Monday, 21 December 2009

Rotcher Wood community orchard

Duncan, Philip and Cath digging away.

The site we were going to go to was inaccessible this morning, and the little trees would be frozen together solidly anyway. So, instead Duncan took us to the Rotcher Wood community orchard, where we dug out some Oak trees that will be in the way of the fruit tree planting there. Very cold, until you got digging, but then I soon managed to get down to a t-shirt. We took away about 30 small trees and placed them in a trench in Duncan's back garden, so that we can replant them elsewhere on another day.Duncan saves a tree.

Bare rooted trees "healed-in" to the trench in Duncan's garden.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Winter Hill, Hemplow and Wholestone moor

Brian graciously accepting tea from the landowner.

Bit of a three-for-one deal this morning, with people headed off in all directions. Dave and Neil transported materials off to our next big site. Guy, Duncan and Heidi went back to Hemplow/Butterley. Myself, Philip, Geoff, Brian, Peter and Trevor went to Winter Hill and planted 90 trees in a small field there. Owner was very nice and brought us tea on a tray. Our cake was jam buns, as pictured. V.good. An excellent morning, the weather was passable, and later worked itself up into a lovely sunny winter's day. And the Sair has started serving its own beer again! Turned out nice again.

Trevor striding purposefully past his work.

Oh, and Neil pointed out that the blog had had some unsavory content added via the comment section. Don't panic, I have blocked the offending material. It actually was pretty mild pictures of a scantily clad young Chinese woman, and all the text appeared to be in Chinese too. We must have followers in that part of the world.
Heidi, Guy, Neil and Dave at Butterley

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Hemplow Wood week 3

Cath, Me (Simon) and fruit cake.The pool behind me is known as the swimming pool, though I wouldn't want to.

Here we are again at Hemplow Wood, nearly done, just some tidying up to do next week. 250 trees added to this bit of Butterley Clough, and 150 Holly and Hawthorn to go further round overlooking the reservoir. Nice classic (appropriate use of the word) fruit cake this morning.

Trevor, Cath, Neil (waving) and Dan.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Hemplow Wood week 2

Ooh it looked horrible when we woke up this morning, sleeting. But that stopped and it turned out quite nice. Up to Hemplow Wood again. Dave and I were elsewhere ferrying planting materials around in car and trailer, but Cath, Geoff, Duncan, Neil and Diane did sterling work. Thanks to Duncan for the pictures. Cake was Carrot, though my mum seemed to have chucked a lot of other stuff in there as well...

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Hemplow Wood

First day of actual real planting of the season, and we are at Hemplow Wood, next to Butterley Reservoir. Its a long walk from the nearest parking, and we had to carry all the kit over there. So it was a late start actually digging, and we got 50 trees planted. Lovely spot though, if a bit steep and rocky. First gratuitous cake picture of the year, fresh buttered scones.

Monday, 16 November 2009

All publicity is good publicity

Today I put up a small recruitment display in the Marsden Information point window. Just an A3 poster, some waymarkers, a mattock, and a t-shirt. Maybe someone will be enticed by the stylish t-shirt...

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Nursery work

Still no trees to plant! So we did a substantial amount of tidying up at the Nursery. I am going to fetch several hundred trees myself this week, so it will be planting as normal next saturday. And we will be getting our proper delivery for the season soon.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Merrydale encore une fois

Another Saturday spent up Merrydale, we all know it well by now. Not the most dynamic of starts to the season, but we will survive.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

First day of the 2009/10 season

Old tubes gathered, and old volunteers in the background.

First day of our new season, and what are we doing? We are up Merrydale again retrieving stakes and guards. Well, it does need doing. We haven't quite finalised our tree order for this year, as we are still waiting for a cheque to arrive in the post (Kirklees!). Still the weather was pleasant, and maintenance is part of our work. A core of old stalwarts, myself, Philip, Neil and Geoff were joined by special guests Steve and Chelsea, and Neil and Sarah.

Philip looking heroically into the distance, in big waterproof pants

Thursday, 8 October 2009

New season recruitment poster

The joys of Photoshop

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Merrydale, and more new sites


Another Saturday up Merrydale. Not quite such nice weather, as you can see from the Philip's and Neil's rainwear. Later on we went and visited some very nice people who would like us to help them plant trees in their  field above Marsden. 

