I found time this weekend to get out into the new apiary area and clear up the mess from felling the trees last time, including cutting one of them up into shorter lengths to dry out this year. That allowed me to get the digger in to form the second “terrace” level which turned out to be somewhat trickier than planned. Whilst the soil was quite deep under the top level, further down the slope I discovered that there was little more than 50mm of soil on top of solid rock. I had to change my plans slightly, but I think I’ve done an acceptable job in the end.
Once this area was clear I realised there were two possible bullace trees. Both had a fair amount of dead wood and one was very tangled with branches growing in all directions. I’ve pruned them fiercely, leaving five to six feet of trunk standing. Either they’ll come back this spring or they won’t. If they do, they should be able to grow in a far nicer environment where they have plenty of access to light and little competition.
Behind those I cut down some standing dead trees and started cutting the hazel down to size but eventually ran out of light. I also have one sycamore trunk I’d like to remove as it will overhang the apiary. Anything else can be taken out at a later time as it will fall in a more convenient direction.
So, here’s how it looked when I stopped work this afternoon:
Whilst working on the hazel I discovered a pile of seven or eight bottles lying underneath it. I have no idea how long they’ve been there, but they look very much to me like the old-style (1970’s) milk bottles I remember from my childhood. Each one has “CONTENTS 1 PT” moulded into the glass on the outside, so I guess it’s possible. I’m going to clean some up and have a better look as they’re rather green at the moment: