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"Neolithic mushrooms"

“Neolithic mushrooms”

by Chris ~ 2 August, 2019 ~ comments welcome

 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

Read more...

A busman’s holiday, part 2

A busman’s holiday, part 2

by Dick ~ 8 March, 2019 ~ comments welcome

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...

The easy way to processing 40 cubic of logs

The easy way to processing 40 cubic of logs

by Matt Marples ~ 23 May, 2018 ~ 3 comments

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...

MIDDLE EARTH ... and our own woodland project

MIDDLE EARTH … and our own woodland project

by Jackie & David ~ 24 February, 2018 ~ 4 comments

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...

A year in our very own woodland – by Mark Vesey 

A year in our very own woodland – by Mark Vesey 

by woodlands blogs ~ 8 November, 2017 ~ 3 comments

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...

Beavers - reducing pollution?

Beavers – reducing pollution?

by Chris ~ 10 August, 2017 ~ comments welcome

Once upon a time, beavers (Castor fiber) were widespread in the U.K, however, there are few records after the 11th century and by the sixteenth century they were extinct .     They are still to be found in Europe; several thousand live on or near the Elbe and the Rhône, and in parts of Scandinavia.

They were hunted to extinction as the animal provided meat, fur and ‘medicine’.  The yellow secretion of their anal glands (castoreum) was used, at one time, as an analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antipyretic.   The Romans thought that the fumes from burning castoreum could induce an abortion.  Medical uses are no longer ‘in vogue’ but castoreum is used in the making of certain perfumes. Read more...

Woodland types : Birch woodlands

Woodland types : Birch woodlands

by Chris ~ 10 June, 2015 ~ 3 comments

Birch is a pioneer species, that is often replaced by oak, beech or other species.   After the last Ice Age, birch moved in quickly as the glaciers receded.   Even now, after clearfell in almost any part of the country,  birch is usually the first to appear by natural regeneration (and can act as a nurse for planted oak etc.); some refer to it as the 'forester's weed'.    Birch woodland is generally “open” and the trees are often of a similar age and size. Birch regeneration is often respaced (thinned) with a clearing saw  (the resulting thinnings may be used for horse jumps - like the Grand National).

However, birch woodland has mainly persisted (in the U.K.) where conditions are harsh and limit the growth of other species. Read more...

Woodland types : Wet woodlands

Woodland types : Wet woodlands

by Chris ~ 29 May, 2015 ~ 3 comments

After the last ice age, the melt water from glaciers and ice sheets created areas of open and wet habitat. It was a ‘fertile time’ for pioneer species such as willow, birch and alder. Nowadays, wet woodland is scattered throughout the U.K. and Ireland, though western areas with greater rainfall are more likely locations.   Such woodland is associated with poorly drained or seasonally flooded areas, for example, the flood plains of rivers, or the edges of lakes, bogs and fens. Estimates of the area covered by wet woodland vary – but the Forestry Commission gives a conservative figure of 25 to 35,000 hectares. Much of it is relatively inaccessible and of little economic value. In consequence, it is often subject to drainage and/or clearance. Read more...

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