Wednesday, 29 March 2023

Caring For You Wooden Potting Tray

Okay, so this video isn't for everyone - it's for people that have purchased a potting tray from me in the last few years. I want everyone to get the longest life possible from them so I put together some care instructions. All you need is a brush, a cotton rag, some linseed oil and some gloves. It takes about 10 minutes tops, and is really worth doing.

Thank you to anyone that has purchased an item from me. It makes the world of difference to us as a family and to my little business.

You can view all the ones available for purchase by clicking here.

Sunday, 26 March 2023

Maker Of Fine Wooden Garden Items

 The last few weeks I've been working really hard to increase my stock levels of all the items I sell (as well as the more unusual one off items I sometimes make and sell). 

I'm trying to make sure I have a full range of products out there, including different sizes and types of tool boxes, 3 different wire bottomed baskets and potting trays in 5 different sizes

There are a few items that I end up making a lot less on, but I enjoy making and think they're a quality product. They also help to complete the range of items I make. I'm trying to see myself more as a "brand" than a small manufacturer. 

One of those is my seed boxes, I do these in two sizes and sometimes in reclaimed materials as well as the carved fronts. I'm currently making a batch with the carved fronts to them, all the carving is done by hand. This helps me be a better craftsman and also has a lovely handmade feel to it. 

Hopefully I'll be able to list these boxes for sale by the end of the week. I need to slice them all open now, add the hinges and dividers, then give them a coat of Danish oil to finish them. Once that's done I have some magazine article work to do and then more stock to make! 

What item would you like to see me make and stock in my shop?

Friday, 24 March 2023

A Month In - Dealing With Type 1 Diabetes

So it's been a month. 

That's two lots of Libre 2 sensors, twice I've had to hold my daughter down as I fix it on to her arm. 3 empty insulin cartridges, countless needles, lots of sensor checks and lots and lots of dips in blood sugar levels with the accompanying spikes. 

I have described trying to figure out the insulin for her levels like being a safe cracker, only the combination keeps changing on the safe.

Initially we were chatting to the hospital (who have been great) every time we were adjusting her carb to insulin ratio (for the fast acting insulin). But we have been given the go ahead to start tweaking things ourselves, adjusting what's given very carefully. It's funny as she has a real handle on it and will chat to me about what she thinks the ratios should be as well. I'm keen to promote this as it's something she's going to have to get used to. 

It's interesting as we can plan for certain things, like we keep her breakfast insulin slightly higher, so we know her blood sugar will drop in the morning, but that means she can have a mid morning snack without having additional insulin. 

So far I'm still going into school each day to give her an injection for lunch. I'm hopeful she's going to make the jump soon and inject herself. We've said we can talk about pumps when she does and also that will mean a phone - something I'm not keen on her having but will be essential and is kind of essential now anyway as she needs quicker contact with me. 

At least I work from home and school is only a mile away. It's been nice to see her at lunch time and to have a little glance into her class each day - I must say they all seem to be working hard when I look in! A lot of the kids know me (from scouts and running the play group a few years back), so I always get lots of "hello Kev" which is nice as well. 

I've adjusted my working day a little bit to fit in. Obviously I can't do my casual carpentry work on site at the moment like I sometimes do (repair work for an estate normally), so it's been workshop work all the way. I've been having lunch earlier so I have it just as soon as I get back. This means I do have to alter my "lunch dates" with my dad as we will both often have our lunch "together" and just chat on the phone while we both eat, even though we're a county apart. Hopefully this won't go as it's something I really enjoy and helps keep us close. 

My daughter has been a little star, she doesn't seem to let it bother her. Although that said she is always fairly stoic when it comes to showing her emotions! She seems to be her happy self, she doesn't enjoy the injections or having the sensors fitted, and who can blame her, but it's a small part of the day in the grand scheme of things. Snacks are a bit of a problem and she has been woken by her alarm in the night and dealt with it herself by taking the sugar needed. 

