Saturday, 28 December 2013

Blogging about logging

Dave and I spent a couple of hours moving the last of the logs from Throstle Green to the Nursery drying shed. We used the moisture meter on them and fresh cut they read 27-30%. I think the white coloured logs are Poplar, and the orange, Alder.

Our logs

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Timber and no tantrums

Vashti, Harvey the dog, Duncan, Stephen, Alison, Guy's arse, Ben, headless Steve, 1/3 of Remy.
Today we were at Throstle Green Farm for a morning of woodland management, involving formative pruning and timber extraction. We were: myself, Stephen (with chainsaw), Philip (with Chainsaw), Duncan (with Harvey the dog), Ben, Remy, Alison, Cath, Vashti, Andrew, Steve, Dave, Neil, Julia, Guy, Mandy (and friend). We had mad christmas style cake, and soup warmed up on the fire.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Outlane antics

People eating cake, and pulling a variety of funny faces.
This morning we were planting a classic farmland shelter belt at Outlane. Shelter belts of trees help provide respite from the wind for livestock and crops, and are much appreciated on upland farms.

We were myself, Geoff, Vashti, Brian, Trevor, Peter W, Hap, Ben, Philip, Duncan (and Harvey the dog) Dianne and Jess. For the first hour myself, Geoff, Ben and Vashti went to Scammonden to reclaim 100 deer stakes and guards. Then we joined the others at the planting site, where we helped finish planting the 210 trees, Oak, Italian Alder, Field Maple and Wild Cherry. Cake was lemon drizzle.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Wholestone Moor week 2 - less sunny.

"Coconut Kiss", nicer than last Christmas's choc mint liqueur.
So, our second week at Wholestone Moor. We were: myself, Philip, Peter W, Peter T, Duncan (and Harvey the dog), Remy, Ben, Ramsay, Geoff, Dianne, Vashti, Cath, Steve, Stephen, and Andrew. Cake was Bakewell tart, which everyone loved, except Ramsay who prefers savory snacks, and Remy who won't eat cake that isn't chocolate.The cold was also kept at bay by Peter's liqueur laced coffee, Dave's coconut cocktail drink, and Andrew's bottle of whisky. I'd hate to give the wrong impression, tree planting does not usually involve so much alcohol, I blame Christmas. We planted another 300 Italian Alder and Sessile Oak, in areas where Birch had mysteriously failed. The weather could have been kinder, cool, and rainy. But we were all wrapped up well.
Vashti and Dianne put on brave faces.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

First day at Wholestone Moor

Dave and Philip enjoying the winter sun.
Today a squad of us went to Wholestone Moor for a first day of "beating up" at that site. First planted 10 or 12 years ago the site has suffered from some mysterious Birch die back, and generally slow growth of all specimens. We are due to put in 1000 trees here over the next few weeks, using longer tubes to keep those pesky deer at bay. Today we began by planting 90 Italian Alder and 90 Oak. We were: myself, Hap, Steve, Stephen, Peter, Philip, Geoff, Cath, Neil, Julia, and Remy. Lovely winter sun, and not too cold.

Helping Netherton School

Parents, children, CVTS types and local MP, and Harvey the dog.
This morning Duncan had arranged to help Netherton school plant a hedge. He was assisted by Dianne, Dianne's Aunt Susan, Ben, Peter, Trevor and Brian. Lots of parents and children were in attendance, as was incumbent local MP Jason McCartney, and prospective local MP Binnie Joshi Barr.

To paraphrase John Milton, those who also served, myself and Steve counted out the necessary 200 canes and spirals at the Nursery at 9.00am.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Dear stalker...

