Just a few odds and ends from last week....
The coppicing is going well, though we think that we may not get the whole strip we are working on done this winter, in which case we'll go as far as we can and cut it next winter as well. One of the big things that takes time is the fact that there's so much Hazel, which takes a lot longer to process than Chestnut. Tracy's been spending a lot of time with loppers and a billhook working on it:
Looking back up the hill, there's a nice big area opening up now:
One of the Hazel stools felled last week was leaning over Francis' farmyard next door. I felled the trees into it, and left him the logs, while he kindly disposed of the brash. You can see the trees to the right of this picture:
and here they are gone:
In other parts of the wood, Tracy's been converting old milk bottles into tree guards for oak regeneration:
and the pond is filling back up with the recent rain:
The rain has also prompted ever more fungi to fruit:
Sorry I don't know their names...
That's all for now. We're working in the wood for a couple of days this week, then I have to go back to the day job full time for a few weeks...
Sunday, 25 October 2009
Just a few odds and ends from last week....
A neighbour gave us a photo of Sweep Wood from 16 years ago, taken in the summer after it was last coppiced. Hopefully this gives us a taste of how it will look in the near future. For comparison, here's a photo of it before we started this autum:
Here's one after a couple of weeks work:
And here's the one from 1993/4:
Friday, 23 October 2009
Wednesday, 21 October 2009
Tuesday, 20 October 2009
Just a general update on progress over the last couple of days...
We've been felling the trees on the border with our neighbour's yard. Most of these need roping to pull them back into the wood, and some are pretty awkward. We treated this tangled bunch of five stems as a unit, roping them all together and putting felling cuts into all of them:
With them out of the way the gap has opened up, and our neighbour's geese seemed to enjoy the sunlight - they're round a pond behind the fence you can see.
On the other side is a Cherry tree which we're mostly leaving as it is, because some of it is an excellent dead-wood habitat. However, there was one branch which would create too much shade over the coppice, so it came down:
Meanwhile Tracy was busy battling with Hazel, some of it really tangled, like this stool which has mixed itself up with a Holly:
Our reliable old brash fire had been burning for 15 days continuously, but it was time to move it. Fortunately this is pretty easy - you just collect up the embers in a shovel, move them to a new site and add dry wood:
A neighbour of ours who's done some coppicing in the wood behind their house turned up yesterday with the vehicle they're using to extract the produce to the wayleave, and I couldn't resist having a quick look at it:
It's pretty neat, and he added the box on the front himself - it has an extending rack to help it carry timber. While down in the wayleave I snapped a picture of this Brown Roll-rim:
The fungi have really gone crazy in the past week, after the dry summer we had down here followed by the recent rain.
The last job up at the work site was to convert some of the chestnut we felled last week into benches. These will come in handy while we're working there, especially when there's visitors, and we plan to leave them there for walkers to enjoy the view as the coppice re-grows next summer. All you need to do is use the chainsaw to plane off one side of a log:
then turn it over and cut some wide notches:
then the top sits on a couple of shorter logs:
It does look a bit lop-sided, but that's the uneven ground I think.
We're meant to be in the woods for the next few days, but the weather's not looking great so we might be finding some jobs that need doing at home. We'll have to wait and see what it's like in the morning...
Monday, 19 October 2009
On Saturday our friends Phil and Liz visited, giving us the welcome excuse to have a day in the woods without any work to do! Not that that meant nobody was working - Phil and Liz had to help chop up some fuel for the stove to cook lunch!
They also tried out Tracy's new log-splitting device that she picked up at the wood fair last month. I'll do a video at some point which will make the operation clearer, but basically you place the bottom section where you want the split:
then shove the top section down hard:
Phil tried the more traditional method of splitting logs too...
After lunch we wandered round the wood looking at stuff and collecting chestnuts
Between us we probably had a couple of kilos, some of which we roasted on a fire in the afternoon. We also saw lots of fungi over in Sweep Wood. Not sure what these first three are:
but these are the well-known Fly Agaric, of which there must have been 30 or 40!
Once back at the camp it was time to roast chestnuts and toast marshmallows.
and sit around chatting while Phil made himself a 'talking stick' he's hoping to use at work:
After a bit of persuasion Liz had a go at whittling a stick too, and found it's a very addictive activity!
All in all a good day, relaxing and fun. Sunday was back to work, but more on that later...
Friday, 16 October 2009
Robin came to help this week. He thought he'd try using the maul to help us split logs, but he found his feet weren't big enough to grip the handle...
So he though he'd pose for some photos instead.
He's really enjoying having us here, as we're disturbing lots of bugs that he's eating. A moth flew out of a branch Tracy moved and Robin had that within two seconds, and under one of the log racks he found a worm to eat too! He gave us a few good songs too. We like having him around :-)