Sunday 29 November – Bucking. The Trend.

At the end of my last blog I said that this week’s work would be focussed on completing the clear up of the ash trees already felled before felling some more.

It also said that the weather was looking good to do that most of the week and, unusually for us, we actually stuck to the plan and shook off the lockdown malaise which has meant we hadn’t achieved as much as we ought in the previous week.  We have therefore been working hard – although have very little to show for it and as a ‘single task week’ this won’t be a long blog.

The final ash trunk felled initially proved to be the hardest to split.  While the first 3 only needed some wild, and occasionally accurate, swings with a merlin (large French wood-splitting axe), the last seemed impenetrable.  Some sage advice from a passing neighbour meant I was able eventually to split it using metal wedges and a lump hammer but it took considerably longer.

When the trunks were cleared away we turned our attention to the wood still in front of the building we call Diary (where the boot room and Dave’s gym is.)  The wood came when a large apple tree was blow over in Storm Zeus in March 2017 and the remainder we felled ourselves to create the flower bed.

I hadn’t appreciated that while the wood had been exposed to the elements, some had seasoned so well it had become extremely hard and rapidly dulled my chainsaw chain.  I was afraid that this would delay us cutting the additional trees down.  However a friend, who we had on standby to come and pull on a rope for us as these additional trees were just a little too large for David and I to do on our own, very kindly offered to use his own chainsaw so we could carry on.

Hent Gorreker boundary before felling the final ash trees
Hent Gorreker boundary having felled the final ash trees

They all came down safely (although the odd shaped oak on the right of the pictures) was leaning over Hent Gorreker and towards the power cables that we desperately wanted to avoid proved challenging.  We had made the right decision to ask a friend to help us.

A couple of days should be enough to clear these away before the rain arrives and then there are only 3 willow trees further along the same boundary to cut before we’re finished with cutting down on that part of the hedge and we can start planting!

Despite continuing to fill up the serre, there still doesn’t seem a lot of wood stored for all the time and effort it is taking.

Serre filling up but still not very much for so much effort!

Today we gave ourselves a full day off.  This weekend we have enjoyed some amazing autumnal days.  Bright, clear and warm.  As of yesterday the confinement is being eased in France and people are now allowed to exercise for up to 3 hours within 20 kms of their home.  As such, we went back to the forêt du Cranou near Hanvec to have a long walk and wear the dogs out – no easy task with Springer Spaniels!

I can’t believe it is already December next week.  Despite everything this year has passed quicker than most.  It has meant David continuing to make amazing smells with his Christmas cooking.  Mincemeat and poached pears this week – lovely.

Next week more wood splitting, shredding and stacking and maybe some Christmas decorating.