big ideas from a little garden

tales and stories of how we make the most of our garden and our terraced house.

Friday, 30 March 2012

The calm before the storm

The site of the chicken bordello to be.
Because it's going to take something like a storm to make a difference.
Currently the chickens are happy pecking away in the devastation that is our excuse for a garden.
I first need to have a general tidy up. The place looks a bit like a scrap yard.
There is the broken bench that they like to hold their knitting circle on. that is going to be taken apart, painted and repaired. Then it will be fit for tinyholder's bottoms and not just a chicken perch.
the knitting circle will have to find new digs
There is also a matching char that will be getting much the same treatment.
I am in two minds with what to do with the broken branches that had been cut out of the hedge last year. Should I break it down, bag it up and keep to burn on chilly summer evenings?  Or should I just put it into the green recycling? The largest branches I will keep to put into the new chicken bordello we have planned. I don't wish the girls to be too put out by their smaller environment so I plan to build high as well as wide. With this I can put in a variety of branches and perches. Maybe a couple of high up nest boxes for them to lay in.
Then there is the Somme like garden itself to turn into a haven of growing.  A good dig over and loosen up of the soil should just about do it.
a courtyard to be.
There is also the garden path to clear off. this will be a back breaking task in itself. Although we do plan to replace the path in the near future it is unusable at the moment.
The court yard will benefit from a good tidy and a hose down and it is fit to go. In  time the walls and fences will be utilised as a structure to grow things up. But with a tidy up it can be used as somewhere to sit now.

It's going to be hard work but so very well worth it.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Start at the very begining.

I long for something like this!
The sun is shining, the birds are singing and the egg laying committee is in full swing. It is time DD and I got our butts in gear and started to turn the Somme into a garden haven.
We have such grand plans. However, they all seem to stem from a glass of fizz while standing in the sun with a bantie on a shoulder. We are clearly some sort of booze swigging, land locked, pirate wannabes.
Last Sunday saw such an event. We have now revised all our plans. A pneumatic drill is being hired and the garden path is coming up! *happy dance*
There is nothing more boring than a regimented garden with a straight path. Veggies organised into neat rows and clean washing flapping in the breeze.
Well not for us. We have decided we will stagger the garden constructions (shed, greenhouse and the chicken bordello). This will enable us to utilise as much of the sunshine in our east facing garden. The courtyard will become a white washed sun trap. Covered in pots of aromatic herbs. I have some fab ideas regarding growing vertically as well as on the ground. No post, wall or bit of fence will not have a purpose.
Peas, beans and even cucumber will thrive (I am sure of it).
We have pinched the idea of covering the small area between the kitchen wall and the fence with some corrugated plastic. Affording a sheltered area for bikes, a small bench and table and some quail in a covered run and house.
However, as exciting as these plans are, we first need to clear the garden, and that will take a lot of time, strength and a large skip. The old nazi shed has to go. It was put up by the previous owners. Odd people, they had planks of nails along their fence to stop cats walking on it. The carpeted, curtained shed was, I feel sure, the Old Man's safe haven from the Old Dear. Or perhaps she would lock him in there for punishment for not bringing her the local puss population to boil into stew.
Anyhow, all this has to go.
Frankly, I can't wait.....

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Worthy Causes and Armchair Dictating

Before DD and I consolidated our lives I had the privilege of residing in Sunny South Wales. I love the area and all it has to offer. I lived just a couple of miles from the sea, and some times I miss it.
Tythe barn, Henry's and herb garden
However, most of my time that wasn't spent at home with my cubs, I was in the employ of Cosmeston Medieval Village.
It was a fascinating, rewarding and often exhausting job. I loved it!
I personally bred and loaned the Geese (embdens), Chickens (Dorkings) and Ducks (Calls) to the village that provided the often ear shattering background melody to the village. The Call Ducks did an excellent job of drowning out the volume from the passing, unauthentic traffic from the adjacent road. The chickens provided the local youngsters with the "ahh" factor each spring, as they would proudly strut from their recent hidy hole, with a fluffy mess of chicks about their feet. The geese made sure the staff were kept on their toes with the occasional nip. Perhaps, in retrospect, the geese shouldn't have been encouraged to forage in my pockets for tasty treats as youngsters. A full grown embden with a mission to get it's obnoxious beak in you trews is not something to be taken lightly.
Then there are the gardens.
They were the passion and handy work of Mistress Angharad (the character I portrayed)
It was here I found my green fingers and love of herbs.

