Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Log retrieval

Just for the sake of completeness of record, Dave and I went back to Throstle Green Farm to retrieve all the logs cut last weekend. They are now safely drying in our log store.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

The Colne Valley Tree Society curry club - inaugural meeting.

Stephen, with his "Dave stick" for getting the right log lengths.
Photo by Geoff.

This morning we were at Throstle Green Farm, for our now traditional pre-Christmas woodland management session. We were: young Ben, Hap, Cath, Jess, Dan, Dianne and Lizzie the dog, Peter, Duncan and Harvey the dog, Stephen K., Philip, Dave, Geoff, Stephen G., myself, Guy and John.

We spent the morning pruning oaks and cutting down Ash, Alder and Poplar. It was unseasonally mild, but the promised torrential rain did not arrive. Home made mince pies at 11am.

At 12.30 we retired to the Sair, where Mandy and her son were waiting with vegetable curry for all.

It was a very nice way to end the CVTS 2015.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Dave hatted, Geoff gurning, Ben bemused, Dianne oblivious, Hap louche.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

A bit wet.

Looks quite nice in this shot. It wasn't.
Today we were in Marsden. Weather was poor, to say the very least. But we had an excellent turnout. Duncan and Harvey the dog, myself, Philip, Geoff, Hap, Vashti, Neil and Sarah, Dianne, Peter, Stephen, Andrew, Ben, and young Ben.

This was a pretty masochistic morning even by our standards, but we planted 105 Alder and 105 Goat Willow.

Ann turned up at 11am with homemade jam scones. Sarah provided homemade veggie sausage rolls. Dave provided knock-off Irish Creme liqueur (admittedly quite a good Supermarket own brand).

Geoff's after picture.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Do you suffer from excessive wind?

Geoff's group portrait. Stephen possessed by the spirit of Jack Hargreaves. How!

...we certainly did this morning. While not receiving the promised rain we were victim to this gulf stream related vigorous Westward wind. But we soldiered on.

We went back to Copley Bank to finish planting there. We took 15 Common Oak, 30 Hazel, and 30 Rowan - but supplemented these with some small self grown stock of more Oak and Rowan. We planted all this at intervals along the whole length of the bank, amongst the Hawthorn already planted. Hopefully this will result, one day, in a decent hedge with feature trees.

We were: myself, Hap, Steve, Stephen, Peter W., Geoff, Philip, Tanya, Jess, John and Dave.

Cake was coffee walnut.

Guy was at Throstle Green Farm preparing for our traditional Christmas wood fuel session.

There may have been some Senior Section activity elsewhere this morning, but that remains unconfirmed at present.

Bobby the barman had a mysterious rash, so if we all come down with Chickenpox/Shingles we know who to blame.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

A Jolly morning

Myself, cake, Ben.
This morning we were in Jolly's field in Marsden. The forecast was for not so jolly weather, but the worst held off until the end. We were: our host Jolly and his friend Max, myself, Geoff, Ben, Ben the younger, Hap, Stephen, Steve, Tanya, Cath, and Jess. We planted 285 trees in all, we do owe the field some Whitebeam though, so will pop back when they are in stock. Cake was brought to the site by Ann, who was very popular.

There was a second section at work at Copley Bank. Brian, Dianne and Chris took another 75 Hawthorn. And Brian also took his 60 Scots Pine for James Howards farm.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Scout Top II - the return

New trees to left of wall, older trees to the right.
This morning we were back at Scout Top, above the Tunnel End, Marsden. We were: myself, Philip, Geoff, Guy, Mandy, Cath, Amanda, Stephen, Steve, Ben, Jess, Dan, Hap, Peter, Ramsay and Vashti. We planted 150 Scots Pine and 30 Holly. Cake was very sweet, but necessary in the wind, sun and snow.

Add to those 16, Brian, Dianne and Chris who went to Copley bank to plant more there.

So a bumper day.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Scout top, our vertical limit

Philip in his Love Trees hat.
This morning we were at Scout Top, high above the Tunnel End Marsden. We first planted at this site in 2006/7, and growth has been slow and patchy. This Winter we are trying to remedy that. Today we planted 30 Hazel, 30 Hornbeam, 30 Bird Cherry, 45 Common Oak, and 45 Sessile Oak. First we had to get all the stuff up there, and even with help from a nice man with quad bike and trailer, it was still a heart-bursting carry up a near vertical hillside. Nice once were there though. We comprised: myself, Ramsay, Ros, Geoff, Steve, Stephen, Peter W., Philip, Cath, Dave, and Hap. The weather threatened, but in the end we stayed mostly dry.

