This is just the holly. There are a few berries on our beautiful tall tree.
As for the ivy, we pull it off and up at every opportunity because it stifles the mammoth centennial oak trees.
We were sitting outside having a late breakfast.
The loudest noise was the not unpleasant one of green woodpeckers laughing and laughing, like kookaburras.
Suddenly there was the ripping noise of a motor and a great cloud of grey smoke from near the edge of our land.
I downed my Alpen in a few last gulps and went to investigate.
The neighbour and his wife greeted me and explained they were doing a clean-up of dead trees prior to erecting the next stretch of their fence.
A tall, thin tree, covered in ivy, had been felled and was being dragged from among its thickly-clustered fellows by a cable attached to a mini-digger.
From there it went onto the back of a trailer to be sliced up with a chainsaw.
The noise had stopped by lunchtime and we were left with the woodpeckers. They must be courting or something to make such a racket.
It’s not the grandest view from the house, but it’s my personal favourite because it opens out beneath your feet as if you were flying over it and it’s such a perfect blend of the wild and the cultivated.
I call it the Magic Valley.
At the very bottom of the picture is the red foliage of a thicket of little sour cherry trees and the yellow foliage of 2 ancient apple trees.
In the middle distance are oaks mixed in with hornbeams and wild service trees, and beyond them, conifers and olive trees.
The dying oak centre stage isn’t so good. I guess it was strangled by the ivy which we’ve now cut away at the base and removed as far up as we can. All the finer twigginess lower down the trunk belongs to the parasite rather than the host.
All of this was farmland not so long ago, ploughed by oxen, but the forest is slowly reclaiming it, seedling by seedling, sapling by sapling.