Just before dusk today I coppiced the willows that make a windbreak and screen at the bottom of my garden. Actually, what I do is cut the stems back to the main trunk about knee height, somewhere between coppicing and pollarding. I do it every year some time after midwinter, it takes only about half an hour, it is a small garden.

When I do the job I often remember this painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, of a January day in a village in the Netherlands in the sixteenth century :

Perhaps I will use the whips for weaving something (something sturdy, most are thick and long), or perhaps to make charcoal.

Midges were dancing over the garden table when I sat down to rest and listen to the birds, the first time I think I have seen that in December. The temperature today so mild here in Wales, perhaps 10 degrees (50 farenheit).

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