We've all been 'locked down', but not out, for four and a half weeks now.
We have been keeping super busy (partly because of all of our children), because we live on the land where the Sawpit Woods are. So by walking every day, we are not only going out to work, but also taking our government endorsed 'daily exercise'. So we can be in but out at the same time.
We've managed to have a distanced strolls through the woodlands to discuss and ponder the whole farm woodland management plan and how it relates to each differing area of woodland. On approach to the woods the scent of the bluebells hits you before you see the visually stunning blue carpet they create.
Sawpit Woodland varies from very coppiced hazel areas, with birch, but no other new tree growth, to spaces with firmly established middle aged trees and some grandmother oaks. There are a couple of small streams running through the wood, which have an abundance of alders growing and then rides and woodland edges with differing species, such as elder and hawthorn. There is an area with some wild blossoming fruit trees and sporadic clumps of holly trees dot the whole woodland. This is just one of 8 or 9 small woodlands on the farm. Each with similar differences and diversity in their own specific environments. We decide to schedule a weekly woodland walk to consider and detail more of the differing micro-environments.
We've done online board meetings to discuss future projects. because of the situation we have contacted funders about grant programmes. As expected the funding bodies are unsure about their future funding schemes. Some have lost huge amounts of money due to the down turn in the economy. Some have donated all of this years funding streams to COVID-19 research programmes. We've decided to keep researching and scheming projects that we can at the moment, because we want to be ready to be back in the woods building our community as and when we can.
We can walk the woods to look at infrastructure. We'd love a shelter and are planning to put in a running water tap. This virus is going nowhere it seems, so we want to make sure we have the facility to maintain exemplary hand washing.
We've made some short films of the woods and had fun in the rain and the sun identifying plants along the way. We've made silly pictures of trees inspired by the unfurling leaves on the trees around us.
Lots of other projects have filled our days. Looking after toddlers, sharing shopping, teaching classes of children remotely, watching farm machinery, driving tractors and gators, putting up fencing, preparing vegetable beds, supporting isolated teenagers with life, teaching them to how to mow the lawn and generally getting on with a new kind of life on a farm, in the country, with our families.