Storms

We haven’t had any full-blown storms, just tree-friendly rain. Not bee-friendly, though, so Monica is fretting over a swarm she was given and is now huddled in her new National hive, in the shelter of the pigsty walls. Mowing that lawn is now Monica’s job! The rain is dragging on our enthusiasm to work outside, though, and mildly mocking our decision to live in the Pennines. Still, the time isn’t wasted and I’ve renovated the sharpening wheel and touched up all my outdoor edge tools.

The elm trough below the wheel has a loose metal base that used to be sealed with pitch. Rather than mess it up, I just added a few extra nails and lined it with Visqueen. The wheel bearings were fine for a drop of oil so it was quickly up and spinning. It’s an awkward job without a third hand so I’ll be make a foot-pedal for it soon but it grinds well. It’s a half-inch out of round, probably because of the way the handle makes the effort lopsided, but that’ll slowly come back to true. The surface is just right to remove lots of material with pressure but polish an edge to a shine with care. Following some aggressive filing, I even renovated two splitting wedges and a lovely old carving axe that emerged from the barn. They’ll be perfect for working the green beech and birch piled outside. One log will become my shaving horse, some I’ll try bowl-carving upon. The rest will be riven, planked, turned or chopped for firewood. I’ve just taken delivery of some proper greenwood tools, including a carving axe, a carpenter’s axe, a small adze, a drawknife and a carving chisel, so I can have some fun with those when Tony visits. 

I’ve been offered a huge oak trunk by one of Kevin’s mates. Too heavy for my truck to lift, it would have to be planked on site. I have no idea how much to offer for the thing. I guess I should go take a look at its quality first.

Treesponsibility are closing down planting for the season, soon, and are just popping in from time to time to tidy up. They have left a couple of hundred spare saplings, mainly ash, that I’d like to find a place for. Chris and I planted an avenue beside the new back track as a buffer, protecting the hazel from wayward timber. Ash is good to train, so I’m looking for sites and inspiration for arbors etc.

Most of the sheep are out, now. I collared the shepherd and his dog last week and they rounded up a dozen or so. I think the blighters were just discovering how to strip the protective tubes from the saplings. The success rate for the saplings must be above 95%; it’s wonderful to see the tubes filling with leaves and the first few peeping out of the tops.

Monica is in Tod, this afternoon, at her second bee-keeping course. This one is presented by a guy who doesn’t believe in conventional methods like smoke or feeding. Monica has other advisers but this guy is Incredible Edible’s friend.

My task for this arvo is to peen my scythe. A bit daunting but, as it’ll take about six passes the first time, I should have the muscle memory by the time it’s done. The grass around the farm is already knee-deep so I’d best get some mowing skills, quickly.

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