Monday, 23 September 2019

Summer in the woods

It's been a while since I wrote a blog, things have just been so hectic this summer... so now there's a lot to catch up on!

Let's start with the wildlife. We've had the trail camera set up deep in the woods, and I was delighted to find a Buzzard had landed in front of it (presumably just missed a squirrel or something?), and then took off!


Staying with birds, we'd left a nest box stored in our shelter, and some Great Tits decided to use it right where it was! When the youngsters fledged, one got stuck amongst the various things we have in there, but fortunately we were there at the time, and I rescued it to rejoin its family as they started moving around the woods:
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We've also had a pretty tame mouse taking interest in food dropped around our fire pit, so we put some nuts out to see if it would pose for a photo:
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This one is just weird - it's a Giant Horntail, several times the size of a normal wasp, but completely harmless - the dangerous-looking 'sting' is actually used to lay eggs inside pine trees. They'll struggle to find anywhere to lay though, they arrived on some Larch brought in for milling by a friend of ours in the wood next to ours.
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A less pleasing bit of wildlife is the squirrels, whose numbers seem to have exceeded the food supply again, judging by the damage done to this Hornbeam and other trees:
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The key project over the summer has been building our composting toilet. A day on my friend's sawmill yielded a useful pile of wood to build with:
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We'd not always milled both edges of the planks, to maximise width, so a bit of shaping with a draw knife was sometimes required.
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But pretty quickly a floor started to take shape:
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The next step was building a frame to support the 'bench' on which you would sit while using the toilet:
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This was then clad using planks for the top and off-cuts for the front:
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Walls were next, again using off-cuts where possible to help it blend in a bit with the surrounding trees:
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Here's one of the two cubicles finished, we've added a toilet seat to this, and at present a tarp over the front, as we still need to build a door...
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Finally, away from the woods, there's been some lovely days down at the coast, here's a couple of scenic photos from Pett Level and Winchelsea Beach:
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More alarming was a huge number of dead fish! But apparently this is normal - Mackerel literally chase the Whitebait out of the sea in a feeding frenzy...
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Finally, here's a great demo by Dungeness Lifeboat, showing how they land the boat at high tide - basically ramming the shore at over 20 knots!

Mike

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