As we plough through what must be one of the most memorable of years, work on the Estate carries on, the seasons change and the landscape around us alters before our eyes. This is noramlly my favourite time of year when the wet ground starts to dry up, the weather warms and crops and plants start to come through.
This spring, while the Corona Virus has gripped the nation, we feel rather coccooned away in the depths of East Northamptonshire. The month of May has seen some of the driest weather on record with high temperatures interspersed with strong winds. This has dried out the ground immensely, so much so that we are now desperate for a drop of rain. Well as the old saying goes, a farmer is never happy...!
In May you might have seen activity along the river in Cranford. We have range of "cricket bat" willows planted here which require tending to during this period. We go to each young tree and clear any side shoots coming out of the trunk. This stops knots forming in the wood which would otherwise make the willow weaker - not something that is wanted in a cricket bat!
You will also have noticed that around many of our fields we have "left" a wide strip of grass. This is notout of laziness, but rather part of our commitment to a government funded ecological prgram called Higher Level Stewardship. The borders are planted with wild flowers and tussocky grass which support a wide range of insects and small mammals. At this time of year it is a joy to see them bursting with life!