Wednesday 23 December 2015

Tame pheasants and a new shelter roof

I've posted photos of the tame pheasants in our woodland before:


But recently I also made a video of them so you can see how they behave - I took this using my mobile phone, so that gives you an idea of how close they are, no zoom lens involved:

The coppicing is generally proceeding according to plan, at least on the few days with nice weather! Here's a couple of shots of the progress so far:


As we've progressed through this area, we've discovered a new wallow the wild boar are using:

I gather from people who've lived here longer than us that there has been a spring here for some time, so it seems the boar have located it and turned it into bathing facilities!

Meanwhile, on a day when it was too windy to fell trees safely, I decided it was finally time to repair the roof of a shelter we built back in 2008. Although it's not used to actually store anything, and only has a roof, not walls, it's still useful on camping trips and when Tracy has her class up there, to shelter stuff from the rain or the sun. The sticks I'd nailed on to make a roof in 2008 had started to rot, so the first step was to get all of them off:

The new roof was going to be made using sweet chestnut offcuts from Rich's sawmill:

First though, I peeled the bark off them to improve durability, and used a chainsaw to cut them to length and taper the ends a bit where necessary:

Then it was a case of drilling holes and nailing the offcuts onto the frame to form a new roof:

I think you'll agree that this finished product:

looks a lot better than the original one did in 2008:

The final step was to reinstall the tarp to keep the rain out:


Now it's ready to serve campers and schoolchildren alike next summer!


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Wednesday 2 December 2015

Coppicing between the storms

The weather has been a bit stormy recently, with wind and rain making working in the woods at best unattractive and at worst risky, but there have been a few glimpses of the sun in between.


I've been making reasonable progress on the coppicing, considering how little time I've actually been up there cutting:


There was even a bit of frost one morning!

Back over near our camp, we've started filling the bird feeder regularly again. The birds empty it over the course of 48 hours, so when they notice me arrive they usually turn up and wait for me to fill it:


Then as soon as I'm done they get in there as fast as they can...



The visitors included Coal tits...

Great tits...

Blue tits...



and sometimes several of them at once!


Of course, the small birds spill some of the seeds, which provides food for the Pheasants. A male and female turned up, and given how tame they were I suspect they may have been around last winter as well.



Finally, over near where I was coppicing, Tracy and I spotted a Buzzard down in a field, possibly finishing off a meal:

It was quite a long way off, and I tried getting closer for a better shot...

but sadly was noticed...

Anyway, I'm hoping to get some more Buzzard photos, as they've been around the woods a lot more over the past few months, and I've seen a pair of them soaring overhead.

Hoping for some drier weather in the coming weeks to get back up there to do some more work and photography...


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Sunday 15 November 2015

Rye Fawkes 2015

Despite the wet and windy weather, there was a good turn-out for Rye Fawkes last night! Here's a video if you missed it:

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Sunday 18 October 2015

Start of 2015-16 coppicing

This year we're coppicing an area over in Sweep Wood, adjacent to the foot path:


The other side of it is an area we coppiced two years ago, which is regrowing nicely now:

Here's a photo from before I started:

And here's one from yesterday, after putting in a bit over a day's work - the first stack of split and striped timber for firewood is over half full already!

Here's a couple of other views of the area coppiced so far. Progress sometimes seems slow, but as I'm processing the timber by splitting or striping it as I go along, I'm saving myself some work further down the line.


I've also coppiced the trees along the side of the pond again, partly because I needed to land a larger chestnut tree there, but also because the lack of light in the pond meant there wasn't much growing it in. These trees were last coppiced in winter 2007/2008, so it's not surprising they'd shaded the pond - I might not leave them so long next time!


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Wednesday 14 October 2015

Wood fairs and woodland work

Sorry for the lack of posts, I've had a very busy month or two... here's what I've been up to.... Away from the woods, I've been to three different wood fairs running a stall for Truncator. It's been good fun, but can be hard work at times!

South Downs Show & Hampshire Wood Fair

2015-08-15 08.18.27

Wychwood Forest Fair
2015-09-06 11.32.42

Belmont Wood Fest
Belmont Wood Fest

Fortunately the weather has been good for all of them - this was the view last Sunday morning at Belmont:
Belmont Wood Fest

I've also been working on a big order for a woodland customer, which included nearly a dozen deliveries like this:

The raw materials have since been turned into decorative panels for use in shop displays:
2015-09-21 19.22.04

The order also included over 30 chainsaw-carved wooden stools:
2015-09-18 16.28.28

I made quite a few of these in the rain, sheltering under a tarp:
2015-09-18 16.24.44

But at least making so many of them gave me chance to refine my technique. I tried bolting the stool onto another log:
2015-09-20 18.51.20

This helped, but in the end I found clamping it in a workmate was best:
2015-09-21 08.15.11

I've also made a couple of wooden stools for a friend at work, and in this case made both from the same tree, so they look pretty similar, and on these I used the chainsaw to skim off the sap wood round the seat of the stool, giving them a different look:
2015-10-02 12.13.10

In amongst all this though, I did still get the occasional moment to admire the beauty of the woods :-)
2015-09-28 08.27.14

With all that done, I've now actually started some coppicing! More on that soon....


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