Guy and I went on a site visit to Wholestone Moor, to develop a planting plan for the 1000 trees that are to be put there. While on site we saw a hare (lovely) and a deer (not so lovely, as there was plenty of evidence of it having been eating trees). Guy hopes to reconcile his Buddhist beliefs, vegetarianism, and squeamishness, with his desire to cull these tree-eating cervine scum.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Beating up Marsden Golf Course

Not an act of violence, "beating up" in our language means adding extra trees to an already planted site. This hillside overlooking the golf course was planted by us 8 or 9 years ago, and some of the trees have either been swamped by grass, or eaten by invading sheep. The man from the Forestry Commission inspected the site back in the Summer and said it needed improving. So today we planted another 250 trees, Sessile Oak and Italian Alder, in deer tubes. We were: myself, Geoff, Philip, Steve, Stephen, Andrew, Peter T, Remy, Duncan (and Harvey the dog), Ben, Cath, Vashti and Hap. Cake was a classic fruit cake, and the sun shone all morning. T-shirt weather, well, t-shirt and gloves. Group photo by Geoff.

The new tubes standing out against the old. Photo by Duncan

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Wilberlee School

Not one of our own sessions, but we did lend the School some tools, and Duncan (and Harvey the dog) was there to represent us. Duncan helped plant, and gave them some useful feedback on the state of last years planting.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Butterley bliss

From the left: Geoff, Vashti, Philip, Jess, Ben, Dianne, Remy.
A far nicer, dryer morning spent at Butterly planting another 250 trees courtesy of the Woodland Trust and the One Community fund. We were: Hap, Remy, Geoff, Peter, Dianne, Steve, Jess, Philip, Helen, Vashti, Duncan (and Harvey the Dog), Ben, and myself. We had ginger cake at break time. Sometime after Christmas we will return to plant some TCV Big Tree Plant trees on this site.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

The new "Anniversary" CVTS t-shirts have arrived!

Now available in a variety of sizes in dark green and dark brown, ideal for tree planting, and light blue for more casual wear. £4 each. And I'll bring them with me next Saturday morning.

Me, modelling size Medium in dark brown.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Sunshine and heavy rain - first day of the season!

Beginning planting, old Tree Society planting of Hemplow Wood in distance, looking nice and Autumnal.
A fairly representative kick-off to the season. We were at Butterley Reservoir, and we comprised: myself, Dave, Remy, Hap, Stephen, Steve, Helen, Cath, Vashti, Geoff, Andrew, Duncan (and Harvey the dog), Ben and Jess. We planted 250 trees, a mix of Oak, Rowan, Birch, Wild Cherry and Field Maple. Perhaps not ideal varieties for that site, but those were the trees the Woodland Trust gave us. Cake was a lovely moist chocolate cake. And we left 20 trees and around 100 deer stakes and guards on site. Plus two mattocks hidden in the bracken. First half of the morning was brisk but sunny for the most part. Second half cold and very rainy. Ben and Jess were both without waterproofs (rookie error) and later on were steaming in front of the fire in the Pub. At least the cold and rain makes you appreciate the log fire in the pub, and later a good hot shower.

While we were doing all this, Philip Guy were at the Nursery selling our logs. And Dianne, Peter, Trevor and Brian were at Meltham Cop removing old guards.

Photos by Geoff,  as I spent all the sunny hour dragging stakes and guards up the hill.

Dave went back a couple of days later and planted the 20 remaining trees, and counted 91 deer stakes and guards still on site.

Assembled throng break for chocolate cake.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

More Butterley prep

There are now 300 deer guards and 330 deer stakes on site at Butterley. First day of proper planting will be (fingers crossed for delivery of trees) Saturday 9th November.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Scammonden scroungers

Steve, Remy and Geoff, with the fruits of our labours.
This morning we were at Scammonden again, retreiving stakes and guards, and weeding where necessary. We were: myself, Remy, Geoff, and first-timer Steve.It was a bit damp and drizzly at first, but cleared up by the end. We salvaged 67 Hare stakes and guards, and 33 Deer stakes and guards . All of which we left piled up behind the wall below Baker's Acre planting.

Dave and Guy also served, working at the nursery cutting up logs and trimming hedges.

