JAN 15 – Jude’s
We had a very enjoyable and productive day. We were also blessed with dry and mostly sunny weather.
There were 2 jobs I asked for help with:
1) pruning my neglected fruit trees and
2) sawing and splitting fire wood.
After initial chat and drinks we split into 2 groups.
Carol, Gary, Hock, George and Alan tackled the logs. I joined the pruning gang so didn’t observe the work in progress but when we stopped for lunch, I was amazed to see a great pile of logs in the barn all sawn and split.
The pruning group, under Richard’s expert guidance, split into small groups and worked on individual trees. Richard was on hand to give advice and answer questions. Every tree was tackled and much improved by the end of the session. I learnt a lot and feel more confident about pruning.
So many thanks to everyone who came and lent a hand .It’s much appreciated Jude.
FEB 15 workday at Julia and Hock’s.
We had a stupendous working party of people here, who did an amazing amount of work. THANK YOU so much to everyone. This was our first LPG workday as hosts and we would say to anyone who is anxious about hosting one, DO IT! With some thought and planning beforehand it ran quite smoothly, and it is truly heart-warming to see so many friends gathered working together on the land and lunching in our home.
What did we all do?
Carol talked initially to quite a few of us about the ins and outs of laying a hedge. Our hedge is mixed hazel and hawthorn (and yes, with a very few blackthorns..), and is very gappy, with some plants previously laid from a height of about 3ft, which made it all rather interesting. We also have an elder halfway along the hedge that we want to keep upright.
It was useful to know about the main principles – laying uphill to reduce how far down you have to push the cut stems for them to lie low, and laying away from the prevailing wind to prevent them from being blown more upright again.
It was then really helpful to know about how to apply these principles when faced with a bit of a bodge of a hedge like ours! What happened in practice was that most of the hedge was laid uphill, but because of the gaps between some quite thick stands of hazel, we ended up laying in both directions to fill the gaps. There was also quite a bit of working out and jiggling around of stems, and a bit of thinning out of side shoots to make sure we could untangle the cut stems to lay them, and then weave them a bit between each other. On some stems we then made a further cut, either underneath to enable the stem to lie flatter where is it bent down towards the ground, or to bring a secondary stem down towards the ground.
Hopefully Ian may have some photos of After– we have some pics of Before if need be… there’s still a little bit left for us to do near the gate, but the hedge crew managed to lay about 30-35 m in just over 2 hours which is impressive.
Meanwhile, in the glade, Hock and a gang ferried an enormous pile of split alder logs (literally tons) from 2014 and 2015 fellings down and across the stream to be wheel-barrowed up to near the wood store. Another crew made inroads on some of the brambles over there and on a slope where we’ll plant some fruit trees.
Then was followed a good lunch with a lovely choice of dishes brought by the LPG folk.
Someone may have left a short-handled billhook with us – we found it near the gate end of the hedge.
MAR 15 Gina’s
Big thanks to all who came with such willing hands, legs and minds last sunday. Special thanks to Sam for being such a great Yurt raiser and guiding us through it so efficiently and patiently. Thanks to all the other ‘old hands’ who are getting to know the ropes (if not the knots) of this 12year old monster Yurt. She stands and delivers a lovely space for our ‘Work That Reconnects’ workshop next week and for any summer meditations or dalliance (ha ha). Also thanks for Steve for initiating the group processing a large heap of oak branches into marvellous neat ordered piles and to Etienne Wwoofer and his little group of compost bin makers..lovely job which I realised fulfils almost every one of Holmgrens permaculture principles. Etienne is very pleased about that! Thanks to Sarah who must have lost count of the cups of tea she made and helped me continue my birthday celebrations from ‘tea time’ onwards with her lethal wine. Thanks to Richard for welding the quaint old well water hand-pump ..again! and to Tim for making sure the yurt fire doesn’t cause a literal Yurt Fire. The food was great. The day was perfect. You’re all stars.
APRIL 15 – Lynda’s
The weather was glorious and the day started with Sheepish delivering two strapping lambs, a ram and a ewe.
After coffee and cake, everyone set to work.
The instructions for my new saw horse said ‘two sensible adults’ were needed and it was carefully assembled by two intrepid members.
The rhododendron was expertly pruned back, to reveal a beautiful wild damson tree.
The rhubarb was weeded and de tangled of strawberries, strawberry plants were planted in troughs ready for the poly tunnel.
More strawberry plants were potted up for the LPG Plant Swap.
Numerous raised beds were thoroughly weeded.
The raspberries and runner bean site were given a layer of compost.
All this and an excellent shared lunch as usual!
(Mocha decided to kid today and has two beautiful goat kids, a boy and a girl.)
MAY15 – Carol’s
Perhaps a lot of people won’t actually need this report, since so many of you were there yourselves – a record turnout, I believe, of 33 people, of whom 4 were children (Jorge, Maddie, Isaac and Eban – hope I’ve spelt that right.) Having watched with awe as Jack completed total reconfigurations of his Rubik cube without any apparent mental effort, I bow to him as my senior, though not in years.
