These boxes contain the first residents for the thing that was built out of the other boxes the other day:


We drove for 45 minutes over winding deserted roads through a landscape that is new to us.  This photo, taken hastily on a phone, does not do justice to the clouds below the mountain:


They took some catching and securing in their boxes


They are feisty creatures who have been used to ranging completely free and roosting in trees so not sure how they will take to their new home where they need to be confined for a while to become accustomed to their surroundings


Welcome Cuckoo Marans Flora and Marge


Burning your boxes

Is burning your boxes a bit like burning your boats or burning your bridges?  All the big ones have been flattened and stashed in the polytunnel for future mulching but the banana boxes, which were excellent for packing, are hard to flatten and you don’t get much once you have.


The sheep are being moved around a lot at the moment as they have been going down for their scan.  Lambing on this farm is due on March 25th. As one travels down to Welshpool all the sheep are lambless until the last few fields where they have already lambed.

Outside looking in


Inside looking out



Butterflies and Boxes

We have disturbed a number of butterflies hibernating in the house and outbuildings.  This tortoiseshell did not really want to wake up but when offered sugar and water looked a bit happier.


After filling up it was happy to flutter its wings in the sunlight.


Yesterday, instead of our usual post van we found a convoy (of two) red vans outside the house.  The reason being that our post contained six very large boxes – our usual postman had dragged our his boss to drive an additional van.  So today we had the task of moving the boxes to behind the house


and trying to work out the assembly instructions


Currently the last sun of the day shines through the conifer shelter belt from behind, making them look on fire from within


And finally, today’s gratuitous “view from the garden” picture


Learning the Site

Less than six months ago we were camping in a field in North Shropshire, on a holiday from Sheffield, planning how we would use the week for local walks and cycle rides.  The camp site was part of a four acre smallholding which had been developed from a farm field site by the resident couple in just five years.  They lent us some copies of permaculture magazine and I found myself reading an article entitled “How to survey a site”.  Little did I know that so few months later I would be digging out that article to put it into practice.

I am pleased to read that the message seems to be DO nothing fast – instead watch, observe, record, be patient and begin to notice things that might not be immediately apparent.  The message also seems to be that the more extreme the weather the more one should be out observing as that is when you see the land under stress.  That doesn’t bother me as I have already adopted Kate Humble’s observation that “there is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing” and bought one of these:


So we need to track the sun as it pans round the ground, watch the flow of water – and the flow of frost.  Feel the wind strength and direction.  Well I know that the wind here today so far has been like this:


And basically try not to do anything irrecoverable – not let our preconceptions, nor the way our predecessors used this space, determine our plans.

However, I am encouraged to make a detailed map of the site, plotting every living thing, which should keep me occupied for a bit.  Also to take general site photos over time, looking at the patterns of sun and snow.  So here is a start:






Plus can’t resist today’s picture of the mountains:


Oh, and someone seems to have built a massive snowman on the hill opposite: