The wind is blowing over my sleeping bag and I enjoy the view out of my tree house. Five weeks are past, since I came to England in the exceptional Ashodown Forest, between London and Brighton. In this rural Forest I work on the nicest Farm I have ever seen,  the Old Plaw Hatch Farm. The Farm is very various. Cows, Pigs, Agriculture and a Market Garden deliver the Farm shop. And so many volunteer workers want to help on this Farm, that there is not enough space to accommodate all of them in the Farmhouse. That is why I am living since one week on a platform on an oak tree…

Life on a Treehouse

Die Umgebung der Farm ist wunderschön.

In the evening when I go to bed I watch the sun, setting on the horizon at the other end of the valley over which I can see out of my sleeping bag. Between me and the sunset is the Ashdown Forest, interrupted by some fields of harvested Grain. The result of the work during the last two weeks. The straw bails are still drying in the midday heat. Tomorrow I will come and collect them with the tractor. That will be the end of the harvesting season of this year. Most of the grain produced by the agriculture of the farm is for feeding the cows, chickens and pigs. Only five tones of wheat is for baking bread.

Life on a Treehouse2

Meine Schlafstätte auf dem Baumhaus.

Over night, under my tree house are cows. Although I can see the farm, it is a five minutes walk over there. I am on the edge of a secret field, where we have a small camping kitchen.

The morning sun rises over the dry grass and the birds are singing all around. In the middle of the Ashdown Forest. This Forest is an exception because of two reasons. The first, here in England you hardly can find fairly huge and untreated Forest and on the other hand, because here are hills. Here you feel freedom and nature.

The Biodynamic Plaw Hatch Farm fits very well in this landscape. 30 dairy cows and twenty sheep graze upon the hills. Around twenty pigs plough the fields and hundred chickens break up the hard soil.

The calves and heifers are bread on the farm. The milk of the dairy cows is sold fresh or turned into cheeses in the farm dairy. This dairy is well known because of its cheddar and drinking yogurts.

During the peak of the harvest, there were many volunteer helpers. They were all helping in the big market Garden, feeding the animals, repairing roofs or selling our own products in the Farm shop. Everyone of them is allowed to drive a tractor or car. With our tractors and long trailers we drive sometimes miles and miles through villages and on Highways to collect straw bails from remote fields. Is it really fun on the way back, when you can not see anymore what is behind you, because of the bails and on every roundabout you stop the whole traffic to go around. The Tractor equipment is fairly old, which causes sometimes long breaks for repairing chains, oil pipes or engines. The tractor driver is mostly occupied as a mechanic.

But let us start from the beginning. The first two weeks I worked in the fairly big market garden. Nearly every vegetable is grown here and sold to organic shops all over Forest Row, the nearest village. Five people work in the garden to cope with all weeds. For weeding are the most helpers needed. It was nice to weed and chat with other Austrian volunteers, but I always had the feeling of missing something important going on. So I was glad when my working place was shift on the subject of agriculture.

Compared with other English farms and people, this farm is much more generous and the people much more direct and more tolerant. Sometimes the English indirect way of giving orders annoys me. You always have to guess and you never know really how others feel like.