Back to work

And about time too.

That’s what these two probably thought when I beetled past them on my first power walk this morning through the forest. They were waiting for apples. There is plenty of grass about so they aren’t dying for hay. Just distraction and chat.

I have been obliged to stay in town a week longer than planned. Alas. And that meant I have not been able to take part in the big clean up. Nor plant bulbs (I step around the box of bulbs at the entrance to my office with a pang.)

There are branches everywhere that need sorting. Secateurs, loppers, pruning saw, it’s all on my list. Chasing chain saw wielders who can do the big stuff.

And you would think that as this is Day One it would be top of my list.

But no. It just felt so huge that I’m doing small jobs instead. Getting the courage to climb trees and saw off branches while ticking off small stuff.

I raked leaves, stacked firewood, wandered round to check just how many more trees are gone. Picked up sticks for kindling, emptied wheelbarrows of water from the snow melt, decorated the Christmas tree.

And then for some reason I set about running an axial cable through the roof of our house in the hope of improving our reception.

What was I thinking? The beautifully insulated attic should be a critter free zone as it’s now sealed and sorted.

So, why was I showered with ancient pine marten droppings as soon as I lowered the trap door and climbed up?

The answer. The little buggers have gnawed through the stove extractor fan pipe that links the roof (and tiles and a nice tidy critter run) straight down onto a lovely floorboards above.

The mulberry survived, in case you were worrying

I took photos. And if you are very, very good I promise not to show them. Have a shot of the mulberry instead.

It didn’t collapse under the weight of snow.

Ugh. I have repaired the gap with annoying chicken wire folded into the gap and secured it with reinforced concrete rods (I know my pine marten habits). And before you shriek at me, let me tell you that on top of about a year’s worth of very aromatic carnivore poo, I found a leg.

A suspiciously well-gnawed and dried out long leg of what looks like either a wader bird, or a baby deer. I’d say deer.

Please don’t make me climb up again and take a photo of it so the curious among you can try and guess. Having brained myself on the beams (cobweb covered) about three times, I was not in a mood to be a junior naturalist and try and find out.

Besides. I was trying and failing to run the axial cable while simultaneously sweeping the poo aside and shimmying under the beams and on through the metres and metres of rooms to connect the satellite dish exit at one end of the house to the other. This is a very long house.

What I discovered was that the lads had done too good a job of insulating and then filling in the gaps between the old stone walls and the boards with mortar. I can’t get the cable down to where it needs to be.

So all in all, climbing trees tomorrow and trying to cut down hundred year old branches of shattered oaks sounds like a fun outing and adventure. At least I won’t have to remove all layers of outer clothing and stand shivering and freezing while I run everything on a very hot poo and cobweb trace killing wash.

Looking forward to it.