Thursday, 31 May 2007

featured plants

I've decided to include a series of plant profiles. The criteria for what to include isn't decided yet, except that they'll all be in some way useful or significant to me.
I'm starting with Wall Pennywort. The succulent leaves of this little plant have a delicious almost cucumber flavour and I can rarely resist a munch as I pass them. Down here in South Devon it grows from about October to June when wild food sources are a bit less plentiful.
It grows in cool shady spaces, on walls, rocky outcrops and bark and appears not to need soil. There isn't any growing within easy salad gathering distance of home, so I've built a tiny dry stone and log wall in a shady part of my garden to make pennywort friendly micro-climate and carried home one plant that was growing on a loose piece of bark in a friends garden. That one piece is flowering now, so hopefully it will like its new situation enough to multiply.

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Easiest Bread Ever

I found this no knead bread recipe at Cocounut and Lime. I've tried it out a few times and it seems to be a very forgiving mixture. here it is altered a bit for UK readers.

Oil baking tray
Bake at 400 F 200C Gas Mark 6

1 lb (500g) flour.
1 0z (7g) yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
goodly grind of black pepper
liberal sprinkle of paprika
1 bottle of beer ( I used Innis and Ginn cos it's on my list of Vegan Friendly beers)
1bunch of spring onions

I also added

chilli flakes
red onion
chopped olives
chopped red pepper

Mix together the dry ingredients, stir in the beer to make a dough.

I found it was improved by leaving to rise for about and hour though it did work without this.
Its a very runny mixture so I poured it into the tray and shaped it there with oiled hands. I used strong white bread flour with about a fifth of gram flour for added richness. It also works with a bread maker bread mix (added just some extra yeast, black pepper and the beer) and it came our much better than using the mix in the bread maker, though not as "loaf shaped".

I plan to try adding sunflower and pumpkin seeds to the next batch, instead of the onions and olives. I'll let you know how it turns out.

running to seed

Encouraging beneficial wildlife into the garden is always a delight. Last summer I let a few leeks run to seed and the bees loved them. The garden was alive with gentle buzzing for months and I got the additional yield of enough leek seed not only to replant this year, but a welcome oniony addition to sprouting mixtures for the whole year.

Monday, 28 May 2007

minor rant

just have to say how much I hate microsoft word 2007. Take any simple task you want to do and make it harder. saved something without remembering to change the title? see if you can pull up the save as dialogue box again. Well you can't, it's gone forever as far as I can see. You'd better just close your document, hope you can find where you put it and go change the title there. They've obviously never heard of "if it ain't broke don't fix it."

Peter's Permaculture Accreditation Event

was a fabulous day out, like a mini convergence and a chance to meet up with Permaculture friends old and new. It was held at Steward Wood, the low impact ecological community where he lives.

Peter had worked fantastically hard to make it a bright, visually interesting event, with all his designs on colourful boards around the new longhouse build. Unfortunately none of the photo's I took came out very well ( a combination of low light levels and shaky hands) so I'm hoping the fair shares principle will kick in and someone with steadier hands will donate me some. We were treated to a couple of his songs (Grass Roots Sustainable Futures and Living in Circles, available here), an interactive play in the middle, and dinner and a party to follow.

The diploma work is assessed against two essential criteria and four complimentary criteria.

The essentials are:

design skills – has the candidate used a variety of design methodologies
including both analytical and more creative strategies and
are these appropriate to the designs presented?

theory in action – how well has the candidate applied permaculture
principles and theory to make their own life more

Complimentary criteria:

dissemination – what have they done to increase the availability of good PC information to the wider community

community building – in what ways have they contributed to local,
national or international communities

symmetry – how have they fed back into the systems that helped to support them, in particular the permaculture academy and network

evaluation and costings – have they given attention to evaluating and
and costing their work

Saturday, 26 May 2007

rainbow basket

This little basket is a present for Peter's accreditation. It's quite sturdy, slightly translucent and smells faintly of chocolate.

11cm x 5 1/2cm
quality street wrappers and found copper wire

detail view

Friday, 25 May 2007

First Post

Tomorrow is my friend peter's permaculture accreditation event. I've been thinking of setting out on the diploma path myself for a while now, and seeing Peter's work should help give me a clearer idea of what I'll be undertaking. It's also given me a wee boost to at least think about some content for this blog, which is supposed to be partly about recording/organising my thoughts on permaculture as applied to my life and artwork.
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