crab apples in frost

on the farm in January

frosted rosehips

At last we’ve had a spell of cold weather. We’ve haven’t had any snow here, but a couple of hard frosts have made everywhere look pretty first thing in the morning.

newly planted hedge Barn Field

With the ground frozen, Bill and Jack have spent the first two hours of the day hand planting new hedges, before the ground warms up and turns to a muddy slush. Here, a mixed hedge of hawthorn, dog rose, blackthorn, maple, hazel and dogwood tops an earth bund that forms a barrier between the yard and the road. Guards on the young plants not only protect them from rabbits and deer but also from a farmer with a strimmer or knapsack sprayer.

pruning raspberries

In the fruit field, the raspberries are pruned; a back-breaking job on any day but even worse when it’s cold and knees get wet and dirty from kneeling in mud. Luckily, not my job any more.

apples under the trees

I’ve been picking up Bramley apples since they fell to the ground in the autumn. In a normal year, they would have rotted by now but it’s been so mild that until this week they’ve been okay to cook with. I suspect this cold spell will finish them off but at least I have enough inside to make one last apple crumble.

At last we seem to have shaken off the dull, grey days and the days are getting longer. Hurrah.

 

29 thoughts on “on the farm in January

  1. Sam says:

    I’m interested that hedges are being planted now – hard work in cold ground. Lovely photos, Anne. Ooh, I’d love a bowl of apple crumble right now!

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  2. Brian Skeys says:

    It is good to see a new mixed hedge being planted, farmers are always being accused of destroying the countryside, on programmes like country file and spring watch, they never mention the destruction caused when there is development of out of town shops & houses, which annoys me. There I have got that off my chest now!!

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  3. homeslip says:

    I would love to plant a hedge and lay it and weave it as it grows. I should have gone to the allotment today to cut back my raspberries but I decided I’m too old to be bending down in the cold. Milder drier weather will come and a week or a month later than usual won’t make a difference I’m sure. I’m sure the outdoor workers appreciated the apple crumble.

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  4. Gerlinde says:

    Your pictures are nice, they remind me of my farm in Germany. When I was a kid I had to pick the fallen fruit and my grandfather would feed it to the pigs.

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  5. Joanne Vidal says:

    Loved this post. I was especially interested to see that you are replanting the hedges. Here in Quebec they keep draining the ditches and removing the hedgerows, all in the name of maize growing. Still farmers must make a living as best they can. However I lament the widespread industrialization of farming.

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    • Anne Wheaton says:

      We plant hedges in awkward corners and boundaries. Like everyone else, on this farm hedgerows were pulled out to make decent sized fields back in the 1970s when there were grants available for drainage. Nowadays farmers plant far more hedges than they remove.

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    • Anne Wheaton says:

      We plant new hedges every couple of years in odd corners or for new boundaries. The existing hedges are trimmed back every other year and if they get too big and congested then we cut them back to the ground and let them regrow. The little building is a dovecote – but we use it as a garden shed rather than for keeping doves.

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  6. Jane @ Shady Baker says:

    Anne, that first photo is just stunning! Those apples are incredible. Apple crumbles is one of my all time favourites. What is that gorgeous little brick building? I think I have asked you that before.

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  7. Glenda says:

    I too am interested to hear that you plant into frozen ground. We always wait until the risk of frost has past before planting. I guess your plants are more cold hardy than what we would plant.

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    • Anne Wheaton says:

      Our frosts aren’t too severe and thaw out within a couple of hours of the sun coming up so it just makes the ground less muddy – we’re on heavy Essex clay soil here. Our hedges are very hardy.

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  8. andreamynard says:

    Definitely hurray for longer days! I saw some daffodils flowering today and am looking forward to Spring already.

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