Saturday, 9 September 2017

The hot water solar panel

We've made a start in terms of trying to be off-grid .... first step a solar hot water panel made using recycled and low cost materials.  Giovanni, an Italian mechanical engineering student devoted his time while here for several weeks to this project ... I helped with the woodwork and DIY side of things while Giovanni researched designs.

We started with some design ideas on paper ...

Giovanni researched designs ...

We decided to use pallet wood for
part of the box - the back ...
I showed Giovanni how to dismantle
them ...


I helped to construct the box ...


We used dismantled pallet wood
for the back of the box ...

To be continued ...

Friday, 8 September 2017

Culinary Conviviality

Oh I do love our flowery salads!

... and the fresh organic homegrown produce from
the garden ....

Creative vegan sushi making.

A healthy lunch spread ...


Alessandra taught us how to make gnochi ...

Pretty much everyone had a go ... it takes ages
but it's fun and sociable.

Creating together ....

Helena processing the wild plums.
Sushii making with Il Soo in charge.

Making Saurkraut ... a good prebiotic

Alessandra enjoying her gnocchi

Picnic style lunch ...

Gardening in August

The garden has really come on this year ....

Miha from Slovenia came to experience
a vegan lifestyle with 'free thinkers'.  He
 has been questioning for some time
the way we treat farmed animals - he,
more than most, should know as he
grew up on a farm that reared cows
for meat consumption ... he is looking
for other solutions and is drawn to
permaculture and the vegan lifestyle
and principles.
Harvesting the Cherokee Trail
of tears ancient variety
climbing beans ...
Weeding and mulching in the round garden with
Workaway volunteer Zoe, a plant scientist
from Australia.
Zoe harvesting potatoes.
Alessandra, a dietician from Italy,
scything part of the forest garden
for mulch material.
Helena, a Steiner school graduate
from Germany, using the hand propelled
cutting machine that we found in one
of the barns here to make mulch
from the nettles and ferns for the


She put the chopped plant material around some
newly planted seedlings.  The mulch will stop
weeds germinating, will keep moisture in the soil
and provide 'food' for the plants.

Helena inspecting the compost
bins ... we've got some mature
compost to use in the garden now
thanks to Andrea's hard work
earlier in the year.

Helena the bear foot mulcher ..
Watering the raised beds ...

A profusion of Peacock butterfiles
on the sedum flowers.  They lay
their eggs on nettles - of which
we have many!!
And an as yet unidentified species ...
The yoga lawn grass is coming on nicely ..

The herb spiral in the foreground
and ancient variety bean tipi
in front of the house ....

A cacophony of edible plants in front of the house.
Smiling in the garden.
Alessandra harvesting berries
for breakfast ...
Amy sorting through harvested apples from the

Il Soo - our first visitor from Asia

So, as requested - a post all of his own .... in recognition that Il Soo is our first visitor from Asia  He was educated in Singapore and  the US and has a degree in Chinese literature and came here to learn a little about rural living, permaculture and vegan cuisine.  Congratulations on adapting so well to a lifestyle that must be pretty alien for someone who has always lived in big cities.

Pallet Furniture Making - a shoe rack

Sifting through pallets that we have
acquired for free for appropriate
wood ....

I taught him how to use some woodwork machines
and tools .... we spent some time researching and
designing ... and he was off!!

Et voila!! A week or so later ...
a well needed shoe and boot
rack ...

He wanted to try it for size??

 Creative Vegan Cuisine

After initially craving meat, he came to appreciate the fresh produce from the garden and after starting to read Peter Singer's book 'Animal Liberation' has started to question meat eating. 

Kevin demonstrating the art of flat bread making ...
Rolling the dough ...
Demonstrating sushi making ...
Explaining to volunteer, Miha,
how to roll the nori sheets ...
Listening to the sushi roll??
A shared meal in the garden ...

Il Soo at Leisure

Setting off to Mont Saint Michel
on bikes with the other volunteers.

Before painting the earth wall with a lime paint -
a message of some sort in water ....


 Thank you Il Soo for your enthusiasm, good humour and willingness to try new things.  Good luck with your future ... and your search for a simpler and more nature based way of life.

She was Bill Mollison's neighbour

Cara and Antoine stopped by for a few days to lend a hand.  Cara casually dropped into the conversation that she had grown up in rural Tasmania with Bill Mollison (the co-creator of permaculture) as a neighbour.  How cool is that!!  We got lots of scything, mulching and weeding done during their short stay and had some great discussions ..... Cara is trained in architecture and furniture making and Antoine has studied wine making .... they have plans to create an ecological project in the near future...

Antoine got to work scything nettles and ferns
for mulch material for the garden ..

Sharpening the blade ...
The grim reaper!!
Mulching the garden ...
The mulched leeks and celery ...
Cara adding grass cutiings as mulch ...

Having a little rest ...
Cara tasting the day lily petals ..
White cat watches as Cara cleans up the garlic
harvest ... and plats them together.
Thanks for your company, your enthusiasm and for helping out in the garden.  Good luck with your project.