I have decided to take us on one of Cosmo’s walks together in a sort blog version. It’s Sunday afternoon at about 4.30pm and Cosmo is starting to follow me around asking the question ‘when are we going then,……….. I don’t mind where?’
I thought with all the logging activity going on, causing some disruption on the road to Canterbury that was well worth investigating. As soon as we get out of the car I can hear heavy machinery working. I know exactly what it is…I have seen it before parked up at night out of sight from the road, left in dense parts of the wood till morning when work starts again…. it is a Forwarder made by John Deere (it even has a yellow stag/logo badge on it) and working on a Sunday!
I’m not a religious day of rest sort of person but it did strike me as unusual that he was working. Obviously money, but what was the hurry to complete this…..was the contract behind schedule, it’s been as dry as a bone for weeks? We walk over the tracks John Deere makes on his way to work every morning.
I say to Cosmo ‘we’ll go this way’ and see what he’s been up to. The area has been almost completely cleared. The policy is to cut down the established pine trees which were planted just after the war, but to leave the native trees in place. These are mostly birch and some oak trees and a some others I don’t know.
But it is completely unrecognisable and the paths we knew are totally gone covered by branches, cratered with huge ruts and soft mud in the bottom made by very large wheels, reminded me a little of Nash paintings from the trenches in WW1. We walk past John Deere working now, and watch from a distance as he picks up two large logs at a time with an on board crane. Then one of the logs rolls off the top of the trailer as it is full of logs. He picks it up again and places it more carefully and pats it firmly in place so as not to fall off on the uneven journey back to his logging depot. I say ‘We will follow the tracks he made before Cosmo because if we get lost we can always follow them back again’.
We walk over this springy debris for a while and the tracks swing into an area I recognise and we continue through a large area with no pine trees and things are as we know them for a while. I thought that the colours of the trees has not yet really started to turn yet and that I was looking forward to the Autumn Colours.
After some while I find a path that I think will take us back very close to John Deere’s lair where he keeps his logs. I ask Cosmo, ‘Is this the path?’ He runs off along it like it was his decision to go that way. I wonder if Cosmo does know the way back, he often points to paths I’ve never been along, or ones that lead us deeper into the woods with no thought about whether we’d get lost. He just leaves that bit of detail to me I think. The trees begin to feel lighter as more light enters the wood and we are suddenly out into an open recently cleared bit. The path vanishes again and we are walking over the springy brash scattered everywhere. ‘What’s he found’ I say to myself as I can tell Cosmo is checking something out . I hope it is not a dead rabbit or something he wants to eat, may be one of John Deere’s sandwiches left over from a packed lunch.
Turns out to be a pair of steel tracks made of joining links, which I concluded must be put around the giant wheels to give grip in very muddy conditions. I lifted up the end link to see how heavy that was and concluded I would be unable to put these giant tracks over the wheels of my tractor and wondered how they got them on? A machine to help the machine. I can see John Deere driving off into the distance with an empty trailer for another load of logs. It’s about 5.30pm on Sunday, late to be just starting another new load, what is the hurry? I can see just through that gap over there is where he goes, his lair. Let’s see what is inside as know he won’t be back just yet.
That’s where he brings his logs and it is where the huge wagons load up. I don’t know where it goes after this . It has not seasoned or dried out. I remember someone once on another dog walk telling me the timber taken from these woods was used as biomass pellets for wood burning stoves. but I think long straight lengths like that are much more valuable to the construction industry. May be the sides that get cut off before the wood is prepared is used for fuel pellets. I hope so.