Having laid down the 75mm clean limestone the forestry team set about putting on the top layer of Type 1 limestone to make a smoother surface. This then required raking to take out the lumps and bumps. Unfortunately John’s steamroller could not get up the steep hill to really pack the stone down, we will just have to use the roller that goes behind the tractor.
We also had to chip up all the elm scrub that had been removed before laying down the stone as it had encroached onto the track. There was quite a bit of it but we did cut out about a hundred hedge laying stakes which will come in handy in December when we start the hedge laying.
Of course it was November so the burning trailer had to be filled up with some of the lop & top and brash. Made for a pretty display on a cold and windy November the 5th night at Wimpole.
With the winter looming it was time to install the wood fired space heater- this was our way of keeping warm and drying out the work clothes in a sustainable manner; it even provides us with hot water to wash with as we have a very big kettle that sits on the top. Incidentally this was made in Poland. A big thumbs up especially when we work in the shed on the very wet days.
So, with a warm fire at hand, we can maintain our equipment and machinery in comfort (well relatively, but considering how cold we used to get it’s a vast improvement).
One job that had to be done was to replace the three-point linkage arms on the MF390 tractor. We could no longer adjust the arms so a little heat was applied… it worked on one arm but the other remained stubbornly seized so off to Andy Klose Engineering to get something just a tad bigger!!!!!!!!!! Boy, even with acetylene and the biggest wrench I have seen we struggled to free the threaded pin from the housing. Turned out that the whole unit was pretty much useless in the end so we had to obtain some new parts to get the job done.
A job that I have aways wanted to do is grow our own oak tree saplings from the veteran oak trees on the estate. We purchased some new potting crates that are used for cell grown trees and stole some of the gardeners’ mulch when they weren’t looking. Got the job done and put the crates on the floor only to discover the blasted rats and pheasants had discovered breakfast, lunch and supper! Hmmmmm… now the crates and their precious cargo are out of reach and covered with chicken wire mesh.
There are always the ‘just-a-jobs’ to do too. Cobbs, a local civil engineering company, were landscaping around the Woodyard but all the old vintage farming machinery had to be removed along with a large amount of natural stones (some weighing more than 300kg). We saved this stone for future stone carving as it’s actually quite expensive to buy. It was nice to help out the contractors as it does make the job much easier for all concerned.
November turned out to be a fairly dry month with some beautiful days; the little gallery below shows a few of the best moments.
Finally it was time to start cleaning up the meadow behind Cobbs Wood Farm- there was an awful lot of scrub to remove so that we could eventually start to lay the hedge on the meadow boundary. Also on the agenda will be the removal of the scrap metal and other farming items.
With the end of November fast approaching we finally managed to fell and chip all the plum scrub plus make another hundred or so hedge laying stakes (just as well as this section of hedge would require about 250 stakes). So… in December the hedge laying will start in earnest.
It seems to have been a late autumn with many of the leaves hanging on for dear life but the colours were superb. Below is a little gallery of autumn leaves.
There were some good nights for long netting, but unfortunately, whenever we went out it seemed to go all foggy and frosty which usually means a poor catch…however we did clear out some rabbits from Rectory Farm (and just as well as the crops had just started to grow).
This autumn may have been superb for colourful leaves but as far as the fungi were concerned the dry weather prevented many of the grassland fungi from surfacing. However the fungi on the deadwood and forest litter made up for the paucity in the meadows.
Other work included carting more firewood to the roadside so that it could be sold to the local firewood merchant (all the firewood has to be brought to the roadside because the 40 ton skeleton lorry cannot go off-road). Also, in my spare time in the evening, I have been perfecting the spoon!!!!! The nicest wood to use and easiest to carve was the black walnut, even little scraps of wood can be turned into a spoon.