1 December 2013

Hedge Planting at the Wivenhoe Wildlife Garden

On Sunday 17th November Transition Town Wivenhoe, with help from the wider community, planted 400 native trees from the Woodland Trust in the town's wildlife garden. We had great support from all ages, with many new faces.  The trees will create a more diverse hedge around the garden to provide food and habitat for a wide range of wildlife. They will have a huge impact on the garden as they establish themselves into a much needed habitat and food source.

A massive THANK YOU to everyone who helped plant the trees on Sunday,  (Jean and Al,  Maureen, Brian, Diane, Asa, Jay, George, Caroline and Johnny, Iain with son Ben; Richard with son Jacob, Simon,  Debbie, Andrea with Charlie and Albert, Anna and Phil). Special thanks to Rosie for the fabulous cafe set up with home baked cakes, fresh coffee and tea selection! Everyone did an amazing job and the garden is now surrounded by beautiful trees. In years to come this will provide the perfect habitat and food source for a number of species.  We are also looking forward to the possibilities of using some of the fruits of our labour making elderflower champagne, sloe gin and much more.
The council will be carrying out some more work to compact the footpath to allow easy access for all.  They will also be fixing in the other four remaining benches that were kindly constructed by the fabulous students at Tendring Enterprise Studio School.

In May we will be going 'Wild about Wivenhoe' with a whole month of events linked to the Wildlife Garden and the wildlife in the rest of the village.  Information about these events will be posted as soon as dates are confirmed. Please do check the calendar.

14 November 2013

Station Garden Update Nov 2013

Nadia writes:
I have really enjoyed working in the Station Garden over the last 6 months, under the close guidance of Jean. Despite the recent strong winds the garden is still looking good. At our last session we planted some raspberry canes and removed some of the wild strawberries to make space to plant onions and garlic. The roots were tough to dig up, so it was really satisfying once they were finally out!  I am looking forward to seeing how the garden develops over the colder months, and would encourage anyone wishing to get involved to get in touch as its a really lovely patch to work on.
I am completely new to gardening so can honestly say that working in the Station Garden has been a great introduction, especially as I don't have a garden where I live.

7 November 2013

Compost Recipe

compostees at TTW's community allotment
Ingredients - layers or a mixture of:

'Green' stuff: fresh weeds, old veg/veg peelings, tea bags, egg shells, a few grass clippings.

'Brown' stuff: dried plants & woody material, scrunched up non shiny cardboard.

Optional extras: nettles, comfrey leaves, urine, chicken poo, a little wood ash. 
Your compost likes plenty of air and to be nicely moist, not too wet or dry. 
 Either build a heap and forget about it, other than to turn it occasionally and check it's not too wet or dry.
Or regularly turn: re-layering, & moistening if dry or adding brown stuff if wet

It's ready when transformed into brown crumbly soil like matter, anything from a few months to a year.

Here's lots more good advice.
For compost geeks: how to make it in 18 days

4 October 2013

Beginners Bike Maintenance

This Sunday's class is pretty much full. But don't despair, there's another on Saturday 19th October 3 to 5pm. Suitable for age 9+ (accompanied children only), it will cover tyres & air pressure, simple brake adjustments, chain checks and how to clean your chain. You'll need to bring your bike! TO BOOK A PLACE please email jowheatley[at]yahoo.co.uk or call 07926 463568
Free but donations requested. 

29 September 2013

DragonFruit on the Quay for Wiv Words

We're bike powering a gig with the brilliant DragonFruit performing songs (some originals, some covers) with literary inspirations for the Wiv Words 2013 festival on the Wivenhoe Quay, Sunday 13th Oct, 1pm - 2pm. We'll be collecting donations for the Mayor's Charities.

18 September 2013

Wivenhoe Bike Kitchen: Sat 21st 3pm - 5pm

Chain falling off? Gears making a clicking noise or not changing sweetly?

