Monday 31 October 2022

Young Woodworker!

When my boy comes into the workshop with a gleam in his eye I know he has an idea to make something. 

 Yesterday it was a tractor. 

Sunday 30 October 2022

No MiLK TODAY - A Channel You Really Have To Watch!

Hugh from English Country Life recommended a channel to me the other day and I have to say I'm completely hooked. 

 It's about a guy who is going to try to be self sufficient for a year just living on what he can produce on his smallholding. He's allowing himself tap water and salt, not much (although I can't completely get why he is having salt!)! 

Saturday 29 October 2022

October Walkabout!

Another Video!  This time it's a simple video walking around our homestead. 

I try to show what we've been up to in the garden, orchard, coppice and other areas. Also show the growth on the hedge we planted a couple of years ago. 

Let me know if you watch it and if you like this style of video. 

What would you like to see videos on?

Thursday 27 October 2022

My Articles In Magazines This Month

 I thought I'd try to be better at self promotion (don't snigger at that back), so here is my magazine articles this month. 

In Woodcarving magazine I make a carved magic wand, with a lattice handle. 

In Woodturning magazine I make a little honey dipper, a good project to do with small offcuts. 

In Woodworking Crafts I show how I make my harvest baskets. 

Today I've been making another project for a future article and have many more in the pipeline. I'm really looking forward to seeing my carved wooden chest in print!

Tuesday 25 October 2022

LEAKING For 20 YEARS!!! Repairing a floor.

 I had a message the other day from a friend who I work with quite often asking if I'd help with a job. And a picture of a very damp looking chipboard floor. 

As the Etsy stuff hasn't been selling at it's usual level lately (I'm guessing Government turmoil and cost of living are hammering my sales) I agreed to it. 

It was pretty bad! We stripped back the lino to expose the chipboard. The floor was on top of a concrete slab, a layer of plastic then 2 inches of polystyrene insulation, then chipboard then a layer of lino. 

Sunday 23 October 2022

Mistakes In the Polytunnel (again)!!!

Well, it's my third season in there and I'm still making the same mistakes! 

The biggest one being just how much I try to squeeze in there! 

Saturday 22 October 2022

Achocha - Vegetable Hedgehog?

I give lots of talks on to garden clubs on different subject. One of my favourites to give is about Unusual Fruit and Vegetables, I love that there is so much out there you can eat that people just haven't heard about. 

My first talk on unusual fruit and veg (I have three now) is one I must have given at least 50 times. I love giving it and it's become very much an act I do. I know it's a good talk and I receive lots of brilliant feedback about it.  

Thursday 20 October 2022

Sycamore Rolling Pin

Searching through my woodpile the other day I found a knotty blank of sycamore. 

My first thought was just to cut it up, get it on the fire and right it off. 

But I'd been speaking to a very good woodturner about skew chisels and I decided that I should use this as a perfect bit of practice to keep my skills sharp.

Wednesday 19 October 2022

Are Nasturtiums The Best Companion Plant?

We all grow companion plants, either by accident or by design. I think that by having a good selection of plants you give your garden the best possible chance of thriving. 

So inside my kitchen garden I squeeze in as many plants as I can, making sure that even though some aren't a food crop they have another purpose (like French marigolds around my tomatoes).

Monday 17 October 2022

Pizza Night (Cooked In Our Earth Oven)

So with my middle daughter turning nine at the weekend, she had a little party and a few friends over for a sleepover. 

 Part of me was dreading it (these girls sure do like to talk) but they were so well behaved it was very easy. 

For tea she had asked for pizza in the pizza oven. So me and the Boy fired it up around 2.30 to get it hot enough to cook 8 pizzas on. 

Saturday 15 October 2022

Another Birthday Cake...

 The years seem to slip past. My Middlest turns nine. I can hardly believe it. 

She wanted to bake her own birthday cake this year. So she baked the three cakes I needed and I decorated them when she was out. 

It's not my finest work, but it's also no Peppa Pig...

Thursday 13 October 2022

How to Grow Apples Free From disease!

The most common question I get asked at the garden club talks I give are about how to get apple trees to produce fruit with less scab and disease. My answer is one of just trying to create an environment where everything can thrive. a polyculture of different species working together. Is all my fruit perfect? No! But so much of it is and that makes it easy to store naturally.

I'll also be the first to admit that this year has been a bit easier as the dry weather has helped produced some good fruit.

What's your favourite way to produce good apples and fruit? Any secrets?

Wednesday 12 October 2022

How To Build A ToolBox With Simple Tools

On Twitter I asked people what they'd like to see in a video and a few said a toolbox, but using just a few tools rather than my usual array of every tool going (I'm certainly guilty of that, but it is my job!). 

So last week I made up a toolbox using just a few hand tools and a cordless drill and filmed the process. 

Monday 10 October 2022

Natural Apple Storage Tips!

If you've followed this blog for a while you'll no doubt know that I'm slightly obsessed with apples. I'm not quite University challenge level, but I do like to think of them as a subject I know a fair bit about. 
I also love this time of year, harvesting them from trees I planted is just a dream. It's also lovely as I get to harvest them with my children who are also obsessed with fruit (but more about eating it!).

A question I get asked a lot is about apple storage and how I get my apples to keep for so long. Especially when I tell people I can get them to store until June some years. 

Saturday 8 October 2022

Red (?) Cabbage

"Daddy, Why is it called red cabbage when it's purple?"

"Good question son, good question..."

Answers on a postcard please! 


Thursday 6 October 2022

Pears With Everything

We have a number of pear trees dotted around the place, but this year only one tree, a conference pear, has cropped heavy. 

But then there are enough pears on there to be more than we can eat fresh. So I've been cooking them in any way I can think of. 

We've had pear and apple crumble (which is amazing) and a new one was to have the pears drizzled with honey and balsamic vinegar then roasted. These were incredibly sweet and tasty and one I'll be doing again- it even earnt a "bake-off" style handshake from my middlest child. 

What's your favourite way to have pears?

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. 

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