Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Eco house open weekend

Yes its that time again!   We are opening our house and small holding from 10AM to 5PM on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th September.   No booking is necessary and directions can be found at 
We are focusing this year on food growing and how to extend the season and the range of crops.   We can also talk about keeping chickens and keeping bees in a more bee-friendly way.  Have a look at the website for more information on the house and small holding

Monday, August 29, 2011

Usefull report on energy and growth

Check this useful DFID sponsored report on the link between energy and growth and the possibilities for growth in developing countries.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Wasp attack

We are under unprecedented attack from wasps this year, especially on our grapes!  The bees are also under attack but defending their hives successfully now I have made the entrances smaller.
We were looking forward to a great harvest from the vine on our veranda until about 10 days ago.  The grapes are nearly ripe - quite sweet and edible.
We have tried, imitation wasp nests and traps without any great success (they keep on coming!) and in desperation I have started protecting the bunches in plastic bags, will see if that works.

If you have any other suggestions do let me know.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Processing tomatoes

Yes its that time again!  Many kilos of tomatoes are ready to process and we are trying different ways of preserving them for the winter. Our favorite is to cut out the hard core and roast in the oven with onion or garlic until reduced by about half.  We then 'whiz' them and freeze or bottle the 'pasata'
We also have tried drying them and bottling them whole in brine - both work but don't seem to be so useful.   Home grown tomatoes are a different animal to those bought in the shops, much sweeter and with a thinner skin so this process works even though we don't skin them first.
We are also drying our surplus figs before freezing them to make an ingredient for cakes etc.  We cut off the stalk end of really ripe figs and slice them into quarters before drying them on a mesh near our stove, works well.  We store these in the freezer,

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Dome moan

We are about to set off for camp!  I have stored our (homemade! ) Geodesic dome in the trailer over winter.  What an error that was!!  Half of the 75 poles were destroyed by woodworm.  So it was off to the wood for hazle replacements and 2 days hard work to make them into poles.  The shave horse came in useful as Rosie is demonstrating.