Pop down to the Bike Kitchen at the Scout Hall (behind the Town Council building) on Saturday 21st September at 3:00pm and we'll show you the 3 simple adjustments that will give you crisp, reliable gear changes every time. And we'll give you a slice of famous bike kitchen cake.

If there's time we'll also show you how to clean you chain for long life and how to lube your bike.

Wivenhoe Bike Kitchen is a DIY workshop which aims to teach you how to look after your bicycle. It's suitable for everyone from beginners up. Bring your own bike.

email hello[@]transitionwivenhoe.org.uk for details and to let us know how much cake to bake.

1 September 2013

Bike Kitchen 8/9/2013 ~ Brakes

Brakes are good. Probably the most important part of the bike, assuming you want to stop before the river at the bottom of the High Street hill and generally avoid crashes.

Wivenhoe Bike Kitchen is doing brakes this Sunday (8/9/2013). How to check that they're safe and easy tweaks to keep your brakes working as best they can.

As ever there'll be cake, tools and spare parts available. Bring your own bike.

Wivenhoe Bike Kitchen is back in the newly refurbed Scout Hall (behind the Town Council Building), Sunday 8th September, 3pm - 5pm. It's free, just turn up.

Introduction to Permaculture in Wivenhoe

31 July 2013

Wiv Scouts Own The News Cycle

We've been working with the Wivenhoe Scout Group, learning about circuits & energy while making a bicycle powered scalextric set, which they've taken to the regional jamboree - and now Wiv Scouts are plastered all over the newspapers and on the radio. Top job Wiv Scouts \o/

30 July 2013

Bicycle Brakes, learn all about 'em!

Erm, just step away from the bike, Rosie...
Bike Kitchens are where you get to learn bike stuff guided by our friendly and experienced bike mechanic. And there's coffee and cake - bring nibbles to share too if you like.

Next one is all about yer brakes. Saturday 3rd August 11am to 12.30.

Get in touch to reserve a place or try your luck and just turn up (no-one's been turned away so far). £5 suggested donation.

3 Meredith's Close, CO7 9GD 07926 463568

Track Pump hosted by Wivenhoe Library!!

TTW hand the track pump over to library supervisor Glenda McCoyd.  Library members cycling to the library can use the pump to check their tyres are pumped to the correct psi (this is written on the side of the tyre), making cycling even easier and more fun :)

If you are unsure how to use the pump, get in touch and we'll arrange to meet you there and show you! hello[at]transitionwivenhoe.org.uk 07926 463568

The library is open:
Tuesday and Thursday 2pm to 7pm
Friday 10am to 1pm
Saturday 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm

13 July 2013

TTW blitz the allotment

The grass is cut back...
Raspberries are planted out, along with beans, leaks and salad...
And there's usually some weeding to do. We'd probably manage a better crop of strawberries if we didn't keep eating them...
More next Friday, 2:00pm - 4:00pm

8 July 2013

And here they are...

After a few false starts I finally manage to pluck up the courage and prepared the bees for a journey to Bennisons farm in my car.
When I arrived at the farm the good weather was beginning to break and summer was here, good for the bees. I sited the hive in a slightly exposed area and left them to settle in. The next day an early start at work meant I had an even earlier start with the bees 05:45. When I released the bees it was a sight to see, they poured out of the hive to investigate their new surroundings. I left the bees to do just that and I went off to work. All day I was worrying about the bees, my fear was the bees would swarm and I would loose them.

To my delight the bees have decided to stay and help pollinate the fruit trees and alike. So we now have bees on the farm, phew!

If anyone would like to get involved with the bees please get in touch I would very much like to share my interest with you.

