Local news and not-so-local tree planting.
For the most part it has been a hectic week for me.
I planted three thousand trees in a small farm woodland that I have been developing for a farming client this year.
It has been a nice little project and quite unusual for me in so much as the trees are being planted on a flat and fertile field located at sea level. Until just a few weeks ago, the field had been full of sheep.
It is not too often that I get to design woodland on ground of this quality. Usually, it is only the less fertile - and considerably more hilly - upland environment that is made available to forestry.
However, in this case the farmer wanted to diversify his business and add a little character and woodland habitat in the area around the main farm buildings at the same time. A small mixed conifer and broadleaved woodland was his chosen method of achieving this.
The grant rates for the work were good and I kept my prices low so that even such a small project would be financially viable. As a result, we all got something out of it, including the taxpaying public who indirectly funded some of the work through the Scotland Rural Development Programme.
While the physical tree planting aspect of a project such as this does not pay very well, it is a rewarding thing to do because one gets to be involved in all aspects of the work, from undertaking the initial site evaluation work (I recall digging soil pits on a wet and wintry day) through to budgeting, detailed design work, producing grant applications, instructing the ground preparation contractors, arranging for new fences to be built and, ultimately, sourcing the trees and sticking them in the ground.
It WAS hard work though and I was remiss in not taking some pictures of the finished project to post here.
I do have an excuse of sorts though. Each tree required a vole guard so, by the time I had planted the tree, added the vole guard, and tidied up the work site afterwards I was in no mood to put my phone in my muddy and tired hands and take some snaps.
I am going back to the farm to do some planning for a larger woodland soon - located this time in a more typical upload setting - so I may get some pictures then.
Until then, perhaps you would like to see the October 2017 issue of the Strathnairn News for your fix of local colour.
The Strathnairn News is a small newsletter that is produced both by and for a farming community in a nearby strath. I thought that I would place a short run of adverts in it to see if I could get some business closer to home (my tree planting work this week was a two hour trip from home - I left at half past five in the morning each day and got home at half past seven in the evening).
My advert will not win any design awards, but I produced it myself and it gets the point across, I hope.
Interested readers can download the current copy from my Google Drive here.
Even if you live outside of the area, it is an interesting insight into the daily life of a rural community in the Highlands.
Until next time, stay frosty.