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

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

First Caterpillar Of Spring

We went for a walk over St. Anne’s Head in Pembrokeshire, Wales this week. The last couple of days have seen record temperatures for February recorded across the UK and it is feeling unseasonably warm.

These black hairy caterpillars, possibly White Ermine Moths, were out in force out on the coastal path.

 

 


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