Hedge laying! The art is seeing a bit of a revival here in the UK, or so it seems when driving around the countryside. The hedging mixes for sale for the establishment of new hesges generally comprise of mostly hawthorn and blackthorn but can also include hazel, willow, cherry... Most of our native deciduous trees can be layed although elder isn't considered desireable. Not sure why but possibly just tradition/superstition.
This article suggests that Lime is usually coppiced on a 25-30 year rotation although I imagine that could be coppiced at a more frequent interval and still product leaves.
Coppicing is a simple process, especially if the tree is relatively small. Once the tree has reached the desired size/age, cut the stem/s low to the ground (1-2") while the tree is dormant. From the following spring the tree will produce multiple shoots. These may need protecting from grazing animals and livestock.
There's a loads of books on coppicing and a fair amount of info on Youtube. Ben Law has written some excellent books on the subject and is a professional coppice worker himself.
Where to even begin? Allotments and back gardens can be some of the highest producing forms of food production. Much higher per acre than monocultural farms!
Just pick up any vegetable growing book and you'll get an idea of what is possible. Dowding's books are a great place to start and offer a sensible and logical way to grow food.
If you're looking to be a bit more adventurous in what you want to grow there are many y great resources. Authors to look out for include Martin Crawford and Patrick Whitefield although there will be many more. There are also numerous blogs and websites with a host of information. One of my favourites is Of Plums and Pignuts which is about an allotment based forest garden in Scotland.
Another option is to visit local market gardens, CSAs, orchards, permaculture projects, etc and see what they're up to.
Hazel tends to be the most commonly cited material for woven hurdles but willow and sweet chestnut are commonly used. I'm not sure about sycamore.
Hazel has properties which lend it towards hurdle making (easy to rive/split, flexible, and can be bent/twisted around the zales without snapping).
Willow is very flexible and can be easily bent around the zales although I'm not sure larger rods will do so without snapping.
Sweet chestnut splits easily and will probably last longer than either hazel or willow.
Another consideration is alternative uses for the different kinds of wood. For example, if you leave the sweet chestnut to grow on you'll have great fence posts that will last ages. Sycamore was traditionally used for bowls here in Wales because of its supposed antibacterial properties. You might want to save your hazel (if you have any) for pea stick and bean poles.
The quality of the material is important too; you want long, straight rods with as few side branches as possible (knots will make the rods more brittle and more difficult to split).
Ben Law's craft book has a section on hurdle making as does Ray Tabor's. Both describe many other traditional crafts and required materials that might inform your choice of material for the hurdles. There's stuff on YouTube too.
paul wheaton wrote:this video has a lot of good info:
Good stuff about:
- make the wall lean in
- set your rocks so the length of the rock goes into the middle of the wall rather than along the wall (3:33)
- don't have running joints (4:05)
- starting the build on top of the soil rather than starting below the soil. That can be okay.
- tie stones and cap stones
This bloke really knows what he's talking about, great video!
Having done a bit of dry stone walling, I can say that while it's easy to understand the basic principles it can be quite difficult to put them into practice. Especially if your stone happens to be of the awkward variety! I've always been told that the occasional deliberate mistake can be acceptible if there are no other options. You'll see in the video that there are some running joints but not too many. There are things you can do to mitigate some tracing or running joints.
For tracing, and as a general good practice for walling, you're trying to trap the stone with as much friction as possible. If the traced stone is firmly gripped by the stones next to, beneath and above it, then this is good. I would ensure that these stones were laid into the wall as it's important not to have another or multiple traced stones in the same location as this just compounds the weakness in that section.
For running joints I have been told that two stacked stones is fine but three is not. Again, you want to ensure that the neighbouring stones are well placed in order to mitigate any weakness from the running joint.
Another consideration is 'bridging'; this can happen when your coursing is uneven or if you're using smaller/larger than ideal stones. The stones you lay want to be sitting "two over one and one over two" much like in bricklaying so, if you end up doing one over three, you are bridging the middle stone and thereby establishing a weakness where the middle stone is not being trapped and held by the stones above it.
