Friday, June 25, 2010

Newcastle City Council Community Grants and Sponsorship

When we were still Villiers Street Community Garden we applied for and received a "Seed grant" to help us establish. The $1280 had to sit untouched while we worked through our future. If we couldn't find a place to garden when the time for acquittal came we would have had to refund the cash. Fortunately that didn't happen. Yesterday Louise Duff, Community Assistance Coordinator, came for a visit to see the new garden and receive our final report. This is a great program, one to be supported by applying.  Even a small amount of money has an enormous effect. As gardeners we have all the material equipment we need for the forseeable future to make the work of growing and maintaining much easier. The grants are available annually and a visit to the NCC website gets you the guidelines and forms necessary.  
The Community assistance   program includes -
Sports Partnership Program - Helps provide facilities to sporting groups to promote the development of sport.
Community Place Makers Small Grant Program - A quick turnaround program to kick start place making with amounts up to $1,000.
Council Subsidies - Council services, including venue and mobile stage hire, are available to community groups.

CSCG Inc has applied for a Placemakers Grant for a Sausage Sizzle to be held in conjunction with the St Andrew's church fete in October. As part of that grant we have applied for the funds for an Access Industries picnic bench set, the kind you see in all the public parks. The domestic picnic sets we have are below the standards set for public spaces.  You know the kind  - warn your neighbour you are going to stand up or the bench will tip them off.

Louise was able to see the facilities offered by the church hall so she now has personal knowledge of the space and the possible uses community groups could make of it. Very nice visit and I was so busy talking I forgot to take photos.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Knights in the Gardens of Mayfield

Now for the fascinating part of Saturday.
Pre-16th century life came to Mayfield with the arrival of the Heralds, Knights, Ladies and a serf or two of - Society for Creative Anachronism. A day of Foot Combat on the lawn, then a mediaeval  feast in the hall. The winners of the day's combat would become the King and Queen for the next six months.

Here is the Herald and a Knight. The Herald graciously performed his role and explained  much about the day and the group. Giving contemporary reality to the study and re-creation of dress, food, history, music, art, and much more,  of a past era. 
This Knight's French pattern armour was new and needed some re-adjustment on a lump of railway track. Most adopt western European costume, but some take on Mongol and Samurai dress. Chain-mail is still the expensive luxury it was in the 12C, so making your own is an option. One man took two months on train trips and in Uni  lectures to make a chain-mail shirt down to his wrists and knees.

Crop circles

Saturday was  both a productive and fascinating day.  Carol, (church Secretary), came early and we raked up autumn leaves. At first we put them on the bare ground along  the fence-line. We wondered why the ground was so bare as the rains and still-warm soil has sprouted plenty of growth elsewhere. Later found out from Rev Andrew that the soil is basically nuked with poison each year as part of Council or Hunter Water maintenance of an easement.  Future doesn't look good in the short-term for the plants Allan had put in, and explained why the holes he had dug looked like desert craters - dry and dusty. That area will need some serious mulching and building up before any self-respecting soil biota has a go at living in it.
Annie came along later and installed the next crop circle. By afternoon Kerry (with Zebediah) , Carol, Lachlan and Chris had added their muscle and some cow manure, sheet-mulched with cardboard and chucked in the rest of the leaves. Potatoes come next. Zebediah found the smell and sight of cow manure irresistible and the perfect way to cover up the perfume of a recent bath.

Lachlan and Chris have started Tree Frog Permaculture under the N.E.I.S scheme. Over the next twelve months they will get support  to establish a new business of permaculture garden design and construction.  Email, phone 0418 484 330, 02 49100123.