Sunday 16 February 2014

Clearing up

We were all three out at 0800 hrs yest-morning.  Not quite First Light, but we had another tree down in our lane over the last 24 hours, so we had to clear that out of the way of our neighbours and any mountain-walkers that need to go up the hill.  It took us the bulk of 2 hours, with me on the chain-saw and TB and La Manch' hauling away the brash.  But there is now a clearway.  Not quite the same as clearing the county roads that was going on across the country on Wednesday but satisfying to get done.  After that we walked down through the fields to fetch up the sheep for ultra-sound scanning in the evening.  There are a lot more trees down out of our field boundaries: an elder Sambucus nigra, the East half of rowan Sorbus aucuparia and the top of an elderly multi-branched ash Fraxinus excelsior in a part of the ditch called The Fairy Village when the girls were growing up here, and at least huge gnarly old hawthorn Crataegus monogyna.  Our efforts to deplete our many wood-piles up the chimney have received a bit of a set-back.  What's quite interesting is that all these trees survived Storm Darwin but were clearly 'a bit shook' by that and succumbed to a lesser blow a tuthree days later.  Indeed that's what we have been warned about by the Sages of Met Eireann and AA Roadwatch: it's not all over when the wind stops singing.

It was a lovely day in any case.  The sun was up, if a bit watery through light clouds and the temperature felt mild in the light breeze.  I wish that I could have just sat on the bench outside the front of the house and looked at the mountain across the valley.

But there were places (Crowe's, the Home Field) to go to and trees to dismember.  In the evening, and conveniently half an hour early, the ultrasound man came with his kit in a nifty little custom-engineered trailer: half of which unfolds as a chute for catching each ewe in turn and half is the VDU unit which displays the contents of her uterus.  As ever, I got to be catcher trying to wrastle the yellow-eyed monsters into submission - preferably near the entry to the trailer.  As ever, I took at least one tumble into the sheep-shit and smacked a fence-post with my knee.  A different set of muscles was in play compared to chain-sawing, so I got the full body work-out.  It was almost too late, but I did finally get to sit on the bench watching the last of the evening light as I reflected on how much we have to be grateful for.  Not least the lambing forecast:
Empty Single Twins Trips
5 6 5 1


  1. not sure if I should be thankful but our woodpile is quickly disappearing up the chimney of yon woodstove. Not a branch, let alone a tree came down despite facing the full force of two SE gales recently

  2. Andrew, have you not heard of the Welsh sheep herding trick of:
    1. Prepare about four sheep herding gates with long pins to secure holding stall to hold sheep
    2. Get bag of Cake (Sheep's pellets)
    3. Rattle it or tease them with it
    4. They follow you - no catching needed
    5. You have your helpers move in behind sheep and fence them in with gates
    6. You throw your leg over gates and voila, they're in all nice and tidy without any face kissing of sheep poo or mega aches...Happy to demonstrate when I next visit:-).

    Sorry to hear about all your tree felling necessities, sounds adventurous...sorry too to hear about your car tales and hope you're back on wheels soonish...Fred xx