In terms of a walls foundations, I have always been told to dig them in unless we've been building on bedrock. If not, soil can be erroded from beneath the wall by wind and water allowing the bottom course of the wall to shift over time.
If your tie (or through) stones aren't long enough you can get at least some of the benefit by having the longest stones you can find sitting at least half way but ideally 2/3 to 3/4 of the way through and then alternating the side in which the end of the tie stone is hidden in the wall. As the stone that makes up the final 1/3 or 1/4 will be at a relatively shallow depth it's important that it is trapped by a longer stone or stones above it.
I know that when I pulled a waterlogged chunk of alder from a pond with the intention of carving from it it ended up being good for nothing. It started to rot almost immediately as it never dried out.
Logs submerged in water will have a reduced or stalled rate of decay due to the anaerobic conditions. Some types of wood, particularly elm I believe, were traditionally used for piping due to its durability under water.
Personally I'd be buying timber just before use in order to minimise the risk of loosing the logs to decay, termites or whatever. There are methods of construction you can use to minimise rot without having to resort to submerging your timber before use.
My billhook gets a lot of use throughout the winter months; coppicing, hedge laying, snedding trees... A hook that's fits your hand perfectly and is just the right weight for you makes for a joyful tool using experience!
Other tools I find to be versatile are mattocks, knives, spades and wheelbarrows. A pry bar or digging bar has come in handy many times when extra leverage has been required too.
Theres places in Wales with very poor mobile home reception. I struggled for signal in some of the valleys around Llanidloes for example. You might be best looking for hilly/mountainous areas in general like Wales, parts of Yorkshire, the Peak District, and Scotland in the UK. I expect the same may be true for any European country with rural and mountainous terrain.
David Livingston wrote:does it need to be a curtain rod as certain trees have hollow stems - Elder for instance . Or you could split bamboo and it could be possible inset the wire and it will close up behind it
This would be my suggestion too. You could also look into how people used to make wooden pipes; I believe that very long barrel augers were used.
I'm a lifelong vegetarian and I've never eaten meat so I can't really advise on which vegetarian/vegan foods accurately simulate meat.
What I will say is that there are many meat substitues out there if you want to give them a try, many of which taste as good as or better than the meat that they are simulating (although YMMV). Brands may be different in the USA but Linda McCartney products are good (their burgers are much better than equivalently priced meat burgers according to my meat eating foodie friends) and Quorn is ubiquitous and increasingly commonplace. With veganism becoming more trendy, product development has increased and improvements are being made; the food that is available now is nothing like veggie food that was available back in the 80s and 90s when my parents first embraced vegetarianism. Seitan is on my 'to make' list as I've heard good things. Tofu is great; easy to prepare and cook but it does require a bit of attention to get the most out of it; marinades are the way to go!
While substituting for meat analogues is all well and good, I think it's important to emphasise that, in embracing a veg*n diet or a low-meat diet, you have the opportunity to explore a whole host of alternative ingredients, textures, tastes and cusines. Buying a couple of veggie cookbooks will stand you in good stead, although the internet is obviously a great source too. The queen of vegetarian cookery in the UK is Rose Elliot and my mother has been using her books for over 30 years. My favourite cookery book at the moment is the Thug Kitchen cookbook. Lots of exciting flavour combinations and the marinaded tofu recipe from Thug Kitchen is the best recipe I've ever found.
I have meat analogues once or twice a week maybe (they're a convenient and cheap source of protein) but typically cook from scratch. I eat a lot of fresh vegetables, a fair number of eggs, loads of beans and pulses (red lentils, chick peas, black beans, kidney beans, you name it), nuts and seeds, tofu every week or two, pasta, rice, barley, quinoa, bulgar wheat... And in eating all this create food using recipes from around the world.
