entry one hundred and seventy one

28.04.2015


Britain's Oldest Tree: The Ashbrittle Yew

credit: Martin Bodman

Hello happy tree pals,

It is with heavy heart that I, the deTerra Diarist, may be the bearer of bad news (particularly for those of you that are also particularly taken with trees). A stunning old yew tree in Ashbrittle, Somerset that contends for the title of ‘Britain’s oldest living thing’ alongside another yew tree I have previously reported on may be on its last legs.

The Ashbrittle Yew, which finds its home in a church yard at the local St John the Baptist’s church – like many other aged yew trees – has rather a large presence, measuring 38ft in circumference and with a vast canopy that shelters a number of surrounding grave stones.

For some perspective, this yew tree was already quite mature when Stonehenge was being built, pegging it at up to 4,000 years old. Unfortunately, according to its custodian, Charles Doble, it is looking “extremely sick” and he is now “worried whether the rural church or the yew will die first”.

However, not everyone is convinced the tree is about to die any time soon. Dr. Owen Johnson (an expert in trees) reckons that it could be just going through a rough patch, saying: “They go through spells where they might look as though they are not thriving, but a few years later they might look fine. They are almost immortal.”

Tim Hills, one of the founder members of the Ancient Yew Group, also agrees that yew trees go through cycles that may cause them to look worse for wear.

“Yews go through cycles when they replace their leaves every eight or nine years,” he said. “It may look as though the tree is suffering, but this yew will probably outlive the church.”

Many fingers and toes are crossed here in the deTerra office, in the hope that we may not be on the verge of losing one of the nation’s great trees. For now though, I shall leave you with this poem written in 1813 by William Wordsworth, which he wrote about the Lake District’s Lorton Yew:

“Of vast circumference and gloom profound
This solitary Tree! A living thing
Produced too slowly ever for decay;
Of form and aspect too magnificent
To be destroyed.”

Some yew trees may appear to be immortal, but it’s the hard-wearing and aesthetic qualities of sawn oak timber that makes up the majority of our fabulous oak kitchens. To see for yourself, why not order some of our kitchen samples, starting at just £5 including delivery.

Ta ta for now,

The deTerra Diarist.

 

Posted by the deTerra diarist

entry one hundred and seventy

24/04/2015

Hey colourful kitchen collective,

It’s that time of year where I get all creative and start throwing colour samples around the office here at deTerra. Whether it’s the sun getting to my head or the rain getting in my ears, there’s something in the spring air that colours me crazy when it’s time to pick our ’Top Picks’ for kitchen doors in spring/summer ‘15.

In the words of a certain Ms. Swift, it’s time for me to ‘shake it off’ and prescribe you with some trendy colours that are simply spot-on for solid wood kitchens at this time of the year. Though I could have easily chosen a whole palette, I’ve managed to reduce my list down to three top shades from Farrow & Ball that are sure to make your stylish kitchen stand out:

Cornforth White

After looking at the accompanying picture you may think I’ve lost it, but I am perfectly aware that this is not ‘white’ as you might expect. It’s more of a light stony grey that is perfect for doors on our tasty oak kitchen cabinets when accompanying light wooden worktops.

Pink Ground

A yummy shade of pink with tinctures of yellow, this soft, fleshy hue is ideal for mixing with a dark, rich timber such as our black American walnut worktops. If you’d rather plump for a lighter worktop, Pink Ground also looks the part alongside cabinets painted in dark greys and earthy browns.

Breakfast Room Green

This lively shade of green is right at home in our natural kitchens, where it has the capacity to instil an air of relaxation and reflection when paired with light hardwoods and shades of blue-greys or bright whites.

If all this talk of colour has inspired you mix things up in your kitchen, then we’d love to see the results. Don’t hesitate to share your painted kitchens with us over on our Facebook or Twitter pages.

Ta ta for now,

The deTerra Diarist

 

Posted by the deTerra diarist

Entry one hundred and sixty nine

21/04/2015

Hey there, fab kitchen fans!

I’m not afraid to admit it: I’m in love with the gorgeous oak timber that makes up the vast majority of our natural kitchens. It’s a hard-wearing wood that brings traditional qualities and a timeless calibre, which is why it works so well in busy kitchens!

As well as our clever cabinetry, we also sell an entire range of kitchen wooden worktops, with hardwood timbers chosen for their resilience and aesthetics above all else.

A question I get asked a lot is “won’t timber warp in a kitchen?” I’m here today to slay some nasty factoids and replace them with proper information about our natural wooden kitchens that can be relayed with verifiable certitude.

It goes without saying that – as a natural product – timber requires some up-keep; moreover, there are several considerations that should be borne in mind when installing that, if ignored, could create an environment in which timber could warp. Such occurrences are rare (phew!) but should not be ignored…

When our oak kitchen units and wooden worktops arrive at your delivery address, you must make sure they are correctly stored if they aren’t immediately being installed. Both worktops and cabinets should be stored flat, but raised up off the ground (using wooden battens). If you have ordered multiple worktops, they should be separated with further battens to allow air to circulate between them.

