Young bracken can be slashed or strimmed but the trunks of mature plants are too tough. By mid August they’re falling over and lying at odd angles. This is when an alpine scythe comes into good effect. Swinging from right to left in a slow hoola hoop motion, slicing through a dozen plants at a time and pulling them to the side. It takes about 10 minutes to work up a sweat and within an hour I’ve not got a care in the world.
My target this year is the acre or so of open ground at the edge of the Maentwrog Nature Reserve that backs onto our vegetable garden. It has an expansive but short lived spell of bluebell brilliance until it gets swamped by lime green bracken. Last year’s experiment to clear a small patch proved worthwhile, this year I’m going for the lot (with the blessing of the warden).
Surveying my work in progress from the bedroom window I spotted a fox as it came out of the trees and started to cross the mown patch to the garden. A quick call from my mobile to the landline downstairs to alert the rest of my family. We all watched as it climbed onto and walked along the stone wall then disappeared into the clump of damson trees. That explained the purple scat at the corner of the garden.
After a few minutes of damsons it picked up a windfall Victoria plum before exiting stage right. Upside down livestock fencing is no barrier at all, not even a wriggle as it nimbly passed through.
The following night I put up a trail camera next to the damsons. Sure enough the fox was back. If you look carefully enough you can see the fox being startled by an owl flying off a post.