7 July 2013

Wivenhoe chickens get a 'haircut' and rogue chicken is returned home

Yesterday Maureen and I had lots of fun with the chickens at the community chicken project coop. We thought - mistakenly as it turned out - that one of our girls had been escaping over the fence and taking herself on adventures about the village. So we postulated that it must be time to re-trim all those flight feathers (which allow them to take off). After trimming nearly all our birds however, we realised that we had an extra one which was not ours! Almost identical to ours, but definitely not ours! It then 'clicked' that this was probably the one which had been spotted wandering around the village - and taken for one of ours - and that we had trimmed the feathers unnecessarily. However, no harm done as it doesn't hurt them at all. We eventually tracked down the owner of the rogue chicken and returned her to her rightful coop. Apparently she really likes to go on walks and seemed to enjoy her time with our girls. Which was interesting, because we'd been led to believe that any new birds arriving in the coop are usually picked on terribly and bullied by the existing flock. It's nice to know that our girls extended a truly "Warm Wivenhoe Welcome" to the visiting bird.

So please do not be alarmed if you see lots of feathers on the floor of the coop - it was not a fox!

Many thanks to the Station Pub and all those lovely members of the community who at various points reported the wandering bird and put it into our coop. We are happy to receive any lost chickens as a 'holding pen' until rightful owners are found if it happens again in future. 

27 June 2013

Here come the bees!

A full hive of bees will arrive at Bennison Farm within the next 7 days, weather permitting. The bees were originally sited in Wivenhoe so they are already part of our family. On the site there are two types of hive, one is the traditional National Hive and the others are what has been called 'the People's Hive or Warre Hive' The plan is to encourage the bees to breed and populate the other two hives, watch this space...

25 June 2013

The Wildlife Garden

Bumblebee enjoying a feed
I recently attended a luncheon given as a thank you to all involved with Wivenhoe Open Gardens.  It was nice to meet others involved and the feedback was very positive for the Wildlife Garden.  Since Open Gardens Chris Gibson held a Moth Trapping evening to see what species have been attracted by the various flowers and shrubs as well as the fresh water from the pond.  Even with the poor weather many species were found to be using the garden.  Over time we hope to attract even more.
I have been over a few times keeping an eye on things over the last month.  Caroline helped by removing all the flowers from the crab apples.  This will allow the new trees to put their energy into producing roots which will mean better fruits in years to come.  The pond is now full of life.  Even the bees were using it for a drink in between gorging themselves on the nectar from the beautiful flowers blooming around the garden.
removing flowers from the crab apple

The flowers have done very well, particularly the Aquilegia, Campion, ox-eye daisies and yellow chamomile, but so have the weeds too!  We will be holding an event on the 20th of July as part of the WivKids event on the KGV field. It would be nice to revitalise the garden with a bit of weeding and cutting back some of the flowers so we get a second bloom.  Come and join us for a work session on Sunday 7th July at 10am till 1.30pm and afterwards we will pop down for a well earned drink on the river front.  The garden is a lovely space to spend a Sunday morning with friends!
John Rowland jpr74[at]hotmail.co.uk  07910 205 179

13 June 2013

One Chicken Share Now Available!! - NOW TAKEN

This share is now taken - but we may have more coming up so please do get in touch if you want to be called when they become available! [Rosie 07818 598 884]. Thanks.

Community Chicken Shed: One 'chicken share' now available!

We have 11 beautiful, healthy, character-full birds. 

... who lay around one egg per day each. 

The share involves: 
- taking on either one half day or one day per week involvement (option is to take a half day or a full day's commitment) 
- on that day you will be responsible for the chickens' welfare. 
- ensuring they have water, food.
- letting out in the morning and/or closing up at night (either or both, depending on what you want) 

In return you get fresh eggs and the enjoyment of being part of the project. 

The share is available to start immediately. It's a rare opportunity to be involved with the Chicken 100 Project. Since we started a year ago we've had no new vacancies come up but lots of requests from people to be involved. So if you were one of those people, or if you fancy giving it a go, now's your chance!

Full support and training will be provided, plus 'mentoring' for the initial few weeks so you feel confident and happy. And if it doesn't work for you, of course you can withdraw. 

