Saturday, 26 March 2011

Yurt's Up!

David and I arrived about half an our before anybody else, and we made ourselves a cup of coffee and did some of the domestic stuff: washed up two months' coffee cups, cleaned out the water urn (which was pretty scanky when we boiled the kettle from it last week) and tidied up a bit.

We were just discussing how much we might manage to do if nobody else turned up when he first wave of the cavalry arrived: one of our members with four energetic teenage girls in tow. Then came the second wave, and the third and fourth battalions of willing eco-warriors. For each parent, there were three or four next-generation recruits. Well before lunchtime, there were twenty three people helping us to put up the yurt as its makers intended. Although a few were sometimes to be found in conditions of immediate mental exclusion, transfixed and immobile in that unique state of close communion with their electronic networks of relationships, they helped enormously when it came to vital tasks like 'spreading out the liner to see how it fits', and 'holding up the sides while we work out where the strings go'.

There were also the trolley races - with the big ones pushing the little ones up and down the concrete paths in garden centre trolleys - at increasingly breakneck speeds and with a rising decibel count.

But the main job of the day was happening - the yurt had never before been clothed in more than one and a half layers of its three layer covering, but by the lunch break at about 1pm, the inner liner was in place, as were the three felt panels around the walls.

Lunch was a very jolly affair: three loaves and seven bananas went a long way (although there was a cooked chicken, some lumps of cheese and a few other items too). We resurrected the garden furniture we had been given last Autumn, and it was like a huge multicultural family picnic in the middle of a recently ploughed field.
Before much longer, the felt roof was in place - followed by the canvas walls, canvas roof covering and top transparent window. The most exacting procedure was ensuring that the canvas folds on each side of the door were 'straight, crisp and symmetrical' - but, with a few minutes concentration and effort, they were!
A few cords and strings were probably subject to a little over-zealousness, but everything was stable and looking good well before the allotted finishing time of 3.30pm. At last, the deed was done.

All that remains is to:
  • clean the two muddy girth belts (that go all the way round to hold the walls in place) and tie them on to the door frame
  • put skewers into the ground to hold down the roof, in case of hurricanes
  • plane and adjust the door slightly as it seems to have swollen in the wet, and does not fit its frame any more, and cannot be properly closed

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Time for nesting

We've had a few snags since we last did much with the yurt (which you can read about in earlier postings to this blog) - but now that spring is coming, and the EcoMinds lottery money is about to start - we're picking it all up again.

Next Saturday, 26 March we are going to 
  • finish putting the yurt up
  • furnish and decorate it
  • see what needs doing to our teepee
  • (if we have time) decide what sort of site we need to ask the council about for the City Farm project

Here’s the rough plan for staffing and running the project now we have the Lottery money. It is NOT written in stone – this is only a first draft, and we’re open to anything at this stage.
But we need to make sure we spend the money as allocated each quarter, or it gets complicated asking for variations (or we risk losing what we haven’t spent).
So we need to hit the ground running, and fortunately – it’s the right season for getting going now.
  • Stay at Wexham nursery for this year, and do most of what we grow in pots etc.
  • Finish putting the yurt up, furnishing and decorating it
  • Ditto for the teepee
  • Change the Wexham programme so people are free to come every lunch & afternoon if they want
  • David continues his Thursday and Monday afternoons with the project, and Sheena Mondays
  • We add six three hour XBX sessions over the week (six is my estimate – we need to get figures for what the costs are to make sure it is accurate for using the grant at the right rates. 
  • Plan to start doing all this in April 
  • Connect with Linsdey and the funding she is raising for the City Farm (which will only partly be for us to use) 
  • Get back to John Rice with details of what we need
  • Have three non-horticultural task groups of staff + XBXs + volunteers: 
  1. Planning and organising the launch event (which we have good funding for)
  2. Recruiting volunteers and participants
  3. Publicity and website (with help from the EcoMinds publicity office)