Sunday, 11 December 2016

Climate change - 'before the flood' - Leonardo di Caprio

Just watched this video narrated/orchestrated by Leonardo di Caprio about the important issue of climate change.  Important viewing!!  This is a trailer ...

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Rosie and Louise

Rosie and Louise, two volunteers with Wwoof and Workaway arrived around the same time - beginning of November.  Rosie is an English horticulture graduate with a passion for organic vegetable growing and Louise is taking a break from an art and education undergraduate degree course.
Rosie posing with a yacon bulb.  One of
the first things we did was to harvest
the yacon plants that had turned black
with the first frosts.  They have an
unusual flavour - a cross between a
potato and water chestnut and can
give you wind!!

Loads of apples that we harvested

Rosie and Louise in the kitchen.

Our small medlar crop ... an unusual ancient fruit that
is a little fiddly to eat but has an interesting flavour -
kind of somewhere between banana and ... not
sure what .....

Here is the young medlar tree
Mespilus germanica.  A couple
 of years old now.

Rosie clearing around the asparagus
plants - they'd got rather swamped
with edible marigolds ....

Louise, a novice in the garden, learned
loads working with Rosie ...

Creating in the kitchen with garden weeds.

They worked hard to clear an area of forest
garden around the round garden - harvesting
edibles, digging out brambles and other 'weeds'
and planting herbs and fruit bushes and finally
mulching with straw and leaves.


Rosie worked wonders in the
greenhouse.  She created
raised beds on both sides and
transplanted some vegetables
into the garden.

Great job!!  "I didn't realise it
was so easy to make a raised bed"

Local retired builder Albert arrives with his brother
in law's tractor to pick up logs from trees that
he cut earlier in the year ... he also gave us a hand
to move two huge stones into place on the terrace
that we are slowly constructing with stones from
the land.  Here Kevin and Albert balancing the stone
while the tractor manoevres it towards the terrace.

Placing one of the stones ....

Rosie and Louise did a fantastic job adding stones
to the terrace - a slow and meticulous job!!

Thank you both for all your help - you have transformed the garden,  made huge headway with the terrace, made jam and chutney and learned lots about permaculture. 

Good luck Rosie with your exciting future - to grow organic food ... somewhere, somehow ... at a crucial time for our ailing planet ... what a noble pursuit.

Bon continuation to you Louise - have fun and learn loads on your wwoofing adventures for next year.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

The SEL Avranches - Local Economic Trading System (LETS)

A couple of ladies from the SEL (the French equivalant of the UK Local Economic Trading System) came today to collect surplus apples and pears from the land here.  This has earned me some points (fleurs de sel) that I can use for goods or services advertised by other members of the organisation.  I am also offering English lessons to gain some points that I am currently using for another lady to make some curtains for the house here.  So far so good.

They came to say hello while we we were harvesting pumpkins
from the 'Three Sisters Garden'

Posing with pumpkins!!  A few ancient
varieties from the Biaugerme catalogue-
potiron Red Kuri, Green Hokaido and
some spaghetti squash.

Workaway volunteer Anna joins us ....

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Anna and the terrace

Anna, a young German Workaway volunteer, stayed for a week in October and worked wonders on the stone terrace as well as helping out with the walnut and apple harvest.

Anna quickly learned how to arrange the
stones in the sand with a 2% slope away
from the house ...

Travel editor turned builder .....

Kevin managed to find some good
stones in the floor of the old barn
on the land ..............


Anna loved the flowery salads and fresh organic produce
from the garden ...................
Thanks Anna for all your help, for the interesting debates and for the singing and guitar playing .....

Monday, 31 October 2016

workaway volunteer Anna takes photos

The cosy living room is taking form ...
Under the walnut tree

Digging out stones from an old barn to use for the terrace in
front of the house ...

Edible flowers, salad and sweetcorn from the garden ..

On the way to the forest garden ....

The start of a sheet mulched area ...

More sheet mulching ...

The old barn at the bottom of the land ....

Some thriving yacon plants in the forest garden

The apple orchard

Amaranth flowers ...

One of the old torchis huts behind the sweetcorn

Part of the forest garden

Hello white cat

Saturday, 29 October 2016

In search of a scythe - crowdfunding video

Hello, this is a little crowdfunding video I made with Erin, workaway volunteer from Canada! Have fun and feel free to contribute to our campaign to raise money for some hand tools and fruit trees.:

EcoAvenir: Ecological Future with Liza Sweeting from Liza Sweeting on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

straw and slip, apples and fine dining

Build That Wall!!
Maeva, a special needs teacher from Brittany, Angelina and Amy, two professional chefs from the US and myself worked on a dividing wall in the house this October - we made an earth and straw mix for the upper part and a straw and slip mix for the lower half.  This will provide some sound insulation between the two rooms upstairs at a minimal price - the straw is 3 euros a bale, the earth is free ... we just bought a few pieces of wood for the straw and slip structure.
Maeva and Angy mixing the straw and slip.

We brought the straw and slip mix
up to the room in buckets....

... built a form work and packed it in.  The boards
can be taken off after 24 hours ... Angy enjoyed
periodically saying 'build that wall' referring
humourously to Donald Trump's idea of building
a wall to keep Mexicans out of the US ....
A well earned break ....
... and some time spent watching Donald Trump
send ups.
 It's Apple Season

We had great fun trying to pick perfect apples from
the trees for storing (apples without blemishes or bruises
will store better) ... here shaking the branches and
catching the apples in a sheet ... what we really
need is that special tool with a secateur and little
bag ... one day!!

Maeva in the trees.

Some of our beautiful apples.

Placing our apples tail down into
wooden crates with egg boxes
inside so that they don't touch ...
Oh the joys of having two professional chefs in the kitchen
It was a real pleasure to have Angy and Amy here for a week - they enjoyed harvesting fresh organic produce from the land and rustled up numerous fabulous vegetarian and vegan dishes.

 Working in the Forest Garden

We spent a day in the forest garden putting down layers of cardboard followed by manure (sheet mulching to prepare land for planting next spring) as well as weeding and harvesting some food.

Maeva brought manure and levelled it over the

Amy digging out dock plants.
Under Cover Agents?

Under cover agent Amy ... with the two American girls
often dressed in black ... I did wonder if they
were special agents on an assignment to seek
out anarchist activity ....

Special agents Angelina and Amy
hitchhiking to their next assignment.

Thank you Maeva, Angy and Amy for all the fun and the amazing cooking ...