Monday, 25 February 2008

Spring is Sprung

February 2008

This month we finished felling all the trees we wanted to coppice this season and most have been processed into logs and will later be cut and split for firewood. But there are still enough felled trees to keep us busy logging for at least a couple more days. Some of the birch has been stacked to intentionally start decaying, so that the fungi ‘spalt’ the wood and it can then be turned (see photo from previous month). While we have been working, Tom has been lending a hand and also taking time out to make bows and arrows, ride his bike around the wood and been plinking with the air rifle. Despite the frosty mornings, it feels that spring is here with the woods starting to green; the bluebells are spiking into the light and honeysuckle is in fresh leaf. We have heard and seen woodpeckers and by chance there was a standing dead tree in the area being coppiced so we have left this standing.

Friday, 1 February 2008

A New Year, A New Lesson

January has seen a lot of trees coppiced / felled and the half an acre target has been achieved. My focus has been on felling, while the rest of the family has been doing some felling and a lot of clearing up processing the felled trees. About 60% of the trees felled are birch, with the rest being chestnut (all the oak standards have been left standing). The birch are generally single trees, with close twiggy branches and straight vertical trunks; so they are relatively easy to fell in a convenient direction. The chestnut, being from coppice stools, are generally leaning in all directions and more liable to get hung up; so it’s often a case of felling the birch around them to create a clearer space to fell into. Now the felling is (almost) complete, the next few visits will focus on clearing up and logging those felled trees that have not yet been processed and there will no doubt be a few more bonfires too. The heavy rains and wind have resulted in a couple more leaning trees, reminding us of the benefits of returning the wood to coppice rotation. The heavy rains also resulted in a temporary stream springing from an old rabbit hole; giving Che some new water to play in. We noticed that some birch wood has spalted and this makes great material for my dad’s woodturning, as can be seen in the bowl pictured above.
The lesson learnt this month is: wheelbarrows do not like having trees felled on top of them!