Saturday, 20 December 2008

Highwood. Finishing off

Last week at Highwood, and we finished planting the planned 1000 trees for this part of the site. Again, we were on the perilous slope. Quite a lot of volunteers this morning including one Scout. Not a bad turnout for the saturday immediately before Christmas Home made jam sponge was the cake. Spirits were higher than the second photo would suggest, Philip was full of cold, and full of beard.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Highwood Week 3. Pain and pleasure. The psychology of volunteer work.

This morning was one of those mornings when the pleasure of the long hot shower, warm dry clothes, and cup of tea that come after the work, make all the rain, mud and cold almost worthwhile. There must be an element of masochism in the mental make-up of our volunteers.

Pretty dismal weather, rain, low cloud and chilly. The only thing it lacked was wind, so that made it just about bearable. Rain is always a problem for the digging volunteer though. Hardly anyone is going to waste good breathable outdoor gear on this kind of work, so that means that you get to choose between sweating inside your waterproofs, or getting wet from the rain. There is no correct answer. I tried both this morning.

Not surprisingly, fewer volunteers this week, I blame the weather, plus the nearness of christmas. Nevertheless the seven of us present probably planted around 200 trees, and part of that was planting Birch on a very steep and rocky slope so respect to the mountaineering section - Cath, Philip, Trevor and Brian. 

Fewer volunteers did mean more cake each (homemade Ginger). Brian had also brought a flask of Bushmills. Everyone appreciated it, even me, and I can't abide whiskey.

Everything I had on is covered in mud.  But I do now feel warm and comfy at home.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Highwood Week 2

Another brilliant sunny winter morning, loads of volunteers, and 300 trees planted. It was all idyllic. Sadly there is no photographic evidence this week as something has gone wrong with either my camera or my memory card.

 Fingers crossed that we stay lucky with the weather. We haven't had a really grim morning yet this season, so we are due one. 

The cake was a universally admired lemon drizzle cake.  

Some people took their cars ice skating on the way up to the site, but that had thawed by the time we came back down. No damage done.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Highwood 2008. A glorious morning

Bright cold and frosty. Very picaresque. We planted on this site last year, and we are back to plant another 1000 trees. We loaded up all 1000 trees, stakes and guards at the nursery, and when we got to the site the landowner very helpfully carted all that gear across the fields on his tractor. Saving us the donkey work. We set to digging and planting in the sunshine and managed to plant 190 trees this morning. The cake was a nice nutty and fruity fruit cake. And I nailed up the first of our waymarkers to mark our work.

Last picture is of Brian, Cath, Dave and Trevor.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Meltham Week 4

Last day on this site. We have planted 750 trees in 4 weeks, which is not terribly fast work, and is slightly worrying given our commitments this season. That said, it was a lovely day, we worked hard for no money, and we finished and tidied up. The cake was highly rated home made chocolate brownies. Next week we will be at Highwood, Slaithwaite, where another 1000 trees are due to go in. That should take us up to Christmas. Main photo is, unusually, of me.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Cake, coffee, and kit. Meltham week 3


Third week at Meltham, and we finally made it on site, after another discussion about the best way to cross the various fields. We still haven't found the perfect route, this week involved some deep sucking mud, and some gregarious horses. Once work began over 200 more trees got planted. Lots of Birch, some Hazel for understory, and Oak. A nice mornings weather, mild, no rain, and even a spot of blue sky now and then. We have another 2-300 trees to plant at this site, so another two weeks work should do us easily. The cake was coffee cake,with a crunchy top. Very nice.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Planting trees, with trees

Our second week near Meltham, and this week we had trees to plant. So we went at it with a vengence and planted just over 200 trees in a morning. Mostly Hazel, some Rowan, some Birch, and a few Cherry. The mornings cake was a very very decadent coconut and fruit slice. 

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Planting trees without trees

First day of the 2008/09 season, and we were on a site outside Meltham. Technically not in the Colne Valley, but still a good project. We will be planting 1050 trees in two sections, near to Folly Dolly Falls (which are, according to Jess the landowner, the 39th highest falls in England). We were expecting the trees, stakes and guards to be delivered while we were on site, but they didn't arrive until packing up time, so we had spent the morning clearing bracken and digging holes. A satisfying morning of manual labour. Next week we can do the creative stuff, deciding which tree to put in which hole.

