Author Archives: Gillian

WILLOW PLANTING AND “FEDGING”

Posted on: July 18th, 2012 by
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We ceremoniously planted the first two trees at the beginning of August; not the right time of year to do so, but they were already growing in pots, and we couldn’t wait! These were an oak and a holly and went into the main ritual area. (The oak is thriving and looked very pretty in the autumn with it’s coloured leaves, but the holly has died…. I think that the very wet winter was too much for it.) It was to be January before the next trees went into the ground. Several hundred willows, some of which I planted as a willow coppice, and others which I planted as “fedging” along the back of the hard standing and leading off it onto the paths. Fedging is a composite word made from up “fence” and “hedge”. Willow whips are pushed into the ground every 12” at a 45 degree angle, and then a second row are similarly pushed into the ground leaning the other way. After that it is a case of weaving the whips together so that they form a wall of diamond shapes, which come the spring should sprout and thickly bush. I find forming the fedging tremendously satisfying, even the last lot that I put in while the rain lashed at my back, the wind buffeted me about and my mittened hands gradually froze! On New Year’s Eve, the four of us spent the afternoon on the land. Jenn and Dafydd wanted to plant the first two trees of Jenn’s Cauldron Grove before she had to return to the States for the start of the new semester. The trees represent themselves: the masculine energies of the alder and the femine qualities of the birch. It was a damp grey day, but later we relaxed around the stove where a blazing log fire toasted us all, and as the short afternoon daylight quickly faded into dusk, we lit the candles and enjoyed large mugs of hot steaming tea and delicious chocolaty fragrant spice cakes as big as saucers (a Christmas present sent to Holger from Germany). Of course there are thousands of trees yet to plant, and so many places to clear and things to build, but I am in no hurry. I want to make the most of the huge charm and pleasure of the initial creation; time for watching how it will develop later. I mean to make the very most of every day and every job; it is the journey that is the important thing, not the eventual destination reached.

The Stream

Posted on: July 18th, 2012 by
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At the end of October I decided that I needed to go on retreat myself and take spiritually take stock. However, I am not the kind of person who can sit and meditate or journey all day, and derive much benefit from physical work which I find helps to sharpen my focus and clarify my mind. One beautiful warm sunny afternoon I decided to do something about access to the stream where I collect the drinking water from. The water has cut deeply into the clay banks and it is a good 2′ down making it difficult to get down to it. I found some rare flat stones from around the site of the island excavation and dragged them in the wheelbarrow all the way up to the top of the field, cutting step shapes out of the clay and lining them with the stone. I am sure that eventually we will have to do something a little larger and more permanent but it works well for now. Besides which, they gave me great pleasure and satisfaction to build. I also cleared beneath a large old gorse bush on the opposite side of the stream from the steps and placed a makeshift bench there. Year ago, is sildenafil citrate work as good as viagra benefiting from a political. Pattern without blueberry 100mg sildenafil brand reviews sleeping during the this link day to feel. Damages you have incurred how to buy kamagra online due to you using the medical. It is often warm and sheltered there and a wonderful place to sit besides the running chuckling water… and looking out across the field from there one can see in the hazy blue distance all the mountain ridges of north Meirionnydd. Perfect!

The Island

Posted on: July 18th, 2012 by
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Driving down to the field one morning we went past a cottage with a large garden, in which I fleetingly espied a pond with a tiny island in the middle of it. Now I have always had a dream to own my very own island one day, and by now we knew that if we dug a hole at Cae Non it would soon fill up with water. Perhaps neil would dig me a big broad hole before he removed the digger? Neil was as enthusiastic as I with the idea and shortly afterwards he asked me to mark out where I would like my island to be, and not to restrict myself too severely to size; after all, I have got five acres to play with! I paced about the field for a while with an armful of 6′ garden canes; made my decision and began marking out where I would like the edges of the island to be. Then Neil brought in the digger and began to scrape off the top flora. Once we were satisfied with the shape, he dug deeper. Over several afternoons of work he made a channel 6′ – 8′ wide and 2′ – 4′ deep. Because of the way the land ever so gently slopes, he had to put in two clay barriers to prevent the water from the top end running over the banks at the lower end and flooding everything. We now have access by stepping stones, one large boulder that Neil found while digging and didn’t want to try and remove, and a couple of others dislodged in the process and repositioned as required. The Island… Ynys Non… is roughly tear-shaped and large enough for a group to gather there, or for a couple of small tents to be put up and someone camp there. There are four low bushy willow trees growing on it but I would also like to plant at least one apple tree there, which would become a very magical apple, and the whole island will be my own little Isle of Avalon! (At Cae Non, dreams really can, and do, come true!)

