Daily rambles

I’ve probably often mentioned this, but one of the greatest benefits of unschooling is that I get to spend at least two hours in the place I love the most, the mountains. (Well… Hills. But I consider them mountains, not having ever lived in a country where mountains are actually mountains.)
I live in the city, sadly, but I am blessed by the fact that with just a few minutes in the car I can be in the forest.
You’ve probably guessed just by the name of this blog that yes, I am a tree hugging hippie in many respects. You have guessed correctly.
We usually go on the same walk, but the benefit of that is that you begin to see things more clearly, because you know the area so well. I could probably find my way around the valley with my eyes closed at this stage! The trees where we walk are mostly sitka spruce, a beech wood, and a mixed wood where there are beech, sitka spruce and a sprinkling of ash at the edge. There’s an abundance of hawthorn to the north closer to the farmer’s land, a beautiful elder (elderberry) tree in the ash area, one or two budleia along the first path, birch, sweet chestnut, larch near the car park and a ragged mixture of gorse, heather, moss, and reeds in the area where the spruce were felled some time ago. It’s incredible to watch how that entire area sprang back after being cut, from being piles of grey, bare branches to a flourishing habitat filled with birds and deer. For plants, there is a lot of rosebay willowherb, heather and gorse, foxglove, nettles, coltsfoot, rushes, bracken, countless amounts. There’s plenty of fungi but I am sadly not at all familiar with their names, apart from sulfur tuft (There is a LOT of that around) and fly agaric.
The animal life is also alive, with deer constantly around, fox tracks, ravens, woodpigeons, chaffinches, robins, coal tits, jays, etc. Just this morning we were going up into the beech wood when the chaffinches we had spotted for the last few days were even more lively than usual. We sat quietly for a while and watched them feeding on (We think) the beech mast all over the ground. I’d say there were between 20-40 of them. As we reached the top of the beech wood there were two jays flying between the branches overhead.
There are a thousand stories I could tell about those forests, and I don’t think my keyboard would hold up if I tried to recount them all, so for now I’ll head onwards to other, less computer based activities.
By that I mean carving a handle for my (proudly hand smithed) knife. That’s what it will probably mean for the next week or so until I finish it. Or knitting. I’m knitting a lot lately too.

Peace,
Amy

Advertisements

Some of my recent whittling

I’ve spent a lot of my time lately whittling! It has become probably my favorite pastime, despite the occasional blisters and the wood chips that trail their way about the house… I like to think it’s bringing a little bit of nature indoors. Although we have a lot of that already.

Something I’ve made a lot of lately are these interlocking spiral sticks. Both of these in particular are cherry but I’ve done a few single spirals out of elder whose pithy center pops out perfectly with minimal knife effort.

IMGP1627 IMGP1632

I have also made quite an amount of cutlery. I have not yet mastered forks but for the time being I’ll manage with spoons and butter knives. The two center spoons are green beech and the outer spoons are oak (left hand) and something unknown handed to me at the Art of Mentoring (right). I’m pretty sure the two knives are cherry (we have a large cherry tree in the garden who provides us with plentiful wood often)IMGP1644

This little wren is the end of a handle of a butter knife I made for my dad’s birthday. I used a fork cherry branch and whittled it down into a bird, and then burned in patterns on the wings.IMGP1651

As usual, if anyone would like a tutorial I would be more than happy to make one!

Leather Pouch

IMGP6361
I made this little leather pouch a few days ago, and it was surprisingly simple. I just used a leather punch and counted out all the holes so that it would fit together, then carved a little wooden fastener and used a wood/leather burner to make designs on it. I was going to burn designs on the pouch itself but the leather was very soft and it bunched up a lot and with a funny colour when I tested it on another piece, which explains the penciled in designs. I used a type of leather cord to hold it together, which is reasonably strong but it shed all over me when I was pulling it thrIMGP6366ough the holes.
Sorry for not posting much recently, I’ve been pretty busy rehearsing for the school musical, The King and I. It’s amazing how much work you have to put in even when you’re not a major part. I’m so tired now.
I think school has actually destroyed my creativity. I can’t make things anymore. I’m too tired.

Knocksink Wood

IMGP5050
This place is so incredible, like seriously beautiful. I was there all day today.
To those who know it, you might not think it’s too great. A nice river, some big trees…
Have you ever gone further, though?

We went out foraging, me my parents and our dog. We’d been there before around the same time last year but we had only gone around the main loop. But up a little path up the valley, a whole new world opened up. I’ve never seen so many old, deciduous trees in Ireland before. It was so pretty, and the river was shining blue and argh. It was so perfect. The ground was all mossy and there were mushrooms everywhere.
But enough of me. Here’s some photos.
IMGP5067 IMGP5072 IMGP5075 IMGP5079  IMGP5092 IMGP5102 IMGP5121 IMGP5170 IMGP5172 IMGP5175 IMGP5180 IMGP5195 IMGP5201 IMGP5246 IMGP5247 IMGP5258 IMGP5265 IMGP5271

Natural Dreamcatcher


Sorry about the long break, I was away at my friends place in Scotland for the weekend. I will be away this weekend too, so I wont be posting much on this.
Yesterday I made a delicious gluten free apple, blackberry and redcurrant pie. I am planning to make more pie tonight. I love pie…
I made this dreamcatcher a little while ago, but have not got around to posting a photo. The frame is made of fresh lilac, and the thread is raffia, a plant material. in the center there is a wooden bead.

Wooden Spoon

My first carved spoon. I’m very proud. I used a wood burning tool to create the patterns. to hollow out the bowl, I used a hot coal from a campfire, put it in the bowl, and blew on it until it burnt the shape out. all you need is a stick, another stick and a knife.
I carved it from there. I ate a yoghurt with it, and it tasted a bit like burnt hot dog, but that’s ok.
         

Tiny Kitchen

i carved all the cabinet sides, the tap, the kettle, the table, the bread, the toaster and the hob out of balsa. the marble counter tops were splattered with white, black, gold and brown paint (applied with a toothbrush). the base of the chairs are bent bead caps, and i did the (pretty awful) painting beside the unfinished windowImage

Image

ImageImage