Perfect day for stripping some sticks yesterday, blue sky, gentle breeze and although it’s maybe a week or two early I was eager to strip our first white from the beds at Chez Neymard. Didn’t strip as easily as usual but still lovely to do and finished up with some beautiful sticks for square work or bye-stakes for fitched baskets, like these small herring crans. These were 2 year old Jagiellonka and Viminalis willows.  It’s fairly labour intensive but I would urge anyone who grows willows to strip a few for sticks for yourself. Two year old sticks can be expensive, especially white and all you need is a Willow Brake  and a couple of clamps. I bought my Brake about twenty years, they’re not expensive and you’ll only buy them once. You can also use the bark strippings in baskets or plaited and paired like rushes to make fly curtains or “rope”