Tag Archives: orchard

Cleaning up

We had a day on the farm cleaning up today, which was rather sad.

It was a cold and blustery day – you can tell it was blustery from the angle of the feeder in the picture, but you’ll have to take my word for the temperature.

We spoke to the lady who is moving in to run a project, agreed a price for the polytunnel and found out that she is now on version 9 of her plan for the site as the farmer and incoming tenants keep changing their minds about what she can have. That’s life on the farm – you pay your rent and you get messed about.

It seems that the architects will be flattening the allotment area – all the herbs, the rhubarb and the keyhole beds are under threat. The plan is to erect a selection of yurts and garden rooms.

According to the internet there were two Waxwings in the neglected orchard in Flintham so we went to look for them as it’s only the next village. We didn’t see any, though there were plenty of Fieldfares about.

Best bird of the day turned out to be a Redpoll perching in a tree by the Ecocentre when we pulled up. That’s now the seconf redpoll we’ve had at the centre and the first for this year. I managed one blurred photo before it flew away.



In the afternoon we tried again – no Waxwings, but there were about 60 Fieldfares with a dozen Blackbirds and a single, silent, Long-tailed Tit.


The Green Cathedral

We visited an orchard yesterday with Men in Sheds and Byron the farm apprentice.

I’d been told that we would be visiting a Permaculture project but, once more, I discovered that the farmer isn’t quite clear on what Permaculture is. ¬†There were no ponds, no zones and no ducks. There were, however, ¬†bees, bullfinches and a feeling of peace so it was still well worth a visit. This was particulalrly true of the more mature, less intensive end of the field, where arching trees and unmown wild flower meadow provided an experience like being in a green cathedral.

It may not be permaculture, and it’s not even organic, but it is run with a feeling for nature. Despite some clear ill-feeling on the matter of Bullfinches the owner was still able to tell us he had seen a group of them using the bird baths he provides. There’s one variety of pear tree, and I’m afraid I’ve forgotten which one, where the bullfinches don’t just eat the fruit buds but actually cripple the tree by taking the leaf buds too.

I forgot most of what I was told about the number of varieties he grows – though I did manage to photograph a list of 33 gooseberries. (He actually claims to have around 60 varieties of gooseberry in all) There are 17 varieties of cherry. He also has blackcurrants, redcurrants, white currants and pink currants, plus apples, pears, fourteen sorts of fig and a medlar. That’s just the stuff I can remember.

This is a picture of a plum tree with Plum Pox Virus (or Sharka virus if you want a more interesting name for it). I hadn’t heard of it until the visit. Treatment is to take the tree out and destroy it.