This is m’fungus.

A stinkhorn (phallus impudicus).  It only takes about an hour to expand once it breaks through the veil, but I had to wait a week for the breakthrough.


Somewhat unfortunately I was unable to take the final photograph in the series as Jane came home before me, and as the stinkhorn truly does stink (rotting flesh) she put it outdoor, opened the windows, burnt two papiers d’Armenie and made a curry.

Here it is in its full stinking glory:

They normally expand vertically, but it must have been hampered by sitting in the glass.

The great destroyers

A couple of weekends ago I went on a fungi foray in St Ives Estate at Bingley.  It’s good to have an expert, in this case Bob Taylor, to guide and explain. I took a walk around my workshop in Strid Wood and found quite a range of fungi.

For identification it’s good to split between fungi with gills (like mushrooms from the store), fungi without gills (mostly with tubes or pores but also where the spores are in slime).  Those that grow on trees, and those that grow on the ground (but the actual plant may be living in association with trees roots, or buried rotting wood).  It is also helpful to note what trees are nearby.

Above there’s the purple gill fungus I’ve seen before in Strid and I reckon it must be the amethyst deceiver.  The darker bracket is the many zoned polypore.  I think the red capped one may be a russula, but there are many!

What I like is the wide variety of colours and forms, look at this beauty:

The blusher, I believe.

The next one is smelt. more frequently than seen as it smells of rotting flesh!

This is the stink horn.  On the foray a stink horn ‘egg’ was found which does look like an egg but contains the above wrinkled up and ready to pop and distribute its spores via flies in a dark smelly jelly.

There are masses of these (I think they’re armillaria cepistipes, a member of the honey fungus family) bursting out of the felled beech tree that forms one leg of my lathe, I hope they are not too efficient  in disposing of it, or I’ll need a new leg.

These are the full-grown ones:

This beech, felled three years ago is gradually blending into the woodland litter, a bramble climbs over it:

Beetles eat away unseen under the bark, apart from the mounds of sawdust they produce.

Well it’s that time of year, and soon it will be time for getting the long johns out of their Summer recess!

New year, new horse

Well, I’ll be blowed, now I can understand perfectly why so many people prefer the dumb head shaving horse.  I’d been getting a bit irritated at the way wet deer legs (OK hazel branches) were inclined to rotate while working a tenon up with a rounder plane so I thought I’d take the plunge and convert my donkey into a horse.  Here’s the old fellow:

This is an old photo, and I think all parts but the front leg and the bottom footrest in the frame were replaced by the time I converted it.

Here’s the new un:

I used the legs and bed from the old one.  The treadle is a little high on the dummy, but I was following plans.  I’d really like to add in about 6 inches to the middle of the lever/treadle, my Sunday apprentice Rich may find this one a bit cramped 😦

Anyway, I measured up the comparative leverages of the two horses and the old English frame version gives about 1:1 advantage (i.e. none) while the dumbhead gives about 4:1 mechanical advantage.  Now why would anyone use the frame one with such poor pressure?  Bit like using an axe without a handle!  I feel longer legs coming for the stock knife ‘bench’ ( AKA ‘stock’ – that’s presumably how the knife got its name, the favourite first task for an apprentice joiner was making his sawing stock).  Longer legs would mean less bending when using the knife.  Fortunately the stock knife I bought as a clogger’s knife seems to be a peg maker’s knife as the handle is hardly swept compared to a clogger’s which is severely bowed, and increases the back bending effect.  Poor old bones.

So I also managed today finally to ‘install’ the new extension stove-pipe that David gave me, well I say install, rammed it into the old pipe and wired it to a shelter member at the top to keep it away from the tarp:

Much healthier having that smoak outside the shelter.  You can see the 75 foot ‘leg’ of my pole lathe in the picture above.  It’s a felled beech tree that’s been down about three years now and is doing its job playing host to various fauna and flora and these (which seem to be neither):

And these:

These are on the stump:

And amazingly, there is a little regrowth from the stump too which I missed when it was in leaf:

I spy the buds ready for Spring

Last Orders

Autumn is well on its way now in Strid Wood.  I had a short stroll round at lunchtime yesterday and this is what I found:

These look harmless enough (they’re not in my fungi book, again!)

