Sara Keene is an RHC and WWOOF UK host and sent us her impressions of a January work party at Linton Farm in Gloucestershire.
With a wonderful flurry of positive responses (SO welcome in darkest Jan!) we met at the farmyard and gathered round a fire in a field on a crisp and sunny morning.
Susan from Cardiff, became the firekeeper, without a word and all ten of us got active. We pulled up swathes of old thyme bushes, prepared a bed for a willow windbreak; transplanted mint roots, wheel barrowed manure; trimmed a long bed of oregano and started a Sepp Holzer hugelbed from the trimmings.
Mistakenly drawn to planting out autumn cuttings, which had rooted well, we made new thyme and rosemary beds but these didn’t survive the subsequent winds and rain, sadly. Spring here and we’ll root some cuttings by heeling in edges of the parent plants.
We shared lunch by the fire. We made willow hoops and started a couple of baskets in the afternoon with some red dogwood and yellow and tan willow I had gleaned from a neighbour’s prunings.
The deep blue sky and the contagious enthusiasm were the most memorable features of the day. The camaraderie was good too. Felt to me like a newly formed group of friends. By the end of the day we wanted to do it again, see things progress and to meet again, which was pleasing.
Arranging a work party takes a bit of effort to start with; you need to organise tools, water, tea mugs, firewood etc. It was a special feature of my January and I will be doing it again. The work done is terrific too!
Photos by Kate Peters – thank you.