Tuesday 30 December 2008

Ice, birds and coppicing

This morning it was cold. It's been cold for a few days. All the water we'd left at the wood was frozen. But, this is great for coppicing - the ground is firm, there's good light, it's not raining and it's not too hot. The cant we cut last winter doesn't get much sunlight at this time of year, and the frost has been accumulating:The ground was easily hard enough to drive all the way in and collect a load of logs to deliver at the end of the day, a rare treat for winter:
and the pond had partially frozen (the fact it has a spring probably keeps it a bit warmer):
We headed over to the path between the junction and the pond, where we're working at present:
As we entered the new clearing there, we realised we were surrounded by small birds that seemed to have moved in overnight. The birds we saw or heard included blue tits, great tits, goldcrests and nuthatches. Best of all, the tits were jumping around inside the dead hedge, just as we'd hoped. It's hard to see, but there's a great tit in the middle of this picture (inside the dead hedge), behind the twigs:
I got some other pictures too, but not of great quality (should have had spot-metering on, but didn't...). Here they are anyway though. First, a blue tit in an oak (it flew up there from the dead hedge to watch us when we arrived):
and then several of a juvenile goldcrest (they get their proper colours when they mature)
Anyway, we eventually got to coppicingLoads of people walked along the path today, which, although it stopped us working, was nice as we enjoyed chatting with them all as they passed through. We also had John, the retired local forester, come to visit - I've got some copies of old forestry photos he brought, I'll post them later. We're hoping to have him visit again soon and show us some of the techniques he used years ago, which we expect will be very useful for us.

The work's progressing nicely, there's not too much left to do between the junction and the pond now:
Some days it feels like we're making slow progress, but we have to remind ourselves that we're converting some of the wood to final products as we go along, and also stacking firewood logs ready for cutting in the summer.

There's a lot of light coming in now:
Can't wait to see what it'll be like when the sun gets higher in the sky...


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