Thursday, August 31, 2006

Nature cures

Apples in the Tamar Valley:

Upstream from Cotehele Quay, in his 10-year-old orchard of local varieties, all labelled with names and provenance, James has summer-pruned the cherries, looking forward to a mature orchard of overarching boughs. Some have already developed distinctive shapes above their lichen-encrusted trunks. Speckled wood butterflies flutter beneath the Queens apple tree, over ground strewn with fallen red fruit, and the beauty of Cornwall is laden with pale yellow apples streaked with scarlet. In readiness for the visit of a group of 40 Belgian fruit enthusiasts, sward has been topped, contrasting with sheltering boundary hedges, all thick with reddening hawthorn berries, hazel nuts, blue sloes, blackberries, elderberries and late-flowering honeysuckle.

Wolves are back in Germany:

The wolves, who arrived from Poland or other neighbouring countries, live in a largely vacant area of abandoned strip mines and vacated troop training grounds southeast of Berlin.…Other species, like the crane and the white-tailed eagle have also flourished in the east as the human population decreases. "The wolves were gone for over 100 years and first started coming back a while after the Berlin Wall fell," said Matthias Freude of the Brandenburg state environmental office…"They swam across the Neise river or walked across the ice in winter," he added. "There are hardly any people left there now."

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