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Archive for the ‘landscaping timber’ Category

Today was wonderfully warm and I was feeling too lazy to walk the dog uphill on the South Downs Way so we both settled for a stroll around the yard…

and look.

Look!!!

I mean, is that meant to be funny?!!!

It’s a jolly good job that I wasn’t planning strawberry pavlova or a fresh strawberries and cream for a dinner party this weekend… that’s all I’m saying.

Graham. Keith. Matthew.

I could’ve been warned that there would be monster trucks and digger dancing and Evel Knieval would be performing earth flattening tricks out behind the kiln dried shed*.

That’s all I’m saying.

I could’ve not gone blabbering on about being knee deep in flipping strawberries.

That is all I’m saying.

But this is life people, this is the aggrandization of the air dried yard facilities. Who wouldn’t want that??!!

It’s augmentation, it’s expatiation, expansion, enlargement, development.

In a word people… it’s progress. Just plain old fashioned progress. And when digger dancing comes to Cocking Sawmills you just don’t stand in it’s way.

Progress.

And I can tell you right here, right now, that the ‘progress’ that happened to this vast expanse of chalk downs has resulted in a surprise improvement that may or may not have been Tom’s intention…

it is now the perfect place to sunbathe.

So. if we just get a few deck chairs, a few sun loungers…  a picnic table or two and a couple of parasols dropped off over the back. Perfect.

I haven’t asked Tom yet what he’s planning for out here, but it would do very well as a small beach.

I have measured up and there is at least enough room for an olympic size swimming pool, and possibly a velodrome if we could just move the Ash over a bit.

I’m just going to go and ask Peter if we’ve got any decking in stock…

He still exists http://evelknievel.com/

Don’t tell me you’ve never gone to the Ardinlgy show just to watch the digger dancing http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_81dv2V8mT0

Second only to the Olympics for world class competitors http://www.monstertruckgames.org/

Come on you lot.. get with the programme http://www.london2012.com/

Track the progress at the velodrome.. get it? track the progress…  http://www.london2012.com/venue/velodrome/

Swimming, the sport of champions  http://www.london2012.com/swimming/

Check back on our progress anytime you feel like it  www.englishwoodlandstimber.co.uk

*I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… you can’t believe everything you read.

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It might be raining today but I know that the sun was shining whilst I was otherwise occupied on the annual Farmer-tour-de-France because in just two weeks we have a whole new crop of wild strawberries.

And before anyone jumps to any conclusions (I know I’m going to get emails about this) I wasn’t just whiling away precious time in the pursuit of strawberries, I was actually looking for a beam.

It’s not easy looking for an air dried anything… beam or boule… around here when before you reach the stock you have to eat your way through a patch of little red berries…

I say ‘have’ to, I mean obviously that’s not strictly true, there are no rules about eating berries per se, but it’s either that or march them all the way across the yard and tread them back through the office… and that ain’t happ’nin’…  not with a brand new stain free Chestnut floor thank you very much.

So you see we ‘have’ to eat the strawberries…  it’s actually essential to the smooth running of the sawmill and to the service of our treasured customers who don’t want to stand up to their knees (just a bit of exaggeration there) in our strawberry patches whilst deciding between this Elm and that Cedar of Lebanon.

So it’s a tough job but somebody’s got to do it… and today that somebody is me!

Talking of tough jobs,  I thought that was very nice work on the air dried Oak curves guys…  I did notice you have tagged them all and  made a really nice bay of neatly sorted and stacked boards and I think they look wonderful.

Now, if we could just get some raspberries growing along the back there behind the Oak sleepers …

Has Jamie Oliver been eating my strawberries??!! http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/fruit-recipes/wild-strawberries-vanilla-cream

Ingmar Bergman’s 1957 film of the same name. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0050986/

This is what wikipedia thinks about our wild strawberries.. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wild_Strawberries

Come and pick your own  http://www.englishwoodlandstimber.co.uk/contact_us.html before they’re all gone again..

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keeps the doctor away…  that and a can of sardines.

Today I left the office (yup.. I really did) to go here…  http://www.sustainability-centre.org/

I don’t leave the office very often so I thought I’d make the most of the opportunity…  which, I should add, arose mainly because we now have extra hands on deck… yeay!!

Our lovely Chris…  and here she is

… oh please don’t look at the office!!!  We are getting a make over imminently…  new floor, new desks, new storage wall… everything…  in our own wood!!! I’m so excited…

Anyway…

I scurried around the yard doing some chores…   packed the dog, a google map (hmmm I wonder where the road atlas is…  Augustus Farmer???) and a camera into the car and promptly skipped off down the A272.

