Monday 3 January 2022

Idiot Stick

 I'll do some proper posts soon - things have been busy with Christmas and I have lots of magazine articles to write as well (not that I'm complaining - I love doing those) 

Today was a lovely calm day before my wife goes back to work tomorrow. I decided to start teaching my eldest daughter some axe skills. 

Just simple splitting of some kindling. In the end she filled two chicken feed bags, so she took one round to our elderly neighbours and put one in the woodshed for us to use. You could tell she was super proud of herself and also the fact she could carry the whole sack full - my neighbour even messaged me to say he couldn't believe she carried all that! 

The main aim of making her do this was to get her used to the axe, which also means she'll be better with a hammer as well, improving her aim. Also some important lessons about safety, using an "Idiot Stick" to keep her hands well away from the cutting edge, a high chopping block so her posture is correct. If she does this fairly often she'll be a pro without even seeing the journey. 

Whilst we were out there we fired up the pizza oven as I needed a few more pictures for some magazine articles. Not only that we all fancied pizza! I'm getting better with it but I still always burn the first few! I have a few pizza peels for sale if anyone would like a pair (click the link here), these are wooden ones used for preparing the dough and pizza and then slipping it in the oven - the metal one shown here is ideal for moving it about once it's in the oven. 

Can't wait to use the oven more in the summer, I've been impressed with how little wood it uses to get to a good cooking temperature. I think it's a good thing to use it through the winter at intervals as it stops it drawing in too much moisture and getting damp. I plan to harvest some of our willow coppice to be fuel for the oven, as I think it will be great to fuel it with wood from our plot, hopefully the children will make up some faggots of the brash wood to heat the oven quickly. 

Anyone else been cooking outside lately?


  1. Kev, in Iai we train with wooden swords - bokuto - for many of the same reasons (and safety too, of course): learning control and placement of the hands and edge is far more easy with a wooden weapons that with a sharp one.

    And many congratulations to your daughter on the efforts!

    1. I did a bit of aikido we used wooden swords and staffs. I often think the staff would be the best to train with!
      This was great to watch her build confidence, she kept at it for a long time, I hope for her to do this regularly.

  2. Good Girl! She'll also learn how to take care of the tools if she's the one to use them. (Also, good job Dad for taking the time to teach her!)

    1. Yeah, care of tools is just as important. She has some of her own tools already and has just asked for a pen knife.


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