I'm totally with Gandalf when he says,
"Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check... I have found that it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay."
It is in this spirit that I share some of the 'everyday deeds' we've been doing since we took on a patch of Mid-Wales a few years ago.
Here's our wildlife pond, dug by hand. I re-used some old paving on the near edge and some old roof tiles to create a small waterfall. It now thrives with all manner of creatures having moved in: newts, snails, dragonflies, water boatmen, the occasional frog or toad. Sparrows love bathing in the shallow end. Behind you can also see our ‘pocket paddocks’ where we’ve left the grass to just grow and it gets cut once a year.
We absolutely use no chemicals on our stone paving, allowing ‘messy’ nature to come in. As well as the solitary bees who make their homes between the slabs, we get a host of more interesting visitors! Wood mouse, bunnykins and a red-legged partridge.
Last year we opened up our forest garden a bit, carefully pruning some trees and leaving others, to provide a balance of light and shade. This spring we have been rewarded with a marvellous show of forest flowers (and fairies).
We’re lucky to have a meadow which we leave unimproved, so the wild flowers can return. A haven for bees and some interesting butterflies are slowly coming back. It gets cut once a year; we barter the hay with our neighbours and the cycle begins again.
There’s a slither of ancient wood at the other end of our property which we’ve kept the livestock off for a couple of years now. The bluebells are returning. I’ve also planted a few natives; birch, rowan, elder, to help it along.
Here are our no-dig veg beds at a couple of stages of development – they were left to do their thing over winter and are now full of juicy worms! We are absolutely 100% organic in our principles, and our veg looks vibrant. We make all our own compost from garden and kitchen waste and have finally got the heaps in some sense of order!
Finally, here’s upcycling an old wellington boot and bit of left over fence wood. A cosy bolt hole for a robin or anyone who is interested.
The Earth has always been important to me. Back in the 90s we had a conservation group on Horsenden Hill; the inclosures we planted in the old wood are slowly starting to mature. I also spent nearly a year working on organic farms in Australia. Given the choice, I'd much rather be pottering around quietly making something for the bees, than screaming at the government to make changes, or climbing on top of tube trains. I kind of think it creates a better vibration, all round. But that's just me, rather tall for a Hobbit, doing my bit nevertheless.