Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Winter Reading


May I reccomend the writings of Wendell Berry, ESPECIALLY: Thoughts in the Presence of Fear.


Why I am NOT Going to Buy a Computer, and The Joys of Sales Resistance
and

The Unsettling of America, and Another Turn of the Crank. and



He is very nice person with a great sense of humor

and

Orion SocietySo true!


The environmental community's central source


Reforesting Scotland Earth First! No Compromise in Defense of Mother Earth! Real -life Ecodefense!
 Ed Abbey: To PC or not too PC? Ed Abbey quotations

Hayduke Ponders and Hayduke Blogs


Tao
Te Ching
and the anarchism behind it, and various thoughts

Land Reform? including A personal examination


Lives
of a Cell, by LewisThomas and You can't Eat GNP, by Eric N Davidson


Common Sense, by Tom
Paine
and the thoughts of Thomas Jefferson


Sierra
Club
& The writings
of John
Muir


Walden
& Civil
Disobedience
by Henry
David Thoreau

Waldo
Emerson


A Sand County Almanac by Aldo
Leopold,
including The Land Ethic

A Green History of the World, by Clive Ponting


Mason
& Dixon
by Thomas Pynchon


Ralph


Trees
& Woodland in the British Landscape by Oliver
Rackham

Rooted in the Land, edited by Wes
Jackson
  
Reforesting
Scotland
and our Forest and Community Festival at Taliesin

Dwellers in the Land, The
Bioregional Vision
In
Context

Tinker's
Bubble
, an attempt at sustainability, connected with The
Land is Ours!

Our Birthright in Land, by Professor
William Ogilvie

Our
Inspirational Visitor
to Southwest
Community Woodlands


A
Personal Hyperspective
and various ecosites and some other
INSPIRATIONS






Return to North Glen
or Reading List
or Credo

Monday, October 19, 2009

2009 Autumn Gathering at Taliesin

From October 9th to 11th, folk gathered at Taliesin to carve stones, make stools, crush apples, build shelters, learn woodcraft and make lanterns. The loo with a view also gained a new wattle privacy screen to replace the makeshift canvas, and the new pools were refined with a bit of dam building....
Clicking on any picture below
will open a related slideshow
in a new browser tab.

The stonecarving course was led by Will Davies and we all learned a new background soundtrack - "Chip, Chip, Chip,...." Course participants were a study in concentration and some beautiful work resulted.












Andy Hurst soon had his students cleaving, chopping, shaving and turning ash legs for their three-legged stools and, for a change the ash was genuine Taliesin-grown instead of resorting to the more usual exercise of the wood-poacher's art.







The bushcraft and trailblazing course was, as usual, tremendous fun for the kids and some more mature folk, and the shelters built in Potterland wood are a joy to behold and rather tempting to one who enjoys sleeping rough.

I advise those who would see (or use) them to remember that thinning operations begin soon, and are likely to damage them.

Apples were chipped and pressed for deliciously fresh juice (no time to ferment!). Kids walked the plank to paddle the raft in the old pond; Lanterns were made and hung to illuminate the evenings, and the food and company were, as always, of the highest quality. A virtual pizza factory operated on Saturday night, and, after several years of experimentation, we've finally learned how to use the clay oven! Trevor turned up for the BBQ and was joined by several pennywhistles, guitars and such, and pretty soon there was dancing by lamplight. Apologies for video quality ;-)


Simon has posted a whole lot more pictures

We operate workshops and courses twice yearly at Taliesin Community Woodland Centre. For more information click here. or for general information about Southwest Community Woodlands Trust, click here
Do pay Taliesin a visit anytime and enjoy the space.
(click for map)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Coppice Working Activities

Photos by Simon Brooke, 2001/2

Starting in 2000, we began restoration of coppice working in part of the ancient coppice area on Potterland Hill.  Over three years we cut three successive coupes and protected them with dead and laid hedge materials, and they were doing pretty well.  Sadly, in 2004, careless thinning contractors destroyed our protective efforts and reduced our enthusiasm.

Mike Gardner came and led courses for our annual October gatherings covering coppice and related woodland management, as well as the various uses for the harvested material. Because the hazel stools had been neglected, the material recovered was not of the highest quality, but we still managed to make a number of hurdles, some continuous-weave fencing, chairs, and other articles over the three years.   Clicking on any of the pictures will take you to other pictures. Lizzie made a ball frame of hazel, and covered it with willow, and planted it in the upper area of Taliesin as a living sculpture.

Ali Jeffrey carved a big beech log which produced brilliant foxfire glow in the middle of one of the most varied nights in memory - a ceilidh under canvas with thunder and lightening, hail, and beautiful clear periods!  During the clear periods, excursions were mounted to see the wonderland of glow-in-the-dark chippings and Ali's log itself glowing in a strange graphic fashion.

