The Farmer’s favourite apple tree is over 150 years old, it is also falling down. Word got out that we were learning how to graft trees and Craig and I were recruited to save the old tree, or at least graft some of the branches onto new root stock, so that the Farmer and his family could still enjoy the fruits for generations to come. It also gave us a chance to practice fruit tree grafting for real and pass on some skills.Having obtained some M25 root stock (which in itself is a long story that I wont go into here), we decided to earth up some of the stock to increase the root stock supply for future years and graft with the best single stemmed stock now.
The old apple tree looks a little sad; it can indeed be swayed from side to side with a gentle shove.
As with all old trees new growth was difficult to find. We were looking for last year’s growth that was disease free. With the Forester’s help (he quickly climbed the tree, when I exclaimed that I was finding it difficult to see some nice potential scions from ground level) I was soon holding a handful of twigs and ready to get grafting.
Whip and tongue grafting proved a bit more difficult than in my training sessions, everything was thinner apart from my new groovy grafting knife whose blade is thicker! This meant knife accuracy was imperative. Time will tell whether the grafting has been successful, hopefully the old tree will stay standing until we find out. At least now the Farmer knows how it is done. I must remember to tell the Farmer to take off the plastic graft bandage before mid summer, so that it doesn’t strangle the new growth…The Farmer expertly planted the grafted trees in a sheltered spot and offered us a tour of the farm. With lambing well under way we couldn’t resist a walk to check on the ewes.
Jinsy and the Farmer certainly have a beautiful farm with views to match. If you are ever looking for self-catering accommodation on a working farm, theirs would certainly be a great place to stay.
Many thanks to you both for a lovely afternoon.
With so much to do here, it’s time we seriously started looking for help. Wwoofer’s are the obvious answer (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms). Everyone wins, we get brilliant and enthusiastic helpers in return for providing food and accommodation. We’ve already have five (five!) offers of wwoofing help, but it’s the accommodation bit that’s stumped us. Okay so people could camp in our garden, but it doesn’t seem right not to give someone a proper bed after a proper days work. Our home is really too small for sharing with near strangers for more than a night or so (and we don’t have a spare “proper bed”). Plus from my own experiences of wwoofing, sometimes you really just want your own space to chill in the evening.There is an answer staring us in the face. There is an old caravan that is, well, not entirely rubbish just behind our shade-tunnel. On the plus-sides, it is standing, the floor is mostly sound and now that I have put some polythene over the missing window, almost water tight. On the down-sides it’s just a shell of a caravan with just a few broken cupboards inside, the interior paint is peeling off all over and there is a very damp corner that will need fixing.
But where will I find the time to design the space and fit it, what with all the seeds to sow, plants to plant, track to fix? What I really need is for someone to pimp our wwoofer’s caravan (I’m guessing if you haven’t seen tv programmes like Pimp my Ride, you might be a little confused right now, please read on).
Once I’d thought of it, it seemed like a brilliant idea (of course I could be totally wrong), so I’m going to throw it out there to see what happens.Perhaps you are a permaculture design student looking for a non-land based project, perhaps you are a wwoofer who wants to make the dream of that perfect wwoofing space a reality, perhaps you are into Tiny Houses and are looking for a project for your portfolio.
What could you do with say £250 to turn an old caravan shell into an amazing space that will leave our wwoofers refreshed after a days work and coming back for more?
If this sounds like something that you might be interested in, either on the design side or actually fitting the caravan out, please contact us. We’d love to hear your ideas about what a wwoofer’s space would need/look like. You’ll have to be fast though, with the weather really heading toward Spring, we’d like to have the caravan sorted before the end of May (2012).