Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Wooooah!  What a day!

Well, all I can hear in my head is Pitbull and Ke$ha singing:
"It's going down, I'm yelling timber! You better move, you better dance!"$ha-single/id773192301

The old country saying of "Make Hay in the Sunshine" was the order of the day today at Budle Bay Croft - except it was not hay we were making, but the promise of cosy evenings in our cottages, with seasoned logs for the burners. We have a sustainable woodland policy on the croft - we bring trees down that are dangerous and plant new ones for every one felled. We also have the (mistaken) belief that if we have assets on the land we should use them wisely to save us money - logs cost lots of pennies in winter and our 5* cottages get them for free from us.  So, having planted lots of cherry and hawthorne trees in the spring to compensate for the older trees that needed felling last winter, the older ones were sufficiently seasoned to make logs from -  smug, warm, money saving glow type of feeling going on inside my body. Today's job was to shift 2 huge, old, felled willow trees that had started to split due to their age. They must have been 100 years+ or so because they line the old mill race and they are enormous - a real characterful shape on the local landscape. But, in the heavy winds of last winter, two started to split and were in a dangerous state so down they came. Not that we did it mind - needed an articulated cherry picker and some very nimble and agile young men (awful to have to watch I know).  Still, "timber" came the cry, down they fell and when they priced for felling and chopping up, we imagined nice neat logs sizes ready for the burners. Naive I know. This is what they were left like: 

Why do it now? Well, the trees that had to be felled were inconveniently at the other end of the croft, which in winter can become a quagmire, making it almost impossible to manoeuvre a tractor to go and get the wood.  "It's a lovely day - should only take a couple of hours" said "grumpy pants" hubby. "If we all get stuck in, we can go out for lunch".  So, motivated by the promise of a crab sandwich from The Ship Inn at Low Newton (accompanied by a cheeky glass of their infamous microbrew), off we all set along Woodland Wander, on Timmy the Tractor to chop the wood.  Started off we'll enough - kids promising to help in exchange for technology time and sweets.  Dogs even behaved themselves, not chasing a rabbit into neighbouring fields. However, after an age (well 10 minutes) the usual debacle that is our lot apparently pulling together to do the chores (not) occurred and it was myself and "grumpy pants" left lifting the load.  

Lots of moans about "needing to have the right gear to be a small holder" and questions about whether I had seen the latest fantastic piece of essential equipment - "ride on mower come chainsaw come strimming hedge trimmer that also generates electricity incase of a power cut thingymybob" and "we could get this lot shifted so much quicker if we had one" type of discussions going on.  Several hours later, we had moved all but the largest 4 pieces.  I looked over at "grumpy pants", feeling every single day of my 49 years, with nettle rashes, bark cuts and spelks in orifices I didn't evenknow I had. He had that "I told you so" kind of face. 

Sthil (see what I did there?), alls well that ends well, and we now have lots of logs for our cottage guests come winter. And it looks like a 100 mile round trip to the "ride on mower come chainsaw come strimming hedge trimmer that also generates electricity incase of a power cut thingymybob" shop tomorrow.  Wooooah!

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