In this video I cut down hazel, wych elm and ash trees for firewood, as I clear the edge of a woodland ride at Century Wood to let in more light and provide more varied habitats. I use the wood tractor, trolley, and chainsaw, and bring the logs back to the drying barn to season.
Wood Tractor 3: new carburettor
Last month I had a problem with the tractor not starting and I ended up replacing the carburettor and the fuel lines. I also improved the ground clearance with a “pulley cut”, and this post also shows some modifications I made to the car trailer I use to bring firewood home from Century Wood.Continue reading “Wood Tractor 3: new carburettor”
The Drying Barn
The Drying Barn at Century Wood has made a big difference since I put it up in 2018. This post shows how the barn was built and then some pictures from September after another good tidy up of the stuff it “accumulates” – like garden sheds do, almost by themselves.
These two pictures show the Barn as it is now and one of the sketches I drew in January 2018 before I started. It’s next to the Log Cabin in the Glade at the centre of the wood.Continue reading “The Drying Barn”
Fences and boundaries
They say that good fences make good neighbours. When I bought Century Wood, my thought was not so much about neighbours but wanderers: wandering people and wandering deer. I put up stretches of fencing with this in mind, but over time they have come to define boundaries on the ground.
In practice, I’ve had very few run-ins with trespassers, although the first was quite a surprise. On my second visit after buying the wood in 2008, I heard shotguns and then three tweed-clad trespassers, two with guns, confidently wandered into what is now the central Glade where I was felling a tree. I suspect some local shooters had got used to the wood being unoccupied for many years. Signs and fences were an important part of stopping this, along with natural boundaries.Continue reading “Fences and boundaries”
Every Time Box video
I’m just back from the wood and I thought it might be interesting to have a look in my Every Time Box. That’s a toolbox I take with me on every visit. Even if I’m just passing and might drop in for half an hour. I keep all these things together in the box so I can just stick it in the car and not have to think what to take and get it altogether. If I’m going for a day, I fill a plastic crate up with the tools I need, and I have some big plastic boxes with lids for overnight stays in the Log Cabin. But the Every Time Box always has the essentials.
Rather than take a lot of photos and type descriptions, I’ve made a video in which I talk you through the contents of the box.
Do you do something like this? Please tell us what you always take with you to the woods in the comments!
Wood tractor 2 – trying out my mods
Last year I posted about buying a second-hand lawn tractor to use in Century Wood. I modified it during the winter to make it work better in the woods: for getting around and pulling the garden trolley that I’ve been dragging along the rides myself since 2008. Now I’ve tried it out and in this post I talk about the modifications I’ve made.
In the slider above you can see the before and after pictures. The tractor was in good working order, but had some patches of surface rust and flat tyres at the front. There was no grass cutting deck with it: when I went to collect it during a gap in the lockdowns, its eBay seller gave me the rusted lump that had been the deck for free, and I managed to salvage two pulleys from it before taking the body of the deck to recycling.
This video shows the mods I’ve made and driving the tractor around to look for fallen branches on the rides. The rest of the blog talks about the modifications in more detail.Continue reading “Wood tractor 2 – trying out my mods”
Cutting hazel for firewood
One of my aims for 2021 is to be more organised about firewood, now that we have a wood stove at home too. I’m concentrating on the hazel that grows in the thin shade of the plantation poplar trees, since it’s a better firewood, and coppices well so it’s an easily renewable source. This post has some photos and a bit more about my plan for it.
First, here’s a slider comparison showing before and after pictures of one of the hazels on the edge of the Glade at the centre of the wood, which I cut this month.
Since I established the Glade, every few years I’ve cut back overhanging branches like this when they start to encroach. The next picture shows a close up of what the hazel looked like afterwards, with the thicker stems cut for firewood, a few smaller stems cut for overhanging, but most of the smaller stems left to thicken up. The cuts are sloped to tip the stems over in the right direction. I make brash piles out of the ends of the thicker stems, which are good for wildlife but here help define the edge of the Glade.Continue reading “Cutting hazel for firewood”
There are a lot of numbers associated with firewood and I’ve tried to collect best estimates relevant to small woodlands, here in one place, along with enough context to use them. They’re not a substitute for what you actually see in your own circumstances, but they’re the kind of thing you need if you’re putting together a woodland management plan, prior notification for a drying barn, a business case, or even deciding roughly what you can do.
I’ve organised it in the same order as the firewood processing sequence: how much grows per year, what lengths to cut, when to split, how drying works, how much heat different species produce, loose vs stacked, and bag sizes.Continue reading “Firewood numbers”
Wood Tractor: lawn tractor
I’ve bought this second hand lawn tractor to convert into a sort of “wood tractor” to use at Century Wood. At the weekend, I took the tractor to the wood to try it out in its stock configuration, before making any mods to it, and made the YouTube video at the end of this post.
Mowing the Glade video
I’ve just uploaded a video showing the scythe mower I’ve written about before in action, in the Glade at Century Wood.