Hazel, willow, beef and storytelling from Bedfordshire

Posts tagged Hazel

A brush with the floor

A brush with the floor

Last August we spent a day on a training course making a hay rake and a besom broom in a lovely old wood near Hoddesden. It was a day run by the East Anglian Coppice Network which is part of the National Coppice Federation, and it was good just to spend time with people who, […]

Four years at Centenary Wood

Four years at Centenary Wood

It sure does feel good to have finished cutting and clearing at Centenary Wood. That’s four winters of cutting or at least four January and Februarys. Winter cutting can be hard work and sometimes daunting; last winter more than most given Jane’s hand injury that took her out of the equation. Our apprentice has been […]

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 […]

Pea sticks – the bees knees for...

Pea sticks – the bees knees for peas

We’ve cut more hazel in Bottoms’ Corner this winter than ever before and that means there are vast amounts of pea sticks to be bundled and sold. Good news for us because we are receiving orders for large numbers from commercial gardens. It seems that word is getting around the gardening world about hazel as a top stick […]

Charcoal – burning bright in my...

Charcoal – burning bright in my mind

I seem to have developed another obsession to add to a few others I have collected over the years. It’s a man thing I think or perhaps men are more obvious about it. I’m not too bad compared to some blokes I’ve come across in the past. I don’t spend weeks away sailing, or long […]

Careful with that faggot, Matt

Careful with that faggot, Matt

We spend hours and hours carefully selecting hazel and tying bundles to make faggots for a river bank restoration job in Leighton Buzzard, and Greensand Trust Ranger, Matt, quite without any thought for how delicate these faggots might be, puts them in place by a none-too-delicate application of his size elevens. Fortunately, they fall into […]

Jazz and swing in the world of birds

Jazz and swing in the world of birds

It’s been raining a lot today. So we stayed inside all morning, toying with paper and the PC. Rainy days are useful sometimes. We get office stuff done in daylight and that should rescue me from evenings in front of a screen. There was a brief pause in the dampness around lunch time and I zoomed […]

Bluebell therapy

Bluebell therapy

Having left my part time job at Christmas we’ve survived two months now without that regular and comforting clang of money arriving in the bank. We’ve both been working on the farm in the meantime and this is the beginning of what we hope will be our busiest time 0f year, when gardeners and plenty of others […]

A fine retort?

A fine retort?

On Thursday Jane and I took a trip to Suffolk to visit a chap called Graham who I had found posting on a forum populated by all sorts of interesting woody types, but mainly arborists comparing notes on chainsaws, forwarders and other exciting machinery. These of course are of great interest to me, but it […]

Hazel staves and claves

Hazel staves and claves

We’ve just delivered sixty, metre-long staves and sixty pairs of claves – all from hazel – to a very well known environmental charity. They are apparently destined to be given to children at a school in North London. A lovely present I thought – I can’t recall anything even vaguely similar happening to us when I […]