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The Tuesday tree: jobs to do in February

February 1, 2011

February came barging in this morning with everything it could think of: rain and sleet, hail and high winds. Going outside the house was not a tempting prospect.


the prisms at the window are redundant today


Some things can only be done outside, however. So I wrapped up and ventured out into the buffeting rain with the dogs. The wind was roaring like the sea in the high masts of the Douglas firs and cypresses. I couldn’t even keep steady enough to take a picture in focus!


We soon took refuge in the most sheltered bit of the woods: an avenue of yew trees, whose close-growing evergreen branches always offer protection from the worst of any weather. There we found that the groundsman had had the same idea. February is a month for general tidying in the policies: chopping down dead or damaged trees, and cutting up the wood for firewood or other uses.  Rather than be out in the middle of the wind and rain cutting up trees in an open field, the groundsman had seized the chance today to deal with the poor yew that fell victim to the weight of the November snows. We rarely burn the beautiful reddish wood of the yews: there is a craftsman-woodturner living nearby who makes beautiful bowls out of wood from the estate, so some of this tree might perhaps go to him. Whatever becomes of it, it will not be wasted.


(By the way, you can see why country boys love tractors, can’t you? With their primary colours and simple shapes, they are children’s toys made real.)


See also: trees, deconstructed

7 Comments leave one →
  1. February 1, 2011 10:55 pm

    Right at the moment, firewood would not be considered a waste of a felled tree.
    But how cool that you have someone who can turn this yew into something beautiful (and memorable).

    • dancingbeastie permalink
      February 1, 2011 11:27 pm

      Oh yeah, we’re busy burning all the other kinds of wood, I assure you – even without the ‘Day After Tomorrow’ storm that is apparently heading Canada-wards…

  2. February 2, 2011 3:30 pm

    Hello. New to your blog and enjoying both your stunning photos of trees and Scotland and your lovely writing. I hope the yew does get turned into a bowl, I love proper wood turned items and went to an amazing exhibit recently about it. And yes it is easy to see the appeal of tractors to boys 🙂

    • dancingbeastie permalink
      February 2, 2011 4:56 pm

      Hi, thank you for visiting and for taking the time to comment. Nice to have you here!

  3. February 2, 2011 10:23 pm

    How grotty has the weather been? After that lovely week of sunshine we had just a couple of weeks ago too? Hurry up Spring is what I say! Hope you are all keeping cosy, we’re eating the wood at the moment (not litterally!)! We cook, heat the house and hot water with it, so our wood sheds are starting to look rather sorry for themselves after this winter!
    Hopefully see you soon!
    L xx

    • dancingbeastie permalink
      February 3, 2011 11:52 am

      We are very dependent on wood, aren’t we? – says I, sitting on my wooden chair at my wooden kitchen table with my wood-burning stove needing replenished. I was thinking about that yesterday when my son asked what happens to the trees that get chopped up, and we began to realise how many things we use it for. And now here’s the snow and ice again, so never mind the logs, we need more salt supplies too!

      Hope you are all doing well and keeping warm, anyway. I am just starting to think about emerging from hibernation and catching up with people again!


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