If there is a large disparity between the temperatures in your kitchen compared to your storage space, we recommend moving them into the kitchen at least 72 hours before installation, to allow the timber to settle.

Before you go ahead and install the worktops, we recommend oiling them with at least three coats of Rustins Danish Oil on the top and bottom surfaces, with up to 6 coats on the worktop’s end grain. This oil helps protect the timber and stop it from absorbing excess moisture.

When you come to attach worktops to the kitchen cabinets, make sure that you only use ‘stretcher plates’, which will allow the wood to move as temperatures in the kitchen environment change. If your worktops are covering appliances that release moisture (such as tumble dryers), then we highly recommend using adhesive moisture barrier on the underside of the worktop to protect it against excessive moisture.

Lastly, do also consider leaving a small expansion gap (approximately 5mm) between the worktop and any adjacent walls to allow the timber to move freely without obstruction. To cover this expansion gap, you can either tile down to the surface, or use some of our solid wood upstands that are made to match the hardwood worktops.

Good chat, folks; and sorry for the serious tone, but this sort of stuff is superly duperly important, don’t you think? Treat that timber with tender loving care and it’ll thank you, honest (not literally – that would be weird)!

Ta ta for now,

The deTerra Diarist

 

Posted by the deTerra diarist

entry one hundred and sixty eight

17.04.2015

Dearest lumber lovers,


A tree growing around a chair mould

Credit: Full Grown

If you go down in the woods today, it’s likely that you’ll find an assortment of native trees, ranging from the majestic oak, ash, beech and silver birch. If you happened to stumble across a field 15 miles north of Derby, however, you might find a copse of sycamore, willow, oak and ash trees growing in the most unusual shapes – thanks to a helping hand or two.

Gavin Munro founded ‘Full Grown’, a company that expertly manipulates trees to grow around pre-made templates to create a variety of furniture including chairs, tables, mirrors and lamps.

It may look a little crazy now, but later in the October 2015, Full Grown will harvest their first pieces of furniture grown on the 2.5 acre site in Wirksworth.

Of course you may be wondering why anyone would go through such lengths to create a piece of furniture when it could be more easily made from pre-cut timber. The answer lies in the unique qualities these bespoke ‘botanically manufactured’ pieces possess. When compared to traditional manufacture of wooden chairs and other furniture, these pieces are both more sustainable and energy efficient.

Yes, it may take longer to produce a single piece, but Mr. Munro thinks it is most definitely worth the extra effort, saying: “When you look at it form a manufacturing point of view and from a design point of view, it actually makes total sense. Why would you grow trees, chop them down with all the faff? Why don’t you just grow the shape you want and it is eminently scalable? You can make thousands of these in the same way you can make 10, but each one is unique.”

The process is started by guiding the young trees around moulds by bending the tips in the direction required using plastic clips or cable ties. Once the finished shape has been formed, each specimen is left to mature, which leads to thicker trunks that require no artificial joins.

There are currently 400 trees being shaped in one way or another, which provides no easy task to constantly keep on top of their growth. Mr. Munro hopes that once they harvest their first full mature batch later in the year, they will go on to provide a yield every year afterwards.

When compared to traditional furniture production, which requires trees to grow for upwards of 50 years before being cut, sawn and reassembled into home furnishings, this unique method is potentially a lot more environmentally friendly.


Gavin Munro with one of the chairs.

Credit: Fabio De Paola

Think you’d like one of Full Grown’s furnishings in one of our solid wood kitchens? The first batch won’t be cheap – costing anything from £1,000 to £2,500 – so you may need very deep pockets, but it’s sure to be worth it!

Whilst we don’t plan on emulating this idea for creating an organic kitchen any time soon, our kitchens are made entirely of solid oak, with a variety of solid hardwood worktops, all of which are sustainably grown and subject to local re-planting schemes.

Ta ta for now,

The deTerra Diarist.

 

Posted by the deTerra diarist

entry one hundred and sixty seven.

14.04.2015

Hear ye, hear ye,

Current Offers

How’s it going, fellow lovers of wooden kitchens? I’ve been hearing on the grapevine that some sites not affiliated with us may pretend they can offer our customers special discounts, so I’m here today to stamp out those rumours and make sure that if you’re looking for a deTerra discount on your products, you know to head to the one and only official source: our current deals page.

If there’s an offer to be had on deTerra, we won’t shy away from telling you about it. If you haven’t already noticed our latest sales and promotions on the front page, then you’ll find them listed on this page for all to see.

You can find details of our free delivery to GL postcodes here too, which is an offer we plan to continue indefinitely; and from time to time you’ll find special offers on our solid oak cabinets and related products, too.

Another way you can keep abreast of our fabulous sales and offers is to read our blog or follow our social media channels. We can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Google+, where we will always post details of our latest and greatest promotions.

Happy bargain hunting!

Ta ta for now,

The deTerra Diarist.

 

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