Please contact Rosie directly on rosieharford@hotmail.com or 07818-598-884 for more info or to arrange a 'trial visit' :) 


Background Info: The Community Chicken Shed is proud to bring you fresh and delicious eggs, courtesy of our small flock. The chicken shed is a community project, with many different people involved in looking after them and ensuring their welfare. The aim of the project was not only to produce eggs, but to learn about chicken-keeping and then to act as a repository of that knowledge for the community. That way, if someone is interested in keeping birds in Wivenhoe, and wants to chat over the pros and cons (there are some - we'll be honest!) then we are available to assist. 'Transition' as a movement encourages this sort of knowledge-sharing and cooperation, so please do email if you want to get involved with this flock, or are thinking of starting your own, and we can help.

Eggs are available every day and will usually go out in the mornings. They are labelled with the date of lay, so you can be sure they're fresh. The above picture shows the little 'egg-house' where they're kept, with the box for donations in the background (suggested donation between 10-20p per egg)

p.s. In case you don't know already, the chicken-shed is the big coop in The Station pub's car park.

11 June 2013

Clean 'n' Lube Bike Kitchen: Sat June 15th

"... Just cycled back from the Bike Kitchen on my re-vitalised mountain bike, all the clicking and clanking replaced by a smooth purr. Not only is my bike working better than ever but I've learned how to keep it that way too" ~ Daryl

This Saturday at 3:00pm Bike Kitchen will cover cleaning and lubing your bike - what to clean, where to put oil and where not and how to do it all quickly and easily. It's a friendly workshop with tea and cake and suitable for different ages and all sorts of skill levels.

5 June 2013

What's been happening on the allotment?

Just in case you have been worrying about what is going on down on the allotment.........

The shed!
Repaired, new guttering and two,
yes two water butts!

The shed is going to be painted over the next couple of weeks so will look even smarter.
  Here is the lovely Laura weeding the garlic bed, no worries about vampires!

 The fruit bushes are growing at an amazing rate, apparently they will have to be kept pruned to get the best out of them.  I'm guessing jam may be on the menu later on in the year.

A big thank you to all the kind people who donated gardening tools, among them Bob and Jay.

This is the first time I have uploaded photos so lets hope it all works, it's all beyond me
Just need to learn how to get the words to go in the place I want them too.

9 May 2013

Before I was able to get to this stage I spent 2 months in a classroom theorising about bees. The best book to use I was told was Ted Hoopers book on Bees and Honey (very helpful) I've had it on loan from the Wivenhoe library ever since!

My first encounter with a hive was with a senior member of the Essex Bee Keepers Association (top guy) I have to say the experience of opening a hive and holding a frame which was full of bees was almost profound, totally magical. The bees were placid and went about their business ignoring my presence, truly amazing. We made an interesting discovery of a  'wax moth grub' on the frame which was duly removed. Weather permitting I hope to re-visit the hive this week.

Being so enthused I have ordered my first hive and will use this to help me to build my own.

8 May 2013

 There is a chance for you to feel the Buzz in TTW.

Friends forgive me its been many months since my last Blog... 

I've been hatching a new scheme!

 Bee Hives have been dotted around Wivenhoe for many years, its a bit of a secret affair and I'm wanting to share the experience of my new hives with you...

Meg and Dan from the CSA have agreed to site a hive or two on their farm. Over the next 12 months I would like to share/blog my bee journey with you, if you would like to know more about setting up a TTW bee project please get in touch or stay at home and watch the progress of this new venture. Incidently I have joined the Essex Bee Keepers Association and have a very thick bee suit! Contact me, chrisblomeley@gmail.com.


Station Garden Update

A beautiful sunny bank holiday Monday brought hundreds of people to Wivenhoe Station to celebrate 150 years of the railway in Wivenhoe at an event organised by Off the Rails.  Jean, Nadia and Ruth had been working hard over the weekend to make the garden look lovely, and had constructed a wonderful Victorian scarecrow (albeit with a slightly wonky head!) to tie in with the theme of the day.