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Merrydale once more

There are an awful lot of stakes and guards up Merrydale. Serves us right for planting so many trees. Myself, Philip and Dave this morning, with a box of homemade biscuits. Philip and I left for an hour to go and visit a landowner and discuss some planting next to the M62. Sadly my camera had run out of batteries, so no pictures of today. But trust me, we worked hard and collected around 120 stakes to be reused, and filled a bag of old guards to be disposed of. Another lovely Autumn morning.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

More Merrydale

Yet another trip up Merrydale to merrily gather stakes and guards. Just myself, Guy and Dan. Lovely September morning, almost an Indian Summer day. The cake of the day was coconut.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

First attempt at propagating Holly

So, this is my first attempt at propagating Holly, which is a relatively expensive tree for us to buy. Collected cuttings of new growth in mid-September. Cut the cuttings quarter inch below a leaf. Trimmed off all but two or three leaves. Wet the base and dipped it in organic rooting compound.  Placed the cutting in a root trainer cell, having first poked a hole with a pencil in the general purpose compost. They will be kept outside on my mum's allotment. 2 hours work, but if they grow it saves us £30. Coming soon... Hawthorn!

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Site visits

Clockwise: Well house farm, White Hall Barn, Philip at Green Owlers


A lovely saturday morning for some site visits. Philip and I went up to Well House farm first. This site had suffered from sheep attack soon after the first planting, so we were eager to see how things were going. Subsequent growth of both trees and grass shows that the field is now secure. There were some Hawthorn that had never recovered from being nibbled, and some strangely failed Scots pine. But other than that it looked good.

Next visit was Green Owlers. Again, our nemesis the sheep have attacked. It looked like a sheep or two had got in recently and nibbled lots of the tops out of the new trees. Very few were showing above the tops of the guards, but all were healthy inside. The owners son assured us that they were on the case as far as further sheep ingress was concerned, and they even had an electric fence down one side.

Just up the road was White Hall Barn. No sheep can get in there, and the owner has been carefully strimming around the trees to ensure them lots of light. Looks good.

Next we went up to Merrydale to look for Duncan, we collected some stakes and guards and took them off site.

Last port of call was to see a householder over by Jerusalem farm at Linthwaite. We discussed planting a windbreak down one side of the field behind his cottage. A small job for us, but every little helps.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Beautiful morning at Merrydale

A young Birch, a young Rowan, and a pile of old guards.

Lots of people are on holiday, it being August, so it was just Geoff and myself this morning. But it was a lovely morning, and we went up to Merrydale and removed more stakes and guards. We brought back about 100 stakes at the end, which saves us around £25.  I also collected a similar number of used cable ties, I am not quite sure what I am going to do with those, but at least they aren't just left on site. We had tons of cake, cherry muffins. But we only ate two each, and I brought the rest home. After a pint of Elland brewery Bargee at the Sair.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

The Green Man Trail, and formative pruning

Philip, Geoff and Guy relax before the rain.

Philip and Guy have been trying to establish this weekend as an annual event and walk. The Green man trail is a proposed walk route that takes you up to the top of Pasture Wood above Marsden. It gives a brilliant view of the head of the Colne Valley. At least, it does on a day which isn't beset by low cloud and rain, in August! The weather was shockingly bad. It should have been a lovely celebratory moment, when we could look around the valley and see thousands of trees which the society has planted over the years. But we did our best in adverse circumstances, we had cake, and shared a bottle of wine. Later on, Philip, Guy and I walked down to Netherwood, and did a bit of light formative pruning there, before ending the evening in more relaxed and social manner. Beer, obviously.

Philip formatively prunes a tree.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Merrydale and Scouts

Heidi and Lisa standing proudly next to their pile of collected guards, and looking wet.

In his capacity as a Scout Leader Duncan took a group of Scouts up Merrydale and got them to take off stakes and guards from the grown trees. Heidi and Lisa turned out to help. Philip was away bracken bashing at High Wood. By all accounts it was a wet, wet Thursday evening.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Merrydale - Lord of the flies

See the flies on Simon's hat, see Geoff, fly-less. Why?