Geoff took some good pictures with his new camera.

We left 29 deer guards and 32 stakes on site. Jess met us in the pub afterwards, and we discussed her holiday to Cape Verde, and Geoff's career as an indie popster.


Saturday, 7 November 2015

First day of the Season

Dianne trials new rainwear.
Today was the first day of the planting Season, and despite the damp weather we managed to plant 300 Hawthorn at Copley Bank. We were: myself, Roz, Stephen O., Steve, Peter T., Dianne and Lizzie the dog, Ben G., Ben D., Hap, Guy, Geoff, Philip, Cath and Dave. Cake was the ever popular crunchy topped coconut one.

Copley bank is due to get another 150 Hawthorn, 30 Hazel, 30 Rowan, 15 Common Oak and 25 Whitebeam.

Peter T. looks damp but cheerful.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

All the way from Scotland...

More tubes than we would know what to do with.
Today we received our second delivery of the week. Tuesday 4110 trees arrived, Peter and I dealt with that. Today was a the much larger affair of the corresponding stakes and guards. The truck arrived at 12, and myself, Tanya, Philip, John, Stephen and Dave begun unloading the tubes, while the truck driver Scott used his forklift to take the stakes down the road and into the nursery.

After a while Philip had pause to think, wasn't there a bit too much stuff? Our spec. and the delivery note were compared. And yes, there was a bit too much stuff. 3600 too many stakes and guards! So just about twice what there should have been. A lot of checking, counting, and phone calling then went on. And we put 3600 stakes and guards back on the truck to go back to Scotland. Quite a lot of hard work for us, and for Scott the driver who had set off from Edinburgh at 5am.

But it was all right in the end.

Now we are properly ready for the season.

Counting, and calling.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

More Nursery antics

We remain on tenterhooks waiting for our delivery of trees for the season, so distracted ourselves by working at the Nursery. Logs were cut and split for selling, and a cherry tree was felled to placate a neighbour who felt in need of more daylight. The tree felling involved me climbing a tree, and also use of our arborist rope to stop the tree being felled from falling into the neighbours garden. We were: myself, Philip and his chainsaw, Jess and Lizzie the dog, Dave, Peter W., Guy, Mandy, and Amanda. Cake was lemon drizzle.

Current tally for stock at B site. 250 deer stakes, 180 deer guards, 50 hare stakes and 100 hare guards.

Which means we still need to take up 150 deer stakes, 220 deer guards, 100 shrubshelters (not yet in stock) and 100 more hare stakes.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Geoff's birthday treat - a day at the Nursery.

Today we stayed at the Nursery and prepared for the forthcoming planting season. We were: myself, Philip, Jess, Geoff, Steve, Ben, Dave and Guy.

We cleared a patch of ground for healing in the root stock when it arrives, cleared the access path so that we could get in and out of that area, tied reclaimed guards into bundles of 50, tied reclaimed stakes into bundles of 9, sawed logs, sold logs to the Sair, picked apples - and ate Bakewell tart.

All very productive.

No pictures today though, I forgot.

And it was Geoff's birthday.

PS. There are now 250 deer stakes, 130 deer guards, 50 hare stakes and 100 hare guards on site at B.  Which means we need to take another 200 deer stakes and 320 deer guards up there. And either use the hare guards for Scots Pine, or swap those out for shrubshelters.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

More Scammonden scrounging

Leaves neatly nibbled.
We popped back to the mega-site at Scammonden reservoir to tidy and reclaim materials. We were myself, Jess, Dianne, Ben, John, Geoff and Hap. Cake was ginger. And we returned to the Nursery with about 50 deer stakes and guards.

Saw some evidence of deer browsing, though it tended to be alongside the little deer trails across the hillside, most of the trees are doing well.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Yorkshire Building Society lend their support

The good folks of YBS
Jess's employer, YBS encourages its employees to do charitable works, so she organised her colleagues to do a day's work at our nursery. They cut hedges, cleared paths, and cut and split logs for us to sell to raise money.

Hats off to Jess and the YBS.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Guard straightening in the rain

A pensive Ben and John look on as Tania is amused and Hap enjoys his cake. Do the alders heavy with berries suggest a harsh winter ahead?

