Saturday, 5 April 2014

On the Wild Side

by Mandy Mayhem, Pirate Queen


I have been working on an exciting project with the Waitati School children. We call it a 'Bee U ty (beauty) strip' for the bees – a wildflower walk along the footpath to the school. At the moment we have cosmos, cornflowers, evening primrose and daisy flowers in bloom. We hope that by springtime this will extend from Orokonui corner to the bridge at the old general store. If you have seeds, plants, compost or topsoil you would like to donate, please be in touch 021 919 555. I live at 28 Brown St (white, wagon-wheel fence) or you could drop off to the school garden.

I encourage any guerrilla gardeners in the neighbourhood. Own the berm! Beautification projects galore! I have an abundance of granny’s bonnet seed and also evening primrose if anybody would like some to start with.

I love to mow lawns for my fitness and I try to give my neighbours on Brown St a freebie now and again. I mow around the open orchard trees and sometimes the railway walkway, art gallery, etc. Do you have an elderly neighbour who deserves their lawns mowed for free? Contact me or practise kindness with a random act of lawn mowing. It is so satisfying!

Cob-oven Making Workshop 

Recently, I attended a fun, hands-on cob-oven making workshop in Waitati. Ten of us hand-built a beautiful outdoor earth oven. The workshop was very practical and informative. The base had already been constructed and we were talked through the steps to creating the oven. It was a grass-roots, gloves and gumboots experience. Lots of squelching straw, sand and clay together to form the right cob mix. Then the layer-by-layer construction of the oven. I won’t go into detail but you can get hold of Lee Bullock on 021 024 69291 to find out more. He is in Waitati for only a limited time and is an expert in this area.

I’m planning to cob my outdoor garden bath as a starting point then construct myself a beautiful outdoor entertaining area with bench seat and oven combination.

The workshop was very well organised and social. I loved meeting new people and hope we will connect again. On the Sunday, when construction was complete, we went on an outdoor-oven tour. We visited Lyall's oven on Doctors Point Road which he made from fire bricks. We travelled up to Volco Farmhouse to see and mend a gorgeous goddess oven made by Daisy Forrest nine years ago. I was impressed by how well it had weathered over this time. The weekend wound up at Almond Castle where we cooked pizza and breads in the oven there. This way everyone got a lesson in how to use the oven and some mouth-watering ideas for future reference. Highly recommended!

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