Soggy Week…Sunny Weekend!

Our third day into WWOOFing at Shillingford Organics and we were already into the groove of the process. The morning means packing for the delivery shop orders, which this time meant needing to replenish supplies of a few greens and other things, so a large group of us made our way on the back of the tractor to the fields, K and R picking hungry gap kale, curly kale and finally spinach.

Once we made our way back to the packing shed and completed the shop orders with that which we’d just collected from the earth, we were able to move on to the next set of veg boxes for the week, the second of three installments to complete the week’s customer deliveries. Already familiar with the process from the previous day, we quickly went through the boxes and were ready then to work on the Friday shop orders, now up on the order chart.

Again, we went through each item one by one to fulfill the requests of each shop and discovered the need to return to the fields for more. Tractor loaded up, we went back to the fields and this time, K picked curly kale with Martin, who was the chief grower at Shilingford for several years until a couple of years ago when he decided to buy and operate his own smallholding near Okehampton. He had actually just been to the North Devon Seed Swap, run by Rob from Ceridwen. Our WWOOF world gets smaller! R and Claire picked red Russian kale at this time and then after a field change, K picked hungry gap kale while R picked brussel sprouts (learning all of the “quick picking” tips!).

When we arrived back with all of the produce, it was 1PM and the day was done – we even got to see the sun for a bit on our picking outings, a very very welcome change. Unfortunately, it was gone again by mid afternoon when the rain and winds returned once more. So we huddled in our little pod, apart from our daily walk where we huddled together against the wind and rain, although it thankfully seems to be somewhat clear just before sunset on several occasions.

Friday was a slower day at Shillingford, with most of the work for the week accomplished and things wrapping up, enough so that three workers don’t even work that day. We started bright and early (although not that bright yet with the sun just starting to wake itself) and finished the Friday delivery shop orders and then working through the last of the veg boxes for the week, as well.

As the rains streamed down, the Friday crew all looked for inside work, so while most of the employees made their way to the polytunnels for work, we worked through peeling another box of garlic bulbs into cloves for planting as soon as the Devon floods cease. It was slowly approaching the weekend, one garlic bulb at a time. We finished the last bulb just a few minutes before the end of our WWOOF day, leaving just the right amount of time to sweep up the area we’d peeled in, leaving the packing shed all tidy for the next work week come Monday.

It was now time for our free time, two and a half whole days of it. It had been a long week, with travel Monday and four early-starting wet WWOOF days and we were tired. The winds picked up speed into the evening and it almost seemed like they might be strong enough to actually shift the pod! It wasn’t until mid-morning on Saturday that the winds started to die down and the sun finally appeared.

So, after resting Friday afternoon, evening and Saturday morning, we decided it had been too long since we’d had a long walk and decided to venture the three miles into Exeter for a meander there. It was a lovely sunny walk into town and then along the canal into city centre. There was only one brief rain that met us on our afternoon of walking and we were quite happy to have chosen this day for a long walk.

After about 8 miles total of walking for our afternoon, we were pleased, although our feet complaining some. We settled into our pod as the cold night set in, this time without the intense winds of the night before.

After a Sunday morning of frost, the sun again shone across the fields of our pod view and so we made our way over to the office building for a load of laundry to dry in the glorious weather, such a contrast to the wet week.  Once the laundry hit the lines in the polytunnel just outside the offices, we ventured out for a long walk among the rolling acreage of arable land.  After our late lunch/early dinner, we reflected on our first week and prepared ourselves for the week ahead at Shillingford Organics.

Loving Simplicity