Neem oil is a powerful insect repellent. You could rub some oil on the most vulnerable parts of your cows. A paste made of camphor powder and Neem oil should deal with the maggots and use turmeric powder for the wounds left by the maggots. You can sprinkle the powder liberally on the wounds. Good Luck!
For sore throat, chewing fresh ginger.
Echinacea tincture spray several times a day.
Hot poultice, preferably linseed if not wholemeal flour mixed with very hot water into a thick paste, wrapped in a tea towel (like a fat sausage), apply to the throat as hot as possible without burning yourself, keep until cooled down, put a scarf on afterwards to keep your throat warm. Repeat as needed.
Gargle with sage and marigold tea.
Chop an inch of fresh ginger into a small saucepan of water, bring to the boil and let it simmer gently for 2 or 3 minutes, add a heaped tablespoon full of elder flowers and peppermint, bring back to the boil, and turn heat off. Let it steep for 5 minutes or so, strain and add some honey. Elderflower will make you sweat and bring down a fever.
Ginger, lemon and honey tea.
Rose hips tea contains vitamin C.
Sage and thyme infusion, alone or together
Inhalations with tea tree, peppermint, eucalyptus essential oils separately or together at the beginning of a cold, Pine or Benzoin later on if chest is affected.
If chest is hurting, mustard poultice made with crushing BLACK mustard seeds in a pestle and mortar, sprinkle the powder onto a tea towel, spread a hot paste made of whole wheat flour and hot water on top of it, fold the towel making a square shape, wait for the paste to cool a bit and apply to your chest. It will start smarting and burning after a short while. Do not keep for too long or you could blister, use your common sense. Keep your chest warm afterwards. Repeat if necessary.
Pleurisy root (Asclepias tuberosa) A teacupful of the warm infusion taken every hour will promote free perspiration and suppressed expectoration.
Lungwort (Pulmonaria officinalis) As above.
Borage infusion for coughs
Syrup made 1 part lemon juice, one part honey, 2 parts glycerine, shake well , good for coughs
Chop a couple of cloves of garlic, put in a saucer, add a large dollop of honey on top and cover with an upside down glass or cup, let the garlic juice infuse the honey for 2 or 3 hours or more, heat the garlicky honey a teaspoon at the time. Best made fresh regularly. Works with onion also.
Golden seal is better once the mucous membranes are affected not at the very beginning of a cold or sore throat.
Cut out dairy, sugar, wheat and oats. Oats and dairy induce mucus.
Drink a lot of water with a bit of lemon juice in it.
That's what first comes to mind, but I haven't had a cold for a long time. Each cold and each person is different therefore one would use different, appropriate remedies at different times. Although herbal, any remedy should not be taken for long periods of time, for instance, the harmless garden sage, can become toxic if drunk as an infusion for more than 3 weeks.
When I first heard about Permaculture, I started by reading all the most popular books by Bill Mollison, David Holmgreen, Patrick Whitefield, Toby Hemenway and more. Then I read a lot of less popular authors, watched DVDs on you tube, took a course on line (not Geoff Lawton's) but then, decided to go to a PDC course. So did my husband but a different course with a different teacher.
Was it worth it? Absolutely! It was the difference between recognising a mushroom from a book and having someone taking you to the spot and showing it to you. Seeing its habitat, touching it, smelling it and if a good one, eating eat. It was like the difference between listening to your favourite band on CDs and going to see them live. Or like seeing videos of your first grandchild born on the other side of the word and then going to see him and holding him. I do very much enjoy the books and videos but there is something special about a tangible experience.
In a way, there was nothing new with all the theoretical stuff, but the practical approach was awesome. Just being with like-minded people, sharing, brain storming, experiencing, breathing, eating Permaculture for two intense weeks was for me - and I repeat, for me- just magical. The afternoons' practical workshops and field trips were making the books come alive and I learned more than I bargained for.