She was incredible when she started back at school, her teacher came to me and said that she just came in as normal and dealt with all her diabetes stuff like it was something she'd always been doing. She's had a lot of sudden drops which she's dealt with instantly and in a way that hasn't over corrected and gone too high. She chats openly about it with me (and her mum) and looks at the graphs with us as we try to figure out what we can change to make it all more level and stable. As well as figuring out the right type of food and snacks for her as well. 

It's early days yet, the initial shock is gone, now it's just a constant background of work to try to keep things as normal as possible for her (and her siblings) and try to prepare for the bumps in the road we know are going to be coming. 

Thursday, 23 March 2023

Making & Kolrosing A Felling Axe Handle

A while back, in the bleak mid winter (around January) I had an idea for a magazine article, I wanted to do some more kolrosing and try it out on an axe handle.

Of course I could have bought a handle and tried it on that. Instead I thought I'd make the handle from scratch and renovate an old axe head back into service. My friend found me an old 6lb felling axe that had been hung the wrong way round (for use as a sledge hammer I think). 

So I removed the old handle, tidied up the head, gave it a sharpen, then made a new handle for it from ash. 

Tuesday, 21 March 2023

What To Sow In March

On Sunday the sun was shining and the birds were singing. I decided it was time for a bit of gardening. Nothing too strenuous though, I fancied a bit of seed planting! 

It's one of my favourite things to do, sow seeds and dream about future harvests. 

I decided to film it as well, showing what I was sowing. I still have lots to do and lots of prep in the garden. I need to clean out the polytunnel, clear some garden beds, move muck to fertilise them, build new compost bins, the list goes on! 

But it does feel good to have the time critical jobs done, tomatoes, leeks, kohl rabi, beets and salads sown, all to start growing and feed us. 

Watch the video above and let me know what you're growing and what you think I've forgottem - there's bound to be something!  

Sunday, 19 March 2023

How NOT To Take Down A Damson Tree...

So with winter nearing it's end I still had one more tree job to complete this year - to take down a damson tree and replace it with a pear. 

I planted this tree ten years ago and it has reverted back to it's rootstock and never produced any fruit. So I decided enough was enough and it was time to take it out. I had purchased a Black Worcester Pear to go in it's place, on a big rootstock, so I needed to get a move on before it started to grow where I had healed it in. 

I wanted the pear to go in pretty much where the damson had been though, and I knew if I just cut it down the damson would sucker like mad and throw up lots of shoots. So I took the drastic measure of pushing it out with the digger. 


Hopefully this new tree will establish quickly and grow well. I couldn't quite believe the growth of the damson over the last ten years - you could almost grow that for a timber tree! I've put the trunk and big branches to one side and hopefully I'll make something from it later in the year. Damson is a lovely wood to work with. 

Watch the video above and let me know what you think. 

Friday, 17 March 2023

Automata - Making Wooden Mechanisms

 Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to read our last post and those that got in contact with us. We're going through a period of adjustment but are getting there slowly. 

The week we got back from hospital I had some magazine article deadlines (kindly extended for me as my mind had been on other things). I needed a bit of a lighter woodworking project to occupy me. 

I'd been thinking of trying to make a bit of "automata" for a while (after we visited a great little museum in Stratford for the eldest birthday in January). So as the idea had been in my head so long I decided it was time to make it. 

It was fun and I think I learnt loads from making it. I know I'd approach the project a little differently next time (I'd probably make some mocks out of card first, rather than going off my sketch on the back of an envelope). 

But I filmed the whole process and I think it makes quite an interesting short video. Give it a watch and see my little man trying to chop the chickens head off. Let me know what you think! 

Have you ever made a wooden mechanism like this before? What would you like to me see me make in this type of style?

Sunday, 12 March 2023

The Worst Week Of Our Life - Type 1 Diabetes

So a few weeks ago we had one of the worst weeks of our lives. 

