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Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Testing out the Coolpix in-camera timelapse feature

...and shovelling barrow loads of ashes and coal from the fire area on the wayleave to coat the really muddy paths down around camp.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Samhain and Birthday weekend

Swedish log fires - chopped ready for Yule
Another huge bonfire made light work of yet more Rhodies, as four of us spent a sunny afternoon around Samhain chopping and feeding the fire. Unfortunately we were not able to get the chipper started, as it would have been idea material to cover the muddy paths with at this time of year. Will try again next time and in the mean time use the mound of coals as path liner instead - the route to the loo is treacherous... especially after a few glasses.
The wayleave has all been strimmed for the winter, and the firewood store extended to give us another dry-ish place to stack the logs in preparation for Christmas.

This weekend we took the bird boxes down for cleaning and to have metal plates put over the now-enlarged holes in an attempt to stop the woodpeckers from raiding the nests for chicks all summer long. The tawny box will be cleaned out in-situ in a couple of weeks time to be sure the last set of Stock Doves have vacated.
new fire store extension
We cleared out the big wooden storage boxes and made space for buckets of dry short logs for Cassius and even gave him another crackfiller round the back. My new ultra-powerful torch lit up the inside of the oven and showed it to be in quite a good state... no internal repairs needed at the moment.
The old drum BBQ that served as the ideal hostess trolley last yule, sadly hasn't fared so well and is now destined for the tip with its bottom now sporting a gaping rusty hole... so an alternative solution will have to be found - keeping all that food hot, and ready to serve together at the end of December is not an easy task.
We stayed over on Saturday night and had a good giggle in the Yardarm keeping warm by the firepit with nips of decent whiskey and a few bottles of vino.
Thank you to all who stayed and/or popped in to say happy birthday (or in Paul's case, slid in on his arse) - it was much appreciated - as were the pressies... so spoilt and so lucky to have such awesome friends. 

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Another month zips by...

fungi in the kitchen
...and it seems the work is magically getting done behind our backs. Thank you to Simon and Helen for the awesome Rhodie clearance going on at the top of the wayleave. Holiday trip last week on the canal boats took most of the crew out for 2 weekends, but we will be back to help out with the burning this Samhain weekend - we promise!
The clay base needed a second session of puddling and smearing a couple of weeks ago, but I am hoping it will be all good for the yule time camp now without too much work.
The dam however is not fairing so well and frustratingly for all of us, but especially so for Flee we can do nothing more than keep plugging the holes and hoping it seals itself with the weight of the autumn rains and the debris that will no doubt we swept down into it.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Cassius base repairs


big hole in the clay base
It was back to puddling again last weekend as there are some repairs needed to the base that Cassius sits on - thankfully it's not so drastic that it has moved or cracked the oven itself, just the corner of the work surface has shifted slightly and so the clay holding it together has had to be removed and replaced.
So with a mix of 12.5kgs of clay, 30kgs of sharp sand and a few handfuls of sawdust I got stuck into puddling again. Cold at first but as soon as that familiar squelching phase got underway it was actually quite enjoyable and served as my daily exercise session since I had missed swimming again this weekend.
It will need another batch adding next week to fill the gaps and level off the top, but we made a good start anyway.
The rest of the gang continued clearing Rhodies either in the wayleave or over in the North East corner towards the Yew tree. It was lovely and sunny and if the stock doves are still sitting on eggs, then we have no excuses not to keep going - autumn might be here, but for woodland owners, that only increases the amount of work we can get done. bring on the bonfire season

Saturday, 12 August 2017

whilst we were away working on a farm in Africa...

Simon and Helen were driving down to Rais and were shocked to see a huge JCB digger sitting in the middle of the wayleave and a big brown scar where it had been clearing brush. A closer look showed it was next door but one, with a group of half a dozen or so directing the activities from an ATV. It was difficult to see what they were up to but they were busy pretty much all day, at one point moving quite a bit of earth as well as clearing brush so perhaps they are digging a pond?
Having checked out the digger they went down to see how the dam was doing and were met by a scene of devastation .... there had obviously been a huge amount of rain at some point this week, and the dam looked like there had been a flash flood... all three pipes were blocked, one with a big bit of wood Simon could hardly lift out, and water has not only been going over the top but also through a really big hole in the dam (and another smaller one) next to the lower pipe.

As we were looking at the damage and clearing the blocked pipes we noticed it also seemed really shallow, even though the top of the lower pipe was not far above the water, and then we realised that the bank where Flee has been taking clay from has collapsed and there’s a load of new silt in the pond, almost up to the level of the pipe. They cleared out the blocked pipes but the holes will need Flees assessment to see what can be done.