Saturday, 26 January 2008

Spring coming early?

We saw all kinds of life in the wood yesterday. As soon as we'd parked inside the gate, and got out the car, we heard a rather strange noise coming from the among the grass and brambles. As we peered into them we got a glimpse:
As we edged closer we got a better view:
And realised it was two male pheasants fighting:
Then they decided that humans were a greater risk than stopping the fight, and did a runner:
Just a short distance up the wayleave, we found a huge number of prints, which we think were from deer, but feel free to correct us if we're wrong!

There'd been similar activity at our pond, which was trampled:
The prints looked like deer again:
although there was also evidence of boar activity in the last few days just a few metres away, in the wood the side of the footpath:
There's also a lot of plant life springing up, including new growth on patches of moss, especially in the area we've coppiced so far:
There's also what we think are bluebells sprouting all over the place, including in the middle of the rides:
And of course, the honeysuckle is getting an early start in, before the leaves are on the trees:
We're pulling bits of honeysuckle whenever we can be bothered though - a certain amount of it in the wood is OK, and even good for wildlife, but it can also smother young trees, so you need to keep an eye on where it's growing. For example, check out this picture from an earlier post where it was smothering a young oak, right at the start of our coppicing:

OK, time for some update pictures on our progress. Just for a remainder, here's how
it looked at the start:
And here's how it looks now:
The last one of those three is looking back towards the entrance from the edge of where we've coppiced to so far. Before we started you could see through this bit, it was so dense!

Oh, and here's what happens if you misjudge how a twisted log will roll and flex while you're cutting it:
It's something you try and avoid, but it inevitably happens occasionally. The solution is to lift the log in such a way that the cut opens up and frees the saw. A lot easier with two people than on your own!

I though it would be interesting to make a few videos of different tree felling techniques. So, for starters, here's me making a standard felling cut, then using a felling lever to give the tree a push at the end. It takes about 45 seconds from starting the saw to the tree falling:


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