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Ideas for woodcraft from nomadic peoples.

Ideas for woodcraft from nomadic peoples.

by Angus ~ 20 September, 2017 ~ comments welcome

In Siberia, there are some indigenous peoples who continue to live as they have for hundreds or thousands of years.  One such is the Evenks, who are nomadic and live off reindeer (both domesticated and wild) and they build a teepee-shaped houses out of wood and cover it in skins.  When they move on they take the skins with them.  They also have other clever innovations with could provide inspiration for the British woodland owner, such as a “fridge” built high up so as to be out of reach of animals, and they have clever animal traps made with logs.  Some of these seem to be intended to crush the animal and others to trap it (images below).

One tradition they have is that instead of burning their dead or cremating them they leave them on high platforms so that the corpse can be eaten by birds.  This particular idea may be less useful to the British woodsman and might even be frowned upon, especially in the Home Counties.  Read more...

rhododendron leaves

Marble run made from Rhododendron

by Angus ~ 16 September, 2017 ~ one comment

Most woody people hate Rhododendron in woodlands, but Chris Colvill  has found a really good use for it.  He loves marble runs so he made this very big one using wood from rhododendrons. The stems are very twisty which is exactly what you need for a marble run like this. To get the skills to construct this work of art, Chris studied furniture making for three years at Chichester college and he's now made lots of different marble runs for all sorts of locations: "I do sell them but mainly I rent them out for events” says Chris. “People seem to love them.” Read more...

Deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna)

Deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna)

by Chris ~ 13 September, 2017 ~ 2 comments

Deadly nightshade belongs to the same family as the potato, the tomato, aubergines (aka eggplants) and chilli peppers - the Solanaceae.  It has a number of common names such as belladonna, devil’s berries or death cherries.  Deadly nightshade is found throughout southern and central Europe but it has been introduced and cultivated outside this area. For example, it was recorded (in 1870) as growing in the apothecary gardens at Malmo in southern Sweden (as recorded in the Flora of Skåne).  In some parts of the world, it has become something of a pest. Read more...

The Monthly Mushroom - Chicken of the Woods

The Monthly Mushroom – Chicken of the Woods

by Jasper Sharp ~ 7 September, 2017 ~ one comment

It might not be much to look at, but Laetiporus sulphureus sure tastes good on a plate. A relatively common adornment to many a tree in Summer and early Autumn, the legendary Chicken of the Woods is one of the tastiest edible mushrooms found in the UK, and also one of the most highly prized: as the name suggests, it has the taste and texture of chicken, and its firm flesh makes an ideal substitute in stews, stroganoffs, curries, pilaffs and other meat dishes.

Easily overlooked by those not in the know, it is instantly recognisable to the gourmet fungi forager, and bares little resemblance to other poultry-named fungi like the Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor) or the Hen of the Woods (Grifola frondosa), the Japanese delicacy known as maitake. It is a bracket fungus that grows in large clusters of undulating fan-shaped shelves, the colour ranging from bright yellow to orange on its topside (hence the alternate common name Sulphur Shelf), with its yellowish underside pitted with pores from which it releases its spores and a firm white fleshy interior. Read more...

Bumblebees - 'neonics' further evidence.

Bumblebees – ‘neonics’ further evidence.

by Chris ~ 3 September, 2017 ~ comments welcome

Back in 2013, the EU imposed a temporary ban on the use of neonicotinoids on flowering crops.  This was as a result of claims that nicotine related chemicals had a significant effect on the physiology and behaviour of pollinators - particularly honey bees.   The ban remains in place whilst a review of these chemicals takes place.

Further evidence of the effects of neonicotinoids (other than that already reported in the woodlands’ blog) comes from the research work of Professor Raine * (of the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada) and co-workers.  Read more...

Iceland's missing woodland and forest.

Iceland’s missing woodland and forest.

by Lewis ~ 1 September, 2017 ~ one comment

Some ten to fifteen million years ago, Iceland supported forests and woodlands of Redwoods (Sequoia), Magnolia and Sassafras.   The presence of such species suggests that at this time the climate was warm and temperate.  Later, in the Pliocene period, evidence from pollen studies, suggest that Pines, Larch, Birch and Alder had come to dominate; species that are associated with Boreal Forest - so the climate had cooled considerably.

There then followed the glaciations of the Pleistocene (often simply referred to as the Ice Age) - a geological epoch which lasted from about 2,500,000 to 12,000 years ago.  Glaciers marched across the surface of the Earth, but retreated in the warmer inter-glacial periods. Read more...

"Trump Forest"

“Trump Forest”

by Lewis ~ 27 August, 2017 ~ 2 comments

President Trump is concerned that the Paris Climate Agreement will damage the U.S economy, cost jobs and offer a competitive advantage to Countries such as China and India.  In consequence, he has said that the United States will leave the Paris Climate Agreement and he has also ordered a review of ‘climate regulations’ legacy from the Obama administration.   The effect of these policies will be the release of greater quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere - which will further exacerbate global warming and climate change.

A New Zealand based organisation called Trump Forest wants to offset the extra CO2 emissions Read more...

Siberian ideas for a log cabin

Siberian ideas for a log cabin

by Angus ~ 25 August, 2017 ~ comments welcome

Building a log cabin in Siberia is an art that has been developed over hundreds of years and takes account of material available and the extremes of weather.  For example, it may look as though the same logs are used for the whole cabin but in fact for the bottom three layers the Siberians use larch which is more resistant to rotting and carrying water upwards.  Above that they use Siberian pine which is in much greater abundance  - indeed its availability must be one of the reasons that so many of the buildings in Russia are built of wood, even today.  Between the logs moss is wedged into the gaps to prevent draughts and to seal the building from insects.  This moss, again, is freely and abundantly available in most of Russia. Read more...

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