Hazel, willow, beef and storytelling from Bedfordshire

James and the giant stainless steel d...

James and the giant stainless steel dustbin
We’ve bought a charcoal retort. And that’s exciting. After months of deliberation, long conversations with all sorts of people, attendance at shows and demos and general procrastination, we’ve plumped for one of James Hookway’s stainless steel beauties. Having decided to give charcoal a go, I had a bash with very small and then much bigger [...]

Ash bark, a mystery

Ash bark, a mystery
Spending a great deal of time in woodland as I do, means I have regular opportunities to observe minutiae. It feels important to be able to take pleasure in apparently small and maybe inconsequential things. I took this picture a while ago. It’s the trunk of a thirty year old ash tree (Fraxinus excelsior). Some [...]

Ridges, furrows, ditches and woodbank...

Ridges, furrows, ditches and woodbanks
It’s been exciting and a bit emotional to start coppicing Chester Wood for a second time, after a twenty year gap. This was in November and December last year and we managed to get one coup cut before Christmas; an area we first cut in February 1997. Chester Wood is a small piece of ash [...]

A farewell to fires?

A farewell to fires?
I heard earlier this week that the Mayor of London’s office is considering a ban on wood burning stoves and open fires in some parts of the capital where air quality is very poor. This is due apparently, to the high particulate content of wood stove smoke. My initial reaction was one of horror, of [...]

An absence of swifts?

An absence of swifts?
I am very fond of swifts. Apus apus, that torpedo like aerial master that appears here in the UK during early May and is gone by mid-August. Alongside their cousins the swallows (RAF chaps of 1940s vintage with huge moustaches) and martins (pleasure fliers – talented yet amateur), swifts are NASA pilots, destined for special and [...]

Willow fencing made in situ

Willow fencing made in situ
I like making willow fencing on site, it creates a feeling of continuity and produces a result that is more seamless than the alternative – bringing in pre-made panels. Of course making in situ isn’t always possible. Where perhaps the ground doesn’t lend itself to driven posts or where the fence needs to be set [...]

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