Tuesday, 4 October 2022

Teaching My Daughter To Fix A Puncture

SO, I'm always looking to teach the kids stuff - even if it's a subject I don't know too much about! 

I think it must be over 20 years since I fixed a puncture in a bike tyre!  

But my eldest daughter was dead keen to fix it with me, so I showed her how to take the wheels off, disconnect the brakes and get the tube out. 

Sunday, 2 October 2022

New Additions (hens) & Egg Rolls

 A friend of dads has a big chicken farm and they sometimes offer us birds when they have their cull to replace with younger birds. These were from a free ranged chicken farm and are very lively and healthy birds! 

We've increased our flock by 6 birds, and I know these will lay better than our Indian Game over winter, which hardly lay at all when the nights draw in. 

Friday, 30 September 2022

What's The Best Chicken Feeder?

I've kept chickens for pretty much my whole life (a few years without when my wife and I bought our first house, but I soon built a chicken pen there as well!) and finding the right chicken feeder has been a surprisingly big deal in that time. 

Why is it such a big deal?

Thursday, 29 September 2022

Comfort Food

 As the nights pull rapidly in I crave comfort food. I'm always a little sad to see summer go and would happily hold onto it for a lot longer yet. But I see the fact I can happily cook the food I'm really good at as a small consolation prise. 

First one this week was shepherds pie. 

Wednesday, 28 September 2022

Making A Simple Kolrosing Knife

 I've been reading about different types of carving. One I'd really like to try is kolrosing, which is where you score patterns in wood then add a pigment (coal, wood ash, etc) then burnish it to close it back up. Kind of like tattooing for wood. 

In my research I saw that although you can just use a normal carving knife it was recommended that a wider angled blade might work better. I looked to buy a knife but they were all wither out of my budget or tricky to import at the moment. 

I decided that rather than spend a lot of money I'd make one out of some HSS I have left over from when I made some turning tools. 

These turning tools have been very useful and I didn't temper them in any way, I think that the light use this knife will get it won't need tempering anyway. 

The HSS is 8mm bar, I first ground a 50 degree bevel on the end, then used the grinder to put the 40 degree knife edge on the end. It doesn't take very long, quench the steel to keep it from getting too hot. 

I never quite grind it to the tip, instead I do that on the whetstone. 

Then I made a really simple handle and put it all together. Then honed it on the leather stropping wheel. 

In the video you can see an example of some very simple kolrosing I tried as a test, but it seems to work well so far. I'm looking forward to trying out some nice patterns with it. 

Have you ever done Kolrosing? 

Or even heard of it as a type of wood decoration?

Sunday, 25 September 2022

I built a Medieval Carved Chest - With The Wrong Wood!

This last week I set myself a tricky project. A carved medieval chest.

I was given the idea by someone I met who was into LARPing (Live Action Role Play), they are always after props and items to make the experience more real. He showed me some of the bits and bobs they have and I saw some chests in the background. I thought it would make a fun project and be a great source of material for an article in Woodcarving magazine (which I try to write for every issue at the moment). 

To keep costs low I carved it out of some brilliant quality pine boards that I have. 

What a mistake that was! 

Friday, 23 September 2022

28 Jars Of Jam Didn't Set! Argh!

I was feeling pretty pleased with myself the other morning, as before 9.30 in the morning I had made 28 jars of damson jam, my favourite jam. 

I was feeling a whole lot less pleased when I came back in later that day and saw that none of it had set! What a disaster! 

Thursday, 22 September 2022

Warner's King - An Underrated Cooking Apple

I know I've posted about this cooking apple before (when we had one that was the same size as my son's head)  but it's such a good cooker it's worth repeating. 

 As I've been trying to add some content to my YouTube channel I thought it might make a good short video to go on there. 

It's a great early (ish) cooking apple that cooks down to a fine fluff. Keeps into the New Year as well which is a great thing with such an early apple. 

What's your favourite early apple?

Tuesday, 20 September 2022

Rodent Damaged Squash!

