As mentioned in earlier posts due to the way the timing of the project turned out we are now planning on constructing the new building next year, we had planned for a number of groups of working holiday volunteers to be helping with the construction this year, and rather than cancelling all of these holidays we have kept the ones in September and October as we feel there is a lot of really useful work that needs to be done as part of the run in to the main construction.

One of the main jobs that we need to get started on is making the wooden shingle tiles for the roof. The sweet chestnut for this was harvested in NT woods locally last winter and we now need to start making shingles out of it. The timber is stacked in the woodland and if you are coming here this autum you will be joining the wardens in the woods who will be teaching you how to use a froe, side axe and drawknife to make tradtional split shingles.

The other jobs we are planning on doing are part of the broader project. We are hoping to use the accomodation in the new building as a way of bringing Swan Barn Farm to life. One of the key aspects of this is local food, we would like all of the volunteers who stay in both the Basecamp and the new building to be able to get involved in producing their own food.

To this end on the working holidays this year we are planning on using estate timber to build a chicken house and run. Next spring we will offer our volunteers the opportunity to use an incubator to hatch some fertile eggs so that we can start to keep chickens at the farm. There is nothing like the taste of fresh eggs for breakfast . Pictured below is one of the local traditional breeds of chicken we are considering, the Light Sussex.

By the time of the working holidays we are also hoping to have secured funding for a new beehive for the Farm. Honey bee’s have been having a really tough time over the past couple of years due to a number of diseases and we think it is important to play our part in looking after them. Without a healthy population of pollinating insects many of our wildflowers as well as crops and many tree species start to loose there ability to set seed, and the honey will taste fantastic in the basecamp kitchen!

We are planning on using a traditional WBC beehive and aim to construct it with our volunteers during the working holiday. Part of the funding for this part of the project will be for protective clothing so that once the bee’s are installed we will be able to take groups of volunteers to meet them and explain a little about the lifecycle of this vitally important pollinator.

Another key part of this side of the project is going to be the vegetable garden that we are planning on putting in at the basecamp. We are hoping to be able to start growing some of our own vegetables and want to start constructing the beds for the vegetable garden this year.

If you are coming to Swan Barn Farm for a working holiday this year thank you very much for your help, we look forward to seeing you and hope you have a great time!