These trees planted about four years ago are doing well, especially the Italian alder and some of the birch with a few oak also showing good growth. However they have been battered by the wind in places and as the deer are quite a problem here we need to try and keep the trees straight and as protected as possible, so spent a rainy but not unpleasant morning straightening up guards and banging in stakes. Quite few trees were big enough to remove stake and guard completely so we accumulated a store of useful spare materials where they were not too damaged. Quite a few stakes were reused on other trees with broken stakes and the rest were taken back to the nursery. There is more to do here. We were, Hap, Philip, Tania, Ben, John and myself. Cake was a delicious fruit cake. Philip was particularly proud of a new tool belt and I was excited about using my new camera only to find after taking one group photo it had run out of memory so had to resort back to my phone for 'the belt'.
'The belt'

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Scammonden scamps

Jess' cropped trousers were discussed.
Today we popped up to Scammonden reservoir to feast our eyes upon our works of the last few years. All looking pretty good. We were there primarily to fix overblown tree guards and trees, but Philip and Duncan were also taking an academic interest in the whole "when is best to take guards off altogether" situation. Conclusion seemed to be that where guards had been taken off, deer were having a bit of a nibble. So best to leave them on? We did retrieve a few from out and out failures though (not many).

We were: myself, Jess and Lizzie the Dog, Duncan and Harvey the dog, Peter W., Philip, and Ben. Cake was blueberry muffins, freshly made with blueberries out of mum's garden.


Saturday, 18 July 2015

A big push for Wessenden valley

Hap grabs some Chocolate cake

A three line whip got a good turn out: myself, Hap, Tanya, Geoff, John, Philip, Ben, Dave and Steve. We think we finished it all today, both the Butterley bit and the far end up by Blakeley. After Thursday nights session as well I am now officially knackered. But all those thousands of trees are now seeing a good bit of daylight, and should get a couple of months good growth in before the darker months.

And we begin the planning for those darker months now, site visits, and sourcing of trees and materials.

In the photo below, in the distance you can see tree guards that we have exposed in the bracken on the hillside.

Steve, Tanya (hiding), Geoff and Hap.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Yet more bracken bashing

Steve and Cath
Tonight there was more slashing and killing than a whole season of Game of Thrones. We were: myself, Steve, Cath, Philip and Steven. Bracken is getting quite high, as you can see, and is completely shading many of the small tubes of Hawthorn and Hazel. Good night for it though, as there was a brisk wind, and the midges were cowering in their underground hovels.

We found a pack of new hare guards hidden in the undergrowth, so added them to the stash for next season.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Four men and a psychotic Jack Russell

Bracken now as high as the tree guards.

This evening myself, Philip and Geoff went up to Butterley and spent a couple of hours knocking back bracken from around the trees planted last season. Yorkshire Water made a generous contribution to our funds on the basis that we weed this planting for the next 3 years. Weeding will help maximise the success rate, and the young trees do seem to be doing well. It was a lovely evening, though we did need our insect repellant and midge nets. As we were leaving we met Dave who had been working on his wildflower meadow nearby. Dave had his small dog with him though. The dog is somewhat unfriendly, and had to be restrained from attacking us. We also saw a dead stoat.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Marsden Mechanics volunteer recruitment event

This evening Ann, Dianne and I attended the volunteer recruitment event at the Mechanics. We stood proudly beside our roller banner for a couple of hours, and did manage to get two names and make one useful contact with another group. I kept the anniversary film on loop on my tablet for punters to get a look at, but didn't manage to sell any DVDs.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Blakeley Reservoir Bracken Bashing

Geoff, Ben, Stephen, Dave and Hap.
This morning we walked up the Wessenden Valley for a bracken bashing session beside Blakeley Reservoir. We were: myself, Geoff, Ben, Stephen, John, Dave, Hap and Steve. A nice breeze kept the midges off, so all we had to worry about was the hard work involved on the steep slope. Clearing the bracken from around the newly planted trees will allow them to receive light and more nutrients. A couple more weeks of bracken growth and these 1.2 metre tree guards would have been completely engulfed, and the trees inside left in the dark for the whole Summer.

I was asked to include some of the break time conversation topics in the blog, which were, for the record, Mark E. Smith, incontinence, and the fact that Mallard ducks are inconsiderate lovers.

In the distance, on the right hand hillside beyond the reservoir, you can see several areas planted by the CVTS in past years.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Old guard remove guards

Transfixed by the view.

It sounds like a Guardian cryptic crossword clue, but describes what happened. Trevor, Brian, Duncan and a fellow that I don't recognise from the photo were up at Scout Top, Marsden, removing stakes and guards from trees that no longer needed them. Looks like it was a very pleasant morning.

