At the end of the Easter holiday we went to London and stayed at my brother-in-law’s flat overlooking The River Thames

Among the other things we did was a visit to Kew Gardens. It was a damp Spring day which kept the crowds away. We first went up the new aerial walkway through the tree tops

It is quite high up so there are some good views


I have now improved the pole lathe with luxurious duck boards I milled on site from beech (I know it won’t last for long, but long enough for my woodland thinning tenure).

The blocks I used to stand on (and fall off!) are now supporting the 1 inch boards.  It makes a great difference not having to think about where my foot is standing, and the extra height is useful too.

The chainsaw mill is going to come in very handy – I’ve started production of bird nesting boxes, and the bark-covered slabs from the outside of the logs give them a real rustic feel.

I’ve had another go at a David Nash-type stack, this one is a little more bendy, following the shape of the butt I have used.

It’s the log on the bottom left.

First cut done to start squaring up the billet.

All squared and one face nearly sectioned.

Done!  It is now at home drying out and changing shape crazily as it splits and checks.  Next project is to make smaller ones to hold tea lights.

The Hawthorn and bast stool I started last Autumn has been finished now the sap is rising in the Wych Elm.  I harvested one small tree and completed the seat.  The Elm  is making a series of heads for mallets (Ash hafts) for sale.

It’s been VERY busy in Strid over the Easter holidays and I will be glad to get away to London and visit Kew gardens (and trees) on Friday.

Even more spring’s springing!

The Butter Burrs are out – like something from another planet flowering as they do before their leaves show:

They are rather fascinating inflorescences, and rather a Summery colour:

You can see just one Wood Anemone in the photo, but there are millions of them now carpeting the woodland floor.
The Cow Parsley looks good enough to eat (bet it doesn’t taste as good as it looks though!):

Although that could be Sweet Cicely.

I’ve been copying a technique used by David Nash in his column sculptures and written about in “Wildwood” by Roger Deakin (A very good read – highly recommended.)
I’ve taken a beech butt and made a series of chainsaw cuts into it and now I’m watching it split and move as it dries out, what fun!