Thankfully, it’s stopped snowing.  And raining.

But this morning, it was still cold enough to, well…  You get the idea.

But enough moaning about the weather.

Today I’m here to tell the world of our many volunteers and all the completely fabulous work they did!

Carol came down today with her two granddaughters, and between them they planted loads of broad beans and peas. So many peas in fact that Ian (no relation) had to start putting up more canes for the excess peas we’re going to have.  Of course, very few of these little gems will ever see the inside of a cooking pot.  Instead, they’ll be grazed by hungry volunteers, normally on a Saturday morning before work starts and they are looking round at what needs doing next.

But this is what it’s all about!  We don’t mind whoever munching on our peas, because a) they helped grow them and b) it’s certainly better than snacking on ‘shop-bought’ stuff from up the road.  And, it’s free, too.

Pam came down, and she skilfully cleared the carrot bags and planted two up with new ones, while a third bag will very soon have parsnips growing in it. Yes, we’re aware that Jon planted a bed of parsnips up a few weeks ago, but these are a different variety, and anyway, you can never have too many parsnips.

While Ricky went and fetched more water from the house next door, Graham and Matt whacked up two new shelves in the top shed.New shelving

And you can see the finished result to the right.

It was funny, but while they were measuring up, Matt called me over (…I was tending Kelly The Kettle…), and asked if we could get a new spirit level bubble, as this one was off.

I laughed, after all, it’s a common joke here, but when I went in to see, I could see exactly what he meant. Despite the shelves being all over the place, level-wise, the spirit level said they were dead flat!  I’ll see if our good friends at B&Q have any when I’m there this weekend!

In the end, they did it by eye, and everyone agreed that they were all dead level.New cooking area

To the left here is our ‘new’ cooking area in the same shed.  In fact, if you stood where the camera was for the last shot and swiveled to your left, this is exactly what you would see.

Obviously, it would be slightly tidier than this as Ian (no relation) and I had just polished off a pork steak buttie each before everyone arrived this morning.  As we left, I’d made sure that the cooker was spotless.  No grease stains, no horrible burned on marks.  Clean.

Another thing you’ll notice is that you can actually see while you’re cooking with the cooker here.  Back in the metal shed, it was like the Black Hole of Calcutta.  Here, you have light and ventilation, and we love it.

Gary and I worked on the new beds on the top plot today.  I took a load of woodchip out of one of them that had been put in by mistake (…Yes, that’ll be my mistake!..), then Gary worked his magic around the new beds with that woodchip to make it suitable for walking on.Fresh woodchip around the beds  Up until today, this area has been just too wet to put any down, but with the rain set to hold off for a few days, we thought we’d risk it.

Here you can see him admiring his work, and pretty fine it looks, too.

Jon came up today, and we both went into our two remaining full beehives.  The third is a ‘nuc’, and that still appears to be fine, but the far hive, nearest Gary’s plot is giving us some cause for concern.

On looking in, there was still a very small cluster of bees, but there were loads and loads of dead ones, simply scattered about in the upper-most frame.  We’re hoping, praying, for a few days of sunshine when the bees can get out, bring some pollen and nectar in, and more importantly, take care of all their dead comrades.  Still, help is always at hand with Charles, our head beekeeper.  If we get really scared, he’s only a phone call away.

So, all in all, today we’ve been busier than my cat at both his food bowls.

And there’s still loads more to do!

More fun from Saturday.  The weather is set to be fine, and our good friend Kelly will be kept more than busy, making us all tea.  The lunch is already sorted, and there’s rumours that Matt will be bringing down one of his legendary pies for us to share.

So please don’t come down on Saturday.

No.  We mean it.

All the more pie for us…

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