First photo is of Dave, working his way down the slope. Second is of Philip and Heidi digging away. And third is of Neil and Dave.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Brian's barbecue

This sunday Brian had organised a walk (and refreshments) for local councillors and dignitaries, so that the Society could show its appreciation for their support, and explain what we achieve with that support. The walk took us round phases 1 and 2 of our planting alongside Marsden Golf course, and from there we could also see the planting at Hemplow Wood. Several local councillors joined us for the walk, and more folk joined us at Marsden Cricket club afterwards for drinks and bacon sandwiches. Brian had also organised a display of photographs showing our work on the many sites around Marsden.
It was also the first time that Philip and I had been in the Cricket Club pavillion, and we were impressed.

Top photo is of the walk, bottom photo is of the view from the Cricket Club terrace.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

I heart my shirt

I had these shirts made up. Just to see. And they came out pretty good. Want one?

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Reservoir Logs

The official first day of our new planting season is 1st November. Today was another summer maintenance day. The circular walk around Butterly Reservoir had become blocked by fallen trees in the pine plantation. These were large trees and a chainsaw was necessary to clear them. Philip and Guy had done a proper risk assessment. We marked off the path with hazard tape. There was much debate about a strategy but once we had agreed on one, Guy marked the cuts on the trees with spray, and Philip set about them with the chainsaw. I took photos, and Dan lopped off branches with a pruning saw, and cleared debris. After that, and after a coffee break, we walked over to a nearby farm to meet the new owners and discuss planting in their fields.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Summer work

I havne't posted recently because our planting season is Autumn through to Easter. In the summer months we meet occasionally to visit new sites, or do a spot of maintenance on existing ones. We look forward to the occasional balmy summer evening of a bit of light work and then a pint. More usually it pours with rain and then we go home to get dry and warm. Summer?! Anyway, this evening Philip and I visited White Hull Farm to inspect some trees planted at the beginning of last season, and spoke to a couple of householders nearby who are thinking of getting us to plant on their land. The first photograph is of a small Rowan tree, struggling bravely against the tall grass.

The second photo is of Philip pointing over towards Green Owlers, a site planted about 8 years ago. Not many of the trees on that site have thrived, a result of some grazing by sheep, and maybe not good soil. As you can probably guess from the glowering clouds overhead, it tipped it down shortly after this.

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Four seasons in one hour. A site visit to Huck Hill

Tree planting is officially over for this season, so this mornings outing was a site visit to Huck Hill above the Tunnel End, Marsden. We were accompanied by Jeff and Patrick from the Kirklees Environment Unit, who were advising us and Ian, the landowner, on how to further develop the site. It was a preliminary discussion, with flora and fauna audits to be carried out a later date, but the discussion with Jeff and Patrick was very useful. The area we were visiting has been fenced off from grazing for around 2 years now, and Jeff was keen to note the natural regeneration of plantlife in that time. Unfortunately, it decided to snow heavily as we were walking up the site, and so all the low lying plantlife was somewhat obscured by that. We did see some natural regeneration of small Grey Willow/Sallow trees and Heather, and examples of Cowberry and Polytricum moss (as pictured above). By the time we were walking back down the sun was shining and it was a lovely day. By the time I had walked the half mile home, all the snow had melted away. I think it fair to say that Jeff and Patrick were keen that we be sensitive in our further development of the site, that following the flora and fauna audits we could plant small areas of appropriate low lying trees such as Blackthorn and Hawthorn, and that this could be a positive contribution to the transition between wooded valley areas and upland heath.

Philip, Patrick and Jeff from the Kirklees environment unit, and Ian, whose land this is.

I sloped off home after this visit, but Philip and Dave went off to plant a last few Hazel trees at Marsden Golf Course.

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Only fit for ducks. Back to Scammonden, and a visit to Mecca.


Another morning of work to finish at Scammonden. Once again we were led by Brian in a session planting in and around some underused farmland. Brother was it wet. The pet ducks illustrate this. We planted alder and willow in the dampest corners, and some pine and hawthorn where it was relatively dry. Once again whiskey was brought. And the cake was as substantial luxury mincemeat slice. After planting we were taken to Brian's favorite drinking hole, colloquially known as Mecca. Pints and pork pies were got in. Very good. But the scantily clad ladies calendar was a bit non-PC.

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Last day at High Wood

Just a morning tidying up the High Wood site, planting a few last trees and making sure all the trees had stakes and guards. A bit of late snow made it picaresque. First pic is of Heidi, and last pic of this site is of the lovely view that morning.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Lindley School Owls at High Wood

On this Sunday morning we had our annual tree planting session for the "Owls" of Lindley Infants School. Myself, Philip, Tilly and my mum Ann were joined by around 30 parents and children of Lindley School, who come out with us for one Sunday each season. We were planting at High Wood again, above Slaithwaite.