I didn't say anything at the time as I think we were all coming to terms with it (and we still are and probably always will be). So I just kept posting as normal. 

But I know many people on here have followed this blog for a long time. Some pretty much from the beginning, 11 years ago, you've watched our little family grow up and see our children be born and blossom into amazing young people. 

Our eldest had been very tired and down the last few weeks of term. We kept asking if she was okay, and put it down to hormones and being tired at the end of term, I was worried she was a bit depressed. We then went for a day out (to Harry Potter world) and she really wasn't herself. the next day she slept in (very unusual) and then was tired in the day as well. 

We took her to the doctors and, after a bit of a stressful run around, went straight to hospital where they had phoned ahead. When we got there we went straight into resus where about 8 or 9 doctors and nurses were waiting for us. 

She was unfortunately diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. This came as a massive shock for us. And as they tried to stabilise her, bringing her blood sugar slowly back down and get her rehydrated. She was very dehydrated and although she had been drinking loads the fact she had no insulin in her body meant it just got flushed straight through her. 

The next 24 hours were really stressful. She had great care all the time from the hospital as they tried to get her levels back to normal, giving her fluids via a drip and slowly injecting insulin into her body. Keeping her in the high dependency unit for the first day. 

Obviously we wanted to know what had caused this, but type one diabetes has no known cause, it just happens, her body has stopped producing insulin, which means she can no longer process carbohydrates. It's not caused by diet or lifestyle. 

We also beat ourselves up a lot for not getting her there sooner. But the changes in her were so slow and she kept doing her normal routine (even baking cakes after school). 

The next few days she really quickly improved in her condition. The learning curve was pretty steep when it came to learning about diabetes. It seemed like we were flooded with knowledge, and all of it so important.

Basically to keep her alive she needs to have two types of insulin every day. One is a slow acting, to be taken once a day that works at a low level, all the time. The other is a fast acting insulin that needs to be taken every time she eats any carbohydrates. 

So for every meal we have to work out the carbohydrate in what she'll eat, then make sure she has the right level of insulin (correcting for what her currently blood levels are at that moment as well). 

First time out for a trip to Hereford

In the future she can be fitted with a pump, but she needs to be able to inject herself first, so we're using this as an incentive. The pump still needs lots of working out, and changing every three days, but it will save having quite so many injections. 

For our stay at hospital we tried to make it as "normal" as possible. I brought her brother and sister in each day (her mum stayed there with her), we were allowed out into Hereford for trips out, in fact we were encouraged to, to get used to reading her levels and figuring out what to do in different situations. 

After the cinema trip. Almost felt normal. 

We even had a great trip to the cinema. 

She was so pleased to go home! We all were! That first night with the five of us back under one roof was so good. And yet it was like having a new born back in the house, we had to keep checking her levels and adjust to suit. It's been a bit like being a safe cracker trying to get them right at night (annoyingly her body still, intermittently, produces a bit of insulin randomly, for the next few weeks, which can make her levels crash or peak for what seems like no reason - annoyingly called "The honeymoon period"). 

She has a sensor on her arm, which makes it so much easier than finger pricking, She can scan herself and we will know her blood sugar level then. They have better tech which links to up to 5 phones all the time, but the funding has just been pulled for that. So we'll sit and wait hopefully for that to come back. 

We're slowly getting used to our new normal. Luckily I work from home, only a mile from school, so I'm going in each day (she's only been back for one so far) to give her the injection for lunch. And I can work out tea and try to make it as easy as possible for her. 

She has coped brilliantly with it and seems to be coping much better than me or her mum. The first week I was an emotional mess. 

She came home and that first morning back baked a cake to work out what carbs were in the whole thing, then worked it out per slice! I was very proud of her. Her brother and sister have been great as well, helping to work out what she's eating, and just generally being great siblings. 

Things not to say to me or my child-
"Well it could be worse" - Yes it could. I know that, it could be a hell of a lot better as well. Please don't say this to someone who has just had their child become disabled in a matter of days. She'll be dealing with this for the rest of her life. 

