Sunday, 19 December 2010

Winter woodland management

A cold and foggy December morning and myself, Dave, Philip and his chainsaw were doing woodland management at Throstle Green Farm. The landowner had asked that some of the Alder we planted 8 years ago be taken down, to preserve his view of the valley. We agreed, so long as we could take timber away as part of our nascent community wood fuel project. Funny thing to do with your Sunday morning, but it was actually really quite nice up there. Quiet (when the chainsaw wasn't going) and peaceful. Hard work mind.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Season's greetings from the CVTS

The fruit vodka gets passed round.

Our fifth week at Fieldhouse, and another 400 trees planted. Quite snowy and flippin' cold, but a healthy turnout nonetheless. Myself, mother, Philip, Geoff, Aaron, Cath, Neil, Ben, Heidi, Lisa, Lisa's Dad, Dave, and Duncan. And Guy dropped by for a chat. One more day at Fieldhouse and the planting should be finished. New Years's day anyone? Homemade chocolate biscuits at breaktime, and Dave brought fruit vodka. Followed by a pint in the Swan afterwards.

Happy holiday's everyone!

The motley crew: Geoff, Aaron, Cath, Heidi, Lisa, Philip, Me, Ben, Neil, Dave and Duncan

Saturday, 11 December 2010

540 more trees planted at Fieldhouse!!

Tilly experimented with the panorama setting on the cameraphone. In the photo, Dave, Heidi
Dan, Diane, 3 Scouts, me, and then me again. Freaky.

Crikey, at this rate we may even finish this site one day. Really nice morning. Sunny and quite mild. All the snow had gone. Good turnout, with me, my mum, Tilly, Heidi, Geoff, Philip, Dave, Dan, Guy, Diane, Trevor, Brian, Peter, Duncan and Scouts. Cake was a mincemeat fruitcake, a Delia recipe according to my mum.

Anyway, well done everybody!

Tilly, and lots of trees.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

450 trees planted!

Philip and Ali and weak winter sunshine.
Well considering the weather this week and the snow still on the ground we had an ok turnout and a good morning. We worked like crazy and got 450 trees in. Photographer from the Huddersfield Examiner was there to record our efforts. Duncan, Sophie and the Scouts focused again on Rhododendron control and brushwood clearance. Ali, Philip, Cath, Dave, Neil, Julia, Geoff, Guy, Isabel, and myself, planted trees. We had been expecting the local MP Jason McCartney to make an appearance, but he was stuck in London. Never mind, we had rum and sloe gin in our breaktime coffees to make up for that. For the record we planted 150 Hazel, 150 Oak, and 150 Ash today.

Sloe gin, flapjack and woolly hats.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Fieldhouse week 2

 Picture of me, for a change.
Dicey weather for driving, but actually a nice morning for tree planting. Not too much snow on the ground, and lots of sunshine. In attendance were myself, Cath, Philip, Dave, Brian, Roger, and Duncan brought Scouts again. We planted around 240 trees (60 Guelder Rose, 60 blackthorn, and 120 Ash) and dug a lot more holes ready for next week's big do.

The assembled throng, minus Brian and Roger, enjoy lemon curd bakewell tart.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

First planting of the season

Scouts, volunteers, and tree planting materials
Always gratifying to actually plant some trees, after all the admin work and maintenance. We transported all the stakes and guards to the site using Brian's trailer and Peter and Trevor's help. Duncan brought some Scouts and their leaders. And we started planting. We have 2000 trees to plant on this site, so it is quite a big job. Nice site with a nice view, and a nice bit of ginger cake for break time.And a nice pint in the Sair afterwards. I think we planted maybe 90 trees today, Ash and Hazel.

Linfit bitter, Tunnocks wafer, and the tree order excel spreadsheet.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Scouts at Fieldhouse!

Philip standing in the middle of where the 2000 trees will go.

The following is an email review by one of the Scouts helping Duncan at Fieldhouse, Slaithwaite today.

