Coppicing Willow

January and the last of the willow is ready for harvesting. The magic of willow coppicing is that it will grow back again just as vigorously next year. Coppicing all the stems off a stump will give you willow for weaving, these will all grow back again and more in a year’s time. Here I am cutting off all but two or three stems / whips which will encourage the tree to put all its growth into the remaining stems. At between one to three metres growth a year these quickly become trunks and can be harvested for firewood in five to seven years. And then the magic still doesn’t stop, the bottom 10cm of the coppiced stems can be pushed into the ground where they will take root and become new trees, and the older trees when cut for firewood will shoot out 5 to 20 new stems and the whole process starts again.

Once I’ve finished coppicing, I’m then cutting off all the lateral branches to encourage growth upwards instead of outwards. Finally I push a bunch of the cut off whips back into the ground around these willows which will hopefully take root and expand the bio-fuel supply in future years.

”The soundtrack is a Pony Folk acoustic cover of an old electric Dogs D’Amour track ‘She Put It In Her Arm’. It only has three chords repeated throughout Em, C and D but the lines are short and the the timing of each chord is critical and It still catches me out sometimes. Ok, a lot.” ~ Pony Folk

Gors Fawr Stone Circle

Travelling up through Wales last week we stopped off at Gors Fawr Stone Circle on the edge of the Presili Hills. This is the area where the bluestones, Presili Spotted Dolerite to give them their geologic name, that form part of Stonehenge were quarried before making their 150 mile journey to Amesbury.

‘This near-perfect circle of sixteen stones measuring about 22 metres in diameter. Eight of the stones are of spotted dolerite, the famous ‘bluestone’ sourced as being from the Carn Meini outcrops to the north (Burl mentions only one). Recent geophysical survey by the SPACES project, searching for any buried structures which might lie hidden beneath the circle, revealed nothing. The conclusion is that this monument probably looks much the same today as it did to its late Neolithic or Bronze Age builders. Nearby is a pair of standing stones (NPRN 304281) which appears to frame the distant Carn Menyn outcrop when viewed from the south-west. In his 1963 Shell Guide, Vyvyan Rees was unimpressed; ‘Gors Fawr, the only recognisable stone circle left in the county, is very small’. It is, in fact, a remarkable survivor and one of the best of its kind to be seen in Wales’. (1)

(From Driver, T. 2006. Pembrokeshire: Historic Landscapes from the Air. RCAHMW, p121)

Wild ponies and sheep roam free here under the pale blue sky of what could be mistaken for the wild open prairies of America.

I filmed a walk-around of the stone circle and used it in two videos, the first has a soundtrack containing the market call of a fruit and veg stall owner in Doncaster, an original impromptu flute tune by Pony Folk and words read from ‘The Worm Forgives The Plough’ by John Stewart Collis. The second version of the video is accompanied by a rough draft of ‘Folk Song’ by Pony Folk.

 

 


Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

There’s an eclectic mix of posts on here, from writing and poetry to banjos and guitars, art, photography and computing, so feel free to dive in and have a look around,

New to this site? Click here to visit my About Me section.

Follow me @ponyfolk on Instagram for my multi-medium art and @shadowthepoet on Twitter

Want to introduce yourself, your art, your blog or you world and discover all that is new in the world? Click here for my ‘Join the Revolution’ page.

Go well!

James

Lichfield Arts Festival of Folk Song Writing Competition 2019

I entered the Lichfield Arts Festival of Folk (L2F) song writing competition last year, submitting ‘Say Goodbye To Me Gently’ and ‘I Remember’. They have a very active music calendar and I attended a few gigs and concerts such as 3 Daft Monkeys (the night they had a stage invader), Roving Crows (the night it snowed and we barely made it home) and Emily Smith when I was living in the area.

I didn’t make the short list of the competition so I didn’t get the opportunity to perform in the finals at the event. I did however get some nice feedback from the judges who said they were “particularly impressed“ with ‘I Remember’.

I have entered again this year, submitting ‘Chamberlain Road’ and ‘Something’s Changing’, so finger’s crossed for this year.

 

 


Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

There’s an eclectic mix of posts on here, from writing and poetry to banjos and guitars, art and computing, so feel free to dive in and have a look around,

New to this site? Click here to visit my About Me section.

Follow me @ponyfolk on Instagram for my multi-medium art and @shadowthepoet on Twitter

Want to introduce yourself, your art, your blog or you world and discover all that is new in the world? Click here for my ‘Join the Revolution’ page.

Go well!

James

Clipped Wings

The weather has turned a little colder here in Stoke-on-Trent, it’s raining outside and I’ve been practicing a new picking technique from a book I picked up in a charity shop a few weeks ago.

IMG_3423.JPG

Everyone else in the Folk world seems to have a variety of picking methods available to them. I’ve watched the likes of Martyn Joseph and Chris Wood effortlessly using a whole range of different methods. This book looks like a great introduction to this new world.

The one I have been practicing is the ‘thumb pluck variation in 4/4’ which goes like this:

IMG_3424

I’m sure I will get the hang of it very soon, at the moment concentrating on playing the right chords, singing the right words and using the new picking style is quite tricky, especially on this song ‘Clipped Wings’ as I’m still finalising the words on it and haven’t learnt it all yet:

 

 


Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

There’s an eclectic mix of posts on here, from writing and poetry to banjos and guitars, art, photography and computing, so feel free to dive in and have a look around,

New to this site? Click here to visit my About Me section.

Follow me @ponyfolk on Instagram for my multi-medium art and @shadowthepoet on Twitter

Want to introduce yourself, your art, your blog or you world and discover all that is new in the world? Click here for my ‘Join the Revolution’ page.

Go well!

James

Something’s Changing

Verse: Am C Em
Chorus: G D C G

I walk the covered walkways in my mind
Everything I see reminds me of the time
We were never going anywhere real fast
Held down by the memories of our pasts

But something’s changing, I know it is
We waited all our days for this

Dancing on street corners through the night
Holding on tightly ’til morning light
We were never going anywhere fast
Counting down the seconds ’til the last

But something’s changing, I know it is
We waited all our lives for this

Train pulls slowly out of town
Missing you now you’re not around
We were never going anywhere fast
This lifetime slipping through my grasp

But something’s changing, I know it is
We waited all our lives for this

Walking the old streets again
Turning a corner and then
We were never going anywhere real fast
Held down by the memories of my past

But something’s changing, I know it is
We waited all our days for this
Something’s changing, I know it is
We waited all our lives for this

 

 


Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

There’s an eclectic mix of posts on here, from writing and poetry to banjos and guitars, art, photography and computing, so feel free to dive in and have a look around,

New to this site? Click here to visit my About Me section.

Follow me @ponyfolk on Instagram for my multi-medium art and @shadowthepoet on Twitter

Want to introduce yourself, your art, your blog or you world and discover all that is new in the world? Click here for my ‘Join the Revolution’ page.

Go well!

James