A mysterious guest


It has been far too long, ladies and gentlemen, far too long since my last "post". I shall attempt to re-illuminate you through a strongly bulleted format, which will hopefully create the impression of intellectual astuteness, as well as the illusion that I may have something better to do.

Right, so what have I been on with? Apart from reading an awesome book called 'Flashman' which is about a Victorian cad who cheats, lies and seduces his way through life, I've been getting used to a whole load of new jobs.

I believe in my last post I said something about de-stumping. Here is a picture of the excavator moving the stumps into long lines called 'windrows' after they've been pulled up.

They use this thing which looks like a huge claw to pull them out, unfortunately it's not in the picture. It is here, though:

The reason for de-stumping is mainly to reduce the risk of a fungus called Heterobasidion annosum establishing, which causes the butts of healthy trees to rot (and make them much less valuable, as well as unstable). The butt rot fungus loves freshly cut stumps to live on, and can spread through contact of 2 tree roots underground as well as by spores. Removing all of the roots greatly reduces the chances of the next crop getting butt rot, while having the added benefit of making it much easier to replant afterwards. 
(see http://www.biology.ed.ac.uk/research/groups/jdeacon/microbes/heterob.htm)

De-stumping is very expensive, as you might imagine, so it is only done on the chalkiest of sites where the risk of Heterobasidion is greatest. When a site has been de-stumped, it allows us to use a tractor-mounted planting machine instead of planting by hand to restock. The quality of planting arguably isn't as good, but what it loses out it makes up for in quantity. Here's a video of it in action:

O.K. - now here come the bullet points. I hope you're ready...

  • Last week James and I went cutting hazel coppice for building a bird hide with volunteers at the weekend. The last one got pulled down so I spent my Sunday morning showing bird watchers how to use a draw knife and put sweet-chestnut poles in the ground. Pictures here: 

    • I found an adder when I was checking over a destump site. I thought it had been squished by the bulldozer, but when I looked at it, she stuck her tongue out at me:

    • And finally, when I went to check on one of our contractors the other day, I found him down a big hole: 

    Well, hope that's enough to keep you going for a bit longer. I know you get sad when I don't write. I'm sure there's more to tell you, but that's for another day.

    Bye-bye x

    Listening to Locklin Road – Lily Of The West on Spotify


    1. About blooming time!

    2. I had to laugh when you said there were two blokes in the little tent on the tractor! :) I thought it was completely automated, and was mystified as to how clever it must be!! And I love the chain hangin' down from the front end! :) Did the contractor manage to dig himself out?...

    3. yes, it's a very technologically advanced piece of kit :-)

      the contractor got himself out in the end, but I think they had to bring another machine in to pull him.

      if that was your comment dad, then who was anonymous!?


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