It’s been awhile since my last update. Like the rest of the world we too are feeling the effects of the restrictions and changes. So we are exploring ways of keeping the woodland open and active.
Plans for 2021
Our plan for 2021 is to host an open day in late Spring focused on exploring the benefits of mixed woodlands to families. From this open day we will offer 6 weeks of interactive woodland workshops free of charge to local families. These workshops will be fun in design and will encourage further exploration into how individual families can benefit from mixed woodlands. It is my hope that after the 6 weeks some of the families may wish to explore their woodland interests further and that ultimately our interactions will lead to co-management of a thriving mixed woodland.
The woodland itself is progressing great. This year we are starting to thin the woods as well as taking out dead branches along pathways. This is part of the necessary ongoing care and maintenance of a managed woodland but it’s also a wonderful harvest. We now have a continuous supply of small diameter branches and are converting these into kindling for the fires and wood-chips to use in two ways – mulch around the farm and to inoculate with mycelium. We are growing a plentiful supply of edible mushrooms and the mycelium will help to bring the earth alive.
I've been having great fun and success with re-wilding some burdock plants – many years ago I harvested wild seed from a nearby forest and sowed it directly onto a patch near the house where I could keep an eye on it – nothing appeared for years but now I have a continuous harvest of burdock from that small patch and I've been encouraging and supporting the plant to move further out on to the land.
Irish Sustainable Forestry Standards
I reported previously that I was attending meetings as part of the PEFC Sustainable Forest Standard review. I attended several meetings in person and as the restrictions came in I attended the online meetings. The standard was reviewed and a lot of discussion took place in the process. However we have just received notice from PEFC that the process has been suspended due to lack of funding. The next step of the process was to bring our review and suggestions to the wider consultative group and then to the public. I can’t help but wonder if the current discord in the forest industry has impacted this review process in some way which may not be obvious to someone not working within the industry. Time will tell.
So for now we're busy working in the woodland, harvesting, clearing and chipping. The local archery club has also been working on the land establishing a walkway with bridges to navigate drains. This means the club can move from the practice field out onto a walking archery course. We're also planning a fruit orchard and will be investing in some heritage fruit trees very soon.
As always thank you for your continued support, we are always open to positive ideas and offers of contribution and collaboration.
I won't leave it so long until the next update,
Happy Winter Solstice to you and yours,