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To look at the Isle of Wight Green Gym web page (contains details of sessions etc) please use the following link :-

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Wed 11th Feb 2015 - All Saints' Church, Freshwater.

Carrie's Photographs.

Team 1- sorting out the hedge.

Mark's Photograph.

Part of the intrepid "Bag and Drag" brigade.

Sue's Photographs.

Oh what a NOT to cut a hedge..!

Above and below... Team 1 working hard.

Another good GG bonfire.

Team 2 at work.

Team 1 doing the "bag and drag".

Now doesn't that look better?

It was back out to West Wight for the GG session this week, at one of our "established" venues, the wonderful churchyard at All Saints'. We were met at the main gate and informed that the work we were expecting to do had been replaced by something of an emergency task. Due to the northern boundary hedge having been mechanically cut (mangled?) by the adjacent landowner, the priority job was to try and tidy up. Inspection of this area showed piles of cut hedging all over the graves plus numerous half-chopped branches hanging from the hedgerow. With around half the workforce (Team 1) trying to sort this problem, the remainder (Team 2) set to work along the eastern boundary. They were to carry on with work we had started on a previous visit, chopping back the dense undergrowth to establish the full extent of the church grounds. Team 2 had the advantage that the bonfire was close to their work area where as Team 1 had to "bag and drag" all their trimmings! Care had to be taken when walking around due to numerous spring plants and bulbs, many of which were already in full bloom. Although it was a cloudy, grey day the air temperature was a balmy 6 C - far nicer than the chilly days we have had recently. It was only when Teams 1 and 2 met up for tea break that it could be seen we had an excellent turn-out. Many thanks to the church wardens who served the tea and coffee with a delicious array of cakes and biscuits....yummy!

Carrie's Nature Find.

This week our "find" was a flock of Canada geese feeding in the field bordering the churchyard at Freshwater.  These birds (Branta Canadensis) are highly vocal birds with at least ten distinctive calls, and are monogamous throughout their lives unless their mate dies.  Their eyesight is very good as they can see more than 180 degrees vertically and horizontally, which is very useful during flight, and also have mostly monocular vision.

Their lifespan can be very large, with some surviving up to 24 years in the wild, however most die within their first year because of predators. There are eleven subspecies of Branta Canadensis ranging from being the biggest to one of the smallest geese in the world, and can travel more than 1000 kilometers in a day while migrating. As the circumference of the world is 40008 km, this means they could fly around the world in approximately 40 days!!!!  The first image is the flock feeding, and the second is a close up.

In light of all our recent bonfires.... something extra from Mark.

I wondered if the group might be interested in this poem...

Beechwood fires are bright and clear 
If the logs are kept a year, 
Chestnut's only good they say,
If for logs 'tis laid away. 
Make a fire of Elder tree, 
Death within your house will be; 
But ash new or ash old,
Is fit for a queen with crown of gold

Birch and fir logs burn too fast
Blaze up bright and do not last,
It is by the Irish said
Hawthorn bakes the sweetest bread. 
Elm wood burns like churchyard mould, 
E'en the very flames are cold 
But ash green or ash brown
Is fit for a queen with golden crown 

Poplar gives a bitter smoke, 
Fills your eyes and makes you choke, 
Apple wood will scent your room 
Pear wood smells like flowers in bloom 
Oaken logs, if dry and old 
keep away the winter's cold 
But ash wet or ash dry 
a king shall warm his slippers by.

by Lady Celia Congreve, believed to have been first published in The Times, 2 March 1930

Thanks to Sue and Mark for the photographs and to Carrie for her Nature Find and photographs.

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