Thursday 14 April 2011

Next Stop

Lower Shaw farm was WONDERFUL, and we've made some fabulous new friends. We were very sad to have to move on after only a week, but we're settled in to our new home.
We're in South Devon, working with the chap who started Riverford Organic Farm.
He's called John, and Dad to the grown up kids who run the various Riverford businesses.His wife's recipe is used in the shops Chocolate Brownie- and it is devine.
He's 85, and, well, if I'm half as active as he is at that age, I'll be happy. He's on his own now, and has a huuuge greenhouse, polytunnel, orchard and a few other fields as well. As well as plans for another polytunnel, the Forest Garden is underway, and an anaerobic digester....

The girls and I have been weeding, moving tree trimmings from the orchard, and have some more to keep us busy. Big One made sure to catch John so she could feed the chickens ( only 2 here) and find the egg :-)

DH has finally been able to use the chainsaw, felling his first tree and chopping it up today. Yesterday he was cutting down a fence ready for some work on the tanks for the spring which should happen tomorrow.

We've not done so much, mainly because on our first day of work we were all ready, went to the house and got told- no, you HAVE to go to the beach- the weather for the rest of the week isn't great, so get going! DH was a bit grumpy about that, but soon cheered up on the nearly empty beach.
John knows so much about farming, has had discussions with DH in detail about his PV and wind power set up, and generally is a really interesting guy.
He even took us all out for lunch ( to  Riverford cafe, of course!) which was really lovely.
I hope to get the girls busy with the camera to have photos of around here, and need to get looking at all the pics from Lower Shaw Farm...
Well, the chainsaw noises from the woodshed have stopped, and the girls have wandered off. I'd better get the picnic blanket tidied away so we can go in and have supper. Shared meals are agreeing with us!

Wednesday 6 April 2011

Having Fun!

We're having a FABULOUS time :-)
Our arrival- well, we knew we found the right place by the sign by the gate 'Welcome  xxxxx' and then on our wander found another welcome sign by our room, and met Cormac and found the kitchen and met lots of lovely people.

We've had wonderful food, fabulous company and enjoyable work.
We've a comfy room for the 4 of us, Big One was able to feed pigs from the first morning, and loves her job of collecting the eggs. She keeps asking if its time to go get them yet! Little One has been scared of the chickens, but has got braver when she's on her bike.

Today was cafe day- which meant masses of children to play with ( sometimes a few too many for Big One), and having to share the two play houses, sand pit, huge play net and rope swings as well as swing horses. That kept 5 of us busy in the kitchen, with the bakers busy yesterday afternoon preparing lots of yummy cakes. Glorious sunshine made for a busier than normal cafe, but that helped the sales.

I got to pick nettles yesterday, dual purpose of tidying the stinging stuff away from where little legs were walking today, and getting lunch collected so we had nettle soup yesterday. Good stuff.
This is the place where the idea of WWOOF was born, and where Education Otherwise got started. The Swindon Literary Festival is organised by Matt here, and they have all sorts of interesting things happening here- this weekends South American Evening ( ok not technically here, but still) as well as  Work Weekend.

We've been a bit surprised by having a day off tomorrow, but I'm sure we'll find ways to pass it happily.
I've fitted in some yoga as there's a beautiful yoga room here, with an early morning practice and being able to attend an evening class. DH and I have both fit in some carving, so we feel we're doing very well for enjoyable individual time. I've even managed some crochet.
I feel very privileged to be here.

Sunday 3 April 2011

Enough words, a few pictures

Big One with New Tires for the van ( and man with workshop in his van- even bigger than ours!)
Practicing with the firepit the Tipi family could spare us- thank you!

Our lovely cake Mari made us- complete with vegan tree log so our vegan friends could have some. Apparently I'm the one with painted toe nails....

Otherwise I'm the one the hairy legs. No comment.
Tent kitchen area in use- we're still figuring out the best use of space, but it worked pretty well.

Splitting blanks on the course- we all had fun!

Some inspiration for doing the Spoon Carvers improvers course- cuksas and Native Indian feast ladles (and turned quaiches) all Robins.

What we ate lunch with- wonderful inspiration!

A nights strange rest in a hotel ( Big One is struggling with the heat), tomorrow is our last day of being on holiday with a look around Bletchley Park, and probably a Tree Centre near the hotel, and off to our first hosts near Swindon.

Saturday 2 April 2011

our 'holiday'

We’ve been in Edale at Fieldhead Campsite for a few days, while I’ve done a spoon carving course with Robin Wood.

The carving course has been excellent, as expected- from learning safe knife handling to wonderful lunches in wooden bowls and spoons, meeting intersting folk and just generally having a fab time. I've come away with 3 spatulas, 4 tent pegs of my own, and another half dozen of other peoples ( thank you, they are all in use and excellent in the windy weather), 2 spoons and working on a spoon-tula and some wood to keep going.

 I’ve had a lovely time, and we’ve been getting used to the tet. Its been quite blustery for the last couple of nights- which has been a bit of an experience. The girls have slept through most of it, but DH and I haven’t slept brilliantly- its all a bit new. The tent has been absolutely fine though, and we’ve been warm, if not hot, and dry. The campsite has gone from being us and another tent to 9 minibuses and a coach arriving last night, as well as other cars so its been rather busy, something else to get used to- new neighbours pitching in the dark on a windy night- impossible for them to be quiet!

A quick review of the campiste- lovely location, bit pricey but there isn't much choice here- 20 p for 2 minute shower and takes almost a minute to run warm sometimes, washing facilities not always cleaned that often, but being able to park in the village means we keep coming back.

DH and the girls had one trip back to sort out a few things forgotten and extra things we don't need ( we sort of expected it, that's why we started off near home) and the other grandparents came to visit us yesterday and say final good byes for a few months.

We’re having a day at Chatsworth – the farm and adventure playground- so I’ve briefly got internet access and occupied children to post this.

We’re having fun, settling in and planning packing up tomorrow! Hope to have longer internet access soon so will add pictures :-)