Archive for the ‘Staffordshire Volunteering’ Category

It was back to gardening in the run up to Christmas, as the Group made the first of hopefully many visits to the new tenants at the Hall, in order to help Melanie and the family catch-up on some pruning tasks …

….. and were royally entertained with festive treats – thanks for those!

And as the sun shone for most of the time…..

the SSNTV’ers went home looking the same colour as when they arrived – not like in recent previous weeks!

Read Full Post »

Workday leader Dave reports:

It was a day of two halves, glued together by mud …lot’s of mud it looks like (Ed!)

We were continuing a clearance project in the Stretton Westwood quarry, part of Wenlock Edge which last year resulted in the re-appearance of hundreds of orchids. Much cutting and burning took place removing elder, willow and diseased ash trees. With more light reaching the ground any dormant wild flower seeds will germinate. It will be interesting to go back in the Spring and so see what appears.

Rather than the usual cake o clock we had a cake decorating workshop instead! Or it may just have been cupcakes, gingerbread men, a bit of icing and some sprinkles.

Oh yes… and the day of two halves? It was lovely and sunny in the morning but began to rain at lunch time and then continued all afternoon! What fun we all had!!

Read Full Post »

Christmas weekend saw the Group back at Dudmaston in Comer Wood clearing and thinning the largely, young birch trees, otherwise threatening to dominate the woodland.  There was much to go at, as both Head Ranger Mike and Helen followed the SSNTV’ers around with chainsaws over three days.

With Christmas dinner planned for Saturday day Two, day One, Friday was a chance for the early starters to bag the best beds and put up the Xmas decorations ready for a quiet Saturday evening.

Saturday, day Two proved to be the best weather day of the weekend as the chefs / cooking team made intermittent visits to the worksite; as well as peeled vegetables and put on the turkey.  With the main Christmas event getting nearer, there were few passing walkers and bike riders to observe the Group at work.  

Many of the birches and other small trees seem to self-seed so that there was much to thin.  As ranger Mike explained, when they reach a certain age, the trees also frequently get attacked by squirrels, damaging the bark and stopping the growth of straight healthy leaders.  So the work to let in more light would hopefully also promote a more healthy environment for different species to thrive.

Day Three of our weekend saw a great turnout of 14 members, plus Dudmaston D of E volunteer, Oliver, dodging the top-frequent showers. The numbers meant we successfully completed the thinning of the section of woodland by the end of the day, as light was fading.

Feature of the weekend was also the number of fires started to allow removal of the heaps of brash.  Such that by Day Three this became a four-fire foray.  Happily it also meant plenty of heat to keep us warm and to help us to dry off after the rain.

Having polished off Christmas and sticky toffee puddings, that didn’t stop day Three workers consuming the glut of cake, bread pudding and mince pies.  Thanks to all for those!

Not content with just destruction, by day Three a small group also started the replanting effort anew; managing to put about 50 oak trees back into the ground in the clearing created from the previous two workdays. 

Read Full Post »

A tiring day it seems….(Ed)? Workday leader Matthew still managed to pen this report:

..A group of volunteers managed to escape Christmas shopping duties and headed off to Attingham for the traditional pre-Christmas rhodi-bashing.

Ranger Colin’s collection of diggers, tractors and pick-ups were left in their “Tracy Island” bunker, as the group wielded the most effective rhodi-bashing tools of all – handsaws and loppers.

Of course, such tools are virtually ineffective without cake. Luckily we were treated to two, yes two, chocolate concoctions, baked to perfection by Leela and Maggie. Together with the Chairman’s Rocky and Gold bars, we were unstoppable…well sort of!

Thanks to all!

Read Full Post »

Workday leader Chris reports:……After the Magnificent 7 at Dave’s hedgelaying on Saturday in almost artic conditions, the Stupendous 8 turned out on Sunday at Benthall in slightly better weather!

The work was a continuation of the previous outing on the Hall estate; one of our favourite tasks of clearing, cutting and burning. As it was Remembrance Sunday, we observed a two minute silence at 11am marked with Nick’s hooter and ably supported (albeit a little late) by a single cannon firing from somewhere near Telford.