Comments on the general state at Scammonden, lots of good growth across the site, with relatively few failures. Sitka Spruce (?) along the top of the site are not doing too well. They are small, tiny in fact,, and getting swamped by grass in the tubes, but not all dying. The relatively large proportion of salvaged Hare guards represents the higher failure rate of Scots Pine and Sitka Spruce.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Butterley prep work

This morning myself, Ben, Geoff, Duncan and Harvey the dog took more materials up to Butterley. There are now 240 deer guards on site, and 290 stakes (I think). First day of planting is likely to be early to mid November, as the nurseries are not putting out the deliveries of trees until then (ideally, trees should be dormant for the winter before handling and transporting). We shared de-caff coffee, and some Foxes biscuits while we were up there. And Geoff and Duncan photographed lots of mushrooms.

Ben takes a well earned break.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Drizzle and odd jobs

Not the most lovely of mornings, but we set to a variety of jobs. Dave and Ben worked on the fence. Philip and Guy cut and bagged logs. Myself, Geoff, Remy and new recruit Vashti took 160 stakes and 180 guards up to Butterley, and got fairly wet doing it. Duncan went to the Golf course to do some pruning. Cake was the ever popular date and walnut.

Monday, 30 September 2013

Reclaim and re-use.

Tubes for re-use this Winter.
The stakes and guards that we use to protect the young trees are quite expensive, and in these financially distressed times it pays us to scour the hillsides for tubes that either the trees have outgrown, or in some cases where a tree failed to grow at all. Because of the high volume of planting at Scammonden, over several seasons, there is a lot of scope for reclaiming.

We retrieved 46 deer guards and left them by the fallen pine at the Northerly end of the site, and another 35 left under the tree above the Scout hut car park. We will return to the site in the coming months and plant new trees using those stakes and guards.

We also found 120 stakes and guards from the other end of the site, and took those to Outlane, for planting there.

We were, Stephen, Remy, Dave, Ben, Philip, Neil, Trevor, Jess and myself. Guy and Mandy were also on site, but at the other end. And we were joined by local journalist Marie-Claire, and her dog.Cake was lemon drizzle.

Sad to say though that we did find evidence of deer having nibbled at the young trees, despite our use of tall guards. It was most evident at the end of the site, next to some established woodland, suggesting that the deer lie up in  the woodland, and pop out for a bite to eat now and then. I suppose its nice that we are supporting biodiversity, even if that does mean providing snacks for deer.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

More fencing, and a plague of flies

Myself, Dave, Geoff and Ben met at the nursery. We put up a bit more fencing, then split up. Dave and Ben stayed on to tidy the nursery, and myself and Geoff went up to Scammonden. There we removed 48 deer guards and 21 hare guards from failures, from the area nearest to the pines and start of the Scout hut track. We piled up the stakes and guards nicely, and can return to replant using those this winter. Geoff and myself only covered small area of the hillside, but still found 70+ failures that can be replaced. Re-using the stakes and guards in this way will save us a great deal of money, meaning we will be able to plant 2 trees on site for every £1 donated. A £250 pledge from the Green Building Store will enable us to plant 500 trees.

 There were a lot of flies up there though. And lots of nettles. We were very brave.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Fencing masters

Dave despairs of the standard of our workmanship.

So, a Saturday morning spent working on our new Nursery fence. Myself, Remy, Dave, Ben and Philip. Cake was apple flapjack, made with Nursery apples no less. Remy still wasn't impressed. Philip went and bought some post-mix and we erected six posts. Sometimes it was all a bit Eric Sykes, but mostly we got the job done. Then we went to the Sair, and discovered that the jukebox has been re-stocked with stuff like obscure Magazine tracks and Killing Joke songs. Peculiar.

One of the muppets at work, and a soft toy we found in the bushes.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Wood, weeds and woolly hats

Hats for all!
A game of two halves this morning. With myself, Geoff, Jess and Dianne going to Fieldhouse to weed. And Guy, Mandy, Neil and Julia staying at the nursery to do cultivation, weeding and cutting up logs. Homemade oat biscuits were provided for all, and the sun shone for most of the morning. New CVTS woolly hats were snapped up by all, including Trevor who came to the pub afterwards.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Three men in a field picking wild flowers