I found (yes I actually found it first time) the Sustainability Centre  in between East Meon and Clanfield It’s  SO pretty round there, all rolling hills covered in forests and meadows… I can’t get over how many trees there are in Hampshire.. one section of the A272 has incredible, huge copper Beeches at the side of the road… but I digress… Sustainability Centre..

After a quick trip to the reception desk I started wandering the paths and trails until I found what I was looking for…

Hurdle making central!

Hurdle making should be an olympic sport… can you see Darren Hammerton at work here? He is leaping up and down as Hazel strips sweep through the air at a rate of knots… he uses his whole body weight to stamp down between the vertical staves until they sit tightly on top of the previous strip. Hurdles are not as flimsy and delicate as they look!

No wonder there’s not an ounce of fat on this man… he is lean (but not very mean)…  although he puts it down to sardines (!) I can see a mile off that he get’s more of a workout hurdle making than I ever have on two wheels (there are plenty who will attest to that) and this is what he does from morning ’til night! It’s very impressive.

And so are the hurdles …as are the other beautiful woodland products he makes.

 

So that’s his day.. cut the Hazel, split the Hazel, shape the Hazel, weave the hazel, jump up and down with the Hazel.

I’m afraid I’m being flippant about something that is actually very important. Darren manages coppice – Hazel and Chestnut woodlands. He uses the timber harvested from those to create these products for use in building, landscaping, gardening. And if it wasn’t used to make all these different products then the timber would be perfect for fuel at the very least.

He’s just one person and he’s doing all of that. and ‘all of that’ is growing, naturally, out of the ground

I don’t want to bore you here and now with all the reasons why I think this is a big deal but it just is. What is exciting is there is so much room for more of this kind of industry, we have so much un-managed coppice in our part of the country and perhaps it could all be as productive as Darren’s?

If I wasn’t so decrepit I might have to consider it.. don’t laugh!! I’ve never met an unhappy coppicer…  just coppicers with sore hands and sore backs who are a bit soggy around the edges and haven’t had a holiday for.. ummm years?! Take a break you guys!!!!

So I stopped bothering Darren and asking him stupid questions. We said our goodbyes through a half made hurdle destined for Broadlands and I marched off back to the car.. dog in tow.. and made my way back to the office.

I got about 1 1/2 miles.

First of all there was a joinery shop with lovely old wooden buildings like something out of The Waltons I wanted to get a picture of… do you think that hole is for the birds or the dust extraction? I don’t care, I love it.. and I love the cobwebs..

The young ( I am old remember.. he was probably in his 30’s) guy from L Scott Joinery who came out to find out why I was skulking around his workshop was very friendly.. he turned out to be  a joiner who is a closet furniture maker… isn’t that just like all you woodworkers?

Harbouring thoughts of diversification in your own time ?  I know you’re all doing it.. I know hurdle making Darren wants to build a viking long ship… ! did I mention he was an ambitious chap??

So, it didn’t stop with ‘The Waltons’ at L Scott Joinery

Then I started hurdle spotting.

I found this sweet but sturdy village house displaying a wealth of traditional building materials and methods… I couldn’t not stop. Hurdles? check… flint wall? check… thatch? check… waney edge cladding? check.. black painted? extra points? check.. exposed timber frame? check…  shall I stop now? ok one more… handmade brick coping? check…

 

ok, I’m done now.

I did hurdle spotting all the way back to Cocking.

Conclusion? There aren’t enough of them. Same goes for coppicers… duh! That might of been one the dumbest things I have ever said..

On that note I shall go and get back to work on our stock list and website. Both thoroughly overdue.

Hey… (my Grandma used to scold me for that – hay is for horses.. ) in amongst leaflets at the Sustainability Centre I found there is going to be a WOOD FAIR at the Queen Elizabeth Country Park.. are any of you people going?? I’ve never come across it before….  maybe I need to get out more?

You want to be a coppicer now don’t you? Do it! Darren started off studying at Sparsholt one of two local colleges for forestry, aroboriculture and woodmanship are http://www.plumpton.ac.uk/ near Lewes and  http://www.sparsholt.ac.uk/ near Winchester

If you’re not partial to that there book learn’n’ try one of the courses Darren runs himself with another well known coppicer Ben Law at the Sustainability Centre  http://www.sustainability-centre.org/courses_adult_detail.php?id=50

If you are desperate to have hurdles, or shakes or laths or any other lovely woodland product in your home or garden or landscape or building project just let us know and we’ll do our best to furnish you with whatever your heart desires.. or your client desire.. in wood.

Thank you for being you.

Back soon. Sarah

Not had enough yet? try this.. the website formally known as  www.englishwoodlandstimber.co.uk .

One of these days you’ll get a shock when you visit here and find you can check our stock without having to rely on ‘the hawaiian shirted one’ to do it for you!!!

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