January 2018 in photos


January is a significant month. It’s two years since Chris and I first saw the house (and land!) It’s also two years since one of my aunts died very unexpectedly. January 2016 was a full-on month. And January 2018 was when I really started feeling like we were contributing – positively – to this place we call home.

I’m getting a much better feel of the timescales that work with a project like this (years, not months – although sometimes a lot gets done in just days or weeks!) and as I was spending time on the land I really felt like, if the land had a personality and a spirit, it was communicating that it was really enjoying what Chris and I (and various friends and WWOOFers) have been doing.

Taking down fences. Planting more trees. Turning grass into vegetable beds. Giving care and attention to flower beds and reinstating them. Finding nice perennials from nice places to add. Creating paths. Adding fruiting trees and bushes. And, well, appreciating what a wonderful place we get to call home.

I feel super fortunate – and am delighted to be able to bring you…January 2018 in photos!

It all started with…our 2017 Christmas tree! Gotta have a shot for posterity…

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And we were also granted some absolutely GORGEOUS days – and some lovely light on those days. So I’m going to kick off with some “where I live is lovely” photos:

The view from the front door

The view from the front door

 

The north-east end of the land: we're planning on starting some replacement planting of some oaks for this old and, slowly, dying stand of trees

The north-east end of the land: we’re planning on starting some replacement planting of some oaks for this old and, slowly, dying stand of trees

 

Trees, glorious trees...

Trees, glorious trees…

 

It's not officially ours, but this little lochlet that has developed over the - rather wet, it seems -  winter is the view from our bedroom window so we're rather attached to it

It’s not officially ours, but this little lochlet that has developed over the – rather wet, it seems – winter is the view from our bedroom window so we’re rather attached to it

 

The lochlet - with the house behind us

The lochlet – with the house behind us. You can’t tell from this shot, but the water was frozen solid for at least an inch or two on the day of this photo

 

The lochlet, looking back towards the house

The lochlet, looking back towards the house – and a shadow of…me!

 

Obligatory Jason-the-cat shot...

Obligatory Jason-the-cat shot…

 

A big thing that happened in January was the digging of holes – and filling them! This next bunch of shots is of the “fruit garden” – on the boundary with our closest neighbours (the polytunnel you see is theirs) but also a great place for both morning and evening sun. It’s now replete with blackcurrants (origin: Charney Bassett), redcurrants (origin: Red Start from the Hall, plus a fancy one from Threave Garden shop), gooseberries (origin: who knows), and fruit trees (origin of “2017 plants”: Tescos; origin of “2018 planted”: Tweedies, a brilliant local fruit tree & bush nursery just outside Dumfries) – plus a “mothership” bush of the Charney currants, the Marcer / Devon currants and our infamous “it was growing wild in a WALL” Katrine Bank wild currant.

Holes waiting for fruit trees

Holes waiting for fruit trees

 

The view from the hole-digger...

The view from the hole-digger…

 

Nope, not a shot of our phantom, magical-hole-digging-gloves: but a shot of me appreciating said gloves for keeping my hands toasty warm: thanks, Dad!

Nope, not a shot of our phantom, magical-hole-digging-gloves: but a shot of me appreciating said gloves for keeping my hands toasty warm: thanks, Dad!

 

Bushes waiting to go in (the one on the left is the wild currant that was growing in a wall before we transplanted it)

Bushes waiting to go in (the one on the left is the wild currant that was growing in a wall before we transplanted it)

 

We've trialled using a cardboard (or flour sack) sheet mulch around this year's tree & bush plantings. We'll see how it goes once the grass starts growing...

We’ve trialled using a cardboard (or flour sacks) as a sheet mulch around this year’s tree & bush plantings. We’ll see how it goes once the grass starts growing…

 

Happy, planted fruit trees

Happy, planted fruit trees

 

There was also more fencing that came out – not much, but a stretch that meant the two triangles (coming shortly) got protected before I dashed off to Morecambe (it was a Sunday and I was leaving on the Monday so no time to go out and buy fencing for the triangles):

Fence posts after the fence had been painstakingly removed by yours truly on a rainy, cold Sunday afternoon

Fence posts after the fence had been painstakingly removed by yours truly on a rainy, cold Sunday afternoon

The rolled up barbed wire where I finished the "fence extraction"...for now

The rolled up barbed wire where I finished the “fence extraction”…for now

 

So, these ‘ere triangles – the first is at the south of our land, on the slope that leads down towards our ash coppice

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Replete with fence, but before the currant bushes went in – this one has a Merryweather Prune (damson) in the centre of it

 

...and this one is on the west side of the land, north of the house but south of the fruit garden  (where most of the planting happened this month)

…and this one is on the west side of the land, north of the house but south of the fruit garden (where most of the planting happened this month) – three apple trees in this one

 

We also awoke on a couple of mornings to a gorgeous dusting of snow (thankfully didn’t impede our doingses too much):

 

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Looking up the track

Looking up the track

The shed, looking north from the house towards the church

The shed, looking north from the house towards the church

View from our bedroom - just a *little* bit gorgeous

View from our bedroom – just a *little* bit gorgeous

I’m also LOVING how easily currants grow:

Charney currants that were put in the ground as cuttings last year - and are SO happy this year!

Charney currants that were put in the ground as cuttings last year – and are SO happy this year!

Having planted some of the 2017 Charney cuttings, these are the cuttings from the cuttings - ready to grow into yet MORE currant bushes!

Having planted some of the 2017 Charney cuttings, these are the cuttings from the cuttings – ready to grow into yet MORE currant bushes!

And plenty of bulbs pushing through all over the place

I'd sheet mulched this area with cardboard last winter - forgetting it's awash with bulbs!

I’d sheet mulched this area with cardboard last winter – forgetting it’s awash with bulbs!

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A couple of self-seeded buddleia got planted out

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The brash pile didn’t grow – but I’m still proud of it!

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Our 2018 squash holes are marked with bamboo canes – but not yet prepped and mucked…hopefully that’ll happen in Feb (she says, writing this towards the end of Feb but remaining hopeful)

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And finally, last year’s shelter-belt plantings are going strong

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Until next time!

 

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