Me and my bouquet.
Philip, Geoff and myself went to Fieldhouse to strip out Ragwort, and a do bit of weeding. It was stupidly humid and I lost about half my bodyweight in sweat, but there are worse ways to spend a Thursday evening. Almost all the trees are growing despite vigorous competition from Ragwort and grass. Some encroachment by brambles and knotweed along the top edge of the field though. Need to keep an eye on this.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

A hard days log

Jess's unorthodox method of securing wood while sawing.
So today was all about gathering and preparing wood fuel. Myself, Dave, Remy, Hap and Geoff went to Hemplow Wood and retrieved some Larch logs from where we did some thinning out a few weeks ago. Then we returned to the Nursery to join Philip, Jess, Ben, Jack and Neil who were cutting up and bagging some already dried timber. While it wasn't as sunny as recently, it was still flipping warm, and midgy. Cake was a very jammy bakewell tart. And we retired exhausted to the Sair where Bobby was playing 80's funk.

Remy and Dave chopping and bagging.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Bracken bashing at Helme

Ben, Geoff and Philip adrift in a sea of fern.
This Saturday the team, Ben, Geoff, Philip, Guy, Duncan and Harvey the dog, spent the morning at Helme, Meltham, knocking back bracken to allow young trees some light. It was obviously quite hot, and they had to manage without homemade cake, as I was away at the seaside. So well done chaps.
Ben looks hot, Guy looks like a panther about to pounce, and Geoff looks casual.

After all the work, you can see trees, and the trees can see the sun.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Merrydale, clearing for the Dartmouth Shoot.

Remy wearing fetching midge-net hat. And Harvey, who looks a bit like half a dog in this picture..
So today we went to Merrydale, a sight planted by us over a number of years. Our task today was to clear brambles, at the request of the Dartmouth Shoot. We were: myself, Philip, Geoff, Remy, Duncan, and Harvey the dog. It was a bit humid, a bit thorny, and a bit midgy, but we spent a productive morning cutting brambles out and formatively pruning some of the trees. Cake was chocolate. And a good time was had by all. Even Harvey the dog, who nicked Geoff's bit of cake while Geoff was talking.

Philip rehydrating, cleared understorey in background
Geoff and Philip hard at it.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Poly-tunnel palaver

Guy, unravelling.
Philip and Remy do interpretive dance in the Society's new performance space.
Today we re-covered the Nursery poly-tunnel. We spent a previous Saturday clearing the frame, and digging trenches. Dave and Ben had done more work on weekdays too. We were; Guy, Mandy, Philip, Ben, myself and Remy. We started by doing a little more remedial work on the trenches, and the land drain on one side. We had to apply insulating tape to the frame to stop the metal framework getting hot and weakening the polythene. Then we had a comedy half hour trying to decide how to unwrap, unroll, and handle the huge and unwieldy polythene sheet. When we had got this worked out we draped the sheet over the frame, and began anchoring the sides under hardcore in the trenches. Plus also we had to pin the sheet to the door frames at each end.  3 hours work in the sunshine, followed by a drink at the pub. And homemade oak cookies.

The more or less finished item.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Summer work 2013 - The polytunnel

Guy, Ben, Mandy, Ben and Dave. And blue sky!
First day of our Summer Saturdays, and it was lovely weather. We were doing preparations for the reconstitution of the poly tunnel. Dave and Ben have spent a lot of time clearing the area, and pulling down the massive Roses that had grown over the frame. Today we were digging the trench around the sides, which the tunnel material will be buried into to anchor it. We were: Mandy, Guy, Dave, Philip, myself, Ben, Neil, Geoff and Remy. We were briefly joined by Duncan and Harvey the dog, but they left before any work got done! Cake was a lovely sugary coffee and walnut.

Towards the end Guy and Dave became fixated on some old concreted in fence posts at the bottom end of the poly tunnel. They enjoyed subjecting these to considerable violence.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

For your consideration, new tree protection for next season

Cath with tree
While on the Greek Island of Kalymnos, Cath discovers a new type of tree guard. Worth considering for future tree soc use? I'd like to see someone try and strangle one of them.

