This is our first trip out to Le Moulin without covid restrictions. It’s a perfect time of year to visit, the weather and wildlife on the turn, out of hibernation and winter and starting to warm to Spring and a new season. In the two weeks we are here, the chestnuts on the front lawn open up their tiny spring leaves from buds that were hardly visible when we arrived.
The willows I planted along the leet are doing well. The three year old trees now tall enough to pollard, and the young ones, planted as one inch willow sticks are all starting to sprout leaves. The fruit trees I moved from the damp black earth of the flood plain island up to the harsh rubble and earth of the sawmill area have flourished so far, benefiting from the much dryer environment. The six foot oak I moved, hasn’t done so well. It was growing under the shade of a much bigger tree and it was starting to shade the fruit trees. I thought it worth trying to move it to see if it would survive. But it stands still, with its brown leaves still on, no buds, nothing green and no sign of life. I’ll water it this trip to see if we can coax it back, but I’m not hopeful.
Our first few days there was two days of rain. The leet was up to the overflow and the three tributaries that run into our river at the bottom corner were all swollen with flood water. I was managing water levels on the sluice every hour, trying to send water one way or another. Part of the problem is that further down the river there are a few fields were the land is not managed, so the trees have grown over the river and slow the progress of the water, causing it to back up to us. Maybe that’s a summer job, to clear the river further down!
We put the field kitchen to good use, with campfires, sausages and baked potatoes. I even put a dart board up to pass the time before the fires ready to cook on.
It’s a wonderful time of year. Before the massive exponential garden growth of summer. Everything is still structural and visible. Before long the grass will need cutting everyday, we will be in a world of greenery and sunshine, and the weather will be too warm for the numerous tasks I set myself each visit.
This trip I finally managed to cut down the mammoth rose that had started to dominate the terrace and had ripped the trellis to shreds. The only trellis available in the local garden centres in Ruffec was rather ornate and expensive, so I made my own from wood from the local builders yard, and pretty good it looks too!
I also finally got round to saving the beautiful wooden doors to our barns, with paint scrapers, sandpaper, filler and some high quality paint, they are now good for another ten years.
It’s been a good trip and we look forward to the next.