Big stool flattened

You may remember this hazel coppice stool I’ve spent ages taking down:

SAMSUNG CSCWell yesterday, I finally cut it back to the level where we expect basal shoots to grow.


It took quite some work with the chain saw to get it flattened. I would not have liked to approach this job without it. I had to have a sharpening session halfway through as the stool had started self-rooting higher up:


Luckily there were no stones embedded in there.  I had to cut horizontally and then cut vertically down to take off manageable chunks, quite a few times:

SAMSUNG CSCYou can see the higher rooting on that shot.

Got rather a stack of material out of it, some is even useable for other than logs and charcoal making.  Sold a set of poles for a rustic garden arch yesterday.



Rhubarb,rhubarb, rhubarb.

OK, day off again yesterday, where did we go, what did we see?

SAMSUNG CSCWe went somewhere dark,and warm, where a 30 second exposure is needed to capture the scene.

It was here:


SAMSUNG CSCInside this shed:

SAMSUNG CSCThose heaps in the field are the waste product from this ancient process –

SAMSUNG CSCYes, we were in the mysterious Rhubarb Triangle.  Crowns of rhubarb are dug up (about 14,220 in the shed we visited first) and kept warm, dark and moist  and the result is this:

SAMSUNG CSCBeautiful pink rockets of fibreless forced rhubarb, a vegetable we use as a sweet, much celebrated and used by posh chefs, as well as me and thee.

The sheds are lit only by candlelight to encourage the rapid growth:

SAMSUNG CSCAlthough it’s quite dark in the sheds a 30 second exposure revelas the extent of this seasonal crop:



We bought a couple of packs of the forced jewels as well as a crown/root of the variety Timperely Early which crops twice in a season out-of-doors, which is how we grow it.

We then went on to one of our favourite haunts, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, where there is always a feast for the eyes, even by just looking out of the gallery through the windows:

SAMSUNG CSC SAMSUNG CSC SAMSUNG CSCWe saw some very fancy spacemen by Yinka Shonibare floating around their tin can

SAMSUNG CSC SAMSUNG CSCEven the cafe with its blocks of subtle colour changes looked like a work of art:

We had sandwiches in the car before we went in!  Cheap skates.

Out of doors we saw some chunky Miro:


And more Yinka Shonibare

An iron door to nowhere

And a new Gormley which changes colour!

Altogether a Grand Yorkshire Day Out.

Not a stool, but a useful horse with dogs.

SAMSUNG CSCIt turns out to be a mini sawing horse designed to be held in a WorkMate vice/bench.  It is after the style of Owen Jones’.  I only supply logs to a single customer now – an old friend – and my method of making logs means that sometimes the end log of a branch is short or a bit too long.  This horse will help sort out the long ones.  The short ones are no problem, except for stacking, but they are useful for filling in spaces in the stove firebox.


Should have been a stonemason

Well I would have been a stonemason if I’d been born a hundred years ago.


My Great Uncle Martin.

Several of my ancestors worked in stone and what work those old masons used to produce.  Here is a selection I took from around my village on Friday, as the Winter bike having had a new chain fitted, along with new brake blocks all round (occasioning really filthy hands), has done the usual trick of complaining that it would rather like a few new chain wheels as I changed the chain too late and the chain now jumps at those tricky moments like when straining against the pedals uphill.  Anyway, to resume.  Here is a simple ball:

SAMSUNG CSCEach individual chisel mark can still be seen.  This ball is about 18″ in diameter and my brother reckons they used to take a day to make.  And they are not turned. Amazing in their perfect simplicity.

From a mighty ball to really delicate vernacular grave stone style:
SAMSUNG CSCWhat artefact could be more beautiful?

Reminds me of the strapwork of Mr Folansbee, but it appears so free-flowing.  The next is from a later gravestone, probably Victorian, but wow!



Almost makes me want a headstone myself, but I suppose Amazon would charge very highly for delivery.  I’ll make do with an oak sapling.
Now here’s one of the older properties in Farnhill:

SAMSUNG CSCIt has been altered over the years and would have originally had windows all the same as the upstairs ones with stone mullions.  Pure vernacular. I was over the wrong-side of the canal so I couldn’t get close enough in to see what has happened to the date on the door lintel, but here’s a blow up:


Looks like the date in the lower centre panel has been removed. Why?  A mystery.  Maybe it’s 1716, must get a closer look.

I have been doing a little woodwork between felling, tushing and trudging about in the snow.  Mended the horse, attempted three threaded rods for another screw clamp, but found what I thought was cherry was alder (wildly weak and unsuitable.)  Made a brace of hurdles.  The odd badger, preparing for a memory box and a set of these big boys:

SAMSUNG CSCCheese boards for a country wedding.  It’s spalted beech from a tree that has been left in log for three years.  There is just about enough nature left in it to get away with.  Looks pretty eh? Thanks Nature.


Ah well, blue skies returned last week and are still here, feels a bit Spring-like, but there will doubtless be a Wintery sting in the tail to endure yet – remember Candlemas was sunny too. Here it is bursting through over Silsden and Barden Moors:


And here it is over my felling site:




Two stools

Coppicing, felling, tushing (pretending to be a horse dragging timber rideside) trying to do a little woodwork.  Today it was coppicing.  Finally finished off the monster stool – it’s about 4 foot across, and severely overgrown.  Nothing else was growing within the spread of its massive (for hazel) canopy.  But after four visits its all down:

SAMSUNG CSCI should have taken a picture of the huge pile of wood we got from it.  ‘All’ that’s left to do now is to get it down to this level:


SAMSUNG CSCA neighbouring, smaller stool we took down in one today, thanks David!