The farmer is busy keeping our hedges in check and also mending the stone walls here and there. The former tend to get a bit tangled with brambles which do mean that sheep get entanged more and more until they just cannot escape; the sheep do also tend to knock down bits of stone wall. So, as Robert Frost so rightly said - Good fences make good neighbours and we don't want our always adventurous sheep to get over into next door's fields.
Once a year we have Mike, who arrives one day after the bird-nesting season is finished and trims all our hedges (mostly a mixture of hawthorn, blackberry, holly, ash and field maple) keeping them trim and also thick. Constant cutting every year does mean that they never get a chance to thin out, and the small birds (yellow hammer, chaffinch, hedge sparrow) can build their nests well-hidden from prying eyes.
But it would be a shame if the old-fashioned hedge laying art died out. The same applies to many of the old farming skills which disappeared with the advent of more and more modern machinery.
I came across an article today about The National Hedgelaying Society (Patron H R H The Prince of Wales), which is dedicated to keep the ancient art alive. My father-in-Law used to lay all of our hedges and it is still possible to see his handiwork along the base of most of the hedges around the farm. It is a time-consuming job and hard work to boot, but it would be a shame if it were to die out completely. So it is good to see and read that there are still enthusiasts of the art (and it certainly is an art) around.
Now all the bramble prunings have been gathered up and brought back to pile ready for a bonfire on a day when the wind is in the right direction. If it is a really cold day so much the better as it is lovely and warm standing close (at your front in any case even if your back is still freezing).