Salty Sam’s Fun Blog for Children

Number 354



Hello Everyone



So here is the latest news about the Rocky Bay Community Orchard.


Clearing of the mess in the orchard began at the beginning of the week.


No children were allowed in while the grown-ups were working with machinery.


The people working were very careful to kit themselves out with safety goggles and gloves.  When they were working with strimmers there were bits and pieces flying about all over the place!


(Auntie Alice brought her first aid kit with her just in case anyone needed it.)


Brambles can catch in your hair and clothing.  They had to be cut into small lengths of branches before they could be carried away.


Luckily, because the plot of land had once been a private orchard there was no rubbish or broken glass to be cleared up.


There were no fox dens or badger setts found either, which was lucky, and everyone kept a look out for hedgehogs because they are really difficult to spot and can get injured by gardening equipment very easily.


lt was a surprise that no animals seemed to be living there, because animals usually set up home on pieces of waste ground where they will be left in peace.


There were a couple of bird nests on branches, but they were up high and seemed to have nobody living in them either.


When the ground was cleared, it was pretty evident that the trees in the orchard were quite old.  They were still bearing fruit though.  You could see that because of the fruit that was lying all over the ground.


The vicar put some of the vegetation we had collected onto his compost heap.  lt was piled up very high by the time we had finished.


The brambles and fallen branches we put through a chipper to grind into mulch. 


Captain Jack and l made little pen to keep the mulch in, in the corner of the orchard.  We might be able to use it to put it around the base of the trees next spring.


The whole place looked so different after we had tidied it up!


Then we all went to the Rocky Bay Plant Nursery to see if they had any more fruit trees that we could plant.  There were some gaps between the old trees and we though the orchard could do with some ‘fresh blood’.


The people at the Rocky Bay Plant Nursery had heard about the community orchard and said that there were a few fruit trees that had not sold over the season that were on their last legs – or should that be on their last roots.


Anyway, they said that they had new stock coming in and they would probably not sell them now, so they let us have them for absolutely nothing.


We took away some apple, pear, plum and cherry trees!


We hope that they will do well if we look after them carefully.


This is the season for planting bare root stock – you can plant potted trees at any time of the year. 


So we did not delay in setting up an official opening which was conducted by the Mayor of Rocky Bay and included a tree planting ceremony.


The committee will e-mail all the people who have signed up to join the community orchard club every time there is a working party of event arranged.  There will be more work to do at certain times of the year than others.


Auntie Alice will keep a careful eye on the new, little trees we have planted.  They don’t look very well and they will need the tender loving care of her green fingers.  She has her own key to the side gate as have all the other committee members.


The children will go to help her.  Children are allowed into the orchard now the ground has been cleared and completely tidied up.


The new, little trees have had the grass around their trunks completely pulled away because grass can choke young trees.


They have been tied up to poles so that they don’t get blown over by a strong, winter wind.


We thought of putting frames covered in netting around them for extra protection but then decided not to because there would be no animals trying to eat them.  The gate is high and the broken wall has been mended so we don’t think that deer will be able to get in and damage them.


The first event that has been planned is a wassail celebration.  The children are very excited because they have never been to one before.


Wassailing is a tradition whose roots go back into the mists of time. 


The Anglo Saxon  Wæs þu hæl, ‘waes haeil’ means ‘be in good health’.


lt was also sometimes called ‘apple howling’.


For centuries, wassailing apple trees was thought to bring good health to trees and ward of evil spirits.  Although l don’t think there are any evil spirits anywhere in Rocky Bay.


Lots of orchards were planted in the 1600s after years of exceptionally cold weather killed off the grape vines that were grown to make wine.  Wine was often safer to drink than water at that time.


Cider became a very popular drink in the 1600s and in 1640 Lord Scudamore discovered a way to make it fizzy.


This cider had to be stored carefully though, with many people burying their bottles or even putting them down inside cool wells – otherwise they were liable to explode!


Wassailing is an event that usually takes place between New Year and the old Twelfth Night of 17th January.  Twelfth Night moved when the calendar was revised in 1752.


Different traditions are found in various parts of the country but they are usually based on pouring cider into the trees in orchards and then placing toast that has been soaked in mulled cider on the fork of a tree. Trees are often beaten with sticks – it is thought to stimulate them.


Sometimes, one big tree is selected as a point of focus and all the people form a circle around it.


The cider is supposed to nourish the roots and the toast is supposed to attract robins which are seen as the guardians of the trees.


Shotguns are fired over head through the branches to wards off evil spirits too.


Although we have decided to take pots and pans to whack with wooden spoons instead.  The children should enjoy making all that noise!


We certainly don’t want anyone getting shot in the dark – and l don’t know any one who has got a gun in Rocky Bay anyway.


Wassail cups are then filled with mulled cider and a toast is drunk to the trees to wish them good health.


There are various wassail songs from around the country too that people sing in the orchard.


The wassail drink is sometimes called Lamb’s Wool because the pulp of the roasted apples in it looks so frothy.  There is also mulled ale, sugar and spices in it too.


