Saturday, 26 November 2011

Lots of tree felling videos! (CS32 chainsaw course)

Well, I've been busy editing videos from the CS32 chainsaw course I was on this week, so put them full-screen, turn up the sound and sit back...

First, felling an oak tree that then gets hung up, and how it is taken down by severing some of the hinge:

Here's the slow-motion reply of the bit where several trees knock each other over - this is why everyone's meant to be two tree lengths away...

Using the Tirfor winch to assist in felling of an oak:

Felling a forward leaning oak, using retaining wood to hold it until the last moment:

Using a winch to roll a hung up tree so it falls safely:

All the training was delivered by David Rossney of Esus Forestry Training.


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Tuesday, 22 November 2011

CS32 Medium Tree Felling chainsaw course - felling oaks

I've had some time off work this week to do the CS32 Felling Medium Trees (380-760mm) chainsaw course. Our instructor is David Rossney of Esus Forestry Training - Tracy and I did the coppice harvesting efficiency course with him a few years ago too. Basically, after this course, and exam, I'll be qualified to fell trees up to 30" diameter.

There's some felling videos to come in a moment, but first a few pictures. We've been learning about properly removing the buttresses of the trees:


How to make an accurate gob cut when the tree is wider than the chainsaw bar:

and also about high-lift felling wedges:

and how to use them:


OK, here's a quick video showing just the highlights (i.e. trees falling) from day 1:

If you'd like to see the whole process, and what happens on the CS32 course, here's me felling a tree:

More videos in a new post here...


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Monday, 21 November 2011

Rye 1950s Classic Car Cruise

Many strange things happen in Rye... Yesterday dozens of 1950s cars and trucks cruised through the town and then parked up for us all to look at! Here's a video, and some photos: The highlight is probably the batmobile!


P1090093 Batmobile!




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Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Wilderness First Aid course with Emergency Life Support Team

This weekend Tracy and I both went on a brilliant 'wilderness first aid' course run by Emergency Life Support Team, which was run in a woodland near Hastings. Our main instructor was Andy Sullivan, who has years of experience in the emergency services and is eminently qualified to teach people to save lives.


He was also assisted by Ali, whose speciality was setting up realistic incidents for us to train on - here she is with some self-inflicted 'injuries':


Peter joined us too on the second day, to act as a patient and also give us advice from the perspective of someone with police experience. Here he is, suffering from a shooting-related eye 'injury':

Andy actually prefers to call it a 'First Responder' course, rather than first aid. This is because he's encountered a public perception that 'first aid' is about plasters and bandages, when in fact what he's covering in the course is more about the serious life-threatening conditions we might encounter. We did of course cover minor injuries, but the main focus was on learning what to do with the more serious situations and gaining confidence through practice.

The first day was taken up with a few hours of teaching, though this included practical stuff like doing CPR on a dummy, seeing how an automatic defibrillator works and putting someone in the recovery position:

We also did some other practical bits that focused on dealing with injuries that occurred in isolated locations where you might need to move the casualty while waiting for help, such as improvising splints:

And making stretchers out of two poles with two coats:

or even a blanket folded over - the friction keeps it in place:


We also covered opening a person's airway, and rather than mess around with a dummy, Andy laid down and simulated a closed airway for us to practice with. We used both the normal method:

and the 'jaw thrust' method, which is harder to explain but much easier to actually do, and can also be used in situations where spinal injury is possible, as it can be combined with immobilising the head and neck:

Pretty quickly we moved onto situations that were more demanding - usually in terms of deciding what to do, rather than anything technical. For example, you wouldn't normally remove a motorbike helmet - but what if the patient's airway is blocked? We therefore looked at techniques to remove a helmet with minimum risk if this is unavoidable:

The second day was mostly taken up with scenarios - initially with our instructors doing the acting, and later with us splitting into teams and setting up scenarios for each other. Here's some examples:

Heart attack - where the hard thing is feeling useless, as there's not much to actually do once the ambulance is called and the patient made comfortable:

An injury from a branch falling onto a polesaw operator:

A stabbing - with the security risks that brings:

A car accident, with neck/head immobilisation required and a broken bone:


The car crash one was made more difficult by the vehicle 'catching fire' which then made it necessary to get the patients out:

We then got onto setting up our own scenarios. Tracy fancied a chainsaw wound to the arm:


while Holly thought a leg wound and being trapped under a tree was good:


We had another car crash too, and in this one Carl was a dead body under the vehicle, where he wasn't seen until at least 5 mins into the rescue - another lesson there!

Holly and Tracy both had head wounds for this one as well:



There was even a spare arm knocking around that Holly wanted to pose with:

Anyway, the important point is that only about 1 in 50 people in the UK actually have the training to be a first responder, and if more of us were then lives would be saved. The two most important aspects of this course for me were the professional instruction and the experience gained through acted-out scenarios, and I'd thoroughly recommend anyone to go on a course like this. Just to give it another plug, here's the website:

Of course, the bonus was that we also got to spend two days outdoors in the woods as well! :-)


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Sunday, 13 November 2011

Rye Fawkes 2011

Here's a video of this year's Rye Fawkes procession, and the full firework display. Enjoy...


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Sunday, 6 November 2011

Building a firewood store: part 2

Picking up from part 1, which ended with the firewood store at this stage:

DSC_8050 Building a firewood store

The next job was to put some cross beams on top of the stakes, but first we had to peel them:

This actually makes quite a mess, so we decided we'd peel the roof slats at the wood before bringing them home.

Anyway, after peeling, the chestnut cross beams were a really nice white colour, though that quickly fades.

The cross beams were then drilled and nailed onto the stakes, ready to hold up the roof slats.
DSC_8130 Firewood shelter

Here's a pile of slats for the roof, which we've cleaved from chestnut poles and then peeled:

We got them home using the roof bars on the car, which have proved very useful.

Before long, the roof was taking shape...
DSC_8131 Firewood shelter


We also brought back a lot of hazel poles:


These were then woven between the stakes to make walls that will keep rain out while letting air pass through so that the wood can keep drying over time:
DSC_8132 Firewood shelter

Going back to the roof slats though - the ends were often too thick to easily drill through to nail them down, so we used a side axe to shape each one of them:


This then left thinner ends that were much easier to work with:

DSC_8314 Firewood shelter

OK, so here's the roof with all the slats on, and Tracy working on the final wall:
DSC_8375 Firewood shelter

Inside it looks like this, with pallets used for the floor - this will keep the logs off the ground, and allow air to pass underneath, so stopping them from getting damp and rotting:
DSC_8379 Firewood shelter

The store is actually separated into two bays by some shorter stakes, and we just zip-tied some more pallets to these to make a wall. The purpose of this is so that we can empty one bay first, then it can be refilled while the other bay is being used. This will make sure we are always burning hte oldest wood first.

Here's an overhead view:
DSC_8383 Firewood shelter

And here it is with tarpaulins on the top:
DSC_8564 Firewood shelter

These are just zip-tied down:

DSC_8568 Firewood shelter

But then over the top of them went some roofing felt - and I also proved the roof is quite strong. You'll notice we ran out of hazel, and used some old fence panels to finish the wall on one side.


So here it is finished, with lots of logs stored. We've used pieces of perspex we had spare to add some more rain protection at the front, though I don't think they're really needed as the roof overhangs quite a bit.
DSC_8992 Firewood shelter

We've been using wood out of the store for a few weeks now, and it's proved much better than the pile under a tarpaulin that we had to use last year!


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