Written by Daniel, one of our nature conservation volunteers from France
During the winter period, the work at Lower Sharpham Farm mainly involves working on the facilities and taking care of the livestock, with the help of volunteers. Some of them will stay for a week or a month, others, like Ombe and I, will stay for an entire year.
Led by Jack, our main task at the moment is to rebuild the vegetable beds throughout the months of February and March in order to make them ready for the start of the crop season. To do this, we firstly shaved sharp wooden sticks out of pieces of logs using a shaving horse, a local ancestral method for shaping wood. These pieces of wood will maintain the structure of the beds for years, keeping them straight and stable. After this, we focused on the organization of the vegetable gardens; we extended the length of the beds whilst making sure that the path network around them is straight and well-structured.
One of Jack’s goals was to ensure that we use the least amount of wood, in accordance with the farm’s sustainable development policy. That’s how we managed to reshape most of the in-between beds paths with a flat and wood-free structure. At the time of writing we have roughly done 40-50 % of the work, which is a good omen for finalising the vegetable garden on time.
Such physical activities can be exhausting at times, but it allows us to make our own contribution to the farm development and it feels truly rewarding to see the project taking shape day after day. Moreover, it is pleasant to work as a team and get confident in using the different tools properly.
The mind-blowing view we got from the place also makes it hard for us to not enjoy our work!