The Village itself is a reconstructed village, circa 1350. During the 70's there were plans afoot to place a car park upon a site known as castle field. This was to service the newly made lakes and conservation area that had been formed on the site of an old quarry. While clearing the field it was discovered that just below the surface lie the foundations of a building.
Enter GGAT (Glamorgan and Gwent Archaeological Trust). They went about excavating the site and soon found that many more buildings lay about the area.
William and Pip
The first building to be reconstructed was the byre. Initially this was nothing more than an experiment by the archaeologists. Rebuilding the structure upon the foundation. Using the evidence in existence at to how it probably would have looked. Evidently, this was such a success that in time we were to see a small village emerge.
The birth of Cosmeston as we know it.
This village, for the last 20 years has been a site of special interest. It has provided the Vale with a worthy tourist attraction. It has also run a very successful and worthwhile educational tool to schools from as far away as France and America.
It has been staffed by both paid staff and volunteers for many years. Providing informative tours in a first person capacity while costumed in authentic clothing. It really is a gem! Is it viewed as the jewel in the Vale's crown?
It is not!

Although it is a wonder to behold. Staging popular history themed evens through out the year. Populated by staff, actors and re enactors from every walk of life. Ranging from babes in arms to elderly enthusiasts. Providing a wealth of knowledge and amusement to the public.  It now seems that it is time to close the chapter.

 It is believed that the council can no longer fund the site, due to council cut backs. Declaring it is run at a deficit. It has been decided that it is time to change the face of the village.

The village itself will still be there. However, there will be no costumed guides, no rare breed animals and no events.

The two managers who have worked tirelessly on the project for over 20 and 30 years respectively are finding their jobs are among those being cut. The 20 strong staff are being informed their services are no longer required. Subsiquently, the village will become free to the public to enter and view to their hearts content.
However, they will no longer be able to participate in a vibrant taste of the fourteenth century. Experiencing the sights sounds and, yes reader, scents of the bygone era.
noisy calls
The cottages will no longer swell with the sound of laughter and no one will bid you a "Good day madam or a Bless you sir" as you cross the hearths of these inspired reconstructions.
There will be no fluffy chicks or ducklings to lighten the hearts of youngsters and ruffty tuffty gents alike.
There will be no opportunity for a shy school child to throw the pig an apple, and see her ambling along with snuffles and grunts of gratitude for her tasty treat. Last but not least, no more gambolling lambs come March and April. Heck, even the passing walker will miss this sight, surely?

Let me tell you a story of how important this village can be.
During my time as a guide I had the pleasure of escorting an enthusiastic primary school group about the village. I always enjoyed touring the "littlies". Taking just as much joy from the experience as the children themselves. Teaching them about our rich heritage, along with a large and hearty dollop of laughter. During this particular tour, I led the children through role play. Acting out a manorial court. Of course, as the conclusion neared it became obvious the villainous gossip would find herself in the pillory.  I encouraged the children to shout out and act as if they were boisterous village children. Well one young lady (who had not left her teaches side all lesson) screamed the loudest. A picture of sheer joy at being involved.
During the tour she had been eager to answer a few questions, but when given the opportunity, she hid her face in her teacher's arms. The other children seemed to cope with this young girls evident crippling shyness and compensated by giving the answers she wanted with a nod from her.
When she cried out I noticed the teacher wiping away a few tears and a grin as large as the youngster's. I thought little of it.
After I had escorted the group out of the village and bid them "farewell and God speed", the teacher caught my eye and asked for a "word".
I must confess I wondered what it was that I had done wrong.
I was then told that this special little girl was an elective mute. She had not uttered a single sound of her own volition in 5 years. Until that day!
I would like to say it was my doing. I am, however, aware that in her own or any other familiar environment there is no way I would have coaxed a single squeak from her. It was the village and it's magic that had done this for her.

This, dear reader is what we stand to loose.

I have never really been one to begin to rock the boat. Certainly, I am apt to voice my opinions over wrong doing and poor ethics if I fell it is necessary.
I seem to have found my voice in this instance.
There will be a peaceful march from local one council office to another next week. I am, as yet, unaware if I will be able to attend.
I am, however, co ordinating it from my pc.
I have started a facebook petition that will be delivered alongside and existing petition signed by locals.
I don't expect it to make the council change their minds.
However, maybe there can be some sort of compromise so this gem and resource is not lost forever.