Every Last Twig

January 7, 2012

I had three birch trees cut down recently.

Remains of 3 birch trees.

Big pile of trees

They appeared as tiny saplings in my garden hedge and I let them grow because I like trees.  About 25 years later they had outgrown the space and it was time for them to go.

I’ve had solar electric panels fitted this year and as the sun got lower in the autumn the trees were also shading those. I’m not sure where that leaves my carbon footprint.

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Identifying Fungi – Baby Steps

November 8, 2011

Big Brown Toadstool #1

I haven’t a clue about fungi.  Some of my clever friends know everything, so I just ask them. But I’ve had a terrible thought. What if they are making it up?  Would they do that? Would I do that? Damn! I would. I’m going to have to learn enough so I can spot when they do.

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None of the above – people I admire

October 25, 2011


I meet the greatest people when I’m on Trees For Life conservation weeks.  Some of them do things I never dreamed of and live their lives in ways I didn’t even know were possible.

I vaguely remember, long, long ago a school careers person offering two options: a) get a job or b) go to university. a) didn’t sound any fun so I chose b). Three years later it was much the same storey: a) stay on and do another degree or b) get a job.  I’d had as much education as any reasonable person could stand by then so I got a job and I’ve had it (or one very like it) ever since.

Now, I clearly don’t have much imagination, because other people when offered a) or b) said “none of the above” and bounded off into the unknown.

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Conservation Holiday Diary – Saturday2

October 15, 2011
Alder trees Strathan Cottages, Attadale

Alder trees Strathan Cottages, Attadale

All rush this morning. Packing and the final cleaning of kitchens and bathrooms.

Then it’s all paused to eat a steaming pile of Wee Eggies. A recipe held in deep secrecy by the Scottish nation.

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Conservation Holiday Diary – Friday2

October 14, 2011
Dead pine from the original forest

Dead pine from the original forest

More non-native tree removal today, on the same site as yesterday.

We seem to have christened the site “Planet Heather”. We spend so much energy clambering through it.

More liberation of Scots Pine, Birch, Rowan and Willow. We find one Hazel and one Holly too.

We are working higher up the hill today, where the skeletons of old Scots Pine show that this was a native Pine wood before it was a timber plantation. They link the forest past to the forest future.

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Conservation Holiday Diary – Thursday

October 13, 2011
Removing Spruce, Achnashellach.

Removing invasive Spruce trees

Today’s job is removing young non-native trees growing in an area where native woodland is regenerating.

They are seedlings from a timber plantation which was previously on the site, mostly Sitka Spruce. The problem is that they grow faster than the native trees and shade them out.  Wonderful trees in their North American home but a menace in Scotland where the wildlife hasn’t much use for them.

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Conservation Holiday Diary – Wednesday

October 12, 2011
Off to watch seals, Plockton

Off to watch seals, Plockton, Tattie scones breakfast causing a slight list.

Our day off!

I had an early walk up the hill beside the cottages. Photographed some more caterpillars. Should I be worried that I have more photos of caterpillars than of people?

Gillian made us all breakfast of Tattie Scones and butteries. That’s me set up for the day.

Most of us fancy a boat trip to see the seals at Plockton, so off we go.
Gillian and I opted for a walk about the coast instead.

It was sunny.
It was hot.

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