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  • Writer's pictureCrone

It's all about learning

So, volunteering today was mainly about pulling up broom.

We were supposed to swap tasks - there were three tasks and three sessions, so you were to do one session on each.

I started by building a dead hedge. This was great. Hammered in some stakes which were straight lengths of hazels we'd previously coppiced. Then filled in between the stakes and an existing hedge with the cut wood that was overhanging the meadow. It makes an insect habitat, looks good and feels like conservation!

Then I went on to the broom pulling. You use a tree popper. I can't describe it. It's heavy and uses grasping and leverage to pull things out with their roots. My back hurt withing minutes and there was loads of broom over the meadow. I was busy bemoaning my lot when I realised that the task was in fact both meditative and rather obsessive. You just want to pull out more broom!!

So I went back to it after lunch. And that's when Jim started to tell us about history... it arose through discussions about other things. Like, why do they farm deer (breed them for meat to sell) in some places and cull them (for conservation, when no one can even give away the meat) in others? In part it's about economy and convenience. But in part I think culled deer seem like 'pests' and farmed deer seem like 'food'. Anyway, then Jim told us about Victorian politics. It was really interesting.

I also learned about the sheep.

These are Hebridean.

But usually, on this site, they have North Ronaldsays or Ronnies. The Ronnies are odd because they don't 'flock', so working them with a dog is difficult. This is now part of their nature but it arose from nurture - due to where they come from... I think because they fed on the foreshore and could get away by running 'through' the people, rather than flocking for safety.

And, talking of education, 8 month old Nell will soon start learning how to be a working dog.

For today, she was demonstrating that she knows precisely how to get her tummy rubbed.

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