What a great place for an afternoon out,  Yorkshire Sculpture Park at Bretton Hall.  Even found an oversized froe:

There was some stunning marble sculpture work by Peter Randall Page.

Some were outside, and there were lots inside (no photography!)

Well worth a visit, and I’m looking forward to the exhibition of David Nash’s work from May 2010.  Amazingly solid sculptures in wood like this:

We’ve also been taking a leisurely look at my other favourite, brewing:

This is a Yorkshire Square fermentation vessel at Black Sheep Brewery at Masham, N Yorkshire.  It’s a traditional method of fermentation developed in The West Riding of Yorkshire, using slate slabs and a separate floor near the top where the yeast head collects and then is sprayed with the fermenting beer once an hour.  The old part of the brewery is in the kilning area of a former maltsters:

After Masham we drove down to Lotherton Hall near Leeds.  An intriguing Edwardian furnished mansion.  This piece especially caught my eye, way out of period being 16th century, but much easier on the eye than e.g. the sycamore inlaid grand piano:

There was a pair of really good stools the like of which I’ve never seen before:

Deeply dished seat and three curved legs through tenonned into the seat which was cunningly much thicker in the middle underneath.  Looks really comfortable, but sadly no chance of trying it out without leather trousers as protection.

Happy holiday!

I love Christmas. My morning walk is really quiet with hardly any cars roaring up the Aire Valley.  Even better with the snow covering and no need to go to work for a couple of days. So here’s a picture taken at home as the temperature changed and fog rolled around.

Pretty thick now and again.

I took what might be next year’s Christmas card picture:

Then it was time for family Christmas dinner, strictly vegan, of course!

Happy holiday everybody!

Fire burns hotter in the cold

Especially if you use petrol as a fire starter.  Lovely smooth hands now, and no bobbly bits on my fleece.

I took a spare length of stainless flue liner in today to improve the draught on the new bodgery stove.

The difference it makes it very noticeable.  The stove now roars.  The firebricks are steaming out the summer rain, hot enough to dry more wood and gloves round the outside.  And the added luxury of a wooden door (soak before using!).

OK, so now it stacks up like this:

1. A large stone half buried in the ground.

2. Rusty old wagon wheel.

3. Centre hole covered with the flue blank from the new RC wood burning stove.

4. Firebricks, dry walled, air ingress where they do not sit tight to the wheel.

5. Wooden door.

6. Flue liner.

7.  At the base of the flue liner an old chain to weigh down the flue.

8. Drying fire wood.

It is a really good hand warmer.  Standing with your back to it it also warms the parts other stoves are too civilised to reach. Possibly the best stove in the word.  Definitely carbon neutral.

And when accompanied by fine food it completes an abode of bliss:

Also featuring in the picture is my lunchtime work.  A new small ladle from the silver birch we took down at home.  Safely stowed in a plastic bag so it does not dry between times working on it.  I know I should have taken a photo of the fantastic crook I’ve taken it from, but then …

Being snowy it was surprisingly quite in the woods, I guess people are busy getting festive.  They certainly don’t seem to want to buy Christmas tree decs anyway.  It was rather cold:

I had rather a lot of snow shovelling to do as the NE wind had brought a lot of snow inside under the short tarp.  I spent some time doing a Winter solstice clean up.  The off cuts and failures accumulated over a year had become an unmanageable pile leaning against the  back of the sycamore tree.  In fact I had to walk round it to get into the workshop.  OK so now it’s all reduced to logs and sitting in the trailer waiting to come home for the ever hungry  RC stoves.  It’s surprising just how much there was.

The new Landy is becoming a more familiar tool.  Needs WD40 in the locks to stop them freezing up.  Back window heater is bust, needs to be fixed under the guarantee, along with a couple of other niggles.

It takes me great places though.  Look at this.  The view’s been featured before, but it’s worth it:

What a commute!

Messing about.

Oh no! not the spare wheel now!

Oh phew!  It’s inside to lighten the back door:

It takes up quite a bit of room in the back, but I can use it as a shelf with the help of some ply.  I’ve also started replacing with proper rope the naff rotting tapes that are supposed to hold the seat swabs folded up.  Found out why the courtesy light switches don’t work too – part of the circuit has rotted away.  Easily fixed though as it’s within the light unit.

