We have been home now for about two months. Ireland seems a distant memory in many ways. So what have we been doing? We have been busy settling in, and we have been making a list of things we want to do now that we know we are staying. And then of course, there was the chickens. Beatrix had her little adventure with an impacted crop and then Prudence had her little problem with fluid. Both were worrisome things, but they seem to be holding their own at the moment. So we have been moving ahead with our projects.
First, we have been busy designing and building the girls’ new run. Prudence and Beatrix are anxious to use it! It is coming along. It took some time to figure out how to build it on a slope (almost all of the land around Brookwood Shire slopes) and there are trees on the site we wanted to include in the run.
We decided to cut the posts so the top would be level and let the bottom follow the slope. Since there is no floor, it works. We kept it short enough so it wouldn’t loom over everything else, but tall enough so, at least by the door, I could walk in easily. Once the frame was up, we added the hardware cloth.
That part actually went quite smoothly once we got the process down.
We still need to put some sort of netting over the top, and make the connecting tunnel and door so the girls can go in and out as they please. But for now I can bring them back and forth..and at least they can get out and scratch and peck a bit.
While we were doing that the electric company came to talk about our hemlock that is under the power lines.
You can see it here. You can’t see the wires in the picture but they are close. After much discussion about could we just cut it back a bit and leave it, it became clear that it just wouldn’t work. They would need to cut the top and some of the branches on the wire side. It would look awful. And they would be back in a few years to do it again. So I decided the best thing would be to let them cut the tree and plant something smaller. It was not an easy decision. I hate cutting trees. But I didn’t see any way around it.
It was quite shocking at first….but there are a few little apple trees that were trying to grow under the hemlock and they are looking much happier now. I will continue the forsythia hedgerow and we will look for a magnolia or a redbud (if we can find one that doesn’t get too tall) and I have been planning to plant a few fruit trees as well. I am trying to view it as an opportunity. Of course there was a shade garden under the hemlock, so that had to be moved.
I was able to find room for most of the plants in the woodland garden.
And speaking of gardens, I, of course, have been loving having my gardens back. I raked and tidied them all and added some compost and manure to freshen them. They were somewhat neglected last year when we were thinking we were going to sell the house and go to Ireland…so it was a bit overdue. Spring has been slow in coming this year, despite a few warm days but at least we have had rain. It seemed to take forever for thing to come back this year. Or perhaps I was just impatient.
But May has arrived and with it… Spring!. The gardens have really come to life and there is color at last! The woodland gardens are first…
The gently arching bleeding heart dances above the wood poppy. St Francis watches over it all.
The lamium is gorgeous.
These are the primroses that Joan, our housesitter, got for me as a welcome home gift. They cheered up the house throughout March and April and now they are outside…still blooming. A bit of color in a shady spot.
Some woodland phlox…
And more bleeding heart. They love the cool Spring days.
The creeping phlox has also begun. It creates carpet of color as it blooms.
I have planted some kale and chard, and some peas but I have been focusing more on the flower beds this year…there will be time for veggies as the weather warms.
The work on the run and the work in the gardens will be ongoing this summer I am sure. But there is one more exciting piece of news I want to share.
We had contacted the breeder we got Fergus from shortly after we got home. We will always miss Fergus, but it is time for another puppy. She had three litters but they were all spoken for. She was planning an August litter, did we want one of those? Yes. We had hoped for one sooner, but August would be fine. So that was the plan. Until she called yesterday. One of the families who had reserved a puppy, changed their mind. She had a female, yellow available. Did we want her?
Did we? Of course we did! We will pick her up Monday. I think she will be a perfect addition to Brookwood Shire.
Today we went out to get her a few things…a collar, leash, a few toys…
And I set it all up in her crate.
Merlin was very curious.
I think he approves…