Monday, March 29, 2010

Green woodworking

I spent Thursday learning how to use a pole lathe and to cleave logs using a froe!  I thought it might be slow and frustrating after having been used to a power lathe but it was satisfying and even relaxing!!  My leg did all the work and I imagined having muscles twice the size on my left leg after a few months of work!  I produced a dibber (for planting bulbs) not bad for a days work (as long as I didn't look at the price of dibbers in the gardening catalogues.  Next to build a lathe and shave horse in our wood ready to the green woodworking workshop that is happening in our wood in April - happy days!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sunny sunny Sunday

Great day yesterday with a load of friends in the wood - warm and sunny (at least most of the day)  Pictures later.
Good climate change piece with some humour, check it out:

Saturday, March 20, 2010

spring is sprunging!

Yes, at last, the first real evidence of spring -- Our first frog spawn!  our first daffodils!!  and seed sowing begins in earnest.  Yea!!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

On Trees and Bureaucracy

I am learning more about the  bureaucracy of woods.  Our wood was listed by the county council.  This made ma a little nervous as I am planning to manage the wood (coppicing etc) and didn't want to have to wait and fill lots of forms every time I picked up the saw!  However, a little research shows that the County Council are giving up their tree preservation orders this year so our wood will be delisted.  Good for us but i am not sure about the effects on other trees threatened by developers!!   So I am also meeting someone from the Forestry Commission next month to discus felling licences and management plans,(so I am not quite out of the wood yet - so to speak!!).  I hope this is going to go smoothly and we can get on with our plans to coppice some hazel and over-stood (old coppice) sweet chestnut.  Some of the trees are quite old now and need rejuvenating (don't we all!)  I will keep you posted.   On another note we are waiting with baited breath for the daffodils to bloom, they are so close now.  Maybe this weekend?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sun Sun Sun here we come

At last some decent weather! I am getting to grips with the bureaucracy of owning a wood,  Public liability insurance - 'ching' paying for a felling licence 'ching' .  Not the mention the problem of the time it takes to deal with the Forestry Commission and get their permission to work in the wood.   In the mean time planting acid loving plants like raspberries, blueberries and experimental potatoes (any other suggestions?).  Building a loo for visitors and copiceing some hazels (yes we are allowed to do that)..Working outside without freezing to death is just wonderful.

Monday, March 15, 2010

More servants for the wealthy!

Announced today - tories plan more training for the service industries including a service industry acadamy!! What we need is more training in real skills for real jobs such as building low carbon housing and transforming the housing stock we have.  We were told at the Ecobuild lectures by heads of the building industry that the skilled workfoce is not yet there to meet government's targets for energy efficient housting and renewables!

Sunday, March 7, 2010


I went to Ecobuild at Earls Court on Wednesday.  I was impressed with the size of it!  It is cleas that many large companies are seeing the potential for making money in energy saving and renewable energy products.
I was pleased to see a CAT stall and a demonstration of straw bale building (with a large croud around it)  I went to a couple of pannels and the consus seemed to be that the best way of selling Green products was to focus on the improved quality of life and money saving potential rather than the climate change and peak oil issues.   I heard some speakers from Germany, south Africa, canada, USA and of course UK speaking about thesystems in their countries for assessing a homes energy efficiency and wether there should be a unified world wide system (the concesus seemed to be not to).  I came back with lots of information on things like heat pumps, insulation from tyres and paper, and the Bath university project on embedded cacbo footprints  Lots of scope for more learning I am afraid - if only there was 48 hours in a day!!