Well after a rather wet August, late September was not been too bad weather wise, although October is shaping up to be a bit windy (more on that in a later post!). We tried to get a final cut of the pathways done, but haven’t cracked the timing. With the wet mild weather in August the grass had grown long and lush. Strong winds with rain had led to the grass falling over making it very difficult to cut, even after a couple of days hot and dry. S. managed to go round the main trackway with the scythe mower, but with a rather poor result. Some of this was possibly due to a lack of sharpness on the blades, which has now been addressed, but we think that leaving the cut till this late in the season is just not practical. I guess if the weather had been better we may have been able to cut earlier, but still after the yellow rattle is ripe, however it often is wet at this time of year.
What took S. half a day to cut has taken me about 5 times as long to rake up, and I still haven’t finished! It is pretty hard work untangling the cut grass from the uncut turf whilst you have a dog trying to catch the rake head! I have to take a fetch toy as well, but Dyson gets tired and would rather have more direct participation! Once I have cleared the cut grass away, I can sow the collected yellow rattle seed. As I tried to explain above, I don’t know whether we will succeed in creating the right rhythm for the plant, which needs clear soil to grow anew each year. I don’t know whether we will be able to leave it long enough to ripen seeds, as we could do with cutting the grass before it gets too long.
I’m planning on taking the cut grass and using it to mulch the trees in the area of the field where they are doing less well, particularly the new trees that I planted this spring. I used fresh cut hazel twigs from my new hazels to mark the tiny new trees so that I could find them again in the long grass. Recently I have been surprised to see that some of the hazel twigs started to sprout! I don’t know whether they have actually formed roots or not. Often it takes a while for the twigs to realise that they are dead, so they may just be zombies. In the spring I will need to transplant some of the spruce, where two seedlings have survived in a single plant hole, so I will dig up the hazel twigs then as well. Thinking about it, I will need to identify the ones that are sprouting now, since they will be leafless still in early spring, I’ll tie a bit of wool around the sprouting ones this week.
The turning of year shows in the drawing in of the evenings (and the later mornings). Leaf fall gathers under the trees even though only the wych elm are practically leafless. These leaves represent the carbon and nitrogen made solid by the trees, building soil and trapping carbon. Autumn colours show briefly before being torn away by the wind.