Jd Gonzalez wrote:If you're committed to veganism why doctor and process products to look, taste, and feel like animal flesh? Not judging just asking.
It's a valid question I guess. I can think of at least three reasons:
A meat analogue and provide an easy way for people to transition away from meat eating by providing familiar tastes, textures and applications, particulalrly if the individual isn't a confident cook or familiar with vegetarian cookery;
As my protein obsessed mate found to his surprise, many meat substitues contain more protein than equivalent meat products, and;
Maybe somone likes the taste of meat but not the way it is produced the cost to the environment.
Angelika Maier wrote:If you crave meat your body probably craves meat.
Or maybe its associations, memories and experiences that create the craving. For example, I gave up dairy a while ago. While I was at university it became my inevitable habit, at the end of a night on the lash, to nip into a takeaway on the way home to buy either a pizza or some cheesy chips (a regional delicacy) and thus my night would be blissfully complete. Even though I gave dairy up about 7-8 years ago, I still get the same complusion to buy cheesy fast food while out getting pissed. Now I have to settle for salt and vinegar on my chips
Pole lathe turning is great fun, and very satisfying. I've just started doing a little bit as part of a coppicing/green wood working course I'm on; I made a pin for my shave horse and a handle for a new spoon knife blade.
There's plenty of videos on YouTube and Vimeo should anyone want to check out more examples and practitioners.
Not as spectacular as some of the images already posted in this thread but I always think that this tree/these trees are pretty awesome. The tree is actually two trees, a hazel and a hawthorn, that have grown and fused together. It's located on a hill not far from me in Wales.
I don't have an answer for you but it would certainly be interesting to find out if bracken is a suitable lternatuve given how abundant it is.
According to a website I just looked at, the straw provides tensile strength that holds the wall together. Bracken and reed are reasonably strong I imagine so it would definitely be worth at least testing.
If you were to build a larger structure and wanted to forgo straw or alternatives altogether then rammed earth may be an option.
Here in the UK this kind of fencing is called 'paling fencing'. Sweet chestnut is a typical wood for this kind of fence, apparently because of the ease with which sweet chestnut splits.
The diagram that James provided is almost identical to the one in Ben Law's book 'Woodland Craft'. The only difference is that, instead of simply winding the wire while spooled, Ben demonstrates the use of wire tensioners to maintain the right tension. He then uses a wooden peg threaded between the two wires to twist them together.
A few months ago I did see a wooden paling machine advertised on a Facebook group. I didn't take a look at the time but it would be interesting to see how that would function. Especially if you wanted to make a large quantity of fencing.
Here's a video that shows the paling machine in action as well as a description of the material, how its processed, and why.
Michael Adams wrote:YES!!! Thank you very much for posting this! This is an excellent series, beautifully photographed and incredibly inspiring! The gang in EP. 7....you all seriously ROCK.
This is some of the best content I've seen in a very long time.
Aye, I've known of Tinker's Bubble for quite some time now, and had heard of their steam powered saw mill, but watching the video is the first time I've seen the community in action as it were. Very inspiring stuff!
Dale Hodgins wrote:Do you have any links to videos that show extractive uses that are sustainable? I'm always more interested in that sort, rather than those of a purely educational nature. It sure seems to be well filmed. I've gone on a few YouTube Benders recently and the production quality is not generally this high. Nowhere near that high.
It depends on how you want to define 'extractive' and 'sustainable' I suppose... Would you mind elaborating? It might help me to fulfill your request for a video!
I recently came across Costa Boutsikaris' series on Vimeo. To quote his website, Woodlanders is:
... an online film series that seeks to document the work of people who care for and depend on forests for their livelihood and well-being throughout the world.
