Week 10 Wood – our trees and whittling hazel

September 2021 to March 2022 (Samhain to Equinox)

We gathered (missing Shona but with Alice) in the oak nuttery, leaves leaving trees, and talked of wood in our lives, a tree that was special to us or something made of wood.

Here are our trees:
I can see that hollow tree by a steam, that I went to as a child, where I used to put messages for the wood fairies of my hopes and fears.
A friend gave me a field maple such a lovely native tree.
Walking down to Benacre beach, you may know it, but there was a dead petrified tree, upright still in the sand, amazing huge roots, incredibly beautiful, a magnificent trunk, divided branches. At low tide you could climb up the branches and once I got up early and climbed up to watch the sunrise. Then a few years ago it was on its side. And a couple of years later it was gone, the sea had taken it, but where?
Transported back to Mull with Dad when I was younger, we walked a long time to a cave and slept there. On the way we found a fossil of a tree in the side of a cliff – it was millions of years old – an imprint. When we reached the cave we made a pretend futon out of pallets that we found washed up on the shore.
When I moved to my home in Blyford there were no trees, everything was dead, rows of dead elms. I planted a woodland around me, field maple, oaks, alders, sweet chestnut, horse chestnut, walnuts and cherry. I’ve been there for 40 years. Some people think that trees take ages to grow but they don’t! They are like my off spring.
I thought of my piano, then, needing to find a living wood, I remembered a tree I saw in new Zealand, the pohutukawa tree, which is a native christmas tree, with gnarly huge branches you crawled under as part of your journey (I went to NZ on holiday and stayed 15 months on Waiheke Island).
I’m thinking of the trees in the homes I’ve lived…The first tree, my first home with Michael, was an apple tree, perfect bark, blossom and perfect pink apples. In the garden of our second home, was a tree like a pine, with a perfect shape. Our third home had a perfect willow, which bends and can be blown to bits but never falls. My fourth home here in Halesworth has a perfect Cherry in the garden. I am reminded of the story of two birds in a tree, one sitting silently, one all over the place.
I was always very fond of Irene’s dad, who was in the Merchant navy. When he died I made a replica of his boat out of wood, which brings back memories of him special to me.
The first sale of ceramics we as a family had we invited a group of woodworkers to. Suddenly I heard a kerfuffle under the table: my puppy dog had found and chewed a wood carved spoon belonging to one of the woodmen, the first spoon he had ever whittled! Nearer to home I’ve been planting trees at the Blyford Queens Head with the help of Virginia, in the otherwise flat treeless land.
There is a beautiful weeping ash down crinkle crankley way in Halesworth.
This is a happy sad story. A weeping tree which someone gave me grew so that its roots undermined my neighbours bungalow. The tree had to be taken down and their bungalow underpinned.
A river runs by the side of our house, and growing there is a beautiful copper beach, I’m hoping it’s not doing any damage. It weeps over the stream, with blue bells and Aconites under its canopy. Sometimes when I don’t need to do anything I go and sit on the edge and think how lovely.
This tree was my safe place, I’d sit up there with my cat, my mother would look for me there once we had had space from each other.

Chi Gong under the Hornbeams, their leaves still golden on the ground. We all exhaled Warrior style. And after we’d all practiced, Naomi did the 4 minute form.

Kally set up the Loom on the hot verandah, so in the sun Armoral and Jill wove a few lines.

Back at our fire, we made some cards for Shirely, Jane and Rachel – that was a nice surprise.

A few of us got to work with wood, making spears, pencils or was it something else?

Rachel said it was not until she became 50, (14 years ago now) that she came to understand that fungi were just the fruiting body of remarkable Mycorrhizal networks that linked communities of trees under the earth beneath our feet. She told the story of Suzanne Simard, who in 1997 published her findings in Nature, that Carbon flowed downhill between plants from plenty to scarcity. Not only Carbon, but also nitrogen, phospherous and water. Her book is called The Mother Tree. Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds and Shape Our Futures. We were shown two pieces of wood, one Beech and one Birch in which we could clearly see the progression of fungi, called Spalting.

One word that sums up your day in the woods today:
Satisfaction / Warmth / Enjoyment / Fulfilment / Sunshine / Instructive / Nourishing / Stories
Inventiveness / Beaming smile / Carbon

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Sept 30 – Introductions
Oct 7 – Weaving and Dyeing
Oct 14 – Dyeing and conkers
Oct 21 – Dyeing and drawing
Oct 31 Samhain Sunday
Nov 4 Leaf letting go
Nov 11 EARTH
Nov 18 AIR
Nov 25 WATER
Dec 2 FIRE
Dec 9 WOOD (crafting
Dec 16 (Solstice)

Jan 6
Jan 13
Jan 20
Jan 27
Feb 3
feb 10
Feb 17
Feb 24
Mar 7 (Equinox)


Shona, Kally and Rachel are keen for you to get in touch with us.

Supported and sponsored by:

The Pear Tree Fund