Tuesday, 19 January 2016


I've had a good hardworking day today. I drove up to Yealand Storth where I was surprised to see people clearing south-facing scrub woodland and wondered who'd convinced them that it was necessary. And why.
Anyway (<< it doesn't mean anything, but you can say it), their chainsaws were making such a racket that when I walked into "my" woodland (I wish it was), the deer must've been relaxed thinking they were safe from those noisy saw-wielding people down the hill, and I was able to get a long clear view of three dotty-spotty female fallow deer jostling along a limestone ledge like over-anxious schoolgirls in a busy corridor.
Using my own noisy chainsaw, a very well behaved, small, Chinese-Swedish Husqvarna, I felled a few thigh-thickness sycamore hoping they'd still be there in 12mths time, and cut some bigger fallen trunks of ash. Ash is wonder-wood. As usual I cut them longer and therefore heavier than I should've and carried each log, sometimes two at a time, up the awkward slope to the road. The soil in this top left hand corner of Lancashire is generally poor, thin, wet and slippery with limestone pavement bursting out wherever it damn well feels like it, so the carrying wasn't easy.
Just before I left I noticed a bird, tinier than a wren, dodge-scuttling through the saplings by the roadside. It was a goldcrest, its gold not very bright, and the species not unusual, but I think they're rather special.
Tomorrow at home I'll lift each log for the fifth time, cut it to 12" length or less, and split every one down to about 3x2". My biceps are already pumped up like those of a weirdo who goes to a gym - you'll hardly recognise me by the time it's all split and stacked.