My husband and I deliberately chose different courses and were able to share our different experiences. We chose carefully our respective teacher. For instance, there is a PDC course somewhere in Europe (no, not telling you where!) where it appears like you have to dance or play half naked in a mud bath. Personally, it's not my cup of tea. I am sure it can be a lot of fun but I am much too old for such shenanigans, besides, I don't know what being naked in the mud has to do with learning about Permaculture. Still, I am sure someone will put me right!
I did not even know that there was a certificate at the end of the course and to be honest, I don't give a toss about a flimsy bit of paper, but since the title of this post is "Is a PDC really worth it" I for one will say that my PDC course was worth every penny (or cent!). Besides, we both made great friends with whom we are still in touch.
I've never had a Facebook or Twitter account. My life is too short and too busy to waste so many numbing hours on a virtual reality, I'd much sooner get my hands dirty in the garden. I spend a couple of hours on Permies in the evening and that is the extent of my socialising on line. I am not especially sociable and enjoy my own company; sometimes, I even prefer the company of my dogs rather than that of certain human beings.
Having said that, in the last 5 years, we've being hosting WWOOFers from February till November (except for this year, as a fire destroyed half the house). We have met an incredible amount of lovely people, half of them we are still in touch with. It has been an incredible adventure. Some were youngsters who started their journey, looking for a cheap holiday. Some were a bit older, had dropped their jobs, sold their house, put their stuff in storage and decided to travel and see what they could learn before relocating to the country. Some just wanted to see a different horizon or wanted to meet new people and experience different cultures, some were students on a sabbatical. They've come from all over the globe, quite a few were your countrymen, but many more were from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, Canada, Israel, etc...
WWOOFing is an exchange, not only of bread and board against work but an exchange of skills, stories, ideas, recipes, songs and love. We've opened our home to a multitude of people who wanted to experience life on the farm, life off-grid or the joys of sleeping in a yurt. We worked hard and played and laughed hard. "In a nutshell", they discovered and learnt about permaculture without us preaching or teaching, but just by sharing our day to day living.
We get a lot of emails from quite a few of them but what has surprised us the most was (in this age of social media), the amount of hand written letters we've received. Sometimes it's a student, 6 months later telling us that the impact the farm had on him made him change his course at Uni and is now studying environmental studies and going for a PDC. Sometimes it's a couple of friends who have now decided to move to a transition town and help with community gardens because they can't afford their own house and yard yet. Only last week we got a long letter from a couple who came to us about 3 years ago, they just wanted to let us know that they got married and had a baby (picture included) and were now keeping bees somewhere in Sweden. Some have beautiful drawings and pictures. They are so precious to us that we now have a special box for them.
What I am trying to say is that, although WWOOFing might not be something you'd want to do , or even suitable for your circumstances (I also understand it is not everyone's cup of tea) but it is one possibility. We are never lonely, we've made some long lasting friends and got a lot of hard work done in the bargain! What's more, we've spread a little love and unwittingly we've spread a little Permaculture.
I used to have bamboo. Sorry Tyler, I don't know which variety, it was a cutting from a friend who did not know either. I got rid of it because it was so invasive, although if I'd had the space, I'd grow some, the donkeys loved it in the winter!
I also have reeds (Phragmite australis) but I have not tried it as a food yet. It seems like hard work when there are so many easier plants to gather all around. Still, I think I will try it as the roots are supposed to be a fairly good source of protein and delicious when young, a bit like bamboo shoots but without having to boil it twice.
Nut trees: walnuts (loads of them), almonds(only planted last winter but growing fast), hazel, chestnuts.
Shrubs and berries: strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, red and black currants, elderberries, amelanchier (Juneberries), autumn olive, artic raspberries, red and black aronia (choke berries), cornellian cherry, Chinese dogwood (cornus kouza), cranberries, Japanese quince, goji, Nanking cherries, loganberries, tayberries, honeyberries.
Climbers: kiwi, kiwai, grapes, schisandra.
