When the cuckoo calls

The cuckoo has returned to our part of the world, and his call is a portent of spring—he arrived with the midges, and the last few days the air has been thick with the little biters.

The top acre and some of the damaged birch originally planted as a barrier to the forest behind

We don’t often get many of them even though the Calendar Road is located near bog land we are a little higher up and the midges are often dispersed by the many breezes, winds and gales that proliferate the air. These last few days have been damp and still. Until today when the sun returned and with it an urgent need to get planting!
So I got a new spade—the last one broke—and I have started, plotting, planning and planting. I have put in 10 oak trees so far, I know I’m slow. But I’m also doing this on my own. The trees are bare-root plants, and the oaks are very small so Jho had the inspired idea to tie little ribbons to them, so we can actually see where they are planted. So, so far, there are ten golden ribbons for the oaks and one green ribbon for my first birch tree. The birch trees are considerably bigger and far more urgent for the ground. They have started to bud, whereas the oaks have given me a little more time. So this week my focus switches to the birch trees.

We made a rough measurement of the bottom acre which is not a square acre, it is slightly longer in length, narrowing to a point at the furthest part. We have decided to plant all trees 6 feet apart (we are old school – metric pfft?!)
We also have access to the top acre. This is the field that was once home to Jack and Prín our two beautiful donkeys who are now in the wonderful care of Sathya Sai Sanctuary not far away, as we had to rehome our friends of 18 years when Jho had his stroke. This field has become a wild haven now. Full of rush, and all kinds of wildflowers including the common orchid. It’s a haven for butterflies. One May a couple of years ago a family of deer decided to come here and though they were most welcome they hightailed it as soon as I picked up the camera. This field is a barrier field for a plantation of forestry. As a result, there are already many birch trees planted, however, they were planted very close together and some have toppled so I will replace the fallen ones with some of my kindly donated birch stash! Thanks once again to the Tree Council of Ireland and Cóilte for this kind gesture.

So tree planting will resume in these fields until May. Then we will begin to talk about all the other trees we intend to plant come autumn as they find their roots in pots, buckets and other temporary homes.

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