The view they were transfixed by.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Butterley Bracken Bashing

First day of our assault on the Wessenden Valley's bracken infestation. We were: Philip, Guy, Mandy, Mandy's two sons and their dad, Dave, Peter T, Geoff, Jess, Ben and John. Cake was Bakewell tart. As usual, the debate raged about the best way to discourage bracken from growing back - breaking VS cutting basically.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

First day of bracken bashing

Gallant little little oaks surrounded ominously by demon bracken
This morning we were over Meltham way. Knocking back the bracken for a load of oak and rowan planted a couple of years ago. This should be the last Summer that we have to do this, as most of the trees are out of the tops of the guards. We were: myself, Duncan and Harvey the dog, Ben, Dave, John, Geoff and Philip. Cake was Eccles cakes, and v.nice they were too.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Flipping windy

Hap self harms to ensure his photo gets in blog.
This week, myself, Philip, Hap, Geoff, Steve and Stephen went up to Wholestone Moor to sort previous planting out. There were guards that needed making upright, and guards that needed removing. It was insanely windy, so while sunny, was quite cold. Hapless Hap (first time he's heard that one I'm sure) managed to cut himself, but was restored by the first aid kit. Some of the guards that needed straightening were due to somewhat less than thorough original installation. See pics. Bang 'em in harder folks. Also, folks, I found a full pack of 10 stakes abandoned on the hillside, and Steve found a set of 5 guards. Tsk tsk.

Way too much stick showing above top tie.
One or two inches above top tie is enough.
Stephen looks askance.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Manure encore!

Jess, aided by Lizzie
Another shipment of poo for the nursery. This week myself and Jessica stayed at the nursery, and barrowed up insane amounts of stone from the nearby building plot being cleared. Around 11am Ben, Guy and Mandy arrived, shortly followed by another tractor load of manure.

Meanwhile, Philip, Steve, Geoff and John went off to Wholestone Moor to straighten guards up that had been blown over in the recent winds. Though there was heated debate about the triage process for deciding what needed doing to which trees.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Chainsaws and wheelbarrows

I always forget to take the before pics.

A day of two halves.

Myself, Philip, Stephen, Steve and Geoff went to Butterley to clear the path through the pine plantation. The plantation is towards the end of it's life, trees are dying and falling each winter blocking the footpath.  A count of rings on one of the larger fallen trees suggests they about 40 years old. Philip and Stephen were cutting these up with chainsaws, while I was moving logs and snedding with my favourite forester's axe. A lone walker with her dogs did express gratitude. Steve and Geoff were roaming about on nearby hillside removing guards and checking last season's planting.

Meanwhile, back at the nursery... Guy, Dave, Ben and Jess were eagerly anticipating the arrival of a trailerload of cowsh*t. Though given that it then took til 5pm to wheelbarrow it all into place maybe they shouldn't have been so keen. There was a lot. We were v.tired by the end. Guy's heroic efforts not to gloat about the election result were appreciated, even if he couldn't entirely contain himself.

Steve, with Geoff a tiny spec on horizon.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Photo opportunity with Yorkshire Water

Lisa documents, while Guy and Kathryn strategise.
We had a photo op with Yorkshire Water. We were met by Kathryn and Sarah from Yorkshire Water, with their photographer Lisa. Guy was there with his White Rose Forest hat on (in reality a Chelsea FC woolly hat), and Ian Butterfield from Forest of Bradford. We were there to discuss and take pictures of all the planting that CVTS and Forest of Bradford have completed up the Wessenden Valley. Hopefully they will send us some of the pro standard photos.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Woodland management at Throstle Green Farm

Alder logs, orangey when wet, white when dried. Go figure.
Clearly I get a bit slack about the blog towards the end of the Season. So here, belatedly is an account of last Saturday.

We went to Throstle Green Farm at the request of the owners, to manage some planting done there around 15 years ago. We cleared Willow and Blackthorn regrowth, while Philip and Stephen felled Alder and Willow with their chainsaws.

We were: Philip, Stephen, Mandy, Guy, myself, Dave, Tanya, Geoff, Duncan and Harvey the Dog, Neil, Sarah, Trevor, Dianne, Jess, and Hap.

Cake was homemade scones with butter and jam.

And it flippin' well lashed it down nearly all morning. So we got quite wet. Still, was last day, and all my kit got its annual wash afterwards.

Philip and myself will now take a short break from organising these shenanigans. Doesn't mean folk can't still go out and about on Saturdays.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Green Building Store tree planting at Scammonden

11am official flapjack and shortbread break

This week we were joined by the good folks of the Green Building Store, who sponsored this planting session at Scammonden Reservoir.

We were adding to some woodland that the Society planted over 15 years ago, enhancing the new reservoir path that Yorkshire Water have spent much time and money creating.

