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Ponds, Clay Earth Balls and Banana Bread

Fresh Air Friday November 2021 Blog

The dark clouds coming over from the North looked a little concerning as we all congregated at the main car park of Brown Rock Farm. Today we planned to start creating a new pond outside the lower roundhouse. People arrived well togged up with coats,

and sturdy boots and a sunny disposition to balance out the weather! We added an extra acronym to our day FAF-WTW; FAF-ing Whatever The Weather.

Adrian, of Brown Rock Farm, had measured out a level all the way round the desired pond area – it was a strange optical illusion but as we cleared the stones and thistles, smoothed the banks of red clay soil we created the ridge which would be the edges of the pond.

Janice took the lead as the only experienced pond maker, the rest of us learned that it was a slow and detailed process. Time taken to create a completed level edge would encourage a beautiful pond to be formed without the liner becoming exposed – we will have to wait and see what happens!

Lunch was shared with the Brown Rock Farm volunteers, who were creating a living hedge up in the newly created feasting area just up off the public footpath. We were happy to take shelter from the passing rains in the new roundhouse and enjoyed the new windows and the views to the Somerset levels beyond. Hot soup and bread filled us up and we all enjoyed some delicious banana bread made by one of our volunteers, Thank you Maddi! Coming together over shared food is one of the things we hold dearly at Outdoor College.

Maddi’s 4 ingredients Banana Bread Recipe

1 egg

100g wholemeal self raising flour

2 tbs maple syrup

1 banana

Add swap 10g of flour for raw cacoa powder, ground almond,

Add cacoa nibs, chopped apple, rhubarb, cinnamon, ground cloves, walnuts, ground nuts and seeds... your imagination is the limit!

Preheat oven to 180 degrees/Gas Mark 4.

Mix all the ingredients together, put into a greased loaf tin

Bake for 40-50mins – is cooked when a skewer or fork comes out clean.

Again, as with all our Fresh Air Fridays the focus was on self care, fun and coming together forming a group for the day. The activities are different each time and hopefully interesting and enjoyable. A pond was created but we also had fun making clay earth balls, going barefoot on the pond liner and spontaneous yoga stretches to counteract the sore backs from digging. We aim to care for the land we are enjoying, increasing wild and natural habitats for all the creatures that live here and share the place with us.

We left the pond ready to be filled naturally by rainwater. I’m sure everyone that took part would agree we all left feeling filled up with good conversation, fresh air, fun and laughter and perhaps feeling like they’d left a little part of themselves on the land for them to return to next time.

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