Well, it has been a while since we have posted on the blog. It doesn’t mean that we haven’t been busy, in fact, quite the opposite. I’ll try and post some more updates this week.
The rain has eased up for the past week or so and the fields have started to dry out a bit. This has meant that we have been able to restart working in the bottom field repairing the last of the dry stone walls. We had to clear a reasonable amount of undergrowth before we could get to this area. When we first bought the property, you couldn’t get in here at all.
We had to take a 3-4 medium sized trees to get access to this area, but it looks a lot better now that the area has been cleared. It is amazing how many logs that we seem to get from so few trees. They’ll need to dry out over the summer before we will be able to use them on the log stoves. The main issue now is where to store them.
We believe that this is the boundary wall between the old quarry that was in the bottom field and Hagg Wood. According to the old maps, this quarry was no longer used from about 1899. Most of the stone for the wall was under the piles of leafs.
The area to the left of the wall was a small quarry in the mid 1800’s. I suspect that much of the stone that was used to build the house came from here. A number of the guys in the local pub remember playing in the quarry as kids. I believe that it was filled in during the 1960’s when a modern property was built next door and the quarry was used for landfill.
Rather than starting the wall from scratch we have taken it back down to where we could find the foundation stones. It makes repairing the wall a lot quicker!
The dumper holds about 3/4 ton and this was just about on it’s limit (considering that the brakes aren’t all that good!). There is probably amount the same amount again to be collected. It’ll take about a year before these are dry enough to burn, but they should be ready for next Winter.
We cleared as much of the tree that was damaged in the weekend storms as we could, however, our chainsaw wasn’t really up to the job.
Chris LeRoy kindly dropped by today to sort out the bigger parts of the tree that were still standing.
My 14 inch chainsaw just wasn’t man enough to deal with this tree. Chris LeRoy – our local tree surgeon – happily (and very carefully) dealt with what was left. He logged all of the big wood for us so that it can be easily chopped into logs for the fire.
This just needs to be split and stored for the next 9-12 months before we can burn it on the log fires! It looks as if it was an old apple tree. However, in the last couple of years we have seen no fruit on it.
Although the house is fine, we did lose one of the bigger trees in the orchard yesterday afternoon. I suspect we were actually around when it fell down, but we didn’t hear it.
We waited until the wind died down before attempting to clear the debris. Our chainsaw managed to cut through all but the largest branches – I suspect that we will have to get our friendly tree surgeon to deal with these. The smaller branches will go on a bonfire. The larger ones have been cut up into firewood. It will be around 12 months before these are dry enough to burn.
We the storms yesterday afternoon, we lost one of the trees in the orchard. This was a particularly large treee, so it was even more disappointing to lose it. However, it was pretty rotten inside and this wasn’t the first time that it had lost some of it’s bigger branches in the wind.
One of the larger branches fell and hit the dry stone wall that we built last year. Another ended up in the skip.
It didn’t take long with the chainsaw to cut up the smaller branches and then cut the larger ones into logs. Unfortunately, some of the bigger bits are jsut too big for my chainsaw.
I cut up the larger branches into logs for the fire. These will have to dry out before we can burn them, but they should be ready to burn by the end of the year.
I have gotten into the habit of sharpening the chain on the chainsaw every time I fill it up with petrol. However, on the last couple of occasions, the chain hasn’t stayed sharp for very long. You can tell from the sawdust that it produces – it more resembles dust rather than the long wood chips that are normally produced with a sharp chainsaw. On the basis that it wasn’t holding it’s sharpness, I have bought a new chain. I can fit it myself and a new one only cost £10 on eBay.
The last chain was installed back in November, so has lasted just over three months. But it has had a lot of use (and not all on trees!).
Wow, just used it for the first time with the new chain. What a difference! I guess the chain dulls over time and you don’t notice how much worse the cutting power is as it happens slowly over a period of time. I shouldn’t have persevered so long before changing it – much quicker and much safer to use.
Well, according to a number of sources, as a rule of thumb you should sharpen the chain on a chainsaw every time you refuel it. You can also tell when it requires sharpening because of the sawdust – a sharp chainsaw produces long strips of wood as sawdust rather than very fine dust.
I found this video on YouTube that was really helpful: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvcCh2XqEPc This is one of a series of Stihl chainsaw videos and they are well worth watching.
You can find the sharpening kit here on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Stihl-Sharpening-5605-007-1027/dp/B002YQ4SG0/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1355176663&sr=8-9
I found the process very easy to do and it only took around 20 minutes. I reckon that I will be able to do this even quicker with a bit of practice. It has made a massive difference to the cutting performance of the chainsaw. Do make sure that you get the right size sharpening kit for your chainsaw – they come in different sizes to match the chain. Much cheaper than buying a new chain.
I have spent the past couple of weekends clearing out much of the undergrowth and old trees from the orchard. I haven’t cut down any of the fruit trees, but I have taken out the other trees that had grown in between. It must have been years since any of this land was cared for. I can’t believe how much I have taken out of such a small piece of land. This space looks so mucher bigger now. I have left all of the sheds in place (for now) – there are two fairly large sheds here.
|Stihl 017 Chainsaw – Newly Serviced!
I did get my chainsaw serviced during the week and this has made a tremendous difference. Rapid Hire Centre in Honley (my local Stihl dealer) serviced it same day as well as fitting a new chain. I notice that they have also turned the guide bar over so it wears equally on each side (hence the Stihl logo on the guide bar is now upside down). They have done a great job and are local – very local. Shame their website doesn’t mention that they are a Stihl dealer plus their latest catalogue is 2010.
I am not a great fan of chainsaws. Pretty dangerous and things can go spectacularly (and disastrously) wrong if you aren’t careful. They need to be treated with care and respect. I tend to plan the cuts, clear the area, make the cut and then turn the chainsaw off before clearing the area and starting the process all over again. This means that the work is slow and methodical, but it also means that there is no debris in the area to trip over (I don’t even want to think about falling over carrying a running chainsaw!).
There’s probably another day or so’s work here to tidy things up. As well as the over grown trees in the orchard, there is a large tree in the one corner with what appears to be storm damage. This needs tidying up. I made a start, but the light was fading fast.
The smaller upper branches are now on a rather large bonfire. The more substantial pieces have been cut up into logs. It will be a year or so before they are ready to burn, but I am sure that I can find a good home for them!