Food

  • Animals,  Diet,  Food

    Milking Cows

    We have been milking cows here for most of the time during the last thirteen years, making use of the milk here on the farm. We use the milk directly with no embellishments just good old fashioned raw milk, then for cream, butter, yogurt, fromage frais, ice cream and of course cheese. Milk is an amazing food anyway you use it, but it gets bad press for many reasons and most of the reasons are simply ill informed nonsense. But due to being asked a question by a reader of this site I want to concentrate on one of those issues and that’s the issue of cruelty to animals, the…

  • Animals,  Diet,  Food,  Land,  Plants & Trees

    Permaculture Pigs

    Firstly I should state there is no such thing as a permaculture pig, but rather pigs woven in to a permaculture design. Firstly we have to look carefully at every element we are planning on putting in to our design. Then comes the usual question what is an element? each thing be it animate or inanimate we intend to add to our overall system is an element these could be a tree, an animal or a shed. Each element has it’s needs (inputs) it’s benefits (outputs) and it’s intrinsic behaviors, if we look carefully at each element including some serious research, we will gain some idea of how to integrate…

  • Food,  Land,  Plants & Trees

    The Changing Face of Eden

    Below is the aerial picture from Google Earth in 2004 the year we purchased “Le Bois de Grammont” we set out to create our own Eden (Garden of Delight) using Permaculture ethics, principles and design science to inform us of the right direction. We have made mistakes and we have developed our site through hard work and intelligent design. Below you can see some of the changes we had already made by 2008 most of the changes are too small to see and include renovating the house and barn but you can make out some of the changes we made to the land. The next picture is from Flash Earth…

  • Courses,  Diet,  Food,  Interns

    Saturday Morning Off

    While taking time out at the weekends is incredibly important to Fiona and I we are here trying to hold ourselves to a higher moral standard both for our lives and the lives of the animals we eat, sometimes this means we don’t get that time out. Saturdays and Sundays we normally do the least work we have to do to care for the animals and process the milk from our expanding herd, and then take time out to do things we enjoy. Taking a coffee in the corner of a market square, going to a Brocante (flea market) or taking a walk somewhere beautiful which have no shortage of.…

  • Diet,  Food,  Interns

    Eleven Years of Hand Milking

    We have had dairy cows since 2005 one of which came to us pregnant so we were early to milking once the calf had taken the colostrum. Last year we increase our stock levels of cows buy one to three milking cows, this is in anticipation of milk conversion becoming a commercial operation not just one of self reliance. We have enjoyed an abundance of meat, milk, cream, yogurt and at times even cheese. Now that Fiona my wife no longer works off site in a cheese making factory she is going to restart on farm cheese making both for ourselves, our students and the public. Once the cows have…

  • Animals,  Compost,  Food

    Compost and Chickens

    This year we have decided to try out a new idea, we always bring our chickens in off of the grass where they follow the cows around. This serves a few purposes, they are closer for us to tend to during the winter, it gets them and us off the grass and lets it recover from all the foot fall, and it keeps the chickens safe from hungry predators. This year though we are giving them new winter quarters, we have made an enclosure around two of our compost heaps. These are normally full by this time of year and are just left to overwinter and finish the composting process.…

  • Compost,  Food

    Mining Nutrients

    Fiona and I have spent a couple of days cleaning out our cow shed of last winters bedding and cows muck mix. This litter is compacted and does not compost well so some sort of aeration has to take place to help speed up the process. This year we are putting all the litter in one windrow in an alley designed in to our forest garden, this a two meter wide clear area between rows of trees and shrubs we use for annual crops on a rotation. First one of us fills the wheelbarrows above Fiona is taking the first shift filling the barrows. Then I wheel the barrow out…

  • Animals,  Food

    Chickenopolis

      The building of our new Chicken Metropolis (Chickenopolis) has been an involved and laborious endeavour but nothing is free each and every element of our now extensive and highly evolved permaculture design has had a price and although that price is not always a financial one there is always a price to pay in labour time and resources. The financial cost of Chickenopolis is just 18€ that is for the gate hinges and screws everything else has grown on site sweet chestnut posts and willow whips. We like our interns to have a chance to leave a mark on our site it gives them and us a sense of…

  • Diet,  Food

    Our Potato Harvest

    We have always grown potato’s as part of our annual planting regime, but for the last few years we have collaborated with our neighbours too. Now early and late plantings of potato’s are grown on our site and main crop potato’s are grown on our neighbours site. Our neighbours site changes every couple of years as they farm 100 hectares of land, a mixture of arable crops and beef cattle are the produce. So once they have had their main crop garden in one place for two to three years they move it to another field, which has been grazed for the previous few years, exploiting the natural fertility of…

  • Courses,  Diet,  Food,  Interns,  Land

    A day in our life

    Firstly I should say there is no such thing as a typical day in our lives. Some things have to happen every day as you will see but other are only done once or twice a year. Some things are done every day for weeks then not done again for a year and other are done once a week every week. This is the joy of living a life in tune with the natural forces around us our life is cyclical.   I’m writing this in part to give potential apprentices/interns some idea of what to expect when they come to live and work with us, but it’s also a…


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