Sunday 21 April 2013

Stein pole kit review - for forestry, arborists

Having seen the video review I made after buying a Stein Arbor Trolley, Fletcher Stewart have kindly sent me a Stein 'pole kit' to review. This is a set of 4' and 6' fibreglass poles which can be connected together and have an attachment on the end, such as a saw, loppers or a pole pick. It's a nice set of kit, very solidly built and useful - here's the video, photos follow further down:

Here's a few stills of the components:
DSC_6314 Stein pole kit and attachments

DSC_6310 Stein pole saw attachment

DSC_6308 Stein pole lopper attachment

DSC_6306 Stein pole pick attachment


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Saturday 13 April 2013

Mice in the woods

We've often seen mice in the woods, and they have occasionally been annoying, eating seed we had stored for feeding to birds. Today, however, we found the route the mice had used to get to the seed - through a fleece apparently!


This, and the bird seed, was inside a storage box, but we realised that a hole in the box, presumably for drainage, was easily big enough for a mouse to get through:

Having got in, the mice had decided to take all the bird seed out of its bag through a hole they had made, and move it into a bag we were storing some rope in. As you can see, they'd worked very hard to move this amount of seed!

I made a wooden plug, which is now wedged in the hole, hopefully securely enough!

Apparently the squirrels are hungry too, as this one came to steal the seed from the birds while we were still nearby, near enough for Tracy to get some photos. I normally regard grey squirrels as a pest, but thought it was still worth posting the pics as we don't often get them up close - they're not tame like garden squirrels.
IMG_3333 squirrel

IMG_3355 squirrel

IMG_3354 Grey Squirrel

IMG_3353 Grey Squirrel

Out in the wayleave, the wood anemones are coming on fast now the weather has warmed up:
IMG_3357 wood anemone

IMG_3359 wood anemone

And right through the middle of them is are clear tracks from the wild boar, though we didn't see any of them today...
IMG_3360 wild boar trail

Anyway, it was nice to get up there before the rain today, and get a load of logs cut up as well as get some photos. Looking forward to more Spring weather...


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Sunday 7 April 2013

Sparrowhawk eating its prey

I'll warn you now, some people might find these pictures a bit gory! I'll start with the least gory one, then you can proceed if you want to. We saw this female Sparrowhawk on our drive when we got home yesterday, and she stayed around for some photos. It looks like her prey was a Collared Dove. Remember you can click the pictures to view larger versions on Flickr.

DSC_6182 Female Sparrowhawk with its prey

I've seen birds of prey before, in captivity and in the wild, but never watched one eating its prey close-up before, so this was a real treat! I do feel a bit sorry for the Dove, but the Sparrowhawk has to eat...

DSC_6169 Female Sparrowhawk with its prey

DSC_6170 Female Sparrowhawk with its prey

DSC_6177 Female Sparrowhawk with its prey

DSC_6165 Female Sparrowhawk with its prey

DSC_6147 Female Sparrowhawk with its prey

DSC_6146 Female Sparrowhawk with its prey

DSC_6140 Female Sparrowhawk with its prey


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Wednesday 3 April 2013

How to make a wooden mallet from a single log

Starting with a single log, this video shows you how to shape it into a one-piece mallet. I use a chainsaw to cut a slot round the log (though a bow saw would work too), then use a side axe to trim the handle down, and finally a draw knife to smooth the handle. Enjoy...

I've been meaning to make this video for ages, and finally got round to it! Thanks to Jon and Tracy for their help in making it.

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First woodland BBQ of 2013

On Easter Monday we actually had our first BBQ in the woods, with our friends Jon and Louise visiting with their girls!

DSC_6088 BBQ in the woods

Yes, it was cold, but OK while the sun was out, and we had a fire burning as well... We also had various activities going on - Tracy and I had spent the morning moving logs on the arbor trolley:
DSC_6068 moving logs on a stein arbor trolley

DSC_6071 moving logs on a stein arbor trolley

The logs were loaded into the cutting racks and strapped down:
DSC_6074 logs

Tracy then got busy with the camera and got some good shots! First, adjusting the chain tension on the chainsaw:
DSC_6075 adjusting the chainsaw

Then cutting up the logs:
DSC_6077 chainsawing logs

DSC_6078 chainsawing logs

DSC_6081 chainsawing logs

As you can see, she didn't let a few saw chips get in her way!

There was some hand-sawing as well, with Megan and Mia getting involved:
DSC_6093 Sawing a log

They were helping Jon cut a piece off a seasoned birch log, that we then proceeded to make into a mallet. Here's Jon using a side axe to start trimming the handle down:


You can see Jon's finished mallet here. There'll be a video on how to make a mallet coming shortly...

We also had a wander round the woods to look for signs of Spring. First up is some swelling buds on our fruit trees - maybe this year it won't rain continuously while the blossom is there, so the bees can actually get out and pollinate...

Then over in my friend Alex's wood, which faces closer to south than ours, we saw our first Wood Anemones of the year!


The whole woodland floor over there is looking much greener with the bluebells coming up...
DSC_6096 Woodland stream in Spring

DSC_6097 Woodland in Spring

Looking forward to a full show of Wood Anemones soon!


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