Saudi Activity Day

Yesterday I entertained a group of Saudi engineering students, I provided one day in a five week cultural heritage summer school. I set them various tasks including:

making a pole lathe;

a shave horse which was named after the mighty Kehilan, whose name was carved onto the seat and attractive eyes, nostrils, tail and moustache added!
There was also a Chinese box bellows, the forge didn’t get built as the close tolerance joints on the bellows box were too much of a challenge. Everyone seeemed to enjoy the day though:

And as they worked so quickly there was time for a walk down to the woods and a chance encounter with a ford – not many of them in Saudi Arabia, I fear!

By then the rain showers had ceased.
It was an interesting, if rather hectic day – much vigilance needed when two members of the group were wearing flip flops! But I do now has a rather massive first aid box that copes with up to 50 people – no means of sewing toes back on though.

New woodburner, new woods

I spent most of this afternoon on the roof getting a new flue-liner in place for our new to us Norwegian stove. It was rather a struggle, at one point it was so stuck it seemed like it would never go down the chimney, 7 metres of stainless 6 inch flue pipe on the top of our roof is not so much fun. But …

We finally got it down. And then brought in the repaired Trolla Brugge and got it nearly installed:

But in the morning we went to look at Hawkcliffe Woods which are in the process of being transferred to BEAT

It is being gifted for community use – I hear courses and Forest School activities calling. It’s a super wood, with no public access and was thinned about 10 years ago and has some great clearings – just right for shelters, workshops, compost toilets mmmm …

So now, after a very exciting day – rest:

And it’s stopped raining!

Poor tree

How many miles of roadside trees are vandalised like this each year, I wonder? Flail hedge-smashers must be one of the worse machines available to agriculture these days.  Time there was a campaign to ban their use I reckon, who in their right mind can think this is an acceptable way to keep roadside vegetation in check?  Although I suppose the current alternative is not much better either – cutting the whole lot down and chipping it.  My Goodness, what fools these humans be!

Anyway, here’s a more cheerful tree in Strid Wood, hosting a veritable forest of lichen on its bark:

Plenty of water in the Wharfe too after the recent rain:


Asylum in the woods

Today I’ve been helped out by a minibusful of friendly people who would otherwise be bored to tears in their hostel.  They were a group of asylum seekers introduced to me by Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust .

What a cheerful bunch, but with pretty sad backgrounds, made me feel quite humble I must say.  I was glad to be able to give them a day out in the woods with some purpose.  They helped prepare a charge for the kiln, cutting small stuff to length and loading and unloading the trailer.  Here are a few of them in t’Bodgery, some others were playing cricket with a small log and the ball was a small quarter-round offcut – much more fun than wii (whatever that is?).

There were a few helpers who came with them too.  Rather a hectic few hours, one guy had been in the Somalian army and insisted on running with logs on his shoulder that I could barely lift.

We went up to the forestry yard to unload and I explained how the kiln works.  One chap explained through an interpretor how they burnt charcoal back home – stacked vertically and covered in sand – just like we did here some time ago.

Anyway we ended up with a good stack ready for a charge.  I should have prepared the floor in the kiln, then we could have unloaded directly into the kiln. Drat! double-handling required now!  Mental note made for next time.  My new trailer features here too.  More pictures from someone else’s camera when they appear by the kiln with my helpers.

Summer with a touch of Autumn

Full Summer in Strid, the birds have started singing again after their busy nesting period and Summer flowers are blooming like the Nettle Leaved Campagnula above.

And Monkshood – both growing in the sun next to the River Wharfe.

“But always at my back I hear

Time’s winged chariot hurrying near”

As soon as the new leaves are out, somebody takes advantage – like these caterpillars, which are now developing into moths and flying.

Even red leaves now:

Thankfully, just regrowth.  Sycamore in this case, and some Rowan is regrowing after my Winter activities:

Roll on Spring!