Autumn is here. I am back. Turns out that I stopped blogging for the summer.
We had a great summer with our family and friends from all over the world. I have yet to get any of the pictures uploaded. There were so many good ones from many talented photographers so I just let it go. My health and time got the better of me once we returned home. The kids all seem to have had a great summer. Kiah got a long stay in the US and returned home to A's and B's in her GCSE exams. She takes such pride in her school work and it get taken for granted because she works so steadily at it. I hope she knows how much I admire her for her commitment to school and her drive to succeed. Dylan has decided to go back to school now too, and while she is not jumping up and down about it, I am really happy for that too. If it is possible to look back at your life and choose which of your regrets you would "do-over" if you could, getting more education would be mine. I didn't realize the enormity of the world at my fingertips when it was within reach. Even though she might look at it as "just a childcare course" already the ideas that I hear her speak of and the awareness that is being expanded by her classes is wonderful. I hope that this year is a positive experience for her and that it can lead to more as she chooses.
Axel was working hard getting the first annual Tablehurst Orchard/Brambletye Apple Festival off the ground. Back before we left for vacation he was submitting proposals to various locations to find a site to hold the event. After the site was booked it was a matter of permits and plans and people. He continued to work the rest of the summer along with his other duties in the orchards and with me at home, and plan the big Apple Day event. I watched him and was in awe of how he just set out to do it, and made it happen. I don't know if he was intimidated by it at all, but I have to be honest and say that I would have been. If he was he never let on to me.
The big day was on Sunday and it was a huge success! I cannot say enough how proud I am of what Axel accomplished with it. I heard from several people that it was a really unique event in our village. The picture perfect weather drew people out of their homes and they came to the celebration. One thing that was great is that he partnered up with the Transition Town committee (which is an drive to encourage local products and ecology/sustainability)which drew some very dynamic people to participate. They brought a juice press and made juice for everyone (free!) with apples that the orchard provided. Students from the local Steiner school did face painting as a fund raiser for their class, students from the college in the storytelling program came and did some performances of apple stories and other tales. It was well received by children and parents alike and a great chance for the new students to get right to the practice of telling stories to an audience. It was something that Axel as a dad knows would be appreciated by the children for entertainment and the parents appreciate having something that their children can enjoy whilst they enjoy themselves with other goings on too. That is priceless, and can be in short supply around here. Especially that which doesn't cost a fortune.
There was an apple baking competition which the winners received a tree in the new Adopt A Tree program that they have launched at the orchard. It is such a great program and an awesome prize for the contest. I was so sad to be gluten free because the entries look delicious and judging by the swarm and increasing number of judges as the tasting went on they were every bit as yummy as they looked. It is my goal this week to make myself something yummy sweet and gluten free with these lovely apples.
Axel's strength is in his love for people and his vision of farming has always been led by his view of community,food, and celebration. I know that if he can tap that and channel it into something that it will be a great success. I get excited for the future as people and ideas come together and we head into our next planning phase. I feel afraid to speak too loudly about any one thing in case I don't listen to all opportunities and directions, but there are some that are really getting our attention. I have registered to begin a French language course at the Open University. It's a small piece in a very big picture, but it is part of what I get to do towards it all right now. Wish me luck!