The boy’s new fence

Theo built a dwarf hazel fence in situ yesterday, and made a really good job of it I reckon.  Especially as it was both our first attempts.  It’s woven from the thinnest stuff I’ve taken out of Wood Nook.  It replaces a rather naff-looking nylon cord I had in the same place to discourage visitors coming uninvited into the work area (with its attendant sharp tools, hot stove, etc.  It should also help keep the shavings in the workshop, rather than spreading over the track.  The fence has proper bindings on the top with under and over weaving and wrapping around the end sales (upright poles).

I’ve been working on a split hazel hurdle too.  Not as easy as it looks in YouTube videos, so this hurdle will be destined for an inconspicuous place as its neatness leaves quite a lot to be desired, although it does have the required strength.  Here is a small section behind this lump of spalted ash I’ve worked up for a caterer to display cakes on (they wanted it just like this, honest!).

I’ve also been making a shave horse for a customer this week, here’s the finished article

And today it’s log making, working on the oak bench, finishing that large sycamore bowl, which, as predicted, is now as hard as iron, even to the sharpest tool.

London at the weekend for the Heritage Crafts Association annual meeting.

Goose-stepping horses

We were at Otley Show at the weekend.  This is a very old-established agricultural show mixing all sorts of attractions: pole lathe turning ( – obviously!); vintage tractors, rabbits, fly fishing demonstrations, dry stone walling, farrier competitions, goose-stepping military bands (well one cornet player anyway). And that was just what I could see from my stand.  There were reportedly lots more including ferret racing, sheep shearing, heavy horses, micro breweries … but those tied to their pole lathe have to work.  And chat.  Occasionally eat a sandwich … and chat at the same time (Why didn’t I sit at the back of the shelter like I planned to do when I left that space for the very purpose? Love my public too much?)

And another rhetorical question – why is it that every time I put up the shelter it’s always different?  This time I was using the white tarpaulin, so it was a different colour from the more usual green.  But also I tried to copy the Sussex APT group’s shelter erection by fastening the main pull-up rope to the A-frame before offering it up to the ridge pole, and thus avoiding having to stand on the chopping block/horse/bench and lash the top of the A-frame together.  Of course it didn’t work out, producing an out-of-level cross pole on the A-frame, so I still had to climb up and not only lash the poles from a teetering position, but also unlash ‘em first.  This probably means nothing to anyone who has not erected a pole shelter before, but, dear reader, it will mean something to you soon.  Next show I’m going to run a video camera of the setting up.  Then, using some technology I’ve not yet discovered, speed it up to a frantic pace, should be quite amusing, but if not, at least it will be certain to be different from the last time I put it up.  Ah well, variety is the spice of life.

The horse breeding season seems to be going quite well.  Jane was using her new gypsy flower pony and got a few take-ups on the have-a-go front, here she is:

Took an order for a heavy-duty horse at the show too – that’s a first. I have another horse out at grass preparing for its debut at the Gardener’s World Live show at the NEC.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch … Philip had an enjoyable day today (he tells me) making a stool – it’s actually four-legged, he’s working on the last one at the horse.

Amazing what a sheet of tarpaulin can do, this was on a day of torrential rain and gale-force winds (but as they were in the West, filtered by the trees).

A note for Mr D – the rocket stove performed admirably drying the leg tenons in short order, and even providing hot water for tea toot sweet.

Tail piece

Whilst getting hazel for gypsy flowers I discovered some broomrape, I’m afraid I only had my ancient phone (remember when taking a photo with a phone was a novelty?) so the picture quality is a bit dodgy:

I’m working on finding out more about this variety as there are 200+ in the species.  Looks like it paracitises hazel.