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Monday, April 30, 2018

Building A Wall - Building A Community

A dozen strangers came together over the weekend to learn an old skill and created a thing of beauty, something to last through decades, long after we are all gone. We hosted a dry stone walling workshop taught by a master stonemason from Derbyshire UK.

They learnt about the nature of the stone and that there is a lot more to building a stone wall than just balancing rock upon rock. Each piece was searched and chosen from the pile and hammered and shaped to lock in with the others.

 There is a lot of physics involved in creating a stable wall, pinned by it's own weight and tightly tied with key stones running lengthwise and as importantly, transversely.

They learnt about creating features in a wall to weather storms and erosion and livestock interactions. Neil will find it very hard to rub against at this angle! 

There is much to learn about the stonemasons craft but in just two days a group of people who had never done this before created 8m of very handsome and more importantly, safe and sound walling. I am so very proud of them and can't stop looking at it.

Our participants were all so positive and willing and from diverse backgrounds. We had teachers, builders, landscapers, passionate gardeners and old property owners. Their stories were fascinating and their journeys purposeful. Our lives touched briefly but the skills they learnt this weekend will ripple wider throughout the community like pebbles in pond water. As we watched the magnificent pink and orange sunset we couldn't help but pinch ourselves and think how fortunate we are to have these wonderful opportunities. It's hard work, and we have to "make things happen" but the payoff is rich and rewarding to make so many new friends.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Garden Construct and Structure

This has to be the hardest we have worked in the garden! 
Spring and summer are pretty full on with the growing but in this pre-winter period we have been attending to the structural parts of the garden - Remember...this garden just two years ago was a paddock. We have put in some vertical structures like the arches and old gates (like sbove). These give the landscape some substance in winter when most of the garden is dormant.

Over the summer we have been getting ute loads of sandstone "crazy" pavers. These are a random mix of shapes and sizes that we have loosely sorted ready for laying down the central path of the garden.

Some painting jobs are prepped; like the folding seats and a couple of arches but there is lots of linseed oil maintenance waiting to be done too on timber fences and the fowl yard.

Lots of trimming back, dahlia shifting, seed saving, seedling exchanges and vine tying. 

The bulbs!
I've planted about 100 bulbs this autumn, mostly white tulips and white daffodils. I've mixed the varieties in the same colour so that I get a lasting display over the spring between the early and late bloomers.

I've planted out violas and pansies for winter colour into spring and we have our cold crops under way and battling the rabbits. Our pasture has been improved and Neil-Not-Veal (calf) is also thriving on cut lucerne and an oat, corn, barley mix. He has grown his winter coat and is getting jolly boisterous.

Our major project over the coming months though will be a dry stone wall down one boundary side. We will be hosting classes taught by a master Stonemason/Waller from Derbyshire UK. We have sourced some lovely sandstone that splits safely like butter and should produce a beautiful traditional boundary to last centuries to come.

(photo by Valerie Carline)
This is similar to what we are working towards and daily we indulge in gate fantasies....

like this beautiful one in Ross.
Timber or metal???
To tie it in with the shed....but that's a yonder still project again!

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