Please contact the office if you are interested in volunteering and we will discuss details.
Conservation Work - Past
We are going to be at Culture Fusion today, working in the workshop on the timberwork for the shed.
[At this stage we would like to keep the schedule for September flexible. We need to get the shed built by the end of the month. Some of this will be in the workshop, but when we come to the actual construction it will need to be consecutive days, in dry weather. We will email specific work days as we progress. If you only receive the programme by post and want to be kept informed then please ring the office to let us know].
Undoubtedly we have not covered the same amount of ground now we no longer have an auto-scythe, but we have still made a good impression, adding to many of the existing piles of composting bracken. We use a mixture of scythes, slashers and sickles, with some of the sparser areas being pulled by hand. I walked down to where we had started off in 2002 – we have cut an impressive patch, creating space for heather, bilberry and crowberry.
I didn’t achieve my ambition of glancing upon a short-eared owl silently quartering the hillside (it’s been years since I have seen one), but we disturb quite a few red grouse and could see buzzards over Rombalds Moor.
We thought it would be a good idea to tackle this muddy task before the pond refilled with autumn rain.
So, yes it was easier to work in the deeper areas, but it was still muddy! And hard work digging, wheelbarrowing and carrying the buckets away from the pond. The aim is to create a channel through the pond and an area where deep water can form and stand when the summer rainfall is sufficient (i.e. not this year).
The silt traps were emptied first, and whilst we didn’t manage to finish the trench, an excellent start was made, and we hope to arrange for more volunteers to complete this. The day was punctuated with heavy showers, but despite rain at the end of the day the gloves and waterproofs will need a good clean!
NO TASK - sorry, we are on holiday
I filled a couple of carrier bags of semi-composted bracken to mulch the blueberries that I bought at Apple Day last year. One day it would be nice to make more of the bracken we have harvested but the logistics and effort wouldn’t be insignificant.
This was our first of three visits to Baildon Moor to return to the area we have been bracken cutting for many years. We were going areas that had been cut previously; cutting with scythes and sickles and then raking the cuttings into piles. The aim is to reduce the dominance of the bracken which covers vast tracts of the moor, and give the opportunity for heather, bilberry and crowberry to flower and fruit.
The walling stone arrived today so the first job, for some, was to barrow it over the shed area and sort to assess size. Dennis then set about completing the rectangle to form the foundations. There is more to be done but a good start was made.
We cut branches cut overhanging from around the pond to allow more light in. This will be completed in winter. More water was carried and barrowed from the water butt. Let’s hope it is of help to the pondlife.
The flower bed by Keswick Codling has been weeded and the Field Scabious is looking good. Straw was laid under Beauty of Bath and Katy – the two trees that are most likely have fallers that we don’t want to bruise. Two of the fallen apples were eaten – the first of the year – and no they weren’t quite ripe!
Also more weeding, watering and fruit picking.
More preparation of the shed area was done, including distributing the bagged compost around the trees. Ash from the fire was also sprinkled under the trees and fruit bushes to add potash to the soil.
We started on the hedge cutting tasks with great affect, especially where it will let more sun onto the lower branches of Katy. Of course we now have more hedge cuttings to dispose of after burning the last lot last week. Alison made a start on weeding the bed nears Keswick Codling and Maddy made great progress removing nettles and cleavers from the hedges around the fruit bushes. Safaa and Tesfaye did a sterling job carry water from the water butts to the pond in the far opposite corner of the orchard
Quite a few different jobs to do today, but probably the most exhausting was working through the options for the shed. We concluded with a decision that we would use straw throughout, rather than a hybrid design. Whilst this means we lose some space inside, it makes the build more straightforward. If we have a big crop we will have to juice etc rather than store the fruit; no bad thing.
We also made sure all the tree trunks were clear of grass, we removed the hogweed seed heads (although the flowers are great for the insects we have enough and do not want them to spread further), we laid fabric and bark around the veg beds. We started the pruning of the stone fruit but decided to leave the remainder until the fruit is eaten – there are at least 6 greengages, we don’t want to waste them!
And picking gooseberries and blackcurrants; seems like it was worth netting them this year.