March was a month of testing our capacity to keep working in the Coronavirus situation. We had some limits because of that but we had been over the most of them and also gave us the opportunity of spending more time all together.
1st and 3rd of March Celebrations
We celebrated the 1st of March, “Baba Marta day” with the second part of the Grafting Workshop that started the 29th of February, when the master “Христо Ашламинатора“ made Grafting presentation and explained one of the methods what he works with.
On 1st of March, a lot of people came to the house in Shipka for learning about Grafting but also for presenting “Martenitsa” ones to each other’s, for wishing good health for everyone, including the animals. At the end of the day, people met in the center of the village and they were singing and dancing around a big fire.
On 3rd of March, it was the National Celebration of Bulgaria so many people came to Shipka for visiting the Monastery and also for starting a hiking to go to Shipka peak. So we were selling souvenirs down Church stairs, one of those souvenirs was a small bag made by leather (obtained from an old jacket, because we are always thinking about Zero Waste); this bag was used in the past for people who went to the mountains and then they needed to start a fire so they kept in the bag a stone, some metal thing and a dried mushroom. At the same time we could enjoy watching the organised performances for this event with typical dances and songs, some of these dances you could join the professionals.
On 2nd of March we were helping Rada to have everything ready for the 3rd, when we helped her in the museum where there was a temporary exposition that Shipka people lend to the museum for show typical clothes of the zone and other interesting handmade things.
With the beginning of the spring the Garden started to have more life, is starting to wake up from winter. So we spent much more time working in it.
On 29th of February, we started the workshop in the house. In this workshop had participated 17 people, including us, some volunteers of Kazanlak and some neighbours and Tanya’s friends.
The first day of the workshop the master “Христо Ашламинатора“ taught us one of the methods that he usually uses. This method consists, first on making sharp surfaces on the two brunches that we want to graft, the surfaces can have different diameter; secondly, in each surface is necessary to make a straight hole going down in the brunch so it is possible to put the both brunches together, one very important thing is that in case of having two different diameters of the brunches you should have at least one side well-made, so you should decide which one. After putting the brunches together the next step is to use tape (or similar) for helping the brunches to keep living together until the grafting had worked. Other important thing to pay attention in this method is to remove the shots of the tree so it can concentrate all the effort of growing the grafted ones.
Also in this day, after grafted some trees, we went for a walk in the fields where Христо Ашламинатора showed trees that needed some pruning and also how to make it.
On 1st of March, when we received 25 people in the garden, “Христо Ашламинатора“ explained other useful grafting method which consists in a big brunch cut put smaller brunches, those ones can be prepared in the same way than in the first method but the surfaces need to be much more flat and without making a straight hole but instead of it removing what is inside of the brunch for avoiding to get bad in the future.
Once the small brunches are ready for being grafted in the bigger one cut of the tree that is going to be grafted, with some handmade bamboo tool sharped until it has a good shape for making space in the cut tree for the small brunches.
After those explanations and after 3rd of March Celebration, we spent the rest of the week making some more grafting in the garden.
Planting and preparing beds
Taking the advantage of the warm days in March we started to prepare some of the beds and to make the plan of the garden, so we decided which plants go in which bed.
Some of the tomatoes that we planted on February started to grow, and in March we planted more seeds in pots, some of them recycled ones, for example we planted cucumbers, pickles, luffa, pepper, parsley, basil… And in the end of March they already started to grow.
Furthermore, we also planted some seeds in the ground of the beds, for example: carrot, onions… And also some trees like for example wild cherries.
Probably we can say that the biggest project of this month was building the Greenhouse.
We spend a really good time building it. Maybe the main thing that we put on practice in this process was “Problem = Find solution”.
You can see all the information about the construction of this greenhouse here.
At the end of March, we wanted to make some bamboo propagation, so we prepared with different techniques some pieces of one bamboo stick, and we inaugurated the Greenhouse with them.
Other method of planting was making seed bombs, that means preparing a good soil with water and different seeds for being able of making the right shape. Then we left them getting solid, so finally we through them all around the garden and when they fall on the ground they break and the seeds have everything that they need for growing strong.
Golden Apple alternative school
Before the quarantine affected to the Golden Apple we made some activities there:
-Wool Workshop, when Denitsa showed us how to make a flower with a top of a jar.
-Fences for protecting the small garden, Michael and Pedro made them for the new project of creating a garden in the school so the children can start thinking about growing their own food.
-Like every month Ophélie gave her French lesson, in this one the children and also we could enjoy one typical French dish, Gougéres, after talking about one famous castle in France that is being built by traditional ways.
-Music lessons, this month Lea was teaching music to the children, and also she substituted Tanya on English lessons.
And after the extraordinary state began on 13th of March for Bulgaria, the activities with the children were cancelled but they keep having online classes, and one of them was the Music and English lessons which Lea was facilitating them.
In addition to all the things that we daily do for the waste management, during this month we made some new interesting things based on it.
Wax Wrap Workshop
For trying to reduce the plastic waste we made some wraps with old clothes and bee wax.
First of all, you cut the clothes and other things that you have and decide the size that you want or you need. Secondly, you put the bee wax in very little pieces before putting everything in the oven, then you wait until the bee wax is melted.
Finally, you have a permeable wrap that you can use for covering food in general and because of the bee wax and the warm of your hands you can give to these wraps the shape that you want.
Our life this month was based on the extraordinary state, but before that happened we enjoyed the visit of Ophélie’s Mum. Also, because of this extraordinary situation now we have the honour of count Fatma with us, so there are good things too because she is helping us with our duties and sometimes she makes cookies, what is really nice.
Furthermore, Tanya started to make for everyone breakfast before weekly meeting and dinner once a week. After one of the dinners we watched all together the film Stories of birth.
And one of the good things that we can do thanks to the good weather has arrived is enjoying the sunny days having lunch outside 😀
Thanks to the combination between cold days and quarantine, now we are enjoying once a week of Yoga class facilitated by Tanya.
The last day of March we made a lot of things. We brought some lavender mulch to the garden for protecting the beds and other so many uses like for example for taking care some trees that other volunteers, some years ago, planted in the center of Shipka and for planting new ones in the field.