DIARY - Nov - Dec 2001

20.12.01 True to form , Rhubarb the landrover has eaten any meager earnings made from firewood , and then some . I was quite depressed after I got the bill and wondered how I was ever going to make a living at coppicing with the vehicle gobbling up so much money . I have spent today delivering firewood around South Lakeland and the rose tint has once again descended as I get to see beautiful corners of Lakeland and get some cash in my hand .

18.12.01 It's all go . I put an advert in the Westmorland Gazette last Friday for firewood and I've been inundated with orders to the point of having to buy some more seasoned wood in from Barry Drinkwater . I have been cutting and splitting like mad to have enough ready and was absolutely knackered on Monday having shifted loads of wood out of 'big' Catcrag to somewhere more accessible . Rhubarb the landrover is today in having its second steering box of the year . I confidently predict any income from firewood will quickly disappear down this particular black hole . Incidentally the fungus that has been pictured for to long is probably a burst Puffball and not 'the lower part of a tree and some leaves ' or 'ravioli ' . No winners this time but thanks for the entries especially Neil and Christine Hamilton (well that's who it said it was from ) .

12.12.01 A day tidying up in Cornbirthwaite road , splitting and stacking firewood for next year . Here's another picture from the Quaker wood visited last Sunday .Can you identify this?

10.12.01 Frosty weather so took advantage of the firmer conditions to get the big ash burr out of Cornbirthwaite Rd along with some oak for an archway . Ben Harris along to help has taken delivery of a new Gransfor's hewing axe . And very nice it is too .

09.12.01 A hopeless week . Rampaging virus has spread through the Taylor household involving a lot of clearing up of after the 'chuck fest' . On the one decent day when I could get out the Landrover had a flat tyre . Not usually a problem except that the Landrover was so frozen up that I couldn't get at the tools to get the wheel off . When I did eventually get in I managed to break the huge breaking bar I use to get the wheel nuts off . I ended up having to free them with a blowlamp and a new breaking bar . However Sunday was a very good day . A Coppice Association visit to the 'Quaker woods' in the Rusland valley . This wood is managed by John Wyatt who was the first National Park head warden [John Wyatt], and he showed us round the wood looking for ideas on how to manage the wood taking into consideration the various constraints this wood has . Chiefly among these are no money , the woods are used by lots of visiting groups for camping out and night orienteering and to get wheelchair access . The wood as it stands is a dying entity . Regrowth is being chewed by sheep and deer and so the wood is just getting older as a whole and would eventually disappear . There followed a lengthy discussion about obtaining grants (if possible don't have them ) and creating deer fenced areas where regeneration could be allowed to grow on and be transplanted into other areas of the wood . In the end it was suggested that CANW could get involved more actively and use the wood as its 'demonstration wood ' . The meeting house was built in the 1700 hundreds and had huge amounts of oak inside , including original massive oak doors . Quite stunning .

04.12.01 Tuesday , did a bit more around where the kiln will go in Catcrag wood . One particular hazel stool is so big it took all day to clear it and produced huge amounts of wood . Wednesday , boys both ill so day off babysitting .

03.12.01 The rain finally relented so I emptied the kiln . Everywhere still very wet though and there seems to be more rain on the way . Reasonable yield from the burn , and this was the first time I've made some drawing charcoal (in a tin ) , which has worked OK .

28.11.01 Made the mistake of going out today in light rain . Through the morning the rain got steadily heavier and the ground in Cornbirthwaite wood started to resemble gravy . Far to wet to use the tractor and by the end of the morning I was completely saturated and miserable . I would have been far better off making hurdles or bird feeders in the barn .

27.11.01 Chucked it down in the morning , went to see the willow patch in the afternoon . The larger types have grown about 7 foot while the basket ones have generally not taken .

