Saturday, 26 June 2010
Sunday, 20 June 2010
If you're wondering why it's been a bit quiet on the blog, it's mainly because we're both really busy with work, and will be for another week or two. We've also been at the wedding of our nephew Sam, and Abi:
We had a great day, and everything was perfect for the happy couple. The photo session at the reception was even graced by a Red Kite watching from above:
Sunday, 13 June 2010
A couple of months ago we made a plan for a new firewood shelter in the woods and started building it. There's been a bit of a gap, just because we've been busy with other things, but today we did a bit more on it.
We were originally going to cleave the lengths of chestnut and make planks for the roof, but we found that you can only reliably cleave chestnut in a line that passes through the centre of the log, so you can't make more than two planks from a log. So, we decided instead to put a layer of poles cleaved into halves, then a layer of some of the polythene we had left over from the original firewood shelter, then another later of wood on top, to prevent the polythene being damaged by the UV in sunlight.
We didn't finish it today, but we did make some good progress, starting with cleaving lots of poles:
We also peeled them, to stop them from rotting, and belatedly did this to the corner and ridge poles too. Our friend Steve passed through, and stopped to lend a hand.
By the end of the afternoon we had part of it covered, with the polythene in and the wood on top:
The other important bit (and the main reason for the polythene) is to catch water. We'll eventually fit a gutter and a water butt, but for now we just stuck a wheelbarrow under it to see how much we get this week:
The general area around the shelter is now in its third year of growth after coppicing, and has thickened out a lot:
And up in Sweep Wood, where we cut last winter, the trees are growing nicely:
although there are also carpets of Sycamore seedlings. We won't let many of these grow on, as they'd try and take over.
The bluebells are noticeable by their absence now, but they've left some nice seed pods behind:
As well as going to our own wood, last night we went to a SWOG event in Rod and Heather's wood nearby, to see bats and moths. There's more about that on the SWOG website, but here's some scenic photos I took of the pond and the fire:
That's all for now, back to work for the week...
I took a few photos on the beach at Camber Sands yesterday, of Common Terns fishing as the tide was going out - they seem to find plenty of fish in the shallow water at this point. They'd fly upwind hunting, then zoom downwind to the start of the feeding patch and work their way back up again.
First, here's a few of them flying around - they chase each other quite a bit.
It's quite obvious when they're looking for fish, as they cruise along looking down:
and then when they spot one...
You can just about see the fish in the bird's beak in the last one. I was especially pleased to get the pictures of two diving for fish at the same time - purely by chance, as I was only following one of them with the camera!
Wednesday, 9 June 2010
Another video of the Herring Gull chicks, giving a better view of them this time:
And so they don't feel left out, our cockatiels Pete and Tom looking for trouble...
Monday, 7 June 2010
I think these chicks have hatched in the last couple of days (they're on the roof opposite our house). You can only just see them peeping out once or twice from under their parent, who's holding their wings to make a wall to keep them in. Interesting that when it stands up, you can't see the chicks - I'm guessing they're keeping down low, as you can see the parent peer down at them.
Sunday, 6 June 2010
Yesterday was a bit of an adventure in the woods, more for our cockatiels Pete and Tom than for us (though we had a problem at the end of the day...). For the first time since we've owned the wood we took our birds up there to see how they coped with it. The goal is to see if we could take them when we camp, as we can't leave them at home on their own for more than one night, unless someone checks on them.
They had to stay in their travel cage of course - at home they're free to fly around. They were pretty calm though, and settled in after a few minutes.
though there was plenty for them to keep an eye on up in the trees...
They chatted a bit with a blackbird who came by:
and we discovered what happens to the hundreds of caterpillars that fall out of the oak trees every day...
There were also plenty of pheasants around, I got a few photos of these two scrapping:
I had a walk around to see how things were growing. The "wildlife corridor" we coppiced in 2008/9 is thickening out nicely at a low level:
You can't see it in those pictures, but the edges are becoming dense with plants and flowers that were not present two years ago, so that's working out well. We expect to come along here and cut the regrowth again in winter 2011/2012, after three years growth.
Out in the wayleave there's loads of blossom on the brambles now:
which is good news for butterflies now, and for us when we eat some of the blackberries in a few months...
I also saw this yellow iris of some sort growing near the bottom of the wayleave:
So what was our bit of the adventure then? Well, when we got ready to come home, the clutch broke in the land rover! Fortunately our friend Jenny gave Tracy and the birds a lift home, and I managed to start the landy with it already in gear and drive down to the road to be rescued:
It's now waiting at the garage to be fixed over the next week....