DIARY - MARCH 2001
29.03.01 Foot and mouth has now hit Grange Over Sands , getting ever nearer to Rayrigg Woods . Went to see Brian and Louise Crawley today , charcoal gurus , and admired their continous hazel fence . unfortunatly I didn't have the coppice cam with me .
28.03.01 The outbreak of foot and mouth at Seathwaite is the worse possible news that suggests that this epidemic is going to drag on for a very long time . Brian Crawley over at Ulverston and Rebbeca Oaks cannot work their woods due to the owners closing them so I am very lucky that Pattinsons are not taking the same draconian line . That being said I'm not in the wood at the moment as I try and wrestle with the 'Bag-o-matic' patented (nearly applied for) charcoal bagging machine . After blythely sticking bits of plywood together for most of the day , as I did during my boat building days . The whole thing fell apart like a pack of cards . The big difference was I used to use epoxy resin instead of woodwork glue . Anyway a few screws did the trick and we are back on course .
27.03.01 I seem to be doing a lot of things that are keeping me out of the wood at the moment . Today I have been over to Walter Lloyds to get some willow cuttings for a small basket willow patch . Walter seems to be known by everyone in the lakes because he does so many different things from charcoal burning to willow growing to hosting musical evenings in yurts . He is always very helpfull and ready to impart detailed knowledge to 'Jonny come latelys' .
26.03.01 A day off today so I haven't been to the wood . The flower yesterday turned out to be a Lesser Celandine .
25.03.01 After the snowdrops the first flower award appears to have gone to the marsh marigold (or it might be a lesser celandine I'll have to look at the book) .
22.03.01 Bad weather again today , so had a day catching up with accounts and other admin .
21.03.01 Its the equinox so the weather should be getting better , well its not been too bad but today is a bit of a shock after the nice weather . Took the opportunity to deliver some alder logs to Colin Simpson for a clog making demonstration . Colin is now retired but had been coppicing on and off for 50 years . His depth of knowledge of everything woodland is phenominal and I always feel a bit humble in his prescence . He is always ready to impart the benefit of his wisdom and his workshop contains just about every green woodwork tool you could ever imagine ( and a few you couldn't ) .
20.03.01 Another foot and mouth sign , this time from the County Council , has appeared on the woodland entrance so I am going to start disinfecting the Landrover when I go into the wood . Todays burn went very well , although when it came to shut down time there was a strong wind blowing and this seemed to encourage 'break outs ' of the smoke after it had all be stopped up , but it settled down eventually .
19.03.01 It was only a matter of time before the foot and mouth notices went up on my woodland . Today they did and instantly the stream of dog walkers stopped . There are no livestock in this wood , but there are deer which hop in and hop out passing public roads and generally going where they like . I cannot see that this move will make any difference to wether the deer get foot and mouth or not .
18.03.01 A morning spent tidying up the hazel cut down in December in Longsleddale with frustrated coppicer Rob Mcghie . Longsleddale is virtually cut off such is the level of precautions against foot and mouth , good job we took our disinfectant with us.
16.03.01 Yet another nice day , but hard work splitting wood and completing the 2 ton jigsaw puzzle that is a charcoal kiln . But ready to go again . It will be interesting to see how this one turns out because there is a lot of larger size wood in . Incidentally there are now three buzzards wheeling about overhead . They are either locked in struggle for a mate or think I'm about to drop dead .
14.03.01 I always thought the problem with this job would be bad weather . This doesn't seem to be the case as I just battle on . The problem is with nice weather as I just stand around thinking 'pwar what a job ' and nothing gets done . Started filling the kiln again today , its amazing just how much wood disappears into it . The first layer of the kiln is the most important , setting up a stringers that support the charge above and allow air in from the inlets below . A layer of 'rafters' then go on the stringers forming a base to put the rest of the wood on
The central area has leaves and bits of charcoal piled onto it which gets the charge started .
13.03.01 A big day for Lakeland Coppice Products , the official opening of the kiln by Mrs M.E.P.Taylor . And loads of charcoal , 21 builders bags full . I have had to bite the bullet and put them in the barn (making sure I disinfected my wellies Well).
09.03.01 A day spent cleaving and draw kniving oak palings . I am starting to get the hang of it now and speed is increasing . I might even make a profit on cleft oak fencing if I get even faster ! The leaves are starting to appear on the elder bushes now .
08.03.01 Lovely warm day , but the shadow of foot and mouth is large . They have even stopped the hire row boats on Windermere in case someone lands on farmland . A day spent cleaving oak for a fence .
07.03.01 A lot better burn this time , the sleeve of my pajamas (soaked in parafin ) did the trick to get the kiln started . There was a lot more smoke and high enough temperatures to roast a potatoe on the kiln . Lots of people coming to see whats going on , and all of them are very encouraging liking to see the small wood being used to good purpose rather than wasted or burnt.
06.03.01 the charcoal burn that was due today didn't happen due to illness but will hopefully go ahead tomorrow . Another beautiful day but starting to warm up , so I probably won't be able to drive into compartment 7 any more due to the mud . Finished the day off cutting down an ash tree with an spectacular burr on it which Ben Harris is going to make into a bowl . This proved to be a very awkward tree , that got hung up in nearby larch and when I eventually managed to winch it down and then cut below the burr . The burr is virtually spherical and on being released charged off down hill just stopping before dropping into the beck . I've now got to winch it back up the hill .
05.03.01 Glorious weather , but another short day due to joining my son Patrick for a walk round Kendal with his class to look at old buildings . "Gosh look at that one dad , its looks older than you are " . Ba , busy this morning splitting oak trees up to make a cleft oak fence panel .
02.03.01 a short day today cutting a couple of small oaks for cleft oak fencing .
01.03.01 The effect of foot and mouth is starting to tell . Glorious weather with great snow on the hills , but you can't go up there . I can't go to my barn for fear of infecting Phillips cattle . And ninety percent of the dog owners in Windermere are walking their dogs through my patch of woodland because everywhere else is off limits . All I need now is to be prevented from going into the wood and business will come to a standstill .Anyway here is a picture of a deer 'nest'. The deer make these earth patches and then snuggle down for the night before waking for a bit of tree de-barking or shoot nibbleing .