Thursday, 3 February 2011

Look Mummy, it's pretending to be spring!

Today at Fowlmere bird reserve we were back at the "grasshopper warbler meadow".  Well, three of us were for the morning.  We made the fire in the same place as last week and started pollarding the row of willows which is just about visible in the picture I posted last week.  This is what it looked like just before we came home today.

The other two guys were a bit tentative when it came to the pollarding, and really didn't do much to the willows, but I thought we should do much more.

The problem is that the wind was changing direction all the time, so those pollarding often got smothered in smoke.  I didn't let a trivial thing like that stop me, so determined to at least get the nearest willow done before Doug arrived,

It was quite hard work, because what you can't see in the photo's, is that those willows are standing in a ditch.  I had to do quite a bit of sawing above my head while standing in water, which is tough going.

Anyhow, I've watched and done enough tree felling to understand a bit about how you get a branch to fall where you want it, and how to be out of the way when it does come down, which was handy, as some of these branches were a good 10cm thick.  One of those landing on you, or even just swiping you in passing, could sting, I can tell you!

So I was pretty pleased to get the first one finished, the second, quite small, the other two had done OK, so then I moved on to the third, largest.  That, too, came down, and I started feeling pretty smug.

At 12.30 the other two had to go home, so I spent the next hour or so cutting up the remaining branches and feeding them onto the fire.

Two more lads arrived to help and started cutting down hawthorn scrub.  Anything more than chest high had to be cut down.

Finally, Doug arrived with the remaining volunteers and his chainsaw.  He set to in a copse of hawthorn and buckthorn, but fortunately around 3.15 he ran out of petrol, so we were obliged to stop for the day!  I was well ready to stop, I can tell you, though lasted better than on some previous days.

But the thing we all remarked on was what a beautiful day it was.  Clear blue sky all day, and although chilly to start with, it warmed up as the day progressed, and we shed our thick jackets while we worked.  Glorious!  But not spring yet.  Spring doesn't start until March, and here it is only 3rd Feb, so when it pretends to be spring, I'm not fooled.  It's still winter, I tell you!  One sunny day does not a spring make, or something like that!

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