As a way of enjoying my last day of the Easter Holidays I decided to take the short bus ride to Kapturski. As it has been the first day all week without rain it was quite enjoyable - the cold snap over Easter seems to have ended now. Luckily, the state schools are back and as it was a Wednesday there were very few people in the woods.
I wanted to pick up a few resources for projects and luckily I came across some downed birch trees in this grove.
I managed to collect a good amount of smaller bits of birch bark from fallen trees - hopefully enough to play with and make something out of. I did still find it difficult to separate whole sheets and will have to go through the books again for some more information about this.
The whole woods are starting to come into flower and there is quite a bit of blossom. The birches have buds and some of the pines show the bright green tips of new growth.
I've also collected some small birch sections, a little bit of elder for making tubes and a single strand of pine root to start playing with. I think I'll try to make some sort of photo sequence on splitting thin roots etc. at some point in the future. It is easy to collect some of the thicker pine roots as the high winds of a few months ago uprooted quite a large number of trees.
Whilst wandering around i found a few pieces of wrist thick pine - I could split them easily with my Cold Steel Canadian but they were still damp even in the middle - i think this is becasue the section of branch was quite short so water had worked in from the end. This meant I couldn't practice making feather sticks from them - however with a bag full of birch bark it wouldn't have been a great worry!
I was also very lucky and managed to find a wood ant's nest (or maybe this species) by the side of a path. They were fascinating to watch and very busy - they even had a dead wasp in theit nest that they must have recently captured. They were quite noisy when up close, you could definitely hear them moving around and they were much bigger than the sort who plague the kitchen in the summer. One word of warning - a couple crawled onto my hand and I felt them before I saw them - they squirt acid!
Maybe not as majestic as the deer I saw in Scotland over Christmas but interesting nonetheless.
Just as I was walking towards the edge I managed to see a woodpecker - as usual I heard him and then spent several minutes trying to locate him by his tapping. They can really seem quite loud in the quiet woods. Can you find him?
Now to do something about a sink full of damp birchbark!