Few things in the garden feel worst than walking through it to inspect the crops and find this kind of damage - 

The night before they were fine and untouched. 

I'm not sure what has done this overnight but my guess is either rats or squirrels (they could have done it early morning before I got up!). 

I'm gutted. Need to set some traps really and deal with it. 

Anyone else experience much pest damage at the moment?

Share your woes, it won't make me feel better but at least it'll be a problem shared! 


Monday, 19 September 2022

Fixing A Broken Spade Handle

Just before the first Covid lockdown I broke a couple of spades (I try to go too fast and too much at times!) so I ordered some replacement handles and rivets to repair them when I got time. 

My trouble is jobs like that never find time! And so long as I had another spade it was never going to happen. So when my third one started to wobble I thought I should get repairing. 

It's a relatively easy job with only a couple of difficult bits - removing the old broken handle and shaping the new one. 

I filmed myself fitting a new one, no talking, just showing what I did. I have a fork to fix as well so if people would like a longer more explained video I might make one of those later this week. 

As always let me know what you think. If you could leave a comment on my YouTube video it might help other people find it and help me hit the 4,000 watch hours I need to monetise it (which is so far off it's not even funny! lol)  

Anyone else repair their garden tools rather than buy new ones?

Friday, 16 September 2022

Apple Tree Hedge! Cordon Apple Trees.

 I planted my cordon apple trees in 2013 and it's been great watching them grow, pruning them every year and harvesting a lot of very perfect fruit from them. 

It's a great way to get a lot of varieties from a much smaller area. It's also great for pollination as well as looking great when they flower. 

Watch the video (it's only short) and let me know what you think!

Do you have any trained fruit trees? Do you find them a lot of extra work? Or is it just because the work is in the summer that it bothers me?


Wednesday, 14 September 2022

Systainer Sized Router Table

 Lots of videos this week! I made this one a few weeks back alongside an article I was writing for Woodworking crafts magazine. If you want the plans they should be In woodworking Crafts issue 78 (not out yet). 

When I was an apprentice I'd always have a woodworking book or magazine on the go while I ate my break, much to the teasing of the others I'd work with. But I was obsessed. My favourite projects were always the ones where you could build something for your workshop. So it feels really cool to have made and designed this little router table, meeting a set of criteria that was important to me. 

I plan on making an adjustable dust hood for it next that will fit above this and my lathe. Keeping dust out of my lungs has become a huge thing for me since doing more workshop work. 

Anyway, let me know what you think of the video! 

Do you have a router table? Or routers even? I still use the one my parents got me for my 21st birthday pretty much everyday! 

Monday, 12 September 2022

A Tour Of Our Abundant Organic Orchard - In It's 10th year

It's 10 years since we planted the orchard. When we moved here I was digging holes by head torch to get them in and our eldest was just a few weeks old. It's beautiful to walk round it now and see the sheer abundance it provides us with now. 

This video is only short (about 10 minutes), doesn't have me talking and just shows our little orchard in all it's Autumn glory. 

Let me know what you think. 

How has your orchard cropped this year?


Saturday, 10 September 2022

How To Make The Best Traditional Sawhorse

Yesterday I did a online talk for a group of homesteaders and smallholders about woodworking and how is best to start. I had a great time and really enjoyed it!

To accompany this talk I decided to put together a video for what I think is one of the most essential things you can have to make woodworking easier - a way to hold and work wood - a sawhorse. 

A sawhorse is a great way to work wood. It's the ideal height to use your knee and body weight to clamp the wood your working on. A pair of them supports wood easy and can make a useful work bench or hop up. 

This design is the one I built as an apprentice, it's what Andy (the carpenter that trained me) said was the best design. You can carry it on your shoulder up a ladder, set it tight up against a wall and balance all your weight on the very edge without it tipping. 

The best bit is to make it uses no fancy geometry to make it. There's a simple set of rules to set it out, using imperial measurements. It's 2'6" long, set it 6" in and 1/2" all round. I explain all in the video below!

