Gatherings, botany, sap, salads and spoons

Here we are in all our post-build glory! The last of the scaffolding has just come down so in my book that means we’ve finished the house! Time to start a new phase with a new blog. The house build blog will remain accessible via the web site as it may be of use/interest to other would-be straw house builders. This new blog will be a general one to include anything of interest going on here including information about the Community Woodland.

The sun is making a very welcome appearance, the leaves are just breaking on the trees, the birds are singing, the lambs a-gamboling- surely this signifies the coming of spring! Hurrah! (just be careful mind- them there frosts do catch e out!)

So, what has been going on or is going to be going on that may be of interest to you? We have a few gatherings that we’ve been asked to host:

Jane, our part-time WWOOFer, is running Everyday Botany through the WEA as a weekend course in the roundhouse with optional camping on May 7th and 8th. This is then to be followed with Community Ecology and Prove it in June and July. For more information on all of these visit www.wea.org.uk or phone 01872 320036.

The Cornwall Coppice Group is visiting later this month and we’re hosting the Summer gathering for the SW Art of Mentoring group following on from my attendance at an introductory course in the Autumn. If you agree with me that the way to repair our environment, our communities and ourselves is to re-connect with nature, each other and self then have a look at the website. Such an inspiring movement to be a part of.

Although Anthony’s workshop space is up-side-down following the build, we are planning to get it back to a functioning state ready for a bent hazel chair course and traditional hay rake course both due to happen over the summer but dates yet to be confirmed. Both these will be run using our first cut of Hazel coppice. We have only cut a very small area but we have sold pretty much all that came out of it for fencing and bean poles which feels very positive. We are taking orders for poles for next year for Hazel and Chestnut so let us know if you’re interested.

Food produce wise, we are only aiming to produce enough food for ourselves and volunteers but have recently begun to sell surplus salads to The Growing Project which runs an organic veg box scheme in Pensilva. Ruth is very happy to buy surplus produce from any local organic garden on a week-by-week basis which suits us perfectly. We are also buying a weekly box to see us through the hungry gap and can highly recommend it!

Our present volunteer, Tim, gained experience with his previous hosts in making syrup from Silver Birch sap. We were a little late in the season with our tapping but have succeeded in making a small quantity and will be better prepared for next year. It tastes amazing! We’re also enjoying getting back to brewing with gorse, bramble tip, oak leaf and mint wines on the go and fire cider sitting in a dark cupboard.

Pentiddy Natural Burials continues to trickle in the funds to keep the project progressing. We are currently looking at extending the site to enable it to continue for many-a-year to come. The area to the south of the existing site which was planted with Chestnut as part of our intended coppice has not flourished due to a variety of factors. We are looking at removing the trees and fencing this area to provide more plots available for burial.

On a less positive note however, the wooden ‘Pentiddy Community Woodland’ sign at the entrance to the site was vandalised last week and has had to be removed. I won’t rant and say all the things you’re probably thinking, we’ll just carry on doing what we’ve always done and hope that some of the positive community intentions eventually rub off. To help the charity to raise the funds to replace the sign you can of course make a donation or you can order a load of prime ash firewood for next winter. Get in quick! Contact us or call us if this is of interest to you.

Spoon whittling,

We have a thought of running an open (and no cost) whittling evening sometime in the summer- an opportunity for anyone interested to come and sit around a camp-fire with a cup of tea and a knife and create something of use- a spoon, a hanging hook, a pointy stick…..Please contact us if you would be interested.

Sorry, but we were going to have some nice pictures to brighten up the post- but we have a few issues with the uploading process….. maybe the next one I will have ironed out the creases!

Regards to  all…….

The all new Pentiddy newsletter!

So…….it’s been a long time since we last wrote. We hadn’t realised how much of a toll the house build had taken on us all so it’s felt very necessary to just be here in the house, together as a family which has meant that we have been a little out of touch with the outside world. However, the coming of Spring has led us to a place of renewed vitality and exciting visions for the future of Pentiddy.

Whilst trying to remain realistic of our capabilities and energy levels, we feel ready to start a new phase, to include much more interaction with our community offering opportunities for learning, volunteering and enjoying what has been created here.

Jane has taken up temporary residence in her caravan as a part-time WWOOFer whilst continuing with her work for Nature Workshops. She has proved to be a great stimulus to getting us back on track with ideas for courses and events and is hoping to run botany courses from the roundhouse during the summer.

We are making plans to run a series of workshops ourselves from here next year to include everything from  outdoor cookery to build-your-own mini septic tank system, using working examples to inspire.  2018 will see the return of Anthony’s popular green wood-working courses following a revamp of his workshop space.

Following my participation in a course last autumn entitled ‘an introduction to nature connection and the the Art of Mentoring’ I have become involved in an amazing network of people working to reconnect people to themselves, to their community and to nature in readiness for returning to a way of life that creates whole people in functional communities living lightly on the earth – inspiring stuff! We feel honoured that the summer gathering for the South West will be here at Pentiddy (date to be confirmed) and look forward to increased involvement as a family. Adeon has signed up for a Right of Passage series that will prepare him and a group of similarly aged boys, for entering manhood. Men from the SW Art of Mentoring network will be running this with assistance from the boys’ fathers. It feels so right to be reintroducing such an vital part of community life.

It seems more important than ever that communities learn to work together and to that end, we have decided to make a start at developing more community links by running whittling evenings, probably once a month, giving local people the opportunity to sit round an open fire together shaping wood and drinking tea whilst allowing conversation to flow.  We will announce that start of these in a later newsletter.

On a woody note, we have felled another section of hazel coppice so have large piles of straight-ish poles of mixed diameters available if anyone can make use of them. Due to it being a first cut and a fairly small area there are not really enough quality poles to try and market but we’d love to see them used. Please get in touch if you’re interested.

For now we need to get back to preparing the garden for the growing season and completing the winter work job list.

Very much looking forward to Spring and being back in the loop!

Ele