Please contact the office if you are interested in volunteering and we will discuss details.
Conservation Work - Past
Today we concentrated on pruning the apple trees.
Last winter we had to cancel a few planned sessions due to the inclement weather and some of the trees are getting too crowded. We took lower branches off Belle de Boskoop and Winston to help access to get under the trees. As always, we start by removing dead, diseased and damaged branches, though there aren’t too many of them. There is still a lot more pruning to do so we will return to this task in the New Year.
It was a chilly day, so the tasks of turning the compost heaps and digging out nettles were a useful way of keeping warm.
Today we applied the second coat of the clay plaster on the inside of the store.
We have a couple of tubs left which we will use on the rougher areas, and the final coat is a lime whitewash to help increase the reflected light levels inside (as well as acting as a herbicide and deterring rodents).
More weeding on around the orchard.
Trouble with minibus today. Flat battery and breakdown assistance took too long to get to us.
Late morning a couple of cars despatched to Rodley and people were able to help out for an hour two, but not a full day’s contribution this year which was a shame. Still, people managed to do their Christmas shopping at the visitor’s centre!
Today we applied the second coat of lime render, using up all our supplies but not quite covering all the walls.
We bought some more render on 26th November and completed the second coat. The final coat will left until the spring as we do not wish to take any further risks if the weather turns frosty. The covers will stay on for a few more weeks.
Today we applied a coat of lime slip to the outside of the apple store. Unlike when using the clay plaster on the inside walls, we needed to take precautions against the caustic nature of the lime render; googles, gloves and overalls. It all went smoothly (unlike the surface of the walls which are very lumpy indeed).
For those not involved in the render there were apples to sort, and ground elder to tame. We are weeding the stretch behind Egremont Russet and are thinking of adding more soft fruit here.
We decided not to remove vegetation from the ponds this autumn as the growth over the summer seems to have been limited, perhaps due to the shade from the trees.
We cut all areas of the meadow and vegetation around the pond and dug out some of the nettles, scattering wildflower seed from the Bradford Bee Keepers in the exposed soil. We removed a vast quantity of litter; fly tipping from All Saints Road continuing to be a big problem.
We are going to need to replace the wooden benches as quite a few have rotten.
Today we returned to help the residents of Sydenham Place, and adjoining streets, to continue with the efforts to reclaim an area of land and turn it into a garden and wildlife area.
We continued to clear debris and weeds so wildflower seeds could be planted and other areas where fruit bushes will be added late. We extended the path to the benches at the bottom, weeding, laying fabric and covering with mulch.
A little more improvement was made to the drystone wall.
We worked with a group from YBS today to complete the annual tasks of cutting and raking the meadow and clearing vegetation from the pond.
The majority of the cutting was done using the hand scythes as we still do not have a functioning auto-scythe. However, we made good progress by hand and finished off with the mower. The presence of a lot of frogs in the main meadow area reminded us why it is better not to cut too close to the ground, giving a place of refuge for the animals. We always aim to leave about 10% of the meadow long as well.
In the pond we cleared rushes and flag iris from each side of the bridge so there is more chance of open water for pond-dipping. Brambles, roses and Blackthorn suckers were cut back from around the seating areas and where they were encroaching on the paths.
The event runs from 12-4pm.
If you wish to volunteer please let us know in advance. There will only be an early pick up at Culture Fusion (c. 8.30am), so it would help us greatly if you could make your own way there if you don’t fancy the early start. Volunteer tasks include putting marquees up (and down), helping with the juicing, teas and coffees and selling chutneys, apples etc.
Final site preparations for Apple Day, plus harvesting.