Vegetables: cabbage (Daubenton), perpetual spinach, perennial leeks, artichokes (cover with heavy mulch in order to survive the winter here), cardoons, perennial broccoli (nine stars), horseradish, wild rocket, Turkish rocket, sorrel, red vein sorrel, watercress, onions, chenopodium good king Henry, siberian purslane, buckshorn plantain, rhubarb.
Shaz, I had never heard of Dr Bronner, I just looked it up on the internet, sounds great. I use Alep (Aleppo) soap or Marseille soap which are very common in France and maybe it could be found in other European countries (don't know where you are in Europe).
I use it to wash myself and wash my hair. My husband uses it for shaving. I grate it and use it as laundry soap, rub it on a stain and scrub the stain before washing, and it works well in cold water. I then use vinegar to rinse (hair and clothes).
You can google Aleppo soap, it is quite interesting - sorry, I haven't quite mastered the art of inserting a link!
Elizabeth, as well as the above, I make a tooth powder with Bi-carb and dried spearmint, I powder the mint very finely in a pestle and mortar and mix. Sometimes, I vary the herbs, fennel or sage are quite good too. I don't use coconut oil, but walnut, olive and sunflower cold pressed oils are all local to us. My friend makes lavender water so I use that sometimes as a lotion (when she's kind enough to spare a bottle!). By the way, Bi-carb is good in laundry too.
Yes I do also. I darn socks (my favourite), mend frayed cuffs, change busted zips, patch elbow holes in jumpers and knee holes in jeans, replace buttons, lengthen or shorten as needed, embroider on a stain, darn holes in jumpers and when it gets to the very end of its life, each item is used as rags, duster or buffer. I have a fair collection of old zips and buttons that I remove before relegating an item to the rag box. I've even "un-knitted" an old jumper to make something else with it like a scarf or a hat. It is actually quite fun.
This is beautiful, I guess I am going to have to learn a new skill. So many things to do and so little time to do it! Thank you for showing me the picture. Maybe, I'll find someone nearby who knows how to spin. I would love to do something with all this lovely fluff.
Thanks Zac, I do use it around my boundaries, I even stuff it in pocket gopher's holes, with various amount of success. I just wanted to do something a bit more creative or useful with it, or at the very least have multi functions.
I do like the idea of felt making, unfortunately I know nothing about it. Is there any link that shows how to do it?
Has anyone tried it for cushion stuffing? In any case, thank you for the replies , just to know the possibilities is great.
I know spring is in the air because our Belgian Shepherd, is looking like a mangy old wolf. She's moulting heavily and all her winter under fur is coming out in great big lumps. So yesterday I gave her a good old brush, the first of many to come, and she thoroughly enjoyed it. I was left with a fairly large bundle of fluffy hair and I was just wondering if any of you have use the stuff for anything other than composting or pest control. Could you use it for insulation, cushion stuffing or even knitting with it? I'd love to hear about it if you have because the next to moult will be the Pyreneen Mountain Dog and the Border Collie which means an awful lot of fluff!!
Chicken liver paté, gizzard salads (a firm favourite in South West France), BBQ hearts (a bit tougher than liver but delicious), the rest in the river for trouts and crayfish or buried in trenches to feed the soil. You can freeze the hearts, livers and gizzards until needed.
I don't know much bout pruning crab apple trees, but here is a recipe for Crab apple jelly:
1) Wash the apples, removing any bruised fruit. Put in a saucepan, fill with water to just cover the apples.
2) Bring to the boil and simmer until the fruit is soft (about 30 minutes). At this stage, I mash them up a bit.
3) Pour the pulp into a jelly bag or several layers of muslin and let drip overnight into a pan. Do NOT squeeze the bag or it will make the juice cloudy.
4) The next day, measure the juice, and add sugar in the ratio of 10 parts juice to 7 of sugar. Add some lemon juice, then bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
5) Keep at a rolling boil for 40 minutes, skimming off the froth. To test the set, chill a dessert spoon in the refrigerator.
