Wood to coppice

Brought back a few hazel twigs from a walk in Hayley Wood yesterday with the intention of growing them into bean poles I could coppice. Should have checked up first... looking up on the Internet it appears to take about six years for hazel to grow enough to coppice, and there's some doubt whether you can propogate from just sticking twigs in the ground. Seems you have to layer from an existing tree. So the mini forest shown here (click to enlarge) will have to be converted into a hazard to stop the pidgeons nibbling the tops of my onions planted in the same patch.
So I'm now on to willow, which I understand will grow easily from just sticking it in the ground (looks like you actually have to beat it off with a stick, it's so energetic) and only takes two years to produce poles to coppice.
I was accompanied on the Hayley Wood trip by grandchildren Connor, Sammy and Paige as shown below. Main aim of the trip was to give their mums some relief during the half term holiday and to have a bit of fun. Didn't quite work out that way. Was muddier than I anticipated... it's a pity the vehicles used to manage the wood make such a mess of the paths... resulting in Connor and Paige ending up face first in mud. By the time we had a picnic half way round Connor was fed up because I wouldn't let him wander off on more adventurous paths. Click here to listen to how much he wanted his mum at this point. Five minutes later he was enjoying himself as he poked a stick in some puddles.
But the real low point of the 'adventure' came at the end when I carried Paige in to her house (I'd taken all their wellies off)... thought it safer to take the youngest first. Returned a few seconds later to find the car rolling backwards with both Connor and Sammy inside! Fortunately I'd turned the front wheels inwards so the car soon stopped as it rolled up and over the kerb, but it gave me a huge fright. Sure I'd put the handbrake on properly... and I had. Connor had got out of his seat and pulled the handbrake off. He went to bed with a telling off and no story.
Weather been milder this week but not much sunshine. Thought about getting a diary and recording the maximum and minimum temperatures each day on my allotment. Suppose I could chart it and compare years, might help me in deciding when to plant things. Can't decide whether that would be useful or just too sad for words. Maybe it would interest my fellow allotment holders. Think I might just do it without telling anyone until I've got enough data to see if it's interesting.
Planted some perennials in the nursery bed to bring on ready for planting in our garden. Also planted a victoria plum and a cherry tree that Beth got me from Tesco for £7.00 each. Not sure about the cherry tree... looks like it needs another to pollinate so I'll have to hope there's one nearby somewhere.
Got a letter through the door from St Ives Town Councill clerk addressed to all allotment plot holders. 'Following a recent incident' it reminds us all to treat the grounds maintenance team with respect and courtesy and that any incidents of inappropriate behaviour, either verbal or physical, will not be tolerated. Goes on to remind us that vehicles shouldn't be driven on the tracks in the winter months. Sounds like a problem has arisen with one plot holder... so why write to all of us??? Will raise with the allotment association.
Flooding around St Ives has been as high as I can remember it in places, although with the flood defences installed over the last couple of years it's hard to compare with past years. See pictures below.
I'm the proud holder of two of the three cups at present. Won at squash on Tuesday against David, though I lost January to him and am now 2-1 down this month with only two matches to go... I've got to win both to save the month. Won at raquetball against Barry yesterday, but lost at pool against David and John on Wednesday.
Few more photos below (click to enlarge).

Victoria plum tree in situ
The woodchip path on the back plot gradually getting near the end
Nobles Field under water
Looking out across the water meadow
Flooded path along The Thicket

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