Posts Tagged ‘Janus’

Janus the God of beginnings and endings lends his name to the month of January. With one face he reflects upon the year just past and with the other he scans the year to come.

As I sit writing this post on the first day of the year I am naturally inclined to look back, to the glory and the sadness we have just lived through, and to wonder with hope to what the coming months will bring.

On the estate everyone is back to work with rather subdued moods. The Duke and Duchess are up in the City leaving us to clear up after the festivities. A veritable mountain of sherry and wine bottles has accumulated outside the kitchen door and I have been instructed to take them to the skip.

Charlie and Bones are both sporting rather dashing purple bobble hats that Father Christmas kindly gave them. Bones also has a swishing new blue sandwich box which Charlie seems rather jealous of. And I have a new pair of gardening gloves so we are all feeling perky after all.

Just after lunch we all gathered around the radio in the kitchen and listened to the special edition of the Archers. We all knew from gossip in the village that Nigel had come a cropper somehow but were vague on the details. He will be sadly missed. The sudden birth of Helen’s baby took us all by surprise and there was barely a dry eye in the kitchen although Charlie pretended to have dust in his eye.


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I have dedicated some time this week to inspecting the trees on the estate. We have numerous young specimens and the stakes and ties all need checking.

Trees grow quietly but quickly and if one is not observant the girth of the slender trunk can outgrow its tie and begin to chaff and damage the outer bark. Different ties are on the market these days but I always lean towards those that are more flexible rather than the cheaper but stiffer ones.

Tree ties also have the habit of slipping down and a tack hammered into the stake is needed to keep it in position.

Sometimes the wind causes the stake to cross the trunk of the tree and rub causing damage. A square of underfelt will suffice to separate the tree from its stake.

Perhaps the tree has grown so big that the stake is no longer needed. Rather than try to yank the stake out whole I am tempted to cut the stake off at ground level, it is quicker and does not leave a hole in the ground leading down to the roots of the tree.

And then lastly the plastic spiral rabbit protectors are put in place for nothing is more distressing than a good tree having its bark gnawed away at.

The young trees near the house have the grass cut away around the base and replaced with mulch. This helps the tree get as much water as possible during the summer months. The young trees further away are sprayed at the base with Roundup, not as pretty or ethical but practical. After two or three years a tree will have developed enough of a root system to survive with grass growing up to the bark.

The days pass slowly this month. Although I have a heap of work to get through, nevertheless I can afford to take my time and do a thorough job rather than racing around like a headless chicken like I do the rest of the year.

After the snow of the previous month the weather is decidedly grey and dreary. A blue hint of sky appears and a ray of sunshine illuminates the grey boughs of the beech. The past year has brought the death of two close members of our family but our three grand-daughters continue to grow and blossom and become more mischievous than ever. Who knows what the New Year will bring. One can only hope and pray.


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