It's a simple project, uses very few tools and once you have built it all other woodworking projects (where you're using hand tools) become easier. I love them, take at least one on pretty much every job I go on. the old ones I use have been on so many jobs, up roofs, laid floors, helped make kitchens, helped me saw thousands of pieces of wood over the last 20 years.

Watch the video and let me know what you think. 

Do you have and use a sawhorse? What style of one do you have?

Friday, 9 September 2022

Moving Firewood

 It's that time of year - the air has the Autumnal feel and it makes me think of the fact we'll be lighting the fire soon. 

We have plenty of seasoned firewood but there was a few loads down the field that needed bringing up closer to the house. 

A good job for the kids.

Wednesday, 7 September 2022

How To Make a Tin Can Storage Rotator

A few years ago I made a Tin can storage rotator for our old pantry
This worked great but when I built the extension and built a new pantry we just didn't have the wall space for it. I cut the door into two and sold the separate halves and decided to build some modular units instead. When I built them I built them with the idea to make a jig to make the job easy to repeat and with the aim of selling them. 

Since then I've built dozens of the units. I have them in my pantry, my brother has them in his kitchen and I've sold them all over the country and had great feedback from everyone that uses them. 

Downside is that since the timber price increases due to Covid and other issues they've not become very viable to make, or not at a price that would sell. They're also not the most fun thing in the work to make either! So in the spirit of being nice I've made a video showing how I came about the design and how to make the jigs to make them. 

Even if someone makes something completely different I hope that the video will help someone overcome a problem or see a different way of solving a food storage issue. 

Also if you could do me a favour - Could you subscribe to my YouTube channel if you haven't already, I could do with crossing the 1000 follower threshold that YouTube has in place, it would be much appreciated. 

How do you store your tin cans in your pantry?

Monday, 5 September 2022

Should I Get Another (free) Greenhouse?

 I've been offered another greenhouse. 

A friend wants to get rid of the one in his garden, it is an 8ft x 6ft one and about 50 years old. Built solid, but with his lads football passion it worries him too much, so he's replacing it with a shed. The downside is they have no side access to their garden, so the chances are it will have to be dismantled and then resembled at my place. I was hoping we could lift it out in one piece and put it on my trailer! 

My plan is to move my smaller greenhouse (which is this size) as the base has rotted out, then put in two lots of footings to have the three greenhouses in a row together. I think I might just use this greenhouse as a good way to get early strawberries with a large, raised, U shaped bed full of strawberry plants. 

What do you think? Or am I too far down the self sufficiency rabbit hole and my existing two greenhouses and a polytunnel is enough?

Saturday, 3 September 2022

Japanese Wineberry Syrup

 We've left our "little" patch of Japanese Wineberries pretty much alone for the last 5 or so years and they've thrived on our neglect. 

So much so we can acutally harvest enough to do other things with rather than just eat fresh. 

Tuesday, 30 August 2022

Low cost clothes drying (but not for every house)

Now obviously every house and situation is different. I know that, but it's hard to get across on a tweet. But for us it has been a great money saving device we have used pretty much every day we've been here, summer, winter, whenever we can. 

 Now obviously it can put damp in your house, but we have two log burners so winter heat is never much of a problem, but a modern central heated house might struggle a bit. When a fire is going it'll generally dry a load of washing in a day, as the heat rushes up into this space. So if I keep on top of it I can have it on rotation. My problem is always putting the washing away to be honest! 

Who else dries their clothes like this?

Sunday, 28 August 2022

Passionate Young Cook

Each month we get our Middlest a cooking magazine. She's very passionate about it so it's great to feed into that passion just a little bit. 

When this months issue turned up she was so excited as it had a free spice packet with it and a recipe to use it on. 

Friday, 26 August 2022

This Months Magazines

Loved seeing my articles in three magazines this month! 

