Friday, 7 September 2012

Welcome to my Woofers

I met Andrej and Sophia at the Really Wild show at St Davids (The UK's smallest and most beautiful City). They stopped by at the Coppicewood College stand to watch a pole lathe demo.We got to talking and I discovered that this couple were on a learning trip throughout the UK taking in as many sustainable projects as they could eithin a 12 month time frame.So I invited them to the College's woods near Cilgerran and also to the Forest Garden.They turned up on the 7th August just as I had finished scything my mini hay meadow and promptly offered to help me make some hay. I got a bonus though as they had previously learned how to make a hay rack with the folks at the Dyfed Permaculture Trust and guess what I now have a hay rack courtesy of Andrej.
They carried on making bales using my hand cart as a former and then we spent a pleasant evening discussing forest gardening over a meal enjoyed outside cooked up by that most important member of my family my wife Kathy.They camped out in the garden and had a great day in the rain over at the College on Wednesday, leaving us to continue their UK cycle tour next stop Aberystwyth. Anyone waiting to follow their adventures can go here

Hot on the heels of this visit came another our Daughter Shirah and our 2 Grandsons Owen (9) and Archie(4). The boys wanted to help make some more bales so I thought I would use them to demonstrate how I went about it.So here goes:
Firstly I split the New Zealand flax leaves into workable strips starting them off with a knife.

  Next lay out the strips in the cart.That's Owen doing a great job.
Now start to pack in the dry hay keeping the strips in place.
Here comes Archie pounding the hay to compress it prior to tying it up trouble was Archie loved it so much this element took a little longer than planned.
See what I mean!!! Actually this is where we get each end to tie up I make a loop on one side and put the other end through the loop so that I can apply maximum pressure to compress the hay further.
Here's the end result, its true that the edges are a little fuzzy and it doesn't look like one of those professional machine made square bales but its all mine, hand made and it will make a great substitute for grow bags next spring. so its off to the shed to stack it with the others.
See the shadowy figure in amongst the rowan. that's Millie the Mistle Thrush. She delights in alternating between the Mulberry tree and this one picking off the berries as they ripen. Despite several attempts top scare her away from my precious Mulberries she just won't shift, even a beak to nose confrontation was won by her, Bless. Till next time.