Monday 21 July 2008

Shelter building and a nuthatch

I was off work yesterday, and Tracy didn't need to work all day, so in the afternoon we headed up to the wood, and decided to make a start on the improved shelter we've been planning for some time. The shelter's needed to store our tools for woodland management and a few other odds and ends that need to be kept dry - the current shelter isn't great, as when the tarpaulin's down it gets condensation underneath, and stuff gets wrecked.

The first step was to mortise some holes in the logs for the base. This is done using the chainsaw to bore holes, as shown below. You must be careful when doing this, as there is a risk of kickback, and I wouldn't recommend anyone to do it without proper training. The basic idea is that you start the cut with the underside of the nose of the bar (which won't cause kickback):
and push in, cutting a slot:
Once the slot is formed you can rotate the saw to the vertical without the risk of kickback because it is contained by the slot:
then you just let the weight of the saw take it through the wood:
do this three more times:
and then you can pop out the block you've cut, leaving a square hole behind:
Tracy cleared an area while I carried the logs down:
and laid them out in the rough shape we want:
The smaller poles to fit into the mortises needed trimming down a bit:
We used a draw knife initially for this:
but found that some needed quite a bit cut off, so used the chainsaw - not as neat, but about 100 times quicker, literally! No photos of that though, as Tracy was holding the logs while I cut them.

Here it is all fitted together:
The next job is to put bolts through each corner to secure the poles, and then start making the roof section in a similar way.

After the jobs we wandered off to the pond. From what we've been told the egg we found is probably from a wood pigeon, as it's white and would have been about 4cm long when intact. Also, we know there are wood pigeons around, so that makes it more likely.
I'm taking a few pictures of how the rides look, so we can compare next summer after we've coppiced the edges of them:
At present there's a massive transition from dark to light when you come into the area we've coppiced:
There's something new on the ground - the flowers from the chestnut trees. Hopefully this means there'll be some chestnuts to eat this autumn, and also an end to hayfever!
Just before we left, our attention was caught by a tapping noise high up in the trees. After standing and watching for a bit we spotted the source - a nuthatch! It was hard to get good photos as it was a long way up, so I've had to crop these down a lot, but they're the best ones we've got so far of one, and in it's natural habitat too:
The nuthatch was searching for things to eat in the chestnut, which was interesting as I'd assumed the oak would have been a better food source. Perhaps there's something crawling up and down the trunks...

Finally, here's a patch of the flattened area in the wayleave where we're trying to keep the bracken down to create a parking and timber storage area. We tried raking back the bracken debris, figuring that it would be preventing other plants getting started. Sure enough, here's the patch a week or so later, with grass sprouting:
That's all for now, we're going up again this evening to try and see the badgers! Also, Steve from Butterfly Conservation is coming to run a moth trap session in the wayleave, to survey what's there, so we'll be letting him in and seeing how it works.


UPDATE: links to posts on building the shelter:

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