They're all step by step articles (except an extra page for an obituary for my woodturning mentor Chris Eagles) 

I'd carved a pair of Gnocchi paddles for Woodcarving Magazine, Turned a magic wand for Woodturning magazine and for Woodworking Crafts I split and hewn some yew logs to make a gate. 

I can't quite believe I've filled two folders of magazine articles now. I've got some fun projects for articles coming up as well! 

What how-to woodworking articles would you like to see me tackle?

Wednesday, 24 August 2022

Harvest Basket

 I love making the products I do for sale. I put a serious amount of effort into designing them and I'm never afraid to tweak that design as I go along. 

I look at the following to make a good product - 

I want it to be functional - it has to do the job it's supposed to do

I want it to be durable - I want people to have my products for many years

I want it to look great - no one is going to buy it unless it looks amazing. 

I want it to be an effective use of timber - It needs to use the timber I have effectively (this is often why I'll list one off items or odd sizes, to make the most of what I have). 

It has to be able to be posted - If its a product I sell then I need to be able to ship is easily without damage

It has to be store well while I'm awaiting sales. 

For a few years I made a lot of Harvest baskets to sell. These always did really well for me, built from reclaimed pine they ticked all the boxes above, unfortunately for a while I was unable to get the timber and storage was tricky as they're quite big items to have sat waiting to sell. So I shelved the design and concentrated on a few other products to keep me busy. 

Having got a load of reclaimed wood the other day I decided to make up some batches of baskets again, both the size in this post and the other two sizes I make. This size is the one I use the most myself, I have three of them and use them for everything in the garden when produce is concerned, but my favourite thing is to hang them from the ceiling for stuff to dry. 

This latest batch I've made 10 baskets and it was when I went to put them away I was really pleased with with a part of the design that is just for me - they interlock in storage! Meaning I can store more of them in a smaller space. 

I'm hopeful these will sell in the run up to Christmas and the following spring. Find the listing here - Harvest Basket or contact me via email. 

What type of gardening item would you like to see me make? Maybe I'll end up making it and you can have the prototype! 

Monday, 22 August 2022

Sales Go Quiet in Summer (for me anyway)

The number of years I've been making garden products for sale I always experience a slump in the summer. When it's hot and dry I guess the last thing people want to be thinking of is buying things for their garden. 

My peak times are Christmas (and for a few weeks afterwards when hints dropped weren't picked up on) and the spring. 

Click the picture to be taken to my Etsy shop with my range of garden tool boxes, baskets, boxes and trays!

Most summers that means I fall back on more traditional carpentry, going off and working on peoples houses or making commissions. This year I've decided to hold my nerve and make extra stock for Christmas, with the hope of having every item I make to sell around that time. 

Click the picture to go straight to my new mini tool boxes - I got the idea for these in a museum in Wales. 

But to invest time and lots of money in timber now does involve a bit of faith in hoping people will still want to buy my items! Especially if we slip into recession like is predicted. I was blown away this weekend where I tweeted about my concerns and I was rewarded with 8 sales! I couldn't quite believe that a tweet could do so much! 

So for the next few months I'm going to concentrate on building the stock of my key items and make sure I have lots of other unique products to sell as well. I also have a lot of magazine articles to write so some of the items from them might be for sale soon as well.  

Do you ever make things for sale? How do you decide how much stock to make of one item?

Friday, 19 August 2022

Doomer Optimism

 So a while ago I got asked if I was interested in giving a lecture in homesteading woodwork as part of a homestead economics course. It would be online, need to cover some basics (tools techniques etc) as well as some projects for people to complete. 

I jumped at the chance, I've learnt not to turn opportunities down like this as you never know what will come from them. I also thought it sounded like fun. The lecture is to be 90 minutes long and you can find out more about it here. 

I also got asked if I'd like to go on a podcast to talk about the lecture and about my opinions on things. I've not been on a podcast before so I was surprisingly nervous before it. I certainly fluffed up a few questions (especially when it got the politics one), but hopefully I came out okay! Certainly passionate about what I do. 

