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Today I have made 4 and a half jars of apple chutney.  I still have a lot of apples and some vinegar, onions and sultanas left so I may make some more yet.  My attempt to Eat All the Apples has failed : even eating 4 or 5 apples a day the lawn is covered in them.

This week  I found a crabapple (or a left behind remnant of market gardening, or a seedling from someone's flung apple core: I can't tell) which had very acceptably sweet apples on it. They had thick skins and a slightly odd smokiness to the flavour, not quite like a normal sweet apple, but still not at all bad for a tree basically just growing randomly among the bracken.  Admittedly, I already have a lot of apples, but it's nice to know this one is there for mid-walk snacks, now the hazelnuts are mostly over and the blackberries are getting a bit flyblown.

The garden has also produced quite a lot of grapes, though I'd definitely have more if I'd kept more on top of the pruning.  It's a pity I have to buy sultanas to go in the chutney when I have all these grapes, but I don't think it's a straight swap.

This weekend, my mother finally made it home after her broken hip. She's still walking on crutches and the leg is painful - not because of the hip, but because of the original problem that probably caused her to fall over in the first place. She has had pretty good care, I think, which is cheering. Note: if you want to break your hip, August is a good time to do it, because the busy time for hip-breaking is the winter. We still have her dogs, as she is not up to walking them yet. I don't know if they will both go back to her or not, but I'm leaving that decision to her. It's a bit of a pain having four dogs, but worse things happen at sea and all that.

I had a go at making up my sighthound knotwork pencil drawing as a pendant carving. I used lime-wood, and carved it green, which I have not done before with lime-wood.  It is an astoundingly light wood, and the pendant feels very light in the hand, rather like balsa wood.  Unfortunately it seems to be quite hard to get a good fine finish on it (rather like balsa again).   I'm going to leave this to season a bit and see if that hardens it up at all, then try re-cutting with a very sharp chisel.  I may have to resort to sanding it to take the aggly bits off.  



I think if I try again, I shall find a reason to cut some apple or cherry: apple in particular is such a lovely wood to carve.  Or, thinking about it, there are a couple of hollies that could do with considerably reducing in size, and probably have some decent carving-wood inside of them.  Something with a bit of density to it that you can carve up to a shine.

The lime tree did need taking down, as it is supposed to be working on turning into a coppice stool, not a forest giant, and I've not cut it for a few years.  So at least that is a job done, and if I think of something that needs a particularly lightweight wood I now know Lime is the tree to turn to. 

One thing I noticed about the lime when I cut it was that the bark peeled off very easily and smoothly, and seemed to be quite easy to shape.  I couldn't think of anything I particularly wanted to make out of lime tree bark just now, but it's worth bearing in mind that the bark itself may be an interesting medium to work with.   Maybe I should peel off a good big section, put it under something flat to dry, and eventually draw something on the clean inner side?  That might produce an interesting object with the natural bark on the back.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
ningloreth
19th Sep, 2011 00:18 (UTC)
When I read this I was wondering where you could possibly live! You make it sound... not idyllic, exactly... wild. Ancient. I'm up in the north, which isn't quite so fertile, and I have a yard not a garden.

I like your carving. It does have a very Celtic feel to it, especially around the head and the eye. (My ex used to carve in limewood and holly, but he bought the wood. Holly was good for netsuke-sized objects, but was very expensive).
bunn
19th Sep, 2011 10:56 (UTC)
Tamar valley Cornwall - it is quite wild, though admittedly I made my garden sound even more chaotic than it actually is by not making it clear that the delicious accidental crabapple tree was actually away up the hill rather than inside of it.

I aim for ' a dishevelled dryad loveliness' reminiscent of late Third Age Ithilien (well, preferably without the scenes of dreadful feast and slaughter) but it's all too easy to overshoot and end up in Postapocalyptic Impenetrable Jungle! I think possibly Ithilien wasn't quite so *wet*.
wellinghall
19th Sep, 2011 05:52 (UTC)
I like your carving too. I am also pleased to hear that mother is home, and has had good care; I hope she continues to improve.
bunn
19th Sep, 2011 11:29 (UTC)
I'm pleased by the shape of the carving, particularly the feet - but I'd like the finish to be better. Oh well, it's all learning!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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