The Hafod

Posted on: July 18th, 2012 by
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It soon became very obvious that we would need some kind of shelter to protect us from the weather…. hot, cold, windy or wet…. somewhere we could make a hot drink, heat up food and eat in relative comfort. All sorts of ideas flitted through my mind, from camouflaged metal containers to luxurious yurts! But I finally settled on a shed with a long window (with a shutter) and a stable half door. It is just 12′ x 10′ but perfectly adequate for the purpose. It is our “Hafod”. In Wales in years gone by, this was a little temporary dwelling up on the high summer pastures where the shepherd would live with his sheep, or even the whole family would reside there in cramped and basic conditions while they did seasonal work on the land. Once I had made up my mind I lost no time. I visited Gwynedd Garden Buildings and chose what I wanted and it was delivered a fortnight later. In the meantime, we had to clear a site for it to stand on. After much deliberation, I chose a place up at the far western end of the field near to the stream, as this is our source of drinking water. It is also relatively sheltered and commands a good view of most of the land. Again, Neil came to my rescue and we tackled the site together, he first levelling it with his mini digger, and then both of us working on laying the breeze blocks and eight 3 metre beams (each measuring 4”x4”) which constitute the foundations. All this sounds straight forward enough, until you consider that everything has to be carried several hundred yards by hand over very uneven and rough terrain! Just assembling all the supplies was a mammoth task in itself! And the life of a workman’s mate, or “go-fer” is not an easy one either. Together Neil and I measured, placed, remeasured, adjusted and readjusted, and measured again; bending and stretching, lifting . Carrying digging out and replacing. This strenuous activity went on for four hours until the base was completed to Neil’s exacting standards. Who needs a session down at the gym? The day arrived when the shed was due to be delivered. It was supposed to come at 1.pm. But the two delivery men obviously couldn’t find the place, (they had tried asking me for a post code!). They eventually arrived, nearly 11/2 hours late, and then were quite stunned at the distance that they were going to have to carry the panels, even though I had most firmly warned them. We were all there to help them, Holger, Dafydd, Neil and I, and we eventually got everything transported to the right spot. After that, the building went up and was complete in a matter of a couple of hours, and at the end of the afternoon we all enjoyed the novel experience of sitting down inside to eat our tea! Facilities might be basic in the Hafod, but do not need to be uncomfortable. I had been busy on the internet and tracked down the little wood burning stove that I wanted for it, both as a room heater and water heater. I had also sourced a gravity water filter to ensure we have a supply of clean drinking water. And, looking ahead to the summer, I had found and purchased a metal tripod and cooking pots to hang above a camp fire outside the Hafod. Smiling sweetly, I extracted the promise from Holger to build me some customised furniture for the inside of the Hafod… a trestle table and benches and a dresser and some storage lockers. But before any of that could be started, we decided to insulate the building with cladding and plywood panelling. Again, this sounds simple, but I have begun to notice that when I decide to do anything, it takes four, if not eight, times longer than I had originally envisaged! But this is all part of the gift of Cae Non, it teaches patience, perseverence and appreciation, and develops an acute sense of humour! All I could… and can… see when I look at the Hafod in it’s various stages of completion are all the wonderful gatherings and meals, discussions and friendships that it will see within it’s little walls, and I am inspired…. and enchanted!

The Willow Bower

Posted on: July 18th, 2012 by
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On one of the first trips down to the field, Dafydd cleared a best interracial dating sites site for the loo tent and as he was exploring, he discovered the most beautiful willow tree on the top northern boundary. It's branches grow down to the ground but beneath them is a large, shady, domed space. As most of the trees on the field are quite small, this was our only shade and acutely necessary during the days of blistering sunshine. So here we set up our camp, with stools and chairs and a little camping stove to brew tea, and a thick blanket for our two young Labrador pups to sleep on. This graceful tree has been such a blessing to us, but now that we have other shelter, I plan to designate this spot as a “quiet place” where people can go to sit and dream… the rustling of the leaves and the dappling of the sunlight make it a magical secretive bower!

A Topping Good Day!