6) When the jelly is set, it will solidify on the back of the spoon. Pour into warm, sterilised jars and tightly seal while still slightly warm. Store in a cool dark place.
Hey, where is everyone? Hi Danielle, Lil, Corrie, how are you guys doing? It would be nice to hear from you, find out how you weathered the winter and what are your plans for spring.
The last two days here have been absolutely glorious: beautiful blue sky, brilliant sunshine and a crispness in the air. Spring is definitely on its way and it feels very exciting. I took advantage of the nice weather to clean and tidy the greenhouse and sort out my seeds. We repaired some of the raised beds and a gate, mulched some areas, generally tidied the garden and enjoyed every minute of it. I was amazed to find out that all the small neglected seedlings which were left outdoors survived the winter. quite a few trees are budding, some are just about to flower and I can't help thinking that it is much too early.
I know it's an old thread, but I just stumbled upon it and I could not help myself.
It is true that in France yurts are very popular and in the Pyrenees especially so. Land in the mountains is rather cheap but there is something called Loi de la Montagne (the mountain's law) which means that you are not allowed to build anything. If there is an old existing crumbling stone barn on your property, you are allowed to refurbish it but without changing anything on the outside or changing its size. It therefore makes yurt living very appealing and quite affordable. They are doted all over the mountains and some of them are in some spectacular spots. I know of 3 families with young children who live in such accommodation and one of them is my nearest neighbour. The yurts are technically not legal and a lot will depend on the Maire (Mayor) of the village. He/she might turn a blind eye or make life very difficult for you. On the whole, they leave you alone if they see that you are contributing to the community.
We, also have a yurt. Our house is fairly small so we use it for visitors, family, friends and WWOOFers. Recently, we were very glad to have it when we had a fire and could not use the house for a while. With a wood burning stove, it is very cosy and warm even in -10C; also the space and shape are very pleasing. The main thing is to have the floor well insulated because the cold sips in from the ground. Ours is not big enough to live in it permanently, but for a few weeks or months it's just fine.
Nice to know Permies are spreading in France. I am unfortunately a bit far away from you, all the way down in the Pyrenees. You seem to have a lot on your hands what with your project, restoring the house, 3 little girls and home schooling!!
Anyway, just wanted to say Hi, keep in touch and if I can help with anything French, don't hesitate, you never know, I might know the answer (or a man who does ).
I have 3 dogs, a Pyreneen Mountain Dog, a Border Collie and a Belgian Shepherd Tervuren. Raising meat for them has been something that I have thought about a lot and I think that when it does come to it I will go for Guinea pigs. I think that for me they are easier to raise then rabbits and breed like, well,,, faster then rabbits. Also my dogs just love the critters I have trapped that resemble your pocket gophers. They eat them fur, bones and all and guinea pigs look similar in size and shape.
However, for the time being, I get trimmings and bones from the local butcher for free, bits and pieces from local hunters and stuff from the dispatching on the farm. My border collie's favourite is a chicken head! I do not feed them on meat alone as dogs actually have a varied diet; in the autumn I have a hard time keeping them off the walnuts and berries. My lot love apples and pears even bananas (when I used to buy them a long time ago).
Every 3 days, I cook a big pot of brown rice and add anything that is around like, pulses, vegetable peels, old bits of bread, then I will add raw meat, raw eggs, cheese rinds, sour milk, scraps etc... (not all at once). I don't give them the eggs with the shell, as I don't want them to recognise it as something they could pilfer from the egg box.
Pyreneen Mountain dogs never used to be fed everyday and a long time ago, when they were in the high pastures for the summer, the shepherd often only fed them sheep milk and bread. They were quite happy to supplement their diet with the odd wild rabbit, wood cock or mountain hare.