Even among today's progressive movements of local economy and food systems, the vast global knowledge of forest livelihoods and economies are mostly undervalued and undocumented. From woodcraft and nut tree cultures of ancient Europe, to mushroom and forest medicines of Asia, there many fascinating ways of creating sustainable economies from the forests while maintaining their ecological health and complexity... Sustainable relationships with forests regenerate and protect these wild places while also offering livelihoods to humans. Each episode will focus on a person or culture who has a sustainable relationship and/or livelihood with a forest.
I've watched all of the episodes, some more than once, and I can't recommend them highly enough. Each one is informative, well filmed and edited, and provide an insight into how people in the UK, USA and Scandinavia derive a livelihood from managing woodland sustainably/traditionally/ecologically. Permaculture is mentioned in at least one of the episodes to my recollection
Below is the first of twelve (so far) episodes. My personal favourites are the episodes on willow coffins, the ash pack basket, and the community woodland.
I should also mention that Costa's Woodlanders project is being entirely funded through a Patreon campaign and is free from adverts or any form of sponsorship.
I've not used shampoo for about two and a half years now. And I only wash my (fairly long) hair about once a week. As far as I can tell there have been no adverse effects; my hair isn't greasy or smelly, and seems to be in good health (despite my complete lack of care).
I do use soap and shower gel however. I have a physical day job so I never made the transition to just washing with a flannel and water... When I wash rather than shower I just use water, again to no obvious I'll effect. I have very healthy skin.
There is a fairly comprehensive thread here on Permies that was my original inspiration for going 'pooless. I seem to recall some discussion regarding alternatives or substitutions for shampoo discussed in the same thread.
Nearly any kind of wood would do! Sycamore was traditionally used here in the UK for dairy bowls etc due to its supposed antibacterial properties.
I make spoons out of whatever I have to hand. Recently I've been using holly and rowan but have also used birch, hazel, oak, ash, alder, willow, poplar and blackthorn. Fruit woods are particularly sought after by spoon carvers as they tend to be attractive. Applewood in particular is very durable.
Tannin rich woods such as oak may initially be unpleasant tasting but through use or boiling the taste will disappear.
You can definitely do the same stuff on either an electric- or foot-powered lathe. The electric lathe might well be quicker but it also costs more and requires electricity and presumably maintenance/spare parts whereas a pole lathe made from timber is relatively cheap, easy to maintain, can be dismantled and moved easily. You can take your pole lathe to the same woods where you fell your wood and make your bowls and chairs surrounded by nature with the experience undiminished by the sound of an electric lathe.
I can't comment on the wooden dowels and dovetails. However, in regards to obtaining a lathe I do have a suggestion which is in a similar vein to the video that Troy linked.
Have you heard of green woodworking? One of the principle pieces of apparatus that practitioners use is a pole lathe, a foot powered lathe usually made out of wood, that has been used by wood workers of various kinds for centuries (including 'bodgers' who manufactured chair legs). Traditionally, pole lathes are made from wood that has been felled and shaped for the purpose. However, I did come across an instructional video (Harry Rogers on Youtube - the only thing he doesn't show is the 'pole' of the lathe) on making such a lathe from milled timber such as from B&Q or whatever.
I'm a novice green wood worker so I've not even progressed to a pole lathe yet; my tool set is limited to a couple of knives, an axe and a saw! It is possible to make beautiful items with just a few tools and a bit of knowledge and practice. I'm not quite there yet but if you check out this group on Facebook you'll find plenty of inspiration. I think that starting with carving spoons, hair forks, small bowls, etc gives a good understanding of many of the tools and techniques that are transferable throughout all forms of green woodworking. Axes are used throughout for example, and knowledge of wood, grain, different species is all obviously transferable. Starting with just a few tools also has the advantage of being comparatively cheap. That Robin Wood bloke sells a spoon carving set for about £75 I think which includes an axe, knife and spoon (or 'crook') knife. I bought a Mora 106 (£15-£20), a Ben Orford small crook knife (£35) and I use an old Kent pattern axe bought from a tool restoration charity for £12 (TFSR) or a more expensive side axe that I received as a gift.
