Out and About: Green woodworking and community gardens
STEVE Ryan's outdoor workshop is a hub of what's intriguingly known as green woodworking.
He can now be found among his wood shavings, pole lathes and shave horses at Minnowburn woodland in the heart of the Lagan Valley, and what's more, he's now offering spring courses.
Green woodworking is carpentry that fashions unseasoned or "green" timber into wooden implements. Unseasoned wood is much softer than seasoned timber and is therefore easier to shape with hand tools.
The smell of working with green wood is bliss in the outdoors, especially with spring tantalisingly close. And even to go and watch this woodcraft wizard at work gives a rare glimpse into one of Ireland's most ancient crafts.
Anyone can go along and create their own piece of traditional woodwork. Spoons and stools are especially enchanting to make.
Check out facebook/greenwoodworkireland.com or call 0787 6113 536.
IF YOU'D like to grow your own, (or in my case, eat your own), but don't think you could take on the challenge of an allotment, then getting outdoors and joining a community garden is the answer.
Now's the time to start thinking of all that lovely nosh being ready for you to eat later in the year, with the associated health benefits.
And it's not just your staple spuds, carrots and onions that are growing in the fertile ground of Northern Ireland's communal gardens; in north Belfast's Waterworks, the community garden set up by Siobhan Craig sees gorgeous pear, plum and apple trees bearing autumn fruit and the most delicious blackcurrants and redcurrants throughout summer.
These lovely gardeners design a lot of their produce to peek out of their fence so that passers-by can pick a portion of fresh berries and even stem flowers to bring home.
Your local council will provide details of community gardens operating in your area and most provide tools and equipment.