"The technology makes it easier" - It does, it really does, but believe me it's still crap. Yes, it's no longer a death sentence, but it's still rubbish on so many levels. Imagine trying to work out the carbs for everything you eat and making sure you have the right level of insulin for it. Now imagine doing that for the rest of your life.

"She shouldn't have eaten so many sweets" - It has nothing to do with how we lived or our diet, it's just something that happens unfortunately.

"So you can scan yourself, it's like a superpower" - It is not a superpower and please don't patronise her, she's 11, not an idiot. I know you can try to look for positives on all things, but there aren't really any here. We have talked honestly with her about it. 

"She might grow out of it" - as the one lady doing the food at hospital said to her, trying to be kind no doubt, but she was confusing it with type 2 diabetes. She won't grow out of this. 

It's hit me really hard. I'm a self sufficiency expert, someone that has trained their whole life to need as few people and inputs as possible. Self reliance, to be able to provide everything my family needs. I can do most things, I even took up swimming as I was worried if they fell in I wouldn't be able to save them. Now we're dependant on insulin and constant technology to keep my first born alive. 

I'd trade this with her in a second if I could. I wish I could take it from her and have to deal with it instead of her. It feels like such a complication on life for her and it makes my heart ache. 

*I spoke to her about posting this before I did. I wanted her to say if it was okay or not to use these pictures. She knows that this blog is a big part of my life and was fine with me sharing this with people I consider friends and the fact it might help educate between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. 

Friday, 10 March 2023

Laying 42m Of Hedge - That I Planted 9 Years Ago!

 The week before last I decided to finally lay the hedge I'd been thinking about for the last few years.

What's really good about laying this hedge is I planted it myself 9 years ago (read the blog post here). 

Tuesday, 7 March 2023

Gleaning The Materials For Laying a New Hedge

 So with a 45m (ish) stretch of hedge to lay I needed to get started with finding the materials to do it. 

Being a tight smallholder I didn't want to buy anything for this job, which was already going to cost me a lot of labour, I wanted to find the materials on the smallholding. 

The hedge repair I did a few weeks back had started to provide me with some items, around 50 of the 80 or so hedging stakes I needed. I also needed to find binders and prep the hedge ready of laying, this involved the worst bit - Removing the tree guards! What a horrible job and one that brings it's own level of guilt with the plastic waste. 

Watch the video above and let me know what materials you harvest and manage from your own plots?

Saturday, 4 March 2023

Fixing a Gap In A Hedge - Part Two - Dead Hedge & Planting Up Gaps

Please excuse the click-bait thumbnail for the video! Although it does show the dead hedge I weaved to finish my hedge repair. 

I was really pleased with how this hedge turned out, I've even had a few compliments from people who have seen it from the road!  

Doing a hedge is pretty easy once you get going, easy as in it's fairly easy to keep moving forward with it. But it is hard graft - some of the hardest I've done. Chainsaw helmet, chainsaw trousers, heating your whole body up. Thick gloves and long sleeves, fighting big branches of the hedge, unhooking each upright from each other, pulling them down, welding an axe and chainsaw all day. It feels great. I've been doing it again today and my whole body aches, but I know I'll sleep well tonight!

I've got about another 13m to do tomorrow (today by the time you read this) and I'm excited to get it done! No grant money, no one paying me, but it seems the right thing to do to steward the land in this way. 

Anyone else still got some hedge laying to do this year?

Friday, 3 March 2023

3 Articles This Month

I know I've already shared a few of my articles this month but this is the three of them together. 

In Woodcarving magazine I make a kolrosing knife and decorate a spatula.

In Woodworking Crafts magazine I make an adjustable arm for the workshop. 

In Woodturning Magazine I make a pastry crimper. 

All three were really fun projects! 

Wednesday, 1 March 2023

Another Apple Tree Pruning Video!

