Friday, 22 March 2013

Forest Garden Equinox Living Willow Workshop

Spring is upon us, can't you feel that March madness, blowing your head this way and that? It's a dash to complete al those winter jobs. This week began with two kitchen drawer baskets for Mark Stone's Welsh, then back to harvesting. I am so lucky I am, cut the last of the  gorgeous organic willows at Nant Clyd Farm Llanilar then up to Aberyswyth to see the University's research willows and help myself to as much as we could squeeze in to ye olde van. These willows are super fast growing types developed for biomass and all two years old so perfecto for the job of giant badger building....Thanks Megan and Marni for the volunteering epecially the unloading at the end of a tiring day...I/we will be back...any volunteers...Thursday next? So excited. Then Wednesday was back in Cilgerran cutting the Willow Circle  planted at the school a few years ago. I had left it  until the last minute as I was not sure what  to do with it until Alpay, my tree buddy, suggested  running a workshop at St Dogmaels Forest Garden to celebrate the Spring Equinox. The willows used have a number only and not a name, one that Dave the grower at West Wales knows...his prefered choice for the job of structure building. I must say I love the way it is developing in the school at Cilgerran. Some of the stems have now fused and the whole structure has only grown vertically, if you know what I mean, by a small amount after one pruning per year.

So these beautiful willows went to the Forest Garden workshop on Thursday. The weather was supposed to be be bleak and wet but it was tolerable though a bit windy. Seven people turned up for the day and it was fun and productive...we sort of completed a Tunnel/Archway and a 2m Dome. there is a bit of finishing off to do guys..I forgot to say the willows need to be stamped could you forget that. It was very well organised obviously and  I met some lovely people like you do at these  things and hopefully encouraged some willowing  and volunteering. You never know.  We all went for lunch at Alpay and Clare's house too which was toast and tea and no wind. thank you Alpay and Clare you are very cool, kind, warm and wonderful.  the evening was spent back home at Cwmuchaf  quickly to make a bike basket for Kinkaris' new old  bike which was delivered today, Friday, in Bristol as I helped move the gang to their really amazing new house in Bishopston.  So ends the week....what next ...plant climbers for the Eco Shop in Cardigan...grab them quick..a limited edition...and badger head completing at Ysgol Natur, Wildlife Park Cilgerran, call in.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Willow Bagder Head

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Today was one of those frustrating days...don't ask, badger only had a little of my time, meetings, phone calls, emails, garage, tomorrow I am unavailable, unplugged and hands on.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Living Willow Butterfly Maze Grows

The Butterfly Maze is showing the first signs of life. Little leaves breaking through and catkins unfurling. We have had a dry spell with plenty of sunshine but today the wind direction is northerly and  chilly with light flurries of snow.

Monday, 11 March 2013

The Big Willow Badger Build begins in Ysgol Natur at the Wildlife Park in Cilgerran. All last week was spent building the framework for the head. Using freshly cut two and three year old willow, some ash and a metal armature the head slowly took shape. By Wednesday evening I thought I had it but in the cold light of Thursday morning I realised there was still a lot to do to get it right. It took until Friday lunch to finally be happy. The drilldriver saw plenty of action fixing it all with galvanised ring shanked nails then I attached some chicken wire. Theory is that as the weave begins to age and crumble the wire will help to hang on to it and hold it together.... The top layer of weaving was just begun late in the afternoon and continued today....but...the ears aren't quite right so Tuesday morning I fix that then full speed ahead with the top layer all done in Steamed Black Maul and Stripped White Black Maul all c/o Musgrove Willows in Somerset who have kindly sponsored half of it, all the framework comes from local sources.

Willow Gathering for the Willow Badger Sculpture at Wildlife Park Cilgerran

I am still looking for more willows for the Badger Build he is going to be so huge lots of willow is needed. Everything I can spare is earmarked for him and still we need more. He's a big willow hungry badger! If you have any trees on your land, in your hedge and would be happy to donate I could come and cut and collect. Get in touch. 01239 621212 Wildlife Park Cilgerran leave a message for me with your contact.