Quick update on what's happening in the garden/woods/fields.
1. I have put a cleft chestnut fence with wire mesh round the half acre pond that people/dogs can too easily fall into from my garden. I have sold the idea to anyone questioning this as a health and safety brain fart. However, the true reason is that I want to stop dogs getting in and allow our ducks to come in, raise their brood on the island and not get scared off by a Labrador with a taste for duck eggs (last four years have seen the drake paddling round with the duck hiding in the grass and just as she's sat for an age, she is chased off by a weed-covered watermonster who snacks on the eggs). Now I expect ducklings. Will update you.
2. Daffodils are about to sprout. They have fat heads and it's going to be a lovely year.
3. Fruit trees all pruned and ready to go. I had a good crop of apples and pears from one side of the garden and really low crops from the other. This is because the way the wind blew in April 18, the ones on the west side got their blossom blown off before they could set. The splayed peach on the chimney breast is looking really good and has a lot of new nodes ready to sprout.
4. I put in about 60 mixed alliums in the borders. They are just beginning to surface. Could be lovely by June.
5. I spent Sat and Sun hedge planting and splitting - cutting blackthorn, hawthorn, beech and hazel, splitting the bows half way and bending those down for regrowth; planting multiple stems of willow cut off the millions of willows that grow round us straight into the clay. Must have planted about 100 stems. Last year I did this at the end of one field to create a quarter acre wind-protected space for the beehives. It's grown well into a real hedge, but you have to be confident to cut the tops off to make the lower plant bush out.
6. I noticed that a cock pheasant in the wood has become incredibly loud as it starts to boss the area and call to the females/see off other males. he has a perch on a gate which divides our field from the neighbour who has 50 pregnant ewes ready to drop. He stands there and does his thing about a dozen times a day. The usual cock-erch call and all that tail buzzing and fluffing up. But when he does it, the ewes all get a panic on and start to move away as a flock. Then, having cleared the space, he flies off the gate and into the middle of the field. The ewes stay bunched up at one end until he fux off. Intimidating fuquer. He came into the garden. The dog walked up and then just stared at him from about 20 metres. He didn't budge. She started to run full pace at him and only at the last minute did he think "ok then, you're serious" and flew over the hedge.
7. Saw a woodcock on the edge of the field / wood yesterday evening. They are so beautiful. Hello old chap. Eyes like squid.