We go wild at Glo Wild

https://www.kew.org/Wakehurst

Every now and then I am reminded how connected we all are to each other. After all, we all come from the same source, however you view it. We come from the same planet! And we have to look after it properly – that’s our project, and it’s clear many millions are now very occupied with this project. Continue reading “We go wild at Glo Wild”

Hate your guts? Brighton’s fermentation restaurants

Brighton has at least one restaurant serving kombucha, and one cafe. We have it at home. But what is it, and is it good for you?

I am reading Sandor Ellis Katz’s groundbreaking book about fermentation, what it’s all about and even how to do it. I’ve already read the first couple of chapters, after which it’s mostly recipes, blah blah blah. No seriously, great for the cookery-minded. I’m going to get through this. Continue reading “Hate your guts? Brighton’s fermentation restaurants”

How to get rid of monster weeds – and love Planet Earth

 

I’m learning

Do “the Small Footprint Family” actually have small feet? Is a “lasagne bed” something kinky Italians sleep in? Can you get rid of monster weeds without using nasty chemicals? You’ll find all the answers below.

In my eagerness to atone for the sin of spraying just a tiny bit of Roundup on my beloved plants (see my article my Montanto shame) I reached out to social media for assistance – what else does one do? Continue reading “How to get rid of monster weeds – and love Planet Earth”

A moody castle, a stolen priory and a silent cheese and wine party

Lanhydrock, National Trust, Cornwall, England

a moody St. Michael’s Mount, Cornwall

We’re in Cornwall. Today we started off at St. Michael’s Mount and ended up in this non-conversational, companionable evening in front of our laptops.

In between we visited Lanhydrock, erstwhile home of the 17th century Earl of Radnor, nicked from an Augustinian priority and owned by various family branches since until the family died out due to appalling levels of childbirth. The family history bit was all very confusing, to be honest.  Continue reading “A moody castle, a stolen priory and a silent cheese and wine party”

Alone on Black Down, Sussex

These are the last days of summer – warm, peaceful, precious. There’s a storm predicted this afternoon but so far you wouldn’t guess it.

I’ve discovered a bit more of the Downs. Black Down, the highest point in the National Park, acquired by the National Trust for all of us. Continue reading “Alone on Black Down, Sussex”

My Monsanto shame, but what’s the alternative?

the item in question

What was I thinking? When Steve from the allotments next door came by he caught me red-handed spraying Roundup on some weeds I’d been unable to pull up.

Living next to allotments I should have known better than to try it on. Even though I only used it for the really hard-to-get-rid-of diehard weeds, and hardly ever at that.

I’m a killer. I just didn’t know how else to get rid of them. Continue reading “My Monsanto shame, but what’s the alternative?”

Suddenly I’m a cookery writer

What to do with our apples?

cinnamon sugar with London Times and chopping board

I have become a cookery writer, a role not totally suited to me as I know next to nothing about cooking. Still …

Last week I mentioned the bucket of apples from our garden Sue had picked and I had sorted. OK, I was going to write about it “tomorrow” but as we all know tomorrow never comes and things got in the way, so here we are. Continue reading “Suddenly I’m a cookery writer”

Zero-Wasting my life #4 – I make my own lemon drink

Plastic-free organic lemon squash – the secret

our local friendly organic shop

My issue today is what to do about the plastic bottle our squash comes in. When the kids were young we used to make our own lemon squash from our lemon tree. Sadly we no longer live in NZ and we don’t have a lemon tree. Sue says I killed it, but I maintain to this day I only gave it a severe pruning. It must have died of some disease.

It’s one of those conflicts I don’t think will ever be resolved. Continue reading “Zero-Wasting my life #4 – I make my own lemon drink”

Paintings from recycled plastic

Artnova, artworks from recycled plastic

While in the ancient Roman port of Caesaria we came across Artnova. Artnova make green art, soft paintings  from recycled plastics. I was amazed at how soft the fabric was – and of course how beautiful the artworks.

Artnova soft paintings

Eco-kibbutzim: bringing biblical animals back to life

two Addax near sunset

During my trip to Israel I’ve found a kibbutz where rare animals mentioned in the Bible are being reintroduced into their natural environment.

cotton fields of Kibbutz Shamir c.1958

 

The original kibbutzim were highly regarded in the West and have long attracted idealistic young volunteers from all over the world. The new eco-kibbutzim offer an opportunity to work on the land, but also to learn how farming is gradually changing as new environmentally-friendly techniques are created and old ones rediscovered. I also discovered some very futuristic sustainability projects.

Last year Sue and I visited one of these, Kibbutz Lotan to the south of the country, close to Eilat and Jordan. Fortunately for us it was winter so the temperature was a cool thirty degrees or so, rather than the 40-degree plus summer desert heat Lotan dwellers are more used to.

Three kibbutzim with fascinating environmental initiatives:

houses, kibbutz Lotan

1. Kibbutz Lotan
As well as offering eco-tourism in its low energy mud-brick rooms Lotan hosts a permaculture centre offering a four week Sustainable Development & Permaculture Design Certification, a one week eco-experience work immersion and practical workshops in  local food production, natural building, sustainable community and alternative technologies.

2. Kibbutz Yotvata
On Yotvata Hai-Bar Nature Reserve endangered and locally extinct animals mentioned in the Bible are bred for possible reintroduction to the Negev desert.

Species bred include:
▪ Arabian oryx (Oryx leucoryx)
▪ Scimitar oryx (Oryx dammah)
▪ Red-necked ostrich (Struthio camelus camelus)
▪ Addax (Addax nasomaculatus)
▪ Asian wild ass (hybrids of Equus hemionus kulan and Equus hemionus onager)
▪ Somali wild ass (Equus africanus somaliensis)
▪ Caracal (Caracal caracal schmitzi)
▪ Arabian sand cat (Felis margarita harrisoni)
▪ Arabian leopard (Panthera pardus nimr)
▪ South African cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus jubatus)
▪ Arabian wolf (Canis lupus arabs)
▪ Dorcas gazelle (Gazella dorcas)
▪ Griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus)
▪ Nubian ibex (Capra nubiana)
▪ Persian leopard (Panthera pardus ciscaucasica)
▪ Striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena)

algae production at Kibbutz Ketura

3. Kibbutz Ketura
Apart from the massive Arava solar farm Kibbutz Ketura houses Alga Technologies, which produces sustainable antioxidants using solar energy and purified water from local boreholes, 80% of which is recycled.