Sunday, 23 January 2011

Handy hazel

At last, a chance to get out into the garden!  I've been working in the Field this weekend.  It's been cold but sunny and it's so great to be able to breathe the fresh air and soak up the sun's rays.

The birds have munched their way through the bird feed and the fat balls but they haven't made much of a dent in the peanuts.  Actually that's probably a good thing. I've just this minute been reading about the levels of Aflatoxin in peanuts which can be lethal for garden birds. I bought the peanuts from a local garden centre and as they're sold loose in a big bin I have no idea if they're safe or not.  Plus the peanuts have been hanging up for a while which increases the chances of mould occurring and producing Aflatoxin apparently. So to be on the safe side I'll take them down tomorrow morning and replace with something else.

I've coppiced a couple of Hazels up in the field. They were a good size and I'll use them in the veg area as bean poles (thanks for the tip Kitchen Garden!) and I can use some of the small, young branches to weave an edging around the lawn. They were also providing just a bit too much cover for rabbits and I think that's why the warren was created near them.  I hope I've managed to place another obstacle in the way of any rabbits considering re-opening the warren.  That's still left me with 2 coppiced hazels that hopefully will be producing nuts in a couple of years.

coppiced hazel stumps

clearer space at the foot of the old warren

building up a pile of fine hazel poles 

I haven't coppiced anything since I was a Volunteer Officer with BTCV (about 16 years ago!) and it was great to be able to use some old skills. As a volunteer I never thought I'd be using those skills in my own garden but learning how to hedge-lay, build stone walls, plant trees and coppice are already beginning to come in handy.  I still need to remove the side branches from the cut trunks, or 'snedding' as it's known. Better get hold of a billhook I think - I can use it for snedding and it'll come in handy for when I'm ready to start hedge-laying.

An added bonus to the day was finding clumps of daffodil leaves poking through the ground as I cleared the dead leaves away from the base of the hazel stumps.....Spring is on it's way and it felt good to see the signs.

First signs of daffodils


Dancin' Fool said...

Good post bud and thanks for the info about peanuts. I change ours regularly as they go mouldy so quick but if they have a toxin in anyway then its perhaps time to find an alternative.

I am so glad you have had sun for your gardening. We did last week but its grey and damp this week.

It must be good to be using your skills in your own garden. I can't wait to see what Spring brings for you!

Sensory Dragon said...

Hi Dancin' - apparently you can buy peanuts that have been tested, but you'd have to shop around to find out which retailers sell them. For me I think it'll be easier to find an alternative feed for the birds in my garden.