Posted: 27 February 2022
After Storm Eunice came Storm Franklin. We didn't notice it as being particularly strong. Originally forecasts suggested in would affect Northern Ireland the most, but local news programs on 22 February showed quite torrential downpours in Essex.
All appeared calm this morning as I began to tackle the two trees that the we knew Storm Eunice had uprooted. The photo was taken after I had cleared everything that had been blocking the main path on 19 January. The top of the tree was stripped of all branches and separated into piles of twigs, branches and main trunk. The first two of these piles were taken to the Poor's Allotment to assist with raising the ground a little there. With the weight of the top of the first tree removed, the remaining ten feet of its trunk lifted itself nearly upright.
You'll also see that two major branches of the darker trunk had been removed and these lie on the ground in almost exactly the same position that the first tree had laid, before being stripped and cleared away.
On Saturday I was able to continue work to clear the site. I wanted to bring down the trunks of both the trees that had been up-rooted. I managed to achieve this.
By the end of the day I had got a clear path through the area behind the old reed bed two piles of upper branches still to be stripped of their twigs, one half buried under the main trunks of the trees and a second pile on the other side of the path.
It was after that that I took a walk further around the grounds. I had realised, the day before, that Franklin had not been as benevolent as we had first thought. There was a new blockage on the path in the north west corner of the site in the area we call "Fern Bank". I was hoping to tackle that blockage on the Sunday.
It really had been a toss-up as to whether it had been a good idea to buy the chain saw a couple of months back. I am so glad that I did. I had taken a long time trying to decide if I could get away with an electric rechargeable model and in the end went down that route. I have been more than happy with the choice. It might not suit a professional that needs to spend all day working one's way through a forest as the batteries do not last forever, but my 12" model is certainly up to the challenge of 20 year old birch and crack willow. If necessary I could always take a break doing another task, or even a lunch break, as the batteries only take an hour or so to recharge.
I soon had the path clear of overhanging branches. It took much longer to sort the debris into four piles. Apart from the twigs which filled the wheel barrow, I had a small pile of slightly thicker material that I designated for chipping. then there was the material that was thicker still but was mainly straight. Such stuff is useful for laying across walkways on the very boggy ground of the Poor's Allotment. It quickly sinks into the surface but goes no lower and means you are not constantly pulling wellington boots out of the mud. The final pile is or the larger trunks. Most of this will go to build over-wintering homes for invertebrates.
After a lunch break it was back to work behind the reed bed stripping as many twigs from the small branches as possible. The twigs were taken to reinforce the ground on the Poor's Allotment. Large bundles of them dropped on the ground and walked on form a "mattresses" on which it is easy to walk as they stop you sinking into the ground.
By the end of the afternoon I had completely cleared the pile that had been left half buried under the tree trunks after work yesterday.
Behind the "For Chipping" pile in the last picture is the final pile of branches still to be stripped. The former pile has grown considerably since the three storms and we can expect it to grow further in the next few weeks from what is still to be collected from the grounds, the left-overs from the "For Stripping" pile and whatever is still to blow down before spring starts the sap rising and everything growing again.
Once that is done it only remains to to recover the 6ft diameter glass table top that was blown into the lake by Eunice.