Spending some time in the woods

After many weeks of procrastination eventually I decided to crack on with a couple of jobs in the woods. It was a nice weekend which helped but mostly I was starting to get bored with my own excuses for not making a start.

Tree felling

For some time now, one of the pine trees in the woods has been leaning at a precarious angle. However There didn’t seem to be any real risk of it falling on its own because it was propped against another tree.

Time to sort this out I think!

Finally the time had come to deal with it, partly for safety but also because I’ve had a plan forming which will use that part of the woods for pigs in the future.

It didn’t seem sensible to put in new fencing when I knew that eventually the tree would have to come down. Knowing my luck, it would probably have fallen on the new fencing just after it had been finished!

A nice tidy cut but still not falling

I had hoped that once the trunk was cut, the sheer weight of the tree would dislodge it from the supporting tree. Unfortunately that didn’t happen but using some spare rope and a little ingenuity I was able to dislodge it with only a couple of blisters to show for the effort.

And down it comes…

Now all I need is to get organised with chopping and splitting the wood into logs ready for storing in the wood shed.

Home-made Bench

Having recently had the electricity poles changed in our area, I made sure to keep the old one that was replaced on our land. Some of it has been kept for possible future use as gate posts but I set aside a bit to knock up a simple bench to put in the woods.

Ideal for viewing sunsets

It may not look very fancy but I’m pleasantly surprised and pleased with the results. Especially given the fact that despite having only just installed it in the woods, it looks like it has been there for some time.

Progress report

I realise that it’s been some time since the last blog update. This is despite a temporary and unplanned change in my employment status which, as it happens, came at a very good time with so much to do.

Luckily right now it’s a blustery, showery Sunday afternoon so I can happily come inside for a change without feeling like I am neglecting the outside jobs!

Raised beds

After finally taking delivery of the wood for the path edges there has been some further progress with the remaining work to finish off the new beds.The edging is now in place all around the outside so the paths can be properly completed as soon as the weather allows.

Around half of the slate chippings have been wheelbarrowed in and it’s starting to take shape but there is just the small matter of shovelling the other 2 tonnes. Weather permitting that will be tackled this week so all the work is completed before any more planting takes place in the raised beds.

Seed sowing

I have sown a range of seeds at irregular intervals since mid-March with the earliest seeds kept in the loft room which should be a fairly warm place to encourage germination. Today it was the turn of a few dwarf French Beans to get sown into pots and more will follow at a suitable interval to prolong the crop I hope.

So far the cabbages, carrots and leeks are all doing well having survived the move outside to the cold frame. The sweetcorn is just getting going although the germination rate is a little disappointing. Those will have to stay indoors for a while longer I think – this is the North Pennines after all!

Another recent addition to the seed and cutting area was a simple strawberry pallet as a trial. A simple use for a pallet but if it works then I intend to have a go at the better pallet planter on the Lovely Greens blog at some point in the future.

Wood clearance

With the eager assistance of some weekend visitors another section of the woods has been cleared and the larger trunks or branches stored away under cover for next years firewood. The job would have taken a lot longer without the help and if I’m honest might not have been started until much later in the year!

The chainsaw and log splitter are being deployed at regular intervals to work through the pile whenever time allows.

Recent Photo Gallery

Given such a delay in updates I think a gallery of photos is needed to give a better overview of the general progress on all fronts.





A lazy Sunday?

Any prospect of the lazy Sunday afternoon that I thought might have been possible was quickly dispelled by the unexpected arrival of the log man. Apparently he was catching up on deliveries after suffering with a bad cold recently but this kind of service seemed above and beyond the call of duty!

Firewood delivery
Firewood delivery

A very welcome sight of course as our supply of logs was pretty much all gone and recently we have been burning the “left overs” that had gathered in odd corners of the wood shed. I’m not sure if there is a term which can be used for firewood found like this but “driftwood” doesn’t seem quite right.

Unfortunately for me, everyone else had somewhere else to be on Sunday afternoon so it meant that I had the pleasure of shifting this little lot into the wood shed. In the end it turned out to be a pleasant enough task especially once it was completed despite the dull ache from all the bending and lifting.

There is something very satisfying about a neatly stacked wood pile even though I’m not sure whether I’m doing it the right way – hopefully there isn’t a “right” way which would obviously mean that I can’t be doing it “wrong”!

Smart wood pile
Smart wood pile

One thing was clearly highlighted though while doing this, a new wheelbarrow is definitely near the top of the shopping list. The existing one has another flat tyre and I can’t bear to go through the aggravation of mending punctures and replacing the wheel again! At least I got two years use after the previous repair efforts and I can always keep this one for emergencies only.


Trees and chainsaws – part 2

After the good work on the first fallen tree discussed in the previous post, it was time to get working on the second tree. All through the Christmas period it was more a case of “out of sight, out of mind” so the work could be ignored – plus it was not the sort of weather for chainsaw work outdoors and we had a house full anyway!

Today was such a nice day though that there were no more excuses for not getting outside!

The experience gained when tackling the first tree definitely paid off with this one and it seemed that in no time at all the branches were cleared. The main cuts were easily completed to get the trunk to manageable pieces.

Cutting the trunk down to size
Cutting the trunk down to size

After the previous photo was taken, I moved on to tackle the remaining length of tree trunk which was hanging over the dry stone wall. This was tackled carefully as the trunk was resting on both the wall, an old metal gate and just one side branch.

Some sizing up of the situation was followed by a strategic cut in what I thought was a suitably place… however the laws of physics cannot be ignored in the same way that I had ignored the weight of the root ball.

Tree back upright again
Tree back upright again

It’s not a major problem and there was no risk of injury but it was a little surprising when it happened and another example of the caution needed when working on fallen trees with a chainsaw.

That seems a suitable point to clear up the field especially I could see the clouds looming as the weather closed in. All in all a job well done and luckily the rickety trailer we inherited from the previous owners was up to the job of moving this back to the barn.

A decent haul of firewood
A decent haul of firewood