So, this morning we were up Merrydale, a lovely little valley that runs away to the west north west of Slaithwaite. The site has some semi-ancient natural woodland, and this was supplemented with new planting some years ago. We were back there today to remove guards and retrieve stakes for re-use. Problem was, flies! Flies, flies damn flies. You can see them all over my hat in the pic. Other than that it was delightful up there. And the bilberry bushes are weighed down with big juicy fruit too, so lots of jam this year. We gathered 175 stakes for re-use, saving us £70 or £80. We also took a similar number of the old guards off site. Apricot and walnut cake today. Very good.

Duncan, Neil and Heidi, emerging from the new growth.                                                                                                  Heidi handing round the cake

Monday, 6 July 2009

The Annual General Meeting

As usual this took place at the Sair. 2 hours of heated debate about health and safety and working with children and young people policies. Had to be done. I recorded the whole thing on my MP3 player, so if anyone would like a podcast of it I could oblige. The recording made writing the minutes a lot easier, and more accurate, than usual.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Holme Bank Wood

Guy and Philip search the jungle, lots of small birch that the Society  planted can
be seen on the other side of the clough behind Guy.

Holme Bank Wood this morning, for more bracken bashing and stake and guard retrieval. Very warm and midgy up there, lovely views of the reservoirs though. This site is an ongoing attempt to add to semi-ancient woodland on the edge of the Reservoirs. There is some seriously deep bracken up there though, so we need to keep going back to get light to the smaller trees. Some of the birch look like they have some kind of blight, but others look ok so far. Some birch are self seeding on the rockier parts of the hillside. Rowan is also self seeding, and a few small oak.

Guy thinks there is lots of scope for further planting here and the other side of the reservoirs.

                                   That's Duncan wrestling with a stake under a bush                      


And that's me with my midge net on, demonstrating how not to remove a guard.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Marsden Green fair - publicity and recruitment

Philip considers adopting a minimum height requirement for Society volunteers.

Today we were at the annual Marsden green fair at the Mechanics Institute. Philip and I set up our stall at 10.00, and then we took turns to host the stall and hand out leaflets to visitors. We had several useful conversations with prospective volunteers, and also with people who may have sites for us to plant on. My mum helped out as well and had a fine old time. I got to talk to one of the Society's founder members Dr. Dransfield, who must in his late eighties now.

Tilly got her face painted, we won wine in the raffle, and my mum talked to anyone and everyone. 

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Hemplow, Butterly and Rams Clough - a bit of everything

One of our valiant little trees struggling against the evil bracken at Hemplow Wood. Nice view of the reservoir though.

A typical summer mornings work. We took walk round Butterly reservoir, checking on the progress of some of last seasons planting, and trees from two or three years ago. We collected some old stakes and guards for recycling, we knocked back a bit of bracken to allow smaller trees to get some light, we cleared the footpath of fallen trees in the pine plantation, and we ended the morning by going up Rams Clough to persuade some sheep to leave one of our planting sites. A pleasant mornings work, good breeze so no midges. My feet were a bit sore from all the walking though. The damp weather has made it incredibly lush up there.

Guy and Philip do their best catalogue poses, modelling society t-shirts.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Three men and a chainsaw

Before the sawing. The tree in the centre is impeding the growth of those nearby.

Summer's here, and the time is right, for... doing a bit of woodland management. Planting season is over, so during the summer we meet every couple of weeks and carry out tasks like pruning, thinning our old sites, and collecting planting materials for re-use. Today we were in a small wood above Cowlersley, which the society planted 8-10 years ago. Three willow trees had been identified by Guy as having outgrown nearby oaks, and so were to be chopped back in order that the smaller trees might thrive. Philip had his chainsaw, and a risk assessment form, so we were all set. I taped off the paths leading into the site, and Guy announced our intention to nearby householders. Cake was a very civilised jam sponge, which, given there were only three of us, we all ate far too much of. 

After. Philip hard at work. Look at those lovely logs.