I had the relatively easy task of turning up on the day although I had rather huffily refused to come dressed in Victorian garb.  I wish I had done; the people dressed up looked great. Lots of people came over to chat to me about the garden; there’s certainly a great deal of interest in what we’re doing there, and several people commented on how pretty the garden – especially the forget-me-nots which are now in full bloom – looks.

In between talking to people I found the time to plant out some French beans, do a spot of weeding and see how the plants are doing. The alpine strawberries are beginning to flower and I am already having thoughts of jam making. All the herbs are doing well, with the mint and lemon balm having come on spectacularly in the last couple of weeks – perfect for making tea.

I have some pink fir apple seed potatoes – donated by former custodian of the garden Chris – to plant, and tomatoes, courgette and summer squash are nearly ready to plant out. The garden is a lovely sunny spot and these should all do well, although I’ll have to keep on top of the watering. The donated water butt does not seem to contain much water. The down-pipe wasn't properly connected to the gutter so I climbed up and fixed it, which should resolve the problem. There’s plenty of rain due in the next few days so we shall see.

I also constructed a new sign for the garden. I’d been up the estuary a few days before and gathered some likely-looking bits of driftwood for this purpose. A spot of sanding, assisted by Martha (5) and Freya (7), and a bit of elementary woodwork and the structure of the sign is complete, including a box for leaflets and area for pinning notices. I’m happy with the structure of the sign but it needs the name of the garden carved or painted on it and a bit of decoration, preferably before Wivenhoe Open Gardens on May 18-19; are there any arty types out there who would be able to take this on?

The sign certainly seemed to attract quite a bit of attention. From my vantage point at the Station pub, to where I retired to recuperate after my labours in the garden, I saw several people stop to take a look and read the leaflet.

1 May 2013

Wildlife Garden Grand Opening!!

The pond is fast filling with rainwater, providing a much needed fresh water habitat for all sorts of species. It is hoped that local primary school children will be able to use the pond to study the aquatic wildlife that will soon be living out their interesting lives under the murky waters.  On Saturday 20th April a group of young children from Wivenhoe Montessori helped sow seeds for the mini wildflower meadow.  It was a beautifully sunny spring day.  The children loved sprinkling the carefully selected wildflower seeds then stomping the ground to bed them in. It was wonderful to watch families enjoying the garden, and children interacting with the natural world.  
 The grand opening will take place on May 18th during the Wivenhoe Open Gardens event, with activities such as the nature trail and building bird nest boxes.  You will also have the chance to talk to one of the local experts who can give advice on attracting wildlife into your own garden.

While working in the garden we have seen stag beetles, frogs and toads, and lots of birdlife.  What we would like to do is monitor the wildlife in the area as more habitats are created. If you are interested, maybe you would like to become a Wivenhoe Wildlife Warden? We are looking for passionate people to help look after the space.  If this is you,  please contact us via hello-food@transitionwivenhoe.org.uk  We are also looking for local artists that might want to create something in the garden.

If you haven’t been already, come down and experience the garden for yourself.  It is a beautiful relaxing environment for everyone to enjoy.  

29 April 2013

Eat, drink, be merry (and meet)

Looking forward to the next Transition Town Wivenhoe Food Group meeting which I am hosting (I think for the first time) this Wednesday.
Food group meetings are very relaxed affairs, we always have something to eat - usually soup plus whatever else the host or others fancy making/bringing. It is friendly and chatty - sticking to the agenda is something of a challenge but we do usually stick to time! And we are a very open group with new members coming along most months.
We aim to promote the knowledge and use of local food and cover any aspects of local food production, promotion and most definitely consumption that arise and are of interest to whoever is there.
There is always a lot to discuss, with the agenda set at the beginning of meetings, and tasks shared out. This month we'll be planning the Open Gardens events on 18th and 19th May in the Station Garden (both days, focus on Sunday) and the Wildlife Garden (grand opening and activities on Saturday), updating on the regular and increasingly popular Farmers Market, featuring transition cafe and barbecue rolls. We also will discuss the allotment, community chickens, apple pressing and pop-up cafe there will be some I've forgotten, and new ideas arise all the time.
If anyone has ideas or energy they want to contribute, or just wants to come along and join in, then they would be really welcome.

