Monday, September 30, 2013

Autumnal Musings

Autumn has arrived at Fox Wood bringing with it cooler and wetter weather and causing all sorts of life forms to die off and others to emerge out of the moist soil.

I've been quite busy over the summer, travelling around Europe and moving house, so the amount of time I have been able to dedicate to Fox Wood has not been as much as I would have liked. Even the pond is starting to put on a new green growth.

Down in the forest, things are emerging from the ground, like these puff balls.

That's not the only type of fungus to emerge - plenty of these are growing in the field …

The wood is quiet and misty, like somewhere from another time.

It won't be quiet for long, in a couple of months I'll be coming in with my chainsaw to coppice the first half acre in a 12 years rotation cycle. Don't worry, the trees will grow back, and it is good for the wildlife.

I found this bottle. A badger must have dug it up and left it lying around in the wood. It was covered in soil and must be at least 100 years old. Inside it a small plant has started to grow. It's a message from the past.

The reason for my last visit was to collect berries. Because of the rampant growth of brambles we have thousands - millions probably - of blackberries this year. Some of them ended up in a pie last night.

There are also sloes aplenty. They have now been popped into a gin bottle with some sugar. By Christmas I'll have a bottle of sloe gin.

Autumn is a time of plenty. I haven't had any fruit from the young trees this year, but it will take them a while to get established. Perhaps next year I will get some. Unfortunately some of them have been attacked by rabbits. This is the peach tree.

The other trees are doing well. This one is a carob tree that I grew from a seed I picked up in Spain. I don't know if it will survive the winter, but it is doing okay for now.

Plenty of other trees are being planted too. I'm starting an oak nursery and aim to plant 500 a year. These are the first few, but the acorns won't be ready for another couple of weeks.

It's another use for the soil I'm digging out of the pond. As for the field itself, you might remember it was covered in thistles for most of the year. This proved to be a hit with the local bee and butterfly populations, with masses of each getting nectar from the thistle flowers. Now, however, the thistles have died off and I have cut them down to the ground. They are making an unusual mulch.

The chestnut trees are laden with nuts. They look to be pretty healthy …

And the silage plastic I laid down is doing its job of killing off the grass in readiness for next year's initial planting of ground cover - one of the first steps in turning this field into an edible forest. It doesn't look pretty … but it will do!