I don't know exactly what you have in mind for your herbs, but a few years ago, my husband developed this free software called My Plants. You can have a look at it at http://www.toolsforafuture.net/. It might not be what you are looking for but have a look anyway.
I grow beetroot inside and outside, but the ones inside are easier to harvest then the ones outside when they are covered by 30cm of snow! I also like to eat the green tops and inside they seem to be much better. But as you said, pussy winters and all that...
We live in the Pyrenees zone 6 I think but I'm not sure. Winters can be cold and snowy, but with climate change, it has been more wet than anything else. We've only been down to -6C so far this year.
Anyway, we have a large unheated polytunnel and at the moment there is swiss chard, red vein sorrel, beetroot, leeks, perennial onions, wild rocket, lamb's lettuce and parsley. In the spring, I use it essentially as a nursery to start my seedlings and plant a few radishes, by then all the self seeded plants come out mostly various lettuces, coriander and tomatoes. In the summer I grow tomatoes, cucumbers, tomatilloes, chillies and melons only, it is too hot then for anything else. In the fall I plant all sort of winter salad stuff, winter lettuce, land cress, mizuna, leeks and beetroot. but on the whole, it depends on what has self seeded. One thing is for sure, I am always amazed at what makes it in adverse conditions. For instance, this year, I have had a coriander plant that has survive the winter! Go figure...
I think it is a very useful skill to have. If you have the time and the interest, go for it. My nearest neighbour (2kms down the track) has been making basket work for quite a few years. He does manage to make a living out of it by going to markets and organic fairs. He now also teaches one evening a week at a local school and in the summer, teaches mentally challenged children - for free. He grows his own willow and often barters in exchange for what he needs. We got a couple of lovely baskets as a gift after helping him with his roof - unexpected, but very nice. It is a beautiful skill and if my old arthritic hands would permit it, I'd love to do it. I just content myself with watching him, it's fascinating!
When you say that " very few people in the UK and Europe have a gun" I slightly disagree with you.
It is true that very few people in the UK own a gun (hunting is the premise of the rich and privileged), but in rural France, many people own a gun, as we do, and hunting is very common, more like a passion for some. I grew up with my grandfather's gun hanging over the fire place and I can assure you that many fire places in the South of France had the same decoration until the rules and regulations forced them to put that gun in a locker. I can also assure you that around here, not many people keep their guns under lock and key, the French are notorious for putting the finger up at any rule and regulation!
There are plenty of guns in Europe, but I totally agree with you when you say that it is a question of culture, and that this survivalist thing is totally alien to us on this side of the pond. Now, food is another matter and anyone of those gun owners, will more than likely have a larder full of preserves, dried mushrooms (another passion of theirs), and a freezer full of venison and wild boar. Are they prepping? Not on your life, it's just something they do - they've always done it. It's jut that freezers make life a teeny, tiny bit easier for them!
We are a bit too low for bears, they tend to prefer higher pastures but we get foxes and wild cats. For us, however, the problem was birds of prey. One year, we lost 18 of our best laying hens to them, so we decided to do something about it. So far our "Patou" has done a very good job - we've lost none to predators. An added bonus is that I no longer need to lock the girls up at night!
Here in the Pyrenees, they are called "Chiens de montagne des Pyrenees" or Pyrenean mountain dogs, but most commonly, they are called Patous. They are mostly used to keep sheep. The best Patou will be born and raised in the barn with the sheep so that he will develop a strong bond with the flock and accept it as part of his pack. He will seldom be used as a pet, although they are gentle giants and are for the most part very good with children and very loyal. Like any breed, there is always the exception. Their job is to look after the sheep in the high pastures during the summer and it is not unusual to have 2 or 3 Patous roaming the mountains defending their flock against wolves and bears. So yes it is in their nature to roam. They are fierce guardians, and in the olden days when wolves and bears were more numerous they use to wear iron collars with long spikes to protect their necks and defend themselves. If you go for a walk in our mountains you might stumble upon 1 or 2 of them, they live up there for the season and can stay several days without being fed, they will fend for themselves. They will seldom attack unless they see you as a real threat; as a rule they will prefer to warn you by barking ferociously and you'd be wise to do a detour -that is why on a farm they will bark a lot. They will bark at anything that they hear, see or smell too close to their "pack" - it's their job. In the winter, they come back down to live in the barn and are usually quite happy to stick around, having done enough roaming for the rest of the year. This is the way they will behave if you understand their nature and it helps if the dog you get comes from of long line of good guardians. Here, the Pyrenees mountains are not huge, (you could probably fit the whole of France in one of your US states!), so it is not uncommon to know the lineage of your dog and they are usually recommended by word of mouth. There is some cross breeding but it is mostly accidental, the French farmer will prefer a pure breed.
