Preparing for winter

Today I spent a couple of hours chopping logs for the wood-burner. It’s been far to hot to do it before, the weather change has prompted me into action. It’s mainly wood from a wind-blown ash tree. Still twice as much to do but there’s a couple of months worth here (1.5m by 1.5m) and there will be a lot spare.

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Dryad’s Saddle – edible

An ash has a “great” outcrop of Dryad’s Saddle or Pheasant Back mushroom.

Not sure it’s a good sign for the Ash it’s growing on – however it will probably die soon anyway. See previous post.

Here’s an article on cooking it.  http://foragerchef.com/dryad-saddle-ramen/

Snakes alive! (no, dead) & dying Ash

On the lawn yesterday there was a half eaten grass snake. A shame but it must have been too slow to get away.

The bottom picture shows the dire effects of Ash die-back (Chalara fraxinea), even on mature trees. We have a few ash which are hundreds of years old – I hope those survive. The copse has many ash trees – it will be devastating to lose most of them.

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Spring is springing and squelching

Spring flowers are coming out in profusions. Brimstones are flying. Our primrose / cowslip natural hybrid is out, wood anemones, fritillaries, primroses, lady’s smock …. It all looks good, but the ground is wetter than it’s even been.

Our two plum trees are diseased which is worrying – there seems to be no treatment available.

The fallen tree is now all chainsawed.

 

Frog spawn – missed!

The frogs have been doing their work, with a large amount in the pond. Good, bearing in mind the disease threats to frogs.

http://www.bbcwildlife.org.uk/Unusual%20Frog%20Mortality

However one must have been “caught short” because there were patches of spawn on the grass.

Despite the cold weather, or perhaps because of a compressed season, flowers seem to just about to come out all at once; primroses, wood anemones, cowslips, ladies smock, fritillaries.

 

Storm damage

I thought we had got away without any significant damage, however the chain saw will need to be in action again, when it’s back from repair.  One ash tree ripped apart, and a sallow leaning. No doubt the sallow will regrow if I coppice it. The ash may regrow if I coppice that as well because the roots haven’t moved.

Been out coppicing hazel & maple today in the rain because the bluebells seem to be sprouting very early.

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New life arrives, old departs

On the way to check on the Snowdrops in the wood, I came across a dead bird, like a wader, on the path – with no apparent cause of death. My initial thought was Woodcock, even though I’d never seen one before. Having checked in the bird book, I’m sure that is what it is.
Snowdrops are out.

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Dinner awaits!

We’ve been feeding the birds and have a great range; 5 species of tits and 3 of finches. Even the blackbirds and hedge sparrows manage to use the feeder. However we also have pheasants, including one female which seems to lined up nicely to be made into dinner.

We are just back from a wonderful sunny walk 7 miles walk, with a bit of snow and mud, which was frozen in places so easier going. Stopped at the Hamilton Arms, Stedham, for a lunchtime snack – very welcome.

Autumn colour

Walked around the wood today in the sunshine – nice to see the sun once in a while.

Good autumn colours and a carpet of leaves. Also the Wild Service Tree has a few remaining beautiful red leaves.

Ash Dieback is here!

I’ve been a bit busy, or slack, so this is the first post in a while.

A few sad sights in the woodland with quite a few young ash trees, including coppice stools, affected by and succumbing to ash dieback (Chalara fraxinea). Here’s the evidence. I hope some of the very old coppiced ash trees, which must be a few hundred years old, don’t die.

On a better note, I managed to catch a dragonfly sunbathing on an oak.