Hi guys me and dannielle have been to slaithwaite today with duncan, daisy, mary, henry, will, aaron and martin {lydias dad}
. We have cleared wood into piles so that small animals like hedgehogs, insects and minibeasts shelter. We have cut
RHODODENRONS down to get more light to the ground.
so come next week at 9,45 am untill 12.30 approx outside the swan pub bring some thing to eat & drink bring your mum & dad too its fun {careys email for more details}
see you next thursday

One day our trees will come!

Another Saturday spent doing necessary ground works at the nursery. Dave continued creating a border for the slabs, with Dan's and Neil's help. Cath and I dug more drainage channels, which was kind of fun for a while watching the water pouring away. Then we sorted the broken flags into matching pairs. Guy moved woodchip around. Philip was at Fieldhouse with Duncan and Scouts for the first half, dealing with brushwood and felled timber. He then joined us for cake and some more digging at the nursery. Tree delivery should be this week and hopefully we can go to Fieldhouse and actually plant some trees next Saturday.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Dig for victory!

More nursery work, and no pictures because it was too muddy to get the camera out. Worked on creating an edge to the hard standing area, and digging a drainage ditch to take water away. Very very hard muddy work. One day soon it will all be over and we can plant some trees. When they arrive that is.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Acorns! Acorns!

In an ongoing effort to cut costs and be more sustainable, I have planted 360 plus acorns, all gathered in the Lake District this week. Half of them were already rooting. The main danger now is that mice will get them, I lost half those I planted last year to mice. For this reason they will be kept above ground level until growing. The root trainer trays have been in the Society's possession for some years, but haven't been used, and the compost to fill them came from expired tomato grow-bags on local allotments. So there were no costs at all. If they all grow then this will save the Society £190.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Nursery work

The start of tree planting is still a couple of weeks away, when we can get all our financial ducks in a row, and get trees delivered. In the meantime we have been doing essential work at the Nursery.

We spent the morning moving vast amounts of wood chippings created by the contractors who cleared the site for fencing. Also we acquired a large number of big, heavy, slightly broken paving slabs from the local cricket club -these will be used to create an area of hard standing for us to work on and store materials on. And we began to clear and level off the area for that hard standing.

All very, very, hard work. But very gratifying in its way (I hope I still think that when I am aching tomorrow morning)

Should Heidi be forbidden from wearing that t-shirt again though? Sober environmental types us.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Nursery work

This morning we busied ourselves tidying the nursery, and discussing the groundworks that need doing. As you can see, we had a bit of a play with the blue drainage pipe, working out how much we had and how far it would go. We also cleared rubbish, and gathered rocks from the cleared area, to use as hardcore for over and around the pipe. Picture below is of me trying to pull up some of the vast amounts of black liner which was buried in the soil. We intend to install the drainage pipe and sort out the hard standing work area on the first day of the season, Saturday 30th October.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Button badge design

More photoshop fun. I designed a button badge, using some of Dan's artwork.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Huck Hill signs and waymarkers

A lovely morning, a lovely morning to carry very heavy bags of cement, signs and fenceposts up a big steep hill. Good workout that.

We were at Huck Hill installing signs and waymarkers for a permissive path joining two public footpaths. Iain the landowner joined myself, Philip and Neil.

Dave, AKA Private Frazer, was there too early on, warning us of the Tree Society's impending financial doom. But, just like in Dad's army, we think he is overstating the matter a bit.

Cake was a very nice coconut and chocolate cream thing.

While on site we also took a look at the scrapes and the liner that will form ponds to encourage biodiversity. Scrapes have been done, though the landowner would like to enlarge them. The liner is on site (as pictured) but has yet to be installed.

Now that the scrapes are done, liner on site, and waymarkers and signs installed, the Kirklees Environment Grant Scheme parts of this project are now complete - barring final approval. There is a small amount of money left in the budget, which we hope Kirklee's will agree can be spent on replacing some failed trees on this site.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Nursery developments

The palisade fencing has now been completed, it runs continuously from the main gate round the top and far edges of the site until the boundary meets gardens. There is no longer gate access from the top far corner. The shipping container has been levelled. The old sheds have been moved, and damaged, so we might need a bonfire at some point, with all the wood and rubbish in there from the work, then we could have a pretty good November 5th bonfire. Plus we have room for fireworks? Just a thought. Anyway, the new gate is still a work in progress, and further landscaping might be in the pipeline. All looks a bit bare at the moment, and could benefit from further tidying.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Fieldhouse site visit