We were: myself, Jess, Tanya, Vashti, Cath, Ben, John, Peter T., Stephen, Steve, Dave, and Philip. Plus all the Green Building Store folk.

We planted 270 Sessile Oak, and enjoyed homemade flapjack and shortbread.

This was the last day of actual planting of the season, and the sun shone and everyone had a good time!

Next week, woodland management begins.

Thanks to Jess for photos.

Me lurking on far left, while Tanya looks askance at Ben's Ian Brown impersonation.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Last stand at Wholestone Moor

Guy, myself, Dave, and Cath.

Back to Wholestone Moor for a last bash at planting here. I forgot to post this earlier, so I think we planted 100 Italian Alder and a similar number of Oak.

We were: myself, John, Philip, Geoff, Dave, Steve, Guy, Mandy, Cath... and then my memory gets fuzzy. Someone will correct me. I am sure...

Feast your eyes upon our works, ye mighty, and despair!

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Three men and a baby scots pine

Philip, Dave and Hap apply remedial straightening
Back to Butterley for the last Saturday this season, and it was a lovely day, with good folk and good cake. We planted 200 assorted trees above the Clough, and 50 Oaks down on the fringe of the golf course.

We were; myself, Vashti, Hap, Philip, Dave, Stephen, Peter T., Cath, Geoff, Ben, Tanya, Guy, Isabel and Mandy. Brian, Trevor, Duncan and Harvey the dog were over the golf course side.

Cake was a very popular and successful pineapple upside down cake.

The only down of the day was that we lost a further 30 Oaks to critter attack. They were healed in on site, and something ate all the roots.

200 deer stakes, 90 deer guards, and 50 hare stakes and guards are stored for next season.

ps on 16th July we added another 100 hare guards to the stash, found them on another part of the hill while bracken bashing.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Wholestone Moor Week 3

Back to Wholestone Moor, to plant another 150 Sessile Oak and 100 Italian Alder to augment the trees that are already (slowly) growing up there. We managed this with relative ease, and had time to reclaim a bunch of 75cm guards and stakes for re-use, plus a shedload of cable ties. We were: Jess, Emma, John, Hap, myself, Philip, Geoff, Ben, Cath, Peter T., Peter W., Steve, Duncan, and Harvey the Dog. Cake was fruit sponge. Weather was passable, bit damp at first but dried up.

In the evening Geoff screened the tree people trailer at Marsden film club, before the main feature. We also took the tree Society banner along. We only sold one DVD, but all publicity is good publicity.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Wessenden Valley Eco Walk

Today I attended a kind of outdoor conference, organised by Guy Thompson of White Rose Forest. Representatives of a range of interested parties (Natural England, RSPB, National Trust, Woodland Trust, Moors for the Future, and the CVTS) walked up the Wessenden Valley and discussed habitat restoration, habitat protection, and planting of clough woodland. It was a very positive and educational affair.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Wholestone Moor week 2

Geoff, glistening with melted snow.
Back to Wholestone Moor, for more "beating up", that is extra planting to supplement trees already there. We planted 250 Italian Alder and Sessile Oak. We were: myself, Hap, Philip, Geoff, Trevor, Peter W., Peter T. Stephen, Steve, Cath, Dave and John. Cake was chocolate brownies. Weather was extremely variable, sunshine and snow, though bitterly cold throughout.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

A man walked into a bar...

After (and Bob)

A misty morning at Slaithwaite Cricket Club, planting 250 Field Maple, Bird Cherry, Crab Apple, Hazel and Dogwood on the embankment behind the stand. This was done in collaboration with the landowner, following plans drawn up from when the housing development was done behind the ground. Not great ground, there being a lot of spoil from the housebuilding. And a bit of a perilous slope. But we finished on time, and then went to the Sair for our mid season meeting.

We were: Philip, Bob, Duncan and Harvey the dog, Ben, Stephen, Dave, Neil, myself, Peter W., Trevor, Dianne and Cath. Jess sent her apologies, as did Prince Edward (who Jess met this week at her gold DofE award presentation). Geoff also sent his apologies, he was going to see Stewart Lee in Manchester. ??? Is the surreal and mordant wit of the CVTS not enough for Geoff?

After the planting and mid season, while a few of us were trying to enjoy a drink in the Sair, we were harassed by some nutter at the bar. He appeared to have been drinking since breakfast (or maybe since 1970).He took exception to our tree planting activities, maintaining that the type of trees were planting did not sustain native insects or birds. Not that he knew what type of trees we plant. He didn't seem to want to stop ranting, calling us liars, or pointing at us. But we were leaving anyway.