Peter QuelchIn November of 2001, the Community Woodlands Association held their annual gathering in Dalbeattie, and a number of the participants paid a visit to our coppice project.  A number of Reforesting Scotland regulars can be seen in the photos, including Peter Quelch, who was just retiring as the Forestry Commission's Native Woodlands Officer. He and Godfrey and I had a very rewarding walk through Potterland Wood, and he confirmed that it has most of the features to be expected in (overplanted) ancient semi-natural woodland.  He was particularly struck by the bit just below the stone bridge, but that bit isn't part of the FE-owned wood.  Peter is brilliant with flutes and recorders, and the gathering also included several other musical folk, notably Henry Fosbrooke, so there were plenty of musical campfire sessions.

I've recently been checking out the felled areas, and reckon that the first coupe has some good re-growth and is ready for felling again. With any luck, we'll get into the wood sometime after leaf-fall this winter, and maybe also start on restoration in another area with big neglected stools. The material will then be useful for a Spring course in hurdle-making and other uses.

We operate workshops and courses twice yearly at Taliesin Community Woodland Centre. For more information click here. or for general information about Southwest Community Woodlands Trust, click here
Do pay Taliesin a visit anytime and enjoy the space.
(click for map)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Potterland Wood


About two years ago, the stands of Corsican Pine, Larch, and Sitka Spruce on Potterland Hill were clear felled, leaving the steep slopes and top of the hill bare with a fringe of older Scots Pines.


At least that's what one sees from the main A711 road between Palnackie and Auchencairn...

But coming down the glen from Gelston, the hill appears still clothed on its Northwest face, and what is more important, clothed with native broadleaf trees.

(NOTE: Map on left rotated to face Southeast to match photo - click to enlarge)

Potterland Wood appears as woodland (probably managed) on the earliest maps, and if one takes the time to explore this remnant, one finds hazel coppice stools of considerable age along with many undergrowth species indicative of continuous woodland cover.

There are also tubed trees, planted more than ten years ago.   Many are oak, and some (unbelievably!) are sycamore.   Happily, most of the oaks have done well and many of the sycamores haven't. Everything else, aside from the odd conifer belongs here, but the sycamores beg for removal.   There are very few large older timber trees, but a few oaks have come back from stumps, presumably from the time an attempt was made to "coniferise" this "obsolete" coppice area in the misguided sixties.  Fortunately, the Old Wood's life force prevailed.   The area is rich in fungi as well.

Moving out into the recently felled area, there is a good amount of natural regeneration, and the Foresters have left a good few seed trees standing.   I hope this is the intent, as these areas should be allowed to return to mostly native forest.

On a brief descent of the steep Southwestern slope, I noted seedlings of hazel, beech, hawthorn, oak, ash, holly, elm, birch, rowan, hemlock, and Norway spruce.   Also left standing are several dead "perch" trees for owls or raptors.

All in all, a rather fine prospect as a neighbour for Taliesin!   I'd be happy to lead a guided walk and fungus foray during the October gathering.  Stout footwear (and walking-stick) advised, and we'll make sure to choose suitable weather!

More pictures from my recent stroll are here
And here for some of the understory plant life...
And here for some of the Historical context of the area...

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Letters and Bows

In the 2008 Spring workshops and gathering at Taliesin, there were letter cutting and longbow making courses as well as general improvements and, of course, good food, good company and good times:



We operate workshops and courses twice yearly at Taliesin Community Woodland Centre. For more information click here. or for general information about Southwest Community Woodlands Trust, click here
Do pay Taliesin a visit anytime and enjoy the space.
(click for map)

Paper Making

In early October 2007, while some folk were making coracles, others were learning the joys of creative papermaking, using various found materials.
A brief set of pictures to illuminate:



We operate workshops and courses twice yearly at Taliesin Community Woodland Centre. For more information click here. or for general information about Southwest Community Woodlands Trust, click here
Do pay Taliesin a visit anytime and enjoy the space.
(click for map)

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Coracles!

At Taliesin Community Woodland Centre
In Early October of 2007, at our autumn workshops and gathering, we made coracles, engaged in papermaking using found wild materials, drank gallons of hot beverages and cold spring water, ate excellent food (as usual!), and finished it all off with a party. These slides are mostly the coracle course, but the papermaking will feature in another blog.



Sit back and share (or remember) a pleasant few days...




We operate workshops and courses twice yearly at Taliesin Community Woodland Centre. For more information click here. or for general information about Southwest Community Woodlands Trust, click here
Do pay Taliesin a visit anytime and enjoy the space.
(click for map)

Friday, September 04, 2009

The Waterworks Continue to Develop

Creating a "water feature" as a means of draining the accumulation
behind the sand martin bank.



About half the rainwater falling on Potterland hill drains into the meadow above the new pondworks. A small amount percolates under the bank and emerges as a small spring, but a good deal more accumulates behind the bank. It seemed a good idea to give it a way around.

A video taken one day after the creation of the "water feature":



And a short close-up clip of the waterfall:



And another, taken in sunshine a dozen days later. The inlet from the burn has been choked down to a trickle, and is probably supplying about the same amount of water as the waterfall and spring. A few oaks have been planted on the "bump" and willow cuttings have been put in along the burn bank to reinforce it and guide any overflow further down...



A reminder of "The Plan": (click to enlarge)

Drawing by Robin Ade