September 2021 to March 2022 (Elders Woodland Weaving – Samhain to Equinox)
We were back in the woods, a full circle. Missing Kally, who still isolating, Theo joined us.
Paul Trees came back, and sat with us in our circle as we checked in, and found something to say about trees: wooden chairs are useful. The Oxygen they give us is quite handy. Antique furniture made of old wood is beautiful. And paper of course, made from wood pulp. I think of lighting my wood stove to save on my heating bills. Can you hear the sap rising? (Not quite yet, said Paul, in a months time) So many uses, from wood framed Suffolk long houses, to wattle and daub, cool in the summer, cold in winter. Deep rooted. The biggest being. Beautiful polished antique furniture. Isn’t Rayon/Viscose made from wood cellulose? Dad’s woodworking shop and wooden sailing boat. Theberton Wood and planting trees on the Millennium Green, people fascinated and pleased. Just around the corner, the railway workmen have massacred the wood beside the rail cutting down big trees. Pippa’s story of canoeing in Canada, involving singing Gilbert and Sullivan on their upturned boat, accidentally breaking it – but one of their party cut into the resin of a pine, and mended the canoe with tree glue. Laylandii providing fuel for the fire, felled as nothing grows underneath them. A swath of mighty warriors in Frostenden wood cut down suddenly.
Paul described how of the storm of 87 inspired him to want to work with wood – he wanted to ‘clear it up’. Only later he learned that ‘clearing up’ not the natural way and spoke of an example in Richard Maybey’s Beachcomings of one wood, owned by two different people, half cleared and half left. ‘Nature is a far better tree planter than we are’ he concluded. There is someone who sells plants by the side of their road, and now there are wooden spoons which are whittled by their son. From New Zealand we learned of the Agathis australis, commonly known by its Maori name kauri (pronounced “Ko-ree”) – massive monuments, and some are carved by Maori people. Creativity, Strength, Tranquility. There was a row of dead elms at the bottom of my garden, which I loved, then one day, the farmer cut them all down. Yes, they were dead, but they were beautiful and birds perched there. Remember Spell Songs, the Heart Wood Cutter? Here’s another WoodCutters song I found while searching for this!
We talked HAZEL.
Is hazel a Tree? Paul asked. That got us all thinking – what was the difference between a Tree and a Shurb? A tree has a single stem, a trunk. Hazel is therefore a shurb with multiple stems.
Why cut – coppice or pollard – Hazel?
It is an ancient way, to increase the amount, to grow useful firewood or posts, to make hurdles, fencing, and a thousand other uses.
Why no catkins on some of the hazel here?
Because it had been coppiced 1 to 5 years ago, so all it’s energy was into new growth. After this it would start to fruit.
Paul described how pollen is an indicator of history, what vegetation was around and climate change
By analyzing pollen from well-dated sediment cores, scientists can obtain records of changes in vegetation going back hundreds of thousands, and even millions of years. Not only can pollen records tell us about the past climate, but they can also tell us how we are impacting our climate
I saw the flower of Hazel for the first time in my life. A very small red flame coming out of a bud.
The hazel has both male and female flowers on each shrub, and the two flowers are quite different. The male flowers are gathered within the long, breeze-blown catkins and these are by far the most prominent. Each catkin is made up of many individual flowers – these are the small green/yellow male flowers which produce the pollen. The hazel is wind pollinated and the pollen from the catkins blows to reach the female flowers which you would never spot unless you looked carefully – they are tiny individual flowers, visible only as red styles protruding from a green bud-like structure on the same branches as the male flowersPaul Trees
We saw the coppicing tools, and coppiced a few stems of hazel, as well as looked at hazel benders. More hazel to come…
Shona invited us to walk amongst the trees and meet one. What do you notice and feel? Shona brought her Sansula hand instrument to play…the smooth wood creating an oval for its sound. She played it and we gathered back for Qi Gong with Naomi under the naked tree canopy.’
The Elders liked the suggestion from Theo of corresponding with the other forest groups, by letter, perhaps, leaving letters for them to find, and finding letters from them to pick up.
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 Stories – story of an object
Jan 13 Stories – His-Herstory
Jan 20 Stories – Tree Stories
Jan 27 Stories – More Tree Stores
Feb 3 Stories – Pear Tree gathering
Mar 7 (Equinox)
GET IN TOUCH
Shona, Kally and Rachel are keen for you to get in touch with us.
Supported and sponsored by:
COVID-19 Engaged Communities Fund (Suffolk CC)