Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Woodland fungi and clearing the paths

The mushrooms are back!

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Looks like it's going to be a good autumn for fungi, with them starting out like this in September:
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At last, one I recognise! A Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria):
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I'd heard slugs ate fungi, but this is the first time I've caught them in the act, munching on a Brown roll-rim here:
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My parents have been visiting, so we did some clearing of overgrown paths in Sweep Wood:
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This bit's turned into a tree-tunnel, and after just five summers of growth!
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Just a few years ago it looked like this!
Felling large Sycamore

We also cut back the regrowth on the stump of a big roadside Sycamore which we had taken down a few years ago - no chance we want this one growing back up again!
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Looking forward to getting started with some coppicing soon...

Mike

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Sunday, 14 September 2014

Sunset in Rye Harbour

Yesterday saw a beautiful sunset in Rye Harbour Nature Reserve:

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We'd been having a walk around the lakes and the beach, and timed it just right coming back! The lakes look completely different to a couple of months ago. Back then, they looked like this:
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Now, the water level is higher and all the gulls are gone, leaving the lakes to ducks, such as these Mallards:
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And also some Little Egrets, which were busy fishing:
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It's much quieter now, without the gulls and their chicks - but I'm sure they'll be back next Spring!

Mike

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Monday, 1 September 2014

A walk on Beachy Head

Last Friday we went to visit Beachy Head - not sure why it took us so long, we've lived down here for some years now! We drove to the visitor centre and pub (which does a nice lunch) at the top, and walked over to the cliff:

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They're not joking about the cliff edge...

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Being 500ft above the sea, whilst also being almost at the edge of it, makes for some great views, to Eastbourne and beyond to the east:

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To the south, some weird ocean currents (see the diagonal line in the water, from bottom left to centre) and nice shadows of clouds on the sea:
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And the well-known lighthouse to the west:
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It's a stunning place to visit, shame it has a darker side as a suicide spot. But at least the Chaplaincy Team there is doing a good job.
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Going west along the coast from Beachy Head you come to Seven Sisters country park, which is also worth a visit - we walked along the west side of the Cuckmere river:
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Before long, the river reaches the sea...
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And you're rewarded with a nice shingle beach with a few houses perched on cliff tops:
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On the walk between the main road and the sea, we saw more Herons in half an hour than we ever have in one place before!
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There was also the bizarre sight of a Heron and several Little Egrets perched in trees, preening themselves! It's strange to see a bird usually found wading in water up a tree...
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We walked back along the other side of the trees, and I was able to get a closer shot of one of the Little Egrets:
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There were also lots of other birds, including dozens of Swallows - I was pleased to get a photo of one of them, though it took about 20 shots to get this one mediocre picture!
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If you've not been, the area is well worth a visit - there's more info here.

Mike

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Thursday, 7 August 2014

Winter firewood all prepared

The winter's firewood is now ready! It only took us 5-6 hours to fill the remaining half of our store at the woods, using the new equipment we now have. Step one was to load the seasoned wood into the arbor trolley:

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Next, wheel the trolley round to a suitable location and then the wood and be quickly transferred to the Truncator a few pieces at a time:

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Position a wheelbarrow and cut off any long bits poking off the end of the Truncator:

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Then move along and use the chainsaw to cut through the gaps in the Truncator:

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Push the wheelbarrow along and tip the logs in (in practice Tracy was pushing the barrow while I tipped them):

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Then take the wheelbarrow to the nearby log store and stack the logs - Tracy was doing this while I was loading the next batch of wood into the Truncator and sawing it - we had two wheelbarrows so we could both keep busy.


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We got most of it done in an afternoon, then popped up the next morning for a couple of hours to finish the job:

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There was still a bit of space in the log store at home, so after stowing the bench in the trailer, we mounted the Truncator on the side of it and loaded some more logs:

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Then followed exactly the same process as before, but with the logs ending up in the trailer:

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As the Truncator was securely strapped down, we were able to just drive off when we were done, and sort everything out when we got home. Nice to have that job finished! :-)

Mike

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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Shelter building in the woods

Last weekend I went to help a friend build a shelter in his woods, so he has a space to store the basics when he visits to manage the woodland this coming winter. We started by using a post driver to bang in some stakes:

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Then attached cross-beams to these:
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Everything up to this point had been Sweet Chestnut, but at this point a bit of purchased sawn timber was used:
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The final step was to nail on some roof panels he'd bought, and use some recycled desk tops to make the walls:
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There's a plan to 'clad' it with some dead branches to improve the aesthetics, but at least there's something to keep the rain off a few odds and ends now!

After the work, we rewarded ourselves with a dinner round a camp fire...
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It was really good to be able to apply some of what I'd learned by building our own shelters in the past, of which there've been several versions...

Mike


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