Sunday 28 September 2014

Steam powered saw mill at Bentley Wood Fair

Check out this steam traction engine powering a saw mill!

I saw it at the Bentley Wood Fair, which is always worth a visit. Didn't take any pictures this year, as I've been so many times now, but you can view some older ones here.

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Thursday 25 September 2014

Winching windblown trees

This week I carried on removing last winter's windblow. I'd already removed the easy trees, leaving these ones to be pulled out. I attached a sling to each one in turn, then hooked the winch cable into it:


At the other end was my Tirfor T516, attached to a tree with another sling:

Without too much effort, each tree was winched into a position where it could easily be cut up with the chainsaw:

A couple of them had an upturned root plate in the way, so I used this little trick I learned some years ago, propping a forked branch under the winch cable to lift the tree as well as pulling it backwards:

By the end of the day they were all out of the way:

There's still a few logs for me to clear up though...

Plenty to get on with next week, and it looks like the weather will hold!


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Sunday 21 September 2014

Starting this season's coppicing

I started on this year's coppicing work last week, with the help of my Dad. We were working in the area where several trees blew down last Christmas - my plan is to finish clearing up the windblow and then coppice around the naturally created clearing up to the borders with a ride and wayleave. Here's what we were dealing with:


It was looking better already after several hours' work:


There's a few chunky logs in there, like this one:

I decided to see if it would split straight, so that I could make it into two benches later on... If you're wondering why I'm wearing my helmet in this photo, it's for eye protection, in case the steel wedge splinters, and also for ear protection as it's pretty loud!

The wedges didn't quite reach through the log, so I had to do a bit of work on the other side with an axe to finish it off:

And here it is - a nice, straight split! Looking forward to making benches some time in the next few months...

We got some other useful produce out of the work as well, such as these sweet chestnut poles, which a friend of mine may take for fencing work.

And of course a growing pile of firewood, seasoning for the 2016/17 winter...

I've got some awkward stuff to deal with next, I may well use the tirfor winch to pull some of these trees out of the pile to make them easier to get at...

Finally, Tracy picked an apple from one of our fruit trees, and it actually tasted very good!


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Friday 19 September 2014

Huge lighting storm seen from Rye, East Sussex

Amazing lightning storm just went past Rye in the English Channel, brilliant view from our garden! Here's a video slideshow of the stills, do put it in full-screen and 1080p HD!

Here's one of the stills:

You can view the rest on my Flickr page.


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Wednesday 17 September 2014

Logmatic 250 log splitter video review

A while ago we bought a Logmatic 250 log splitter, and I thought it was about time I made a review video for it, so here you go...

It's a neat tool, which allows you to precisely position the sharp end to split the log just where you want it. It's not too hard to lift the weight up to deliver the impact either. But it IS slower than using a splitting axe (or maul), and for that reason we're not going to be keeping it. I can see that for people who are unable to precisely use an axe, for whatever reason, would find it useful though.


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Tuesday 16 September 2014

Woodland fungi and clearing the paths

The mushrooms are back!


Looks like it's going to be a good autumn for fungi, with them starting out like this in September:





At last, one I recognise! A Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria):

I'd heard slugs ate fungi, but this is the first time I've caught them in the act, munching on a Brown roll-rim here:

My parents have been visiting, so we did some clearing of overgrown paths in Sweep Wood:

This bit's turned into a tree-tunnel, and after just five summers of growth!

Just a few years ago it looked like this!
Felling large Sycamore

We also cut back the regrowth on the stump of a big roadside Sycamore which we had taken down a few years ago - no chance we want this one growing back up again!

Looking forward to getting started with some coppicing soon...


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Sunday 14 September 2014

Sunset in Rye Harbour

Yesterday saw a beautiful sunset in Rye Harbour Nature Reserve:

DSC_1785 Sunset at Rye Harbour

DSC_1784  Sunset at Rye Harbour

We'd been having a walk around the lakes and the beach, and timed it just right coming back! The lakes look completely different to a couple of months ago. Back then, they looked like this:

Now, the water level is higher and all the gulls are gone, leaving the lakes to ducks, such as these Mallards:


And also some Little Egrets, which were busy fishing:


It's much quieter now, without the gulls and their chicks - but I'm sure they'll be back next Spring!


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Monday 1 September 2014

A walk on Beachy Head

Last Friday we went to visit Beachy Head - not sure why it took us so long, we've lived down here for some years now! We drove to the visitor centre and pub (which does a nice lunch) at the top, and walked over to the cliff:


They're not joking about the cliff edge...


Being 500ft above the sea, whilst also being almost at the edge of it, makes for some great views, to Eastbourne and beyond to the east:


To the south, some weird ocean currents (see the diagonal line in the water, from bottom left to centre) and nice shadows of clouds on the sea:

And the well-known lighthouse to the west:

It's a stunning place to visit, shame it has a darker side as a suicide spot. But at least the Chaplaincy Team there is doing a good job.

Going west along the coast from Beachy Head you come to Seven Sisters country park, which is also worth a visit - we walked along the west side of the Cuckmere river:

Before long, the river reaches the sea...

And you're rewarded with a nice shingle beach with a few houses perched on cliff tops:

On the walk between the main road and the sea, we saw more Herons in half an hour than we ever have in one place before!



There was also the bizarre sight of a Heron and several Little Egrets perched in trees, preening themselves! It's strange to see a bird usually found wading in water up a tree...

We walked back along the other side of the trees, and I was able to get a closer shot of one of the Little Egrets:

There were also lots of other birds, including dozens of Swallows - I was pleased to get a photo of one of them, though it took about 20 shots to get this one mediocre picture!

If you've not been, the area is well worth a visit - there's more info here.


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