Thursday, 3 July 2008

June; Fair Weather Campers

After previously being put off by weather forecasts in previous weeks, we decided to ignore what the beeb said and just go and camp anyway. Luckily we got away with just light drizzle as we set up on the Friday evening, and Saturday was a lovely day. We didn’t do a lot - which is a great way to spend a day and not something we are used to in ‘modern life’. After finally getting the fire started we cooked burgers, sausages and beans for a basic supper that always tastes better for the charring (that’s my excuse anyway). We (OK, I) put some sandstone rocks around the fire and that was fine until the fire died down, then as they cooled they cracked and sent little bits of hot stone flying. Plan B is to buy some proper fire bricks and use those to make 4 short pillars to support a metal grid on which we can then cook. Previously we’d used logs which are generally OK for a few fires but are impermanent for obvious reasons so it would be good to have something more lasting.

The bracken growth in the clearing has slowed now, although I did give it somemore bashing; hopefully another couple of years and we may not have to do it again. It is already making a difference (we started bracken bashing last year) and there is the odd patch of grass and other plants as yet unidentified growing in what was just a bracken monoculture. There’s also a few brambles starting to grow too but we’ll mange the area as best we can to get a diversity of plants and encourage butterflies etc into the clearing. On the edge of the clearing we have our first foxglove, while elsewhere in the wood the honeysuckle is in full flower. Tom saw a deer on the wayleave, which is only the second time we’ve seen one at the wood, although we do see their tracks in the mud.

This month we also spent time cutting back some of the birch and alder on the wayleave to keep a path clear and allow sunlight to reach the floor. Work has started on a new tree camp, this time it will be a bit larger as it will reach between 2 trees that are growing either side of the stream. Tom is hoping to sleep in it once it’s complete, but at the moment we are still at an early stage of fixing the basic supporting timbers to the trees.

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