With summer holidays coming to an end, The Yard in Edinburgh was closed in August for essential maintenance for ten days. This gave us a chance to refresh the indoor and outdoor play area and we managed to upgrade our popular bedswing, solardome and sensory room.
Before we closed for maintenance, we celebrated International Playday by holding our very own Hayday, Playday. Our playteam pulled out all the stops to decorate the place with hay bales, wooden horses and cardboard cut outs that made it seem like The Yard had been transported to the Wild West. Our senior playworker Ivan set up a big Teepee structure in the garden. It was a lovely day, and the hay created an amazing play experience for all the children who enjoyed crawling through it, ripping it up or chucking it on each other! We had so much hay we were still playing with it a week later before we called Gorgie Farm who came to take the remaining hay away. It was a great day, and it inspired our playteam to plan lots of fun play sessions for September and October!
We have completed our summer programme with the fantastic ‘Street party’ on the 11th August.
The day was full of variety. Several local projects came together to provide the venues and activities – Broomhouse Health Strategy Group, The Broomhouse Centre, The Big Project, St David’s Church and The Big Project There were over 200 local people at the event, with many volunteers who made the day possible. We had fun with food with an outdoor BBQ and indoors preparing fresh fruit faces and fruit kebabs and some tasty cooking. There were lots of entertainments on the stage with our local DJ, live bands and Big Project Choir, Book Bug singing with the younger children. There was a taster session for our new Dance Aerobics group. Stalls from interesting health and wellbeing groups and charities. We also continued our ‘Community Chat’ with Napier University supporting a local community survey.. Out of doors there was a bouncy castle and the Fire Services brought their Fire Engine and Fire Officers to offer for the families safety advice and families see and sit inside the Engine. We were pleased to be able to offer all the activities free for the community .
Other August activities included the end of the ‘Summer Programme’ activities. Our older adults had a very enjoyable trip on public transport to the City Art Centre ‘A-Z’ Exhibition. We had a nice tour from the staff, which added to the experience. There was great fun at with some ‘Family Outdoor Exercise’ and we got some sunshine.
There was fun bus outing to Craigie’s Farm for families. That was very popular with everyone having an opportunity to pick fresh strawberries, raspberries and cherries.
The month ended with us getting started with some of our regular Autumn activities., Chair Exercise and Walking Group and preparation underway for September’s new ‘Adult Cooking’ sessions and ‘Dance/Aerobics’
With the holiday season in full swing, August was a quieter month for us and visits. However, around 30,000 visitors attended The Black Isle Show, near Muir of Ord on the 3rd of August. Dingwall and District Beekeepers and their live honeybees were a fantastic draw, whether old or young everyone was delighted to meet the queen!
Dingwall Beekeepers, Live Honeybees and The Queen!
We then hosted our Scottish National Honey Show at the Flower and Food Festival in Dundee. We were delighted to see so many entrants into the competition classes, and over the moon when we received hundreds of posters from the Primary 4 to Primary 7 pupils of Eastern Primary School in Dundee. Boy did they brighten up our tent! It was wonderful to see pupils winning first, second and third prizes! A big thank you to everyone who entered and a special thanks to Rhona and Hilary for organising all these posters!
Scottish National Honey Show & Eastern Primary Poster
It’s back to school with a bang for us in September and we can’t wait to meet many new bee friends across Scotland.
August: Our busiest month yet!
In spite of struggling with cabbage white butterfly, turnip sawfly caterpillars, aphids and slugs we have been able to harvest potatoes, carrots, beetroots, onions, two varieties of cabbage, three varieties of kale, two varieties of turnips, radishes, lettuce, chard, courgettes, four varieties of tomatoes, cucumbers, French beans and runner beans for our weekly organic veg boxes.
It’s been an incredibly busy month, and in addition to the usual tasks revolving around growing the vegetables (sowing, transplanting, weeding, harvesting, watering, trimming) preparations for the annual Harvest Party, a key fundraiser for COCA and Caerhys Farm, were in full swing.
Luckily, our German EVS volunteer received reinforcement from WWOOFers and five international helpers who joined us for almost three weeks as part of the UNA Workcamp scheme. The volunteers from Denmark, Germany, France, Spain, Russia, and Japan helped with the preparations for the Harvest Party including transforming the farm into a festival-worthy space, ensuring a smooth running of the event, and helping to clean up after the festival. Katya, one of our Workcamp volunteers, sums up her experience: “To tell the truth, I spent an amazing time with wonderful people, not only at the farm, but in St Davids, too. I met a lot of guys from different countries, explored farm life and beautiful sights of Wales. Some things like harvesting beans or weeding seemed daily routine for me, but I had a great time, especially during the Harvest Party”.
