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Weeding, the wood party and Cumberland show... : Soil Association : Blogs

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Weeding, the wood party and Cumberland show...

Emma Heseltine - 09 June 2013

This week I’ve got some gardening to do. On Tuesday the boss is away so we have a list of tasks to do, none of which are dock digging surprisingly. First we check all the cattle and sheep. Helena is due this week and I’m hoping she will produce on cue for open farm Sunday this weekend. So far no sign.

We then get onto the tasks of the garden. There are main crop potatoes to go in, and some second earlies that seem to have been missed. Then its courgette planting, sweet pea tying and planting, watering galore and of course weeding. The raspberry patch seems to have turned into a buttercup patch. This is not right, we want lots of lovely raspberries this year so despite the pretty yellow flowers, they have to come out.

On Thursday we are having a big party in the wood. The Tarraby wood is 20 years old this year and is now a fine sized wood. The children from the local school in Houghton are coming for a party, all 130 of them. We have several stations set up in the wood and everyone has a game/activity to deliver, the kids rotate around the activities.

I find out ten minutes before they are due to arrive that I’m doing one of the stations. This is where years of PGL work comes in handy; what? deliver a session I’ve never heard of to 30 kids, right now? No problem, send them my way. We do ‘shades of green’ first. It involves sticky pads and lots of collecting things and sticking them artistically (or not). Some clever so-and-so always has to pick nettles don’t they?

Next is ‘nest’ I decide to go against recommendations of each kid making a nest and go all out to make one giant class sized nest. This proves much more fun and my groups are happily tearing apart old dens and scavenging twigs and quite alarmingly large branches and logs in no time. An impressive nest is soon taking shape, but we don’t have chance to finish it as its cake time in the clearing. I hope to come back to this project.

This weekend it’s the Cumberland show. This will be my third and I hoping the weather forecast stay true and we get lovely sunshine. The last two have been complete wash outs. We are in the food hall and I go down the night before to set up the chiller and tables so as not to be doing a million things in the morning. The day dawns bright and it looks like we will have a good turn out.

The morning is quiet as nobody wants to buy meat in the morning and lug it about all day. In the afternoon things pick up and we also do our customary cookery demonstration. Susan makes a beef stir fry which an avid audience watches her prepare; I manage not to muck up the rice. Then its tasting and lots of folk line up for a try. All in all I think it wasn’t a high profit day but its important to be there and show our faces.

Emma completed a degree in Creative Imaging at Huddersfield University before working for a photography studio as an editor. Taking a break from the office world she worked in outdoor education for several years, climbing, abseiling, shooting, trampolining and even life-guarding with children of all ages. When Emma found out about the apprenticeship scheme with the Soil Association it seemed the perfect chance to do something worthwhile and fulfilling. After much searching and badgering farms in the North of England she found a position with Hadrian Organics and started in July 2011. So far it is living up to her expectations, every day is a new challenge and every day is different.

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