I'll be good to the land

At the end of August I set out with two other musicians on a 5 day musical cycling tour. Under the title 'Pedal Folk' our aim is to promote folk music and sustainable touring using just the power of our own legs. During this tour we covered 130 miles, climbed 10,000 feet and played seven gigs in pubs, record stores, a tapas bar and a library, you can have a look at our adventures at www.pedalfolk.co.uk. We decided to challenge ourselves this time round and spend as little money as possible as we went. Each day we bought a loaf of bread, a block of cheese and made it last through our days cycling with the only additions being what we could forage from our travels; evening primrose in Bath, blackberries near Bristol, horseradish on the way to Stroud and, of course, the ubiquitous apple.


We have a beautiful apple tree in the paddock and over the last week Ed and I have been talking about the need to start picking as some of the fruit are on the turn. On Friday morning we took all of the children out with the mission to collect as many apples as we could: and what a crop we got! Armed with our specially designed telescopic apple grabbers (or fishing nets) and our bare hands and with the Autumn sun gently warming our backs we picked, and picked, and picked


All of the children stayed around the tree picking, carrying the fruit to our overflowing baskets and chomping their way through apple after apple, I'm sure that we're going to have a lot more apple trees growing around the nursery after today!

We supported our work with a lovely little song that Lucy taught us:

"High up in the apple tree

5 little apples smiled at me

I shook that tree as hard as I could

Down came an apple, mmm tastes good!"

Repeated as a counting song it created a great atmosphere.


The question is now, what shall we do with our crop? I've been thinking up a little rhyme to help us out:

"Hat fulls, cap fulls, bushels, bags and sacks full

But the apple in my pocket is just for me

Hat fulls, cap fulls, bushels, bags and sacks full

But the apple in my pocket is just for me

Juice, pie, crumble or cake

With my apple: what shall I make?

Juice, pie, crumble or cake

With my apple: what shall I make?"


I always consider our foremost responsibility as adults is to provide our children with a wide range of experiences, the chance to take part in this activity gave the children a greater idea of where our food comes from, the way it tastes when it comes freshly from the plant, it builds their trust in eating wild and it also develops their physical ability and understanding about amounts. We are going to be baking and juicing next week so conversations about amounts will be important, joining the process and relating experiences from home will also be part and parcel of the learning experience. I can't think of a better way to understand and extend learning and development than to provide a broad activity and then pay the closest attention to what comes from it and adapting accordingly. It's sometimes best to open an idea and be carried by it as far as it will go, the results will often be surprising.. and rather tasty!

To finish, have a listen to a song written by my friend Robin Grey which tells of a community gardening project near London: The Ballad of Hawkwood

Happy scrumping