Done felling

Now I’ve just about finished felling (but still a lot of extraction on hand) I can review where we are with Spring in Strid. The sycamores are running sap like a tap, especially when cut with a chainsaw. The curlews are back calling (or crying as they used to think), a pair of Dippers have appeared in the Wharfe fishing at the confluence with , the woodpeckers are calling and drumming. The ground is full of sprouting herbs – Bluebells, Ransomes, Nettles, Dog’s Mercury and the Golden Saxifrage is flowering.

A bigger seat

As I’m rapidly running out of time for felling and extracting the felled timber from the woods to the side of the track, I’m cutting the timber in larger and larger logs. A sycamore I felled today had a good clear trunk and I was loath to cut it into ‘manageable’ logs, but it needs to come out somehow. Decided on a compromise and cut two companion chainsawn seat blanks from it. They’ll have to go inside as sycamore seems to stain very rapidly outside.

Also gave me another chance to tow the Lift’n’Shift:

It was rather demanding cutting the two chairs in situ on the valley-side, extensive use of winch, chocs and stakes involved. Manged to get by with no mishaps or earth strikes, however. Phew, glad it was (late) pancakes for tea.

Seat

Here’s a chainsawn seat I’m working on. I’m going to develop this idea, I think. If I make a matched pair with long backs I can work on them in situ where I have a sycamore butt felled. Reducing the volume of wood will make shifting easier. I’ll put longer backs on and I would like to plant on a deeper seat, perhaps in riven ash, as the current one is too shallow.

Lift’n’Shift

Yesterday I went up to see Graham Wheeler to collect a natty device (as my Mum would have said) for shifting large tree butts around manually. This baby has two wheel barrow-sized wheels (with roller bearings and a grease nipple) and a simple construction that uses timber dogs to lift up to 14″ by 10′ logs, in the middle, balancing the weight and then you strap them in and either wheel to the ride-side, or hitch to your vehicle to pull along the track (NB NOT road-legal, but it does fit in the back of a Land Rover 90 and a Golf estate). The kit is galvanized and comes with a ratchet strap and two spare wheel pins. I’m looking forward to collecting together some poles I’ve deliberately left oversize where I felled them, smaller logs seem to go walk-abouts on their own (or perhaps it’s the visitors?). I’ll post some pictures when I’ve got it to Strid and loaded up. I think it should be pretty good for moving bundles of bean poles around too – they are a bit tricky to lift onto the roof rack.

Here is a picture of the vehicle in manual mode:

What are these stones?

My lathe is set up opposite what looks to me to be a charcoal pit, but I’m informed that it’s a chop wood kiln. Basically it’s a 6 foot wide, stone lined bowl shaped depression. Anyway, it’s something to do with working the woods no doubt as I found another one in a different section of the woods. Scattered around the one near my bodgery are eight pairs of rocks, which look to have been deliberately rolled together, and there is usually a smaller outlier. I wonder what these may have been used for. Some sort of primitive vice perhaps? They are pretty low – about 2 foot high at most, but they may have sunk a bit over the years. I’m thinking how I could use them (looks like a really good way to blunt an edge!)? Maybe they go back to when the wood was coppiced, which it hasn’t been for many years and the wood is now just continuous cover managed. Here’s a picture, outlier in foreground, two stones center further back:

Although there is still snow on the ground and frosty nights and mornings there are definite signs of Spring: Long Tailed Tits in pairs rather than flocking; sprouting Garlic now as well as Bluebells which have been around for some weeks; warblers singing.