Late winter is the perfect time for tree work, whilst they still stand dormant, their sap not yet rising nor the nesting season underway. We have been creating a barrier of living hazel trees behind the tennis court – to foil dogs trying to escape or locals thinking of venturing in. This is the ancient art of hedge laying – cutting small trees almost all the way until they start to split and then laying them down at a slight upward angle.
The leaves have had quite a journey since the spring. As soon as their protective buds opened and revealed the glorious sunshine, they became mini sugar-production factories, supplying energy for the trees as they woke from winter slumber, and munch for innumerable critters.
Looking to the future, we aspire towards more off-grid low-impact living, e.g. with compost toilets and woodburners. So we will need to plant more trees to sustainably harvest firewood from the land. And plans are afoot for a constructed wetland system, which would be a big attraction for local wildlife.