Monday, June 30, 2008

Local food fair


This was a great little event... and perhaps a sign of things to come. Local food fayre, selling local produce directly to well local people. With food and oil prices rocketing one is left wondering how well we will be able to afford supermarket produce in the future.. all those food miles and processing has to be paid for somehow so finding ways to sell directly locally is going to be an important part of the mix of responses and solutions. This was in Machynlleth, a small community that has always be pro-active kick starting these kind of things, hopefully this is a sign of many more to come. This is also the kind of thing I want to see happening at Workhouse project, which I see as becoming a key focal point for local community and economy building, part of making our sustainability transition. Oh yes and for you all you sharp eyed people this is not a picture of local food but of a local band entertaining us while we bought our local food - all part of the mix. Bringing creativity and enterprise together.. better than listening to piped music the co-op! anyway this lot call themselves Sweet Loving Rain and two of them are ex chickenshackers! so I thought I would celebrate that fact with a picture

Elderflowers!


This post is for Ute, last month's volunteer, who is doing an amazing year long trip around the UK Wwoofing at communities and permaculture plots the whole way. She is going to have such a story to tell, her idea,, rather than write a book or diary, was to write in the form of a recipe book, a recipe from each place she visited. I loved the idea of telling a story through food - i really hope she does it. Anyway the recipe I was going to submit was a simple one, elder flowers in cider vinegar - may not sound nice to you.. and it isn't particularly - its more a medicine really. As a chronic hay fever sufferer I have tried just about everything over the years, but one natural recipe that does seem to really help is a spoonful of elderflower vinegar a day. Simply remove the flowers from the stalks and soak them in the vinegar for a few days, the sieve them off and keep in the fridge.

The elder trees weren't quite ready when Ute was here, but Kistina and Lena helped me make this and I have just had my daily dose..

Volunteers


Here's pic of our lovely German volunteers Kristina and Lena working hard at the Shack. (well relaxing on Aberdyfi beach) but a big thanks to both of them for all their hard work in the garden a and making elderflower champagne.

We have had a real spell of volunteers here, its been great, 4 since May, with 4 more coming this month! - we usually just have people for a week or slightly less, but we are always open to hear from people who are genuinely interested in helping out and want to learn a bit about permaculture .. and well just explore a bit of this lovely countryside here where we live. Thanks to everyone who has helped out, we really appreciate it.

Wood delivery


Well its exciting for me if noone else.. but here's what 15.8 tonnes of wood looks like and what will be keeping us warm this winter. With fuel prices rocketing it is feeling like a better and better idea that we decided to invest in our wood fueled heating system a few years back. Its a lot of work to stay on top of the wood supply, processing it and storing it, but it is a very effective and affordable way to go, and well of course more importantly sustainable. Check out the heating section on the Chickenshack website if you want to know more, but wood burning technology is actually quite complex if you want to do in a environmentally responsible way - as we discovered. The heating engineer who installed the system the very efficient heating company pointed out that burning wood on an open fire or old style burner is like burning old car tyres in terms of environmental impact- with all the smoke and particulates it produces and really inefficient.

Anyway, by logging this here I am keeping a record so we can review this in future to see how well we do, but this £600 load - I am hoping, should keep us going for a whole year.

Wood delivery

Well its exciting for me if noone else.. but here's what 15.8 tonnes of wood looks like and what will be keeping us warm this winter. With fuel prices rocketing it is feeling like a better and better idea that we decided to invest in our wood fuelled heating system a few years back. Its a lot of work to stay on top of the wood supply, processing it and storing it, but it is a very effective and affordable way to go, and well of course more importantly sustainable. Check out the heating section on the Chickenshack website if you want to know more, but wood burning technology is actually quite complex if you want to do in a environmentally responsible way - as we discovered.

Anyway, by logging this here I am keeping a record so we can review this in future to see how well we do, but this £600 load - I am hoping, should keep us going for a whole year.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Me and Leonardo..

Thanks to Dee who spotted my face on http://www.channel4.com/lifestyle/green/home.html
sharing the same page (if not the same lifestyle) as Leonardo de Caprio .. ha ha! but anyway its a chance to remind me to plug my Channel 4 blog... I would really appreciate some comments on there. .. check it out, as they say..

Tree measuring with Germans



I love Wwoofers! we have had some lovely one's over the past few years, it really brings a positive energy in the place. So thanks to Ute and Ian for all your lovely energy and enthusiasm this month, you both really helped, i can't say how much. So thanks again, the course went well and the place is pretty much put back together again and gardens are looking fab! So much mulching has been done..

I have to say more about Ute, she is on a fantastic mission, Wwoofing around Britain for a whole year, visiting communities and permaculture projects the ehole way. She is going to get such an amazing snapshot of the whole lot of us.. I am sure its going to be an amazing experience. I told her she should be writing a book, but the suggesetion was she'd rather write a recipe book, - i loved that idea... a story told in recipes... She's going out the Hebrides, Shetland even I think, she was on the Welsh leg, and Chickenshack was number 10 on her stop. (which reminds me of an old Mach panto joke, Ah Bond, back from your latest mission, how was it... well the welsh leg was a bit hairy...) never mind,, anyway.. Tree measuring... I love little stories, vignettes I believe they call them..

Anyway, Itook a pic a couple of years ago, driving north past Dolgellau, in Coed y Brennin of a really striking Wellingtonia pine I happened to notice and posted on a website. Only to be contacted by a tree measurer 2 years later who is researching into such trees, looking for particularly fine specimens and asked could I find it again and measure it and photograph it for him. So off I went with Wwoofer Ute to find this tree again so we could measure it for posterity. It was a fun little mission. anyway, for the record, 1.5m above ground level it is 9.5m in diameter and absolutely enourmous. Thanks again Ute! I want to hear stories from you on your journey and take some good wishes from Chickenshack with you.