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The Badlands Trilogy - Part 1

To be honest, this could run longer than a trilogy, but for those of you who attempted to read Game of Thrones, I hope not.

We have roughly an acre of well, rough land! Half of it we suspect was the yard, used when the small holding was a dairy farm, and the rest is woodland. The previous owners moved in 19 years ago and it is becoming increasingly apparent that they did nothing more than stick a static caravan on the concrete hard standing and left the rest for nature to take over. Actually I tell I lie - they've used quite a bit of the land as a dumping ground.

Now goats are browsers rather than grazers so our genius plan is to section off the land to the left of the caravan and let them clear most of the six foot high brambles which are currently choking what, from what we can see, is a beautiful little wood.

The goats will be able to access the land via the double doors at the end of the barn.

Ooh barn - nearly done! We've extended the height down one side and at the end with composite board and installed a gate. At the other end we have another smaller gate to go in and a couple of hurdles which we will stabilise with straw bales. We are waiting for a quote to re-concrete the raised side areas so that it's level - whilst goats are sure footed it will make life easier for mucking out.

Anyway, I digress.

Like taking the flail mower off the tractor, no job is ever simple in this game - that particular event turned into a bit of a drama and we resorted to watching the whole of Gavin & Stacey Series 3 that afternoon in order to recover physically and restore our sense of humour.

The land is littered with rubble, bits of roofing and plastic (not to mention more awful pottery) - none of which is good for a goat. In addition I had also spotted at least one Rhododendron which is poisonous. We could also see one end of a fence which appears to cut the land in half but, due to the brambles, couldn't see where it finished.

So - Dave hired the mother of all brush cutters (we have another name for it) and started hacking his way through the brambles which were lapping at the barn doors. Underneath this first part of the jungle we discovered a gate! We also discovered far more concrete hard standing that we originally thought existed - running out from the barn doors and down into the wooded area. The bad news is that, once you've gathered and carted the cut down brambles, underneath is a four to six inch layer of soil and roots which have built up over the years. This layer does not shovel up without a fight as the bramble roots have intertwined.. it requires good hard honest labour and time...lots and lots of time.

Having said that, at the end of a hard day's graft there is tangible progress. Whilst I have been shovelling, Dave has been hacking his way further into the jungle. He has found the end of the fence and, in better news, most of it is sound. Further into the woodland there is a big dip (which the goats will love jumping in and out of ) at the bottom of which is a bath, of course.

Progress thus far:

So hence the 'Trilogy' - hopefully the Part 2 post will celebrate the end of digging out at least. We will need to get in some professional help to join the the fencing up to the end of the barn as it will run across concrete and there are some parts of the boundary fencing which will need strengthening. The fun bit will be the BIG bonfire - would be such a shame if it spread to the mouldy caravan!

It hasn't all been hard work

We've had visitors!

Bex came to stay for a third time (so I guess this place can't be that bad) and got stuck in with bramble clearing. We had an afternoon off to take a boat trip to Skomer island to see the puffins - absolutely brilliant!

This weekend my best friend Sue and her husband Mark drove all the way from Lancashire to stay with us. Sue and I have been best friends since we were 4 - some friendships last a lifetime. The weather cheered up so we spent a few hours on the beach on Saturday, visited Picton Castle on the Sunday and of course finished with a fabulous meal at The Shed - freshly caught lobster...dribble.

In other news...

Our fencing contractor has indeed been abducted by aliens and we are awaiting a quote from another company to build the paddocks in the top field.

We are knee deep in courgettes and cucumbers - the former I've found many recipes for, the latter not so much.

The peas and potatoes are fabulous.

The slugs ate my radishes.

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