Friday, 28 March 2014

Log cabin bulletin

The build goes on apace. The craftsmen have gone off to Southern Poland in the van to visit families and to return with a log burner,  and the mysterious 'chinking' - more on this when they return. The door is on, and adorned with a sturdy Moroccan bolt, hinges, door handle, and hand made nails, all the iron forged by hand in a Marrakech Souk, and much approved of by Kris the master craftsman.

Marrakech Blacksmiths: Note the tiny crucible where they forge their iron 

The wily fallow deer have been successfully evading Stuart and his gun since before Christmas, however he did manage to bag a small one a couple of days ago, much to his satisfaction. We were invited to view the gralloching,  but politely declined.

The bluebells are putting out their shoots all over the place, including in the ruts left by the tractor. Marsh tits and goldcrests are flitting in the Scots Pines, and the woodpecker is busy. Roll on Spring.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Cabin progress after weeks of rain

The felling of 45 (at the final count) large Scots Pine,   and dragging them by tractor to the cabin site, was a lengthy job. The ground was saturated and the tractor chewed up the ride quite a bit, but on the plus side, for the first time Old Copse looked like a proper working wood. We thought that the actual cabin build wouldn't start for a couple of months, but Kris and his team of 3 were raring to go. The rain had stopped, the sun came out, so why not?

Piotr had the job of hand stripping the bark from the logs with a 'spud', while Henry and Krys cut saddle notches at either end of the logs and then used a manual hoist to lift them into place.Tremendously  hard work, and a bit scary to watch. But these chaps are true expert craftsmen from Southern Poland where log structure building is traditional. It is so exciting seeing the cabin take shape - the door and window are both cut out, and only the floor and roof to finish . Not to forget installing the log burner that Kris will bring back from Poland.

The ride was in a right state once the felling and moving vehicles had departed, but we quickly got to work stamping down the edges of the largest ruts,  and patching up the worst trenches so that our little van could get down the Ride without toppling into a hole. (Shall we buy a 4 wheel drive ? - we're trying to resist. ) We remember the mess caused a few years ago when  a previous  vehicle was allowed onto the Ride, trampling and tearing it up, but we encouraged its fast repair by filling in the worst of the holes.  One thing we have learned is that the wood quickly recovers from 'damage', and that  there is no need to be overly precious about it.

Now most of the Ride is dry, and as we walked up it in the sunshine the other day we saw that the brimstone and peacock butterflies were back . Brambles are springing up all over the place, as a result of the clearing we've done - a result that we will need to monitor. I recall seeing in Australia many acres of land smothered in inpenetrable brambles;  do we want that in Old Copse - I don't think so. Though I expect the deer population will help to keep them down.