They are increasingly used for guarding chickens. It might work or it might not. It depends on the dog and the training. The Patou will never create a bond with chickens like he will with sheep, but he will fiercely defend his territory and anything that is in it. When he is young, he will in all likelihood kill some of your chickens, mostly by accident. He will chase them in play and in his exuberance, will inevitably squash one or two, he might even knock you off your feet!. Ours thought it was great fun to catch a hen by the tail and fling it in the air! The hens have learnt very quickly to get out of his way when he comes bounding like a bear, and our Patou very quickly learnt to leave the hens alone. They will defend the hens from four legged predators and from birds of prey, but they'll have to live with them at all times. If you want your Patou to be efficient and happy, you will need a fairly large piece of land and if you have roads or neighbours nearby, you'll need to have some kind of chicken fencing.
I use a pressure canner - American as it happens, that came all the way from the US. You guys make the best! It is expensive but to me it is one of my best investments. I got it on Amazon US.
Otherwise, if you use a normal container to sterilise, use double the time for each recipe, make sure the cans are covered at all time with a couple of inches of water and if you need to add water at any time during the operation it has to be boiling water. If in doubt, let it cool in the water and sterilise again the next day for half the time. You'll have to get a booklet to give you the time to do each food. There are lots of books out there to help you out. I make soups and stews as well as fruits and compotes, but then in the South of France there is along tradition of canning food.
I hate to wait for such a long time (soaking and cooking) before being able to use beans for a recipe so for me I have found the best solution but - that's just me!
I soak and cook beans in big batches and preserve them in kilner jars. That way, if I want to use beans tonight, I just open a jar and create something. At the moment in the larder, I have many jars of chick peas, red kidney beans, black beans, brown lentils, large white kidney beans (that grow very well in this area called Tarbais beans and that are used for Cassoulet), as well as red lentils.
Red kidneys are of course the best for chili con carne but they make great stews also. Chick peas I often cook as a curry with any greens available and I make houmous and salads of course,they also go really well in a stew with spicy Spanish chorizo. The brown lentils lend themselves perfectly to accompany pork or bacon, also good in winter salads, while black beans are perfect for bean burgers. The white beans as mentioned above are for Cassoulet, baked beans, soups and stews of any description, I even do a kinf of houmous, but just mashed up, not blitzed. Red lentils I use in soups and indian dahls.
To R Ranson: I'd go easy with the turmeric in your dahl, it could turn bitter.
We have no guarantee that any of us will be alive tomorrow. The only guarantee is that one day we will go. In the scheme of things, life is very, very short so why worry so much. Each day is a blessing and I am thankful for each one of them.
Not worrying does not mean that you should be careless. I have a very extensive First Aid box for instance. It is in a flight case, shock proof and water proof. It caters for humans and small animals' needs. At a drop of a hat I can grab it and take it to any spot where needed. I take it in the camper when we sometimes go away for a day or two. It certainly does not mean that I am constantly worried about accidents, illnesses or disasters to befall us but it certainly makes life easier to be prepared. I always carry a folding knife in my pocket as well as a phone, sometimes a bit of string. I also carry a whistle, just in case I fall and I am too far for my other half to hear me.