I've added the YouTube link above here, but you can find it on some podcast players as well. 

Let me know how you think I did! 
Afterwards I was annoyed at myself for not saying things better, or for getting the wrong end of the stick with the politics one, but when it's live it's tricky and surprisingly hard to keep focused, think I derailed my own answers more than once! 

Monday, 15 August 2022

Japanese Wineberries Are A Favourite

It's rare that the children pick favourites when it comes to the fruit we grow, they seem to love everything, but the Japanese wineberry harvest has become a time of year they all look forward to! 

I often talk about this fruit on my unusual fruit & vegetable talk, saying how loved it is, how easy it is to grow and how the birds tend to leave the fruit alone (so far). I end the talk saying that if there is one thing to grow from the 30 or so I've described then this is it. I even love the striking red stems in winter, the only thing to do is make sure you keep control of it as it likes to grow where the tips touch the ground. 

The wineberry is also a fruit where the name perfectly describes the taste, a slightly winey tasting berry, slightly sticky in your hands as well. 

My eldest had a friend over the other day for a playdate and they spent a long time picking these fruits in the one huge patch we have. We didn't see many of the fruits head towards the house though! But both girls seemed very happy with their choice of activity. 

Anyone else love these red berries? 

Saturday, 13 August 2022

Victoria Plum

When we moved here a decade ago I planted fruit trees straight away, I wanted an orchard as soon as possible. 10 years on some of these trees have thrived and some haven't. I've added many more since that first planting and I'd say we have well over 100 apple trees dotted around the place, plums I was a bit slower to put in. I have only one that is ten years old as the other (a early transparent gage) died last year unfortunately.  

I have tried to fill the gaps in my plum crop where I can, adding many more trees over the years. We now have a young cherry plum hedge that is slowly growing, dotted with more Victoria plums, and I have added the widest selection of plums in the orchard that I could find to try to spread the season.  I have also planted as many damson and bullaces as I can as well to do the same. 

 Alas, most are yet to fruit. My old Victoria has given us a few this year though. I think it's a plum that takes some beating, like a Conference pear, it really is the best of the lot. 

This tree is grown above the bantam pen, and is netted so quite hard to get at the fruit, but it is worth it. Few things compare to a freshly picked plum straight from the tree, the taste of summer in a fruit. 

Do you have a fruit that you have planted a number of varieties to spread the harvest? What's one fruit you wish you could grow year round, or that grows in a climate different to your own?

Thursday, 11 August 2022

Almost Daily Harvest Of Courgettes (Zucchini)

Courgettes seem to attract hate for what a prolific vegetable they are. They are one of the reliable crops where a few plants will keep you in fruits for months so long as you keep picking them. 

 We have just a few plants this year and they are producing so much for us. I'm picking this handful of small fruits pretty much every other day at the moment. The trick, of course, is not to turn your back for too long, otherwise they'll be the size of your arm before you know it. 

We love them in a variety of ways, but often sliced thinly in a simple salad, or fried with garlic. Ones I occasionally miss get stuffed or thrown to the chickens as a welcome snack. 

What's your favourite use for this great veggie? Or do you dread the glut?

Tuesday, 9 August 2022

Onion Harvest

I always see onions as one of the least profitable crops to grow, I mean a huge bag can still be bought for pence, but they are hugely satisfying to have growing in the garden. 

They look incredible as they grow and it's awesome to have your own onions to add to chutneys and preserves. I love when they are ready to harvest and the tops fold over. 

This year I had planted a load from seed in January, but in the end a friend gave me three bags of sets after buying a job lot of mixed ones. I put these in fairly late, although started them in modules. 

Other than watering them in I haven't watered them at all even in this dry summer we've been having. I did add plenty of manure before planting and I put the already started sets through plastic. I think that planting through woven plastic with burnt holes helps lock in the moisture and reduces weeding. I know people are trying to use less plastic but I've had some of these sheets for many years now and they're showing no signs of breaking down yet. 

