I arrived at Coed Hills on the third sunny day they’d had since before I got to the UK. So their polytunnels were absolutely full of overgrown seedlings that should have gone in the ground weeks ago but hadn’t due to rain. In addition to the herb and kitchen gardens tucked here and there around the property, Coed Hills is home to a small market garden that sells produce at farmers market and through the Welsh equivalent of a CSA. So, for about the first five days I was there, I planted leeks. Timo and Sophie, who run the market garden, were very happy to have the help. They invited me over to their house for homemade curry, let me take a hot, indoor shower, and even washed my clothes for me.
Then, that weekend, Coed hosted a volunteer weekend for their forest garden. They have been working on it for three years, and it looks great. They are expanding it and preparing it for a permaculture convergence that they’ll be hosting in August.
Two of the goats here are in milk, so I got to hand milk for the first time since I’ve been in Europe.
I also went with some friends to take them on a walk through the woods. It was the first time the kids had been out of their yard, so they went a bit crazy.
As you can imagine, I met some interesting people. An expert fire-keeper who rents out space in his homemade tipis for parties. Someone who travels around to festivals showcasing his bicycle-powered record player to demonstrate how we take our energy use for granted. Garden people, forest people, goat people, builders, hide-tanners, sculptors, musicians. I made one really good friend named Stephen, a genius of all plants, wild and cultivated. He kept me stuffed with edible and medicinal plants, and sent me off with a to-go bag of seeds he’d saved, to send home and to spread throughout my travels. He teaches wild food classes, so if you are in the UK, check out his website.