What I did on my Christmas holiday

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Anna DiggerDo you remember when you were a schoolchild, and the first day back after the holidays, your class teacher would ask you to write an account of your break? I can still remember the tales of my classmates; holidays, adventures, and even misadventures with the occasional broken bone! Well this post is the grown up version of my holiday story.

Back in August I wrote for the Soil Association blog on my new project to re-establish a cherry orchard in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Over the summer and into autumn my colleague and I undertook lots of preparatory work, such as soil testing, creating planting schedules and sourcing root stock. This work was rather like getting ‘ducks in a row’ ready for the winter dieback, when we could make the most of natures rest period. However Christmas was to be anything other than a rest for us!

Frost 3From boxing day to the New Year we worked to clear the site, establish a tree nursery, and turn tonnage of dead trees into chippings, ready to make our own orchard compost.

I’m ready to admit it was hard work. In freezing temperatures the work seemed even harder thanks to the frozen soil. However I was working in a winter wonderland of picturesque frosty mornings and glorious sunny afternoons.  I was also fuelled by Christmas treats of turkey sandwiches and endless pots of tea accompanied by friends homemade mince pies and my Frankfurt stash of Lebkuchen.  

As I return to work my desk seems like a welcome rest but I’m looking forward to spring and the next big push to plant the new tress.

Whatever you did with your Christmas holiday I hope you had a great time. May I also take this opportunity to wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2015.

Happy New Year!

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