I’m rather busy with coppicing just now and very tired when I get home at night, and the chainsaw elbow doesn’t help! However much progress is being made and today I’m getting help from a group of students from Craven College as part of their Countryside Management course.
I’ve been so busy I’ve not managed to take photos, but may be able to get some today.
In the meantime here’s a brilliant little poem to put you on:
[With acknowledgements to The Edward Thomas Fellowship. Illustration by Howard Phipps.]
(And thanks for the card Gus!)
The poem is by Edward Thomas born in Lambeth 3rd March 1878, killed at Arras on Easter Monday 9th April 1917.
Spot the similarities?
Much chopping and sorting into heaps. Sharp stuff to do the chopping. Hi-tech background equipment (well a hob and a Land Rover are pretty hi-tech compared to a bill hook and knife). Raw ingrediments. Piles of stuff. Promise of future good stuff. Cold first then hot. And working alone. The kitchen and the new coppice woodland (very rare in West Yorkshire) were both my domain with no visitors. I’m not anti-social, but it’s good to have your own time now and again. The woodlands were filled with animal tracks, many rabbits, and some others, and there were deer as I looked around first thing with Michael, the owner. The piles of brash soon attracted a robin, as did the disturbed soil. This wood has not been worked for many years, and there is much dead wood to prove it. I’m hoping that my efforts will produce a richer environment in years to come. The plan is to coppice 1/2 hectare a year for 5 years in blocks of 5 to 11 stools. This should produce a good mix of woodland environments. I’m looking forward to coming back and looking at the wood in Spring.
Here’s a little 8″ x 8″ bird table recently commissioned. I always try to give them a go with the birds, and this one worked as usual – spot the coal tit inspecting the sunflower seed.
It’s hard in Winter
Today I’ve been finishing a couple of jobs at the workshop and making logs and filling the charcoal kiln in the yard. The weather has changed and we had rain – the sort that falls and then instantly freezes on anything it touches. The new logs I was splitting for the kiln/firewood logs for next year were glued together with ice, I couldn’t lock the trailer hitch as the lock was frozen, going into and out of the wood was hazardous – rain on compacted snow – not good. But it still looked kind of pretty.
Yesterday I recovered the loaded trailer from the other-side of the river (I’m usually on the dark side, but this Winter I’m felling timber on the “sunny” side). The exit from the wood on that side is short and steep, and too much for the Landy, even in pulling gear and locked 4×4. Gave up as I was tired after quite a day’s felling (about 2 in 10 trees fall, the others are winched down. Thanks Theo, winchman) parked the trailer in the wood and went home. It was much easier on a new day. This is the “solve problems by ignoring them” method of working. I’d brought my concrete three-pronged rake and smashed up the ice a bit. Out came the trailer first go, although it took quite a bit of the rocking-to-and-fro technique to free the trailer wheels from the frozen ground.
Note. This was actually written late last Thursday, but embargoed pending checking.
In my original post I mentioned the hazel plant supports they were putting in the herbaceous borders. It seemed like a really good idea and my wife Jane has just installed some in our garden. Here’s how:
Get your husband to source some hazel branchlets:
It takes about five to surround a decent sized plant (these are mainly herbaceous geraniums). Make sure the cut ends are pointed and push them into the ground and start to form a platform above the plants by bending the rods over.
Then tie the twigs to each other with twine to hold the structure together.
It’s easy to write it up, but rather more effort is involved actually doing it, but worth it for the results I think. Jane was having difficulty pushing the sticks in because the ground is so hard – very unusual for here at this (any) time of year.
In Summer the plants will grow through the hazel which will then become an invisible support.