Nice work! I do no turning at present but with Christmas comes presents in the form of tools. Until I can establish a workshop of some kind I'll be concentrating on spoons and other non-turned items. When I do get around to turning it'll probably be on a pole lathe... Do you turn green wood at all?
Steve Faulkner wrote:Hi All,
I'm based in the West Midlands, but I also spend a lot of time on Dartmoor, Devon. I intend to move down to Dartmoor in the next couple of years as I feel that with the 'Transition Movement' developing in the South West of England it's the place to be! I would be interested to meet up with fellow Midlanders and also folks from the South West. Also anyone doing the online PDC Course with Patrick Whitefield Associates.
Hey Steve, welcome to the boards!
How're you finding the online course? I was fortunate enough to participate in Patrick's last PDC and learned a great deal in the process! The South West does seem to be the place to be - the polar opposite of the Valleys here in SE Wales...
Cj raises a good point. Coppice with standards makes perfect sense permaculturally and fits nicely into your non-food forest thinking. That way you retain the long term income from the timber trees whilst retaining opportunities for shorter term income generation from the coppice.
Additionally, the growth of the coppice should help with a) 'forcing' the timber trees to grow straight and b) reduce the amount of snedding required to ensure high quality timber by reducing the amount of branching on the lower stems.
Appologies if these are conclusions you've drawn already! Coppice with standards used to be relatively commonplace in the UK but I'm not sure how widespread it is in other parts of the world.
Nice article. I'd like to do something here similar in Wales so I'll be looking forward to more! One note on the coppicing; the older a tree gets the less likely it is to respond well to being coppiced so this might be something to bear in mind. However, I am writing from a UK perspective so trees native to the USA or other parts of the world may respond differently.
Dave Forrest wrote:Hi Sam, sorry, I missed your reply earlier!
I would love to hear more about your slug-eating nematodes... Where can i get some of those?!
The product that we've bought on the past is called 'Nemaslug' if I remember correctly. It seemed quite expensive at the time I recall but it could well have done the job. There's not much more I can say really!!
Dowding looks to have have a lot to say about growing salads all year round using his no dig methods (he's got at least one book on the subject) although he is dependent on a greenhouse. However, there may be some plants that you could overwinter using cloches if they're allowed.
In terms of slug control I assume that you won't be allowed to keep chickens or ducks or allowed to install a pond for frogs? One thing that appears to have worked for us for controlling our resident slug population was the use of nematode worms - you buy them, dissolve them in your watering can and just water your plants/soil with the solution.
The sacking may work to make your raised beds I guess although I'd probably choose to have no borders on my beds - less work, less habitat for slugs - unless your plot is sloped in which case some form of soil retention might be necessary. If you do want to use the sacks, do you have enough stones to fill them? Just a though.
I wonder if the same gain in EROEI and ROCE seen in larger turbines is true of this design? 'Standard' small turbines such as those typically found upon buildings represent a pretty poor return on investment too.
Xisca Nicolas wrote:Thanks!
It is looking like "una pared seca" but it is not, there is some concrete.
The building method is typical of here, and wallman can even recognize who built a wall from the way it is made.
They put some stones first, on both sides, and then they put some concrete in between.
The wall is made in a way that it could stand up without concrete, and also it is nearly invisible.
I will pick up some pics that show the method!
It's always interesting to see how people do things in other countries/scenarios! Sorry if I'm derailing your thread but here's a couple of pictures from our retaining wall (a much smaller proposition than yours) for the sake of comparison:
We used a single dyke (as opposed to your double dyke) and backfilled with smaller stones and rubble. No cement was used, just the weight of the stones. The second image shows the well before we put on the coping stones although you can see a few at the far end of the wall in the first image.
I love the walls Xisca, great job. We recently replaced a retaining wall in our back garden that is supporting a terrace and it's is something we've thought about on a larger scale in our fields so I'll be following your progress with interest.