After a month’s absence from the Vignassa the greenery has just exploded. We left when the leaves were barely on the trees and came back to anarchy. There is no divide between what we naively consider to be our garden and the woodland around it in either the minds of the woodland itself or the creatures that inhabit it. If you turn round to watch a buzzard or bend down to tie your shoelaces or something the divide, if you can realistically call it that, slyly steps a pace closer towards the house so after a month we have the wild almost in the kitchen.
Thus, armed with strimmer, billhook and scythe I set out to reclaim the house from the green. Up the path and along the top of the wall above the patio was OK with just the usual run of the mill, madders and celandine and cranesbill and swaying grass dotted with thyme but then a glimpse of something red and inviting in amongst the green brought a swift halt to the work and a tired ‘Oh No!’ from my lips. Other redness sprang out from the greenery all around me. So it was down with the strimmer (this happens every year so I don’t know why it still annoys me) and off to get the Howler and collect wild strawberries. I did the collecting while the howler held the collecting bowl and in 20 minutes we collected 250g which even for here is a record. But creeping gingerly through the grass I spied more and more strawberries, hundreds of them, which is great as theses are wild wild strawberries not cultivated ones, but means I lose even more ground in the battle to keep the house free from the shrubbery because if I strim them now, next year we’ll have fewer, and besides, psychologically , it is extremely difficult to strim wild strawberries. It must be something ancestral. And it’ll be at least a month before the strawberries die back naturally and by then the every-thing-else will have reached head height. We’ll be having badger and boar eating in the kitchen next which may not be that far from reality as yesterday I had been sitting just outside the kitchen on the patio for 10 minutes or so when I sneezed explosively and a bloody roe deer which had obviously been quietly grazing no more than 10 feet away totally hidden by the vegetation shot off into the trees barking madly.
I’m not that enthusiastic about destroying the vegetation anyway, I quite like the stuff, so this I suppose gives me an excuse to put it off. But I think I would rather just get on with it before the hornets, wasps, bees, bumblebees, toads, various beetles and mantis take up residence as this makes strimming a little stressful as anyone that has strimmed a yellowjacket nest or just missed skinning a toad will tell you.