Monday 28 March 2016

Floods at the Turnditch Orchard project

We called in at the orchard site  this morning. The Ecclesbourne River has overflowed its banks and some of the land of the orchard has been flooded. Storm Katie dropped a lot of rain last night and the river level flashed up by 150cms. As a consequence some of the fruit trees have their "feet" in water. Flooding can kill the trees, we'll have to wait and see how they survive.  

Longer term it may be worth opening up the old drainage ditch which runs across the orchard. It is fed by the culvert which was built when the embankment for the railway bridge was formed. Previous owners of the land have filled in the ditch, which was present on maps prior to 1850. Perhaps an opportunity for the volunteer work force to drive a small back-hoe excavator one day!

Tuesday 1 March 2016

Smoke in the eyes

We had a very successful bonfire on the Orchard at the weekend. The volunteer team did a great job in getting rid of much of last year's blackthorn brash left over from the land clearance work. 

The careful techniques of fire lighting espoused by Ray Mears were avoided. We've found the most effective method is chop up a wooden pallet, add rubber carpet underlay or plastic bags then install this in the heart of the pile before lighting. Once the fire takes hold just about any branch will be quickly consumed. 

Edit: 06/03/2016

We had a similar bonfire session this weekend (a week later).  it's bit like a solid three hour work-out in the fitness gym with much bending, lifting, pulling and walking between the piles of branches and the bonfire. 

The activity was blessed with a visit from the Committee who wanted to meet the management and the volunteers. The Management welcomed the Committee and told them it was impossible to value the work of the volunteers too highly. The new rules were unanimously agreed by those present, including a new uniform for the volunteers. Bullace Gin refreshments were served to all.