Friday, 29 August 2008

Slow worm, mushrooms and plants

We had a visit today from our friends Alex and Sarah, who are in the process of buying a wood near ours, which is very exciting for us and them! We had a walk round our wood, and also round theirs, and on the way saw our first slow worm:
It was a male, as it had some blue spots, although these are not always present:
One of the differences between a snake and a slow worm is that the slow worm's tongue is notched rather than forked: Like some other lizards the slow worm has the bizarre ability to detach its tail if it's caught, growing a new one later. This is called autotomy.

We saw a huge variety of fungi in the woods. Sorry, no names, just some interesting pictures:

Tracy also took a quick photo survey of some of the new plants growing in the cant of coppice we cut last winter in addition to those already covered. These are all new this year, since we cut the coppice - we may ID some of them when they flower.
This last one's interesting, as it's moss growing on the site of one of our brash fires from last winter. I guess the fire killed any seeds in the ground there, and the moss has been the first plant to move back in. The new plants have also brought new insects with them, such as dragonflies, and this ladybird:
We also delivered the firewood we'd split and loaded yesterday:
The customer was only just off our route to the wood, so that avoided any extra fuel use. This is always important with wood fuel as it's bulky, so energy used in transport can quickly offset the energy value of the wood.

We're up there again tomorrow to do a bit more work and also have more visitors. It's meant to rain from Sunday, and I'm working five days next week, so we want to make the most of tomorrow!


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