Monday, 15 April 2013

The phantom tree strangler of Butterley

So, I went up to Butterley to replace some failed trees this morning, putting in 15 Scots Pine and 15 Rowan on a patch we planted with Emma and John Gray. I looked over in the next clough to see how our trees were doing there and discovered a dozen or so trees had had their tubes "strangled". The tubes had been bent, twisted and scrunched, presumably to stop the trees growing out. It is quite a remote spot, and mostly hidden from public view. So someone has deliberately and surreptitiously gone in there and done this. A Twite loving twitcher? Fighting back against the dreaded trees?

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Last day of the Season

Stephen, Dave, and a box of scones.
Today was the last day of the planting Season. Myself, Geoff, Philip, Dave, Remy, Duncan (+dog), Peter, Stephen, Hap, Guy and Mandy all went to Pasture Wood above Marsden. Planting the last of the Scots Pine and Alder, plus some Hawthorn. And put taller tubes on some Oaks that had been struggling due to sheep nibbling . Cake was fresh homemade scones with butter and raspberry jam. And it was a fittingly nice and warm sunny morning to end the Season on.

The Senior Section, Ramsay, Brian, Trevor, Peter (and Ben?) went to Meltham Cop to finish up there.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Scammonden and Meltham Cop

Lovely sunny morning with snow still on the ground (and piled up alongside roads). Myself, Philip, Dave, Neil, Jess and Andrew went to Scammonden and planted 120 Oak and Rowan. Had fruit cake, and looked at the Heron's meeting in the trees on the opposite side of the reservoir like they did last year. Trevor, Peter, Dianne and Ben went to Meltham Cop and staked and guarded 200 trees.  Just one more Saturday of planting left? Then a nice rest.

Dave, Andrew, Jess and Neil

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Last round at Parkwood

This week we all stuck together and went to Parkwood to plant some Woodland Trust trees. This had been planned for last weekend with Lindley Infant school,  but the big blizzard put the kibosh on that. And the fact that it was Easter Weekend meant we had far fewer participants from Lindley School than usual. They missed a lovely morning, and homemade Easter nest chocolate cakes. We were myself, Philip, Dave, Rob, Richard, Geoff, Dianne, Jess, Trevor, Peter, Andrew, Yolande and friend (sorry, didn't get name). We planted approx. 400 trees.

Plenty of cakes left to eat in the pub, where the conversation ranged widely from Quidditch rules to lost woolly hats and electrocution.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Hedges, Pines, and Shelter belts

Eating cake and admiring our handiwork. Remy, me, Hap and Cath.
A three team effort today. One set - myself, Geoff, Cath, Remy and Hap- went to West Slaithwaite and planted a 200 tree hedge, plus 60 other assorted trees. Philip, Dave, Andrew, Peter and Guy were at Pasture Wood and planted 150 Scots Pine. And the Senior Section were again at Meltham Cop. So all in all a lot got done. A select but grateful few made it back to the Sair for 1pm. Two or three more weeks and we will be done for the season. Cake was the ever popular flapjack with fruity filling.

And thanks again to Tara and family for a very generous donation to Society funds.

Cath, hedge, trees.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Replanting at Scammonden

Ben, and Jess
Today we were at Scammonden Reservoir replanting some trees for Yorkshire Water. We were also able to retrieve some stakes and guards for use at other sites. It wasn't a terribly nice morning, cold and sleeting, but the group spirit stayed mostly buoyant. Especially when the cake was brought out. We were: Jess, Philip, Dave, Geoff, Hap, Stephen, Peter, Ben, Duncan (and Harvey the dog). The Senior Section, Brian, Trevor, Peter and honorary member Neil, went to Meltham Cop to begin planting the trees bought with Granville Shaw's legacy.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Finishing up at Parkwood

Packing up, job done. 2500 trees in total.
Not strictly true that, we will back at Parkwood in a couple of weeks with some Woodland Trust trees and Lindley Owls, but today we planted the last of the Kirklees Environment Unit funded trees, 500 Hazel. Glorious sunny morning, enjoyed by: myself, Philip, Geoff, Ben, Cath, Remy, Duncan, Sophie (and Harvey the dog), Pierre-Alexandre, Claudine, Maxime, Edouard, Jess, Peter, Peter, Ramsay, Trevor and Neil. We were also joined by Richard, Mel and their family. Cake was a very nice chocolate sponge, enjoyed by adults and children alike.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Another 500+ trees planted at Parkwood

