I thought it was holidays

But not if you work for yourself, and you work in green wood.

August is very busy, sorry for not posting. This week I’ve been to two events, one 111 miles away in Leicestershire’s Beacon Hill National Forest Wood Fair, and then Kilnsey show, just a couple of miles up the Wharfe river from my workshop.  It’s a stunning location on a pan flat flood plain site with Kilnsey Crag louwering over the whole proceedings. It is very traditional with a fell race to the top of the scar next to the Crag, lots of cattle classes and the finale is harness racing (also known as trotting) with on course betting.  It was a very cool start with frost on the grass.  After it warmed up a little, a plague of midges descended so we got a shavings fire going which smoked the blighters out.  Finally it turned into a glorious day, which was a jolly Good Thing as Kilnsey has been plagued by the wet Summers for two years.

Here’s how the trailer looks when fully loaded for an exhbition:

Just a pile of junk really, but soon turns into this:

It was an excellent location at the entrance to the REAL village section of the show which highlights upland Dales industry in four marquees, I was pitched at the entrance to the village so everybody came past and nearly all stopped to watch and quite a good few to buy, make orders or invite me to their own shows.

Luckily there was an amplified sheep shearing contest three times in the day, lots of calls of “Foreblows” and “Longblows”, as well as a fencing (post and wire, not rapiers!) demonstration which I decide not to compete with, but as they finished I had a ready-made audience.

The people visiting and showing were really friendly, and I don’t think I got a daft comment all day.  Some of the Dales children were very dry too.  Obviously in training for becoming Dales farmers.  Jane had a serious conversation with one 9 year-old and one of the key questions he asked, after establishing that I was in business “for mesel”, was “Has ‘e got a log splitter?”  I had a chat with a farmer from the top end of Nidderdale about alder and clog soles.

The Hampshire branch of our family turned up and a couple or three had a go on the machines:

Theo decorates a woodland elf.

Daisy attempts the amazing ‘cut the lady in half’ trick.

Jenkie had a go on the pole lathe – change from a power lathe, I must have a go on a power lathe some day!

At Beacon Hill National Forest event I entered my first log to leg race, and picked up a few tips to improve my rather poor results (last in both races!) for the APF big event later this month.

I also purchased a rather fine 9 foot by 2 inch thick slab of elm for bench seats:

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Hanging around the kiln

I’m going to have to change my charcoal regime.  I set it alight on Wednesday morning about 10:30.  It wasn’t quite full so I expected less charcoal.  I closed it down to tick over at 5pm and at 9am the next morning opened the air supply up again.  The smoke still looked pretty dirty, with maybe a hint of steam still in it.  However, I was able to ignite all three chimneys which I think should have been a warning that it was nearing time to shut down completely.  Well, I decided to go down to the workshop with the air on about half cock.  Stayed down there for lunch and when I got back to the kiln at about 12:30 there was no smoke! Bad sign.  Closed down double quick.  This morning (Friday) opened up, and nasty white ash at all three inlets – the charcoal had been burning.  However, got out 22 10 kilo bags, and as it was a smaller charge that was not too bad, but I reckon about 2 or 3 bags were burnt.  Next time I’m going to stay with it the morning after, I’ll have to bring some bowl or spoon work to do while I monitor the smoke.  On the positive side there does seem to be a growing demand for the stuff.  Now I need a market for the fines (dust and small charcoal) which are rejected at bagging. It’s supposed to be a very good soil improver.

This was supposed to be a day off, but the charcoal bagging took a big chunk out of the morning so I did a bit more on the chestnut bench (which needs a remake of one leg), washed the Land Rover and mended it’s driver’s side step which I smashed on a rock (and nearly punctured the diesel tank) while reversing the trailer in the woods.

I also shafted the second of three bill hooks I’m doing for a customer.

Pictures to follow.  Tomorrow I’m brewing and playing at the Rough Beats Festival at Clapham – our band is Dales Jam.

Still Springy here but the Hawthorn May blossom is just going over, one last look:

You can see other bushes further away on the hill in the background which is known as The Gib.

This morning I planted a small elm and smaller oak in the corner near the new gate to replace the silver birch, the stump of which is still to be reduced to ground level.

Winter

It should be a day for sitting by the stove today making spoons:

However, it’s going to be a logging and bowl carving day, considering the snow is making things rather tricky on the roads, I guess I should stay off them and make room for people who really need to travel.  Looks like yet another delay for the moorland chair delivery.  Here’s the table that is part of the order:

I think this has turned out well. The legs and rungs are all just worked with hand tools, no turning.  This makes a good contrast with the Elm top.  I can’t help feeling there’s some feel of a henge about this!

The travelling is even affecting the Leeds Liverpool canal that runs past our house.  On Sunday we saw a barge struggling to go forwards, and after the -9.5C temperatures on Sunday night it must be frozen in somewhere by now.

There is some compensation to all this cold stuff, but not for the sheep, poor beggars, who no doubt couldn’t care less about the picturesque sun sets.

A young visitor to the bodgery

Eft
It’s a lil newt, either Smooth or Palmate, apparently it’s hard to tell the difference in juveniles. Anyways it was a nice find in the wood pile. Quite a wildlife day today really – I saw TWO kingfishers today on t’Wharfe, looked like a parent and juvenile so I got a really good look at them and heard their call – no escape now chaps – I know where you live!

We had an hectic day last Friday. Went to collect the new log splitter in Tescos car park on the outskirts of York, checked out some tiles and then went for a picnic at Benningborough Hall (NT).

picnic

The car park was full – even the coach park (with cars) so we had to find an alternative location – turned out rather good really. The stock stools came in handy.

Then we went to Horsforth to check out some Elm and came away with large thick sheet – should make some good chair seats.

Today the wood station arrived – finally. More to follow when I get the saw, splitter and station going tomorrow!