Helping hands as we think ahead to winter

By Martin Kirby

Just a brief post of thanks to tractor drivers and timber gatherers James Proctor and Stuart Dallas who have been such willing workers down on the farm. After a week of sterling endeavour the wood store is almost full and we have pumped the wine ready for bottling. The trunks of trees felled last year by helper Harry have been dragged from the woodland, cut, split and stacked, and I don't think we have ever been so well prepared for winter. Every year we have young helpers from around the world, a vital part of our existence as we grow older and less able to keep up the pace, and they all leave a page or two of memories and character in the ongoing story of Mother's Garden. Today there are 14 people on the farm; guests in the cottage, the family in the farmhouse and helpers out in the caravan beneath the walnut tree. Tomorrow is change-over day and come sunset we will be 18. The tent is already up and pegged in readiness. Joe and his friend Aidan will be out there, sharing the night with the wild boar, while making room in the farmhouse for Mioi and Serena from Vancouver who are returning after backpacking across the Iberian mountains. Mioi, the grandson of Maggie's godparents, was first with us nine years ago. He and Serena spent July studying Spanish in Galicia before coming to Catalonia, leaving a vast suitcase and then setting off for Seville. By Tuesday they will be back in British Columbia. Such are the comings and goings from around the world. Maggie and I sat down yesterday and worked out that we as a family have not been alone on the farm for seven months. Mmmm. (The almonds are ready, so the task for the week ahead and the next group of willing workers is abundantly clear.)


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