 So I think when learning to prune, other than doing it yourself, watching someone do it is a really good way of learning. 

That's my thinking behind doing a number of videos pruning this year. It shows a few examples of different trees and how I tackle them. 

This video shows a ten year old tree (a russet this time) and how I go about pruning it for this year. 

Always a nice feeling when the orchard is pruned ready for spring to start! 

Everyone else got their trees pruned for this year?

Sunday, 26 February 2023

Fixing a Gap In A Hedge - Part One - Basic Hedge Laying

 So, we've had a very stressful week and I've not been on the smallholding much, but I put this video together the beginning of the week before and I I thought I'd still share it with you all. 

Down by the duck pen there is a huge gap in one of the hedges. It bothers me every time I walk past it. After spending a few days hedging laying the week before I thought I'd tackle it. In doing so it should give me (some of) the materials for my larger stretch of hedge to be laid later. 

Friday, 24 February 2023

Planting 300 Willows In A Morning

 Trees amaze me

 I work with wood every day and yet there's not a day when I'm not amazed by them.

I try to make sure I plant more than I cut down and I managed to tip the balance again on this the other day at my dad and brothers. 

They're building a new set of barns and had created a bund behind it to shield the buildings from the neighbours view. This bund is the very typical red clay soil that we have on their farm. It takes a while for trees and stuff to establish but then it romps away once it gets its roots down. 

So my brothers idea was to plant it up with willow and maybe undertow it with something else to prevent the weeds (nettles, docks and fat hen) from establishing. When I thinned out my section of hybrid willow here. 

I've no idea how many we planted but it must be about 300. Watch the shirt video above to see how we got on. 

Like having lots of willow growing? 

Tuesday, 21 February 2023

Short Rotation Willow Coppice - Managing Growth

So I had one more job to do on my willow coppice and that was to manage the growth that came back from last years cut. 

 Each stool had put up loads of shoots, which might be ideal depending on what you're after. But as I want to grow this for firewood I'd rather have a few good stems where the growth could be directed to. 

So in this video I show what I'm taking off each plant to grow on, there are a few risks involved (rabbits or deer could eat the remaining shoots) but hopefully this will direct the tree to grow a lot stronger and have larger firewood for me to burn in a few years time. 

Watch the video and let me know what you think. 

Sunday, 19 February 2023

Apple Tree Pruning An 11 Year Old Tree

I've done another apple tree pruning video, this time it's a 11 year old tree which needed quite a bit of growth off it. 

I've filmed it in pretty much real time but it shows the process I go through to tackle a tree like this. 


Please let me know what you think (comments on YouTube would be even better as it helps other people find my videos)! 

Friday, 17 February 2023

Seedswap 2023

This post is a little late, as the seed swap was the weekend before last, but I've been busy (as always)! 

It was a great day again. 

There's something about a seed swap that's hard to describe. Someone said to a member of the team that she found the vent "nourishing" and I think that really sums it up. 

Wednesday, 15 February 2023

Learning Hedge Laying

 Last week I had a couple of perfect winter days. 

I do some work for a friend on a casual basis as he has a number of properties and they all need things doing to them on occasion (sash cords, floors, kitchens, etc), and he has a man who does much of the outside maintenance work on the estate. 

His name is Steve and he works on lots of farms and small holdings locally, he does some great work and one that always stands out is his hedge laying. I always chat to him if we're working on the estate at the same time, he's a smallholder as well so we share similar interests. 

Monday, 13 February 2023

Kolrosing Article - Woodcarving Magazine

I'm quite excited by my latest article series, this is a two part one really which details kolrosing. A type of wood tattooing. 

In this article I show how to make a simple kolrosing knife and then how to decorate a spatula using it (you stain the cuts with coffee grounds). 

Saturday, 11 February 2023

Young Apple Tree Pruning

I've managed to prune all the apple trees here. 

