Sunday, 14 August 2011

2011 Moth Trap and BBQ

A couple of weeks ago we had some friends round to the woods for a night of moth trapping and identification. Before we got started though, it was a really nice day for butterflies too. Here's a Gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus):

DSC_8436 Gatekeeper

DSC_8423  Gatekeeper

and a Peacock (Inachis io):
DSC_8412 Peacock butterfly

Before we get on to the moths, there was also this mass of larvae of some sort, found in water that had collected in a wheelbarrow. Any ideas?

While we waited for it to get dark, there was plenty of time for a BBQ and sitting round the camp fire:

The new air supply into the fire pit is working very nicely now:

Here's a view along the pipe:

As dusk approached, we got the moth traps set up. Two of this design:

And this battery powered one which Rod had built - you can examine the moths in it without having to bend down, which is good if you have a bad back!

The other two ran off a generator, as they use 125W each!

Holly thought it would be good to try out the rope swing in the light of the moth trap, which was good fun!

Once a bit of time had passed, we went to check the traps. The light is very bright, so you get this typical posture where everyone has a hand out to block it:

Here's the moths then...

Rosy Footman (Miltochrista miniata)
DSC_8474 "rosy footman" "Miltochrista miniata"

Black Arches (Lymantria monacha)
DSC_8500 "Lymantria monacha" "black arches"

Two Black Arches together:
DSC_8561 "Lymantria monacha" "black arches"

Rosy Footman with Black Arches:
DSC_8511 Rosy Footman and Black Arches

Riband Wave (Idaea aversata)
DSC_8506 "Idaea aversata" "Riband Wave"

Drinker (Euthrix potatoria)
DSC_8516 "Euthrix potatoria" "drinker"

Poplar Grey (Acronicta megacephala)
DSC_8536 "Acronicta megacephala" "Poplar Grey"

One I'm not sure of, despite having a list of those ID'd! Any ideas?

Nut-tree Tussock (Colocasia coryli)
DSC_8545 "Colocasia coryli" "Nut-tree Tussock"
Scalloped Oak (Crocallis elinguaria)
DSC_8548 "Crocallis elinguaria" "Scalloped Oak"

Buff Ermine (Spilosoma luteum)
DSC_8554 "Spilosoma luteum" "Buff Ermine"

There were quite a lot more, but I didn't get photos of them all. You can see photos from past moth traps at our wood at these links:

2008 moth trap
2009 moth trap (starts with a great photo of Black Arches!)

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Saturday, 6 August 2011

42mph cycling down Battery Hill, Fairlight, East Sussex

I've been busy training for the London to Brighton bike ride that I'm doing in Sept, and yesterday I rode along the coats from Rye to Pett Level (about 9 miles) and from there through Fairlight and up Battery Hill to the coastguard station in Hastings Country Park. The main bit of the hill took me about 13 mins to cycle up - it's a similar size to to the Ditchling Beacon hill on the London-Brighton ride, which is why I'm training on it.

Of course the really fun bit is riding back down it at high speed, which is what this video is all about. I've filmed is using a GoPro camera attached to the forks. Enjoy:

and if you liked that, here's another video of different parts of the route, including other camera angles and some cygnets!

I also have a whole load of pictures from the wood from the past two weeks, hoping to catch up and blog them soon....


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Saturday, 23 July 2011

Building a firewood store - part 1

Last winter we just kept our logs under a tarpaulin, but this made access awkward and didn't allow a free flow of air so the wood could continue seasoning. However, it was all we had time for at that point. This summer we've been building a proper firewood store (or log store, if you prefer), although it has progressed quite slowly for various reasons. It's roughly based on the most recent store built up at the wood.

We started out by laying out a tarpaulin we'll use for one layer of the roof, to get the shelter about the right size:

DSC_7799 Building a firewood store

We already had some 8ft Sweet Chestnut stakes ready, so we brought them home and peeled them using a draw knife, which should make them more durable. They're a bit unwieldy to peel though!

DSC_7802 Building a firewood store

They're a lot harder to peel when they've dried out like these ones, but the upside is you create a huge amount of kindling!
DSC_8052 Building a firewood store

That old familiar tool, the post driver, came out again to start putting the stakes in their places.
DSC_7805 Building a firewood store

and before long there was one wall ready:
DSC_7807 Building a firewood store

Onto the next wall...
DSC_7911 Building a firewood store

After that, we'd used up the stakes we already had at home, so it was off to the wood to collect more, and also to look for a couple of long straight Sweet Chestnut stems to fell for the cross-beams.
DSC_8036 Building a firewood store

DSC_8038 Building a firewood store

We managed to reuse a lot of stakes from the past winter's cutting:
DSC_8042 Building a firewood store

Here's the cross beams. It would have been better if they'd been felled in winter, but we'd not made our plans for the store at that point. Chestnut felled in the summer can be less durable, but as these parts will be under cover once the store is complete I'm not too worried about that.
DSC_8043 Building a firewood store

In addition to the six main stakes to hold the roof up, there are shorter stakes in between them - this will allow us to weave branches between them to make walls that will keep the rain out while letting air pass through. We've also put a row of shorter stakes along the middle so we have two separate bays in the store - this comes in useful if you have older wood you want to burn first.
DSC_8049 Building a firewood store

So here it is with all of the stakes in. Looks a bit like Woodhenge might have done, only smaller!
DSC_8050 Building a firewood store

Next step is the cross beams, walls and roof, in Part 2.


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Monday, 18 July 2011

I'm doing the London - Brighton bike ride to raise money for charity

In September 2011 I'll be cycling from London to Brighton, along with hundreds of other people raising money for charity. I'll be doing it for Christians Against Poverty, who provide free debt counselling. They say:

"Christians Against Poverty is a national debt counselling charity working through a network of centres based in local churches. CAP offers hope and a solution to anyone in debt through its unique, in-depth service."
Their services are provided free of charge with no restriction on who is helped. They have helped literally thousands of people through one-to-one debt counselling and also money management courses, saving lives, marriages and homes and giving people hope. I've been volunteering with them to support the debt counselling work in our area, but I know they need to raise more money to expand their services to meet the pressing need as more people fall into debt. So that's why I'm going to cycle 54 miles - please sponsor me if you can!

You can do this at my JustGiving page, or in person if you're nearby.

Thanks, Mike

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