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Winter Wassailing

A wonderful afternoon of wassailing yesterday. Over 40 people came to enjoy wassailing songs, hot cider and apple juice and delicious cakes. Everyone joined in with the wassailing chant to encourage our apple trees to grow, and banged their pans to ward off the evil spirits! The trees were then well and truly ‘toasted’. Hopefully the birds enjoyed the toast in the snow today. We finished off all cosy round the fire. Thanks for your company everyone who came.


Tree Dressings

December 4th was Tree Dressing Day, celebrating the importance of trees and encouraging us to value and care for them. To mark this in the orchard, the Middle School Eco-group made some beautiful frozen hangings, and put them on the trees on Monday. They also wrote out some wishes for the care of our environment. We also went down later in the week to put our pom-poms on the trees, so they look lovely for the festive season. The Golden Hornet crab apple tree still has its own beautiful fruit and a robin came to see what what happening!

Climate Change Awareness Event

Yesterday OCO had an information stall at the evening information event held at the Middle School. There were a wide variety of stalls offering advice and information about local initiatives to do with the environment and climate change. Children from the Middle School gave an excellent presentation about how climate change affects them and what their Eco Group is doing. Watch out for more activity in Ovingham/Ovington to promote awareness and actions.

Apple Celebration Day

Another fine day for our Apple Celebration Day yesterday, and lots of apples to press and delicious juice for people to take away. There was a chance to make an apple bird feeder, and also to sample the orchard apples, have a cuppa and buy some delicious apple products. Lots of fun! £130 was raised for Orchard funds, thank you to everyone who came to join in.

Apples Galore!

For the first time there is a growing crop of apples on nearly all the trees in the Orchard. It is such a beautiful sight, and everyone is welcome to go and take a few for their own use when they are ready (just lift the apple slightly, and twist the stem – if it comes away easily then the apples are ready to pick). Here is a sample of the wonderful variety we have growing.

Keswick Codling, Michaelmas Red and Sunset

Dog’s Snout, Egremont Russet and Greensleeves

Charles Ross (spot theladybird), Elstar and Red Windsor

And the Crab Apples, Golden Hornet, Dartmouth and John Downie

OviFun Fair

What a wonderful afternoon at the Ovifun Fair. We ran a bug hunt activity and many children and families enjoyed hunting in the long grass above the playing field and capturing bugs in the bug bottles to identify. Spiders, harvestmen, millipedes and skipper butterflies were amongst the findings. Thanks go to the Ovifun Committee for organising such an enjoyable family event.

Summer Survey

Our annual summer survey was held this evening with 15 supporters enjoying meandering through the long grass and flowers in the field to see what they could find. The field is very dry and many flowering plants are over already, but there were still plenty of bugs and plants to identify. Thanks go to the Environmental Records Information Centre North East for giving OCO a grant to buy bug bottles and ID sheets to help with the recording.