Saturday, 6 December 2008

Meeting of the coppicers

Friday was the day we met on the path! The stretch I've been coppicing joined up with Tracy's, meeting under the holly tree. The last tree to come down in Tracy's stretch was this one:
You can see the holly tree in the distance, and beyond that the newly opened ride, with just dead wood left standing (where possible). There's about 100m coppiced now.

We also had a fire going on the edge of the cant we cut last winter, burning up the brash left over from last weekend and the school visit.
This had the added advantage of providing a ready source of hot embers to get the fire for lunch going.You can't beat a hot lunch while working in the wood in cold weather, and even better cooking it on wood instead of fossil fuel. One trick we've picked up when cooking curry, as we did on Friday, is to add the rice straight into it with some water. OK, it means your food is ready mixed, but it means you only need one pot cooking instead of two.

On Thursday we'd also tried cleaving some of the freshly felled birch in 2m lengths, it worked quite nicely:The idea is that by splitting it long it will stack easily while drying, and then I can saw it up in the rack we stack it in, as I did with the chestnut recently.

Now the first straight of the footpath is coppiced, Tracy's continuing on from where she was while I've jumped ahead so as to be a safe distance while felling. The area I've moved to is where the public path meets the ride that passes through our wood:
As with any part of the wood, it has some unique properties that must be taken account of, such as some young oaks. They don't look like much, be we will be taking care not to damage them during felling so that they get the chance to have a few years head start on the coppice regrowing. Here's one that's a few inches across:
and here's another much younger (the small one nearest to the camera):
It's good to see this natural regeneration going on, I just hope they don't get eaten by squirrels, as happened in one of our friend's woods.

Another interesting thing in this area is the large amount of moss on some of the coppice stools. There's at least four types on this one stool!
We'll be cutting these high to allow the moss to continue to grow.

Here's the progress from the first couple of hours at my new spot, just clearing brash and breaking in, creating a space to fell the larger trees into:

It's been dry for a few days now, so we're planning to take the trailer up and collect some more firewood for our customers tomorrow.


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