will have to be re-planted.

We have finalised our thougts about what we want for the extension here. You can only build on a certain percentage of the land immediately surrounding a house or cottage (the 'curtilage' - a "petty piece of land" used as the main garden and for parking and other 'domestic purposes').

So, we have been busy moving the new fence, which the previous owner had put around the part of the garden close to the cottage to keep her dog in, back to the remains of the earlier long-term fences that are around the main garden.

   Yew tree moved on 1st March
   awaits replanting

This removes the the new fence between the flower part of the garden and the vegetable and wilder parts.

We have taken some pictures for those who have visited us before and are interested in the changes, to see 'the work in progress'. It is also a good record for us to look back on in our dotage!

The digging, etc, has made me be aware of muscles I didn't even know I had, and most of them ache! It was hard work digging out the roots of a rosa rugosa, which has vicious thorns and ours has had very few flowers. The root systems were VERY healthy, though. And where there weren't rose roots, there were stinging nettle and couch grass roots let joy be unconfined!

We now have to move the greenhouse that Alasdair & Keith made a wonderful job of installing last year. Unfortunately, it's just where the extension is due to go!

We have found a good place for it to be moved to.

    Alasdair feeding the chickens

The wild aviary is still active outside, eating us out of house and home. We have 3 red squirrels, I think, I saw 3 at one time a couple of weeks ago, but they only arrive singly at the moment. The siskins are back, and the greater spotted woodpeckers are a joy to see, eating the fat balls, and trying to hide behind the feeders. Even the robins and blackbirds try to get food from the hanging feeders. I put food on the bird table and the chaffinches nick it before they get a look in.

The mice try to cohabit, and we tolerate them a certain amount and trap them when they overstep the boundaries (that we set, of course, no democracy here!). If they come into the house, they are fair game, outside, they're cute.

The pond is still frozen, so I don't think we'll get our frog chorus too soon. The croaking symphony went on for some weeks about this time last year, and we found quantities of frog and newt spawn in the pond and frog spawn in the ditch.

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