What with the pre-snow sleet and NE wind, spent a bit of time in the back of the Landy making rope stuff.  I spliced a logging loop to hold logs onto the Lift and Shift, then moved half a dozen beefy beech logs out of the wood into the wood pile.  That was the second warming from them after felling last winter.

I wanted to do a bit more on the small ladle I’m making from some of the silver birch from home, and as it was really rather chilly I set up an impromptu stove from some fire bricks that may one day become a forge.  It worked rather well, once I’d salvaged some foreign language instructions from the Landy handbook as fire starter.

It is stable and draws air from below.

I’ve made a wooden door that’ll need soaking before each use.  There’s about a metre of flue liner at home that will now come in useful as a chimney/hand-warmer.  All it needs now is Mr D’s patent blower to help get it started.

Oh yes, and the deer are back:

New Landy

At last!  Back in the woods on 4 wheels. Well it does look like it may have been a daft lad’s toy once over, but the front flood lights and rear work lights will definitely be useful.  I’ve already used the work light 4 times in two days!  Great for unloading logs and fixing the trailer wheel lock, which I haven’t yet quite got the hang of and seems to take ages, but worth it.  Now I know there are people on the prowl at night I’m not taking any chances.  The big tyres seem to throw a lot of mud up, but they should be good when I start felling again and get into the thick of it a bit.  The chap (yes he of the traction engine and steam roller, acquaintance of Fred Dibner’s) at Jake Wright’s where I bought it thought the bull bars might be good in the woods too, the front wings are very susceptible to dents.  I will not be using the snorkel for fording the Wharfe, however; the side currents are liable to tip the whole thing over, but, as it also has high up breathers on the diffs and gear box, it should be OK in flood water.

Busy day yesterday.  Making a load of logs to split (no pun intended) three ways.  Someone called to collect a deer as arranged.  A chap from Addingham called on his walk for a lift home with his logs.  But on the way I had to drop off two chairs (see picture above) and a shoe rack for customers who live miles up a track on Barden Moor.  We decided to meet over the wooden bridge over the Wharfe at The Cavendish Pavilion.  It was like Check Point Charlie!  Anyway, he was pleased with the two advance chairs and shoe rack.

Short day off this week, I’m in Strid Saturday and Sunday for the Christmas rush for elves and deer.

So, farewell then silver birch tree

You were planted 40 years ago,

and grew into a giant of a birch,

must have been that land drain

that made you grow so well.

Here comes Mathew

with his top handle saw,

he climbs to cut your limbs

you’ll soon be firewood.

No more will you shade

the garden and cover stuff in green,

blow your seeds into the house

and welcome little birds

But hey,

I’ll make you into a few spoons

and a dough bowl as well,

and you’ll keep us warm in winter (next!).

With apologies to E. J. Thribb (17½)


Today was a good day; I didn’t get a parking ticket for parking on a vacant market lot on the High Street in Skipton, mind you, I’m a market man now though but:

However, it looks as though it might be a good idea to park on the setts lots of times on market day.  The notice says future offences may result in only a fixed penalty.  I wonder how many offences you can have and still get just one penalty.  Perhaps I should write to them.

We are supposed to be having a large silver birch in our garden dismantled tomorrow.   Matthew, the climbing boy, left me a phone message saying that the tree is in a conservation area and that therefore paperwork, inspection etc will be involved.  He’d been informed of this by Craven District Council, funny that, they are the same people who wrote to me in April, telling me that they were not making a tree preservation order on said silver birch, ad therefore I could carry out the felling works.  Not sure why I pay my taxes to pay for people who are so incompetent.

Anyway, it was bright and cold in t’woods today and I put the back together for the final dining chair in the set of 6.  Made a deer, had a chat with a JP, took an order for a bird table (which I may be able to do in chestnut, depending), and sold a broom and two elves.  To cap it all I now also have a disused electricity pole to play with and keep me warm at night.

What a good start to the weekend.  And what’s more I’m making cullen skink for tea with smoaked haddock from George for tea, brill (not the fish!)!