TTW Food Group will  be held this month on Wed 1st May, 7.30pm at 3 Sandford Close, off Valley Road, CO7 9NP - all welcome, call Ruth on 825450 for more details.

26 April 2013

Station Garden Update

Spring seems finally to be upon us and things have started growing with gusto in the Station Garden. Unfortunately a good proportion of them are weeds!

Jean, Nadia and I met at the garden for a spot of weeding and general tidying up on 14 April. It was good to see several things sprouting up aside from weeds. A plethora of forget-me-nots are covering many parts of the garden. Other than where they were interfering with other plants, we left these because they look very pretty. The flowers are edible and can be used to garnish salads (or cocktails!)

Chard and perpetual spinach have been growing apace, although the leaves looked a bit tough for culinary use. Nadia cut them back for composting. Hopefully they will now grow some tender young leaves that we can harvest on a cut and come again basis throughout the summer. What appears to be a purple sprouting broccoli plant (did anyone plant one last year?) has also survived the winter.

Other randoms include some peas that have self-seeded. I've stuck in some of the dried out fennel from last year as makeshift canes for them to climb up. Other plants doing well include onions and garlic, wild strawberries, gooseberry bushes, and many herbs (sage, rosemary, oregano, marjoram, lemon balm, and bay and parsley in pots).

More planting is waiting to be done. Tomato and basil seedlings are maturing in the plastic greenhouse at the garden, and I'm popping down most evenings to water these and the plants in pots. I have dwarf beans, courgettes and summer squash coming on in my mini nursery at home, some of which will be planted out in the garden.

6 May is the 150th anniversary of Wivenhoe station and celebrations have been organised by the lovely Off The Rails from 12 noon. Many people are expected to visit the Station to view the unveiling of a commemorative plaque, an exhibition of photography and other artworks, and there will be stalls, kids activities and fun in the car park of the Station pub. The garden will be open to visitors from 12-2; come and have a chat with us and see what we're doing there.


18 April 2013

Thin Ice

Thin Ice Trailer from Thin Ice Climate on Vimeo.

Slack Space is hosting a special Earth Day screening of Thin Ice (trailer above) from 7:30pm on Monday, April 22nd. I'm looking forward to this one.

Movie details from the Thin Ice website.

30 March 2013

things starting to happen at the allotment!

Just when I thought life couldn't get any more exciting I turned the page over in my diary and there it was..... allotment meeting!

Hosted once again by the lovely Maureen - htea and cakes all round.

All the vegtables have now been adopted by one person or another, taking responsibilty from planting to harvesting. I feel social services could replicate our way of working as 'best practice'

We are the proud owners of new guttering, fixings, downpipes and two, yes two water butts. All kindly donated by Ed.  Thank you Ed. This will now allow us to bring the allotment shed up to scratch.

Due to the rather cold weather it was decided to start off some of the seeds indoors and several people were kind enough to take seeds and pots home. So as you read this life is beginning in pots all across Wivenhoe.

My contribution is to make posters asking for any garden tools people may not need any more. So if you have a spade, a bucket, a rake, or any other garden tools please let me know.

24 March 2013

Spring at the Station Garden!

Ah! Spring is in the air, and the gardener's thoughts turn to planting for the coming season.

I was due to meet up with a couple of other folks from TTW food group at the garden today, but it's snowing! We decided to postpone meeting until we can get a proper look at what's already coming up at the garden.

In the meantime, here's some photos of the garden looking pretty in the springtime snow.