Friday, 1 February 2008

A peaceful day in the wood

We got in a couple of hours at the wood today, between stopping work early and sunset. For a change we didn't take the chainsaw, and had a peaceful time burning brash and felling small trees with loppers and bowsaw. It was beautiful weather to be up there, though some parts of the UK are in blizzard conditions right now!

Our wood today:

Northumberland today (image from BBC):

A while back I wrote a post on pollarding, and showed how we were leaving longer stumps on some of the coppice stools. Well, here's a picture of an old stool where the stumps have been left long - this is what we're trying to achieve, though it will take many years to get like this:

Walking along the footpath at the eastern edge of our wood we stopped at this holly tree, which is actually growing on the other side of the path, in Grist Wood:
The interesting thing about holly is it has polymorphic leaves. Near the ground, where animals might eat them, they are spiky:
while higher up they are not:
and yes, before you ask, the leaves are definitely from the same tree! :-)

We had a quick walk round our wood, and also Sweep Wood, just to check for any wind damage, but all was OK. We did find some fresh boar activity though. In Chestnut Coppice we could see patches of disturbed leaves where some light browsing had been going on, and in Sweep Wood there was a freshly dug hole, which you can see just behind the straight pale trunk on the right:
and clearly wasn't there in the photo I took a week ago:
Here's a close-up of the hole:

We also had our second sighting of something strange growing on a dead branch. I think it's a lichen of some sort:

Tomorrow we're in the wood all day coppicing, and we're expecting to see our neighbour Colin too, who'll hopefully get some good photos for his blog.

Meanwhile, back at the house, Pete and Tom have a new rope on their cage, which allows them to go underneath the platform. Here they are trying it out, after they've got over their initial terror of a new thing appearing:

And here they are saying their prayers before dinner, though they aren't closing their eyes properly!

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