Monthly Archives: January 2009

Hedge laying – why not?

Today was the first day of my two day course on hedge-laying.  Here’s the tutor:

We started off by rolling back the fencing on a hedge planted five years ago and then removing the rabbit guards and canes:

Ed, our tutor, then showed us how to go on, he’s a great communicator and lays hedges for a living as well as forestry contracting.  His words of wisdom were very good, and often very amusing, a real good craike (or blather as we might say in Yorkshire).

This is the hedge before we started to lay it, with the stakes stacked at the side around which the pleachers, or liggers are woven:

Here Ed shows us how to start a pleach, or cut that will allow the plant to be laid over without breaking away from the roots, so that the ligger and the root will both sprout new growth in the growing season.

Bare hand for control of the axe and a donkey skin mitten to repell thorns.

This is the essential – the pleach, cutting the stem just enough to make it lie down without springing back up.

In goes a stake – carefully measured, “Good staking can make crap laying look good, but crap staking will spoil good laying.”

A man who knows what he’s talking about commands attention with ease.

Glorious afternoon, with everybody learning a practical skill …

Didn’t we do well?  A joint effort, and the style is traditional Yorkshire stock hedge, which is an immediately effective two-sided stock fence, impenetrable even by lambs.  It lies low at about 25 degrees for our Northern winds and the stakes are in the middle to hold it all together.

Busy felling

Not much winter time left now to get the marked up trees felled off. My stocks of bucked trees is growing, and it’s time to get them all trailered to a place where I can split and store them covered ready for log sales next winter. I’ll also be sorting out the best straight-grained stuff for chairs and turning. It would be good to have a little drier weather as wet gloves are a constant at the moment. The trees I’m working with are on the North side of a steep valley and therefore covered in moss and green bark mold, but things should improve as I’ve started using one pair of gauntlets when using the saw (to help prevent white finger syndrome) and another waterproof pair when handling logs. Handling has improved too by using a closed loop of rope as suggested in the excellent BTCV guide (Here ).  Doing the long splice to join up the rope ends was a fun way to get 20 minutes rest from log extraction too. I’m building up stocks of bean poles for the beanpole weekends in April/May and there will be lots of pea sticks. I’ll be looking out some way of tying up the bundles using either hazel clefts or stripped brambles.

On my day off I had the usual list of jobs:

The marmalade took all day, in the background, at least I wasn’t tempted to eat the fruit:

The main job was replacing the burnt out fire grate for the open fire.  The problem was caused by abuse while burning coal in the bad old days, if the ash is not removed when the pan is full, the cast iron gets too hot and burns away:

The repair I did had burnt out too (mild steel doesn’t cut the mustard!)

Surprisingly the replacement grate fit pretty well, using a few mini fire bricks to fill the gap where the old one curved up at the front:

Took the opportunity to fill in some of the cracks in the firebricks too.

Then sealed it all up and swept it from the roof which avoids a lot of soot in the room.

Yes that is a bike box, the bike wheel (used a bit) came in it, and I didn’t get that third from last job done!

Today and tomorrow I’m hedge-laying in Silsden, needing warm clothing as the  wind is in the East and it’s close to freezing with snow forecast – again!