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Moseley Bog Friends' Blog 15/03/2016

Posted: Tuesday 29th March 2016 by Joe.P

dealing with an overhanging tree

These blog posts are sent in by Mary Girvan of the Friends of Moseley Bog & Joy's Wood to give a personal perspective of a day in the life of a volunteer. She also does the twitter feed for @mosbogfriends.

"Is a scone a cake?" a worried volunteer asked as @RhiannonBaker6 produced home-made scones with home-made jam for lunch. She had given up cakes, biscuits, wine and chocolate for Lent. "Definitely not" we all agreed, but more as an act of support than from knowledge. Thankfully Aunty Google agreed - the name scone comes from the old Dutch Schoon (broot) meaning fine(bread).

It was a day full of curiosity and questions, starting with "What are you doing here?" This was aimed at our leader Doug who we all thought had left, but happily has been given a 3 month contract extension. "What have you done with your thumb?" This was to trainee Laura who was attacked and slashed by a tin of killer beans.

Today our job was to clear ivy laden branches which were overhanging someone's garden endangering the fence, and to clear a wide patch of bramble and anything else along the fence line - a sort of garden makeover, with a vegetation no go area, at least for a while. The owner of the garden told us she had volunteered years ago in Joys Wood, had actually planted some of the oak trees near the performance area, and the hazel we'd recently coppiced had been planted to protect the oaks. They'd done their job.

We walked to the site on the Bog side of the boundary, while Doug and Anna (the YorkshireScot trainee) drove round to access the garden from the house. Funny then, when a laughing Anna appeared through the garden gate which led straight into the bog. This was definitely a job tailor-made for Doug. It needed all 6'5" and a saw on an extendable stick to reach the heights of the ivy, and some quite good stomach and arm muscles I imagine. I bet they didn't feel quite so good the following day.

Meanwhile, those of us on ground cover duty uncovered two interesting colonies of fungus. "What are they?" "Anyone know what they are?" The first was Scarlet Elf Cup or Cap. There are two different types found in the UK sarcoscypha coccinea or s.austriaca but it needs a microscopic check to tell the difference - a job for another day maybe. The second was Jelly Ear, also known as Judas Ear or Jew's Ear. It's binomial name Auricularia auricula-judae literally means "ear of Judas" said to derive from the fact that it commonly grows on Elder, the tree Judas hanged himself on. Strange then with that gruesome history that it's used in cooking!

Once the branches and ivy were cleared from inside the garden, it was time to take the many-stemmed hawthorn tree down from the Bog side of the fence. This required a bit of brute strength from Laurasorethumb pulling on a strap tied around the tree, and lots of patient sawing from John the Coppice.
We were very satisfied with our days work and with our collective finds. "What can you find in undergrowth in Joys Wood? " Answer  two hedgehog habitats built 3 years ago, the last time we cleared a fallen tree in this area; a cover for a saw blade, maybe also 3 years old; the head of Gollum!

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