Sunday, 23 September 2012

Goodbye blogger. It's been virtual.

I've gone but I haven't stopped blogging. All future posts will be seen here.

Sorry for the need to click again. I hope it won't put you off.

Off to wordpress

Right. I'm going to move the blog to wordpress. Hopefully this will al go smoothly and all the links will still work. It's bound to look different, but we'll all just have to get used to that.

Wish me luck. I might need it.

Log cutting experiment

My old log cutting bench has seen its last season:

As I was sketching out a new, improved design, I remembered something that friend and helper Alex mentioned a few years ago. She said she'd made a log cutting system involving uprights with many logs stacked on top of each other. I guestimated she meant something like this:

This is how many logs you can cut in a couple of minutes, the first time you used it:


It's a huge efficiency in time and energy (physical and fossil fuel). There's at least one log lift less required than with the previous bench, and it may be close to perfect. It will also mean only one large pile of sawdust (for animal bedding and compost toilets), instead of several small piles with the old, portable bench.

This is a Mark I experiment to see if the gaps and angles work. It's based on the width and blade length of my chainsaw, to produce the 40 cm lengths required for our main woodburner. We have a second burner that uses 25 cm lengths and I'm still thinking about that.

(Worth mentioning that, going into my fourth winter in a yurt, I've never been so prepared when it comes to fire wood. I have dry wood in various locations, and have even got the beginnings of a pile for next winter.)

(Also worth mentioning that I'm hating the new blogger interface that I've been forcibly migrated onto. Instead of struggling with it, I'm going to start looking for another platform. I've stopped following other blogs that have migrated but please bear with me.)

Monday, 17 September 2012

Apology to readers

It seems that Blogger has seen fit to fix something that wasn't broken. Specifically, it now seems that whenever I post an image (as in the post immediately below), the leading (space between lines of words) looks hideous. I've made blogger aware of this problem and hope they can unbreak the issue.

If they can't, I'll obviously be decamping to a new blogging platform. Watch this (terrible use of) space.

(De)construction complete

This is what the studio-to-be looked like a few minutes ago.

Ripping out was fairly straightforward. (If you're going to do it yourself, it's worth knowing that the partitions and other bits of trim are stapled through the roof from the outside, before the skin of the caravan goes on. Which means you don't get to re-use many partitions.)

At both ends there was some serious leakage going on, rotting the wood frame to nothing. We also found ant cities in the polystyrene here, which we'll replace with some packaging scrounged from the tip and a friend's barn. Not quite sure how we're going to cover those bits back up again yet, but it'll all make perfect sense in the end.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

As if by magic, a studio appears

One thing you may not know is that Her Outdoors is an artist. Not your have-an-easel-and-a-set-of-watercolours kind of artist, but your seriously talented, fully rounded Artist who creates beautiful things using pretty much whatever is at hand, pretty much all the time.

True, she’s only won awards for her textile art, but her sculpture is incredible, she can draw, paint and make with the best of them, and (which is very depressing to someone who worked for 18 years as a professional writer) has Genuinely Good Ideas for at least four books in different genres, plus a trilogy she may never find time to write down.

You're unlikely to know these things because over the last few years she’s been mainly making big yurt covers in small spaces. Like the eating area in our old house...

...the kitchen in the Shack before we built the bathroom...

...the bathroom in the Shack before there was a toilet...

...and afterwards...

...more than once...

...or if she’s been really, really lucky, our yurt...

When what she’s needed all along is a studio. Somewhere to keep all the boxes of fabric, dyes, equipment, reference books and sketch books stashed up in the attic or under our bed, and the industrial machines in the bathroom and yurt. Somewhere that doesn’t need to be mopped after breakfast and tidied away before the kids come home from school. Somewhere she can leave stuff overnight where the cats won't walk on it. Somewhere, in fact, like this.

This is not her studio. It's a photo she found on a popular networking site a few weeks ago. But that's not the point. The point is, it gave her (yet) an(other brilliant) idea.

Because it just so happens that we had an old and neglected caravan in the field that we’ve been using as an animal feed store...

...and we had a space next to the Shack...

...that was almost exactly caravan sized.

It needs some work on the inside...

...and we've had to find another home for the scythes...

...but this studio-to-be appears to be here to stay.

Of course, it did mean we needed to build a shed for the animal feed. But you already knew about that.