A Thursday evening site visit to Fieldhouse, to meet up with Luke from Beneficial Tree Care. Beneficial have recently cut down a lot of the dead trees at the back of the site for us, part of the process of making the site safe for public access. There were a lot of dead trees, and so, as you can see, there is a lot of timber. We discussed Luke removing timber from the site, and the possible use of the site in the future for a community woodfuel project. Access to the site seemed to be the main sticking point. There is no access for any medium to large vehicle. A quad bike and trailer would perhaps be the answer. Funding for the project did include some money for improved access, but only enough to pay for a new gate and stile.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Nursery carnage

Got call from Dave about 4pm this afternoon. He had seen tree work being done at the nursery. So I whizzed down there and found Luke and his Beneficial crew razing the top half of the nursery to the ground. According to Luke the allotment grant money that Julian had said we would be getting, was got, and needed spending pronto. So the area designated for the storage containers had to be cleared. All the top area of the nursery has been deforested, including the copse by the entrance. The sheds are now somewhat exposed. The horse tail bed at the far end of the top has also been destroyed, along with the small trees that were planted there. I phoned Philip and he and Ali zoomed up to have a look, Luke and crew had gone by then though.

On the whole, though a bit of a shock, it looks like a positive development, as we should now get the secure storage and fencing that we asked for.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Tidying up the nursery

Neil, Justin, Tilly, and my Mum (looking like an old hillbilly)

This Saturday we spent the morning tidying up our nursery base. We are hoping to get some money from Kirklees allotment department for securing the boundary of the nursery and having some secure storage set up for the Society to work from. A recent inspection by Julian Faulkner from the Council found the place looking a bit sad and neglected. So we worked hard on it this morning. My mother came a long to lend her expertise with sorting out the Raspberry bushes. Philip, Geoff, Neil, myself, and Justin were also there. And later on Sarah and Tilly appeared. We cleared paths, trimmed hedges, weeded beds and generally did very well. What we didn't know was that a few days later....

Saturday, 7 August 2010

There will be blood, Fitzcaraldo!

Duncan, covered in blood

A diverse morning. Philip, Geoff, Diane and I spent an hour tidying up at the Nursery, and then we went up off to Merrydale. We had some coffee and cake, and then made a feeble attempt at clearing some Japanese knotweed. Duncan, who had been up there already with some Scout friends, cut his hand rather badly on a bramble. So that is the first bit of today's blog title. The second part refers to Geoff then dragging us up to the furthest corner of Merrydale to do some more filming and interviewing for his documentary. And that furry thing on top of Geoff's camera is, apparently, called a "dead kitten".

Not much tree planting, but there is serious work going on behind the scenes, getting quotes for fencing and signage, filling out monitoring forms, and making grant applications for next season.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Bracken bashing at Butterley Reservoir

Once again, bashing the bracken (which is not a euphemism). This time up the east side of Butterley Reservoir. Difficult steep terrain, but it was worthwhile as there were quite a few small trees that were struggling to keep going under bracken which was shoulder height. Yes it all looks pretty verdant up there, but mostly that is an endless sea of bracken. Cake was a homely and retro jam tart. Very nice. First picture is of Neil sitting on a bit of Yorkshire water architecture, some sort of access hole for reservoir stuff. Other picture is of Philip sharpening his implement (again, not a euphemism). I stepped on a covey of grouse while I was up there. Six of them, and they didn't take off until I was literally almost stepping on them. I think they need to shape up a bit before the glorious twelfth, or their prospects aren't good. And we might have seen a Ring Ouzel, but we aren't sure.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Nettle bashing at High Wood

A fine morning bracken and nettle bashing at High Wood, rescuing small trees from being swamped and deprived of light. Very worthwhile, there were lots of little trees in there that benefited. And it was a lovely morning too. I was experimenting with the panorama setting on my phone, and we had chocolate brownies at break time.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Marsden Cuckoo's nest AGM

Tonight I attended the Marsden cuckoo's nest AGM, and got the chance to thank them for the generous grant they recently gave us. A lovely bunch of people.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Lindley Methodist green fair

Today Philip and I set up our stall at the Lindley Methodist green fair. We were outside under a small gazebo, and it was unseasonably cold. Philip had to phone home and get a coat brought out. Neil and Duncan also turned up to lend a hand. Turnout wasn't huge, probably due to the weather, but someone did give us 10 trees (Douglas Firs?)

