Wildlife #2

A few evenings ago I saw a fox prowling through a recently cleared bit of the garden, but my camera was far away, but this afternoon I spotted the fox again, further down the garden and this time I had the camera handy.

A fox in the garden

I shall name the fox Rachel Pickering. Sure, from the photos it looks like I’m stalking her, but she was stalking something in the undergrown so its all part of the great circle of stalking, I feel no guilt.

A fox in the garden

Its a little surprising to see the fox out and about at this time of day, it must have been only 3pm when I spotted her, usually these beasts are nocturnal, then again, she was looking a little rough, maybe she’s having a hard time right now.

A fox in the garden

Maybe she lives nearby, and has a den with cubs and all that.


Taking a bite out of the brambles

On Friday a Polish gentleman delivered a batch of fence posts, its only a matter of days before my overgrown garden is fenced off and is beyond reach. But in the mean time I’m hacking away at the brambles as much as I can.

I use the loppers to reach in and cut branches, then pull out as much as I can with my gloves. The thorns on the dead branches seem harder and sharper than on the freshly cut stuff.

Like a bite taken out of the brambles

If there are any decent, stout pieces I keep them for the various bramble fences I’ve got under construction, but most of the cut bramble I put on one of my composting heaps.

Wildlife #1

As I’m digging around and kicking over ant hills, I’ve made friends with some of the airborne wildlife in my garden, such as this robin whom I shall call Natalie Patterson.

friendly robin

I first caught her eye when I was demolishing an anthill in the middle of my path, I’d recoiled in terror at the vast carpet of crawlie beasties, Natalie appeared out of nowhere and started hacking away at them.

Robin catching a worm

She’s also a keen hunter in her own right, here she’s found a tasty worm in my future vegetable patch. Although Natalie Patterson is a curvy kind of bird, I think she’s got a nest and some chicks nearby and that’s where she’s taking all the food to.

Robin stood on a stickNatalie takes great pleasure in standing on top of my bramble fence posts. Everyone needs a hobby I guess. I’m not too scared about her falling off as she can fly.

There is a bit of an opportunity here to make a pun about pole-dancing, but I’ll refrain.

I wonder if I can train her to eat out of my hand. Apparently British robins aren’t scared so much by humans, so I’ll have a go.

How to make a bramble fence

With no budget for materials, and just a pair of loppers for cutting, I’m using bramble fences to segregate areas of my garden. This is a simple how to guide for how to build a bramble fence, here, I’m making a small enclave for compost.

You will need a pair of secateurs or loppers for chopping the brambles and a pair of hardy gardening gloves. I’m using loppers stolen from my girlfriend’s stepfather, and gardening gloves that I forgot to give back to the Heath Hands volunteer group.

First select a clear patch of ground where you intend to site the fence.  Since I’m making a circular enclave, I only need a small patch.

clear patch of ground for the bramble fence

Then you’ll need a dozen or so sturdy lengths of bramble, cut from near the base. I’ve used onesbetween one and two feet long.

One to two feet long lengths of bramble

If there are any wee tufty bits sticking out from the lengths, just pull of chop them off. They need to be relatively smooth, but a few thorns are okay to give a little friction. These peices will be the ‘fence posts’.

Now, stick them in the ground at one foot intervals along the route of where you want the fence to go. Push them down so they’re two to three inches in the ground. If the ground’s a little hard, prod around until you find somewhere easier to push them in.

Naked fence posts

When you’ve been clearing brambles, you’ll undoubtly have acquired great lengths of bramble pulled out from the undergrowth, these you’ll be using to weave alternately in and out of the fence posts. Use bits that are over three feet in length, anything less is just futile.

Weaving in and out

Its immensely satisfying to get a good 20 foot long bit of bramble and thread it all round, so I heartily recommend using as longer pieces as you can find. The job takes ages, I’m sorry, but hopefully you’ll be clearing loads of brambles elsewhere in your overgrown garden, but stick at it and slowly you’ll build up a respectable fence.

Building up slowly

This is the level I got up to before I grew bored and satisfied that the job was done.

Finished bramble fence

I dunno what it’ll look like when its all dried out, but I’ll keep you posted.

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