Saturday 30 September 2023

Carving A Wooden Trivet - Pierced Design

The other day I saw my wife struggling with a hot pan and laying out two trivets to keep the big roasting dish off the table. 

I decided it was a perfect project to make a new trivet. I loved making one a few years ago and it was the perfect magazine article for Woodcarving Magazine. I spoke to my editor and said about different design, making it in a different way. 

Wednesday 27 September 2023

Cover Star - Again! Wood Carving Magazine Front Cover

I've managed to make it to the front cover of a magazine again! It's the second time I've been on the front of Woodcarving magazine! 
My wife took the picture of me sat in front of my workbench a while back. 

My articles make up the first 21 pages of this issue. 

Monday 25 September 2023

Knot Club

With our eldest starting school it has thrown my day out of kilter a little bit. 

She gets the bus to high school at 8.05 and the other two can't get into school until 8.35 (more like 8.40 when they eventually open the gates). So we have a bit of time to kill. 

The scout hut is right next door to the school and being a leader I have access. So we have been sneaking in there most mornings...

Saturday 23 September 2023

Tech Colleges Wrecking Trades?

I love my trade, I love what it has done for me. When I started I was told it won't make me rich but if I'm good at it I'll never be out of work, and that has proved to be so true over the last 20 plus years. But I'm worried for the next generation. There seem to be courses that are almost designed to put people off and steer them away from learning a trade. Keeping them in college rather than being on site learning actual skills.
This video is a bit of a rant, and I'm sorry for that, but felt I wanted to put my opinion out there about it.

 Let me know what you think on the subject? Have we drifted too far from what it should be? 

Should people who have never been in the trade be the ones setting the syllabus for our trade colleges?

Thursday 21 September 2023

The Great Worcester Maise Maze

I've seen maise mazes advertised, but I've never been to one. I always assumed they might be a bit pants. But Tuesday night I went with the Cub Scouts and I have to admit I thought it was pretty awesome. 

The cubs absolutely loved it. As scouts we had the whole place to ourselves as they opened especially for us (one of our leaders worked there over summer). The children all tore off like crazy to try and find all the stamps for their cards. The whole evening was filled listening to their laughter and shouts. Perfect way for them to burn off some energy. 

Tuesday 19 September 2023

New Season Of Garden Club Talks

Last week saw the new "season" of garden club talks for me. I had two talks, about an hour from home, one on the Tuesday and one on the Friday. 

I always get really fired up before the talks and really enjoyed both of them.

At the one talk a lady came over with some Achocha's from seed I'd given her the year before at a talk I had given. I tend to give out packets of seeds rather than a business card, I find it's something people will keep a little longer and probably think of my business when they're planting them. 

Sunday 17 September 2023

How To Dehydrate Blueberries

 Food waste guilt. 

I'm not sure we all suffer with it, but I sure do! One of my good friends does as well. That's why when she messaged me "Want any blueberries - I've been given some and they're starting to go squishy," I knew to say no. 

The house was too hot for preserving (it was in this last heat wave), and I was busy. Last thing I wanted was some fruit I had to deal with straight away.

So I replied with a thanks but no thanks message. 

She turned up anyway. Ready to pass the food waste guilt over to me! 

Friday 15 September 2023

Summer Pruning Apple Trees

Last week I finished the annual summer prune of all my cordon apple trees. 

This time I decided to film the process and hopefully share my wisdom on the subject. My main wisdom is just to make sure you try pruning them! Not pruning them is worse, and mistakes don't take that long to grow out! 

 Watch the video and let me know what you think. 

Do you have much trained fruit growing?

Wednesday 13 September 2023

Make Sure Your Apples Are Ripe!

I have a lot of apples here (some 70 varieties) and only a few are ready this early in the season. Yet on social media I see plenty of people harvesting all they have. Sometimes we need to have a bit more patience to make sure we get the best from our own harvests, picking them when they're ripe and tasty.
This was a little video a few weeks ago, about checking to make sure the apples you're picking are ripe. 

For example, the Worcester apple above is what is classed as an early apple and it's only just ready! 

What's your favourite early apple?

Monday 11 September 2023

Don't Use Holiday Mode On Etsy

Etsy has been the main way I've earnt my living for some time now. My business has been slow to build but it fits well around the children, I have a built and designed a good range of products and put a lot of effort into what I do. 

But each year we'd go away and I'd put my shop on holiday mode, which was great as there is no hassle, but it would mean a big gap in my sales. I decided to try a different method this time and have had great success. 

Let me know how you deal with time away if you run your own business

Saturday 9 September 2023

Highschool Starts

It seems the different milestones of life keep clicking by. 

The children have gone back to school, only this time our eldest has gone off to secondary school.

It suddenly feel very different. With Primary school you're really involved, invited in for different things, it somehow feels you have to be a part of it. Secondary school it feels like you're sending your child off into the world, the school doesn't want you, just your child. 

The first day I drove her to a friend's house in the town and all the children from her class that had chosen this school walked into together. She went in smiling.

When I came to pick her up that evening, I met another mum who was waiting for her son. She said that they had to lock the door to stop her son getting back in the car! So I felt like my daughter was winning that day!

She came out smiling that day as well. She had a slight issue with one teacher and her phone. She has to have it out to monitor her blood glucose levels for her diabetes unfortunately. All teachers were meant to be informed but her tutor came over and asked her to put it away. She said she was a little upset but didn't argue, then she watched this teacher read her emails, look up at her, then come back over and tell her it was fine to check her levels whenever she wanted!

But it was today (as I write this it's Friday) that it all sinks in. We were sat on the bench, I'd left the other two in the truck, so just her and I were sat their waiting for the bus. We chatted and to me she just seemed instantly more grown up. The bus rolled up and she gets in on her own, I'm not going with her, I'm not speaking to the driver or checking everything is okay. She gets on and sits down and I watch her go off down the village. 

That afternoon she comes walking back up the road to meet us. A smile on her face, a whole series of experiences of her own, ones we sit and talk about if she chooses to share them. 

She makes me proud and happy every day. 

Thursday 7 September 2023

"Old Buildings Are The Best" - A Phrase I Hate

Ah, but old buildings were the best...
We hear it all the time and so often that we get fooled into believing it's true. 

Don't get me wrong, some were great, but some are truly terrible. And we only NORMALLY kept the good ones. 

This one is not one of those. 

Tuesday 5 September 2023

More Harvest Basket Pictures I've Been Sent!

I've been loving it lately as I've been sent so many pictures of my baskets in use! It's been so great to receive feedback like this. 

I hope readers of the blog don't mind me sharing them all on here!

I'm hoping that lots of pictures on my blog of them will help people searching for harvest baskets on google and likewise. 

I also just love seeing the bounty of summer that everyone is harvesting at the moment! 

Sunday 3 September 2023

"Surprise" Chicks

I've titled this "Surprise" Chicks, but rarely am I surprised by the chickens these days. I had a few hens broody in the the one coop, in  a place tricky to get to, so I kind of knew they might be sat on some eggs. 

So when I heard a chirp the other morning I knew that our flock would be getting a little bigger. The three hens had fought and sat on each other for a few weeks and managed to hatch out 6 chicks. These are pure bred Indian game as the eggs were white (our hens that aren't Indian Game lay brown eggs), so it will be interesting to see what birds we get from them.

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