Spring is definitely on its way; we heard and saw the cranes returning. They caught a thermal updraught just over the house, so we watched them circle and gain height before they continued their journey north-east. I recall we saw a documentary on bird migration on the BBC some years ago; they had attached mini cameras to several birds. It seems that La Darnoire is right underneath one of the main migratory routes.

LSS’s video camera has arrived; and so has my new chainsaw helmet. To conform to that old adage “make hay whilst the sun shines” that’s what I did. As it was sunny, I was cutting and chopping wood all day. Approximately one third of the tree has now been processed. Unlike the aged FIL, who would cut down a healthy tree, and take just the larger portions of the trunk, we do try to use most of it. Even the smaller branches are cut up for use as kindling. (Note to self: must tie them together in small bundles – called faggots – for ease of use).

For this particular tree, the bark comes off fairly easily. It’s better to remove the bark when storing pieces of wood for firewood. There are two reasons for this: firstly the wood dries more quickly, and secondly there is less susceptibility to insects nesting under the bark. Some of this bark has been chopped up for mulch (and for use as a lining material under the hen roosts) by using the wood chipper. I also have a pile of it drying for future burning when making the next batch of charcoal. However, there is also a lot of unusable dead mistletoe and ivy. This has been piled in a row near where the tree was felled. It has two functions: it forms a barrier preventing the general public from accessing our field, and also provides a habitat for smaller wildlife like hedgehogs.

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