We have/had a large and ugly conifer tree completely dominating the garden. It visibly ate up space and light, drank the groundwater until the soil cracked and shrank, dropped needles and sticky sap, souring the pond water and acidifying the garden. It's biggest sin was the amount of sky it hid from me. Last year we'd earmarked it to go - but things got in the way. The pandemic (who'd forget that) and the baby squirrels (who's rather thoughtless mother first used the conifer as a nursery then abandoned them in the same tree which they then both fell out of...).
We have a tree surgeon friend who came round and eyed up the offending tree, gave us a quote and a date and today he made good his promise.
This morning he, two chippies and an apprentice arrived and within moments of arriving had mugs of coffee in hand and were sizing up their task. Last dregs of brew drained they donned their safety gear and shot up the tree. I have never seen such professionalism and speedy work.
Within an hour the tree was down and chopped into easy to move pieces and all the branches were shredded and piled up into a neat mound of woodchip.
I gave them a second brew as they swept up, a quick catch up then they were gone. From start to finish just under two hours and I have now acres and acres and acres of blue sky filling my garden and my heart💙. I stood outside and just looked up and I could feel my plants (the ones that managed to survive the falling branches) reach up and feel the air and the sun on their leaves.
Moss had been rather excited by all this activity - she is a complete sucker for boys and their toys (especially noisy toys) so was banished to the house to keep her (and them) safe. So once they'd tidied up and gone, I thought I would let Moss take me on a 'Moss made me do it' walk.
I'd planned to do another one of those - let Moss decide where to go walks and let her take the lead (see what I did there?!?) so why not do it now?
We start by going up the old tram lines, alongside the garages and allotments. Where the geese hiss and chickens run down to the fence in hope of a treat.
At the top of the lines, there is a favourite pathway and I know she will head that way and sure enough, a quick as you please turn to the left and Moss shoots down the path to the gate in no time at all. Towards 'Claire's Field'.
At the top, the path sneakily winds through a couple of converted farm builds and splits in two - I once again loosen Moss' lead to see which way she wants to go ..... left.
No mistaking the decision. I nod to myself - I definitely know where she is leading me now.
Potholes which hold the most glorious wallow-worthy mud, where you can sink up to your furry belly and have a full on mudpack. A place where you can shove your snoot in and blow thick mud-bubbles (yay says the dog, urgh says us).
Head down, once again Moss refuses to look at the sheep, choosing in the straightest line possible to the far gate. Through the next field we continue, Moss is 'on a mission', she has a plan and I suspect by now she knows who was taking who on the walk and she is going to make the most of it!I slip her collar off so that she can swim. Moss runs off without a backward glance straight for the water. Happy dog.
Finally we arrive at the 'best gate' - the one that lets us in to the nature reserve, the one that a favourite swimming spot lives behind, the best gate indeed says Moss!
We walk on through the woodlands, plenty of sniffs to be sniffed and smells to be smelt. Then by the end of the nature reserve, I replace the collar and the lead and let her continue her walk. Moss takes up her task and we set off at a cracking good pace.
Interestingly enough we drop down to the road and we have a short stint on the pavement - I am surprised as Moss does not like this bit. Then, she takes a quick turn and up to some cottages - ah - I know where we are going. She leads me to a door of a lovely friend and she sits wagging her tail. I do hope our friend is in, we have not seen her for a while, so I knock and step back several paces. Sadly to no avail, I have to lead Moss away but delighted that she wanted to visit and did without any intervention by myself.
Today's walk was an interesting experiment - letting Moss lead the way. I wonder if I allow it to happen again - what route would she take? I may wait a while and try it again.