Rain, rain and more rain

The heroes of Warland said they’d call a meeting, tomorrow, to organise and act. What they mean is that they’ll be looking to blame the water company because they might have deep pockets. For my part, I think I’ll get on with that kerb and some gutters to protect our field walls.

I have to wait for the Finance Officer, and I can’t be sure when she’ll get to study the business case. She’s in Ireland, supporting a school-friend whose mother is dying. Because of the intensity of the situation and the punitive mobile phone charges, communication is minimal so I’ll have to get on with things here that have already got budget approval.

My current focus is still out in the fields, tidying brash, fixing fences and planting spare trees. With the rain, it has been slow going. I’ve been watching old Jack Hargreaves clips on YouTube to learn how to use my new tools and what to do with my growing pile of timber products. I have about thirty, feather-light cypress poles of 3–6 metres, two tons of cherry, birch, beech and cypress logs, and piles of brash in all flavours. I’m thinking: a tipi, a bender, some thin board for a beehive, besom brooms, hurdles, pimps and faggots. At my rate of work, this small pile will take me all season to process, meaning the first coppice-load will last me years. Also, Kevin has found me a 2mØ x 7m oak trunk which I’d love to get a mobile mill to but which I think its owner expects big bucks for. The Internet’s consensus is that a hundred quid is tops because of the cost of processing, even into firewood. Kevin thinks we can hand-saw it; I said I’m happy to buy a two-man rip saw but he has to be the guy in the pit. I don’t think he has any idea how bad that would be.

My scything course was, of course, cancelled so I’ll have to learn on the job when my new, European scythe arrives. I’ve already trialled my £10, antique pitch-fork on the brash and it’s great for getting stuff up into a big pile. If it wasn’t for the rain, all that cypress rubbish would probably have self-combusted, by now.

A current brain-teaser is what to do about a woodwork bench. I’d like to build my own—I have a few designs—but buying one like Tony’s would get me going quicker and probably be no dearer. Or I could try to snag one on eBay, though it’d probably need a ton of work to get it flat. I’m sending out messages to The Universe for help; with luck, some old tool-maker nearby will decide to donate his to a good cause. Maybe I should price up some beech to help me decide. There’s a good timber supplier in Halifax. I don’t have time to wait for my own to season!

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