We had done some of the heavy digging in advance, because experience has taught us that those little folk and their parents can plant very fast! And every year we underestimate how much work they can do! We planted a total of around 300 trees, birch, oak and hawthorn. Everyone had a great time, and the rain held off. Tilly took all the
photographs, and she distributed home made biscuits, and gave out society leaflets. A good morning.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

More thinning out at Royd House Wood

Once again we were t Royd House Wood thinning out some established trees. Phillip and Dave were at work with their chainsaws (photo of a spot of maintenance). The rest of us with pruning saws and loppers. This mornings cake was a universally acclaimed coconut crunchy top thing. And some of us went to the Sair afterwards for refreshment. Last photo is of our tree of kit.

The most significant even this morning was our receipt of a very significant donation of money from an old friend of the Society. "H" visited us on site, and presented Phillip with a cheque . We are all hugely impressed and grateful.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Bolster Moor and Scammonden

Another two-fer morning, led by Brian. The first site was at Bolster moor, and involved planting 200 hawthorn for a hedge for a local landowner. Most of our planting does involve creating more wild wood environments, but hedges and shelter belts also contribute to biodiversity. The work also fosters good relations with local landowners, who pay for the trees but get our (not inconsiderable) labours for nothing.

The second site was a farm below the Lower Royal George pub. We began planting a number of small plots within the farm's fields, creating small wooded areas. The weather was pretty poor, windy and occassionally rainy. But we did have a short Jameson's whiskey break, and cake, to fortify us. As you can see we needed fortifying, it was cold and windy up there, and wet underfoot too. The first picture is of John and Peter, the second features Rob, Geoff and Trevor leaning into the wind.

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Return to High Wood

Back to High Wood again this morning. It is a large site that will occupy us for some time, including some of next season. This morning we were planting more Hawthorn and Oak on the Westerly side of the site, and preparing ground for a group from Lindley school to do some planting in a couple of weeks time. And I occupied myself rolling up some old barbed wire that might be a bit hazardous with small children around. We were delighted to see Bob this morning, who hasn't been out with us for a while.

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Return to Royd House Wood

Back to Royd House Wood again this week, to do more thinning of previously planted trees. We had two chainsaws in action this week, and the rest of us with loppers and pruning saws. We got quite a lot done. I came a way with a car load of firewood, which, while not the main purpose of the morning, is still good. Often our planting schemes involve packing trees in tightly together, 2 metres apart or less. We monitor the progress of sites. If not all the trees have grown well then there is of course no need to thin them out. Occasionally we will find that a certain type of tree is not thriving on a site, and we will go back to that site to "beat-up" (plant more trees). If all the trees we planted have done well, then thinning out may be necessary.

Today's cake was lemon drizzle cake, and lovely it was too. Everyone greatly appreciates my mum's home made cakes each week.

The work was followed by our mid-season committee meeting in the Sair, Linthwaite, at 1pm.

Saturday, 16 February 2008

High Wood week 2

Another fine morning, glorious in fact. Back again to the site above Slaithwaite, we are likely to be coming back here a fair bit, as it is a big site with several fields to be planted. This morning we were planting Hawthorn down one side of a field, plus some oak in the field itself. Also, willow sticks were planted. We cut some willow sticks while at the nursery first thing in the morning, then I managed to jam a load of them in my ancient Fiat panda. They were sticking out the front and out the back, they were quite long sticks. Anyway, made it to the site safely. Those sticks were then cut in half and we jammed all the sticks into the ground up and down the length of a small stream that runs through the fiend we were working in. The theory is that the willow sticks will sprout and grow roots in the wet ground, so fingers crossed. First picture up shows the hillside, wall where we planted the Hawthorn in the background, stream running down the centre, and those reddish sticks are our willow. Left to right, Philip, Geoff, and Heidi.

Second photo is of Society patriach, Brian, busy putting guards on the new trees.

This weeks cake was chocolate cake, made with the finest Green and Blacks organic chocolate.

Saturday, 9 February 2008

High Wood

First week on a new site, High Wood, above Crimble above Slaithwaite. A fairly glorious sunny morning, on a site with a nice south facing aspect. Despite having to carry all our kit across a couple of fields to get to the site we managed to plant over three hundred trees this morning. Photo is of a team meeting, some important matter of strategy being discussed I am sure.