But this one is definitely not:

Destroying Angel, one of our more poisonous fungi – note the white gills and large ring distinguishing it from edible mushrooms.

(Amanita virosa, A. verna, and A. bisporigera) and death cap (Amanita phalloides) produce some of the most poisonous compounds known. As little as 30 grams, or half a mushroom cap, is fatal to a healthy, adult human. Amanitin poisoning is not a pleasant experience. The onset of symptoms does not begin for at least 10 hours; death may be delayed for as long as 10 days, which complicates diagnosis. When the toxin finally affects the victim, it causes severe abdominal upset, followed by liver, kidney, and circulatory system failure. The poison is usually fatal; there is no known antidote; and the progressive effect of the toxin causes the victim terrible suffering. It says here.

On a more pleasant note there is regeneration taiking place around the bodgery because of the higher light levels from last winter’s thinning work.  Even a couple of oaks:

After lunch I completed the assembly of the first of the six ash dining chairs I’m on with:

Then I sawed out a bowl-carving block, but more of that anon.

Spoons and rungs

I’ve been rather busy recently, what with a WWOOFer, an exhibition, making a set of chairs, etc.

Here are some carved spoons from a junk shop in Malton, they seem decidedly foreign, especially the star-shaped hole on the lower one.  The carved decoration is pretty inspirational though; there are mistakes aplenty, which made me think we are now very used to seeing “perfect” (looking) artefacts produced by machines.  Hand -made objects are much more lively.  I now feel more comfortable with the finish on my bowls.  Here’s the detail on the old chip carved letter-opener:

You’d never get a machine to produce work like this and for it to vary each time one was made!

I’ve been feeling a bit like a machine producing rungs for a set of dining chairs, here they all are drying at home:

Once they’re dry I’ll be making the legs, free-form at the back and turned for the front.  I’m also making the splats for the ladder back, three each time I brew (the steamer goes on the brew kettle.)

The exhibition in Strid Exhibition centre, went well

Some interesting work inspired by Strid Wood from a local artist Joy Godfrey and potter Chris Bailey is there as well as some of my furniture:

I’ve added the glass platter as my header for now.

Meanwhile, Autumn draws on with a ground frost this morning and Poached Egg fungi appearing in Strid:

Walls and ‘stools

OOOOh, those leaves are turning!

Gratuitous picture of the Wharfe where is comes out of the Strid bottleneck, looks inviting, but it’s really a killer.

Here are some of the Strid Autumn fruits.  I’m not sure about this one, but it could be a Shaggy Parasol, very handsome anyway.

This one just looks poisonous I think it may be Amethyst Deceiver Laccaria amethystea, if it is, it’s edible.

These are very prolific round the bodgery, growing through the woodchip from when the massive beech was felled over a year ago.  They have hairy caps, rather than the shaggy ones on Inkcaps, not sure what they are, they quickly mature into the tall ones in the background.

Last night was Dales Jam practice at Skipton Auction Mart.  Craven College occupy part of the same site, and their Heritage Skills Department are setting up a dry stone walling exhibition centre. It looks very good so far!

This is a lime kiln made into a sheep fold, there are many old lime kilns aroung the limestone areas of The Dales and even one about 300 yards from home here on the banks of the Leeds Liverpool canal, presumably built there to use coal barged in.

This beautiful curved piece includes a cripple hole (or hoil) as we say around here.  It’s a sheep-sized gate hole, usually blocked by a stone flag when not in use.

Here’s an example of a field shelter.  I love the batter on the internal arris of the walls.

And this one is just so good, I’m adopting it as my header for a while.

I think this is a very positive development, I have been feeling a bit fed up by the sight of many walls falling down through neglect round The Dales, and had then decided that they were mainly a product of The Enclosure Acts, which were A Bad Thing, but turns out some of the walls are dated way beyond that piece of silly nonsense.  But now there seems to be a real impetus to get people interested and trained in this ancient skill, great!