Thursday, 26 July 2018

Wednesday 25th July 18

An early start as I had a gig at the Minster School Summer Playscheme, but we needed bread so I popped into Thomas The Baker on Tang Hall Lane for Yesterbake. Cycled along to the Route 66 Sustrans cycle track and popped out of that at Heworth Green, and by 9.50 was at the Minster, and I had an audience of between 30 and 40 children, who saw my Professor Fiddlesticks Circus Skills Show and Workshop - followed by a free-play workshop. I finished at about 12.15 and had a chat with the team leader about next week's visit where I'm taking in a range of compost-related things, including 'minibeasts'. Then I cycled home, had a bit of a rest and had lunch.

I rang Alligator to see if they wanted me to come and do the tree work they'd asked me to do, they were happy with that so I told them I'd be with them for 3.30. They have a Laurel which needs to be trimmed now and again, so I loaded my huge ladder onto the trailer, my battery chainsaw, Fiskars loppers and heavy-duty secateurs. The work wasn't that difficult; just cutting off some of the branches which were poking up higher than wanted. However this produced 2 trailer-loads of vegetation - I took one back at half five and left the rest to be picked up tomorrow. It was hot work, but I was glad to get it done today rather than leaving it as the weather is due to get hotter over the next few days.

Cycled home and unloaded trailer, went with Gill to the Co-op, and I carried the shopping back. Then I shredded the Laurel, enjoying the almond smell, which is in fact cyanide. Not a great idea to breath too much of that in. It has no effect on the ability of the material to compost down. 

I then dealt with another enquiry, someone asking if anyone wanted to pick up a pallet, and I chopped this up to get it in the trailer.

So, an extremely busy day working and volunteering.

Monday, 2 April 2018

Saturday 31st March 18, Richard Clare Memorial.

Another busy day, up at 9 and was working by 10 to put all the logs in one place, all the twigs in another, and to redistribute the compost heap and to reinstate the compost bin, this time on top of the pear stump, so it will have no chance at all of regrowing.  There is now ample space for the plum to be put in, and I think Daddy will help with that.

I wanted to get down to the Ponderosa by midday, so at quarter to, I packed everything into the panniers and rucksack and cycled down to the memorial for Richard Clare. He died 5 years ago, and is still fondly remembered for all his tree planting, seed swapping and assorted green activism and teaching.  His aunt and uncle came down from Aberdeen, Marion and Keith, I think, and Ed Smith was there with his girlfriend, and three other of Richard's friends. We talked together for about half an hour, didn't have any ceremony, but did have a seed swap, of sorts. I learned that Richard planted all the trees around this edge of the Ponderosa, getting funding and organising planting crews. Brilliant, what a thing to leave!

I got a train back to York and cycled round to see Kiri to arrange what she was going to do this weekend whilst Joy is in Manchester. We booked a bike ride on Sunday.

I was glad to get home and was pretty tired.

Friday 30th March 18

Going over to Sheffield today, to see if I can give blood and resume my platelet donations, and then do some work in Anna's garden.

So I got to the station and bought my ticket to Sheffield and got an earlier train than I'd expected an arrived in Sheffield at about 11.30, and slowly made my way to the blood donor centre near the Cathedral, which I knew opened for the afternoon session at 12.30. I sat next to the Cathedral for 40 minutes watching the world go by and then walked my bike up to the Blood Donation place and waited there for a few minutes. A member of staff came along at 12.15 and I asked if she knew if they had any spaces for the afternoon session, and she said she'd ask. A minute later she came back and said they were completely full, so I thanked her and cycled up towards the University and Walkley.

Daddy had delivered the long ladder the previous day, using a sack barrow he'd tied it to as a convenient sort of trolley.  I untied this and leaned it up against the pear tree and started using my big Fiskars loppers to remove branches.

The pear tree was a variety called Jargonelle. We have one in the garden more than twice as tall as Anna's. The pears are quite small, between 4 and 10cm long, and ripen in the 3rd week of August, approx. They almost immediately go bad from the centre. They are an intense 'pear drop' flavour, and, traditionally, were used to provide the flavour for pear drops. If you search 'jargonelle', you will probably find a boiled sweet, named after the pear.  Our tree is very straggly and chaotic in character. Because there are many other pear trees nearby, we get excellent fruit set, but Anna's (last year) had a very poor fruit loading. It could have been a bad year, or it may be missing the two other varieties of pear nearby which it needs to pollinate with.

I am sad to take this 100 year old tree down (that's a guess) but, it's not nice or useful to the current custodians of the land, and they have bought a replacement tree, although it will never grow nearly as big.

The wood will be dried out and Daddy will use the logs in his woodburner, somewhat replacing fossil-fuel use as he doesn't need his heating on when the burner is going.  I was sad to take this tree down but if I didn't do it, someone else would have done. 

I took the tree down slowly and carefully, using a rope to tie some branches to the tree so they didn't fall dangerously.  Daddy turned up and helped me a little bit, using a long rope to pull some branches onto the lawn, away from the ladder and fence.  I used my Oregon battery chainsaw for the up-ladder cuts and then the Worx plug-in for the trunk.  I was able to get some little discs for Anne who wants to have them for some kind of place mat, and left the trunk in two large chunks for turning or carving.

Anna fed us well and I had a bath to get the sawdust out of my hair, and was in bed by 2am, early for me!