I feel the same about my food preparation, I don't worry so much about hordes or natural disasters (they will happen anyway) but I love the feeling of rightness when at the end of the season, food is preserved, hay is in the barn, split wood is in the store, the pantry is stocked up and should a few friends drop in without notice on a cold winter night, I can easily fix a meal. If I have a cold or I am tired from a long day out in the field and I don't feel like cooking, it is heavenly to just open a jar of stew or soup, put it on the range and savour. So yes, I prepare, but I prepare with joy and not fear in my heart. I prepare so that can I share, give, exchange, barter.
As for survivalist culture, which after all is the title of this thread, I personally don't know much about it. I can only go by what I read or see on films and I would not want to live like that. Fear engenders fear and I've heard it said that a life lived in fear is a life half lived!
I am fairly in agreement with Steve Oh. We also preserve food as a way of life and have done so for many years. Anything that we do not raise or grow for ourselves, we have neighbours and friends who do. There is a fair exchange of help, skills, goods and whatnot. We like to be prepared in case we get cut off by snow for a few weeks or for some reason we cannot go out for supply, besides, we don't much like to go shopping.
One thing that has got me thinking lately is this. A few years ago, there was severe flooding in the valley. Up to 1,20m of water and sludge entered most houses and upon receding revealed its devastation. Now, one of my friends who lived in the valley and who preserved the bulk of its food in 3 large chest freezers, returned home to find the freezers upturned and upside down, ripped from their electric sockets - in any case there was no electricity for more than 3 days. Result: all the food had perished and it was a large amount of food! On the other hand, the few kilner jars he had made, although swimming in 50cms of sludge, fared rather well. Once the jars were cleaned and dried, the content was intact.
More recently, September to be precise, we had a fire in our house. The entire first floor was damaged. It was not a huge disaster as fires go, except for one thing. You see, our house is and old stone barn with walls up to 80cms thick, it keeps the house very cool in the summer, above freezing in the winter and rodent and pest free so one of our back room was our storage room. We lost our winter crop of potatoes, onions and pumpkins but more importantly, our entire seed library. Some going back many years and quite rare.
So what I am trying to say is that from now on, not only am I going to grow a diversity of food, which I do anyway, or have a diversity of methods of preserving, which I have anyway, but I certainly will have a diversity of storage places - you just never know what's going to hit you and it might not be the hordes. Fire or floods, I'd like to be as ready as I can to survive until the next harvest. Come to think of it, if the hordes were to come, several caches of food might not be such a bad idea.
I heat with wood also and end up with a fair amount of ash. Here is what I do with it, some usage has already been mentioned above.
Perfect for cleaning the glass in front of the stove. Damp cloth dipped in a bit of ash, rub, rinse and dry.
I use it as a scouring pad. I clean all pots and pans with it - small amount of ash, a bit of water and a cloth or bare hands, rinse and dry
Laundry detergent. Equal amount of ash and cold water, mix, filter. Use as normal detergent
Dust bath for chickens
Into the compost
Around the fruit trees
On icy paths
In cooking, as mentioned above for baking but also a pinch of ash will help to cook pulses faster
I am sure there are more ways but these are the few at the top of my head.
I have found that ash does not work with slugs for me. I believe that it was the sharp clinker from coal burning that was a deterrent more than the ash itself.
Yes you can boil clothes, I do and have done for a long time. I use what here in France they call a "Lessiveuse". It is something my grandmother used to use. Basically, it is a fairly large metal container with a lid. Inside, there is a double bottom and something like a chimney attached to it. I put the clothes around the chimney, fill the container with water, add a bit of grated Aleppo soap and put it on the stove, When it starts to boil, the chimney acts like a coffee percolator. There is a constant motion of the water coming up through the chimney, falling on top of the clothes, and coming back through again. When it has cooled down, I just rinse and dry outside. I have never seen anything like it anywhere else than in France, but it does not mean that it does not exist somewhere else. Boilingt is great for bedding, towels, jeans, shirts, in fact anything cotton or linen. It does eventually ruin anything that has elastic in it like cotton boxer shorts or fitted bed sheets. If there are particularly nasty stains, I deal with them prior to boiling.
