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Christmas on the Land! Merry Christmas! :)

Hope you had a lovely christmas!

We spent our christmas on the land in the freezing weather and it was amazing! It meant that we had to build a proper shelter that could take a woodburner or we would have frozen. So we did and here it is...

This style of building is called a 'bender'. It's basically a load of bendy sticks, in this case hazel, woven into a strong structure that can take a waterproof cover. We used 6m x 6m canvas, made for us by Atwoolls, to cover an area of 14' diameter by 6.5' high.

After coppicing the hazel rods I poked them in the ground at the right spacing (-ish!). I brought them together at the top and wove them into each other, tying in the ends.

Then I wove a wale to stop the dome wibbling and tied in the cross pieces. The pattern it makes is soOo lovely!

The frame is so strong, I could even hang off the centre of it!

This is the inside after it was all finished, so ridiculously cosy!

We recycled a load of rubber matting to act as a waterproof groundsheet and covered them with foam sleeping mats for insulation. Then we covered that in some new, off cut carpet donated by family & topped it all with rugs.

We'd managed to win a woodburner from Ebay which was definitely the heart of the shelter. Would have hated to be in there without it!

Early on Christmas morning I was walking in our oak woods and I came across six stags. I can get so close to the stags on our land, they don't like you being there though and move on in a slow majestic way!

The video is short but gives you a little idea of how they move and how close I got to them.

This stag was separate from the other stags and it was clear to see why. He was obviously lame and very thin. I was sorry that I had disturbed him as he was in a very cosy spot. If you enlarge the photo you will see just how thin he is. It's going to be a hard winter for him.

For our Christmas dinner we had a joint of pork from our neighbours small pig farm. Gloucestershire old spot crossed with wild boar. Delicious! I cooked it in a Dutch Oven on my cooking fire. Which worked a dream. Much better than a normal oven!

Here's me in my outdoor kitchen where I prepared exactly what I would have in a normal christmas kitchen. Lordy I adored cooking outside!

To make my cast iron cooking dishes into little ovens I put them on white hot embers and covered their lids with the embers too. The Dutch oven is designed especially for this as the lid has a lip on it to hold the embers.

Goodness gracious me but the meat and taters were delicious!

Tah daaAAaah!! Maple syrup parsnips, stuffing, sprouts, taters and pork. BuuUUUUuuuuUUuuuuuurrrrrrrpppp!!!!

The next day we processed a large ash tree for firewood, that had fallen last year. There was an exciting moment when some of the supporting limbs were cut almost catapulting my pal Elliott off the trunk! He meant to do it, of course... :)

*sigh* sorting out firewood in front of the bender. Gorgeous. Gorgeous. Gorgeous.

Our new nest. Cant wait to go back in a couple of days to celebrate the Blue Moon & the New Year!

Have a peaceful and happy New Year!!

Warmest hugs,



  1. Wow, it all looks amazing. The stags are beautiful, although I feel bad for the poor thin stag by himself. *soppy* I love the bender, it looks so cosy and snug. And the food is making me drool.

  2. I think this is just brilliant Hen!
    Happy Earthy Christmas to you xxx

  3. Thanks Kitty!!

    You're not being soppy about that stag, my heart broke at not being able to care for him. Its so hard to keep in mind the cycle of nature in those moments. So very very hard!

    The food was deeeeeelicious!!!! lol!!


  4. Oh Hen, It's beautiful and looks so cozy and quiet - ie no electrical noises! Having the stags venture in for a look would have been a lovely bonus. I hope your New Year is full of good adventures.

  5. It all looks amazing! Happy Festive season to you :)x

  6. I could have used your 'KNOW-HOW" last week when I was without electricity after a heavy snow! Our wood is full of deer and we saw a 12 point buck limping last week near the house. We kinda favor him as he seems to keep quite a few does happy on our hill. I am hoping he's okay but it's nature and we know not to fool with things.

  7. I see you have the bender built as a Dome, makes for a nicer space then the traditional tunnel benders. I have a friend who lived in one for 5 years complete with a porch, side windows and a pallet floor; a real cosy space.
    Wishing you & yours a Happy New Year,


  8. Hello Hen and belated seasons greetings, just recently started following your blog and with great postings like this I’m truly glad that I am. What a beautifully crafted structure and to spot those stags!!! I’m just in awe of what you get up to and achieve. All the very best for the New Year to you and yours.


  9. That is the most unusual Christmas story I've read. I'm not so keen on the cold, but you make it seem fun.
    You're very skillful with building and cooking, photography and writing.
    You remind me of 'Live Simply so others can Simply Live.'

  10. What a magic way to spend the holidays! Thats an absolutely beautiful little shelter, what a cozy, warm place to enjoy the land. And cooking outside, what fun! The meal looks so yummy.

    Wishing you a new year filled with beauty and joy!

  11. Ahhhhhh dear Henny, I love the BuuuuurrrRRrP!
    Food looks so delicious, as does the country.

    Should be a sign above your bender entrance saying "There be magicks here".

    A simply perfect way to spend Christmas and New Year. Have a sponditiously cool Blue Moon and New Year.

  12. wonderful, what a brillaint way to spend the day, away from the madness in the world. deeply inspired and a little jealous too!!

    leanne x

  13. Now there is something fun to build in my backyard! We have the space for it and I am betting my boys will love camping out there in summer with their friends :-D

  14. Your bender looks very comfortable and reminds me of a yurt. I am loving the UK Folk music station- very nice. I love cooking outside! I have 2 Dutch ovens but I need the lids that hold coals to really bake. Thanks for your great blog!

  15. Awesome it seems so magical makes me wish i was there.


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