At the time of writing, it looks like the coronavirus pandemic is easing. Some of us are still dealing with health issues, many of us are coping with the aftermath of the restrictions that have been placed on us. (I intend to write more about this when I have the time). As a result, the flow of news coming into the school has slowed to a trickle, along with our ability to publish it. Northern Edge is a community effort, there is no money to support publication, so at times like this it slows down a bit.
I know that our friends are busy doing many good things, we are all just short of time to communicate the good news!
I have a tale about why a VERY long period of observation is a good thing.
My fields are unimproved grasslands, one of the rarest habitats in the UK. To most eyes, the fields look like they need a good seeing to. My sward us full of moss and the grazing is rough. They are however apparently home to many waxcap fungi.
Recenty, I had an expert visit to confirm that I had Jubilee Waxcaps, which are on the ICUN red list. He'd never seen so many, and got a bit excited. He also found a single waxcap that didn't resemble any he'd seen before and 2 species of Earth Tongues (which are tiny).
In short, I've never spotted so many of these fungi. I've seen the odd one, but they are so easily overlooked. The chap is very concerned that sites like mine, that aren't commercially useful, are increasingly being covered in trees.
I've been here 20 years. My plan on moving in was to 'plant trees'. So glad I have been very, very slow.
The permaculture design course in Bury is progressing at some pace now, with students gearing up to do their first piece of permaculture design work. Everyone is contibuting in their own way, and we all have much to be happy about. Meanwhile, the course topics have moved on to look at permaculture and social systems - the "invisible structures" that we humans create for ourselves.
After a summer and autumn of learning outside to minimise the risk of exposure to airborne viruses, we finally surrendered to the weather and lack of daylight by moving into the Centre's studio in December. Dealing with dire and persistent warnings from the authorities over the potential catastrophes of social mixing, we thought that the advantages of artificial light, some background heat and the occasional slideshow were worth the risk.
We have continued to adopt a commonsense approach to pandemic risks and, given the time, we might write more about this elsewhere. I would like to thank everyone in the group for helping to develop these working practices which don't sacrifice sociability on the altar of Safety. We also had some good practice in teaching and learning "off grid" which, myself, I have enjoyed in the past. And I am sure that the experience will come in useful, for all of us, in the future.
Warland Farm is an excellent venue for studying water in the landscape. We were lucky with the winter weather for our hillside observations - lots of water about, but no rain while we were on our investigations.
Our participants are from a wide range of backgrounds and we are all working together to explore the natural world and how to enhance it. On the course, it's a mix of direct observation outdoors, with discussions, questions and ideas inside the classroom.
Maureen Boustred is overwintering in Bournemouth. She hasn't found any permaculture in Bournemouth. Maybe readers could help?
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