Ropey photo I know, but you can see the nascent hedge, and all the trees planted in the field in the distance.
Today we we planted 300 Hawthorn and 200 Ossier Willow at Parkwood, plus some Oak. The Hawthorn will formed a hedge along the top edge of one of the fields. This hedge can later be used for hedge laying practice. The Ossier Willow has been planted for a source of basket making materials, and filled a small area next to the Hawthorn hedge, and also made up what will be a Willow hut next to the Golcar food co-ops allotments. The Willow hut was planted by Richard and Rob, and the other members of the Golcar co-op.
Tree Society folk were: Ben, Philip, myself, Stephen, Peter, Hap, Geoff, Remy, Duncan (and Harvey the dog) and Dave. Planting some oaks in the adjoining field were Brian, Peter, Ramsay, Trevor and Dianne. Cake was a very nice coconut and lime sponge.

Then we retired to the Sair in Linthwaite for our mid-season meeting. Dianne provided us all with soup and bread. And the meeting went quickly as several present wished to get home to watch the rugby.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Parkwood and Pasture Wood, again.

Philip, Guy, Dave, Andrew, Hap and Stephen
Today we split into two groups again, the senior team going to Parkwood, Golcar and rest visiting Pasture Wood, Marsden. The day started frosty and a little cloudy but gradually warmed up and by eleven o'clock it felt warm and sunny, even Spring-like. We planted in excess of 150 Scots pine and Italian alder at Pasture Wood. As with all the work here this season, these quick-growing, hardy species are being planted amongst the existing trees to try and improve their slow growth rate on this exposed site by providing more shelter from the elements. It's slow going here as the terrain is so steep and uneven and much time is spent getting about the site and trying not to fall over. It's hard work. Also, the nature of the work does not help as infilling with trees ranging over a wide area makes the  ergonomics of the process hard to optimise. Despite Simon's absence we had cake courtesy of Simon's Mum and Philip who picked it up from Marsden on the way to the site. It was a delicious light fruit cake. At Pasture Wood we were, Geoff, Philip, Andrew, Stephen, Hap, Ben, Dave, Remy and Guy. Not sure of the exact turnout at Parkwood (or what trees were planted) but definitely present were, Brian, Trevor and Peter, and with a rare guest appearance from Bob. Afterwards Philip and Guy went off to a pruning event at Old Ground organised by Duncan.


Cop Hill with Scouts

The Cop Hill plantation was planted some 16 years ago. A very difficult site, very high up and a former tip area. Initial planting struggled but subsequent planting of Italian alder has resulted in a decent copse. Last Saturday Huddersfield North Scout leaders were on a training weekend camping in the nearby Scout wood at the top of Merrydale. Guy and Phillip gave an introduction and trained on the maintenance / mangement of the copse which included planting an additional 15 Italian Alder. Tree guards and stakes were removed, the oaks were formatively pruned  and any larch that were shading the oaks had the shading branches removed. About 16 workers including Guy, Phillip and myself completed the maintenance. It would be great to plant an under storey of holly within the copse to secure the site. Duncan.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

500 tree challenge! Surpassed!

These people planted 550 trees today. Photo by Duncan.
Today we were at Parkwood, Golcar, and I'd set an informal, and quite optimistic, target of 500 trees to plant. We did about 550! Well done everybody. We were: Philip, myself, Remy, Duncan (and Harvey the dog), Trevor, Peter, Stephen, Brian, Peter, Hap, Andrew, Dave, Geoff, Dianne, Ramsay, Pierre-Alexandre, Maxime, Claudine, Edouard, and Rob. We planted 255 Downy Birch, 240 Hornbeam, and around 70 Willow. Cake was a nice seed-laden flapjack. Things got a bit loud in the Sair later as our several retired teachers railed against the state of state education.

Maxime hard at work planting, while Philip and Andrew idly chat.