it was very exciting to find goshawks nesting in our wood (at least we are pretty sure that's what the nest is). certainly there are a lot of goshawk calls which are very distinctive and large birds of prey that fit the description.
we also prayed that the tipi would be a wonderful and blessed space using the words of john o donahue in for a nw home from his book benedictus. i hope he wouldn't mind me posting the blessing here
May this house shelter your life.
When you come home here,
May all the weight of the world
Fall from your shoulders.
May your heart be tranquil here,
Blessed by peace the world cannot give.
May this home be a lucky place,
Where the graces your life desires
Always find the pathway to your door.
May nothing destructive
Ever cross your threshold.
May this be a safe place
Full of understanding and acceptance,
Where you can be as you are,
Without the need of any mask
Of pretense or image.
May this home be a place of discovery,
Where the possibilities that sleep
In the clay of your soul can emerge
To deepen and refine your vision
For all that is yet to come to birth.
May it be a house of courage,
Where healing and growth are loved,
Where dignity and forgiveness prevail;
A home where patience of spirit is prized,
And the sight of the destination is never lost
Though the journey be difficult and slow.
May there be great delight around this hearth.
May it be a house of welcome
For the broken and diminished.
May you have the eyes to see
That no visitor arrives without a gift
And no guest leaves without a blessing.
there are so many beautiful ideas and phrases. and indeed it became a place of discovery this weekend as we saw the goshawk fly through the woods around the nest almost directly in view from the tipi entrance.
made a fire place in the tipi today which made it feel really magical - this is the first fire. the smoke seemed to rise and go out of the smoke flaps too which was a result! i originally made the poles too long so cut them down to 25 feet. this meant i had some nioce pieces of wood that i have used to create an edge and hold the floor on the liner - it also looks cool...
had a lot of fun yesterday building a tipi for prospect wood. over 18 months we have gradually cut and peeled 17 25 ft poles for it. i watched a few youtube videos and with instructions in hand we managed to get it done. it looks quite magical. it was a perfect day for it. this photo album shows stages of the process though i haven't yet taken any of the inside and we have yet to build a fire and make it cosy.
excited to say that i now have 17 poles that we have cut, peeled with a draw knife and painted with a bit of danish oil to protect them a bit. they are 9m long which is pretty big! next step is getting a canvas ordered... the company i thought i was getting it from stopped trading but apparently may be sold so we shall see. watch this space...
the church of england vision has mixed ecology at its heart which i really like - it's a rich evocative metaphor. i was invited to write a blog post for the church of england on that idea. i have learned a lot about ecosystems over the last three years through managing a piece of woodland. so perhaps inevitably that's where my thinking went. have a read - what i learned about church as an ecosystem by looking after a woodland
i first had this idea and develop it in imaging mission with john taylor. i think that chapter might be my favourite thing i have ever written.
about a year ago i backed a kickstarter. it took a while due to various lockdown challenges but finally the aerial a1 tent from opeongo.camp arrived. it suspends between two trees and whilst it looks hammock like it has two straps which mean it is very stable by comparison. it happened to be the coldest night for a long time so was glad i had got the underquilt with it! it's perfect for prospect wood as we have so many straight conifers and not a lot of flat floor space that is bramble free.
yes literally! the first day of the year was spent at the wood and the latest addition to go with the pirate ship is a swing for the grandkids (though as you can see it is adult friendly too!). it seems to have worked quite well - i decided to use hammock straps to suspend it. so far so good...
our friends have got an owl nesting box so we hope that owls like ot and come to nest there this year which would be exciting.
and latest wooodland toy is a char cloth tin which was fun to try out - it makes char cloth from cotton to use as firestarters in case you wondered.
perfect way to start the year - just hoping that we can share it with more people later this year...
so the pirate ship in the wood has now got a flag so it's definitely a pirate ship! apparently there are lots of different pirate flags and this is the flag for jack rackham also known as calico jack. jen chose it i suspect because he was famous for having women pirates as part of his crew.
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?!).