Saturday, 6 February 2010

Hello from Pete and Tom

I'm busy visiting the shortlisted applicants for the Ashden Awards at the moment, so I've not been getting up to the wood very much. So, in the absence of any woodland photos, here's a couple of videos of Pete and Tom, our cockatiels.

Pete can be very demanding sometimes - in this video Tracy's working, but Pete thinks she should stop to preen his feathers. Eventually he gives up trying to distract her and goes to do the preening himself...


And in this video, he's just showing off and singing!

Mike

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Sunday, 31 January 2010

Frosty days

It's been frosty for a couple of days here now, so we took advantage of that today by going and collecting a couple of loads of logs for customers. Yesterday though, we went to the wood just to have a walk around in the sunshine. We wandered up the wayleave and over the hill, and I was pleased to get one of my closest photos of a blue tit yet:
We were surprised to see a flock of 4 - 500 wood pigeons - we often see 5-10 together, but not normally this many. Here's a few of them:
The other strange thing in the wayleave was this:
Quite rare for a coppice! Some kind of spruce we think, but we'd have to go back with an ID book to be sure.

We topped up the bird feeder of course, and sat down to watch the resident coal tits come to feast on it:We noticed one of them sitting in the 2-year old coppice, apparently pecking at the stem. I had no idea what he was up to until I got home and looked at the photo properly - he's got a sunflower seed between his feet!
I spotted him again a minute later doing the same thing, but this time up an oak tree:He wasn't the only bird interested in the food, there were several nuthatches as well - I think this is the first time we've seen more than one at the same time.
They normally like to look for food up in the trees:
But this one couldn't resist coming to grab something down at ground level:
Of course, there are some less welcome visitors:
but we soon chased them off!

Mike

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Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Woodfairs UK

Woodlands.co.uk have just sponsored a new website, called woodfairs.co.uk. Through the site, we aim to link to all the woodfairs in the UK. If you are looking for a woodfair in your area, or would like to promote one, use http://www.woodfairs.co.uk/

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Saturday, 23 January 2010

A damp visit to the wood

It's been pretty murky weather for days now, but as we were both feeling a bit better, we decided to drive up the wood and take a walk around anyway. It was worth it to get this photo!
It only lasted for 10 seconds, then 5 or 6 Coal Tits came down to chase the Robin, although they ended sharing the food we'd put out amicably after that. I'm not sure what's up with the Coal Tit's eye, it looks like it has something stuck there, or else a growth of some kind - poor thing! We've put up a new bird feeder there now, which is more squirrel proof:
although the birds that can get in have to do some contortions:
Some of them prefer to perch on the nearby pile of sticks, hopping down to the ground to get the food we spilled.
We walked around the wood a bit, and found large areas up the hill where the boar have been rustling through the leaves looking for food. It may not look like much in the picture below, but there is actually quite a lot of disturbance:
Not sure if we'll go up tomorrow, we'll have to see what the weather's like...

Mike

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Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Flu

I've had flu, and Tracy seems to be developing it, hence the lack of news on our blog... Especially frustrating as there's only a few trees left to deal with in Sweep Wood before we can well and truly say we're done for this winter. I've even just had a length of steel rope delivered to use with a winch for felling some of them, but it'll have to sit waiting in the garage for now...

Mike

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Monday, 11 January 2010

Woodgas Outdoor Fireplace review

Some time ago I posted a review of the Woodgas Campstove we use for cooking in the wood. Well, now I've got another video - this time of its big brother, the Woodgas Outdoor Fireplace:The fireplace works on exactly the same principle as the campstove, with a fan drawing air in through the holes round the outside of the base, and injecting a small amount through holes in the base of the combustion chamber:The limited amount of air, combined with the heat of the fire, results in the wood being gasified, to produce a mixture of carbon monoxide, methane and hydrogen (known as woodgas), which is then ignited when it reaches the much larger airflow coming in through the holes in the top (don't worry, all the CO is burned, no risk from the woodgas):There are a few small differences between the fireplace and the campstove. The campstove had two power sockets - high and low - and ran from a pair of AA batteries. The fireplace can take a 9-12V supply, so can run directly from a lead-acid battery, or eight smaller batteries in a pack. However, it is supplied with a mains adaptor, as many people will be using it in the garden, hopefully to replace one of the nasty fossil-fuel burning patio heaters! The fan in the stove only uses 2W of power, while the heat from the stove can reach 16kW! The fireplace also has a knob to vary the airflow, although you'll normally only use anything less than maximum while lighting it.
The fireplace also has handles added to the side. These stayed cool even after an hour of operation, allowing you to move the stove (carefully!) after you've unplugged it without waiting for it to cool down.
Anyway, here it is full of fuel and ready to go. A full load of fuel should burn for an hour and a half, and you can top it up (gradually) while it is burning.Just before we get to the video, here's a few photos of it in action:
nice, eh? Well, without further ado, here's the video on how to use one:


If you want to buy one, go to woodgasstove.co.uk

Mike

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Woodland snow scenes

With all the snow there's been over the past week, there's been some great opportunities to get pictures in the wood, so here they are.

The wayleave:
The footpath, running along the border of Smock and Sail Wood:
Various views in Chestnut Coppice:
And over in Sweep Wood, we got pictures of the sign on Friday and Sunday - look at the difference!
The tracks are deep with snow - up to six inches in places:
We did a lot of bird feeding:
We waited around one of the feeding stations, and were quickly rewarded by ravenous birds - I got pictures of a Great Tit, a female Blackbird and a Nuthatch:
The snow is slowly thawing now, but we'll keep feeding the birds until its gone.

Mike

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