Like most Saturdays, today started off in a quiet kind of way, the way a Saturday should start off, and then, well, things just got madder and madder.

But all in the nicest possible way.

The lower path that Barry & Nick re-woodchipped.

The lower path that Barry & Nick re-woodchipped.

Of course, Diane arrived for ten, but when I arrived for about eleven, no-one had yet turned up.  We weren’t worried, and sure enough, no sooner had we sat down for a first cup of tea and chat about what was to be done, Barry, Sairah and little Adam turned up bearing large amounts of food for us to share.

We all shared tea and caught up on the week, then Barry and I decided that as the fire was due to be lit at four, we’d start re-woodchipping a couple of the paths.

Just a few days ago, Diane had supervised the re-chipping of the area where we eat and congregate during the week, but there had been a couple of complaints of slippy paths and Tim, who uses a mobility scooter had remarked that a couple of corners were pretty treacherous.

Like all jobs seem to do, it kind of grew.  I had just intended to scrape up a load of mud on one of the treacherous corners, but then realised that more scraping and woodchipping needed doing.

In the end, in just over two hours, we scraped and re-woodchipped the ‘top’ main path from the main driveway to the metal shed, then moved onto the ‘lower’ path that leads in the same direction.  This path needed much more taking off, so was much more time consuming -and back-breaking!

All the ‘mulched down’ scrapings were placed in a long pile by the main entrance.  These will be left for another few months longer to rot down further and then used as a mulch for beds we prepare, probably in spring next year.

We were so engrossed in our work, we hardly noticed as more and more volunteers arrived.

Soon, nearly every part of the LEAF plots was being used for a different activity.

Earlier, we had set up two of the gazebos by the entrance drive ready for Jo and the children who were putting the finishing touches to many cardboard cut-out figures, animals, a shed!, and hand tools. (See separate Blog entry.)

Meanwhile, Gary, Tina and Pam carried on with the onion-stringing.

Stringing more onions.

Stringing more onions.

Here, you can see the three of them, busy at work.

More onions on strings.

More onions on strings.

And here on the right, you can see their finished work.

Tonight, these will hopefully have been hung from the rafters in the top shed, and luckily, there’s plenty of space for plenty more, because we have loads of not only onions, but a huge amount of garlic to string up as well.

By hanging them in this way, we are hoping to keep as many as possible for our own use in soups and stews on a Saturday.

By four o’clock it was time to light the fire.  Barry and I had selected a load of home grown potatoes -small ones- for the fire and Sara duly wrapped them all in tinfoil and placed them in tins ready for roasting.

While we busied themselves roasting the potatoes, up by the metal shed the ingedients for a stir fry were being prepared and presented all in separate bowls.  This would give people the opportunity to select just what they wanted to stir fry, then hand them in a bowl to Barry (…who in a previous life was a chef…), so he could quickly whack them into the hot wok and quickly fry them off.

This seemed to work very well, and soon everyone was tucking into large portions of stir fry, hot roasted potatoes and quite a few different home-made bread loaves that various volunteers had brought.

An excellent sufficiency!

All too soon it was time for me to leave.  I had to get back here to do this, but first and foremost, I had to get a shower and change my clothes.  Firestarting really is a lot of fun, especially for ‘boys’, but it doesn’t half make you smell afterwards!

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