Diary

April 2001

30.04.01 After the rain of the weekend a stupendous day , bright and warm , the flowers blossoming the birds twittering , the buzzards and crows fighting and the low flying jets frolicking above . Arr makes you glad to be alive and coppicing . Due to complaints from my grammar school educated brother I now have to write the coppicecam notes in word and spell check them . The spelling of anemone being the final straw apparently .

29.04.01 Its been a very busy few days ,in fact a 7 day week . I've managed to complete the cleft oak fence , been making bird feeders , bagging up charcoal and moving hazel from Scout wood to Rayrigg wood for some hurdles (including a 10 foot monster hurdle , that will be interesting !) . The least successfull seems to be the bird feeder which has a design floor at the moment , but should be very nice when its finished . I am getting good reports from people using the charcoal that it is lighting very easily as usual .I noticed in Great Mills that they are selling packs of oak chips to flavour barbecues . Well I can do you bundles of oak shavings for that purpose at half the price . I forgot to mention that I have seen the first bluebell in Rayrigg woods last Tuesday along with the first swallow and a bat flying in broad daylight . As the weather gets warmer the wildlife is really starting multiply . The 'name that flora' competion was won by Ian Kemp of Windermere who correctly identified the flower as a wood anemone , a bag of charcoal to you sir . This is starting to sound like local radio so I'm off .

25.04.01 A glorious day today , warm and sunny (must be careful I don't get superlative depletion to early in the year ) . Spent the day helping Ben Harris to get his oak beams back from Stavely in Cartmel . Hard work , but as we sat having our sandwiches in the sunshine I though this can't be real work . Ben has had a setback in that the Holker Garden Festival has been cancelled . He was hoping to sell a lot of stuff at it (including my charcoal) . A smaller show at Rheged is due the first bank holiday , but it doesn't leave much time to organise stock .

24.04.01 Beautiful morning in compartment 4 . Only slightly spoilt by the sight of a deer molested hazel stool . Ben Harris has loaned me a days work to get the cleft oak fence pailings out of the way . While looking at the huge heap of oak shavings about us , Ben took to bundeling them up with strips of oak . "I wonder if I can sell these to that posh shop in Windermere ?". Well if bundles of willow can be sold to simply sit in the corner of the room why not a bunch of rather nice looking oak shavings . And they smell rather nice as well.

23.04.01 Showers and sunshine and a lot warmer . Still cleaving oak logs for a cleft oak fence , this seems to have been going on for ages .

20.04.01 The huge ash burr is slowly being man handled nearer to where we can transport it out of the wood . Ben Harris is then going to make it into a bowl of enourmous proportions . Should be quite something .

19.04.01 Lots of sunshine today between the snow showers . The wood resembled Picadilly circus today with the number of people coming and going .Brian and Louise Crawley brought Corrie the snigging pony to practice a bit of timber extraction because she has been excluded from her usual wood . Even at half steam she can shift impressive quantities of timber at speed . We also attempted to retrieve the ash burr that had rolled down a ravine . It is such a weighty object in such an awkward place that I had to resort to the winch . Here is a picture of Corrie and Louise with a light load of oak poles .

dpic05[timber extraction by pony]
18.04.01 The coppice cam is back in action after a short Easter break that saw the first kilnfull of charcoal being bagged up . I've actually sold some to Helsington petrol station in Kendal , so that will be handy for all the Lytham commuters . I've also smuggled 65 bags down to my East Midlands agent in Leicestershire (alright he's my brother ) . Went to the Black Country Museum on Saturday , what a wonderful place and I even got an order for a bird feeder while touring the cast iron houses . The wonders of modern technology ! Talking of high technology , Corrie the snigging pony is coming to do some work in compartment 7 tomorrow .

11.04.01 Not a bad day today , lots of sunshine and some bags of charcoal produced . Even better than that Helsington Service station has ordered some bags so make sure you buy some from them . Tomorrow sees a bagging frenzy . I hope the new bagging machine can cope with the load .

10.04.01 Finally finished the new bagging device , tomorrow I try it out and see if works (well it will work , just a question of how quickly ). I must also bite the bullet tomorrow and attempt to sell some face to face . This is something I always thought would be a stumbling block . But if I cannot sell this I will need shooting because its such a brilliant product .

09.04.01 Still not back in the wood , I am now desperatly developing the son of bag-o-matic charcoal bagging device after the failure of the original bag-o-matic to cope with a large piece of charcoal . The new version is simpler but more labour intensive , and needs to work quickly .

04.04.01 The official view is that foot and mouth is now leveling off , however with cases appearing at Selside and more cases occuring at Over Kellet it still seems to be marching ever nearer to Windermere . Spent today trying out the 'bag-o-matic' bagging machine , which I feel is destined to go the way of so many good ideas from K-tel and end up under the kitchen sink . It doesn't work very well if a big bit of charcoal jams the wheel . Spent the afternoon draw knifing oak palings .Oh , by the way I saw two jays in compartment 4 this morning .

03.04.01 A lot nicer weather today , spent the morning finishing the 'bag-o-matic' charcoal bagging machine and the afternoon shaving cleft oak for a trellis . The first bag of charcoal of the season has now been produced and will be the prize in a 'spot the squirrel' competion so keep watching the coppice cam !.

02.04.01 A wet dull day spent learning the art of cleft oak trellis making from Ben Harris . This is a spectacular material for this kind of thing giving very smooth but rustic looking garden furniture and being heart of oak , very durable lasting 30 years or more . In compartment 4 the plants are bursting up , mostly garlic and bluebells by the look of it and this rather cheery patch of daffs.

dpic04[daffodils]
01.04.01 The second burn has now been emptied , and a very usefull 22 builders bags of charcoal recovered . This burn used much larger chunks of wood in it , but has produced just as much charcoal . Also occupying my mind is the 'bag-o-matic' charcoal bagging device . Its getting better but not perfect yet , but if it doesn't work soon I will have to come up with something simpler .

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