DIARY - Aug - Oct 2001

31.10.01 Finished felling in compartment 7 (Cornbirthwaite Road ) . There is still a lot of thinning to do in this area but it will have to wait till Catcragg is finished now . Here is this weeks 'name that fungi' competition.

30.10.01 A couple of days producing firewood and getting Ben Harris' fence out of the wood . Yesterday was wild with trees coming under a lot of stress from the wind . I was amazed at how the oak by the kiln which is still well leaved could be blown about so much without anything breaking off .

28.10.01 Half term for the children so there has been a bit of child minding . However did get out on some walks .

24.10.01 The first days work in the new patch of woodland , Catcrag wood . Its quite an awkward site being on a hillside and the kiln will have to be low down so that we take the wood downhill . There is a lot of Yew in the wood which is staying and loads of ash and neglected hazel which will be coppiced . Here you can see that Barry has opened up a nice view of the A590 .

22.10.01 A day at Staveley in Cartmel helping Ben Harris cleave up oak trees . A couple of the trees were at the top of a small cliff which made things interesting , specially when one got hung up at about horizontal .

21.10.01 Went to the Yorkshire Woodfair on Saturday . Made the mistake of travelling across from kendal in a straight line , but the road through Sedburgh and Hawes is horrendously wibbly wobbly . I can now remember why I never used to go that way . Anyway the Woodfair was small but interesting . The highlight was a talk by Martin Clarke (?) of Clarke Macatavish . They are a wood consultancy up in West Cumbria but always seem to have a load of interesting markets for everything from yew longbow blanks to mushrooms and sand traps for beaches . Whenever I hear anything they are doing it reinvigorates me that there is a living to be made from scrappy bits of woodland .

17.10.01 It's been a busy week so far , with oak cleaving on Monday and then a 4 am start on Tuesday to light the kiln , combined with clearing loads of small trees along the track in Rayrigg compartment 4 . The regulars were very good at heeding the warning signs so it all went very smoothly helped by Barry who kept a look out and did a lot of snedding . The burn went well , left to its own devices mostly and finished after 11 hours . Wednesday really warm again and spent the day clearing up the mess from Tuesday .

15.10.01 A day spent helping Ben Harris at Staveley in Cartmel . The morning took me back to my childhood , making dens in Rectory Park as Ben set up his woodcutters shelter using a tarpaulin and sticks . The afternoon was spent splitting oak for Ben's big cleft oak fence project .

11.10.01 Glorious weather on Friday . Warm and dry . A very pleasant day finishing the cutting of the marked trees at the far end of Compartment 7 . This included a number overhanging gardens which were winched down without mishap .

10.10.01 Wild and wet morning spent servicing chainsaws . Managed to find out why 'old faithful's' chain brake had stopped working (broken spring ) . Two entrants identified the plant as foxglove so it probably is .

09.10.01 A day spent cutting in compartment 7 . The aim is to finish the felling in this patch this week , a bit of tidying back in compartment 4 and then its off to Catcragg woods for the winter . Well done to a K.G.Taylor who identified the fungi last week as Tricholoma fulvum which is apparently edible . He could be right because it looks like the deer eat it . Here is another strange fungus . This time growing on a sycamore log . It has a black stalk and a white head any suggestions for this one?

08.10.01 A bit wild today so chopped up some more firewood out of falling distance of the veteran oaks in the area . What's this plant though ? They seem to be popping up all over the place .

04.10.01 Busy day today making the most of better weather to get some more felling done in compartment 7 . Met the new woodland manager for Rayrigg woods who is quite a character and a bit different to Roger Cartwright who was a fairly quiet and softly spoken . This chap has had some unusual jobs including professional diving and sheep shearing in New Zealand . Anyway the thing that matters is that he hates Beech trees so he's alright by me . Whats this fungus growing on a birch trunk ? Any suggestions .

01.10.01 There seems to be a sharp change in the flora in the woods now . There are no flowers left but there are loads of different sorts of fungi . I shall get a picture of some for a 'guess the fungus competition .' Spent Friday cutting and cleaving the rest of the 'super oak' tree I felled last March . This tree has been made into around 500 of fencing , shingles and fence posts and was still splitting well even up past the start of the main branches coming off .

