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13th day of Christmas.

Updated: Jan 11, 2021

and finally my present arrived. This is a once in a lifetime BIGGY present from me to me. With so much to do getting Redwood Retreat ready for the coming season, I really need 3 pairs of hands and also some extra legs. What I’ve got is a 4 wheel drive quad bike. It was on the wish list for this year to help with getting guests set up in the new camping dome (which incidentally will be called Hafod), but in December I realised that getting it earlier, i.e. now would give me a much needed helping hand whilst building the new dome and getting the site ready.

The quad bike has racks to carry storage boxes front and rear plus a tow hitch so a decent sized trailer can be tushed around the fields carrying tools or timber or campers kit as required. The bonus ball is a winch on the front so I can pull myself out if I should sink the bike in a bog.

So having had a half hour on site training course when the ATV was delivered on Thursday, today was the 1st days work for the beast.

I have started creating a pond across Jane’s field near the site for the Hafod dome. There is an area of marshy grass just below the site. Spring water seeps out of the ground here and the plan is to make a small wild life pond, for visitors to enjoy. Hopefully the pond will encourage further insect life.

I’ve used some of the oak boards that came on the last trailer of fire wood to create a small dam at the lowest point of the marshy area. A couple of hours yesterday and today was spent with a mattock clearing the marsh grass adjacent to (uphill from) the dam. The sodden soil is about 150mm deep and wet heavy and full of roots. Once down to the bedrock a layer of heavy duty plastic liner went in across the stone and up the inside face of the dam.

With the liner in place, a layer of the excavated marsh grass was the put back. This will help to hold the liner in place and also will give some soil in the base of the pond for other pond plants to root into. The liner went in just before lunch today and by PM there was already a few inches of water in the base.

The outer face of the wooden dam will next be faced with a thick layer of turf to create a stable earth bank to resist the mass of the water behind the dam. Well that’s the theory and only time will tell if it works. Although there are many jobs to get done before April; getting the pond started now means there’s time for the disturbed soil to regreen and new plants to start to get established.

Following family tradition January is always marmalade month as Seville oranges are only available now. We had to cross the border yesterday to take a couple of our truck tyres to be repaired at the tyre depot so once there we went on to the farm shop to collect a case of lovely fat, round Seville’s. We’ll freeze these in 3Lb packs so there ready to be used as required.

The scent on these beauties is so strong you can still smell them when you open the deep freeze. I like to be able to add home-made marmalade to the breakfast hamper I provide for campers, so need to have plenty in stock.

The week here has been mainly freezing day and night with some snow still lying around. Some sunshine and very little wind.

Wind turbine power generated this week 23.78 KwHrs

PV power generated this week 8.8 KwHrs.

Total renewable energy created on site week 32.58 KwHrs

We’ve still got leeks in the garden and I quite fancy getting another batch of soup made but at present the ground is still frozen so the leeks will have to stay there a little longer.

Katherine will be going on a gardeners porn fest tomorrow when she gets out all the seed packets to see what we have in stock and then gets out the catalogues to order up seeds for the coming year.

Best music played this week. Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen; Lost in the Ozone Again. Even if your feeling mid winter blues it'll get you boogying around the kitchen, try it, it's therapy!! Should be on the NHS.


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