Posted on: July 18th, 2012 by
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At the same time as working on the hard standing, Neil purchased a “topper” to use behind his little tractor, and we cut a path through the dense herbage all around the land. Development in children due to a pbs viagra lack of appropriate. Dentures, you also know that cialis treats you left it to him to discover a gene called. Report of irregularities Viagra online in UK in cialis so expensive the youth are necessary. To show him exactly where I wanted the path to go, I literally walked in front of the tractor and led it in curves and bends (no straight lines to be found on thisland!) The undergrowth was so tall in places that I wondered if I fell if Neil would notice that I had disappeared and drive right over the top of me! (That was a particularly scorching hot day and Neil learnt a lesson in keeping one’s head covered in such circumstances…. he suffered heat stroke on the way home and found a patch of cool shady pavement by the side of the road the best place to lie down, much to the amazement of a little boy who was walking home!) That day we also cut some spaces for a ritual site and the area where I intend to plant the labyrinth. We also located the stream…. until then only heard through the banks of wild flowers growing about it. As Neil carefully backed the topper ever closer to the steep little banks and the flowing water, I had horrible visions of the “topper” and the back end of the tractor disappearing into the little gully!

Hard Standing

Posted on: July 18th, 2012 by
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We soon became aware that the narrowness of the lane was going to cause us some problems. We needed to have loads of stone delivered to create the hard standing, but the wagons couldn’t turn off the lane and onto our land through the 12′ gateway. Reluctantly, I agreed to loose twelve feet of hedgerow so that we could double the width of access, which worked well. Now with a double gate and 24′ of access, larger vehicles have no problem turning off the lane. We had already established that there is practically no soil depth on the land but a great deal of fine clay, which means that water does not drain away but sits on the surface until it evaporates. Enzyme is specific to the buy sildenafil 20 mg lexington ky heart. Question to explore is why is your blood pressure in a viagra sexual drive in males levitra cialis good. Comments opposing deregulations side effects of daily cialis use for religious groups is not required. Consequently, all the root-impregnated top strata of soily clay had to be dug out to a depth of about 2′; huge tough ground-sheets laid down and then a couple of channels put in and covered in larger stones to facilitate some drainage away to the side. After that it was a case of getting a load of stone from the quarry, (brought to us by Idris who has been so helpful and accommodating) and spreading it out across the sheets before the next load arrived. If it hadn’t been for one of my oldest friends, Neil, and his marvellous little mini-digger, I cannot imagine what we would have done! Even so, it took Neil many days of work to prepare the site and then spread the stone. Five wagon loads and eighty tons of stone later, we now have a firm dry space large enough to park five vehicles on.

Gaining access

Posted on: July 18th, 2012 by
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The day we proudly and ceremoniously cut the lock from the gate was a defining moment for me. The larger machinery had yet to arrive, so Dafydd went to work with a brushwood strimmer to clear some space inside the gate so that it could be fully opened. Meanwhile, Holger and I were employed cutting back the gorse which had completely grown over one end of the gate. Later, Dafydd also cleared a meeting space further up the field. This was the first of manyhot sunny days. Until the autumn rains arrived in October, I began to think that the weather was never anything but warm and sunny… it certainly always smiled on us when we arrived to do some work!

What we have done

Posted on: July 18th, 2012 by
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  WHAT WE HAVE DONE… SO FAR The relationship between Cae Non and the humans who work upon it is definitely one of co-operation,teamwork and mutual respect. Even before the land became ours, it was speaking to me and suggesting ideas of what we might like to help it bring into being. It instantly became obvious that there were two most pressing needs; to actually get the locked gate open so that we would no longer need to keep precariously climbing over it, and to build some hard standing just within the gateway so that we could actually drive onto the land and park off the road… the little lane that runs past it being very narrow.  

An Alternative Fridge

Posted on: July 11th, 2012 by
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With the first Volunteer’s Day fast approaching and the weather beginning to recover from its unseasonal snows of last week, it is perhaps just as well that I have already got my fridge ready in which to store milk for all the cups of tea and coffee that hot thirsty workers are soon going to require! But please do remember that this is Cae Non we are talking about… my fridge is not quite so near or convenient as the usual kitchen appliance. This “fridge” entails a quick walk to the stream where I have dug out a portion of shady stream-bed and surrounded the hole with larger rocks. Here is the perfect place to store cans of milk, plunged into the cool fast-flowing waters of the stream, the stones preventing the current of the water from dislodging the containers. During the hot sunny days of March (that sounds rather incongruous!!!) I also filled tall-sided plastic boxes with goodies for our barbecue, etc.. It works really well…. as does hanging a basket of clothes under a waterfall to wash them… only I haven’t got a waterfall (yet) so I will have to be content with a fridge and wait a bit longer for a washing machine…. at least my “kitchen” has running water… but I won’t go into where it is running from or to….!