June 2011

                                          FIRST FEASTS
We had a splendid fishing trip to Roscolyn. We walked along the rocky coastline until we found a spot we could scramble down to. Here Ted caught 3 Pollack, 2 Mackerel and 2 sand eels and very fine specimens they were. As it was June Ted set up a BBQ once we had abandoned that idea I made a fish stew entirely from products to hand. Pollack with new potatoes, broad beans, onion, garlic, lovage and oregano our first entirely free meal apart from the tap water, should have use rain water

The elder trees are in bloom and they are heavy with flowers so we used traditional techniques to collect enough flowers for syrup and champagne and popped a few heads in a gooseberry crumble. We have just finished drinking last year’s champagne and as an accompaniment to a huge crab it’s difficult to beat. It is nice to start things for the pantry shelves and hopefully more will arrive as the summer progresses
I have now made effective microbes for the Bokashi. I then produce fermented bran for layering with the waste I want to decompose. The fish debris stretched the system to its limits and waves a decomposing flesh smells would wash through the caravan. When this happened I would pile in more bran and a strong pickled onion smell takes over. Things have settled down after a couple of weeks but with the various elderflower projects on the go as well, it is often possible to have an advanced game of What’s that Smell? during any time of the day or night

A certain level of experimentation is necessary on the land to find out exactly what’s going to work for us here.
To this end Ted has his own urine processing plant.
This starts with a nice flask of tea taken to the tractor shed first thing in a morning. A bucket is strategically positioned for the collection of urine. This is then used to water willows at a ratio of 1 part urine to 8 parts water and after 2 months of trials there really is a remarkable difference in the rate of growth of the urine v unfed trees. As a result of this experiment we have began feeding the willow bed with fermented seaweed and comfrey solution to help it all along
It is just not possible to produce enough urine for everywhere, Ted also has to pee around the chicken house to keep away foxes and soon we will be looking at dying sheep’s wool so urine supply will be in high demand, you begin to understand why the Romans introduced urine tax.
The problem is supply and demand we cannot collect and store winter wee for summer use well not easily anyway
Things are growing well in all the different areas of the land, the polytunnel, veg beds greenhouse and forest garden. I have a lot of heritage seed plants coming along and it’s quite exciting not knowing exactly what’s going to happen. The achachucas in the polytunnel are particularly thrilling, they have tendrils that have grabbed the supporting strings and you can see them shake as they pull themselves upwards.
The wind has been devastating the outdoor veg patch so rather than wait several years for the edible hedge to grow we had decided to weave willow hurdles this winter from our first willow crop. However, the continual battering has led us to now make wind screens from collected pallets to create little calm microclimates.
The forest garden is doing especially well. A friend donated a huge pile of old bedding that has covered a large area and we topped these with the neighbours cut reed. Where the previous layers of sheets and straw have killed off the pasture the plantings that have been put in are starting to take shape. I have cut back the trees quite harshly to help them develop the root growth whilst the windbreak gets going. You can just see nut trees surrounded by comfrey to feed them and marigold and borage to attract beneficial insects and bees all beginning grow. We are cropping strawberries that are sending out tendrils in all directions so they should provide a good edible ground cover soon. Eventually everything will be green growth rather than dead reed and straw.

Bird update. The family of Great Tits that took up residence in the letterbox have all successfully hatched and moved on.
June’s long days are being felt by the chickens now they go to bed late so are not over eager at getting up in the morning. If the weather is less than clement they have been seen cuddled together on the roost with Llewellen stood below them bellowing his deepest, longest and richest doodle to no avail as they refuse rise.
The Chiquita’s are growing well. We have made them their own special home a detached house and run neighbouring the pig’s and full of food and shade and logs. They spend the days very happily here and then mummy calls. Mummy has had a day by herself at the spar deep dust bathing and worm eating but at the end of the day she gets the young out, it is rather a mystery how they get out as we have done everything in our power to keep them in the new coop but out they get. The family now like to have an evening stroll together visiting next doors cats. Eventually everybody goes to sleep together and we try to separate them again the following morning and show clearly who is in charge

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