Tuesday, 1 November 2011

relief of mattocking

Tuesdays are becoming mens days at Cordwood. A chance for banter, a laugh, a good sit around a smokey camp fire drinking coffee .... and a lot of productive work.

Today Trev and Jim joined me and we worked  with mattock and fork through the wretched ground that was riddled with a network of bramble and nettle roots.

At some time in the past, someone had crudely chainsawed down a group of silver birch and left their stumps ripped and uneven. We've left the stumps because they are parasitised by attractive polypores - bracket fungus - and have stacked the sawn and decaying logs for invertebrates. The invertebrates in their turn feed a range of creatures higher up the food chain and we spotted wood mice (Apodemus sylvaticus) and common shrew (Sorex araneus).

The area beneath the tall birches had been colonised by by bramble and nettles but the growth was limited due to the trees taking the light, moisture and nutrients from the shorter plants at ground level. In the area where the sawn stumps were found, the undergrowth was higher than two metres  (six feet) due to the plants unfettered access to light, moisture and nutrients. And didn't we know it!!

But, as the photos show,  we are making good progress in clearing this area. Trev has a big clump of cyclamen hederifolium that will be planted beneath some of the birches.

So, thanks lads for todays work. Looking forward to the next time.

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