Sorry guys. Cake > running.
Latest story featuring Ellie
Let the TaskForce be with you
What is Taskforce and what does it entail?
Paul Kelly and the GG ladies met at West Bank Park to do some digging.
Our task was to dig up turf to create a long flowerbed around 'The Crown', ready for another group of volunteers to plant hedges tomorrow.
After an hour of digging, mattocking, raking and chatting, most of the ground was prepared for the next group to come along and hedge our beds!
Kristina, Environment and Community Officer from the Council asked if we could come back to finish turning compost in the park's wooden composting bins, bag up the ready to go stuff and prepare the area around the Crown for planting.
All tools will be provided, but please bring your gardening gloves.
Kristina will meet us by the tools shed at the James Backhouse Place park entrance.
8 hardy Goodgymmers rocked up outside Archbishop Holgate's school, ignoring the warnings of Debs's watch to "Expect rain in York" and focusing on the sun streaming down from above. (The black doom clouds to the east were something else, but fortunately they were soon hidden by school buildings.)
We met the lovely Helen who runs the school gardening club, and she took us round to their allotment that has sadly been neglected due to lockdown. Our task was extract the path that lay beneath the grass-covered membrane, lay new membrane if required, and cover with wood chip transported from outside the compound. It was a pretty small pile by Goodgym standards, and bets were soon placed as to how long that part would take.
Hayden was clearly keen for some shovelling, so he joined by Ang and Debs headed for the pile and the trolley. We assumed Michael was joining us as our 4th man, but he got distracted and we quickly realised we were better off without him. In true Goodgym style, we were making do with an assorted range of tools; 2 lovely shovels, 2 teeny spades (definitions of each were provided to unaware kiwis), and a box-trolley purloined from the cleaners filled with a sheet to stop it getting dirty. In reality this provided the perfect solution as to how we would empty the trolley - roll up the corners and heft. We soon had the technique nailed, including navigating the rocking trolley around the fencing, through the gate dip and across the soil. (Basically you just need to keep your end up.)
Meanwhile Michael and the weeding ladies had cracked on with the tricky job of separating vegetation from fabric.
Perfect, I've found another task where I can sit down! -Ellie
There was a long straight stretch that was the main path through the allotments where old membrane could be discerned, and narrow paths around and inbetween the 4 individual beds that were well buried. Hands were largely found to be the preferred method, and buckets obtained for transporting the grass to the sturdier of the two compost heaps. (Heap number 2 will be a task for the future!) With much scrabbling and pulling the long path was cleared, and a pristine length of membrane laid down and pegged in place. Michael, bored of his 2 square feet of weeding, joined the wood chippers in carefully distributing the pile along the length of the path. Not too much so as to leave enough for the later paths, but just enough to make it right. Once a one-way shovel-bucket transport system was in place it went seamlessly, and a Proper Path emerged.
With time ticking, the weeding ladies had done a sterling job, and one middle path was cleared ready for a speed-membrane and barking. After it was carefully distributed,we admired our handiwork, and promised to return again to help with further jobs. Giving thanks for the sunshine we headed home for tea, without really wanting to know how the topic of conversation amongst the weeding ladies ran to just what you would be prepared to do to help your partner get ready for a run. We won't name names, but bodyglide was mentioned.
The allotment at Archie's School has been left unattended due to lockdown. Green-fingered teacher Helen asked for our help with the following tasks:
1 = path work - replacing woodchip around 5 beds, removing existing grass to reveal the weed control mesh underneath, replacing any damaged weed control mesh, shifting a pile of woodchip around 50 m from the site where it was deposited to the footpaths, spreading the woodchip on the paths (although this is the least important job and can be done by the 'clubs' in school.)
2 - weeding/digging - 3 beds need a thorough weeding as they have been neglected for a year with the lockdown.
I think we can make a start with this.
Tools will be provided, but please bring your gardening gloves.
Helen will meet us meet at the main school reception, which is signposted. https://what3words.com/spout.soap.slurs
Roger from the Parish Council asked us to lay a new path with the use of the aggregate left by the allotments fence. The task will involve flattening the area marked out with sticks and shoveling the aggregate.
All tools will be provided, but please bring your gardening gloves.
Meet where the soil sieving task took place. You have to go through the play area to get there.
Today we were called to spruce up the Ashton Avenue play park.
Two tasks awaited us, namely digging over bark chip and weeding.
