well today i have a granddaughter who is 5! don't know how that happened. over the summer i made a play area in the woods for the granddaughters and nephew which they have decided is a pirate ship... happy birthday flo!
this weekend we celebrated two years of prospect wood. it's been a crazy adventure and we have learned a whole load of new skills in the process. it's been a beautiful space to be especially during coronavirus because it is so socially distanced.
anyway for the celebration i wanted to try out my first ever swedish fire log. i first saw one at the big chill festival years ago and thought it was amazing. i won't try and explain it - just watch the video. i filmed it on the phone vertically which was probably a stupid idea but too late (though it looks alright on a phone if you enlarge it a bit)! but it worked an absolute treat and was so much fun. there'll be a lot more fire logs to come. it's dead easy - you should try it. the wood i used was norwegian spruce which is sparky and burns quickly and is what we have plenty of. i imagine it might be a bit slower getting it going with a hard wood but have no idea.
holiday this year was a bit of a challenge to work out what to do safely but also in a way that meant we could have a break other than sitting at home. so we opted to wild camp in the wood week one and then found a tucked out of the way place near hay on wye week two. it worked out really well and was all pretty socially distanced walking, wild swimming, canoeing and so on. i have added some photos here to an album wye and wood though they are not that much of a holiday set given half of them are me messing around with abstracts or reflections! i loved this reflection - it looks almost other wordly. i think a challenge for me would be to see if i could actually take what might be considered a holiday snap.
i am happy to report the lockdown project of building a compost loo for the woodland is complete and turned out pretty well. i have never done anything quite like this so it was good fun, a relief it came together, and hugely satisfying! i am now just waiting for a bucket to arrive and then job done (did you see what i did there?!).
so many people on instagram are loving bluebells and what is there not to love about the gorgeous blue carpet that appears in woodlands at this time of year. what is particularly special for me about it this year is that in september we bought a woodland and wondered whether bluebells were in the wood or not so it has been exciting to see the blue carpet emerge. having said that how do you take a great photo of bluebells especially that has some originality to it. my previous favourite attempt of mine is this one - bluebell vortex but i found myself messing around again to try and create something more abstract and painterly that shows off the colours. there's a couple of others on flickr too. woodland photos is going to be a thing as i am sure you have worked out!
it was a pretty exciting day today as for the first time jen and i visited prospect wood as joint owners with friends pete and julie. i hinted at this a while back which was when we had contacted the owners to say we'd like to buy it but it has finally gone through and we unlocked the gate for the first time today. for me this slightly leftfield venture began on a silent retreat when i can only say the idea of a woodland emerged out of the silence fully formed in my head. when i got back jen was very open to it, and subsequently we found out friends were also on a similar quest so teamed up together and way quicker than expected we find ourselves with 6 acres of woodland. it's in sussex and is peaceful, magical and beautiful. everyone i tell about it asks 'what are you going to do with it?' - we don't exactly know yet - it's an adventure to be explored but it will be woodland and we'll look after it. we hope it will become a special place for family and friends to hang out, share stories, light fires, camp, put hammocks in trees. we will have plenty of wood for woodburners! our friends run mindfulness courses and will take visitors to the wood but beyond that we'll see. you can see the kinds of things people do with small woods if you scout around this site. i am now a member of the small woods association!
i have started a category on the blog for woodland. i realise my bloggging is a bit sparse these days but i hope to record a few of our adventures and discoveries. and there will be photos galore no doubt in the prospect wood album on flickr.
we wanted to mark today as a special day. whilst it poured with rain all morning by the time we got to the wood it was glorious sunshine. we felt we wanted to ask the wood to welcome us and had some words and reflections at the gate as we unlocked it, on the track up to the wood and at the edge of the wood itself. then we had the first fire, ribolita, bubbly, more reflections from basil the great, lord of the rings, and a poem (which i hope i'll get and add here). jen whittled a spoon and we all planted an acorn in soil as a sign of the future that might come from this seed of an idea which has already become a wonderful thing.
jen and i are going on a managing woodland course in october to get a bit more knowledge and experience and skills as we step into this new sideproject - fun times!
here are the words/reflections which were my contribution to today (along with sourdough). i have no idea what other people do to mark such occasions but this seemed fitting to us and it was magical afternoon and evening. i think magical is going to be a much used word when it comes to the wood.
At the gate…
The journey begins We stand at the threshold of prospect wood Ready to begin an adventure together
The journey begins What began as a childhood dream What emerged as an idea in the Presence of Silence
The journey begins Pete, Jenny, Julie, Jonny - what a team We can’t wait to see what unfolds
The journey begins Our hearts are full of hope, joy and thanks Our spirits are full of wonder and offering
The journey begins We offer it to the one whose wood it is We offer it with open hands to all family and friends who will journey here too
The journey begins It’s hard to believe this day has arrived The key to the gate is in our hands The key to a new future is in our hands Let us enter it now!
On the path…
Walk slowly Breathe out Let go Relax Look Be thankful Be At Home In the world Breathe in Peace Fresh air! All Is Gift
At the entrance to Prospect Wood…
To be spoken to the woodland, its trees and creatures We come as friends We have been given the keys to your wood We have been entrusted with caring for you We come as lovers of God and lovers of the world We find you to be a magical and peaceful woodland We come in peace Will you welcome us?
We will do our best to help you flourish To maintain your peace and beauty To learn the skills we need And to manage the woodland motivated by love and respect For the One whose wood it is And all of you creatures whose home it is. Will you welcome us?
Stand in silence, go and place a hand on a tree at the edge of the woodland and listen for the woodland’s answer. If the answer is no we sell the woodland! If the answer is yes we respond together by bowing and saying…
Thank you! We have arrived
I am pleased to say on the last point as far as we can tell the answer was yes!
i have been blogging for a decade or more in fairly eclectic fashion. i am an advocate for pioneers, lover of all things creative, an explorer of faith in relation to contemporary culture, a photographer and writer. explore the presences section below to find me in other spaces