2020, News

Lockdown Zoom (May 6), Oaks, Galls, collage, bark rubbing

KFS Zoom wednesdayWhat a full day. With combined Monday and Wednesday’s tribes, we welcomed back Leon to see us all, and in the woods with Mell and the 2 Rachel(les) were Megan (on tech) and Sue on collage art. Keeping our distances in our 5 acres, we had a plan!

Stick go round was full. Star wars, Mermaids and Unicorns, embroidery, lego, nettle cake, and wands with magic commands like OBVIATE. Wow. From last week Ryan showed us that the cress seeds he planted 7 days ago in the empty egg shell were just bursting into green, whereas the one on the window sill  with more light were far more advanced.  Finally we did a bit of technological screen sharing, which was an experiment for all  of us.

The Oak

Into the wood we went, and saw it was an OAK NUTERY, planted oaks with hazel. With a bit of deviation into coppicing we returned to our great oak. It was retracting, dead in parts, but still strong, still its top branches bursting with fresh green leaves. How old was it? So we measured it’s girth and applied the maths. A tree circumference grows at an average of 2.5 cm a year. This great oak measured 270 cm. Jessica did the maths for us and worked out this oak was roughly 108 years old. She also got some homework. In her garden was a tree 60 years old, she knew the age because her grandfather planted it. So her task is to measure it’s girth. How much should it be? What’s the maths?

We also talked about Oak Galls – there are as many galls as wasps, for it is a gall wasp that creates the gall on the oak. The oak apple gall is one of our most well-known galls.

The female oak apple gall wasp lays her eggs in the leaf bud of an oak. Inside the gall, there are a number of chambers, each housing a larva which eats its way out. Adults emerge in June and July.

Mell found a leaf with a new gall on it, and Rachel found what she thought was an old gall but may have been this years. For the first time in her life, she cut open the gall. Inside indeed were chambers.

Oak galls were used for making ink. Our documents from the Magna Carta on were all written in oak gall ink. Here’s how it works with its tanic acid with gum arabic. Lets look out for them and make our own ink.

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Sage, still in her PPE, spoke about the strength of the oak, how every year, the battle between the Oak King and the Holly King took place, the Oak overpowering the winter holly, to bring us spring. The cycle of life. There is a song too. Sage spoke of the joy of a heart to heart, hugging an oak: And how do you know, asked one? The heart knows says Sage.

Back at the camp, art was being created before our eyes.

Begun even before the zoom began, Sue used collage, tissue paper and glue (just wall paper paste), to work up layers of landscape from Dogs Mercury on the ground to the oaks around. She was interpreting the view in front of her of a great oak beside our workshop area. Rachelle was sent off to do some oak tree bark rubbing, resurecting her old brass rubbing knowledge. With the texture of the oak bark caught, Sue added it to their creation.

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Mell ended with a story, our technical stuff collapsed, batteries faded, data ran out. Oaks looked on.




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