Showing the woodland way
A magazine subscription has given Joe Barry a chance to see where forest owners can improve the efficiency of their woods -- and push for the removal of the dreaded grey squirrel
I just couldn't resist taking out a subscription to Living Woods magazine last year. It is full of articles on interesting ways of enjoying our woodland and getting full value from all the marvellous things that grow and live there that are often unseen by the uninformed.
It is definitely not for people who like their woods as single species plantations to be clearfelled by contractors every 30 or 40 years.
Its appeal is to those of us who have a more 'hands on' approach and enjoy woodland crafts, gathering wild food and a multitude of ways of learning about trees and wildlife. It is also full of information on ways of producing your own wood fuel and general ways of managing your own wood in a fully sustainable way.
The feature article in this year's January-February edition is about making your own composting toilet from materials gathered in the woods. On reading that you may laugh, but just think about the big freeze we had last month and how so many homes were without running water. In my own stable yard, and in several neighbours' houses, the toilet cistern froze and cracked when the thaw arrived.
Without going into the gory details, when this happens it is inconvenient to say the least, and heading to the bushes with a spade and a roll of loo paper is not everyone's idea of a fun activity, especially when there is snow on the ground and the temperature is -10 C.
So having a 'Treebog' available is not a bad idea and must be the ultimate in recycling and living sustainably.
Another article in the 'Wood Food' section features my old friend, the grey squirrel.
The author questions why eating squirrel is still frowned on in some circles, while pheasant, boar and rabbit are deemed acceptable. A campaign began in Britain in 2006 with the rallying motto 'Save a Red, Eat a Grey' to help save the vanishing red squirrels and promote a meat that is high in protein and low in fat.