Wednesday 30 November 2022

Small Scale Production - Medium Harvest Baskets

I took a picture on Tuesday that I thought really showed some of the small scale production I do. 

This is all the wooden parts for making 12 baskets. Each basket has 9 bits (so 108 total) and they have to be oiled individually to make sure they're properly coated. Making things in batches like this keeps things moving, but can be a little boring! I listen to a good book in my headphones or a podcast. 

The baskets will get assembled tomorrow before being listed to hopefully get sold (some are already pre ordered) before I move on to the next thing to batch out and make. Making in batches like this keeps the quality high and I become surprisingly efficient with movements to do each job. 

When you have to make a number of items do you prefer to batch out the jobs? Or spread it out to prevent it from becoming monotonous?

Monday 28 November 2022

Christmas Gift Ideas For Gardeners

I sometimes need to do a bit of shameless self promotion and this is one of those times! I made a short (3 minute) video showing some of the products I make here in my little workshop at the foot of the Malverns. 

I love that I get to make this stuff. I try to build everything as well as I can, use the right materials and have items that will last many years. 

Sunday 27 November 2022

Fitting Worktops

I feel very lucky that in my life I often blur the lines between work and pleasure. On the whole I enjoy what I do.

It never stretches as far fitting kitchens though! Not because it's particularly hard, more because nothing ever goes right. I dread to think how many kitchens I've fitted over the years, some very grand, some not, but I'm fairly sure I have never fitted one where everything was supplied correctly, except the two I build from scratch (our own and my brothers). 

Friday 25 November 2022

Horses In The Polytunnel Until Spring

No, not that type of horse! 

Pure Carpentry horses here (and a peening pony). I hate seeing them outside in the rain but don't have enough space in my already packed out workshop to store them. Instead I thought I'd overwinter them in the tunnel. 

In the picture I have my Spoon mule, a peening pony (for my scythe blades) and a shave horse (used in a number of videos and articles), I also put my old sawhorse in there as well. 

I plan to get the other half of the tunnel cleared out in the next week or so. Then I have some oak beams I want to dry off before I build a little lean-to over the boiler. They've been sat out for so long if I don't do something with them soon I never will. I figure the polytunnel will be a nice place to work over winter for a few jobs anyway. 

Anyone else use their polytunnel/hoop house for other purposes?


Wednesday 23 November 2022

Stressed Rocket/Arugula

This weekend, the Boy and I planted out the last of the plug plants I started a at the tail end of summer. 

The Rocket (arugula across the pond) looked particularly stressed. The red leaves in the tray are a sure giveaway. I tried to plant them one seed per module but you know what it's like. Never quite works out like that! 

Monday 21 November 2022

Young Wood Turner - Only 6 Years Old!

 I've had my youngest on the lathe a few times to make a few different items, but normally I'm holding the tool with his hands under mine. Guiding where he cuts. 

This time I set him up on his beer crate he uses for carving and got him going so he was in full control of the tool. 

Saturday 19 November 2022

Old Fashioned Pastry Crimper

A while back, when we were on holiday in Wales, I saw an old pastry crimper in a manor house. 

When I saw it I wondered how they made that fine crimped wheel and decided I had to make one myself to see how it was done. 

 In the end I made two, as the first was such hard work. The second was easy though! Watch the video to find out more and to see how I did it. 

Let me know what you think! Have you ever made anything like this before? How do you think they made it in the past?

Friday 18 November 2022

Winter Salad Garden

 Winter salads bed growing slowly in the greenhouse. Pak choi, lambs lettuce, spring onions, rockets, might be all in a bit late (although have a bit of growth behind them), but we'll see how they do.

I've also put some in the polytunnel as well. Even if they don't do well this winter they should romp away come early spring (if I can keep the slugs off them until then).

How is everyone doing with winter greens?

Wednesday 16 November 2022

Scouting Family

 It was nice to attend Remembrance Sunday all together. It was also a good opportunity to get a picture of us all looking quite smart together. 

The kids are so proud to be scouts and all love it. My Middlest held the flag for the cubs. All the Beaver scouts from our group stood perfectly for the service, which is amazing as some of them are only just 6 years old, and it's great to all be there, the village always has such a good turn out. 

Monday 14 November 2022

Electric Daisies

I watched an old video back the other day and I thought to myself it was quite static and a little stilted. It was on one of my favourite unusual edibles to grow though - the Electric Daisy! 

 It's such a fun one to grow and feed people as they walk around my garden. It's also in my first unusual fruit and veg talk and saved until the last slide!

So I thought I'd redo the video on it and try to inject a bit more of my personality into it (hope that doesn't put you off too much). 

Give it a watch and let me know what you think! It's such a fun plant, numbs your mouth and makes it tingle! 

Have you ever grown them?

Friday 11 November 2022

Chicken Tunnel! My Most Random Build Yet?

Avian flu lockdown is a right pain, the chickens are certainly missing their outside time. 

So I used some of my row protection from the garden to create chicken tunnels to give them extra space. An extra 46ft of run in fact! It's great. 

Watch the video below to see my most random build in ages! 

Let me know what you think! The chickens love it! 

Wednesday 9 November 2022

A Few Unusual Alliums

 I know there are lots of pros and cons when it comes to social media (especially with all that's been going on lately), but I like to think I have a lovely group of friends on there that I chat to (important when you work alone), and share ideas and interests. 

One online friend sent me some unusual alliums for me to plant. He knows I do talks on unusual edibles and enjoy growing them,  so it was really kind of him. 

Monday 7 November 2022

Best Use For Waste Sawdust?

 I like to think there's no real "waste" in my job. I make sure I build things fairly effeciently with the materials I have.

I end up with offcuts, but these are perfect for staring the fire. Some weeks I can produce two or three bins full of offcuts like this, I collect them through the year and we use them all through the colder months. 

Metal, from screws, mesh and other bits, I collect up and it gets taken to the scrap man for recycling. 

The other one is sawdust. 

Sunday 6 November 2022

Canning Windfall Apples

I really hate seeing food waste on the ground, especially when so much effort and years of growth has gone into it. 

We've currently got loads of windfall apples under our trees. Each day I'm throwing some to the chickens, our apple racks are nearly full and we've got lots of dried apple. 

I decided that I would harvest some more and can them for super easy puddings throughout the year! We all love a crumble or a pie and with canned apple it's so easy, just open them up and use them, no need to defrost anything or wait for it to rehydrate. 

Friday 4 November 2022

Crap Taxidermy

 We went to visit my sister and her partner last week because they've had twins! It was a lovely day and we all fell in love with the new additions to the family. 

As they live near Manchester we decided to break up the drive home with a stop to a museum in Stoke. It was quite odd in some respects, and completely empty, like we'd hired the whole place to ourselves. There was some beautiful things in there and some serious levels of craftsmanship.

There was also a good few bits of crap taxidermy.

These three were the best:- 

This squirrel was bringing new meaning to the term limp wristed. He also struggled to tie his shoelaces...

Wednesday 2 November 2022

Carved Tool Box For Nine Year Old Daughter's Birthday

I shared this on social media the other day but never got round to writing a blog post.  

A few weeks back it was my Middlest's birthday. Nine years old! (who can believe it! Some have followed this blog for that long!)

She is such a character and always knows her own mind, is smart, funny and capable. She's good company and fun to be around. 

She wrote a little list of things she'd like for her birthday. None of them major but the top item was there...

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