Hazard tape, and a CVTS waymarker.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Last saturday of the season. Meltham

The assembled throng is plied with strong drink

Last day of planting for this season, and we were once again high on the hill above Meltham. Planting Alder, Oak, Ash, and more Hawthorn and Blackthorn to supplement the shelter belt we planted here two weeks ago. It was a lovely morning, though the wind is a bit brisk up there. Brian brought  out the whiskey again at break time, and I understand it went well with the fruit cake. We had extra volunteers again this week, Army John, Richard, Roger, Dianne, Rob, and Wilf Proctor (one of the founder members of the society). Drinks were partaken in the Wills O' Nats afterwards. A very pleasant end to the season. Now we start planning for November!

Brian, Wilf and Dave

Brian's giant bare rooted alder!

Purely medicinal

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Holme Bank Wood, and Well House

This morning we planted 100 Holly above Holme Bank Wood, overlooking Butterly Reservoir. It was a very steep and somewhat rocky slope, there was lots of moaning about rocks and no topsoil, but we got it done quite quick. We were quite high up, with a lovely view, but it was a bit unseasonally chilly. The cake was a very acceptable pecan and apricot fruit cake. Main photo shows Brian holding forth on some topic or other, and Dan listening raptly. Second photo is of Philip and Peter looking at the view, you can see our cars parked up on the hill in the background. After we'd had our tea and cake we stopped by at Well House on the way back, and planted 80-100 more trees and popped on a couple of hundred of the canes and spiral guards that Guy sourced.  A busy morning, we didn't finish til 1pm. 

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Wills O' Nats

Today was another day of shelter belt planting organised by Brian, who also raised the funding for this. We were on Meltham Cop, behind the Wills O' Nats pub. The morning began with a presentation of flowers to Ann Norman, who bakes us a cake every week. Once that was done we trooped up to the top of the hill, where Brian demonstrated the correct way to plant trees; we did have quite a few extra helpers this morning, so it time well spent. We were planting a shelter belt of closely spaced Hawthorn and Blackthorn, 2 plants per metre, slightly staggered. The theory is that these will grow into a substantial hedge, and in time provide shelter which enables the farmer to leave his livestock out on the field for longer each year. This will reduce his costs for winter feed. 

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Tidying up Green Owlers

For the sake of completeness I should mention that Sarah, Trevor and I went back to Green Owlers this morning and planted the remaining 30 Hawthorn, 30 Willow, and 20 Holly. We also went round the site putting the last few guards and stakes on trees which had been forgotten. It was a beautiful morning, and we listened to the Curlews on the moors while we worked. Brian had also been up there earlier this week tidying up. Finished! Trevor and Brian will be at Wholestone Moor this afternoon planting the last few there. Saturday, on to the next and last site at Will O' Nats!

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Green Owlers week 2

See the many many trees planted, and the tired volunteers packing up

Amazingly, we got most of this site finished today. Over 1000 trees planted in two weekends, two Saturdays and a Sunday. My estimate is that we have 45 Hawthorn, and 30 Holly left from the original order, and maybe some extra Willow to bung in if we feel so inclined. We also came up short on stakes and guards too, so there are maybe 100 guards needed in total, and a similar number of stakes. I'll probably try to get these done one day this week, maybe with Trevors help. So, it was hard work, and we are all  probably quite tired, and the project management skills went a bit awry. But overall we can be quite proud that we got this done in so short a space of time. Nobody pays us to do this you know, we must be mad. Mind, we did have a very nice chocolate cake, made with Green and Blacks, maybe they'd like to sponsor us?

More tired volunteers, and another view of all our labours.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Green Owlers and Lindley School Owls

Mrs Shires, plus an Owl and parent, my mother in red hat lurking in the background

Every year we have a sunday when we are visited by the Lindley Owls. Mrs Shires organised a fantastic turnout and we got a huge amount of planting done, before the rain and snow and sleet set in. Home made biscuits were distributed, and the landowners made us a tea and coffee. A great morning was had, it was only the last half hour when it got a bit inhospitable.

Panorama of the site and Owls at work

Once again, a huge thankyou to Mrs Shires and colleagues for organising this, it gave us a big boost on this site and we got hundreds of trees planted.