Thursday, 17 September 2009

Thursday 17th September 09

Gill did the early stuff but I got up in time to get some bits and pieces together for my stint at St Nicholas Fields. I took some slightly damaged/bruised/beginning to rot fruit, some half rotted materials and some finished compost, to show a group of about 15 home-educated children and their parents.

They'd been out on the nature reserve but soon after 11am were ready to engage with me and my enthusiastic composting lesson. I always ask groups to put their hands up if they home compost or have a compost heap... and maybe I should have expected this, but they all did!

I ask lots of questions, and the answers help the session move forward, but I often soon ask them to look under the green grass of the lawn they are standing on and tell me what they can see between the soil and the living grass. There is invariably some dead grass and other decaying vegetable matter, which introduces the idea that composting is a natural process. I ask if they know what happens if fruit and veg material is thrown in an ordinary bin, and some of the older children already knew about landfills and methane, so the climate change implications came into the discussion.

I showed them a selection of compost bins including the one which has a perspex front which is revealed when the ordinary front panel is taken off, allowing the different layers of material to be seen... well rotted stuff at the bottom, semi composted in the centre and freshly added at the top. I also showed them the large New Zealand bins, where I found a slug, woodlice and a lovely staphylinid beetile, sometimes known as a cocktail beetle, similar to the rove beetle known as the Devil's Coach Horse. (another good image here)

Finally, on to the wormeries. The Can Of Worms wormery is a really good educational tool, as it shows the results of the worms' work in the lower layers. Children tend to really like worms, so this was a good place for me to stop and the new Education Officer to take over with a game based on statements about composting and a 'true' and 'false' pair of caddies to put the statements into.

This didn't take long and I was soon ready to go home and have a late lunch.

At 1.30, just before I had lunch, Martin and Bob from the Green Festival came round to sort out the last of the financial transactions from the festival.

After lunch we got a phone call from our eldest's school. He had received a bump on the head somehow and therefore the school needed to tell us. He didn't want to come home though... but a short time later we got another call saying he had a headache and did want to come home. So Gill hopped on her bike and cycled up there, and walked him home. He certainly does have a big lump on his forehead... we were able to joke about it being like my lipoma, a fatty benign lump I've got on my forehead. (mine is similar to this one)

I collected our youngest. And then as Gill was spending time with the boys, I made tea... a nutloaf with walnuts and rice (plus the usual breadcrumbs, peanut butter, grated and chopped vegetables, egg and assorted flavourings) cauliflower cheese and roasted Tromboncino squash (sometimes known as Zucchetta Rambicante, and here's the best set of photos of this vegetable).

This was well recieved and very filling. I'm glad this weird long squash I've grown are so tasty... although not quite as good as butternut, the metre long fruit I just cooked (in chunks) was easy to grow and is quite productive. I'll try to find these seeds again.

A quiet evening, washing up, drying bananas, facebook, blog, telly. The usual.

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