Friday, September 12, 2008

Wattles

We were getting ready to leave somewhere and couldn't find Sophie. This is common and not worrisome. She's usually nearby, quietly busying herself with dirt, sticks, stones, leaves or grasses. On this occasion she had used twigs and grasses to build a miniature woven fence.

"I'd like to build a real fence like this," she said.

So the next day I helped her select and pound in some wattle posts. In the process of looking through Chuck's collection of straight-medium-sized-sticks-that-might-someday-prove-useful, we found the hidden stash of eggs that our hens had been laying earlier in the summer. We knew the eggs had to be somewhere, but we hadn't been able to track the sneaky hens down. So it was fun to finally discover a couple of dozen blue-green eggs in a corner of the big open shed behind the aforementioned sticks. Finding hidden eggs a month or two after they've been layed means they have to be disposed of, and around here the disposal method of choice is to pitch them off the edge of the plateau that is our property and far into the forested slope below. Very fun.

After we got the fenceposts in I was dispatched in the role of chief hazelwood harvester. The prize sticks are 3 metres long and straight. I cut them and Sophie, with Fiona as her assistant, stripped them of leaves and twigs. Then they wove them along the posts. It's been slow going, particularly at my end, but gradually the fence is growing.

It performs no function at this point, beyond the oh-so-obvious aesthetic function of gracing our yard with its beauty. But it's been a fun project so far.

7 comments:

  1. My older boy would love to do that! Sometimes I wish we lived out in the country like you do.

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  2. do you guys know the sculpture work by Andy Goldsworthy? Your fence reminds me of that!

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  3. Sophie might be interested in these sites:

    http://www.hazelwattle.com/index.html
    (this has a video of a technique that's probably best done under some parental supervision!)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coppicing

    Coppicing and hurdle making are growing in popularity in the UK again - I came across any number of hurdle-making courses on a google search on 'hurdles'.

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  4. That's so neat! I've been wanting to make one of those myself. :)

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  5. Hi Linda, thanks for the links. Who'd have thought there was a website called hazelwattle.com?!!

    Jane, we're huge Andy Goldsworthy fans. Here's a photo of one of our Goldsworthy-inspired installations.

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  6. Wish you had posted this a few weeks ago: we found a nest of quail eggs, abandoned and I put the eggs down the garbage disposal. Oh what a mistake LOL A terrible, terrible mistake!

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  7. She could do a real African wattle-and-daub wall, like people make houses out of. Wattle is an invasive weed here, but been around long enough for this to be considered a pretty "traditional" way to make a house. Just add mud to your fence (not sure if there is any particular recipe for the mud, I guess she can experiment/research that).

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