Archives for posts with tag: Cally Woods

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For the first time in what feels like forever, we had a completely blank calendar this weekend and an unusually cool August decided to give us a final hurrah of warm sunshine. Saturday morning was spent tidying up a little after our last WWOOF visitors, the fantastically helpful and efficient Georgia and Stefano, and decanting our first batch of apple wine.

We also got out into the field to put up more electric fencing in preparation for the pigs. We have ordered a pair of female weaners who should arrive later this month. Georgia and Stefano prepared the ground and helped us with the fencing, now we just need to sort out the battery, patch up the sty, connect up some hoses and get a trough and we should be good to go. We’ll have a pig for ourselves and another to sell on, so if anyone fancies some outdoor-reared pork for Christmas, let us know!

Saturday afternoon saw us go on another brambling expedition along the road and into the fields. We gathered around 4kg of brambles and finally visited the small lochan in the field behind our house. A pair of swans were floating serenely on the surface with their awkwardly adolescent cygnets, rabbits startled to see us from their hedgerow hides and deer dashed away, glimpsed through green and pricky gorse. The uneven and rocky ground had been thoroughly worn down by years of cattle marching over the turf to create rutted paths around the thorniest brambles and most gristled gorse. In short, we were great galumphing intruders on a landscape shaped as much by animal as man with only the presence of cattle, feed containers and ancient dry-stane dykes to remind us that this landscape was as human as it was animal.

A quarter of Saturday’s brambles are fermenting merrily for bramble wine and the rest have been packed in the freezer. Today, while I worked, Matt took the kids exploring in the southern part of Cally Woods at Girthon. Matt had planned to forage for mushrooms but there was nothing to be seen, so he made notes of likely locations and a crab apple tree for future expeditions. He and the kids did discover The Temple, an old folly, and lots of coppiced trees for climbing, like this hazel.

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In other news, Iris lost her first tooth on Friday and got 50p from the tooth fairy. Hers is called Twinkle, apparently, although Georgia tells us that in Italy they have a Tooth Mouse who collects milk teeth in exchange for a Euro (or 1,000 Lire when she was wee, which impressed Iris mightily.)

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The wild garlic I harvested the other week came from nearby Cally Woods. Despite this only being a few miles away from the house, we hadn’t had time for a visit before now. It was an overcast day but there was still plenty to see with the last of the snowdrops, loads of bridges for playing pooh sticks and an old earthwork to walk up.

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There are also a few installations, like these amazing sensory benches and some open air classrooms made from felled trees. Some of these had been damaged by fallen trees in the winter storms. The idea behind the benches is that you lay back (they’re surprisingly comfortable) and look at the stars through the tree canopy.

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