On this rainy Sunday morning I allowed myself a slow start. The heavy wood moving from the last couple of days has certainly impacted on my energy levels so I was due a catch up! Wasn’t quite as early to get the sheep moving and my ducklings just had to wait a little longer for some fresh grass clippings but they were all happy by mid morning.
I finished up some food preparation- zucchini’s in oil take a couple of days to make - before heading out to my fledgling food forest on my top swale. Since the weather has been fairly cool and wet due to this years La Niña, I decided it would be ok to start a chop and drop. In other words I’m harvesting the leaves and branches from some of my support trees in my swale system. These pioneer species are fast growing trees that do well in poor soils. By using the leaves and branches as mulch for the productive trees provides not only much needed protection for the soil in terms of moisture retention, but also feeds the soil. Woody mulches are great for these trees as it promotes more fungi in the soil which then feed the valuable, productive trees. In addition to the biomass the support species provide, they can also fix nitrogen in the soil. Following the heavy pruning the nitrogen is released and made available to the soil to improve fertility also. A huge win for my developing forest!!
A little hard to see what’s going on in the above photos due to all the green, but the first image is the harvest and in the last image, in the middle, is the tree, chopped right down. It will recover fairly quickly. This is a tagasaste tree. Hopefully by the end of winter it will once again be grown and flowering to give my bees a much needed feed as they emerge at the start of their busy season.
I have to share with you my little, actually big, visitor Dougie. My poor drake has had to come up to the house. All the ladies are sitting on nests and not providing much company for him. Ruby wasn’t sure what to make of the visit but was a good girl and left him be. He ended up just sitting by the house near the backyard chicken flock. Not the ideal spot for the duck poo but he seemed pretty happy there!