I see many adopting No-Dig practices, but if you're having to buy in bagged compost them there is a heavy plastic cost there as well. I tried a no-dig bed this year and it wasn't great, I think mainly because the compost I used wasn't great, it puts your reliance on others producing soemthign you can use if you need a lot of it.

I hope to get my composting area remade this autumn as I've just ripped out all the rotting pallets I had been using.

 How was your onion harvest. This year for me I had some great onions, the reds I was particularly impressed with considering they normally bolt on a normal year,  but I also had many small ones that didn't grow at all. A very mixed bag.

I keep trying to work out the areas I need for us to be self sufficient in alliums, but I think the problem with onions is storing them well. More shallots next year - the true keepers! 

How do you store your onions? How many do you grow to see you through the year (or how long do your own onions last?)

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

Tomatoes Just Starting

It's easily my favourite harvest of the year. I love when the tomatoes start to come in. 

 For the last week or so we've been harvesting a handful every few days.

They're worlds apart from anything you'd buy at the supermarket. The kids go mad for them (there has already been tears as one child cut one in half and didn't end up with the bigger half). 

The tunnel is a mess though and I need to give it a serious pruning back! 

Who else has tomatoes as one of their favourite harvests? Is there anything else that tastes more of summer?

Friday, 29 July 2022

Preserving As A Social Activity

 One thing I mention a lot when I give my talks on preserving is how much I think it should be a social activity. It's far nicer to share the tasks and the harvests, it creates community, strengthens friendships and is just a down right productive use of your time. 

I'm lucky as I have a few friends that I can share this passion with. 

This week I did some of the social preserving I preach. My friend Lauren, who farms cherries and apricots, messaged me to say they had lots of fruit in need of preserving and did I fancy an afternoon working through it. 

Monday, 25 July 2022

I Have A Pressure Canner!

 I've finally done it and purchased a pressure canner!

It's something I've been talking about for over 5 years so it's great to finally own one.

Tuesday, 19 July 2022

Taking Stock - Roger Morgan-Grenvillle - Book Review

I got asked a while a go on twitter if I fancied reading a new book coming out. There was no ties or conditions with it, so I agreed (after all my book addiction is only slightly cheaper than my problem with tools).

This one was Taking Stock - A journey among cows, by Roger Morgan-Grenville.  

It's funny timing as I've been listening to a lot of books while I work wood about writing, my other passion. One book I'm listening to is about the genre of "creative non-fiction" and I don't think I could pick a more perfect book that illustrates what that is than this one. The book is beautifully written and talks about the history of cows and their future in the 21st century woven in a story of a man trying to learn and experience more in the subject.

I found the way it was done was very compelling, he worked on a cattle farm while writing it, gaining first hand experience, as well as traveling around the country to find out more and what ends up on the page is easily digested. 

The history of the cow I found particular fascinating and there is some real soundbites I can pull from the book about how we've changed animals over time, one stayed with me - "Apart, perhaps, from the wolf, no animal has been asked to undergo so much change on man's behalf as the cow"

He also talks about the villainization of the cow and yet how important it has been to some rewilding projects. He talks about our hunger for beef but advocates self control over moving away from eating it completely. He talks about these conflicts and how it's not the cow's fault, they never deserved to live in the unnatural conditions some live in now. 

Basically he talks a lot of sense. 

If you have interest in the food system around you and it's future, in the history of our food and animals then I'd recommend this book as a great read. Well written and well rounded. 

Thursday, 14 July 2022


 It's funny how the hot days of July can almost make you completely forget about the cold of winter, not that the one we just had was particularly bad. 

But I think a lot about winter during these hot days. I think about the abundance of summer and about preserving food for winter and spring. Of course this is still on a small scale, and would not be enough to see us through, but it all helps. 

July brings lots of soft fruit. Just two years ago I put in 10 extra gooseberry bushes and 10 blackcurrants and they have produced in abundance this year. It's incredible how much they have cropped. 

