I have recently had a spate of visitors here at my home.
Some visitors came to learn the odd bit about carving, others came because they just like it here.
My great friend Tas (Driving) has recently returned home from a spot of serious mountaineering
down New-Zealand way.
Sarah and I are so happy she had a great time and she is home safe and sound.
He has set up home next to our kitchen window and has given me some spring time inspiration.
One of our visitors we have not seen for a while is Brock.
Grown a bit since the last visit.
And Sarah spent three quarters of an hour watching our local hunter go about its' business.
Our colony of house and hedge sparrows go very quiet when the Sparrow Hawk puts in an appearance.
Our good friend Matt stayed with us for a few days.
He is an expert Chiropterologist.
He stayed with us for two seasons a few years ago whilst he was undertaking his field study work with the University of Bristol.
I helped him out with his work, which we mainly carried out at night, up in the higher forests of Dartmoor.
We like to call him Matt the Bat.
We spent a couple of quiet days carving and he made his first Kuksa.
A couple of years ago I taught him the rudiments of spoon carving.
Here is a photo of his first spoon.
At the time he carved this spoon Matt was setting light traps up in the bottom field so he could ascertain the species of moth likely to be on the bat menu.
Matt could then collect bat droppings from his capture and release program, and use DNA sequencing techniques back at the Bat Lab to detect what the local bats ate.
Here's Matt using an adze for the first time hollowing out the bowl of the Kuksa.
He didn't manage to completely finish the Kuksa, but the main work is done.
The bowl side walls are nice and thin and even.
Matt took it home and can carve the head at his leisure.
He's a clever and talented chap who finds carving a peaceful and relaxing pastime.
In-between sunbathing and hunting worms, Dolly has been helping me with a spoon design.
I spent the winter re-learning some carving techniques and made many spoons.
I have a 'Two Day Test' whereby I will revisit a carving after two days and critique it.
My Kuksa I like.
I love to carve them.
And I think they look good.
My spoons however seem to me to be lacking that little spark.
I came up with this design which passes my test.
A little Celtic....
A little Nordic...
And good fun to make.
To celebrate I opened one of the bottles of scrumpy the students from Embercombe had traded for tuition.
Think I'm going to have to hide the other bottle from Sarah though...
Well... Hopefully the sun will return and we can get back to carving and worm hunting under the Magnolia...