I've still got my mums to do and need to tidy up the branches from mine. 

It's a job I look forward to every year, I love watching them develop over time. This year I've done a few videos showing how I approach pruning them and the speed I can get them done. 

The first video shows some young trees in the coppice, from trees I grafted myself. They're coming on nicely and have established themselves. A few needed straightening up a bit as well. 

I have a another few videos ready to go with some older trees I need to prune out. I'll probably follow the same format and just film some examples rather than talk too much about the job as a whole. Practice is what makes this job better. 

Let me know what you think of the video!

How do you tackle your apple trees?

Thursday, 9 February 2023

Future Talk Dates

I have a good number of talks booked up for the coming year so I thought I'd share on here where and when they are. 

Normally you can go to a garden club you're not a member of and pay a visitors fee, but it is best to email the garden club directly to check first! 

I've added this as a tab below my header, I'll try to keep that page updated as I get more bookings. 


25th Jan - Malvern Garden Club - Unusual Fruit and Veg I

8th Feb- Blakeney Garden Club - Preserving the Harvest

16th Feb - Southam - Unusual Fruit And Veg I

8th March - St. Michaels - Tenbury Gardeners - Unusual Fruit And Veg I

13th March - Bishops Cleeve Gardening Group - Unusual Fruit And Veg I

6th April - Dymock diggers - Preserving The Harvest

10th April - Llanthony - Preserving The Harvest

15th April - Worcester black pear gardening club - Unusual Fruit And Veg I

19th April - Gothering - A Talk About Our Homestead & How We Got Here

20th April - Kington - Preserving The Harvest

1st May - Colwall - Unusual Fruit And Veg I

17th May - Winchcomb - Unusual Fruit And Veg I

31st May - Little Thorne - Unusual Fruit And Veg II

8th June - Alderton - Preserving The Harvest

10th June - Hellen's Garden Festival - Q&A Session

27th June - Hereford Fuchsia Society - Unusual Fruit And Veg I

18th July - Leominster - University of the Third Age - A Talk About Our Homestead & How We Got Here

12th September - Slimbridge - Preserving The Harvest

15th September - Lower wye Valley - Unusual Fruit and Veg

21st September - Newent - Preserving The Harvest

27th September - Severnside cottage gardening society - Unusual Fruit And Veg II

10th October - May Hill garden club - Preserving the Harvest

8th November - Wellington Heath Garden club - Preserving The Harvest

13th December - Bourton Vale Horticultural Society - Preserving The Harvest


16th January - Stoke Lacy Garden club - Unusual Fruit and Veg I

I'll try and add in dates as they get booked. 

Let me know if you're coming to any of them! I wonder if I should do some courses here as well at some point  in the future, let me know what you'd like a course on (that you think I could teach). 

Tuesday, 7 February 2023

Planting In Early February

 It was our annual seed swap on Saturday and it was as brilliant as ever (I'll do a post on it later in the week), one thing it did was get me really fired up for this years growing! 

I was so fired up I even stopped on the way home and got some compost. I decided that with Sunday being quite warm and sunny for a February day it was ideal to sow a few things and get started. 

Sunday, 5 February 2023

Short Rotation Willow Coppice - Year 8 & 9

So I started my adventures with willow in 2014. The idea was to start to produce a bit of our own firewood in a sustainable way. 

I did the first proper cut of it last year (2022) and had some good results. This year I decided to film it all and show the work involved. 

It didn't take long to chop it down and log it, then I got the children to help to move it the day afterwards. A nice job for a warm and dry winters day. 

I'd say we got a builders bag full of wood, maybe a bit more. This was from about 30 trees spaced at 1m apart. 

I'm looking forward to managing this in the coming years, it seems like an incredible renewable resource. Hopefully it'll produce even more as time goes on and the roots get established. 

Watch the video and let me know what you think - do you think it's worth it?

Do you grow and manage any wood for firewood with coppicing or pollarding?

