Everything is seriously on the move in Strid Wood. The woodland floor is carpeted with shoots:

There are even buds on the Wild Strawberries!

Dog Mercury and Wood Anemones are flowering everywhere and there are various plants I’ve not identified yet.

I’m also getting rather interested in the lichens, for which Strid is renowned:

From a distance, this looks like the white marker used to identify trees to be thinned!

Variety is the spice of work

I’ve been building another bird table.  When I came to split some small branches for the edgings that prevent the food from blowing off the table, I was struck by the symmetry of the grain when the split passes perfectly through the centre pith.
WWF’s Earth Hour

The inside will not be seen once assembled, as the bark side goes to the outside, pity really.  Perhaps I’ll do a seat with split branches one day.  NB, a new haft for the axe is drying in the fireplace to replace the dodgy one in the photo that came with the rather good Kentish pattern head.  On the subject of which, I made a new little maul today for tightening the wedges on the lathe.  The big old one is rather heavy and I seem to have a temporary problem with my right arm muscles, so a smaller one seemed a prudent precaution.  It works just as well, the haft is Ash and the head some Elm I had left over from bark stripping, I like the way the head curves down to each side.

Over the last week I’ve been building a new display stand ready for the new season (which started on Monday, visitors the Strid now have to pay to park during the week as well as at weekends.)  It mimiks my birdtables, with the Ash shingle roof.  I’ve also added a custom rack to show off the dibbers which are selling particularly well this Spring season.

Bit unsure about the position as it cuts right between my position at the lathe and customers.  Maybe gives them a little privacy so they feel easier looking at the goods?  I know I don’t like being sales pressurized, but the lack of eye contact is a bit wierd for me.

Assembled and erected a little bird box too, hope it’s not too late, the birds are all rather busy and I’m sure a Blackbird was singing all day today further down the wood.

Also I turned a monster spurtle yesterday as an eye-catcher – it’s about two foot long.  I’ve ordered the pyrography kit today that was always planned, so Jane can have a go at decorating the spurtle.


Here are two  Ash ladders I made for a nursery school and delivered on Friday.

I like the way when a log is split the released tension means the two don’t exactly fit together again.  I put a couple of threaded rods in each one to prevent them opening apart.

I made a bigger one for a friend of Jane’s using for the stiles a small poplar tree.  The split went down the central pith but spiralled, giving a rather interesting effect:

This was before it was finished, to give an idea of the size for Sandra.

It’s been great in Strid this last week, fine, sunny and busy.  Just about finished getting the felled timber out of the woods, it’s all now at the side of the track ready for either splitting on site or collecting in a trailer and bringing back to the main wood stack.  I’ve started making chopping board blanks using the long bar on the chain saw with the chain filed to 10 degrees for ripping down the grain.  Also made a 10 minute table for my canteen, to rest my pot and sandwiches on:

It has started splitting already, of course, but it will do fine for where it is, as there is a likelihood of a passerby taking a fancy to it and borrowing it.  Although I have strategically positioned it behind a tree, and the leaves will help hide it when the buds burst (not yet, but the Sycamore buds are looking pretty fat)

Wakefield hedge laying

I spent Saturday at a hedge laying competition East of Wakefield in Fitzwilliam Country Park. It was a good day out with skylarks singing all day over the haymeadows. The site was the former Hemsworth Colliery Site. It is now hay meadows and neutral grasslands with three ponds. The restored land made the posts easy to drive in through soft top soil with no stones. Unfortunately the competition clashed with a big Lancashire final at Clitheroe so the entry in the open class was rather thin, but made up for with 11 novice entrant (including me).
Here’s my completed effort (no prizes!)

I didn’t get the top rail right; it should apparently be a continuous run, not like this:

I should also have woven the pleachers in more tightly as well, now I know better for next time!

This is the hedge of the winner of the open class, he worked next to my section: