Monday, 4 May 2009

Sunday 3rd May 09

Woke slowly and suddenly realised that I had a visitor booked in to arrive at 9.30 so leapt up and raced downstairs and gobbled breakfast and was washed, dressed and outside the front by 9.30 when Gordon from Freecycle arrived with his female friend who's name I've forgotten.

He had posted on Freecycle that he wanted some compost so I replied that I could let him have a bag of it for free but if he wanted multiple bags, I'd like a donation. He said that he wanted to grow a few vegetables so I emailed back that I'd let him have some Jack Edwards Climbing Pea Beans as well. So, we'd already had a lengthy email conversation before he arrived.

I gave them a tour of the compost-making facilities and he had got a 35 litre rucsack and a bin liner, which we filled with riddled best mature! He was very happy with the beans too, and gave me a donation for them. I hope we meet again as he seemed like a very nice chap.

I then set off for Rowntree Park where York Rotters was holding it's annual Worm Charming competition. The aim of this is to try to get earthworms living in grassland to come up onto the surface, buy running on the spot, drumming, putting water on the soil and other methods. The secondary aim (primary perhaps!) is to have a compost information stall which dispenses advice, leaflets etc. I arrived in time to help set out the plots, although Catherine's husband was already on the case with the tapes marking out the 2m x 2m squares. I did some announcing with my big voice, and we got most of the 16 plots filled with a team. Kate and I dispensed pond water from watering cans when requested, but there was a severe lack of worms... not surprising as the Park 'lawn' was post-flood, almost devoid of grass, and very very compacted.

In the 30 minutes, with perhaps 30 people drumming, jumping, wiggling forks and banging metal waste-paper bins with drumsticks, and lots of water, only ONE worm was found! The winning worm was only about 2cm long as well! But, a good time was had by all, and the stall attracted a lot of interest and I talked to a few people about composting, and helped them find leaflets about Bokashi, composting in yards, dealing with rats and reduced price compost bins, all of which they took away to peruse at leisure.

I came back via Country Fresh and brought back a couple of sacks of compostables, a pallet and some scrap wood for the stove.

Lunch was delicious... avocado sandwich and hommous sandwich.

I did some emailing etc whilst listening to Gardeners Question Time and then went out into the garden... and spent the whole afternoon there. Bliss. Friendly robins, really cheeky birds, completely unfazed by human presence, including perching on me from time to time, and allowing me to watch within centimetres its foraging in the compost heap I was turning. At one stage, one of them had 8 prey animals in its beak... a centipede, several beetle larvae, an adult staphylinid beetle, a couple of pupating beetles... and I was less than 20 cm away. I did a lot of compost management, dug out several bins including the Compostumbler. I also did a load of weeding, some more hedge cutting... a lovely several hours.

Came in for tea at 7. Did lots of fruit for drying. Washed up too. Busy busy busy...

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