People are collected on the way to the orchard from various meeting places like pubs.  A procession of people follows drummers and people holding flaming torches through the dark, winter night.


Although wassailing usually takes place in orchards, it also used to take place as house to house visiting too.  People would go from door to door, singing and offering a drink from a wassail bowl in exchange for gifts.  This practice still exists in some places but has more commonly been replaced by carol singing.


We are holding our event on 17th January. 


This was the 12th day of Christmas before the calendar changed.


The procession will be starting out at the Rusty Anchor and working its way through the town hopefully collecting a lot of people on the way.


The children in the Rocky Bay Primary School have been practising singing their wassail song to wish everyone a happy new year and are going to be ready to perform in January.


l don’t know how much trees like being sung to, but let’s hope our old and new trees are happy with all the attention they are getting and do well next year.


Our new vicar has certainly been welcomed into the town now with his generosity and all the work he has put in.



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Thank you!


And see you again next Fun Friday!


Love and kisses



Salty Sam





Bill and Bob’s Joke of the Weekjokejoke


Bill:  Why did the cooking apple go to the doctor?


Bob:  Because he wasn’t peeling well!



Salty Sam © Christina Sinclair 2015

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of material from this blog without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited.

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(Daily Mail)







Last Saturday, I went to have lunch at Auntie Alice’s cottage.

Captain Jack was there – he always seems to be round there these days.  He was talking to Auntie Alice about how they could advertise their dove release business further.

There is no point in having things to sell if there is nobody to buy them.

And there will be nobody to buy your things if they don’t know about them.

Having people to buy your goods is called a ‘market’.

Your business will never do well if you do not have a market for it.

Captain Jack said that having a poster up in the Post office and the Rusty Anchor was not enough.

But they didn’t get very far with their conversation because then the children turned up to help carry more things into Auntie Alice’s new greenhouse and suddenly there were seven mouths to feed.

Auntie Alice said that there was a lot of work to do that afternoon so she needed to make something to eat quite quickly.

She sliced up some leeks (that needed eating up) and fried them in oil and butter.

Then she made some omelettes and added the fried leek and grated cheese to them to make tasty fillings.

We ate them with some green salad and home-made bread.

They were delicious!

Then we were stoked up to go and do some work.

Now there are seed trays and compost in the greenhouse and Auntie Alice will be able to start sowing seeds this week.

There are grow bags on the floor under the staging (work tops) that runs around the walls of the greenhouse.

There is a little heater in the greenhouse too so that Auntie Alice will be nice and toasty in there while she works.

She can’t wait to get started!










Quick Quiz


Do you the words associated with these professions that are now used as surnames?


  1. A barrel maker
  2. An arrow maker
  3. A person who worked with stone
  4. A person that turned animal skins into leather
  5. A person who looked after sheep
  6. A person who could read and write and wrote out legal documents and letters to court 
  7. A person who managed woodland
  8. A person who made furniture out of wood
  9. A person who makes ale
  10. A person who mined coal






lt’s the Weekend!




This is a really easy-to-make hat (if you are an adult you will have to buy a 100g ball of red yarn).

Measure around your head at the top of your ears and halve this measurement.

Using this measurement cast on 2 stitches for every centimetre and then add 6 stitches.

Using 3¼mm knitting needles and white dk yarn cast on as many stitches as you need.


This is the perfect hat to go out carolling in!  

It is always a good idea to keep your head warm in cold weather and carolling often takes place on chilly nights!  


Sam’s hat was worked out like this

A 48cm measurement around head so –

24 x 2 + 6 = 54

Knit 3 (purl 2, knit 2) repeat the last 4 stitches until last 3 stitches, purl 3

Repeat the last row 9 times (10 rows)

(Knit 20 rows of ribbing for an adult’s head)

Change to 4mm knitting needles and red yarn

Stocking stitch 30 rows

Dec 1 stitch at the beginning of every following 50 rows of stocking stitch (14 sts)

Pull a length of yarn through the remaining stitches and pull tight



Knit another piece to match and sew up the sides with wrong sides together, then turn the hat the right way out.

Sew a pompom, tassel or bell to the end of the hat – don’t use a pompom that is too big, otherwise it will be too heavy and pull the hat off your head.


Please note that the material on this blog is for personal use and for use in classrooms only.

It is a copyright infringement and, therefore, illegal under international law to sell items made with these patterns.

Use of the toys and projects is at your own risk.

©Christina Sinclair Designs 2015sand



Quick Quiz Answers


  1. A barrel maker – Cooper
  2. An arrow maker – Fletcher
  3. A person who works with stone Mason
  4. A person that turns animal skins into leather Tanner
  5. A person who looks after sheep Shepherd
  6. A person who could read and write and wrote out legal documents and letters to court – a scribe = Scrivener
  7. A person who manages woodland Forester
  8. A person who makes furniture out of wood Carpenter
  9. A person who makes ale Brewer
  10. A person who mines coal Collier


A barrel


And now l expect

you would like to hear

the wassail song!


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