Sunday, April 25, 2010

Happy Birthday, Chris !

Sorry it’s two days late, Chris, but we’re busy, as I think you’ll understand (I’m typing this at quarter-to-nine on Sunday evening after a very long day and we still haven’t eaten yet).

Chris has been our latest volunteer, a willing soul, if ever there was one. He turned 60 on Friday, hence this tribute blog to a very hard working—and now slightly older—permaculture volunteer.

Just to demonstrate that we’re not “ageist” here in Brittany—we work everyone as hard—here’s a list of things that Chris got up to in the week he was here:
• repair pig ark and move into position;
• harrowing and re-seeding of old pig paddock;
• construct a shave horse following plans in Permaculture Magazine;
• build pallet enclosure around pig ark;
• come with me to collect pigs (4 hour return journey into the centre of Brittany);
• build wooden gate for pig paddock
• clear brambles;
• a day moving stones with borrowed tractor, while making regular visits to check up on newly born lamb;
• digging to ready the ground to sow a flower meadow;
• 1/2 day off, then lunch at a neighbours house followed by a walk in the woods (time off for good behaviour!) then an afternoon barrowing and stacking logs;
• empty compost bins;
• and then construct new pallet compost bins.
The photos should speak for themselves. To explain the moving rocks thing, neighbour Serge, who works for a building a renovation company, has been bringing back hardcore for his driveway. There is lots of stone that’s good enough for building, so he suggested that I could help myself to the stone and , in return, I could get rid of a pile of broken concrete that we’ve had for the last three years. On a sunny April Sunday, we shuttled between our straw-bale-house-building-site and Serge’s house with an old-but-in-perfect-wording-order Massey Ferguson borrowed from Paul. This arduous task was broken up by frequent visits to check in on a newborn lamb and mum. The following day, neighbour Alan remarked that he’d seen “our prisoner breaking rocks”: do you think we’re working our volunteers too hard ?

With the smells of our home-reared pork dinner roasting in the oven and a glass of Bordeaux to hand—Gabrielle’s is a Sauvignon—we raise said glasses to wish you a Very Happy Sixtieth Birthday and thanks again for all your help.