26.11.01 Its been a busy few days . On Friday I took Ben Harris up to Rheged for the Made in Cumbria craft fair . He did phenomenally well and managed to sell all my bird feeders . Also on Friday the tractor started extracting in Cornbirthwaite road . It's only a compact tractor but its pulling power is impressive though we havn't quite sorted out a quick way with the chain to pull the logs . Snow on the tops this morning . Here is Barry with his pride and joy .

22.11.01 The morning was spent getting some sycamore and hazel for a display stand for the bird feeders . Ben Harris is going to try selling them on his stand at Reghed over the weekend . Took Moira to see Blackwell the arts and craft house that has recently been restored . It has a superb view over Windermere and the inside is completely oak paneled with a grand hall that looks like something out of a castle . Loads of nice oak furniture , made me want to buy a sawmill . Went to the Brown Horse at Winster for the impromptu Lakeland Coppice Products Christmas lunch (6.50 for three courses )and prize giving . Most valuable worker ... Ian Taylor . Best Salesman ... Ian Taylor . Most imaginative bird feeder display .... Ian Taylor . Best Supporting spouse ... Moira Taylor .The plant has been identified as either Seth Crowbender or Snowberry . As snowberry doesn't exist in my plant identification book it must be Seth Crowbender .

21.11.01 Miserable weather so I ensconced myself in the shed (is this illegal?) making bird feeders . Does anyone know what plant is making these white berries ?

19.11.01 An early start today to get the kiln lit and have it finish in daylight . Burn appeared to go well , it will be interesting to see if the spells of rain have had any effect on the results . Finished off with a load of firewood for Pete Taylor .

17.11.01 Friday was an interesting day . First there was a visit to Neil Stanway's wood near Newby Bridge . He has a lot of alder to clear and is wanting to sell it for charcoal making so I've agreed to buy stacked wood off him . This is a bit of a gamble because I've already got a fair bit of wood coming out of Catcrag wood to burn . I am going to have to seek out new markets for my charcoal . At bit later on Ed Mills from Cumbria Broadleaves came over to inspect the work at Catcrag and seemed pleased with progress and marked up the standards to be left . He thinks the strange tree is possibly a pear .Helped by Barry on Friday .

14.11.01 Beautiful day , spent dinner time sat on the bench by Millerground car park overlooking the whole of a completely still Windermere . The air was so clear that the Langdales round to Wetherlam were crystal clear . The morning was spent getting some small oaks for swill basket maker Owen Jones and tidying up . The afternoon was spent filling the kiln .

13.11.01 Sorry for the delay in updating , M.I.L. has been occupying the command and control center of Lakeland Coppice Products ( the spare room ) . Very nice weather today at Catcrag wood , clear and bright . Still finishing off the last of the hazel . Some of which is enormous , more like a tree than a shrub . Here's a funny thing , this crab apple tree appears to be in blossom .

08.11.01 A perishing cold day , but bright and sunny with it . Helped today by Barry Drinkwater . One of the farmers friends turned up for " a l'al bit of hazel for us sticks " . He makes very nice walking sticks with horn tops . We have discovered an unusual tree that is possibly a dutch elm . I'll have to take a picture of it .

07.11.01 Lost a day due to the car alternator going . Nice weather .

06.11.01 A nice quiet day at Catcrag wood . Its amazing the difference when you haven't got a chainsaw going all day . Helped out by Ben Harris today and when taking him back home through the local private school we were tickled by this registration of one of the parents picking up their child.

05.11.01 Good progress is being made with clearing the understorey from Catcrag wood and we are getting some useful hazel . there will certainly be a lot of pea sticks and hedging stakes . The weather got decidedly cooler today and the every shortening days are clearing the last of the leaves off the trees .

01.11.01 Back to Catcrag wood today for an intensive couple of days coppicing the hazel understorey prior to thinning out the standard trees . Some of the hazel around the edges is enormous and 50 years old with quite a lot of the stools starting to get rotten . Hopefully the coppicing will revive them .