Rosa Parker

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since Oct 26, 2014
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Recent posts by Rosa Parker

Oh silly, I forgot there's no location showing!! We are in the North East of England!

Thanks for all the responses so far!

I also feel like the wood chips idea depends on the rainfall during that period. Unfortunately, there's no telling, it's very unpredictable. We can definitely go one to two weeks without rain during summer. We just had a pretty intense heatwave, like most of Europe. But it's also possible to have rain on most days during a certain week.
Next month our family will leave for 12 days and we currently have pumpkins and strawberries growing. They're doing really well. My husband thinks that mulching will be enough for them to survive this period but I'm nervous... He suggested something like wood chips, which appear to be good for moisture retention. Will this really be enough for 12 days?? Does anyone have experience of using just mulch over a period of one to two weeks?
Thank you both, I'm looking into it!
2 years ago
Hi everyone. Recently I got some hawthorn seed and apparently it takes a long term to germinate, through a process of stratification.

The seller of the seed sent this advice:

Left naturally they germinate in the second spring after falling from the tree, so to imitate this, we suggest putting the seed in a polythene bag with the same volume of moist sand. Some growers rub the seed quite hard with sand paper before putting in the bag. Add the water gradually and if you get it too wet, just add more sand. You don’t want the seed to drown! Tie the top loosely.

The bag needs to be kept somewhere at room temperature for 30-90 days (sorry we can’t be more specific with this! Each batch is different) . I would be going for about 7 weeks, regularly shaking the bag to aerate the seed and adding slightly more moisture if it’s drying out.

Then the bag needs to be put in the fridge(not freezer) for about the same length of time, again shaking it regularly.

Sow in good quality soil based compost , about 4cm deep, in quite deep seed trays. Label, put somewhere reasonably shaded and make sure the tray doesn’t dry out. Be patient!

So, my question is, does anyone have a recommendation of somewhere to put the seed that's not a *plastic* bag? (Prefer not to use plastic.)

Thanks in advance!
2 years ago
Hi all, I'm the original poster of this topic and saw there has been some activity. I enjoy reading about everyone's ideas! It's been three years since I created this thread and our ideas have evolved a bit over that time. The original idea still resonates with us (my husband and I), but the things that are posted here by others are too ambitious for people like us. That doesn't take away that I still admire it, though.

We actually moved to France end of 2019 to rent somewhere and realised it really wasn't the country for us. We just don't fit in with the more conservative traditions and principles. Our ideas about giving birth, education, attitudes around raising children, etc. are very different. For us these things are quite big topics, as we plan on having more children and we also plan on sending our one-year-old son to school in the future, because we don't think homeschooling is a good idea as foreigners who aren't native speakers of the local language. When you're already a newcomer in a country, you feel vulnerable by default. If you then also have to deal with a mindset that goes against the current, it really won't help you feel at home in a country. So that's what made us leave France.

The corona crisis has been tough, but it also led to some new insights. We think Sweden is best for us (ironically maybe not so much from a corona perspective!). We already travelled quite a bit and we've seen a lot there before we had our son. Sweden really has a special place in our heart. We will fit in much better there. It's still going to be a journey with challenges, but we're committed. Moving abroad is never easy.

As for the eco village aspect, we're currently looking at properties that include variable plots of land. Some have a lot more land than others, but they all have different pros and cons we need to balance, though having more land would be such a nice bonus. If we can get a certain amount, we could have another person/couple/family on the land, maybe two at most. We would be open to a potential sale of part of our land if this can be arranged in such a way that the other party can still reside there. But we need to figure out exactly how this works in Sweden. From what I currently know this would need to be a smaller outbuilding like a homemade cabin (not officially seen as a house). This is the most we will ever do, and completely casual. No formal meetings schedules or management. Just all following our own plan. We personally don't have the mental capacity or energy to take on anything greater. And honestly? That's all we would need for the social side. It would be great to share this adventure with some other people, but that doesn't need to be 50 other people. Raising young child(ren) takes a lot of energy, especially with a family business that we need to work on as well. And all this outside of our homecountries. So, this is where we're currently at!
4 years ago
What is the best eco-friendly wood treatment to preserve solid wood in an indoor cage? It's really for guinea pigs and not for rabbits, but since the cage materials and treatment are exactly the same for both animals I'm just posting here.

There will be rubber mats on the wooden bottom (+ bedding) so it's not like they will piss and poop directly onto the wood. It's just all the little corners and cracks that are still exposed, because we won't be able to seal it 100% with rubber mats. Also the wooden sides of the cage will be exposed.