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Bracken bashing and bee stings at High Brow

See those pesky bracken stems, look harmless don't they, they're not.

Philip and I went to High Brow above Meltham this evening to cut back some of the bracken growing over this years new planting. Very sunny and warm, and I got stung by something, not sure what it was, but it was flippin' painful. An otherwise successful evening. The trees at High Brow are doing very well. We did walk down to Jess's field to look at the planting from the year before, and bumped into Jess and her horses.

Looking out overMeltham.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Deer guards at Marsden Golf Club

Five members headed up to Marsden Golf Club to do a variety of jobs. Firstly we put on 50 deer guards in phase 4 of the plantiing at the golf course. The guards were put on the sessile oak in an area which has seen much unwanted sheep grazing action over the last few years. Duncan began taking off guards on some well established trees adjacent to the 'sheep super-highway' which were planted only marginally before the other trees. Later, after a break involving hastily bought digestive biscuits, a splinter group went to bracken-bash around Butterley reservoir. Finding that the trees were doing well, above the bracken, and didn't need bashing, Geoff continued his filming of all things 'Tree Society'. There was no need to take a photo of the biscuits (mostly broken) for the archive.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Fence mending at Marsden golf course

Philip, Dan and Guy hard at work.

Not a very nice morning, but worthy, and almost fun. Mending fences at Marsden golf course. These fences have been deliberately cut or broken down by human hands we think, but the upshot is that sheep can get into our recent planting and eat the young trees. Myself, Philip, Dan and Guy were there. And we had date and walnut cake. And found lots of golf balls. We have had to mend these fences before, so took very careful pictures of our finished work, so that we can say what state these were in on this date.

Hilarious picture of Philip, with a very small Dan tucked in his jacket.
Oh, and the fence we mended in the background.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Deer guarding at Green Hill Clough

Nice view back down towards Slaithwaite.

First day of summer work, and Philip, Neil and I were putting on deer guards up at Green Hill Clough above Marsden. Some of the oaks up there have been struggling over the last 3 or 4 years, and some say that it is deer that have been nibbling them. Brian did phone me the other night and said Muntjac deer had been spotted, and they have been spreading northwards in the last few years. Muntjacs are pretty voracious critters so we fear them. The deer guards are substantially taller than our usual tree guards (also more expensive!) and so should give the trees longer to get established. The three of us put on 50 new stakes and guards, and retrieved the old smaller stakes and guards for re-use. It was quite time consuming, getting up there and then finding which trees needed help most, but it was a lovely morning, and very peaceful up there.
Philip is in there somewhere, hidden by his Realtree shirt.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Fieldhouse site visit

This Monday evening, Philip, Duncan and I met Ramsay Bloom from Kirklees Council, on site at Fieldhouse Slaithwaite. This site has been under discussion for the last two years, but we hope to move forward with it in the 2010/11 season. Originally it had been suggested that this field be used as an experiment in wood fuel planting, but subsequent discussions, including that with Ramsay this evening suggest that it would be better to treat this as a more naturalistic community woodland area, with some limited woodfuel planting. We already have grant money to pay for arborial work to make safe some large dead trees at the rear of the site, to replace the access gate, and to plant a selection of native tree species across the upper and side parts of the field. It is a lovely site, with great views out over Slaithwaite. Ramsay explained that the field is what used to be the grounds of Fieldhouse, a large mill owners residence, which came into Council hands some years ago, and is now converted into flats. He also showed us the remains of the more formal garden at the bottom of the slope, where, hidden amongst the trees at the side of the road, are Victorian paths, rockery, trees and shrubs. We also discovered a guerilla allotment in the far corner of the field, which we will do our best to respect when we come to planting.