If you understand a bit of French, you can Google lessiveuse, if not, it's worth looking at some of the pictures anyway. In any case, I think any large container will do. Happy Laundry!
I am back on line. Sorry I was silent for so long but first I was away, then my son had a massive stroke while he was in Australia, and 2 days after that, we had a fire in the house that pretty much destroyed the first floor. I did a lot of travelling backwards and forward once they repatriated him to the UK and I am pretty knackered!! I am no spring chicken any more and dealing with French insurance companies in between visits to the UK just finished me off!!
The amazing thing though, is that the garden survived an unusual amount of neglect at a time when there was very little rain for long periods of time and high temperatures. The only casualties were a few cuttings and seedlings in the greenhouse that did not survive the absence of watering. I did not, unfortunately, have the time to preserve many of the produce and I am already missing the tomatillo chutney! We've just finished the last jar from last year's batch!
We've had an unusually mild winter here, so mild in fact that the Japanese quince is in flower and the fig tree is budding. The calendula never died and is still flowering while the borage and mullein are growing fast. Next week, the temperature is dropping to a more seasonal average, they are predicting -5C at night in the valley so I guess we'll be a tad colder up here.
Anyway, just wanted to say Hi, I'm back and hoping to keep in touch again! Oh, by the way, if it's not too late, Happy New Year to everyone.
It's not just antibiotics, it's also contraceptive pills, HRT medecine, statin drugs (for lowering cholesterol), pain killers, recreational drugs, you name it. I personally do not use pee unless I am absolutely sure there are no chemicals of any sort in it. I have even told people to not pee in my pee bucket if they are taking anything at all, but maybe I am just a bit OTT!!
I, too, like to forage in my garden. The most common weeds I find are of course nettles and dandelions, but I also have chickweed, hairy bittercress, perennial wall rocket, common mallow, fat hen, wood sorrel, ground elder, common sorrel and wild strawberries. If I walk just ten minutes around my property I can find, wild garlic, dog rose, blackberries, elder, sweet chestnuts, walnuts and hawthorn. I am sure there are more, but I am not all that knowledgeable.
Self seeding in the garden is purslane, strawberry spinash, amaranth, rocket, buckshorn plantain, lamb's lettuce, swiss chard, achocha, jamaican callaloo, poppies, various lettuces, calendula, tomatilloes, cilantro, nasturtiums, even tomatoes and probably more that I forget. I do plant a few annuals like carrots, potatoes, corn etc but mostly I just let nature do its own thing and give a helping hand sometimes if needed. Even cucumbers have been known to surprise me and appear all by themselves in the spring. I love it. I know it is not everybody's cup of tea but it works for me and there is always something to discover in some corner of the garden.
I'm going away tomorrow morning so I don't have much time to chat tonight and I don't know if I'll have internet for the next two weeks but to answer your question briefly, our altitude is 2500ft (750m). Not terribly high, but high enough to get snow sooner and longer than in the valley. In terms of annuals we grow the usual stuff: carrots, onions, potatoes, leeks, courgettes, pumpkins, beans (French and Kidney), corn, amaranth, chillies, cucumbers, tomatoes, tomatilloes, herbs, salads, celery etc. and this year, we even grew tobacco! We just start sowing a little later than most. We have cold winters, wet springs, hot summers and the autumns are usually warm, sunny and beautiful - well into November. Of course with climate change, it has become a little unpredictable. As for the perennials the list is quite long but I can tell you about it another time. We've been planting trees and shrubs for the last 5 years and although still immature, our forest garden is slowly taking shape and has just started to really bear its fruits, literally:-)
Anyway, do write back but don't be offended if I don't reply straight away.