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!!