Despite the fact that especially Saturday saw less visitors than last year, it was a weekend filled with fun, food, music, dance, games, talks, and theatre. Highlight of the weekend? For Silvia from Spain it was her new found love for Cider, for others it was dancing to Fiddelbox’s Ceildhi on Friday night.
An enormous thank you to everyone who helped out before, during and after the Harvest Party. Without your dedication and hard work this fantastic event would not have been possible!
Well the end of our ‘Summer’ is here, it’s a shame we didn’t get much of one this year. It’s safe to say, Winter is coming and we are finding signs of it everywhere: holly bushes are sprouting little red berries, the conquers have begun to fall from the trees and our surrounding area is filled with juicy blackberries! Autumn is setting in.
Despite the poor summer, we had, this has not had an adverse affect on the vegetables, which have been growing in our poly tunnel. With it been our first year using it, we went a little over the top with the amount of cucumbers, tomatoes, and corn; they seem to have taken over the entire poly tunnel, however, the vegetables we have produced is absolutely delicious. With the help of the Children, our new baby Ducks had such a wonderful start in life and have continued to flourish over the 6 week holidays they are now 4 month old and we can not believe how quickly they have grown. Over the summer months, we have let some of them go to new owners, who live in the local area , and many of our ducklings are now well-loved pets living in there new homes . One of our local pubs even give them the “rule of the roost” in there wonderful beer garden and apparently, they are doing an excellent job of attracting customers.
Now the school holidays have come to an end and the pupils have returned the animals are filled with a new found curiosity as thy watch the children during there break times and vice versa On another note we have purchased new, petrol lawn- mower thanks to you continued support. This will make life a lot easier when tending the land!
We always love hearing from our Community Fund recipients, Flor de la Amazonia. To date they’ve been with us since 2012 and they are one of our longest standing members. They’re committed to protecting the beautiful and endangered Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador and at present they are in the process of expanding from conservation to build an animal rehabilitation centre. Below is their latest update :
It has been much hotter and a bit drier around the land this month. However, thanks to the water storage tanks on-site, we have not run out of water for a while. Sometimes in August, when the rivers and streams run much lower for a time (usually just a few days, but sometimes a week or two) we have to be more careful regarding how much we are using.
Recently, Omar Tello, the Vice-President of the Fundación, spent some time on the land and brought with him some endemic trees and other plants, as well as some seeds to be planted up, and some volunteers to help while he was there. Omar is the driving force behind “Jardín Botánico Las Orquídeas” in Los Angeles, Pastaza, and has been a long-term supporter of our conservation activities and our plans to develop the animal rescue centre. See…. http://www.jardinbotanicolasorquideas.com
Pete has been continuing to develop his own project on his land close to ours and he has also been carrying out basic maintenance and keeping an eye on the Fundación‘s land while we have been a little lower on numbers.
One of our other neighbours has recently seen evidence of tapirs close to their habitations. Tapirs are large mammals related to horses and zebras and are listed as an endangered species due to habitat loss and fragmentation, and hunting. It is the largest mammal in the tropical Andes and is vegetarian. It is estimated that there may only be 2500 mature individuals remaining in the wild in South America and their numbers continue to decline.
Unfortunately, another of our neighbours has been seen carrying firearms for ‘protection’ as he had seen evidence of large cat (probably ocelot) footprints on his land. Usually such cats tend to avoid being near people and rarely, if ever, attack. Again, reduction of habitat, increasing use of land for farming and the results of global warming are all having an effect on where endangered animals may live and roam. Hopefully he is not going to be shooting ocelots and tapirs! People are becoming more aware of their ‘at risk’ status and are a little less likely to be killing them…………………..
We are delighted to include some photographs, this month, from some of our recent visitors to the land: Andreas Kay, Danilo Medina, and Pete (Peter Archer). Many thanks to them for allowing us to use their photos. These photos and others on their various sites give a small glimpse of the huge variety of different flora and fauna around the land and within Ecuador.
The event was a fundraising fete held at the local church, raising money for two charities, Samaritan’s Purse (International Aid) and Snowdrop Project (helping victims of human trafficking in Sheffield). We raised several hundred pounds which will be divided between the charities (unsure of final total just yet). We had a very busy day and it was lovely to meet more of the local community too.