Father Christmas is on his way, but hopefully not on a timber forwarder

I’ve been busy putting up a shelter in Strid Woods for parents to drink hot chocolate under while waiting to take their offspring to visit Father Christmas in his gypsy caravan.

Yesterday, I’d just about finished it, but I knew a contractor was up in the woods with a very large tractor with a timber crane.  The rope supporting the front A frame is 3 metres from the ground, which seems pretty high, but this tractor was pretty big too.  I waited around for him to come down out of the wood, and stopped him before he went under. “How high are you?” I asked. “No idea, but we”ll soon find out” he replied.  Rather than edging forward, he jumped forward, and before I could shout stop, he’s pulled the rope about 3 foot forward and broken the A frame!  I was somewhat annoyed.  So this morning I took down a small ash tree to replace the broken member and finished the shelter off.  You can see the hot chocolate shop that Chris built, you may even have seen it earlier at the NEC where Ricola, the Swiss sweet people had commissioned it.  Chris is a Land Rover man and we exchanged some information about hot gear boxes, security, snorkels and pulling power (of the torque variety, not sports cars and girls variety).  Good old man chat.  At the back is the caravan, funny, I always thought it was a sleigh the Christmas fellah used.

The ash tree has also provided material for deer, covered in moss, the back legs for the last chair of six, feet for log hods, firewood and a small wildlife brake with the twiggy bits.  The ash’s bark had theses scale insects on it, they are very common in strid on smooth barked young ash.

The occupants are still in these, as they cause a red stain when they get squashed!

Nearly finished the log hod prototype, but the joints at the foot still need to be glued.  It works without the gluing, but better be safe.  I’ve now made two production bow blanks, and I’m getting quicker each time, always seems to go that way.

I have turned the cleaving 90 degrees on the newest bows, and I’m hoping this will make for an easier steam bending.  The prototype is mis-shaped mainly because there’s a knot in the wood.  None in the new ones.  I’ll be steaming them on Thursday as we have a scheduled electricity outage on Friday, my usual day off, so I’ll be in the woods then instead.

I’ve changed my header to Winter, and I’m now looking for a snowy scene.  The trees without leaves are even more beautiful.  I was sitting eating my sandwiches down by the Cavendish Pavilion and the trees on the other side of the Wharfe were really fine, and amazingly varied in colour, the red twig tips showing already.  Soon be Spring!  I saw a Mistle Thrush, a Dipper and a Tree Creeper while I sat for 20 minutes.  None of these are around at the bodgery, but we don’t get any sun up there now for a few months.

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