They grow in dense overlapping tiers on dead stumps and branches, the felty topside of these semi-circular shelves primarily an orange to tawny brown colour demarcated to form zones of different colours, including a rather striking blue in places, and tending towards white at the edges. The Crimped Gill, or Plicatura crispa (also Plicaturopsis crispa), does indeed from such descriptions, sound remarkably similar to the Turkey Tails described in last month’s post.
In these winter months when bracket fungi are plentiful in our woodlands, there are a good number of fungi that might be confused with Turkey Tails, in fact, from the False Turkey Tails and Hairy Curtain Crusts described last month, through the Tripe Fungus covered in a Fungi Focus from last February and other lookalike species such as the Smokey Bracket (Bjerkandera adusta). Read more...
Checking through my emails, I came across a link sent by a friend to one of the winter talks in the program offered by the Botanical Society of Scotland - specifically “The Scottish Uplands: how to revive a degraded landscape” by Dr Helen Armstrong. The talk was live-streamed but was also recorded and is available here.
Dr Armstrong spent 24 years at the Nature Conservancy Council, the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute, Scottish Natural Heritage and Forest Research carrying out research and advisory work.
The following is an attempt to summarise some of the key features of her informative and enlightening talk. Read more...
Bark is the term that is often applied to the outer covering of tree stems and other woody plants. It serves to protect a tree from
- Water loss
- Insect attack
- Infection by bacteria and fungi
- Physical damage (by fire, animals, rock fall)
The nature of bark is immensely variable. In some trees, the bark is extremely rough, corrugated and thick. In others it is is thinner and appears to peel off in strips. Redwoods are noted for having an extremely thick bark (see featured image above). Their bark is very fibrous and can be up to three feet thick. Read more...
Some years back, the blog talked about a 5000 year old ‘mummy’ - called Otzi. Otzi was a Neolithic man, and was found frozen, high in the mountains between Austria and Italy. Careful examination of his body, clothing and possessions gives us some insights into his daily life and diet. Otzi and, we presume, his contemporaries made good use of the plants and natural materials around them. Thus,
- His bow was made from Yew
- Ash provided his dagger handle
- Woven grass and bast for his cloak (bast is made from the fibres of the linden tree)
- goats hide for his leggings and jerkin,
- bear skin for his cap
- deer skin for shoes
- arrows from a wayfaring tree and dogwood
Having put in place the basic infrastructure so that I can store tools, equipment and firewood and have somewhere for shelter and to work, my attention turned to the top two priorities on my ‘to do’ list – well actually, numbers 2 and 3, number one will always remain ‘relax, do nothing and just enjoy it’.
Firstly there is a semi-circular clearing near the eastern side of what is essentially a triangular plot. I have planted a ‘family copse’ Read more...
When I first moved to Sweden, friends from the UK sent me countless books and magazine articles on the culture and tradition of the log stack. How I would become fanatical about length, order and symmetry of my log shed and how by the end of spring I would be fitter than at any time of the year. Each year the first job of spring time as winter crawls back is to sort out your log store for the following winter. Living in the Northern part of Sweden, winter is a big thing. Logs are like currency and timing seems to be everything.
You need to cut your timber, and as silver birch makes the best logs for us, its in the depths of winter when the tree isn’t drawing water. Read more...
As we sat outside The Middle Earth pub on Whitby’s harbour front, enjoying the early evening autumn sunshine, my wife looked at me and said “There’s something I want to talk to you about”. For a heart stopping moment my mind raced and I felt a mixture of emotions as I feared some dreadful news was coming my way. Instead, Jackie completely floored me by asking “How do feel you about us buying a wood?” In the first instance I was speechless then apprehensive, confused and finally, elated! Looking back, how I managed to hold onto my pint I’ll never know. Read more...
In autumn 2016 my wife and I visited a small wood for sale on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors. We had seen a few other sites but this held more promise as it was part moorland, part regenerating ex-forestry land. The three things that made it of particularly interest to us were that: it was only twenty minutes away from home; it had a small natural pond; and it had some open space for planting new trees. As a green person at heart, I often pick up acorns on walks and pop them in a pot. I was however running short of space and needed somewhere to plant them!
Dan, from Woodlands.co.uk, met us on site and explained that the management plan favoured planting oak trees so that made it ideal for us. After a few months of paperwork, we received the key to the padlock of the woodland gate just before Christmas. A nicer present could not have been had. Read more...