Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Fish, Chips and.... Samphire

What a meal...
We like to eat fresh fish and our fishmonger comes down from Grimsby to our local market every Tuesday.  He picks the Samphire (Crithmum maritimum) from a secret location in Norfolk and we've been having it for the last month or so.  I love it and tonight we had it with a lovely bit of Rock Eel. 
Last night we had some Red Mullet which tasted great but was full of bones.
The name Samphire comes from the French "herbe de St. Pierre", or St. Peters herb.  It makes your pee smell quite strong, a bit like Asparagus. 
Anyone else out there lucky enough to have a taste?

Monday, 25 June 2012

Two Men in a Bowl

Mark came over to our Woodland Field yesterday and we had fun trying to turn a lump of Birch that he'd brought over into a bowl.  This was fairly ambitious considering he hasn't done any turning yet and doesn't have a lathe.
Here I'm showing him the correct angle of presentation of the hook tool to undercut the core.
I think the experience was enough to put him off wanting to be a bowl turner but he did end up with a big chunky bowl that he's going to use to eat his CocoPops out of - he'll probably get a whole packet in there!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Babies in the Toilet

Quite exciting to have our Woodland Bog chosen as a place to bring up babies...

This is the second nestful of Blackbirds raised here this year - I think there's 3.

It's amazing how hard it is for humans to understand a composting toilet system.  Someone (we know who he was) recently threw a load of the ash/shavings mix into the pee bucket to try and soak it all up!  A lot of guys use the pee bucket and the ladies prefer to pee behind one of the many bushes...
Perhaps we should put our copy of Humanure in there for them to read?

Friday, 15 June 2012

A Cautionary Tale...

When demonstrating turning on the leg-powered lathe the most frequently asked question is "Don't you get one big muscley leg from doing that all day" to which the joke reply is "Yes, but I live on the side of a steep mountain and walk round in circles on the flat!".  Then I get more serious and explain that I balance it out by changing legs often.
Someone at a show told me they'd watched me for about an hour then come back later and I was still treadling with the same leg.  I started to watch myself after that and realised that my default position was to stand on my right leg and treadle with the left.  No matter how often I caught myself doing this and made a conscious effort to change I would still return to that position.  So left leg gets plenty exercise and right leg bears all the weight.
My doctor asked what I did for a living and when I told him he explained that this posture had undoubtedly led to my prolapsed disc, sciatica in the right leg and excruciating agony all Winter and most of the Spring.
So take heed you pole lathe turners and change legs often!

Monday, 11 June 2012


Ant decided to turn a set of tenpin skittles from Sycamore on the second day of his course.  Quite ambitious and I did have to give him some help (I made the ball, or "cheese" as it's known in skittling circles).
I've often thought about making some amongst all the log-jam of ideas in my mind but how many sets do you think I could sell for around £100?  Especially at the moment when things seem so tight...
There's a lot of info about skittles on Wiki.

I managed to get Albert Steptoe to come and teach spoon carving on Ant's first day!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

New Workshop

Terry who did our kitchen conversion last year spotted this load of reclaimed 4"x2" (100 lengths) stashed in the roof of a drinks warehouse in Edmonton, North London. 

We collected it yesterday evening and have spent the day so far removing screws with a cordless drill.  Probably be a couple of bucketsful by the end.
As I'm into reclaiming and recycling and got it for a good price I don't mind.

I'm going to use it to build my NEW WORKSHOP... a proper one with a floor, doors, windows, insulation and hopefully a small woodburner to keep me warm in the Winter.