Today my daughter and I officially started the coppicing for this winter. We marked out the plot a few weeks ago, but we waited for the leaves to fall before starting. This is plot number 3 of our 12 year plan, and until we’ve completed all 12 plots we shall be cutting overstood (left to grow for too long without cutting) coppice stools each winter. These are more difficult to cut because the stems are thicker, they’re taller and heavier and rarely straight. It also means that we are often on the limit of what we can cut without requiring a felling licence – 15cm diameter or less when measured 1.3m from the ground. Contrast this with a hazel I’ve coppiced in our garden, which produces a multitude of long, thin, straight poles, perfect for bean poles.
I am very pleased to report that I had no problems either starting my chainsaw, or using it today, I was slightly concerned that it might be something my hand that was operated on in the summer might complain about, but no it was fine. Ironically I can’t use a hand saw comfortably at the moment because of that hand. My daughter was sorting what I’d cut down today into a brash pile and a usable timber pile, and either she’s getting quicker, or I’m getting slower. My billhook appears to be her second-favourite tool (after a chainsaw), and my son has got one of his own since last winter.
My son has found a buyer for some of the wood we’re producing, I’m not absolutely sure what she wants it for, but apparently she has a lathe and she’d like to come to the wood to choose her own timber. Intriguing.
The weather couldn’t have been nicer for being at the wood today, no wind, lots of sunshine and dry. There were more birds chirruping than on our previous visit. We heard goldcrests, a nuthatch, marsh tits, a buzzard and a woodpecker amongst other things. As the sun was falling and we were packing up our stuff a robin flew through the trees to join us. I’d love to think it was the robin that joined me each time I worked in the wood last winter, but it probably wasn’t. I shall have to remember to take a few mealworms along with me in future.