It’s a matter of days before a new year of marsh improvement and maintenance is upon us.
The last workday of this year was held in the dry field immediately north of Hilary Road. This was the first day ever that I’ve worked on the marsh in a tee shirt. There wasn’t a breath of wind, and I was bathed in sweat for most of the time. OK, I was wielding an axe a lot, but in previous years we would have build a large brash fire to keep us warm – we didn’t yesterday! The current weather is exceptional. Daffodils are blooming at Marsh Farm.
Are you wondering why I don’t use a chainsaw? The reason is simple: I don’t like the noise, the smell, or the weight. An axe doesn’t breakdown, it’s light weight, it requires minimal maintenance, it doesn’t require fuel or lose its settings, and I can carry two of them on my belt without any stress or strain. I prefer my time on the marsh to be peaceful and quiet. When I fell a tree it’s a challenge requiring my total involvement. I apply muscle, stamina and technique to the handles of an axe and a bow saw; the sounds of these tools biting wood are music to my ears.
Our day on the marsh, yesterday, was peaceful and calm. We saw and heard things happening around us, nothing grated or caused offence, and we had time to talk and stare. Add a chainsaw, or any other motorised equipment to the mix and the whole dynamic is altered – for the worst, in my book.
The crack willow trees that had blown down onto a steep bank, were cut up and placed on the ground nearby. New shoots will grow from the stumps and the wood stacked on the ground will provide shelter for the cattle, deer, and many other critters.
Here are a couple of phone camera images: