Tales from the Wood

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Logs drying, coppice growing, a new watering hole and an overgrown meadow
As August approaches the log piles seem to be drying out nicely. This year we’ve built a simple windrow of split wood plus a more experimental range of stacks, with logs in the round. The windrows logs are exposed to the summer sun and the wind and the top layer is stacked bark side up which helps shed a little rain. The roundwood stacks are made from a single plane of fairly short logs. The thinking being, that water moves through wood longitudinally 10 to 15 times faster than it does perpendicular to the grain. So by exposing as much end-grain as possible and keeping the bark on as a rain guard, you should get fairly rapid drying. We shall see what happens when moisture readings are taken again in autumn. (I guess I might have lost a few devoted readers after that, even I’m yawning).

The coppice area is now beginning to shoot up and the unguarded sycamores have even survived the attentions of the local deer population. The young hazels and hornbeams seem to have all taken, despite a very dry spring - and they are nearly to the top off their tree guards.

Lots of crossbills are now feeding in the wood (flocks of 16 are not uncommon) so we installed a little watering hole for them. Crossbills need a plentiful supply of water, as the pine seeds on which they feed are exceptionally dry. Maybe they can even be attracted close enough for a photograph, all I usually see is a fleeting glimpse as they flit between the pines calling with that distinctive ‘chip-chip-chip’.

The meadow has reached a good hight this summer and it’s still to be grown on for another two years to attract a healthy field vole population. It’s hoped that the local barn owls will visit in the evenings, plus of course, I don’t have to mow it anymore - but it’s the barn owls mostly!