Unfortunately, we haven’t made as many posts to this blog for a while – mainly due to me being tied up with university commitments. But Spring has well and truly sprung here in North Wales, and this makes a great time to write about our successes from work over the winter, what we are doing now in the busiest season of the year, and my plans for the summer ahead.
Over the winter during the dead time of year, Holger invested a large effort in getting some of our most used paths up to snuff: He has been spreading hardcore on the muddiest paths and topping it off with quarry stone from our local quarry. This makes a really big difference to the path from the gate to the Hafod, and from the Hafod to the loo cubicle. Even at the wettest times it means dry feet at the end of your walk. They really do look lovely, and much more clearly defined as ‘paths’ than the muddy stretches of ground we had before! I didn’t have much time to spare, given that I was only in the area for two weeks over Christmas, given the poor weather at the time, and limited slots of time during the days of a family holiday, I put my (somewhat basic) knowledge of woodworking into practice: I made a new beehive. This is different than my existing hive – it isn’t a National beehive, it is a long-hive of the top-bar design, and is supposed to be healthier for the bees and easier to manage for the bee keeper. Whether this proves to be the case or not, we’ll see. It certainly looks lovely, and I will post more about it in time. Speaking of the bees, they came through the winter very well: they were still out and about foraging up until November, and were pretty much dormant until March. I had worried that they would run very short of stores of food, given that they swarmed so late last year: Not to worry; they were absolutely fine. I did supplement them with two pound boxes of Fondant, which they slowly ate, but on the first inspection of the year in March, they still had two brood frames of honey stores. I added another brood box to the hive, and the colony should keep on growing. I may very possibly split the colony later in the summer (either into my second National, or into the long hive). The herb garden is just starting to grow for the new season: It is looking a little grey, but healthy. Some of the larger perennials didn’t actually die down this winter because the weather was so mild: this has also given them a head start. The biggest concern for the present time is to build more raised beds; expect an update on this very soon!
And the trees are coming into leaf… The Alder trees have catkins on them, which is precocious as they were only planted 3 years ago. The Willow beds are romping away, and even the Oak trees are coming into leaf. It’s heartening to see that individual trees are noticeable above the sea of grass as they are growing larger. Another step in the birth of a woodland. We hadn’t planned on ordering or planting any trees, but ended up planting almost 100 trees that we had waiting in pots from various sources. Cae Non is really starting to feel like a working project now, rather than just the birth of an idea. Gillian has been running her Earthwalking course at Cae Non over the winter, and it is heartening to see the place used for learning and spiritual succour. I am looking to run some day-courses on medicinal plants and growing herbs over the summer, and using herbs at home during the autumn. All in all, it feels like things are in a much better state now than they were last spring!