Today I began by re-photographing, in natural light, most of the remaining baskets in my etsy shop.By the time I completed taking the photos, deleted the existing photos and re-installed the new ones, the morning was over. It was worth doing since all these photographs are in focus and have much truer colours.
For relaxation, my eldest son, Julian, and I began stripping the willow. The first step is to cut the willow down to about six inches. As you can see, the remaining willow is a "stool" of cut-off branches and a few small branches I hope will develop in readiness for next year. The cut-off branches are then carried to my large compost pile where the leaves are stripped. The photo shows that much of the willow suffered wind burn damage during the winter, much more than in previous years. Most branches had the top 2-3 feet "burned" so as to be useless.
The salvaged pieces then had the bark stripped off. At this time of year you can easily peel the bark off each branch. Julian is shown with the green willow branches at his feet ready to be stripped. The bark that has been removed is next to him while the stripped willow is in the foreground. It appears to have a greenish tint, but, as it dries, it will become white.
Today we stripped enough willow to make the ribs for two rib baskets.