Tile pile

That’s a good early evening image: my tile pile is ready for Monday’s roofing work. I had to wade into the forest with secateurs and then loppers just to reach the tiles.   Brambles had found it a safe sanctuary to put on complicated branches of growth.   But I found a good cache of straight long chestnut saplings in there. So it wasn’t a wasted journey for the loppers.

And even better, the horses will be able to roar through the path into the forest without being whipped by low hanging branches.   I really ought to stalk down the path with my strimmer and make sure the entire path is clear.   It is no longer a proper walking path, but Jean Daniel does like to take groups of his riders up there a few times a week.

But will the strimmer make it?  I did have another session after moaning about the machine. And the paths are now clear.

I’m thinking of changing the steps that lead up beside the chestnut tree near my potting shed. I fancy removing the grass, a layer of soil, adding a bit of weedproof fabric, and then gravel. But I’m not sure. It is only a matter of minutes to get the grass down to a manageable size. Even if it’s awkward working around the tree.

The best thing about these steps? They are the only ones the mole hasn’t decided to tunnel under. They are so prolific this year and I swear there must be a large population on this mountain.

I see them up at the source, all through every garden (including under the cabbages in the veggie garden).   The only place they haven’t really sampled is the main lawn. So I should count my blessings.

But I guess there are so many worms everywhere, the lawn is a touch sterile for them in terms of food.

I took the machine up to the top terrace and had a great session finding the source lids again. The concrete blocks were utterly covered in weeds. Sorry, wildflowers.

I worked my way up to the actual spring and made sure I missed all the foxgloves. But out came the verbascums, the brambles and thistles and huge grasses.   I had to give the machine a bit of a breather and found the perfect activity.

Verbascum hunting. One more week and I would have been a goner. Here is the enemy just days off flowering. Arggh.   And typically, as the flowers are at the top of the hill, they would have broadcast their seeds all over the property below.

I found five plants up and almost out. And plenty of babies on the rocks and hidden under festuca grasses.

They had just reached the width where cutting them was problematic. I’ve taken to carrying my little opinel knife with me all the time (a simple French version of the swiss army knife). It comes in handy when you need to open the strimmer head. And slice through meaty verbascum shoots.

I need a few more hours of carfeul strimming up here to make sure I haven’t missed any.

But today it was enough. I had raspberries and strawberries and the first cherries to pick.   And friends to entertain. Lovely to spend time with Ed and Estelle – young children who spent a year here in our area with their parents having a French adventure.

They live back in England now, but luckily they come out a few times a year to their home.   And they are dead useful in the fruit picking department.

Tomorrow I will try and do a bit more strimming, machine willing.   And there is chipping to do.