Sunday 26 April – Raking it in!

We have had much less pottering in the last 7 days than the previous week and have managed to complete one significant task, make good progress on 2 others and I even spent a couple of days back in Priory.

The Priory work was, again, relatively minor and involved lots of preparation for painting in the bathrooms.  Having removed the old lambris walls to maximise the floor space, some of the lambris used on the ceiling didn’t quite reach the edges of the new room! Lots more filling and sanding are required but I should be able to actually apply some paint, well undercoat, next week.

The focus has principally been outside again.  Thankfully we received a delivery early in the week of the spare part we required for the shredder, a new V-belt.  The part was fairly simple to fit and we were able to pick up where we left off clearing the felled sycamores on the orchard lawn.

After a day and a half the lawn has been completely cleared.  I say lawn, with the trees having lain on the grass for 5 months, what grass there was is now completely dead.  In all fairness, much of that area of ‘lawn’ was moss anyway because the sycamores prevented any sun reaching that part of the garden.  With the trees now felled, there is so much more light getting to the garden and there are so many more places available to sunbathe – at least in comparison to how it looked before.

The shredding has created masses of perfect mulching material for the flowerbeds we have created and Dave has mulched all but one of the beds in the orchard.  There is plenty left to do the last one as well.

As there is a lot of moss in all of our lawn areas, last autumn we bought a petrol scarifier as we want to gradually improve the quality of the grass.  Before the weather turned far too wet, and we felled a number of large trees on it, the only lawn we managed to scarify was the orchard but it did recover quite quickly and was much thicker and more lush.

Sadly, as we weren’t able to cut the grass for months, we lost the advantage gained but, having the scarifier, we had always planned to do the same in the spring – other than it has been far too dry!

Last weekend we had a couple of days of good rain and the lawns have started to grow again.  As scarifying makes the lawn look terrible for a couple of weeks, but with under the current situation we aren’t likely to have any guests for a while, we have decided to start the scarification, especially as the forecast is for a wet week ahead so the grass should recover more quickly.

To date we have scarified the orchard and Granary lawns and hope to do the main lawn behind Priory tomorrow before the rain arrives.  The orchard has suffered most, and felling the trees have made it even more lumpy and bumpy than it was before.  We have ‘reserved’ some top soil from a close neighbour and friend which we will be able to collect when the confinement is relaxed so we can level the ground a little and re-seed where required.

The other delivery which arrived was our new serre.  This is far more substantial than the one that collapsed in the wind and we have made a start at putting it up.  The instructions state that it should be a day’s work for 2 people but perhaps not a Sunday as, despite both of us doing it, we have only got the frame up which is probably about half way through.  It is a little longer and wider than the previous one – but we do now have a lot of sycamore wood to store!

Next week the forecast is very different from the previous few weeks and we are expecting quite a lot of rain.  This has 2 advantages, it means the lawns should recover quite quickly and it will force me into Priory and more progress can be made, if not appreciated for a while!

Stay safe and stay healthy.