Friday, 3 February 2023

Latest Woodturning Magazine Article - Taglatelle roller

I saw a rolling pin like this while we were visiting a manor house in the summer, on holiday in Wales.

When I saw it I just knew I had to make one and thought it would make an interesting article.

Wednesday, 1 February 2023

Hereford Seed Swap This Weekend!

So it's the annual Hereford Seed Swap this weekend. 

I look forward to this every year, it's always such a fun event filled with likeminded people. I'll be behind the tables with the rest of the volunteers, giving out advice and trying to sort out seeds as they're handed in. 

 It really is incredible and you could easily get your whole years worth of seeds from this event! 

I'm sure the talk is going to be good as well, I've met Liz and she's lovely, really knows her subject well (her book is great). 

If you go make sure you say hello to me! I'll be easy to spot - pockets filled with seed packets and talking non stop about growing! 

Sunday, 29 January 2023

Making A Cake Stand For My Daughter

 Now if you read this blog I don't have to tell you how much my children love baking. They're obsessed. 

And one thing that has helped fuel that fire in all of us is bake off. We watch it every year as a family, I don't watch huge amounts of TV but always enjoy things we can watch and enjoy together (Lego Masters Australia, Pottery Throwdown, ghosts and taskmaster are the others).

For Christmas this year my Middlest asked for a cake stand to display her cakes on. I thought this was a great idea and also something I could make. 

I also thought it would make a great magazine article and video. So that's what I did. 

I turned the project a few times to really get into it (so if you want to buy a cake stand click here), and it's got a great mix of turning on the chuck, with a bit of spindle turning. Using a wood like ash means you can bring out it's natural beauty as well. 

My daughter was really pleased with it and it has displayed a few cakes (and tarts) already this year!

If you watch the video let me know what you think! 

Do you have a cake stand for displaying cakes or ever had one in the past?

Friday, 27 January 2023

Kitchen Carnage!

I often get comments about how much baking happens in our house - I don't even share all of it, probably about a quarter! 

Some nights it's absolute carnage in the kitchen. All of us cooking, every surface full of food! 

It seems to be if they're at all bored then the kitchen is often their first stop! And they love recipe books and finding new things to try! 

It's always a bit mad and messy in our house but it's great fun. 

Wednesday, 25 January 2023

Tool Sharpening Lesson

With the handle made he was desperate to sharpen the tool up and make it so he can use it. 

I talked him through the whole process, and as he's only 7 I'm not sure how much he'll remember but he listened so attentively.

Monday, 23 January 2023

Making A Tool Handle With A 7 Year Old

 So my lad has been keen to make his V-Tool ever since he got the kit I made him for his birthday

So last weekend we started to make it. Drilling out the blank for the handle then getting it on the lathe. 

Saturday, 21 January 2023

A Photobox For Mum

 I made a few Christmas presents this year. I made a photo box for my mum and dad. The idea being that all the families could print some out and put in there each year. 

Stupidly I didn't take any photos of it finished! But here's one before I made the inserts. 

Thursday, 19 January 2023

Russets Are Best In January

 Now this is just my opinion, but I think russet apples are at their absolute peak of edibility in January. 

The ones in our store are looking brilliant. 

Tuesday, 17 January 2023

This Years Heritage Seed Library Seeds

Before Christmas I picked the ix packet of seed I'm allowed as a member of the Heritage Seed Library

 They always have some really interesting ones to pick from. There was a few that stood out to me.

I couldn't pass up on a bean called "Old Homestead", seems very fitting for this blog. 

The Oden Longstanton Leek is said to grow up to 1.5m tall, I'm not sure how good of a crop it will be, but it'll certainly be interesting to grow.

The other was the potato leaf tomato "Belhomme's Fortuna", there's something about growing a potato leaf tomato I find interesting. The gene that stops the lobing of the leaves is a recessive gene so it's not that common, they look different but one smell is all it takes to know it's tomato. 