I know that linseed oil and walnut oil are types of wood preservatives, but I have no idea if they would be suitable for this type of application. My concern is whether it's strong enough to handle something like animal urine - it's not just about waterproofing it but also about protecting it to ammonia (as much as feasible anyway).

Any recommendations? I know you can buy stuff for these purposes in DIY stores that is classed as water-based, solvent-free and eco-friendly, but I have a suspicion most of the time it's not really that natural or still contains some undesirable chemicals.

5 years ago
Hi David, thanks for your message! Well, at least we are used to the level of regulations based on our experience in the Netherlands and UK.

We are actually looking at Bretagne - do you perhaps know if that would be a favourable region/area? Or are others better? I'm sure I've read some good things about the west in terms of eco folks, but that could have been Normandie... In the end it's more about the opportunity that comes up than the location.

Our plan is to live in a tipi for as long as it would take to build a cob house (huge project after all), so that's similar to a yurt.

I forgot to add that we have also thought about buying a ruin as a 'shortcut' to (easier) permission for a cob house. We would probably have to increase our budget, though (around 50k means we have to pay some part through a loan).

6 years ago
I was wondering if anyone here has any advice re cob building in France, specifically on land that is not 'building land' (fiancé and I just can't afford that).

I did find intricate legal documents that address these concerns, which I'm sure are useful, but for now I just would like to see other people's real-life experiences. There seem to be so many variables that we are a bit lost with it - e.g. if you are lucky with the mayor, do countrywide rules even matter that much... That's the impression I get - mayor's opinion and happy neighbours are more important than anything else.

Especially as foreigners, I don't think we can get away with building - even if it's cob - on agricultural or other non-building land. Except, this seems to be an option if you are conducting agricultural business. I'm afraid that this doesn't apply to immigrants, though.

I found some very positive messages about cob building in France (see below) and the French being supportive of sustainable development, but I also read about France being a bureaucratic minefield and what not...

Does anyone have a faint idea of what our best chances are? We need to come up with a strategy and I don't expect it to be easy...

Thanks so much in advance.

And if you know anyone who is doing/has done this in France, we would love to know more!

6 years ago

I just wrote a really detailed update for you... But my phone screwed me over and now it's all lost.

Sigh... I have lost the motivation to rewrite this and a few busy weeks coming up, so not sure when I will get back to this unfortunately.
7 years ago
Hi All,

We are so so sorry for such a late reply! We didn't get any notification of any messages posted and we just happened to check before xmas and was surprised to see replies! Of course we have been busy over the holiday period and just settled back down now! Also, some laziness in replying (Adam, not Rosa!).

Firstly, just to echo Rus' excellent reply to Jeff. We hope to create something bigger than ourselves. Living in harmony with the land and creating a bigger movement - eco community for example, one that continues well into the future. In this world that is simply impossible if we don't own the land, and that requires being part of the money system as it currently works. Even if you own the land there are no guarantees into the future. Does the land come with all rights (to fish, utilise trees/resources, mining rights - not we want to but stopping others undermining for example, airspace, etc), or what about compulsory purchases because governments want the land for other uses. The more one thinks about it, the more depressing it becomes. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to pick a bit of land and live like a free animal


We actually spent some time looking at France since your posts, however we feel its probably going to be too restrictive, difficult to achieve what we want. You have alluded to that in your last post about the hoops needed to jump through and difficulty buying and building on land. We have been torn between Portugal and Sweden mostly, but recently are thinking Sweden is the way to go. There seems to be less sacrifices there. Although initially Slovenia looked a good option, we think it might be too difficult (legally) and of course the language is daunting.

Looking at Sweden there seems to be many positives, the language is easier to learn for English speakers (apparently!), there is a lot of forest/green land and there seems to be good prices, climate seems very similar to UK in the South and Central parts, it seems easier legally to set up an eco-village as far as we can tell, there is a growing organic farm movement, the government is a green coalition which could potentially be more amenable, a lot of stunning natural areas which could aid an eco-tourism business perhaps. One thing that seems really helpful is the Swedish culture of the 'fritidshus' (basically means holiday cottage), which has easier regulations and is used by some people as a permanent home (and the municipalities are aware of that). It doesn't necessarily mean you build whatever you want (in terms of functionality it must be functional - as an example, that the materials don't rot), but when Rosa did a quick land search she could quite easily find plots that mentioned building a fritidshus as a prime example for the plots' use. Although we have a lot to learn and still ignorant of lots of things im sure! We plan on visiting early this year to get a feel for the country and to hopefully visit an existing eco-village to get more information.

Would you be interested in considering Sweden? Have you made any progress on your plans?

Adam and Rosa.

7 years ago