Matt soon had a roaring fire going which coped admirably with the increasing amount of debris collected, as dead branches came down and for which lunch (when it came) was something of a relief, giving the pyre time to digest the rather hearty meal we’d fed it by then.

Cake o’clock was well stocked with fresh offerings made by Maggie and Russell (his bread pudding inventively using up Bonfire weekend leftover buns (the whole ones, not half eaten!). But, people, we have to report that in addition there remained left overs of, duh..duhh.. Mags’s mars bar crispy cake! Needless to say an investigation is underway into this unprecedented (though not unwelcome) incident!

But back to Benthall…After two workdays the old tramway site is transformed. Though Nick says it could do with a bit more work, which is great – it was a lovely task and a sheltered spot, in which to hide from the worst of the elements.

That’s all for now folks but do remember …. your workday leader needs you….!

Read Full Post »

Fireworks, cake, a bit of cutting and burning and a chance to catch up with returning Group members – this weekend it was a three-day bonfire extravaganza only briefly interrupted by a bit of work and periodic heavy rain showers as the Group returned to Dudmaston, overnighting in the Mose bunkhouse.

There was all sorts – a chance to catch up with faces who don’t make it out to workdays every Sunday, but who make a special effort around November 5th; more TLC on those broadleaf and evergreen saplings which SSNTV planted last winter; burgers & sausages, pulled pork, wine, beer and home-brew; all liberally doused with a few downpours – the latter which didn’t put off all those who came out on Saturday night to see fireworks in the rain. 

…Oh yes, and a special new Dudmaston forest project with Ben – more on that at a later date – save to say he spent an informative time with long-serving John W.

Saplings are all checked over now – at least for another year.  So when they weren’t slashing the brambles, SSNTV’ers were thinning the birch in the enclosures and removing damaged and dying trees, attacked by animals or by winds and winter weather.

Chairman Chris also managed to hand over some rewards and thank you’s for hours of long service to members of the Group.

Over the whole weekend many rolled up their sleeves and lent a hand – so there are lots of thank you’s to mention – weekend organiser Peter, seamlessly fitting it all together; shoppers for food; the firework expert (and his spreadsheet); workday leaders, especially Helen (who swapped to work in the rain); those who built the guy; ranger Mike (and Mrs Mike) for food and liquid supplies; SSNTV cake bakers; those challenged to light fireworks safely in the rain; the BBQ man; dedicated volunteers who cleaned the bunkhouse toilets; and all those others who just turned up and mucked in!

And as we left on the last day, the sun shone ……(well you know how the saying goes…)  Someone was smiling at our efforts!

Read Full Post »

Workday Leader Matthew reports on the day the clocks went back:….

Well, what a fabulous day! Great weather, good company, cake to die for and plenty of cutting and burning to tackle. What more does an SSNTV volunteer want?

We were asked to thin an area on the heath, just the other side of the main field where the war memorial stands. The idea was to take away young birch and not-so-young bracken and gorse which were taking over an area where the resident adders like to bask in the sun. No doubt the adders will be pleased with our work and will be able to top up their tans come Spring!

It was Leela’s first visit to Kinver and she was impressed by the site, but a little wary of the talk of snakes. Fortunately, in spite of the sunny weather, all the adders were fast asleep and did not make an appearance. In fact we left a thick border around the clearance site to deter human visitors from entering after we had left.

It was ranger Kyra’s first workday back with us since the arrival of her son – another redhead apparently! She took up where she left off, impressing us with her off-road driving skills bringing the truck and trailer right into the clearance site. The cuttings were then transported near to the Rangers’ Yard for burning by eager volunteers (at Kinver we often do not burn in situ). Kyra also impressed with her home-made cakes, handing out cake of quality and quantity too. Thanks for that!

To round off the day, the new local English Longhorn cattle called in to say hello and inspect our work. We got a few ‘moos’, presumably meaning that they were pleased – but I think they were actually just after some cake!

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »