Saturday, November 30, 2013

Watch this film

This film 'Stop Rodando el Cambio'  was created by two young Spanish women who are helping us at the moment (mostly putting up our new poly tunnel)
Definitely worth watching!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Silver linings

The storm finished off our old poly tunnel so the first priority with our wwoofers at the end of November will be to erect a new one - am quite excited at the prospect, looking for good weather the week after next!
I have planked a stack of chestnut with the chainsaw mill ready to make 2 new gates for EcoDIY.   Watch this space for pictures of both projects.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Drying and fruit leather.

We are continuing with our harvesting and storing.    Now the freezers and jars are nearly full we are concentrating on drying.
Apple and pear rings drying over our wood stove

Harvested this week;   Walnuts and almonds -- a good crop this year, they need to be dried in their shells for eating later.
Our almond harvest

Beans; about 5 different types (including Lima beans which are like butter beans) for drying and storing.
Apples and pears for storing and drying, we are making apple and pear rings this year as the apple rings were really successful last year, lasting for at least a year and useful in baking when cut into small pieces.
The pears were best made into rings straight from the tree when they are still hard and sweet.   The smaller pieces of apple and pears from damaged fruit were cut into small pieces and dried in the solar dryer.
We did lots of fruit leather this year.   Cooking the fruit and spreading it thinly onto non stick baking sheets, drying in a low temperature oven or in the solar dryer.
Apple fruit leather drying

We tried;
raspberry and apple - good,
plum - good,
blackberry and apple - good
blackberry and pear - difficult to dry as it was quite runny.
We are using the leather in many ways; cut into small pieces in baking and cereals or just to eat as sweets.

Monday, September 16, 2013

EcoDIY Open Weekend

Just sitting resting after a very busy weekend talking to more than 70 people.  The weather wasn't great and turned wet by Sunday pm.  We had a very good write up (3 pages!) in the East Anglian Daily Times - (see it here). Lots of interesting contacts for us and new members for the Eco group that meets here monthly.
Now it back to harvesting and extracting honey this week.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Open Weekend coming up

Our open weekend (yet again!) is 14th and 15th of September do tell your friends and drop in for a cup of tea a and a sight of our dry dry garden.
We have been making the most of the sunny weather to dry fruit ; Cherries, figs, plums, peaches and apples are all working well.   A lot of these dry fruits will replace currents and raisins in cakes and puddings

Monday, May 13, 2013

Scientists link frozen spring to dramatic Arctic sea ice loss

Scientists link frozen spring to dramatic Arctic sea ice loss

Melting sea ice, exposing huge parts of the ocean to the atmosphere, explains extreme weather both hot and cold

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Disastrous proposed EU legislation to register seed varieties

Please go here  and read all about the proposed legislation to control seeds - even heritage veritities and self saved seeds.
Please sign the petition

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunday, April 7, 2013

A rocket stove for the greenhouse - do feed back to me if you build one yourself

Finished stove from the firebox end I have used the top
of the acetylene bottle for more mass above the
gas bottle
This is a brief series of pictures of the construction of a rocket stove with masonry mass heat storage.   I will be putting a fuller description of the construction process on our website ( when I have time.

The Stove components are ;
A 2 ft cylinder cut from an acetylene bottle and a bottle gas bottle (do take great care if you do use either of these cylinders - danger of lethal explosion!)
Ordinary house bricks (out of a skip)
about 4 foot of 7 inch flexible stainless flue liner (out of a skip)
Fire clay  (from eBay)
bits and pieces and a frying pan for the lid of the firebox.
The internal flue pipe is single skin steel (scrounged) and the outside chimney is twin wall stainless flue (from eBay - not cheap but take your time and you can find bargains.
The heat storage is made by building a brick wall next to the indoor part of the flue (runs along the whole length of the greenhouse floor) and filling the gap with gravel and concrete slabs.

Base of the stove - bricks on concrete slab on top of rockwool insulation

After the bricks laid with fire clay - I later enlarged the firebox  which
I found too small

The gas bottle with the top cut off with a jigsaw (this will end up the other way up) and the acetylene cylinder cut with a disk cutter after it has been  filled with water to ensure there is no acetylene left inside!

Looking down inside the gas bottle barrel showing the inner barrel of stainless flexible flue pipe which is insulated with ceramic fiber insulation (i had in the workshop but available from eBay) then the acetylene cylinder then a gap and lastly the gas bottle

the hole cut at the base of the gas bottle to allow the flames to travel out to the flue pipe

Carefully shaped piece of flexible flue pipe to bridge then gap  from bottle to flue.   The whole  assembly covered with a mix of sand , cement, and fire clay

Monday, March 11, 2013

Making (bee) frames

The weather is awful this week so our HelpX guest Claire is helping me put together bee hive frames ready for the honey season (there's optimism for you!)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Planking and tree planting with our WWOOFer

Using the chainsaw mill on a trunk of dry oak from our woodland with the help of our WWOOFer Aurora.
I have just finished re-building the Stihl 046 we use for the mill - needed a new cylinder and piston.

Aurora Planting trees in the wood with the help of Zero the dog!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Chippings galour

 Had a stroke of luck this week.   I decided to bring branches back from our wood to chip and refresh our chicken run (a laborious process!)  Then I spotted a team of men working on the hedges at the house opposite.  I had a word with them and - 'hey presto'! a large heap of chippings appeared.
Some are for the chicken run, some to put around the raspberries and some I will take to our wood to make the track less muddy (its nearly impassable at the moment.)

  The chippings will stay in the chicken run for about a year to get nicely mixed with chicken droppings and then be used as mulch around our fruit trees and bushes.