About this blog

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Wales, United Kingdom
In autumn 2010, my husband Ian and I both quit our jobs, sold our house and left the flatlands of the east for the mountains of Wales. Our goal is to create a more self-sufficient lifestyle in a place we actually like living. Whilst Ian will continue to earn some money as a freelancer, my part of the project is to reduce how much we spend by growing and making as much of what we need as possible. The purpose of this blog is to keep friends updated with how the grand project is progressing, but all are welcome here. If you're not a friend already, well perhaps you might become one.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Cutting down trees

If you're going to cut down trees, now is the time to do it, before the sap starts rising (so that the tree fights back) and the before the birds build their nests in the branches. We have a hedge made of leylandii or something similar. Small, as trees go, but trees nonetheless.

Hedge on a hill

This hedge runs up the side of the steep bit with oak tree, separating our land from a neighbouring field, in which sheep live. I would like to replace this hedge with native species, such as blackthorn, hawthorn, hazel, and ash, all of which are usefully productive. Most of all, though, I'd like wild roses in my hedge.

As it's a long hedge, I thought I might do the job in stages, one-quarter to one-third of the hedge each year, so as not to destroy all the nesting habitat all at once (top tip from my bird-watching neighbour). The other day was dry, so we grabbed our opportunity, along with the chainsaw (pausing only to find enough extension leads to reach the hedge, and rewire the plug indoors to solve a particularly irritating failure of plug to reach socket) and headed out to tackle the hedge.

I'd already cut some of the lower branches off the end two trees to make it easier to get to the trunks, and Ian set to with the chainsaw. He started with proper tree-cutting-down procedure, cutting a wedge out of one side, then cutting from the opposite side, so that the tree falls in a planned direction. That didn't go terribly well as the hillside impeded access for the last bit. On the other hand, taking the saw straight through the trunk worked surprisingly well as, once cut, the tree didn't go anywhere. The branches were so intertwined with the next tree that it just didn't fall over. Pushing did shift it though.

After Ian had cut down a couple I had a go, but just couldn't handle the machine. It was too heavy for me and I had to admit defeat and give the power tool back to my husband. After breaking for a cup of tea, I thought I'd have another go, this time with the new bow saw we bought from Charlies for £5 recently (heavily discounted for some reason - couldn't pass up such a bargain).

All the tools you need for cutting down trees
(so long as the trees are rather small)

It was much easier with the manual saw! I didn't have to cope with holding to the weight of the machine and could put all my energy into cutting. I was so pleased with myself that I carried on until I'd added six trees to the pile and was utterly exhausted.

A heap of small trees. The last one was very small indeed.

That, I think, is enough for this year.

Hedge with gap.

There is a fence running along behind the hedge, but we intend to stick small branches into the ground before lambing season gets under way, all the same.


  1. Well done that girl, I love cutting stuff down, how satisfying!Leylandii is repulsive stuff. How about planting sloe's into the mix, sloe gin - mmmmmmm.

  2. Cheers Bonnie, already in the plan: blackthorn = sloe tree ;-)
    (and no, I didn't know that until recently, either).


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