Team one arrived at 18:30 and headed to the climbing frames area where a selection of mattocks, forks and spades was used to dig over bark chippings to make the surface softer and safer for children to play. Our activity attracted a lot of attention from the local youth, who were curious to find out what this is all about. While being careful to stay at a distance and not hit anyone with the mattock, or spade we spent some time chatting with them explaining about the task and GoodGym.
The second team arrived at 18:40 to weed within the fenced off play area part of the park. Few hoes and trowels have been useful to remove the grass and other weeds from the edges of the soft surface, while spades and brooms were used to scrape and sweep moss from the concrete around the perimeter. The sole wheelbarrow was used to transport all the green waste to a designated location by the park boundary.
Kristina promised a delivery of fresh bark chippings to top up around the climbing frames and the weeding team have left some weeds for the next day, meaning we are likely to be coming back here in the near future.
After the task some of us headed back home and some stayed for the training session. The training featured two sets of ten different movements (the first round being very short due to wrong timer...) and a socially distanced relay race. The relay taught us that Ben is a crab walk grand master.
The lovely Kristina had asked for our help with the many many compost bins that line West Bank Park. This was deemed a double-size task so we had two completely separate teams meeting at different times to receive their instructions.
Team 6:30 with Ellie gave us this report:
The task was to turn over 4 out of 5 of the compost bins of leaves, and harvest the lovely compost from the final bin (after removing a layer of leaf litter). Barbara, Tom and Kay volunteered to go in one bin, described as “squishy” and “a trampoline” and quickly began turning over the sections in a methodical cycle. Tom then started harvesting the compost from one section of the second bin, which Abi had dutifully scraped the top layer of fallen leaves from, and barrowed it back to the park entrance to be used elsewhere. Meanwhile, Ellie turned over the the other half of the bin, making an increasingly big pile at one end (with Abi’s help). Eventually the midges got to be too much and when there was more swatting and itching than digging, it was time to call it a day.
Meanwhile team 6:45 were at the opposite end of the park.
We had 3 triple bins overflowing with grass cuttings from the bowling green, 5 forks, 3 rakes, 1 wheelbarrow, 1 set of grabbers and 1 Jack Russell. Our task was the turn the compost as best we could, mixing the grass-heavy matter with further leaves from the bays by the playground to give a better composition.
Amy C decided it would be quite nice not to work with Ed for a change, so Amy T drew the short straw and proceeded to show him exactly how it was done. She rapidly had one bay half-turned, whilst Ed pawed feebly at the top of his with little impact. Laura and Amy C headed up to the next set of bays and set to as well, no doubt also making much better progress than Ed.
This left Debs awaiting a tardy Michael (a role-reversal from normal; some excuse about picking up children), so it was decided to go and collect some leaf deliveries for the other bays before starting on our own. Fortunately he arrived just in time to learn that leaf grabbers pick up dry leaves brilliantly, but are poor at partly degraded ones. However the one fork we did have (pitchfork-gardenfork crossover) was brilliant, and showed itself to be the tool of choice for all tasks. We deposited a barrow of leaves to each pair, with the difference in effectiveness between Amy T and Ed only becoming more apparent. Laura and Amy C were well underway and seemed to have a nicely heterogenous compost mix already, but Michael dumped some leaves there anyway to be safe.
We finally started attacking our 3rd trio of bays, and felt the impact of only having one fork. With practice though we perfected the technique of raking off the grass, turning the compost with the mega fork, then alternating putting the materials back in as well as mixing with the bays to the side. A lot of the time it appeared we were just making a mess, but it was in fact effective. No organic matter was thrown at any persons honest, but let's just say that Michael's aim is rubbish.
Fergs did his best supervisor role, alternating between the different bays, and auditing them for quality. At bay 2 the tops of the piles were carefully inspected, whilst down at bay 3 he kindly took care of any stray sticks that had erroneously made their way into the compost. With time approaching Kristina was wondering whether people needed to stop, but we convinced her that if we didn't tell them it would be ok... That extra 10 minutes meant that practically all bays were turned successfully and (almost) tidied back up again, leaving not too much for the follow-up volunteers to tackle. A quick group shot later, and we headed back to the hut to put the tools away. Much compost was removed from inside shoes, and once again Ed made a mess all over the path. Typical.
Side note; a distanced Mitch collected some waders for work, and this lead somehow to a discussion about whether it was better to be functional or a peacock. No surprise whatsoever that Ed is most definitely a peacock.