Tree planting

Hello again people and pooches. Joe the Cocker here. I am lying next to my human while he is typing this short blog for me. He says that I stink. How rude? He has been planting trees with two of my new human friends, Brian and Max. Brian owns a patch of woodland in Big Covert, south of the village of Maeshafn, in north-east Wales. He is just over a year into his ancient woodland restoration project. He kindly invited me and the big feller to join him on a rather mild February morning to help him to plant some trees. His area of the woodland is called Coed Cerrig and is in a beautiful setting with the Clwydian Mountains visible through the trees. Moel Famau can be clearly viewed to the north west with its Jubilee Tower atop.

The Clwydian range

My human splashed out Β£8 on a brand new shiny spade but, he forgot to bring his work gloves so he had to use his woolly thermal walking ones. I don’t think that he actually owns any work gloves because I don’t reckon that he has ever done a days work in his life! But, he needed to cover his soft delicate paws to prevent blistering. Ha! Lightweight!

We drove to Maeshafn, a tiny village close to Mold, where we met up with Brian who showed us the way to his section of the woodland. We parked alongside Brian just off the forest track while we waited for Max to arrive. I was raring to go. I knew that there would be squirrels in the area but I couldn’t hear many birds except for the odd crow cawing out of sight to me. The area was dominated by large bare beech trees with very little low lying plants. Brian has a job on his hands as he is clearing areas to plant native trees such as oak, alder and elder. These were the trees that were to be planted on our visit.

Before we set off to the clearing, the three humans had a chin wag and a brew from their flasks. I helped Max and Brian to dispose of their biscuits. My human didn’t take any biscuits or any treats for me because he is very selfish and only thinks of himself. I liked Brian and Max because they are thoughtful and generous.

Brian and Max hard at work

We walked to the clearing where some of the beech trees had been felled. Thankfully, I was allowed to run around off-lead while the humans prepared to do the planting. My human had never planted trees before so Brian explained where, how and what to plant. Each of the saplings were to be planted a couple of metres apart on the hillside. Each would be protected by a plastic tube and then staked in place.

Relaxing while the humans planted trees
Brian grafting
Brian grafting again!

While the humans were digging and hammering stakes into the ground I stayed well clear of them. Apparently the wooden stakes were not for me to play with and I wasn’t required to water the newly planted saplings either. My human did a bit of moaning and groaning about his gammy knee and his aching back and it wasn’t long before it was time for another brew. I was happy about this because it was time to sit nicely and scrounge more biscuits.

Some of the new plantings

I had a good sniff around for squirrels and found the scent of one but it was well gone. There was plenty for me to do when the humans were busy, such as wading in muddy puddles and chewing sticks. Max finished planting before my human probably because he gets stuck in while my human faffs around. He found a log to sit on at the bottom of the hill and drank some more coffee. He foolishly opened his biscuits and even though I was fifty metres away I heard the sound of biscuit wrapper rustling. Max became my new best friend as I legged it down to him in full scrounge mode. He shared with me because he is thoughtful, unlike the big feller.

Max grafting

After a couple of hours the job for the morning was finished. My human and Brian joined Max by the log pile while they nattered and drank the last of their coffees. I was left to drink muddy water from a puddle until Max pointed out a puddle of clean water in a hollow in the log that he was sat on. See! Thoughtful! Unlike ………

Some of the mornings work

Max and my dad left Brian behind as he was going to do some more planting with a group of school children in the afternoon. As we walked along the track Max kicked dead leaves for me to play in and threw sticks for me. We found a cave that had been excavated just after the Second World War, where six burials had been discovered. Artifacts from the Bronze Age had also been discovered in the cave. I had a quick sniff just inside but I decided not to venture too far in. Spooky!

Big Covert Cave

We had a good morning and we will definitely be back to walk in the area and do some more planting. My human said that the rate of pay for his hard labour was a bit miserly. A couple of cookies and some shortbread was all he received. Me, on the other paw, was well pleased with the bikkies! Cheers Brian and Max! Till next time!


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