Sunday, 15 January 2023

Tools For A Seven Year Old...

It's sometimes hard to decide what to get children for their birthdays, especially when they're so close to Christmas.

For the boys birthday this week I had a really good idea though. 

He loves spending time in the workshop with me, either carving or wood turning. 

Friday, 13 January 2023

Another Birthday Cake

Another year another birthday - This week the boy turned seven! He had his party last weekend and that meant a whole host of 6 and 7 year olds for an hour and a half of bedlam!

It also meant another birthday cake! This one is no Peppa pig though...

Tuesday, 10 January 2023

Willow Wands As Party Favours

Our boy had a birthday party on Sunday. It was pretty full on, a whole class of 6 and 7 year olds! 

He wanted it magic themed (I'll share the cake soon) and so we decided to make some willow wands to give to everyone in their party bags. 

Years ago we used a local weaver to make some for the bags, but now we have enough willow growing to have a go at making them ourselves. 

Sunday, 8 January 2023

Latest Magazine Article - Bar Skittles

Back at the beginning of the autumn I made a bar skittle set for a magazine article for Woodturning magazine.

It was a lovely project to make, a little repetition, but not too much, and a few harder bits to turn (the pole without a steady rest for one). 

But the bets bit was playing it with the kids and the outtakes! 

Saturday, 7 January 2023

Peak Porridge

 I think I've reached "peak Porridge" now. This is the perfect breakfast! 

We have a grated russet apple (shared between us) from the store, dried damsons from the pantry, frozen cherries from my friends farm in the summer and raisins (no idea where they're from). Then cooked organic oats with goats milk and a sprinkle of brown sugar or honey on top! 

I've always been a bit breakfast obsessed and think it's really important, I can never understand how my wife can just miss it out, but then I've always worked manually (although she does plenty of walking around in her job). 

What's your best way to start the day? (sorry this is a repeating theme!)

Thursday, 5 January 2023

Worlds Biggest Bread Bin - Making Christmas Presents

My mate has been on about building a bread bin for the last, oh I don't know, four years...

Every time I hint at some available time in my workload he asks if his bread bin is on my list of things to make! It's become a bit of a running joke between us. 

The trouble was it was always huge. So it always put me off, the kind of job I know there's no money in making and would take too long to just do as a quick job. 

Tuesday, 3 January 2023

Books Read of 2022

 Now I'm a bit of a book worm. So is my wife. Arguably she is worse than I. But we're both happy intertwined together reading a book each late at night. We've been terrible this holiday period, one night we stayed up until one in the morning, neither of us able to put our books down! 

It reminded me of when we went round Europe in an ambulance I had converted into a camper van and how we both read so much. I worry that scrolling on my phone stops me reading as much as I used to, but I still get through quite a few books. 

The other day my wife posted on Instagram all the books she had read in 2022 and I thought it was a really fun thing to do. So I manged to move all the covers into a folder in my phone and post them as well. I'm fairly sure I've missed quite a few from earlier in the year but I've managed to find 45 of the titles I've either read or listened to. 

Sunday, 1 January 2023

Happy New Year! (And December Walk About Video)

 We had a lovely start to the New Year with a nice easy evening with some friends in the village, the children playing and watching a few films while we saw the New year in. Today has been a very lazy one, but things will have to pick up a gear next week as everyone goes back to school (and I go back to workshop work). 

I did manage to film a quick walk around the garden last night before we went out. I think it's interesting to see the garden after our cold snap, it's affected some veg pretty badly, and making me realise that I was probably far to complacent with mild winters of the past. Oh well, a good learning experience! 

Hope 2023 brings you all you need. We have one big change coming as our eldest will be moving up to secondary school this year so I'm sure that will bring many parenting adventures!

Thanks again for reading my blog, it's the encouragement I need to write it all down and I love looking back at old posts, it's a diary of sorts and has created many opportunities for me, but would be nothing without support and comments. Thank you! 

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