27.09.01 Rain , rain and more rain . Took the opportunity to try and get Barry Drinkwater's tractor from the end of Kentmere . It was destined to be one of those days . Having waited for 30 mins while a huge lorry was jammed up the entrance to Kentmere , when I eventually got to Barry's the tractor which has worked stoically for the last few years took the chance die and refused to start . Went to have a look at the hazel in Wain Lane .

26.09.01 Morning at the dentist , afternoon moving oak with Ben Harris and pointing fence posts.

24.09.01 Another week lost , this time I was struck down with tonsillitis and then had a funeral to go to in Altrincham . I'm back though now and hopefully I will get up a head of steam and starting some progress . Spent most of the day splitting wood for firewood which is a pretty tedious job . If I get more customers a firewood processor would be a necessity . Going back to Altrincham , there is a hell of a lot of cleft oak or chestnut fencing round there , and they even had 'Charcoal Road ' .

13.09.01 Chucking it down most of the day so did some tidying in the barn moving the bags of charcoal downstairs out of the way . Got the chance to do a bit of cleft oak in the afternoon .

12.09.01 Another couple of interesting days . Tuesday was spent shifting about 2 big trailer loads of firewood out of compartment 7 into compartment 4 (probably getting on for about 3 tons) and then another huge load of oak was shifted for Ben Harris up to Docker . The poor old trailer hardly new what had hit it . In amongst this I got the news from a householder that 5 planes had been hijacked and crashed into the world trade center and the pentagon . Ben Harris proceeded to tell this to passers by in the wood who plainly did not believe him . Today has been interesting with a visit to Catcragg wood , the new section of wood to cut this winter . The wood is an S.S.I. with a great variety of tree species including spindle crab apple and whitebeam and some nice orchids . It does have its problems though . The site is west facing (open to the weather ) and on a slope (difficult to get trailers across ) and involves going through a farmers field (foot and mouth ) and has to be completed by mid February . I could be making a rod for my own back here .

09.09.01 A vast response to the 'name that plant' competition . Ian Kemp was quickest response and obviously knows what it is but won't say . Shane Wilson thought it was Larch , and the most comprehensive answer was Mike Butcher who correctly identified it as Ragwort and also gave a 2 page dissitation on how to get rid of it which was quite interesting . Obviously lifted from www.Ragwort.com . A many varied week coming up , a bit of shifting for Ben Harris , looking at Catcrag woods and moving Barry's tractor into compartment 7 to see if it can make extraction easier . This all depends on various friends and mother in laws health . Having never had much dealing with hospitals I now have three people in hospital .

06.09.01 Three days in a row back in the wood . And I'm starting to feel knackered . My coppicing muscles have obvioulsly gone soft over the summer . Felled the first tree of the season today , an oak tree that was was selected for thinning to give its neighbour some room . I spent the afternoon trying to split the best of the trunk up for fence posts . However it was a bit bent and splitting it has been a very slow process .

05.09.01 The children are back at school and Maureen is getting a lot better now . So this week I should have a good few days in the wood . Today Barry and I have been clearing up the brash in compartment 7 , extracting any useable wood for the kiln . The wood is now looking pretty tidy just in time for starting cutting again . Its been noticeable how autumn is approaching with a vengence . The leaves are starting to change colour and there is a mistiness in the morning .

29.08.01 A day back in the woods , and a nice change after the hospital visits and looking after increasingly restless children . With Barry's help managed to shift a further 3 trailer loads of large chunks of birch from compartment 7 to by the kiln in compartment 4 . This lot will probably end up as firewood but is still very sappy although it was cut down last February . Maureen has been sitting in a chair reading today so she is about back to where she was last week before being hit with pneumonia

28.08.01 Maureen is showing signs of improvement and I'm back in the wood today . Shifting the wood out of compartment 7 before the rains come and turn the tracks into a quagmire . I have been aided in this by Barry Drinkwater who has offered to help to do work for nothing to get him out of the house ! This is just The job when I can't get in the wood as much as planned .

12.08.01 Unfortunatly Maureen my mother in law has suffered a serious stroke and is in hospital . This will keep me out of the woods for some time .

06.08.01 Friday was spent delivering between Kendal and Sparkbridge . A new stockist , the Howbarrow organic farm shop in Cartmel was supplied which has just opened after being closed since spring with foot and mouth . They seem to have a very big selection of organic products as well as their own vegetables and are well worth a visit if only for the scenery . I've also delivered the cleft oak fence which has kept me out of the wood for a couple of weeks so it should be full steam ahead .