Finishing my projects seems always to open up new possibilities. Between now and Christmas my plans are many and diverse. Planning becomes more important as there are only so many hours in a day, so much energy available to me and of course spending relief time is critical.
Mostly my relief is in the work I do and the nature that surround me. Stepping out of the workshop door I am literally 100 yards from wild land in recovery and the ponds and lake where the kingfishers dart and the water voles plop. Nuthatches and treecreepers entertain me as do a mass of other birds. It’s migration time and that always brings along some sport. The regulars from Scandinavia, the fieldfares, seem always to invade so I watch for them ravaging the treetops for berries and bobbing along in the fields and rough grass for invertebrates!
This week I put the toolboxes to bed and started the rocking chair, but I also dismantled some large pallet wood for building my winter garden project, a new greenhouse. This will be 8 feet by 12 feet by 8 feet tall at the apex.
I am looking forward to extending my gardening season and starting off my seeds early this coming season. Even though Idid have a good garden these past months I felt that the Covid caught me out with supplies and suppliers taking advantage of shortages. My onions and shallots and garlic are already in the ground.
So the pallets I retrieved from leaning by the skip cleaned up well with my scrub and jack planes. These were made up from seven pieces 75mm by 75mm (3″ x 3″s), enough to do my end frames with the pinnacle point at 8 feet. I cannot believe that these pallets are a one-time-use item but that’s my gain. I love the DIY of retrieval. To me, the best part is where DIY and recycling piggyback and come into tandem with my lifestyle woodworking. It’s the search; I love the hunt. That search-eye that spies out the wood and stops you on your bike to detour. So glad I don’t have a Lexus or a Teslar!!! I love sliding wood into my car, a car I bought for exactly that purpose. Long enough to take eight-foot lengths, square and blocky enough to take most furniture and pallets too.
Sweeping away the waste of a week’s work, sharpening up the tools I used last is the therapy I need for the conclusion of a project. There are few things more satisfying than cleaning up after a project. This for me is the release and relief of manual work.
I remember flying in from delivering the White House pieces. The first thing I did was see my family, of course, but then I went to the workshop to dismantle the stands I had built to build the pieces on.
We had meticulously leveled and fixed the bases to the wooden floor of the workshop to ensure everything was perfectly aligned throughout the build. I swept and cleaned, sharpened, and put away my tools. This recalibration in my mind gave me cause for thankfulness. Little did I know then that these two pieces would be my last pieces to be made in the USA. Little did I know then that six months later I would be leaving the US to live back in the UK. My sweeping gave cause for remembering just how the work had been accomplished in so short a time. The obstacles I and others had faced. I remember picking up a Veritas low-angle jack plane and feeling so grateful for its performance in fitting dozens of mitres in highly-figured mesquite. My number 4 Stanley, the one I had bought when I was 15 years old that cost me £3.50, a full weeks wage back then, sat on my bench, sole down, waiting for the next work. These things passed through my mind as I rejoiced at the victory in delivering those beautiful pieces.
Oh! I didn’t forget my granddaughter’s birthday today! She’s two today and I made a few things for her from my offcuts. She’s a creative, a maker and a baker, and a grower! These things are all in my life today and I am so thankful.