Last week we had a group of volunteers staying in the basecamp and helping with the project as part of the NT working holidays programme.
Here they are with Spike standing in front of our smoking charcoal kiln. They did a great job, hopefully they had a nice time as well. Andrew is missing from the photo above as he took it, thanks to him for providing the pics for this post.
Making charcoal was one of the jobs they did. Below you can see flames curling out of the top of the kiln prior to it being clamped down.
The charcoal turned out really well, the volunteers use it for the bar b q at the front of the basecamp and we sell any surplus here at Swan barn Farm to the public in the summer months.
Another job that was tackled was peeling bark from the timbers for the building.
All of the timber has been brought back from the woods to the build site, the bark was left on while it was transported, but before being used it needs the bark peeling off. If it was left on it would look pretty unsightly as it flaked off over time and would also encourage fungi to start rotting the wood. Chestnut bark peels off pretty easily, especially when it is still quite green.
Peg making was another of the jobs that could be done out in the woods, the frame of the building will be held together with several hundred oak pegs, so keeping a production line of these going is an important job at the moment. But, the main job of the week was shingle making. The guys did a great job, making 700 or so in the end. We are up to just over 6000 now, although the whole roof is going to need about 15000 so there is still a fair way to go.
Above you can see the shingles being split out of foot long blanks of sweet chestnut, they are then passed over to the shave horses for shaping and bevelling.
The shave horses hold the shingle in position (its a sort of large scale vice you sit on) so that you can use a drawknife to make sure it ends up the right shape.
Another nice piece of news from last week was that the Swift boxes on the front of the basecamp have at last had there first resident bird in them. Unfortunately not a pair of swifts though! It was a cheeky pair of robins who had obviously not read the sign.
This was one of the fledgelings which was spotted hanging around on the benches in front of the basecamp. I noticed (or heard rather) that the blue tits which are nesting in the wall of the office next to my desk have just hatched their clutch of eggs as well.