Some men achieve greatness, others are born with it. Dedicated to Ernie Bingham.

Well we managed to trap the elusive fox finally, but there is now another! After re-setting the trap and inspecting it the next morning we found that we had caught another but he had managed to rip the metal off the bottom of the trap and dig his way out! This will call for a bit of spot welding to be done to ensure that he does not get away a second time.

We had the use of a cherry picker at the end of last week and so the trees at the front of the drive had have a radical lopping! The Eucalyptus trees had reached about 80ft and all the growth is on one side due to lack of light from the conifer trees, we have reduced their height to about 40 ft and taken the tops out of the conifers for the time being although they will eventually come down altogether. They look a bit of a state at the moment but they will recover and look lovely come the spring, we will leave the conifers in place until that happens so that they are not an eyesore! We had just finished and were beginning to pack up the equipment when the most horrible hailstorm hit, I have not been out in a storm like that for a few years, it was cold and it stung! All that pruning means that Hubby has another big piles of branches and tree trunk to cut up ready for next Winters log pile, the Eucalyptus should smell amazing burning on the Rayburn and it will have all year to dry out first which is a good job as they are high in natural oils.

The other big job for Hubby this weekend was to make many trips with a trailer full of well-rotted manure down to the corner paddock, this will be spread and then weathered in before putting down grass seed in the spring, the paddock has been seriously overgrazed over the last couple of years and all it contains now is dandelions so is in need of some TLC to bring it back to good grazing. Although we have a huge pile of muck you would be surprised how much it takes to cover even a small area, it’s a good job we have a constant supply 🙂

I can’t write the blog this week without dedicating it to a man who greatly influenced my lifestyle choice and sadly passed away at the end of last year  ‘Some men achieve greatness, others are born with it’ as my Mum said to me when we were talking about him. Ernie was one of those born with it, he was a tutor on a Horticultural course I did about 10 years ago but his influence has stayed with me on a daily basis for all those years and will continue to do so. His passion and dedication to the natural world was something we never tired of listening to during our lectures, from teaching us all about the fascinating matriarchal society of a badger set to telling us stories of the magnificent stags on a misty Scottish morning during the rutting season. His horticultural knowledge was just as entertaining, one of the first practical things we did with him was to prune a very old grapevine, nervous newbies we stood there with our secateurs while he demonstrated which bits to cut out, ‘dont worry if you make a mistake’ he said ‘the sole aim of a plant is to grow and so it will recover’ a point worth remembering if you make a hash of your next bit of pruning! He spent the day, in his own time, teaching us the art of hedgelaying and we spent many a day wandering around outside as, in his opinion, this was the best way to learn. The things Ernie taught us could never have been learnt from a textbook alone, there were 5 of us on the course and 4 of us remain in close contact with each other even now. Each one of us has gone on to use and develop the skills he taught us, one has gone on to build a very succesful Green Roof business, one has among other things gone on to keep bees, knowing that this small insect is the most important insect in the whole eco system, the other is retired but has taken up Botanical painting, which is a wonderful way to look at all the intricacies that plants and flowers display, and then there is me with my madcap, muddy life, surrounded by all the amazing things nature has to offer. So thank you Ernie from myself and the hundreds, probably thousands of others that you were generous enough to share your life long knowledge and experience with.

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