Spring time – in the woods

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I have had a lot of things that I’ve been up to on and off, before lockdown started, and I haven’t really got round to writing about it, but have an awful lot of photos.

I was going to put all of it in one post, but having gone through my pictures I realised that I was going to struggle to make decisions about what to leave out, and given all the extra time that people are obviously going to have at the moment, you’ll want to use some of it reading my waffle!

The first job that I wanted to do this year that was very time sensitive was tapping the only silver birch tree we have in the wood. We tried last year but left it too late. This time the timing was much better and had the spile in place just before the sap started to rise. We had a much better set up for the bottle to fill and stay in place as well.

weight of the bottle is on the spile, tape just to keep it still

Over 2 weeks I got about a litre of sap. Given the size of the tree (not that big) I think that’s probably about right, but sadly not really enough to be useful as syrup. I did make the syrup though – what you do is boil it down…and down… I’d read that it’s about 95% water, and that all needs to be boiled off. So for about 1 litre of sap I was expecting to get about 50ml of syrup.

However, I actually got this much:

and this could do with being reduced down further. I think I’m going to have to wait a few more years until the birch trees I planted a few years back have grown enough to be tapable.

The other wood project that I got done was the re-filling of the duck tube. My trail camera has shown that we regularly have 3 ducks on the pond, so this has been quite important to me. It wasn’t used last year, but after talking to people, some tubes can take up to 3 years to be used. J made me a new base for it, and I headed over to the pond.

New base and old tube before emptying and refilling

Difference number 1 to last year – I have waders now! It is a lot easier to work in a pond in March (yes, still a bit late to have done it, should really have been February) in waders than in shorts trying to not get any wetter than I had to!

Difference number 2 – I had a helper. Myr came along and was really super. She mostly pottered about the edge of the pond, she likes to paddle mostly.

Tube refilled and my little helper

Once I was in the pond she kept on swimming out to check on me before returning to being a lawnmower.

I got it all tied down and it’s ready for the ducks. I don’t think it is being used yet, but the ducks are still around. Sadly my trail camera has died, so I can’t tell what’s going on.

All done. Just needs residents.

And finally, a pre-lockdown picture of the bluebells on their way.

1 thought on “Spring time – in the woods

  1. Anne Fuller

    Love reading your blogs, Anna 😊.
    We’re going to have to rely on you for our usual wood visits aren’t we??
    Keep up the good work and keep well x x


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