Tag Archives: peening

Scything Courses 2011

Hi All

This year, instead of dedicating set days for running scything courses, I am going to teach people on an individual basis. The cost will stay at £50, but for this you get one to one tuition, rather than share my time with five other people. Not as lucrative for me, but a much nicer teaching and learning environment.

So if you want some individual training, including freehand peening, and blade repair, get in touch. Either through this blog, or call me on 01507 588543.

Looking forward to hearing from you.



Scything and Swarm Eight

Today I had arranged to do some scything tuition, but had told Andy that I may have to pause to house a swarm. He picked up the peening pretty quickly, which was good, but by late  morning the sound of bees just kept getting louder. So I suited up, as did he, and we walked around the field looking for a swarm. There wasn’t one, but with thirteen colonies and a strong nectar flow, everywhere that you went sounded like a swarm.

I was pretty sure that at least one colony would go, so I did the rest of the session in my bee suit, and checked regularly. Again, no swarm. So we finished up, and I gave hime some lunch, and then, as he was interested in permaculture and Forest Gardening, I showed him around. On the way back down the hill, I saw some scout bees checking out the empty hive left strategically ready to use in the other field, and pointed them out, only to see more bees checking around the hive. No sooner had I said that there must be a swarm out, than I spotted a dark shadow on the far side of an apple tree, and had to say my goodbyes, and deal with the swarm. As I went back up the field, it was obvious that this was a big swarm, so I went and got my camera for a few pictures.

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Now I’m Half a Century Old

Well I’ve not posted for a short while as I was 50 at the weekend, and things got a bit hectic. In addition I’ve also taken on some paid employment, planting trees for the company who own the farm across the road from me. The snow here has put a temporary stop on the tree planting, giving me an opportunity to catch up here.

The birthday went really well. My sons, and one son in law, took me out for the afternoon, and then when we got home, an hour late, there was a surprise party, with friends from the village, and family. It was a lovely day, and I remember most of it, which is pretty good going. The best present of all was seeing all of my kids together, as it doesn’t happen all that often. Other gifts which are relevant here include a new camera, with a 12 x optical zoom, which will be put into use immediately, and some copper tools.

This is my new digging spade. I used some of the birthday money to pay for it. the blade is about ten inches across, and the handle is really long. The sunlight reflecting from it doesn’t show the beautiful colour of the copper/bronze.

Copper Spade

The second picture shows the blade itself. The brazing looks a bit rustic, bit I’m confident that it will be robust enough. The blade is very sharp, you can probably see the thinned edge around the blade, which I can maintain by peening, just like a scythe blade. My sister in law also bought me a copper trowel, which will also see plenty of use. The tools came from Implementations, and their website is here

Copper Spade Blade

The tools are expensive, but I’m hoping that they will outlast me, be much more efficient, and be pleasant to use.

I’ve been busy planting trees. About 500 at my place, so far. Work here has stopped though, as I am planting trees across the road from me. This is paid work, and doing it has given me cause to think  more about sustainability, money, and what I’m trying to achieve here.

To be sustainable, I would hope to produce most of what we need here, and I’m positive that I can do that, but I’m not allowed to opt out of the way that the rest of the country operates. I cannot stop paying council tax for example, in exchange for not using any services. So, even if I wanted to just support myself, I have to find money. To produce a surplus here, I have to take more from my land, and as the price of food is so cheap now, it doesn’t pay very much. This could lead to taking more, and so on.

I want to plant more trees. Some I can grow from seed, perhaps all of them eventually, but then I need tree guard, tools and so on. So I’ve taken on some temporary work to pay for these things. The trees will benefit me, and my bees, as they are so close to my own smallholding, but it will be at least a month where I will have little time to do my own work. The things that will have to slip are my own plantings, and also cutting wood. There is no immediate rush to plant the trees, and February would be a good time to plant them anyway, but the firewood really needs to be done at this time of year, and I don’t think that leaving it just for weekends will give me enough time. I hope that the extra cash will enable me to buy in m ore trees than I could otherwise afford, and put me a year ahead, but if the job drags on, it may be too late to get them in, and the money will not last until October. So it was a harder decision to make than I initially thought it would be, but in the end, I have too many jobs on hold, waiting for an injection of cash, to turn down the opportunity. I hope to balance the lost time by asking my friends to help with the tree planting. I already have two volunteers for a days work, and another in mind.

I’ll keep you posted.

All of the best