Monday 28 September 2009

Cath in the woods

This is a guest post by my sister Cath, who was helping us in the woods today...
We travelled to the wood in the land rover. It made me and Tracy laugh because it was bouncing around on the bumps.
It even blurred the pictures sometimes!
First, I loaded logs into the trailer with Tracy, for Mike to sell to a customer later on.
While I did that, Mike and Dad fixed the pond. It started like this:
They built a dam from logs:
Then they dug out the pond, and put the mud on the dam:
Here it is finished - now it needs to rain!After filling the trailer, Tracy and I set up some tree guards for small oak trees:
We used old milk bottles to make the guards:
The guards will stop rabbits and deer from eating the little trees.

Then it was lunchtime.
After lunch we went to Mum and Dad's bit of the wood, where Mike and Tracy are going to work this autumn. We did coppicing, cutting down trees so that they will grow back again next year.
Tracy's friend Penny helped as well:
Dad cut the stems on this Hazel:
then Mike helped finish it with the chainsaw:
Mike also had to chainsaw an Ash tree that fell over last year, to bring it down to the ground:
While Mike was doing this he found part of an old bike!
The last job was to collect some poles for making stakes. Tracy and I collected them and sawed them to make the right length:
Mike sharpened them with the chainsaw:
and I helped carry them up the hill:
I was pleased to have worked hard in the wood, and I'm looking forward to going there again on Wednesday. Finally, a quick message to Emma, Katie, Pippa and the staff: "Look forward to seeing you on Thursday"


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Saturday 26 September 2009

Back to the woods...

Last weekend was the first time in what seems like ages that I actually got up to the woods. Tracy was still at Bentley Woodfair, so I cycled up and did a few odd jobs and walked around to see what's happening there. I found this cool fungi growing in a ride:
I think it's an Orange Birch Bolete, but I' not confident enough to eat it...

A little further along was this leaf hanging from from some spider silk:
Nothing odd about that - but this one was actually anchoring the bottom of a spider web! I guess the spider made the web while the leaf was still up the tree, and has carried on using it now it is dangling.

A couple of other things - the spring has dried up this summer, and this is all that's left of the pond right now:
However, this gives us an opportunity to dig it out a bit.

The other thing is the squirrels are very much in evidence:
My parents are visiting for a few days now, so we'll be up in the woods and I'll have more to write about.


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Woodfuel workshop

Although I've not been writing many posts here, I have been busy over on the Ashden Awards blog writing one about a woodfuel workshop I went to last week at the Bentley Woodfair, with lots of pictures and videos of woodfuel processing going on.


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Friday 11 September 2009

2-year old using a chainsaw

Our 2-year old nephew loves watching videos of us using the chainsaws, so much so that he sometimes calls me "Mike Chainsaw". So, when we saw this chainsaw at a boot sale, we just had to get it for him...

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Isle of Man

There's been something of a lack of posts on the blog recently, as we've both been busy with work and non-work stuff. I was away last weekend visiting my friends Jon and Polly in the Isle of Man. In order to limit CO2 emissions, I decided I should go by train and ferry, combining a visit to my parents, rather than flying... but the ferry crossing on the way over was rough (force 7-8 wind), and I discovered I get sea sick! Fortunately it was calmer coming back, and I took some tablets as well. Anyway, here's the pictures...

Here's the ship that made me sick - I got a different one on the way back across:
and here's the bay at Douglas on the Isle of Man:
and looking out the other way at dawn, from Jon and Polly's house (I was up early to catch the ferry):
There's some really nice countryside there, with rugged coastlines:
and bigger hills than I get to see in Sussex:
It also rains more there than it does in Sussex, but we got enough dry weather to go out and see some places. Here's some pictures of the Great Laxey Wheel, which is an impressive bit of engineering. The wheel is 22m across and weighs about 600 tonnes.
The wheel drove a crank, which push a wooden beam about 100m long back and forth:
at the other end of the beam was the mine entrance, where the beam used to drive the pumps to keep the mine dry:
There's a lot of old wrecked buildings and machinery there too:
We walked into the hills and had a look at the remains of Snaefell mine as well:
We also went out to the coast and saw some seals, but I didn't get any photos as it was raining...

That's all for now,


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