The gooseberries have been super sweet and perfect for snacking on raw (the kids take them to school as snacks). But I have also used some to flavour a vodka liqueur and put some with salt to create their own brine to make a salty and sharp berry that I'll then dehydrate. Some have gone into the freezer to be used later as well. 

I've kept on with the canning. Using the water bath method I have canned 15 jars of gooseberries to sit beautifully on my shelf and be used for pies and crumbles later on. 

The children have also used them for baking. I came in the other night and the boy was top and tailing some while his sister made a banana muffin recipe - gooseberries to be used in the place of chocolate! 

Sharp and sweet at the same time, they go amazingly well in baking. It makes me wonder why they have fallen out of favour over the years? Is it the processing time of topping and tiling them? Or have tastes changed so they're too sharp for most modern palettes? These cakes were incredible and we'll be making them again! 

I have about 3kg left that I've just picked this morning, it's the last of them and I think they'll end up in the dehydrator for long term storage. I love them like this, they taste like super sharp sweets and are very moreish! 

What's your favourite use for gooseberries?

Tuesday, 5 July 2022

On Another Magazine Cover - Woodworking Crafts issue 75!

 Each month I get sent the magazines I have articles in. I look forward to opening the envelope and seeing my article in there (which I later cut out and keep in a folder). 

But I was utterly surprised when I opened it yesterday to pull out the most recent copy of Woodworking Crafts to find myself on the cover! 

In this issue I'd written a piece about making the rose arch for my garden and without telling me they'd put one of the pictures on the front cover! I was gobsmacked! I have to admit to quite liking this picture, I look like a proper woodworker! 

Two magazines in the newsagents with my mug on at the same time! What an honour! 

Friday, 1 July 2022

On The Cover Of Wood Carving Magazine!

Okay, So it's not the cover of Vogue but I was pretty excited to see myself on the cover of Woodcarving Magazine this month! 

I've been writing for them for a while now and when I got asked if I'd be keen to be the guest editor for a month I jumped at the chance. I got to write the welcome page, interview a carver (managed to get Chris Pye to say yes which I was super excited about), as well as a review and an article about making carved butter moulds. 

I was walking on cloud nine until my eldest came back from school, looked at it and said "Looks like you're sucking a sweet!" then flicked the page over where she knew she was in the magazine! Good to have them keep me grounded. 

I really enjoy writing for magazines and this is one I used to buy 20 years ago when I was an apprentice. I have well over 50 articles published now in a variety of magazines but write regularly for Wood carving magazine, Wood turning magazine, Woodcraft magazine and Country Smallholding. I love that it helps make up the weird and wonderful way I can make a living! 

I think starting blogging over a dozen years ago helped me get to this point with writing, although I very much still need my wife for proof reading! 

I also love writing fiction and I'm 57,000 words into my first novel (very grim dark though so might not be to the taste of some readers here!). Funny as I always found English so hard growing up and at school. 

If you buy a copy let me know what you think! 

Wednesday, 29 June 2022

Smell of Cedar

 A friend of mine who is a teacher was saying he was teaching a year 4 class about descriptive writing but wanted something unique smelling for them to describe. 

He asked if I had any sandelwood but I suggested some cedar instead. The next morning he called by and I split some from a log. The smell was divine! 

He sent me a picture the next day with a list of the words they came up with. I really loved this. Balsamic is particularly good I think! Nice to think its a small thing to make the school day a little more interesting for a few kids. 

How would you describe freshly cut cedar?

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Lots Of Scouts Stuff

 Just an hour a week they tell you...

Lots of fun scouting things lately. The summer term is often the best one when it comes to being able to have every meeting outside. 

Friday, 17 June 2022

Pizza From The Earth Oven

 I've built a lot of cool things in my time, but one of my favourite projects is the pizza oven. 

My main love it is how much the children love it. You can tell they adore the fact they built it, know how to repair it and make fires in there about once every few weeks to toast marshmallows. It's just a natural way of cooking but somehow cleverer than that. 
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