Basket Making

This basket is made from two sorts of willow, both grown in the damp fields lower down the hill. One of the names of the yellow willow is crack willow – it is a very vigorous, wild willow, that is exceptionally supple, and of course it has a beautiful colour. The purple willow is a small, farmed willow variety. This is less vigorous, and after a few years of repeated cuttings, the plants have become quite weak. I think they’ll have to be left uncut for a year or two, so not so much basket-making for a while.

Ash Wood

In this picture we can see an ash tree after felling. The large rounds in the foreground will be split, and used for firewood. Ash makes very good firewood, which can be burned straightaway if necessary.

The bottom section of the trunk was fairly straight, and has been split into sixths, with the use of wedges. Each sixth will be trimmed down with an axe, removing the bark and loose splinters. The straight ash beams can be used in building.

In the background is a pile of the branches. Ash branches can be bundled up and made into faggots.

Protecting Winter Vegetables

Root crops such as swedes and parsnips can be left in the ground all Winter. However, if possible a little extra protection can be given to the plants be packing mulch around the base. Straw is perhaps the best, but bracken or dried grass also works well.

Shredding Oak Trees

Straight oak wood, free of knots is one of the best materials known to man. However, oak trees do not grow fast, and producing good-quality oak timber takes time and patience. When the trees are small, all the lower branches should be removed, and this process carried out repeatedly during the entire life of the oak tree. The branch wood can be trimmed to length and tied into bundles. Oak faggots are an excellent source of fuel and can be used the next year.