Autumn chipping

See that gorgeous sloping bit of land? It’s troublesome. We call it the top terrace and is usually where we put the horses for about a week a year. The rest of the year it tends to be a bit feral. A good snoozing spot for deer under the trees. A place close to the safety of the forest where the wild boar can snuffle and then race back when instinct tells them they are a bit close to humans.

Mind you, we are the Good Humans. The ones not wielding guns now that hunting season has begun.

But I won’t bang on about that subject. Suffice to say we are the boundary between two communes with two separate hunting teams. And ‘words’ have been said to both of them reminding them that hunting is banned on our farm and do please point that thing elsewhere.

Especially as we were working so close by.

There were quite a few big branches down from last autumn’s storm up here. So I had lots of material to add to my chipping pile. (Using the trusty method of dragging everything down to the road, shoving it in the car and driving it to the heap.)

We have also been hard at work in our forest proper this past week. Cutting down the massive alley of box trees, and clearing the land.

The box took a beating with the dreaded caterpillars a few years ago. And as we could see they really weren’t bouncing back into lusty growth they had to go.

Well go to the ground for now.

They won’t lie dormant for long. It’s a marvellously indestructible plant. And useful. They used it on this farm as a boundary marker. You can find the end of our property and the neighbours just by looking at the line of box. All the way up the mountain.

But this system was outmoded centuries ago. Looking at the girth of the box boundary you will appreciate just how much work it took to cut it down.

It is incredibly dense as a wood. And as I was cutting away at the endless tedious scratchy branches I tried to imagine how many pencils could be made from the wood. That is its main purpose in life.

That or keeping us busy in the forest.

And losing the mess of box one weekend was also the milestone on a more domestic front.

It spelt the very first time that The Creature ventured out of the potting shed and came all the way into the forest for the sole purpose of play. And company.

Naturally I had to keep stopping my work hacking back the branches so she could leap on my lap and shred my legs with her claws. Her ecstatic kneading is a four paws and all claws event.

But she actually calmed down and just draped on my knees for ten minutes. Just bliss. This is the first time she has wanted to engage with me without hope of food. A milestone. A joy.

But enough feline delight. Here is the mighty machine. Chipping this pile of wood.

I could frolic in the pile of chips. The smell is divine.

But I have work to do. The raised beds need ‘topping up’.

Topping up with branches, these chips, soil, compost, you name it, I’ll be playing in it.

I leave you with this autumn scene. You have been so patient waiting for the news. I’m grateful you clicked on and read the stories this week.