Niall Wildwoode

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since Jan 06, 2014
A guy on 14 acres of Nirvana.
Moondawn, Glassonby, Cumbria, UK
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Recent posts by Niall Wildwoode

I use a couple of ancient futons, but bought a latex mattress for my guests (gotta look after the income stream). In the UK, wool straight off the sheep is at a disgustingly low level to buy. One of our local shepherds chose to bury his fleeces rather than be insulted by the derisory prices offered by the British Wool Marketing Board. My neighbour shears 500 fleeces a year off his flock, so next season I've decided to pay him over the BWMB price for them, and get myself a drum carder to start processing them for my own and guest's mattresses, duvets and pillows....marketing as well as environmental and economic sense. A kingsized (thin) wool duvet of New Zealand wool is £75 from Dunhelm Mills! It's got 25 pence of fleece in it by current prices, and isn't even British.

Several years ago a shepherdess gave birth to a bairn with multiple allergies, a prime allergy being the toxic components of the crib mattress. So, she rigged up a basic loom and wove batts of her fleeces as both warp and weft, layered it all and made allergen-free bedding for her child. She soon had orders flowing in.


I've also made my own pillows with cattail fluff. It settles after a few uses, but with a little gratuitous violence based on the fact that voles have once again reduced your beet crop to housing, you'll soon get them soft again.
2 months ago

Jordan Holland wrote:I think I could probably be alone until the day I die. I've never had a longing to be around people. Person, yes, but not people. With a dog, I could definitely be alone as long as the dog lived. The sadness of losing the dog one day might change that. At least long enough to find a new dog. Dogs contain all the good traits of humanity and none of the bad. I do not like what I have seen of humanity. In the end, people will betray you, leave you, or hurt you enough that you have to leave them. A dog, never.



I've been alone on my beautiful acreage for 15 years, having face-to-face contact but once a week at the most. I've gone for several weeks without seeing anyone, especially in Winter. As I'm surrounded in my rural perifery by non-permies, conversation can be somewhat challenging. But it's a choice, as I'm somewhat inclined to no longer engage in close relationships....friends are safer. Just having opened a belltent to AirBnB guests, it's a bit of a shock to walk into my woodland and find someone there staring at the nearby fells (low mountains in the northern England, UK). I have to say that I'd never advise anyone to totally isolate for really long periods, as conversation and brainstorming ideas is what I find will keep our minds young and dialogue vibrant. We're communal beasts after all. 'Betrayals' seem to be more inherent in close, emotionally tied relationships rather than friendships, and whilst I love dogs and wish I could afford to keep one, a wagging tail won't make up for the lack of conversation in front of a log fire with a glass of sloe gin.
2 months ago
My deodorant of several years now, is coconut oil, melted then loaded with sodium bicarb and a load of drops of ylang ylang oil. I let it cool and stir regularly in it's storage jar whilst it's setting, to keep the bicarb powder in suspension. This stuff works better than any I've ever bought. If I go wild camping for a while where it's hard to scrub up, my sweat doesn't become noticeable for a good three days when this deodorant is applied. Just a small lump melted and spread between the palms then smeared on my pits, and the job's a good-un.

I also use the coconut oil/bicarb mix for toothpaste, but mix cinnamon, lemon and thyme oils in it. My dentist says I've the most plaque-free teeth of all his patients.
5 months ago
The only thing that worked for me here in the UK, was fencing. I'd planted 3,000 as a small woodland over 4 acres, and roe deer were decimating them down to the tops of the rabbit guards. I tried various fencing strategies with few resources and limited success. The one that worked and still does, is to erect posts long enough to allow a top wire at 1.8mtrs/6'. The bulk of the fence is strainer wires at 100mm/4" spacing. The previous fence was at 6" spacing, until I saw a doe run full on at it, lift her undercarriage at the last moment, and sail straight between the wires! The top wire is barbed....no deer would attempt disembowling on that!

Anyhow, with a couple of years of formative pruning, I managed to re-establish leaders on most of the damaged trees. And whilst the fencing was initially an eyesore, it now works as a trellis for tayberries and blackberries, so doubles it's function.
5 months ago
My opinion for what it's worth, is the culprit is a stoat/polecat/ferret. This is a typical kill pattern that I saw with my own chickens. These beasties seem to love eating heads and brains, then may drag away the rest of the corpse if they have young to feed. My badgers and foxes will just kill the whole flock then remove the corpses at their leisure. You can guess that I've given up keeping chooks now....too heartbreaking.
10 months ago
OK, you win! I should have done this years ago, but instead put on a conventional bracket and gutter system which has subsequently died through successive Winters of rain and snow. But I'm NOT messing around with a woodsaw to split it....a 1mm thickness stainless steel cutting disc on my angle grinder will do a much better job. Thanks for the kick up the ass!
2 years ago
Your trees may well survive, as there's vascularity in the young stem's heartwood until they're somewhat talker than you. Seriously, no beating around the bush here....ANYONE who spends their precious time and resources to plant a lot of trees, shouldn't piss around with mediocre deer proofing strategies and woo-woo crap.
I planted 3,000 trees with rabbit guards and messed around for 4 years trying to keep deer off them, unsuccessfully. Just a couple of small deer can browse off terminal buds and side growth from several acres in successive cycles. The only way I stopped them was with long posts knocked in to 7 foot high, 9 foot spacing and well braced on all corners. Straining wires were put on at 4 1/2 inches apart (our roe deer, like whitetails will push through 6 inch spacing), with a wire at ground level and barbed wire as the top strand. THEN old rabbit or chicken fencing was secured along the bottom, as we had it spare.
Sure, it ain't pretty, but we grow black, tay, and loganberries up it, so it provides us with a good fruiting trellis. The main job now is to prune away the 'witches brooms' to buds that'll form the new leaders.
2 years ago
I have 14 acres in the UK, and have suffered from roe deer, which I guess are similar to the US whitetails. After years of seval formats both electric and non, our last and final format is working superbly. We have 7' posts at 9' spacings. From 9" off the ground, we use low tensile straining wire every 4 1/2" - 5", the top wire being barbed. No deer have even tried to get through.

Our previous wires were all at 9" spacing. Although the wires were tight, the deer would take a run, lift their undercarriage and ping through nose first....they left a lot of hair behind. We wasted lots of time on the other formats, even using forestry and US corn growers advice. None of them worked, but our current pattern does, and is a lot cheaper. We've used some reclaimed rabbit wire too, but that was just to save throwing the stuff. We've even planted tayberries, loganberries and blackberries on the inside, so as it can double-up as a trellis. If you scroll down on 'facebook.com/moondawnfarm', you'll find the pics. Good luck!
3 years ago