Saturday, 26 February 2011

Friday 25th February 11

Another good day.... not quite as busy as yesterday though, thankfully.

My first appointment was at midday at the People and Planet allotment on Low Moor, as part of their Green Week. Phoebe wanted me to do a composting talk and demonstration, so I was only too happy to oblige. As she wanted me to do a workshop, I took one of the most recent sacks of 'resources' (about 30kg) and a box (less than 10kg) and bunged those in my trailer, with a knife, secateurs and the Compost Mate.  I got there soon after midday and waited for 15 minutes for the students to come down.  There were four that I knew (and may have heard my talk before) and four Chinese students who I'd not met and who knew nothing about the subject.   I started off with photosynthesis and carbon being fixed from the air, then respiration with that carbon being released by bacteria, fungi and animals.  I covered all the basics, about natural decomposition, landfills versus incineration versus recycling, the benefits of composting food and plant waste, and a bit about the carbon rich vs nitrogen rich ingredients.  I felt this 20 minute talk went well, and was keen to get busy with the 3 heaps, two were mostly finished material, the other was a large unruly pile of brambles and earthy sods and root balls, mostly left from the previous occupant.

We (me and two Chinese girls) moved all the nearly finished stuff into one bay, leaving one bay free to take the stuff from the top of the unruly pile, which we chopped with secateurs, and layered with fruit and veg material.  The bottom of the mature pile will be able to be put through a riddle, and I'll sort that job out with Phoebe soon.  I'm not sure how long I spent there, but I wanted to go and check out a strip of unused land just off Fulford Road where some trees have been taken down and they are just dumped there.  I've been watching this since before Christmas, so I investigated it and found a pile of dumped large Sycamore logs, a trailer load of which I liberated and very slowly cycled home, as I had at least 100kg, including a huge lump on my pannier rack.

When I got in, I made lunch (it was after 2.30) and I got a phone call from my friend Carolyn, who has a friend who would like a bit of help on a fairly regular basis.  She didn't know if I was looking for this kind of work, but she wanted to find out.... and if I was interested, she'd organise a meeting between the gentleman, who's a wheelchair user in York, and me, to see if we got on.  So a bit later, she rang back and I'll be going to meet him on Monday.  This work could come in extremely handy, specifically the money earned!

Then I got a phone call from Christine, a parent at the Steiner School who does some of the gardening there.  I'd rang her this morning as we'd tentatively arranged to meet this afternoon... but this morning there was no reply.  But she was ready to go down, so I said, OK, let's meet at 4pm.

I cycled down via the Sycamore logpile and picked up a second large load, and 10 minutes later, Chris arrived and she gave me a guided tour of the school grounds.  There are two main jobs... keeping bushes trimmed and tidy, and sorting out the compost bins.  There are two large wooden New Zealand bins, overflowing with twiggy bits, and two or three plastic dalek bins with mainly fruit in.  I plan to mix this stuff up and make a good compost.  I look forward to doing a fairly regular stint and to making a difference.

I cycled home and did a bit of stacking and splitting, and came in after 6... Gill had made some tomato soup and fried some boiled potatoes, a simple but filling meal.  Later I made up my muesli and popped out at midnight to collect 3 pallets from a builder who said I could take them.

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