A four-legged workshop

Today I ran a workshop for five people making deer.  I was ably assisted by my wife (chief photographer, waitress, tool mistress and adviser for the day).  Two of the chaps on the course shared today as their birthday and the course was a present from their wives.  Although we were surrounded by (melting) snow I managed to keep everyone busy and all went home with a deer (except for me, I’m more of a venison man):

Here are the youngest and oldest 15 to 62 (fortunately my insurance cover goes as low as 9 years old).

These gels had fun:

I should point out that the rips in the jeans were pre-existing and that no humans were harmed in the making of these deer.  The red stains liberally sprinkled around the middle work bench are just Flying Goose hot sauce stains caused during an eating incident at lunchtime.

There were actually six members of the course but the robin just didn’t seem to get the hang of things at all.  He seemed to enjoy the biscuits and home-baked bread nonetheless.

It has been very scenic in the wood this past week, if a bit chilly.  I’m surprised at the very low numbers of visitors considering the sights to be seen:

I think sometimes I like the shape of trees without their leaves better than with.  The shape is so much more clear and stark and beautiful.

Even the messy old bodgery looked not bad:

The sun did his bit too to make things look good:

These pictures take a bit of getting as the sun only shines on my side of the River Wharfe briefly in these short Winter days.

I feel so sorry for the wildlife living outdoors all the time, I know vaguely how they must feel, and they don’t have four pairs of trousers and five tops like me.  Earlier this week at home the temperature dropped to minus 13 centigrade – just how do you sleep out through that?  Maybe the cold is just another state to wildlife, but I guess they must enjoy warmer weather.

And another thing, why do snow pictures usually look as though they were taken on (almost) black and white film?

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Boo! Autumn, rain and floods. Hurray …

Rain

Floods

FIRE!

Pretty wet day, continuous rain.  The River Wharfe boiled and roared all day long.  Few visitors and all wet and somewhat bedraggled.  Spent the day turning poles for an overmantle drying rack and hewing a big  alder bowl.  Had to wear gloves as my hands have softened during my two weeks off.  Pictures of bowl to follow.

Oh no! It snowed!

So what can you do in the woods when it’s all snowy?

Well you can get all that wood shifted back to the bodgery that’s been lying around since last spring for a start.

OK, no felling new wood until that’s done then.  Found some excellent large pieces of sycamore that will made great bowls.

Also went for a little stroll after lunch, before bowl making, and after log shifting, and found a rather large piece of willow tree lodged high up on Lud Island.

Remember when it was raining all the time instead of snowing?  That would be when it was washed down the Wharfe.  Now what could I use willow for?

Actually I’ve got my hands full with two chetnut stems I’ve bought from the estate.  First job will be a new garden gate for home to replace the ancient batten door my dad put up years and years ago, and which I’ve repaired at least twice.  Watch this space, it will be a green gate, and I don’t mean one that’s been painted with green wood preservative!

This weather is also good for learning how to drive safely in the snow, only, in Strid so many people walked on the partially melted snow before the temperatures became permanently sub-zero that under the snow is a glassy skating rink.  Snow chains on order

You can also look forward to Summer sun

And enjoy the scenery

And you can just about watch the Wharfe freeze over

I also sat by the woodland stove and roughed out a couple of bowls, sampan and barge.

Wet day in Strid

It rained today in Strid Wood

The river was as high as I’ve seen it since I started here a year ago.  Richard D was with me and he took these photos.  It was cold as well as wet and we only had the short tarp up as we’re still walking in to the workshop until a replacement Landy comes on stream, later this week hopefully, when we can take the big heavy tarp in again.  The deer season has started again, you may be able to make out one on the stump above.

Despite the weather we had a productive day.  Richard turned some chisel handles, axed out some spoon blanks, worked on his kuska and levelled up a three-legged, high-level chopping block for light use:

Need to fix up a cover for it.  Should be useful when doing very light fine chopping e.g. with a knife, spoon work etc.

I was busy fitting the bottom rungs for chair #5, making old oak pegs for the ladder-back top splats, finishing up the bow tenons on the prototype log hod and breaking out a new bow blank for a production log tote hopefully.

Nice action photo Richard, thanks!

OK so the rain is going to stop tonight, and then a frost of -5 is predicted for Monday night.  Must take the camera in Tuesday.

Poor tree

How many miles of roadside trees are vandalised like this each year, I wonder? Flail hedge-smashers must be one of the worse machines available to agriculture these days.  Time there was a campaign to ban their use I reckon, who in their right mind can think this is an acceptable way to keep roadside vegetation in check?  Although I suppose the current alternative is not much better either – cutting the whole lot down and chipping it.  My Goodness, what fools these humans be!

Anyway, here’s a more cheerful tree in Strid Wood, hosting a veritable forest of lichen on its bark:

Plenty of water in the Wharfe too after the recent rain:


ers