So the first thing to say is that you are wonderful. Utterly lovely people. It’s not just the fact that an extraordinary amount of work got done in about two hours – we’re used to that at group workdays – but the fact that 33 people, for which my living room is hardly designed, managed to share the space with three dogs without anyone getting left out, trodden on or going unheard. It’s not the easiest space to queue for a plateful, nor to hold a business meeting of that size, but everyone sensed the difficulty, and behaved with such courtesy and consideration that all progressed quickly and satisfactorily. We managed a long meeting agenda in 20 minutes. Just the right proportions, I think; one hour talking, two hours working, one hour eating, 20 minutes on business. Conclusions below.
First the pre-work talking. A lot of interest is developing in a new book by Naomi Klein ‘This Changes Everything’, which with great erudition and eloquence pushes the argument for a fundamental reshaping of society to combat climate change and at the same time provide a better life for all of us. Then we had a brief session in the sub-tropics, looking at the soil building I’ve done in the dome, to support the long-term health of the trees. Nothing revolutionary, most of it known to everyone in principle – just looking at the actual difference that humus makes to a soil, and a reminder of the importance too of minerals.
About 40 metres of carefully constructed ruts were deconstructed in about 25 minutes, so the ground can breathe again. About two tons of compost were removed from three different sites to mulch almost every fruit bush and tree in the fruit field. I’m not yet sad enough to know how many of them there are, but it’s hundreds. And lots of brambles have been taught their place. At times it looked a bit like the building of a dam in India in the 1960’s , when endless lines of workers with barrows did the same job as giant dumper trucks on similar sites in the USA or USSR. There were enough gaps for people to chat and I hope enjoy the process.
After lunch, which unsurprisingly offered a great range of dishes, the above-mentioned business meeting went as follows: (many thanks to Notary General Tim).
JULY 15 – Helen + Ian’s
Many thanks to Carol, Ceredwin, Gina, Huw, Ian, Jan, Jude, Judy, Nolwenn, Pauline, Richard and Steven for all the work done on Sunday.
- Richard for sharing some of his wisdom on growing healthy apple trees.
- Pauline and Gina for rescuing the orchard from an invasion of bracken and other weeds and for liberating some of the trees!
- Ceredwin and Jude for weeding the strawberries and tidying the polytunnel.
- Judy for neatly repairing the holes our dog Rosie had made in the polytunnel when trying to get in to help with the watering. (Rosie is now banned from this area.)
- the intrepid team (Huw, Carol, Jan and Nolwenn) who hacked their way through the jungle that had sprung up, seemingly overnight, to suffocate the native saplings we had lovingly planted in the Autumn.
- Richard, Ian C, and Steven who were able to knock in well over 50 posts for the new runs for our turkey poults, ducks and maran chicks. Ian and I were astonished at this achievement.
We always say that it is amazing what a group of LPG members can achieve, but you really did exceed our expectations and save us weeks, probably months, of work. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
The weather was lovely so we sat outside for the traditional delicious shared lunch and then held a short meeting.
AUG 15 – Ceredwin’s
Eighteen people attended, including two Woofers, one from Japan, Wendy’s teenage son, and Kirsty’s Mum and Stepdad on holiday from Spain, where they live. Also three dogs seemed happy to attend with their owners.
The morning was fine, not too hot and with no rain. It was wonderful to have so many people turning up, ready and willing to get going. The work accomplished exceeded my hopes; there were jobs done that were not even on my list. Most people dealt with the daunting overgrowth of brambles in the field; Ian and his woofer made a valiant effort to put fence posts in the stony ground (the fence was completed the next day by another Ian, with my help; it looks great.) Lindsay picked the ripened hips from the Rosa Ruggosa, ready for making winter vitamin C drinks. Kirsty’s Mum weeded the paths and beds (they have never been so clear of weeds) whilst her stepdad, cleared out and dug over a bed that is now ready for planting. Louise cut and cleared the ground for continuing the wooden edging on the bank.
It was hot and thirsty work, but there was a wonderful spirit of friendship and co-operation. I felt truly well supported in my attempts to create a garden from the bare Welsh hillside. The apple trees in my care, planted by LPG two years ago, were fine, in spite of having survived their brambly incarceration. Some are already fruiting. If I’ve forgotten any particular work done by anybody else, my apologies, because I am truly grateful to everyone.
As usual we feasted well on our shared lunch, enjoying much conversation and laughter.
Inevitably some things have been left behind. There is an orange ironware casserole pot and (Kirstys, I think) navy blue gloves. Also, has anyone taken my new secateurs home, by mistake? The handles are green.
SEPT 15 – Andy + Angie’s
Thank you to everyone who came and spruced up our veg beds & paths between them and also harvested all our spuds with lots of TLC.
NOV 15 – Dolly’s
Report of meeting and work day held at Dolly’s on Sunday 15th November
A small group of us met on Sunday and the rain held off during the morning – we were able to get all the tasks done:
Mulching all the bare earth in the veg garden
Weeding around the fruit trees
Planting bulbs, for naturalising, around the base of the fruit trees.
Thank you very much to all who made the effort to get here despite the rubbish weather and difficult ground conditions – the main task (mulching) was something that Neil and I would be really pushed to tackle on our own.
Thank you again.