• Land,  Plants & Trees,  Uncategorized

    A Hopi Elder Speaks

    A Hopi Elder Speaks “You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour, now you must go back and tell the people that this is the Hour.  And there are things to be considered . . . Where are you living? What are you doing? What are your relationships? Are you in right relation? Where is your water? Know your garden. It is time to speak your Truth. Create your community. Be good to each other. And do not look outside yourself for the leader.” Then he clasped his hands together, smiled, and said, “This could be a good time!” “There is a river flowing now very…

  • 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…

  • Land,  Plants & Trees,  Transport,  Up-Cycling

    Carbon Farming

    While I love the message of the video below, it points out poignantly that we have an issue with too much carbon in our atmosphere, and then moves on to solutions. The video even suggests clearly we have to reduce the amount of carbon we are putting into the atmosphere, but it does this with flippant disregard. Carbon along with other greenhouse gasses have already started to kick off positive feedback loops, this feedback means we have to do something urgently. Failure to initiate the solutions will cost lives but the most powerful thing we can do is less. Fiona and I have been working towards a productive food, fuel…

  • 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…

  • Compost,  Food,  Land

    Black Gold

    Soil is the foundation of our civilisation its the single most important element of natural systems, it’s also the most complex element and the one we know the least about. It’s also the element we treat with the least respect we take it for granted and abuse it like a disposable commodity. Unless we are Permaculturist’s then it becomes central to our thinking and behaviour we seek to build soil and try to come to a greater understanding of the complexities of soil and the life within it. Soil is the mixture of minerals, organic matter, gases, liquids and a myriad of organisms that can support plant life. It is…

  • Food,  Land

    Free food

    This post is inspired by a couple of recent events, one was a conversation on the telephone with someone enquiring about volunteering here, I explained we no longer offer volunteering we have now moved to “work stay” opportunities. Firstly let me explain how much we value the former volunteers we have had come here and offer their labour in exchange for food ,lodgings and learning opportunities. We have even found some life long friends who we care for very much, have been to their weddings visited in their homes and invited them to share our lives on return visits without expecting anything other than company. Then there are the volunteers…

  • Craft,  Land,  Uncategorized

    Firewood poems

    Beachwood fires are bright and clear If the logs are kept a year, Chestnut’s only good they say, If for logs ’tis laid away. Make a fire of Elder tree, Death within your house will be; But ash new or ash old, Is fit for a queen with crown of gold   Birch and fir logs burn too fast Blaze up bright and do not last, it is by the Irish said Hawthorn bakes the sweetest bread. Elm wood burns like churchyard mould, E’en the very flames are cold But ash green or ash brown Is fit for a queen with golden crown   Poplar gives a bitter smoke, Fills…

  • Craft,  Food,  Land


    I am the heat of your hearth on the cold winter nights, the friendly shade screening you from the summer sun, and my fruits are refreshing, quenching your thirst as you journey on. I am the beam that holds your house, the board of your table, the bed on which you lie, and the timber that builds your boat. I am the handle of your hoe, the door of your homestead, the wood of your cradle, and the shell of your coffin. I am the bread of kindness and the flower of beauty. Ye who pass by, listen to my prayer: HARM ME NOT. (author unknown)

  • Animals,  Craft,  Food,  Land

    Success in tough times

      2012 is our eighth year of small scale farming in France and has seen us move from income dependence to financial security and independence. Looking back over the last eight years at our mistakes and our successes in getting to this point demonstrates the value of an integrated approach. When we arrived in France we had a single idea to provide us with income; that of breading pigs and selling high quality organic free range pork and pork products. This worked well for three years but in our fourth year 2008 a poor global grain harvest sent the price of grain skyward almost doubling the price from our local…